"Bells & Whistles" Enhance Your Bland Vehicle

As they make the rounds to select their new vehicle, many shoppers recoil at sticker prices. With cars now averaging well above $20,000, some buyers reevaluate their needs and desires, reluctantly settling for the no-frills, "plain vanilla" model. With time, however, these same motorists may find themselves with a few extra dollars they can invest in their vehicle. Is it time to buy another car, even though there still are payments to make? The Car Care Council says instead of replacing your vehicle, consider repairing and upgrading what you already have.

The accompanying list includes some of the accessories that can add new personality to your basic vehicle. Most of the products in the $24+ billion customizing/accessory industry are totally functional (SEMA 2001); some combine function with cosmetic improvement.

The cost of these components ranges from a few dollars to a few thousand. Still you could have most of them installed for much less than the price of a new vehicle. A classified phone directory or a referral from your automotive service dealer are two good ways to find your local sources.

So if you're considering trading, crunch the numbers first. You might find you'd be just as happy, and many dollars richer, with a few selected enhancements.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” campaign, educating consumers about the benefits of regular vehicle maintenance and repair. For more information visit www.carcare.org.