Car Buying

Can You Add Modern Electronics to a Used Car?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro November 2015

If you're interested in buying a used car, you might want to know if you can add modern electronics to help spruce it up a bit. Specifically, you're probably curious about features such as infotainment systems, aftermarket stereos or rear entertainment systems, all of which can improve your car ownership experience -- and help a used car feel a lot younger than it really is. So can you add these items? We have some answers.

It Depends on the Feature

Generally speaking, whether or not you can add specific aftermarket electronics to your car depends on exactly what electronics you'd like to add. For instance, you'll probably find that some high-end features can't be added after the fact, such as automatic forward-collision braking or lane-keep assist. Items like those need to be developed in conjunction with the car's brakes or steering system before it leaves the factory.

With that said, it's certainly possible to add many other gadgets to a used car. You should have no trouble adding sound systems, infotainment systems and rear entertainment systems, for instance -- and in many cases, you can even add safety features such as a blind spot monitoring system, a forward-collision alert system and more. Of course, your success may depend on the vehicle you have and the features you want -- but you might be surprised at just how many aftermarket features you can get if you shop around.

How Much?

Some aftermarket electronics can be very pricy, depending on the exact feature or gadget you want to get. In fact, you can easily spend above $1,000 adding items such as rear-seat DVD players, remote starters and advanced safety systems -- money you're unlikely to get back when selling the vehicle. As a result, it's important to figure out exactly how much you want or need each feature before spending the money, as it isn't really an investment.

But if you want to know whether it can be done, the answer is usually yes -- it's possible to spruce up your older used car with modern electronics to improve your ownership experience and increase your appreciation for an older model.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Can You Add Modern Electronics to a Used Car? - Autotrader