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The Best Car Mods You Can Do Yourself

New tires and spark plugs, backup cameras, data monitoring systems, and more: all easy upgrades that’ll breathe life into your old ride.

k and n cold air intake kit

It’s easy to think that you need a mechanical engineering degree — or, perhaps, to be Dominic Torretto from The Fast and the Furious — to work on your own car. That’s hardly true, however. You should have some mechanical know-how before you unbolt any engine covers and start removing things, but there are still plenty of tweaks that are well within the grasp of most of us.

And in fact, there are a handful of upgrades almost anyone can do that can make a big difference to your daily driver. From new tires and spark plugs to installing backup cameras and data monitoring systems, here are a few easy upgrades that’ll breathe life into your old ride.

Upgrade Your Car's Performance

Spark Plugs

Better spark plugs are an easy, affordable swap that can make all the difference. The better the quality of the spark, the better the combustion — translating to more power and better fuel economy. (Here’s a complete rundown on how to check yours.)


Denso Iridium Long Life Spark Plug

Denso amazon.com
$8.20 (60% off)

Engine Control Unit (ECU) Flash

The ECU in your car is set up from the factory to control the fuel-air mixture in the engine, which maximizes efficiency and power. Problem is, manufacturers program the ECU’s parameters well below the engine’s true capability, mostly as a safety net. A quick reprogramming can unlock all sorts of engine performance — and in some instances, even return better gas mileage.


AEM Universal Engine Management System

AEM amazon.com


Replacing bushings is a bit more involved than swapping spark plugs, but you’ll be glad you did it. Sitting between the suspension and frame and the chassis and engine, factory rubber bushings help prevent vibrations throughout your car.

The problem with rubber bushings is that they wear out and crack over time. Polyurethane bushings not only last longer than their standard rubber counterparts, but also do a better job of quelling vibrations and minimizing weight transfer.


Prothane 12-2002 Red Total Kit

Prothane amazon.com

Cold Air Intake

The better your car breathes, the better it runs. A cold-air intake not only frees up the air flow to your engine, it also feeds it cooler, denser air, which engines love.


K&N Cold Air Intake Kit

K&N amazon.com
$297.01 (15% off)

Upgrade Your Car's Tech


The age of infotainment systems is relatively new, so it’s understandable if you feel behind with an older car. A new, modern interface and speaker system is an easy way to re-energize your daily commute or weekend drive. Some of the better ones (like this one) even offer compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.


6.8" Digital Media Receiver with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Kenwood amazon.com

Backup Camera

Backup cameras only recently became standard across the industry. Once you use a backup camera, parallel parking and reversing in tight spaces without one feels like serious work.


Digital Wireless Monitor And Wireless Camera System

BOYO walmart.com
$241.43 (40% off)

Data Monitoring

Even if you consider yourself handy under the hood of your car, diagnosing a single specific problem based on the all-encompassing check engine light can be near-impossible. Data monitoring systems keep you in-the-know, revealing problems in plain English.


VyncsPro OBD Car Tracker

VyncsPro amazon.com
$99.99 (17% off)

Remote Start

Warming up or cooling down your car before even getting in it is a true luxury. But you don’t need a personal driver on the payroll — all you need is a simple remote starter.


Directed Electronics 2-Way Remote Control

Directed Electronics walmart.com

Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Whether you’re going on a long road trip or making your way through the daily commute, few things can ruin a drive like a flat or slow leak. Keeping the correct PSI in all four corners isn’t just safe; you’ll also extract better handling and performance from your tires when they’re properly inflated.


Tymate Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Tymate amazon.com
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