Published on Friday, 20 April 2012
Sandy Liguori - Tada President 2011-2012
Part of the thrill of buying a new car is choosing the right accessories to enhance the driving experience. This stage of the car-buying process is like icing on the cake.
All too often, however, customers choose to load up their cars with too many accessories without taking into account the true cost and practical considerations of those items.
I’ve seen customers choose accessories they didn’t need, which adversely affected the car’s resale value. I’ve also seen customers shy away from accessories, only to purchase them at a later date.
It’s possible that many customers haven’t purchased a new vehicle in six to 10 years. They would be surprised at the array of accessories available today, from high-tech electronics and GPS systems to custom upholstery and performance parts.
Many accessories that had to be purchased 10 or 15 years ago, (such as ABS brakes, air conditioning, power door locks/windows, and passenger and curtain airbags) are now standard features on most automobiles
When shopping for a new vehicle, a lot of information needs to be factored in when you set your budget — gas mileage, insurance costs, monthly loan/lease obligation, residual value and accessories.
All of the accessories are available from your local new-car dealership at the time of purchase and are approved by the manufacturer. That’s an important consideration, as shoppers may be tempted to purchase accessories from independent retail outlets.
Some accessories (such as non-conventional tire/wheel combinations or modified suspension systems) that are not approved by the manufacturer and are proven to cause a problem can void your warranty in some situations.
Choosing the right accessories ultimately depends upon your lifestyle, driving habits and driving preferences. With thousands of potential accessories at your disposal, car shoppers should take time to weigh the pros and cons of what they are interested in.
For instance, if you’re an avid outdoor enthusiast, you may consider a bicycle rack, cargo box and/or trailer hitch for transporting your gear.
If you drive long distances, you may want a sunroof, adaptive cruise control or heated seats.
For parents with young children, an accessory list may include a booster seat, built-in DVD player, sunblock window shades, protective fabric and four-zone climate control.
One accessory all drivers should consider is a Bluetooth hands-free device. As smart phones become more prevalent, there is greater demand for hands-free mobile devices that allow drivers to use their phones while driving.
Today’s Bluetooth headsets have improved designs, better performance and more features than they did just a few years ago. If you’re still talking and texting without the aid of a hands-free device, you’re not only breaking the law, you’re also endangering your life and putting others at risk.
Vehicle accessories can include some pretty exotic items, especially if you own a pickup or SUV. Electric running boards, custom grilles, fender flares, hood shields and truck-bed tents are some of the popular accessories used to “pimp your ride,” as it were.
Many accessories fall under the category of safety. High-intensity discharge headlamps, automobile alarm systems, first-aid kits, jumper cables, flashlight, and backup camera and monitor are among the safety items that could be included.
Accessories can also be purchased for pre-owned vehicles. Again, examine your driving needs carefully before making a decision.
For more information, go to your local dealership’s website for descriptions, benefits and prices on all of the accessories available.