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8 Gadgets Under $30 To Spice Up Any Sports Car (And 2 To Avoid) – HotCars

by Nov 5, 2022Blog0 comments

There are plenty of tasteful ways to personalize any car to make it yours…and two that warrant caution.
When you drive a speedy machine, you need a way to mark it as your own and give it some trademark flavor. You deserve to feel at home in your car. It ought to be more like a name tag and less like you're renting a 4-cylinder Camaro from Enterprise. Even in bone-stock cars, there are accessories and mods that will make it yours and enhance your time in it, all of which can come from Amazon for less than $30!
In modern times, car modifications have been reserved mostly for Japanese or heavily modified youthful sports cars, and keeping a car within warranty guidelines is the new norm, even after the warranty expires. Either way, you need to be able to spot your car in the parking lot, or more likely, a car meet next to three other blue Porsche 911s. Here are the eight best and two worst mods you can do under $30 that will make people say "Hey! That's John's car!" when they see it driving, or at least make you say, "Yes, this really feels like a part of me."'
The first thing spotted when you park (you do back in, don't you, car guy?) will be the silly or defining item in your windshield space. The more boisterous the gadget, the louder your personality; from the increasingly popular duck on a swing to the classic fuzzy dice. It can be as little as a necklace with a steering wheel or even something practical like a phone mount and accessory tray.
Keep in mind there are some things that might trash up your car like a collection of Little Trees, and there are things that define the culture like the Tsurikawa Handle for Japanese cars, a sign of rebellion across the Pacific. Some things that might not stand out are recently-outed trends like graduation tassels and dream catchers. Clearly, there are a lot of ways this can go and it can get very personal and very sentimental like a deceased's possession like a ring on a chain, or a tiny framed picture of a loved one you need to drive safe to get home to. If you must know, that's the one we went with.
If you don't have a sense of what's cool, just go with whatever your car seems to fit with! Frankly, you cannot be judged for customizing your car with liveries or stickers that speak to who you are. We don't mean bumper stickers per se, but a sick flaming bird on a Firebird or a bold windshield banner of a racing company or one for $15 that you design yourself.
Please be sensitive when it comes to obscenities as you never know what kid might one day admire your race car and be put off or even traumatized by a negative picture or statement. Also, fake sponsors and illegitimate crew stickers are frowned upon but to each his own. A clean decal of lines or patterns can really make your car have character.
Related: Road Cars That Wore Racing Liveries Better Than The Real Race Cars
If you're put off by how poorly some air fresheners seem to work, fear not! There are some new, classier, and better-smelling methods of deodorizing and scenting your vehicle for as long as eight months! While it is hard to judge a smell over the internet, let us turn you on to some hints and suggestions…
For one, Little Trees makes gadgets that actually work so if you're used to, for example, Black Ice (our favorite and their most popular; a manly-sweet smell like vanilla), you can get it in a form that sticks to a vent in a very discrete manner and is said to last three to six months! New car smells are generally leather-smelling and can be very bad or off-target for people with certain tastes. The eight-month one is "Air Spencer" for $15, but it only has one scent so far.
Related: 10 Highly-Rated Accessories Under $25 Every Car Can Benefit From
How well your car looks anywhere from under street lights to surrounded by showroom incandescents really tells who you are. If your buttons scratch your door, are you prepared? If some greasy punk puts their face on the glass to see if it's manual, can you recover? Is your ride as fresh as your breath when you pick up a hottie for a date? A hideable detailing kit comprised of microfibers, wipes, or brushes is great to have on-hand, and a full home cleaning kit isn't expensive.
For $23, this kit contains all the brushes and drill attachments you might ever want to polish the outside, refresh the carpet, and get the little grimy spots between vents and under the handbrake. One set by Armour All has three wipes for cleaning, protecting, and even glass for under $12, great for a glove box backup!
Related: 5 Things to Never Do When Washing Your Car (And 5 to Do Every Time)
While this can be contested depending on your taste, there are convenient, cool, and even impressive methods of using lighting in your car from a light-up logo to non-bright interior lights like those used in new cars to see the interior while driving. A set of app-controlled LED lights isn't a bad idea for many, and being able to turn it off or down with your phone is a plus.
Nice under glow is hard to find but for under $30 our best recommendation came down to a hard-wired set that can be controlled by a remote. Perhaps our favorite idea is this pictured car logo concept. A set of these comes to just $16 and can give you the luxury feature only top-of-the-line new cars possess, and it's fully customizable (pictured).
Let's say you have an old dodge challenger and don't have an eight ball or cobra head in place of your old shift knob… what are you doing? When you have a stick shift car the thing you touch most, second only to the steering wheel, holds some level of importance. With our budget slightly disregarded, the best we can recommend for most new or modded cars is the Mishimoto weighted shift knob for $45, less if you can find it used.
If that performance edge is not worth it, there are tons under $18 that hold up well to quick shifting and the scrutiny of star ratings. A Samurai sword handle makes a big statement, and an ironically-weighted carbon fiber ball matches most sporty interiors. Naturally, there are more… nerdy designs such as Dragon Ball Z and Pokemon balls. The car moding world has really left you a lot of options open for personal expression here, and rarely is negative judgment cast at someone with any sort of non-stock shift knob.
"Miss, do you know how fast you were- Oh… thanks." One public pet peeve of the boys in blue is drivers who take too long to get out their license, insurance, and registration. Losing any of these, well, that's just more cash Uncle Sam gets from you when you get busted. Anything you can do to get that upper hand in mooching to the officer, no matter your political view, will help you pay less and be treated better. One case can come in a lot of colors for just $11 and is stamped with its contents so your teenager or friend can spot it in one second, and even has a nice leather brown and black option.
Another clear case can strap to your visor so you can't possibly lose it, great for the elderly or people who just get a freaking ton of tickets (pictured). Our favorite has slots for other cards and comes in clean leather sets for $6 each, and includes black, brown, pink, white, and grey: basically, it will match any interior. It has a pretty clear purpose, contrasting label, and most info can be read without removal. For anyone who loses their wallet, the ID holder isn't a bad idea.
Related: Here's Why A Dude From Sweden Received A $1 Million Speeding Ticket
Hear me out! No matter your political views, this can benefit you. Without any bias, we will try to explain both sides: View number one: "defund the police, they are pigs." Sporting the sticker means when a cop does inevitably pull you over, their flawed human nature will see and react positively to the sticker: less chance of a ticket. View number two: "the cops are the backbone of what makes America so safe and they risk their lives for our well-being." Obviously, this view often sports these purely for political reasons but even so: less chance of a ticket.
The current condition of society in the United States means that you are subject to possibly being pulled over one way or another, whether it's a loud exhaust, reckless speed, or expired tags. Why not get on the cops' good side just a little more? Worst case, you still get a ticket cause you broke the law. Best case, they are consciously or unconsciously feeling the reciprocity for the support shown by your one little sticker ($5 for 3). Don't want your friends to see it? Get a removable magnet for $7, and the problem of police and politics is solved!
Related: This Is America's Fastest Police Vehicle
Only use these where it's legal to do so! That aside, these things are great to have! Sorry to states who don't allow them… Moderately cheap ones can do okay, but unless it's a well-known company you might just be getting screwed. Going cheap on a radar detector or "fuzz buster" can not only refuse to work, but it can also cost you the price of a big old ticket, even if it does technically "detect radar." On the other end of the spectrum, we have some highly recommended and proven radars that have kept up with the new frequencies police have started to use, as they're always changing. Escort's Passport Maxes (pictured below) even come with a guarantee: if you get a ticket it's on them (see website for details). Yes, it's $500, but is that much worse than living in unknowing… never being able to push your car? Always getting tagged when you do?
A Cobra RAD fits most of the upcoming criteria for just $150, and the cheapest we trust at all is the Uniden DFR1 with a volume button and semi-long range for $53. Consider this when you look for one: we look for things like GPS memory so you don't tune out the radar cause it's constantly going off in town, and a long-distance detecting option that helps on freeway commutes (AKA "highway mode"). A directional indication is invaluable in our experience, and you cannot ignore the sound they make! Cheap models tend to be grating, even very annoying to the point you don't want to use them, but that's what YouTube is for. Spring for one with a volume button, you won't regret it! If you might travel accidentally into a radar-illegal state, as a baseline most will be a.. let's make sure we get this right… "anti-radar-detecting-radar-radar," or just the tagline of being "invisible."
Unless you have done it before or trust the person doing it, don't go cheap on tint! In less than a year, most budget tints will start blueing or purpling, bubbling, and even cracking. Removing ill-done tint it such a b-word, and we cannot warn against it enough. Doing it yourself it hard and 95% of the time, just like putting on a screen protector, it will have bumps or pockets inside. Trust us, people can always spot a DIY tint job just like they can a tupé.
That being said, we don't want to stop you from doing it on your own altogether. Practice on some junkyard glass or a shed window, and make sure you have enough YouTube under your belt to do it right, as well as the tools. Most importantly, be emotionally prepared for a roll of nice tint to be totally wasted if you're not sure you're ready. Tint just isn't like changing a tire or even waxing a car; it's an art form that Zach Jobe clearly shows us is difficult to master. To get rid of your fishbowl you'll most likely have to be ready to part with $200 or more, even if you do it yourself, but it is worth it!
Wyatt is from Utah and likes to bike, ski, and drive too fast. He’s written articles on motorcycles and cars for years, and especially likes Japanese cars and off-road vehicles. He has been featured in DriveTribe more than once and some of his content has had over 6.5 million views. He loves Formula 1, Formula Drift, the Baja 1000, and World Rally Cross!