(BPT) - Research shows Americans spend $33 billion annually on aftermarket products to enhance the styling and performance of their vehicles. Whether it's for functionality or appearance, you can find just about any product to modify your car, truck or SUV to fit your needs. An updated navigation system, hands-free Bluetooth, or new speakers might be the thing you need to re-focus your energy and make your drive a bit more enjoyable.
'The auto industry as a whole is constantly finding ways to give drivers access to more products that will make their ride smooth and enjoyable,' says Chris Kersting, president and CEO for the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), an automotive trade organization. 'Thousands of aftermarket manufacturers offer innovative products to personalize and enhance your driving experience.'
Here are some product ideas to help drivers ease their commute to and from work:
A simple and easy way for a more convenient drive is a universal Bluetooth kit. Made to give drivers a hands-free experience by integrating wireless functionality from a mobile device, Bluetooth offers much more than talking on the phone. A Bluetooth system allows a connected phone to play music stored on the device, stream from an Internet radio system like Spotify or Pandora, or listen to podcasts. They're easy to install and come with a variety of different features allowing you to select a product and brand that stays within your budget.
Portable navigation device (PND)
While GPS-enabled smartphone devices are continuing to be popular among drivers today, it's not the same as a portable navigation device (PND). As technology has advanced, navigation systems have evolved to include features such as voice commands, real-time traffic updates and large, easy-to-read screens. A portable navigation device can be installed in just about any vehicle and will include a windshield or dash mount for optimal viewing.
If you have a long commute, you can improve performance, save money on fuel and lessen your chance of engine problems with an aftermarket air filter. A replacement filter is an easy and affordable way to help your vehicle run more efficiently. Made to be reused, an aftermarket air filter will be the last one your vehicle will ever need.
Car audio system
As you're sitting bumper to bumper thinking about all of the things you could be doing instead of driving, consider playing an audio book, podcast or music from a new artist. Upgrade your factory system with an aftermarket stereo, also known as a receiver or head unit, for a fuller sound. Most systems will offer better AM/FM reception, lower volume levels and include options such as a USB or auxiliary input to charge a phone or play music. Aftermarket stereos can be purchased at a local car audio retailer where they'll be professionally installed.
Car and trunk organizer
Nothing's worse than feeling cluttered. Keep your car in order and your work materials organized with a collapsible trunk organizer or mobile cargo bin. There are tons of different styles and sizes of organizers available, giving you the option to select one that best fits your needs.
It's a hot summer afternoon and the sun is beating down on you through the windshield after a long day at work. Protect your skin from the UV rays and cool down the inside of your vehicle with window film, also known as window tint. Not only does it reduce the heat inside your car, the film is designed to prevent a window from shattering, holding the broken glass in place.
Wherever you're headed, there are thousands of aftermarket products and accessories available to modify your vehicle in preparation for the commute ahead. You can find them at auto parts stores, national retail stores or online.