In my experience there are 2 kinds of new car purchaser, the first 1 searches for the affordable car of his dreams, buys it has it serviced at the original dealer and will NEVER fit an accessory to it- Orginalteile nur Orginalteile. The 2’nd type will be hard in restraining to fitting new rims and tires on the floor of the dealer and will modify wherever he can afford. If you are of the First type, please read this maybe I can convince you that there are things that will enhance the vehicle for yourself and increase its Resale value. If you are the second type, maybe I can help you to stop standing out and get more stares than the pope in a Speedo !
Most Vehicles decrease in Value the moment you use them. The same holds true for vehicle Accessories. I am not to Argue that a Music system in a car might not increase its value, but a 10 Grand Hi Fi will not make the Car worth 10 Grand more (especially if it is an old Golf L). I myself believe in instruments, as that seems to be the best ways of monitoring your vehicle innards- especially if you are hard of hearing and cannot hear what your vehicle is telling you.
Oil Pressure gauge seems to be the most important (It is beyond me why today’s cars are mostly equipped with an Idiot Light). Until recently the Jeeps only had a light to monitor Engine Temperature (once it went on, you knew to withdraw your Chequebook). In cold weather the abnormally high pressure tells you to “take it easy”, so does abnormally low pressure with a “Hot” motor. It also tells you when your Bearings are becoming worn and a host of other things.
Next is Temperature, either Water (this will not show “Hot” if there is no water to measure). Oil is even better as that is the Lifeblood of your Motor. Cylinder head temperature is top of the Pops, as that tells you exactly what is happening.
Rev Counters or Tachometers are not something to Discard as they can better your driving habits- Low revs mean long Engine Life, while lugging your motor is a sure way to kill Bearings, rings and Gearboxes.
Vacuum meters or “Econometers” lost their popularity. Most carburettors have a “Power valve” that gives the motor more juice when vacuum is low as under Large throttle opening low RPM situations, here that meter can tell you why your mileage sucks. Also it will show you if your valves are leaking or you compression is down. Also they are great to teach Beginner drivers on how to keep a motor happy- large vacuum.
Amp meters tell you if the Battery charges and the general condition of your Electrical system. They deteriorate with age (or rather the contacts become poor) and are unable to handle high charging or high drain. Voltmeters are preferable in my eyes as they still show when the system is fully charged. Also most Alternators are driven via the water pump, the meter and red light is great to tell you when the Fan Belt has gone!
Fuel Pressure lets you know when your pump goes south or your filter is clogged. When you race it is vital, since high RPM and low-pressure go hand in hand with holed Pistons and bank accounts.
If you have an Automatic Gearbox and no gauge to monitor its Temperature, you must be very rich or have poor advice from the Salesperson. These boxes have seals that can only take so much Heat and when you go beyond they break in an expensive way (TH 700 are notorious in this regard).
Hour meters can replace Speedometers in a utility vehicle, since it is far better to service by the Hour than by the mile, especially in low speed situations.
As with all things, “goedkoop is Duurkoop”. If you think that a 50$ oil pressure gauge is sufficient to monitor a 20 000 $ Engine, don’t moan at the repair bill. This is no joke, I have rebuilt a Holden 308 (no cheapo here) sent it away only to have an irate customer phone me a short while later complaining of a “Knock”. Further questioning revealed that he did not have time to connect up a pressure gauge- same lack of “time” probably prevented the customer from checking his oil level.
Most of us are not content with our stock headlights and 9.99 specials don’t do nuthin for us either.
You get pencil beam, Driving Beam and Wide beam lights utilizing either Bulb, sealed beam or Metal Halide. The last being the brightest (900 000 candlepower) and having a very low current draw (35-50 watts). Compare this to a good quality Light of a 100 watts making 200 000 Candlepower. As an Ozzie friend mentioned “You don’t wanna see the Roo, you wanna burn the hair of its skin”. Also companies like PIAA make replacement driving lights with a precision reflector that makes night driving a pleasure.
With our winter times it makes sense to fit a work light on the back of your pickup. A set-up that works great on Off Road race Trucks is to have your Spots on High Beam and Fog Lights on Low (connected this way to your stock Lights) since that is far better for Dust Penetration!
It amazes me that people often spend more time in their car than in their Lounge, but spend money on Lounge suites instead. Companies like Keiper-Recaro make quality seats. Sweating away on Plastic upholstery is neither comfortable nor healthy, a quality upholsterer can not only fit “cool” material, but also put in padding to make the seat more comfortable.
A decent “toeter” can make a difference in a panic situation. So can a Fire Extinguisher, in many countries they are mandatory and I would consider it cheap insurance. Granted once a car is burning seriously you might as well fill out your insurance claim (most vehicles are underinsured- nice to know) most fires start as smouldering cables (that is why Alfa’s of old had a bolt cutter next to the Batteries) or grass getting Ignited by the Exhaust (Catalytic converters excel at this).
An accessory that always makes me smile is the “Texas gun rack” you know the one carried in the rear window. Some years back Weatherby was sued because this idiot drove through a dip that got his Cannon to jump out of its clip and smack him on the back of his head. This made said gent loose consciousness and overturn his truck. Point is heavy equipment in your Truck should be stored and secured in such a way that it cannot harm you in case of a bump or rollover.
For years I have carried a carefully Lubricated tow rope in my car (the idea being, if you have it you will not need it), I am not ashamed to charge for the privilege of towing some stuck fool out of a tight spot- have you priced a decent tow rope recently? Ah yes- it makes my knees soft whenever I see people attaching the towrope to their tow ball (is that premeditated murder or lack of forethought) nice missile that when it breaks of!
Most manufacturers include a rudimentary (in Afrikaans “gooi dit weg”) Toolkit. My suggestion is to pack the same tools in your Vehicle that you use to service it. Make certain that your Jack is capable of lifting your vehicle and a spare block of wood is useful for supporting the jack on loose ground and cutting Fish bait. By the way I see it essential that everybody that uses a particular car is instructed on how to fix minor problems. It happens time and time again that I stop to help broken down vehicles because their driver is incapable of such a minor task as dropping down the spare tire.
Certain Accessories such as Gear locks on a 4*4 make me smile. Put the Transfer case in Neutral and tow the sucker away. Additives are also on my List of no go items as I am sure if it works; a Reputable Oil Company would market it. An Exemption to that is a Oil Fortifier or Thickener that gets added as a Band aid to let the Motor carry on a Little longer before it has to be rebuilt- Remember though that this thickener has Sulfur in it- so you HAVE to do the Motor sometime!
Anyway there are things that work and others that just look good- it's up to you to decide on whether you should go Stock or Super modified.