There’s so many good reasons to hold onto your car. From saving money during an economic recession, to giving yourself more opportunities to learn how to DIY car upgrades in your own garage, we’re always for it when someone says they want to drive their car to 200k or more. Especially nowadays, there’s also more ways to modify and upgrade older cars than ever before. In today’s Headlights blog, we’ll go over some of the top tech upgrades for older cars you can do to get the most out of your old beater.

Granted, some of these tech upgrades for older cars are more useful than others, but they all share one thing in common – they’ll make your old car much more interesting and fun to drive. Let’s get into our list. 

Top tech upgrades for older cars

Rear-view camera

Back in 2018, it became mandatory for new cars to come with a rear-view backup camera already installed, but of course, so many older cars didn’t have that kind of luck. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to install one of these handy pieces of hardware yourself. 

Rear visibility is one of the most important safety features you can add to your car, so when looking for rear-view camera kits, we recommend looking for a wired camera that connects directly to an in-dash or in-mirror display in your car. None of those cheaper wireless rigs that route the video to your phone.

For about $150, you can get a well-reviewed wired backup cam, like the Alpine HCE-C1100.

Remote start kit

Another feature that’s pretty standard nowadays that was quite uncommon until recently is remote start. Instead of fumbling around for your keys to jam into the ignition, remote start lets you stop and start your car’s engine at the push of a button. 

While not the most important upgrade you could ever make, it’s certainly nice to have the convenience – and it’s great on cold winter days when you want to start warming up your vehicle before you get in. 

For around the same price as a backup camera, you can easily install a remote start kit. The iDatastart CMHCXA0 HC is a good choice, and doesn’t add on any redundant security features. 

Apple car play

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather listen to my favorite playlists and podcasts than surf through dozens of radio stations. Unfortunately, many older cars don’t offer CarPlay head units. Of course, you can always navigate around your phone from an aux cord, but it’s less safe, and who doesn’t want to be able to navigate around your favorite apps safely while driving?

Get access to Apple CarPlay with the Boss BVCP9685A for $250. Not a bad price to pay for safety and convenience. 

Dash cam

While dash cams are a more popular accessory in Europe than in the states, more drivers than ever are beginning to use them. 

When you don’t have a copilot, a dash cam is just about the next best thing. A quick look around will find you several inexpensive versions that simply record out of your windshield, but if you’re looking for more features, there are models available that offer remote access to the camera. Some also include crash sensing, basic driver assists, and emergency notifications

While these will typically set you back a little more (for example, $280 for the Thinkware F800PRO), they can come in handy if you ever do find yourself in an accident and need to prove innocence to your insurance company. 

Tech car upgrades for older cars make a massive difference

For more quick car upgrades and other auto news, check out the rest of the Headlights blog while you’re at it.

Claire Biggerstaff
Claire Biggerstaff is a freelance writer and photographer from Charlotte, NC. Her curiosity leads her to write about a wide variety of topics. On her off days, she enjoys reading Polygon articles, and curling up to a good YouTube playlist.

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