For auto enthusiasts, a car is raw material—something to be tweaked, modified, upgraded, and massaged into an extension of their own performance and aesthetic goals. Each year, about $33 billion is spent on aftermarket accessories alone, the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) estimates, with products ranging from superaggressive camshafts to annoying blue xenon headlights.
Interested in diving into the aftermarket oil puddle? Our first piece of advice: Choose serious, effective accessories—top-quality items that’ll improve the driving experience and swap in better, more durable parts than the duds that came from the factory.
So don’t spend your time and cash on “chrome” plastic wheel covers from Walmart or take your inspiration from raggedy rides with rusted fart-can exhaust tips and homemade rear wings. Instead, use our rundown to figure out how to start, what the level of difficulty will be, and about how much it’ll cost.