Given the opportunity and if money wasn’t an issue, most of us would choose a new car over an older one. They’re smooth to drive, reliable and are up to date with all the latest tech and safety features. But a new car isn’t possible for most of us, and buying second hand (in many cases, cars that are quite old) is the only option if we want to own a vehicle.
There’s nothing at all wrong with an older car, after all these are powerful machines that are built to last. But the outdated safety features can be a dealbreaker for some people. However, you’ll be pleased to know that there are ways you can update older models so that they’re safe and reliable without having to totally upgrade. The features you need will mainly depend on the kind of driving that you do and your main priorities, but here are some of options to consider.
Parking sensors are essentially an extra pair of eyes. If your vehicle is especially wide, long or doesn’t have a good turning circle you might struggle parking in tight spots. They’re cheap, easy to install and kick in as soon as your car is put into reverse gear. If you do a lot of urban driving where you’re constantly having to maneuver out of tight spots, or just aren’t confident with parking, this can help prevent any bumps and scrapes. Even a small bump at low speed could put a serious dent or scratch in another car and cost you massively on your insurance since bodywork is expensive to fix. Don’t take the risk, parking sensors might not save your life, but they can make life a lot easier.
Lane Change Assist
Do you do a lot of freeway driving? If so you will be well aware of the dangers of changing lanes at high speed. You have to be ultra aware of who is around you, the problem is sometimes cars can be right in your blind spot. If you move over without seeing them, you could cause a serious accident, leave yourself or someone else with a disability even cause death. Any car accident lawyer will tell you just how devastating to these kinds of incidents can be. Lane change assist works by using radar sensors, these monitor the area alongside and behind the car and covering the vehicle’s blind spot. This feature is thought to prevent up to twenty-five percent of accidents which isn’t to be sniffed at. Freeways are some of the safest roads you can drive on. However, if you do have an accident on here, it’s more likely to be serious or fatal. So anything you can do to prevent this is always going to be a good thing.
Anti Roll Bar
Anti roll bars are one of the cheapest and easiest ways to influence your car’s handling. Fitting an anti roll bar kit to any vehicle will increase its handling abilities, increase lateral stability and greatly improve overall handling. These now come as standard on new vehicles, but if you’re driving an older model, you can have an aftermarket bar fitted. An anti roll bar helps reduce the body roll of a vehicle during fast cornering or over road irregularities, preventing you from rolling the car. They offer a huge reduction in body roll when you’re driving fast through bends, and also decrease the load shift between inside wheel to outer wheel. An anti roll bar is a great modification to improve the handling of a road car, go with a stiffer rear anti roll bar which will reduce understeering and generally make for a more fun and responsive drive
While it’s not possible to add aftermarket airbags, these are fitted as standard to all modern cars so you should ensure yours are working correctly. If they’re not ensure they are replaced and repaired correctly. One of the biggest advantages to newer cars is side airbags. If you’re hit from the side, or your car rolls over, unfortunately, front airbags provide no protection at all. When curtain airbags are deployed the cover the side windows, protecting your head in a crash or car rolling situation.
Not exactly considered as an aftermarket safety feature but tyres are incredibly important when it comes to safety. They are what give your car grip and traction on the road, they work to absorb road shock and generally ensure a safe and comfortable ride. Since they’re the only part of the car in contact with the ground and could mean the difference between life or death in some situations. It’s a legal requirement for your tyres to have 1.6mm of tread, so be sure to keep an eye on this. You can purchase a tread depth gauge rather than eyeing it, or go to a tyre shop to have them check every once in a while if you’re unsure. Adjust the way you drive in order to keep your tyres in good condition. Harsh braking and steering will wear them out more quickly. Another thing you can do is ensure they are inflated correctly. Under inflated tyres will give you far less control, plus it they will increase the braking distance and cause tyres to wear faster. Over inflated tyres are just as bad, this is because your grip is reduced and braking is less stable. Check your car’s manual for the correct tyre pressure, and check them regularly. Always check your tyres when they are cold as opposed to after a long drive) for an accurate result.
A few changes and upgrades will ensure your older car is as safe as it can possibly be. Hopefully, you are never involved in an incident, but it’s good having that peace of mind there that if you do you’re in the best possible position, you can be. It’s cheaper than forking out for a brand new car and you get to stay safe on the roads.