Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

A Guide to The Best Upgrades For Your Family Vehicle

Whether you’re buying a new or used vehicle, you have a wide range of options for aftermarket upgrades and customizations. In many cases, upgrading through aftermarket parts is the best way to get exactly what you want and save money vs. expensive upgrades at the dealership. Take a look at this comprehensive guide to aftermarket upgrades.

Thermal Camera

Thermal cameras are a safety upgrade for driving in the dark. The best thermal camera will detect thermal imprints before your headlights. They don’t require any light to function and they can see through snow, fog, dust, and rain. This is essentially military-grade technology that allows you to detect animals and pedestrians on the road in plenty of time to slow down or stop.

Backup Camera

Even though many modern vehicles come with backup cameras, if you’re buying an older vehicle or a lower trim, you may not get this option. Fortunately, they’re easy to get and install through aftermarket parts. Backup cameras are both a safety and a convenience upgrade. If you often navigate tight urban areas, then a backup camera is indispensable to make parking easier and safer.

Infotainment System

Similar to backup cameras, some form of infotainment is generally offered on all modern vehicles. However, if you buy an older vehicle, you won’t get one of these as standard equipment. Once again though, they are easy to buy on the aftermarket. Go to your local car electronics store and find one that meets your needs.

Synthetic Oil

If you’re buying a new, low-mileage vehicle, it’s worth it to start using synthetic oil. Full-synthetic oil lasts longer in your engine as it contains fewer impurities. It also protects the engine better in extreme hot or cold temperatures. Even though synthetic oil is more expensive, it tends to be worth it in that you won’t have to change your oil as often.

Performance Air Filter or Cold Air Intake

The standard air filters and intakes on vehicles tend to be fairly inefficient for getting the best performance out of your car or truck. Cold air intakes give your vehicle cooler and denser air, which helps your engine breathe better. More air means more horsepower and could potentially give you better gas mileage as well.

Performance Exhaust

Similar to a new air filter or intake, upgrading your exhaust can help you get the most out of your engine. Stock exhaust systems don’t give your engine adequate breathing room. In general, you have two options with performance exhaust systems. You can go for one that gives you more power but is designed to be quiet, or you can go for the tuned exhaust that lets everyone hear the extra power in your engine. Performance exhaust systems usually always improve gas mileage and they should be combined with an air intake upgrade for maximum gains.


Stock tires don’t usually do much for your vehicle’s performance. Whether you have a 4WD truck or SUV, or a passenger car, you can probably benefit from upgraded tires. Performance street tires can give your car a better ride, make it quieter, and also add safety through more grip and traction. If you have a 4WD vehicle, then upgraded tires can also increase your vehicle’s ability both on and off-road.

Seat Covers

One of the simplest mods in this guide, seat covers can do a lot for your interior. If you have a newer car, then they can protect your original upholstery from spills and other damage. If you have an older vehicle, then they can provide comfort and visual appeal over your old upholstery. The other great thing about seat covers is that you can spend as much or as little as you want and you have endless options for customization.

Fog Lights

Fog lights are a great safety feature if your driving area often includes fog. These specialty lights aim beams in a different way than regular headlights. It adds extra visibility in bad weather conditions, including fog, rain, and snow.


How you choose to upgrade your car or truck depends on your situation, but there are endless options for inexpensive upgrades as well as higher-end upgrades. A pro-tip is to upgrade for safety and convenience first and then look at a performance later.

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Integrated Family Community Services is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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IFCS’ Tax ID # 84-0579740