So you’ve just driven away from your local Chevrolet dealer in a shiny new (or used) vehicle, and you’re happy with everything your car has to offer. You want for nothing, right? If you’re anything like me, even when you’ve found the vehicle you’re looking for and got the bells and whistles you wanted, there’s still room for improvements or things you could add to it. Some accessories aren’t available when you buy new, or they cost a ridiculous amount compared to good aftermarket options—or you might want to add something to a used vehicle because trying to find a model with it would’ve been too much of a hassle.
Whatever the reason, there are plenty of important accessories you should consider adding to your vehicle, even if you just recently bought it. On top of that, certain parts are so crucial that they’re worth keeping on hand for the next time you perform some routine maintenance on your ride or simply as a “just in case.” Figuring out what you need and want isn’t always easy, however, which is why I’m here to help. Just remember that you get what you pay for with aftermarket parts and accessories, so go with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) options from Chevy whenever possible, or choose a reputable brand that makes high-quality equipment—your vehicle is worth it.
Admittedly, this is far from the sexiest or most exciting car accessory, but there’s a lot to be said for functionality and utilitarian options. Great floor mats will fit well into your vehicle and give you decent traction as you get in and out. Most importantly, however, they will protect your car’s actual floor and save you a lot of wear and tear—it’s far easier and cheaper to replace your mats than to have your interior flooring redone.
Light Bars and Exterior Lighting
Whether you’re trying to improve your visibility at night or simply change the look of your vehicle, you have a lot of options for auxiliary lights that you can add to your ride. Large light bars and spotlights are great for driving at night in areas far from streetlights—they’re often a must-have if you love to camp or go off-roading. Aftermarket bed lighting is also a great choice if you have a truck and want better illumination for your cargo.
Interior Lighting Options
You can also add lights inside your vehicle to customize the look of your ride or to create a better experience while you’re driving. Standard interior illumination can be lackluster, while customizable ambient lighting is often locked behind expensive, high-end trims. By adding this lighting yourself, you can save some money on your vehicle and still create a unique atmosphere inside your car.
Stereo System Upgrades
Aftermarket audio for vehicles is nearly an entire industry in and of itself, making speakers and other accessories some of the most popular aftermarket equipment out there. These are typically easier to add than many other interior items, so they’re a great way to upgrade a used car or to make your new vehicle even better. If you’re adding a lot of speakers and more options, then you might want to let a professional handle the installation, though there are plenty of kits that are easy to install.
Truck Bed Covers and Liners
If you have a truck, half the reason you probably chose it is for the bed that you can use for added cargo space and storage. You need to protect that bed and your stuff, so a good bed liner is essential; spray-in liners are your best option as they hold up best over time. Different types of covers and other bed accessories are also available—tonneau covers give you good protection for your stuff without adding too much bulk.
Running Boards and Assist Steps
When getting into or out of large SUVs and trucks, having some help can make things a lot easier, especially as you get older. Running boards and assist steps are essential for making this less demanding so you can focus on other things. They are also inexpensive and easy to install, making them a great way to upgrade your ride.
Motor Oil and Other Fluids
When it comes to parts that you should keep on hand for maintaining your vehicle, motor oil is pretty much essential. You don’t have to worry about it expiring any time soon, oil is generally inexpensive, and it’s best to have it before you need it. Other things like coolant and windshield washer fluid are also great to keep around so you don’t have to make an unexpected trip to the auto parts store if you notice your vehicle is getting thirsty.
Air and Fluid Filters
If you like doing any sort of service and maintenance on your vehicle, replacing your filters is one of the simplest things you can do. You should replace your oil filter every time you change your oil, and your engine filter is easy to access to replace based on your vehicle’s service schedule from its manufacturer. Your cabin air filter can be trickier to reach but should still be relatively easy to get to and replace to keep the air you’re breathing clean.
Spare Tires and Tools
Your vehicle should have a spare tire in it, but if you’re not sure, right now is a great time to check for it and make sure it’s in good shape. If it’s getting too old, then you should replace it; even when not in use, the rubber used to make tires will degrade and break down over time. You should also have some basic tools that you keep with your vehicle, including screwdrivers, a socket wrench set, and other simple items you might need if you find yourself with a flat tire or otherwise stuck by the road.
Emergency Kit and Supplies
Speaking of being stuck by the road, no accessory for your vehicle is as important as a well-stocked emergency kit. You should have jumper cables, a flashlight, some blankets, a change of clothes (or at least socks) in case they get wet, and other similar supplies in your vehicle at all times. It’s also a good idea to have an extra jacket and sweater during cold months, plus keep some water bottles and shelf-safe snacks like nuts or granola bars as part of your kit. Finally, make sure you have a first aid kit that includes any medication you need every day, and check your kit at least once a year to replace anything that’s expired or that you’ve used up.
The Best Ways to Have What You Need
As you’re looking at different accessories and parts for your vehicle, always take the time to make sure you’re buying from a trustworthy business or website and ordering parts from reputable companies. It’s not unheard of for some sites to resell old parts they’ve taken out of other vehicles without labeling them as used or performing any kind of refurbishing on them, which can be catastrophic if you’re looking at a lift kit for a truck or buying a belt for your engine. I like to keep extra parts and items like motor oil and filters around so that I’m ready in case something happens, though extra bulbs, spark plugs, and even brake pads can be good items to watch for on a sale and snag them in advance so you’re prepared for when you need them. Just be sure to shop with people you can trust and stick to OEM parts and accessories when possible.