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Automotive Aftermarket Parts

Perceptions of Vehicle Modifications

The average car in America is over 11 years old and is owned by its original owner for roughly six years.

Considering the speed at which car technology seems to be evolving, it’s easy to see why some people may be interested in buying a new car––or giving their vehicles a bit of a facelift. From tinting the windows to replacing the tires, you may eventually find yourself in the market for aftermarket parts not provided by the dealership.

Of course, once six years are up with that car, you may also find yourself looking to sell it and move on. So how will your aftermarket upgrades help (or hurt) the perception and value of your ride? We polled around 1,000 Americans to find out. Here’s what we discovered.

What to Consider and What to Axe
Attitudes Towards Aftermarket Features

Some aftermarket car upgrades may seem like no-brainers. Whether you’re looking to increase the value of your vehicle, the comfort, or even just the prestige when driving down the road, car experts agree certain upgrades can pay off in the end.

Nearly 71 percent of Americans polled agreed nicer tires were the coolest additions to make their rides stand out. There are plenty of aspects to consider – more than just the aesthetic they provide, upgrading your tires can make the way your car drives feel smoother. An upgraded speaker system and tinted windows also earned a thumbs-up for appearance and presentation by more than half of people surveyed.

Some aftermarket options can add style, but not every upgrade is bound to look as cool. While more than 1 in 4 people thought upgraded rims looked good, fancy rims were voted the most obnoxious upgrade people could do to their cars. A third of Americans weren’t impressed by oversized tires or racing seats either, and considering how high the cost can go on some of these unsightly extravagances, your investment may be better spent elsewhere.

Take It or Leave It
Preferences of Aftermarket Features

If you’re looking to increase the value of your car, these are the upgrades most likely to cause Americans to do a double take, and the upgrades that might make them look elsewhere instead.

Nearly 2 in 3 people said if a car had nicer tires, they might be more likely to purchase it. Almost 43 percent of people felt cars with tinted windows were also a bonus, in addition to a nicer speaker system. Replacing your vehicle’s speakers might not just upgrade the quality of the sound – it can also be significantly cheaper to make the upgrade after buying..

If you’re interested in ensuring the internal components in your car are as light as possible, then racing seats might be the choice for you. If you’re looking for high resale value, on the other hand, they might be a hard pass. More than 2 in 5 Americans admitted they’d be less inclined to purchase a car that came preinstalled with racing seats. The idea of fancy rims and bigger tires would also make roughly a third of those polled race away from the auto dealership.

What Men and Women See in Cars
Aftermarket Features by Gender

When it came to buying new cars, men and women had different opinions on what mattered most. Research has shown that women influence purchasing decisions 85 percent of the time and tend to favor practicality over emotional wants. While women are more concerned with safety and reliability, men tend to show more interest in how powerful the car’s engine is or how fun it is to drive.

Our study found men and women had differing opinions when it comes to aftermarket upgrades as well – though not exactly in line with the notion that women are exclusively concerned with practicality. Women thought upgrades like nicer tires, fancy rims, and tinted windows looked cooler than men did. Still, men did appreciate some of the less practical upgrade options, including sports racks, racing seats, and larger tires.

Purchasing Preferences of Men and WomenPurchasing Preferences by Gender

Around two-thirds of men and women were more inclined to consider buying a car with nicer tires over any other potential aftermarket upgrade. Car experts suggest the quality of a car’s tire set can make a world of difference in both the performance and speed of the vehicle, though there are things you should look out for to ensure you aren’t getting taken for a ride when purchasing them.

Men and women had similar perspectives on the value of tinted windows and heavy-duty floor paneling, but men were more likely to be swayed to a purchase by an upgraded speaker system than women. However, men said cars with fancy rims were more a vehicular turn off to them than to women. In fact, over a third of men would be less likely to consider buying a car that had obnoxious rims on it, while over 29 percent of women said the same.

How the Generations See Car Upgrades
Aftermarket Features by Generation

Baby boomers and millennials may have different priorities on many issues, and buying a car is no different. While baby boomers account for more than double the number of new car sales over millennials, research indicates more millennials know what they’re looking for before ever showing up on the lot. As with buying new cars, the generations had different perspectives on what counted as cool when it came to aftermarket upgrades.

Our survey revealed around 72 percent of baby boomers and millennials liked nicer aftermarket tires, compared to roughly two-thirds of Gen Xers. While baby boomers had the highest positive perception of stainless steel brake lines, millennials were more entranced by upgraded speaker systems than any other generation.

The most obnoxious upgrades according to the generations? For baby boomers, it was the idea of bigger tires than the standard dealer size. And fancy rims were the most unsightly upgrades according to nearly 41 percent of Gen Xers and around 46 percent of millennials.

The Appeal of Aftermarket Upgrades
Purchasing Aftermarket by Generation

So what will sway a younger buyer to consider an upgraded car compared to someone older?

Across all three generations, the unanimous answer was nicer tires. Upgrading a vehicle’s tires can be costly, and coming across a set preinstalled made roughly two-thirds of people more interested in buying the car, regardless of their age. Tinted windows – which don’t just keep your car cooler, but also protect internal elements like the dashboard and provide an additional layer of privacy for your vehicle – made over 40 percent of people of every generation more interested in potentially purchasing a new vehicle.

Not all upgrades are going to attract every type of buyer, though, and racing seats are at the top of that list. A third or more of every generation said they’d be less interested in buying a car that came with racing seats, followed by larger tires and over-the-top rims.

Protecting Your Investment for Miles

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your current ride or are in the market for a new one, some modifications can hurt your car’s perception and resale value. Upgrades like fancy rims and racing seats may seem appealing at the moment, but if you ever try to sell your car with these enhancements, you may discover finding a buyer is harder than anticipated.

If you intend to keep your car for the average six-year span (or longer), keep it protected. That also means having the best auto insurance possible to keep you, your vehicle, and your family safe from unexpected accidents. At CheapCarInsurance, our job is to find the best coverage at the lowest rate possible. We let you compare coverage options from local and national providers in your area, so you make the best decision without compromising on coverage. Visit us online at CheapCarInsurance.net to learn more and take advantage of our free quote comparison tool today.

Methodology

We surveyed 1,017 Americans about their opinions on a variety of aftermarket car modifications, as well as whether they were more likely to purchase a vehicle that had each modification.

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