The average age of a car on South African roads today is nine and a half years. That means the average driver is tooling along without benefit of modern safety technology. But it’s possible to bring those old cars up to speed. And it’s surprisingly easy and affordable. Some systems are free. Others sell for only a few bucks and can be installed DIY.

Adding the right technology to an older vehicle can make it feel brand new. Cars have been upgrading their interior tech for years, coming out with bigger and better ways to defeat their competitors with superior upgrades. You don’t have to buy a new car to add these features to your car, but rather, you can buy a piece of addable technology. This tech ranges from expensive to inexpensive, but they serve the purpose of increasing the joy you find while driving your car.

Each piece of new car tech is geared towards a specific audience, hoping to meet the needs of a smaller more centralized group of people. It ranges in style and usability, but there is something for everyone.  When perusing the options list on your new car watch the bottom line but make sure you choose with an eye to attracting the next owner as well.

You may love to let in the light, but sunroofs are pricey, and many panoramic ones don’t even open so what is the point. Yes, they can brighten up an interior, but they also let in a lot of glare and reduce the effectiveness of cabin headliner sound insulation. These roofs also add a lot of weight to a car – and in the wrong place. It impacts on the centre of gravity, making the car potentially less dynamic and the extra weight means higher fuel economy and emissions.

For a couple thousand Rands, drivers can add new safety technology — like forward collision warning systems or backup cameras — to older cars. Consumers must do the math to decide whether it’s better to add aftermarket systems to an older car, which could have increased maintenance costs overall, or save up for a new one.

The extras on your vehicle can easily add 50% to its value and failing to specify these items puts you at risk of being underinsured – and being paid less than you were expecting when you claim. Examples of extras include tow bars, bull bars, sunroofs, navigation systems, interior trim, paint finishes, wraps, branding, tracking devices, wheels, music systems, leather seats, winches, off-road features, antitheft devices, window treatments, an extra row of seats, baby seats, canopies, modifications for specific uses and an almost endless list of added features that enhance the vehicle’s functional ability or aesthetic appeal.

So be sure to report all these new upgrades to your insurance as well. Happy Driving!

By Noni Nchwe