Tuesday August 9th, 2011 21:19 Cool, and Controversial, Car Upgrades You Can Make

Aftermarket car upgrades are becoming more and more commonplace, fueled by their growing popularity in pop culture, such as in the ‘Fast and the Furious’ movies and in an array of television programs. Some upgrades are quite straightforward, designed purely for increasing a vehicle’s horsepower output, or for modifying a vehicle’s appearance, etc. Others, however, are not quite so black-and-white. Several upgrade options vary in legalities by locations; other potential modifications are fun to play around with but shouldn’t be used on populated roadways. Below, we’ll go over several very cool, but somewhat controversial, aftermarket upgrades you can make to a car, so you can see if any appeal to you (so maybe you’ll decide to install them yourself).

HID Headlights
BMW introduced HIDs as an option in its 7 Series line in the early 1990s, but HID headlights didn’t really explode in popularity until car enthusiasts began installing aftermarket versions in their vehicles. HIDs have an interesting history. Originally, there were a number of complaints lodged against their use, mostly because drivers in oncoming traffic complained that the lights were blinding on the road and too distracting to drive when facing them. However, as more intricate modifications came into place and proper aiming was set, HIDs became less of a distraction, though their legality does differ from place to place. These lights are substantially brighter and longer lasting than more common halogen headlights, and HIDs can even be customized to copy your color preference if you so desire. If you decide to use them, just make sure you target their beams lower than you would with standard halogens, to make sure that they don’t blind drivers sharing the road with you.

Police Lighting and Sound Add-ons
Impersonating a police officer is a crime in most locales, so installing police lights and sirens and then pretending you’re an officer isn’t the best idea. But a popular upgrade in recent years has been the inclusion of novelty police add-ons on regular cars. Though they can’t be utilized on main roadways, when trying to play tricks on friends in your driveway, they can be a fun diversion. There are plenty of novelty police light and sound products to choose from, including strobes mounted on the roof, authentic-sounding police sirens, and even spotlight add-ons. So long as you watch yourself, these realistic-looking add-ons can be a lot of fun to play around with.

Train Horns
Just because you hear a train horn blast nowadays doesn’t mean that you’re actually close to a train. Many drivers are modifying their vehicles to include train horn add-ons. These parts attempt to produce the authentic sound and loudness associated with actual trains. They’ve only grown in popularity through the proliferation of videos across the web, particularly on YouTube, of drivers blasting their train horns when in parking lots or nearby to pedestrians, scaring their pants off, so to say. Though you should never use a train horn on a road with other vehicles (the sound drowns out all other noise and can be dangerously distracting), if you’re looking to play a few harmless pranks from the front seat of your car, trains horns may be the way to go.

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