What would be an ideal present for Dad on this Father’s Day? If Dad is a car owner, a car-related gift could just be the one that puts a smile on his face. Here are some suggestions for car accessories and enhancements that you can delight your father with. These are all in compliance with LTA’s car-modification guidelines and do not impact the premiums for your car insurance.
Little Things That Add Up
You don’t need to spend a lot to enhance the car and the overall quality of the ride. Often, simple accessories can make daily driving a safer and more pleasant experience, or just improve the looks of your car.
Steering Wheel and Seat Beat Cushion Covers
Available in a variety of materials such as leather, wood and synthetic mesh, steering wheel covers protect steering wheels from wear and tear. Worn steering wheels can become slippery over time whereas well-secured wheel covers help drivers maintain a firmer grip on the steering wheel, thus improving driving safety. Steering wheel covers can also give the interior of the car a subtle new look that drivers will appreciate. Covers made from synthetic mesh have the advantage of not heating up as much compared to leather. These can make driving a car that has been parked under the sun a more pleasant experience. Steering wheel covers typically cost S$30 to S$70.
Some people find seat beats uncomfortable but they tend to get more comfortable after a while. A seat beat cushion cover can help in circulating air underneath (bid hot vinyl seats goodbye), and gently massages the back and legs while one drives. Available in a variety of designs, they also spruce up car interiors by adding a dash of colours. These can be bought for under S$20 each.
Steering wheel locks
A steering wheel lock may sound excessive in Singapore but if you or your dad drives frequently to Johor Bahru, this could be a visual and physical deterrent to car thieves. Depending on the lock material (i.e. plastic or steel), a steering wheel lock can improve car security and costs between S$20 to a few hundred dollars. Buy online or from a car accessories shop near you. Of course, you should also have a comprehensive car insurance that covers your car even when you cross borders!
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Door and Bumper Protectors
These are small strips of soft plastic that are taped onto the edges of car doors and bumpers. These protect opened doors from being scratched when accidentally knocked against a wall or another vehicle, and bumpers against light scraps against kerbs. Available commonly in black or silver, they also help to accent the outline of the car and provide a mild cosmetic facelift. Car door protectors cost about S$10-S$20 per set, whereas bumper protectors cost about S$40-S$70 each.
If dad is the laidback sort who finds car washing to be a chore, you may want to consider offering your services to help dad wash his car on this coming Father’s Day. In addition to that, how about giving dad a customised car cover with bold graphics? According to the U.S. based cover maker Tarra, “Anything is possible – from a crazy giant shoe to an event billboard.” Fashion statement aside, this essential car accessory can help to keep the car clean (from fallen leaves and bird droppings) and cool amid the relentless hot weather in Singapore!
New Windscreen Wipers
An often overlooked component of a car, windscreen wipers are the unsung heroes that keep you safe on the road on rainy days. Worn out wipers leave streaks of water across the windscreen, which makes driving in the rain uncomfortable and compromises safety. You can upgrade standard rubber wipers by choosing silicone ones that are more resistant to Singapore’s harsh sunlight, and also leave a coat of silicone on the windscreen that beads up rainwater and improves visibility. These cost S$40-S$70 per blade. Popular aftermarket brands in Singapore include PIAA and Bosch.
Better Sounds for the Music-Loving Father
Most factory-installed car audio systems are adequate, but not outstanding. The sky is the limit when it comes to upgrading a car’s audio system, with possibilities such as swapping out the audio receiver and the speakers, adding an additional amplifier, a subwoofer, and installing insulations in car doors for sound dampening. However, doing so can set you back a few thousand dollars.
Fortunately, it only takes a modest investment to noticeably improve the quality of in-car entertainment with more precise base, richer mid-range and smoother treble. Experts advise that one way to do so is to replace the factory front speakers with aftermarket ones. You will notice improvements even with modestly priced ones costing around S$200-S$300. Alternatively, if Dad’s car is an older model and the in-car system is lacking newer features such as blue-tooth connectivity, multi-media capabilities and USB ports, you can consider replacing the receiver unit (also known as head unit). Receiver units typically cost S$300 – S$800.
Popular brands for in-car entertainment systems include Pioneer, Kenwood and JBL. In-car audio components are not something you can easily install yourself, so it would be best to consult in-car audio professionals for recommendations on systems that are compatible with your family car, and have them do the installation for you.
Improve Looks and Performance
Want an enhancement that not only improves the looks of Dad’s car, but also its handling and performance? Customise it with a set of aftermarket rims of a design to Dad’s liking – you will be surprised how different the car will look with this enhancement. These are ideal when the car is a few years old and can do with a refreshed look. The choice of rim design, like clothes, allows the driver’s personality to shine through. Choose a design with a larger number of spokes for an executive look, or fewer spokes for a bold, sporty look.
If you opt for premium light-weight alloy wheels that are lighter than the factory-installed ones (which are often made of steel), they will help improve the car’s handling by lowering “unsprung” weight (i.e. the weight of components that car connected to a car’s suspension system). Lower unsprung weight places less burden on the suspension system, and makes it easier for the suspension system to react to changes in the road surface. This keeps the tyres in better contact with the road, thereby improving grip and driving safety. Lighter wheels also lend the car better acceleration (since there is less mass for the engine to rotate compared to heavier rims) and can improve fuel economy. The downside to alloy rims is that they are easier to damage than steel rims and not as easy to repair.
When upgrading the car’s rims, keep things simple by getting a set with the same size (diameter and width) as the factory rims. If you get rims that are larger than original, it is vital that you get a set of tyres that are proportionally thinner, such that the overall diameter of the wheel (tyre plus rim) stays the same. A change in overall diameter will adversely impact the accuracy of the car’s speedometer and gearing. Do be aware that larger rims will be heavier, and thinner tyres will cause the ride to be less comfortable.
The cost of aftermarket rims can cost from S$1,500 per set inclusive of installation costs, depending on brand, model and size. There are numerous brands to choose from, including premium ones such as Enkei, OZ Racing, and Yokohama. Consult a professional workshop on the choices available for your car.
Show Dad Your Love
Still looking for gift ideas? Whatever your budget is, there is no lack of choices when it comes to car-related gifts for Dad this Father’s Day. If Dad’s motor insurance is near expiry, do consider showing him your love by protecting him with motor insurance from Etiqa. Watch out for savings on private car insurance and more.
This article was first published on Etiqa Insurance Pte. Ltd.. Information is accurate as at 13 June 2019.
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