Car Accessories

Not too many years ago, the hottest car accessories consisted of eight-track players and stick-on dash compasses. Those days are thankfully long gone, and even if you drive a vintage vehicle, you don’t need to settle for vintage accessories. You can outfit any vehicle to meet your particular wants and needs. But heed the warnings below.

The modern automobile is light years away from a simple means of getting from A to B. Today’s cars and trucks serve as mass transit systems for carpooling entire departments, recreational centers for road-weary children, and portable offices for mobile executives. These changing times have brought about the demand for more gadgets and gizmos to ensure a comfortable and productive trip; from coffee cup warmers and tiger seat covers to video game portals and DVD players.

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is one of the most impressive examples of modern mobile gadgetry. A GPS system allows users to view local maps and receive accurate directions. They are priceless for fast-moving professionals needing to navigate urban city streets, and wanderlust-stricken travelers love them, too.

Cars and trucks have taken the leap from luxury to necessity for many professionals and hobbyists, so manufacturers have worked hard to meet the changing needs of drivers. A large selection of accessories is available to suit drivers of all types of cars. The market has become flooded with accessories and it’s not always easy to know what’s best, or even what’s necessary.

Here are some tips about what to look for, and which duds to avoid:

Know Your Needs versus Your Wants

Research is the key to making any successful purchase. First, find out what you need, and then go shopping for the best price. The Internet is a great research tool, with instant access to countless online articles, user forums, and product comparisons. You can also purchase virtually every type of car accessory online. Bidding on Internet auctions is a great way to find quality products at low prices. You can often save money shopping online because Internet marketers have lower overhead. With no retail rental fees and fewer expenses, these sellers can offer lower prices.

Shop and Compare

Once you know exactly what you want and need, it does pay to shop around. The huge demand for quality automotive accessories has created an ever-expanding market. Compare prices at several outlets, including smaller stores, and don’t be afraid to haggle for the best deal. This won’t always work, but is worth a try.

Get a Second Opinion

At the end of the day, every retailer is out to make a buck or two. But some vendors will try to cash in big time, by overwhelming you with slick pitches and a huge repertoire of brand names. In the end, shoppers purchase items they really don’t need. Be prepared with the information you need before you visit the store, and don’t fall for the retailer’s pushy sales tactics. Ask other car owners about accessories they’ve purchased. Read industry magazines and research online. Shop around to compare features, quality and prices. Some smart comparative information today can save you a lot of money down the road.

Avoid the Add-Ons

Would you like fries with that? Supersize? Encouraging buyers to take additional accessories is one of the oldest sales and marketing tricks in the book. You’ve been pressured to buy a belt when you pick up a new pair of pants, and the same tactic is often used in the car accessories market. A retailer may tell you that you really need a neon green GPS cover, but of course it’s not true. Ask you friends and speak with a trusted mechanic who is familiar with car accessories. Use these reliable opinions to decide what you should, and what you shouldn’t, buy.

Satisfaction Should be Guaranteed

Regardless of what type of product you buy, you should be aware of the basic warranty details before making the purchase. Understand the retailer’s return or replacement policy, just in case the accessory malfunctions, fails to meet your expectations or simply doesn’t work with your vehicle.

Look Before You Buy

Take advantage of any opportunity to inspect the product before agreeing to buy it. This is not an option with Internet purchases, of course, so be sure that you’re dealing with a reputable online dealer. Some retail stores will ask you to sign the receipt stating that the product is in good condition upon purchase, and doing so may result in the waiving of your right for return if the product is indeed damaged.

First Quality OEM

Opt for OEM or “Original Equipment Manufactured” car and truck accessories whenever possible. This usually ensures that the quality is first-rate and the warranty will provide purchase protection.

Car accessories make driving more convenient and can greatly impact your safety while on the road. Be prudent in your choice of what to buy and where to shop. It’s not only smart, it can also be safer in the long run, so don’t base your entire decision on price alone. Safety concerns should always come first, and quality should not be compromised for the sake of a good deal.