Navigation systems. Car DVD players. It’s easy get swept away by all the latest technology when you’re in the showroom shopping for your next car or truck, but it’s important to remember that these features are also available in aftermarket models. In fact, choosing to install your car GPS and/or mobile video players as aftermarket equipment can actually save you a great deal of money without undermining either their performance or their appearance!
In the vast majority of cases, when you’re purchasing a vehicle, selecting a navigation system or video entertainment isn’t quite as straightforward as it sounds. That’s because these features come as part of particular packages or vehicle models. So while you may not be interested in heated seats or self-dimming mirrors, those features may also be included in the package that contains your desired in-dash navigation system. Now, you may be thinking, “Wait, heated seats sound awesome,” but consider that you’re going to end up paying for a whole bunch of features that you may never actually use, just to get that navigation system. Especially if you’re trying to stick to a budget, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Aftermarket navigation systems are available in both portable and installed versions, and you may be surprised at just how affordable they are. Portable car GPS are often discounted because of the risk of theft, but they do offer perks like being able to operate the nav system while the vehicle is in motion (let the passenger do it please!) and the ability to transfer the unit from one car to another (great for rental cars, too!). Or, if you’re not too keen on that ubiquitous suction cup on the dash or windshield, you can go with an installed model. These types of in-dash navigation systems are often visually indistinguishable at a glance from the OEM setups that come from the factory, but since you won’t be shelling out for a huge number of unnecessary features, they won’t set you back nearly as much. Now, that doesn’t meant that aftermarket car navigation systems are bare-bones equipment. They tend to include options like Bluetooth connectivity as well as car audio capacity (often including satellite radio, auxiliary inputs for iPods, and more).
With aftermarket car DVD players, you can also get the performance and appearance you want without breaking the bank. In all but the highest end vehicles, your options are pretty limited when it comes to mobile video entertainment: usually it’s a ceiling-mounted, drop-down screen or nothing. But when you decide to go the aftermarket route, the possibilities really start to blossom. Of course, you can get the standard ceiling mount, and at a quite cost-effective price, but you can also get customized car audio video systems that include everything from headrest mounted screens to video game input jacks and more.
So when you’re trying to decide whether to pick out the factory options that include the DVD player and GPS for your next car, make sure you think it through. If you’ll use all of the features included in the package that has the electronics you want–and you’re content with the features of the OEM DVD player or car GPS–then that option probably makes sense. But if you’re paying for tons of features that you know you’ll never use, or if you’re looking for capability unavailable in stock options, then your best bet is to head on down to your local car audio shop. Their installers can set you up with great aftermarket components that will bring you the style and performance you want.