Old car, new kit: the best aftermarket tech to update your car

18 Feb, 2016 2:00pm Martin Saarinen

How easy is it to bring an ageing model bang up to date with the kind of tech fitted in showroom-fresh cars?

While automotive technology has moved on a lot in recent years, the most determined drivers will be able to keep up with the times thanks to a thriving market of retrofit options.

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas demonstrated how the cars of tomorrow will be autonomous, connected and data driven. So, to see how easy and costly it is to modernise an old model, Auto Express investigated some of the most popular extras found in new cars as aftermarket alternatives on used ones.

What you’ll expect to shell out...

So how much would these add-ons cost to kit your car out to modern standards? Our calculations show that it can be achieved for around £500 – if you’re prepared to do all the work yourself. Seeking professional help will hike the price, although that’s still much cheaper than buying a new car loaded with equipment.

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Just beware that you might also have to consider the number of 12V sockets you have available and whether your car’s battery is up to the task for the extra electrical drain. It’s also worth considering the insurance implications of modifications. 

...And what the insurers say

Graeme Trudgill, executive director of the British Insurance Brokers’ Association, told us: “You must let your insurance provider know of any modifications you’ve done. This is because any change to your car ultimately affects its value or performance – and it may make it more susceptible to things like theft.

“Depending on the modification, the insurance provider might ask for a change in policy, and you may have to pay more or less in monthly instalments,” he added. “If your insurer, for some reason, no longer wishes to provide you with cover, it’s best to contact a specialist broker which will find insurance providers that specialise in modified vehicles.”

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