12 Cheap and Easy Car Mods

Want to customize your car without breaking the bank? Try easy car mods like buying vanity plates, adding seat covers, and getting a throttle adjustment.
Written by R.E. Fulton
There are plenty of steps you can take to mod your car on a budget, like buying vanity plates, adding seat covers, or getting a throttle adjustment.
  • While some mods are better left to professionals, plenty are DIY-friendly.
  • The right aftermarket parts can enhance the look of your car or boost its performance without costing a fortune.
  • You can refresh the look of your car’s interior or exterior with these car modifications.

Easy exterior mods

Modifying the outside of your car lets you show your personality to the world. Even a small tweak like removing the front license plate or customizing your car’s grille can add a personal flair to any vehicle. 

Custom grille

Grille inserts are a cheap and easy way to mod a truck or SUV. Go for a heavy mesh in black to give your car a rugged look, or choose a fine chrome mesh for the sleek aesthetic of a luxury vehicle. 
You can find decent inserts for around $10, or even replace the entire grille for under $100. 

Remove front license plate

Mod your car’s exterior for free by simply removing the front license plate bracket. This gives your vehicle a cool, uncluttered look (and it’s a great way to put more attention on that custom grille!). 
Before you do: Be sure to check your state laws before you remove the bracket—some states require you to display both a front and back license plate. 

Vanity plates

License plates don’t have to disrupt your car’s aesthetics. Make your license plate a part of your car’s unique look by ordering personalized license plates with a phrase that tells the world who’s behind the wheel. 
The cost of custom plates varies from state to state, but the average is $20 to $50—totally worth it for a mod that makes your car unmistakably yours.  

Car wraps

The most striking way to mod your car’s exterior is to change its color. Vinyl wraps are a great, affordable way to switch things up with unique colors, bold graphics, and cool finishes—and because the wrap can be peeled off, you can change it again whenever you want!  
Exactly how much you’ll pay for vinyl wraps varies based on your car’s size, but a good wrap will run up to $2,500 for an average sedan. This is probably the most expensive mod on our list, but it’s cheaper than a custom paint job, which can run up to several thousand dollars. 
Keep in mind: Before making any significant changes to your vehicle, consider whether your mods would potentially void an existing warranty before moving forward.

Easy interior car mods

Exterior mods shout your personality to the world, but interior mods let you enjoy your car in a new way. 
When you’re stuck in traffic on your morning commute or hitting the highway for a weekend getaway, these cheap car mods will let your style sing through your car’s interior:

Interior vinyl

Add a flash of color to your car’s boring dashboard with interior vinyl wraps. 
Get creative with color and pattern—think big! Want your console to look like a galaxy? Vinyl gets it done, then lets you peel the color off and start again when you’re ready for a change.  
Because the surface area you’re covering is much smaller, interior vinyl costs a lot less than exterior wraps. You can find kits for as low as $10, but if you want a professional-grade wrap, expect to pay a few hundred dollars for your pop of color.  

Interior LED lighting

Accent lighting underneath the dashboard or along the footwells lets you add a bold splash of color to your car without paying for vinyl. A custom LED lighting kit costs around $40, or you can pay a little more for a smartphone-controlled version. 
For an even cheaper version of this mod, just switch out your cabin’s dome light for a colored LED bulb.  

Seat covers

Seat covers can add a layer of luxury or a dash of fun to your car’s interior along with protection from wear and tear. 
Whether you’re looking for hot pink faux fur or sleek leather, you can find cheap seat covers starting at about $25. 

Floor mats

Just like seat covers, custom floor mats combine function and aesthetics. Not only can you show off your personal style with monogramming, fun patterns, or classy leather accents, but your new mats will also protect your car’s floor from rain, dirt, and snow. 
You can get a good set of mats for around $50. 

Custom shift knob

If you drive a car with a shift knob, swap it out for a custom replacement, like a creepy skull or a dazzling gemstone. 
A custom knob could cost around $50, or you could get a knob cover for as little as $10. Get a few, and switch them out depending on your mood! 

Easy performance mods

A lot of easy car mods are all about looks, but performance mods help your car reach its full potential by improving the car’s functionality. Not sure where to start? Here are a few affordable ideas to help your car level up. 

Automatic transmission fluid cooler

For drivers with an automatic transmission who want to have fun on the road, a transmission fluid cooler is an easy and affordable mod. 
You can get a decent cooler system for as little as $50, and you’ll keep your transmission running cool and smooth, even during your most spirited drives. 

Throttle adjustment

Throttle response—the time it takes your car to respond when you put on the gas—is what makes driving fun. A throttle adjustment is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to mod your car’s performance, and you’ll feel the difference immediately. 
Upgrade your car’s throttle response by adjusting the throttle cable on an older car, or just by disconnecting and reconnecting the battery to trigger an accelerator relearn procedure on a newer car with a drive-by-wire throttle. 
You shouldn’t need to buy any new equipment for either of these mods—just make sure to check your vehicle’s factory service manual to determine the best method for your car.  

Polyurethane steering rack bushings

Get precise, sporty steering by swapping out the rubber bushings in your car’s steering rack for new polyurethane bushings. You’ll pay about $50 for a set, and your car will be able to turn on a dime. 
Polyurethane is also more durable than rubber, meaning that your steering won’t wear out as fast. 
Key Takeaway: Don’t just look for aesthetic mods—some of the best cheap car mods are easy performance upgrades.  
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