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There’s nothing better than buying a car or truck and making it your own. For some people, that could mean buying new accessories. For others, that could mean modifying the entire body kit – lowering the vehicle, installing custom exhausts or a flashy new paint job.

Regardless of what kind of customization you’re into, there are several things to keep in mind before doing any kind of after-market customization.

The first and most important thing to remember is that an owner’s modifications to a vehicle can lead to a denial of warranty coverage by the vehicle manufacturer if there are any defects.

It’s common for many drivers to upgrade their original manufacturer audio system with new stereos or Bluetooth systems. Installing new electronic systems like new stereos or alarms require splicing the wiring system, and if done incorrectly, this could lead to serious electrical problems down the road.

Installing new lift kits onto pickup trucks and 4-wheel drives is also another popular modification. Again, drivers should make sure these are professionally installed to prevent interference with the vehicle’s suspension. Incorrectly installed lift kits can cause tires to wear unevenly and pose a risk to your vehicle’s suspension and alignment. Some advanced kits also have electronic components that can conflict with electronic systems.

As a rule of thumb, stay away from making modifications that are irreversible and always keep the original manufacturer parts. Make sure you consult with professionals before committing to anything to make sure that upgrades are done correctly.

Check with your car insurance company too before committing to any alterations. Some insurance companies offer Custom Parts and Equipment (CPE) coverage and will provide a list of custom accessories covered.

If your vehicle is an older model, installing some of the newer in-market safety technology (especially if you have a teen driver under your roof) can be a good idea.

Backup cameras, for example, are incredibility useful for parking and on larger vehicles such as pick-ups, SUV’s or any other vehicle types that have significantly larger blind spots.

Many of the more advanced GPS systems nowadays are also useful tools to equip your vehicle with. The pricier models come with built-in dash cams, forward collision warning systems and even lane departure warning to help less experienced drivers.

The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) emphasizes that technology like forward collision warning, lane departure warning, side assist view and adaptive headlights are the most effective systems in reducing accidents on the road and are great additions to any vehicle.

Your vehicle can be a great way to express yourself and your personality, regardless if you like your car slammed low to the ground or not. Vehicle customization can mean a number of different things, from tinting your windows, installing flashier tires or simply adding more safety technology.

If you’re thinking of making any aftermarket customization, make sure you get the opinion of a professional. Visit your local new car dealer today to see all the newest accessories available in the market.

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at [email protected].