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Whenever you walk into a dealership to buy a car, the salesman is always eager to stick you with a bunch of accessories. However, everyone who knows anything about cars will vouch for the fact that you should avoid getting after-market parts from dealerships. Not only are the costs unreasonably higher than the usual market price, the selection is also very limited. Here are 5 essential after-market accessories for your car that you can get for at competitive prices outside car dealerships.

Car Alarm System

Although central-locking is offered as a standard feature by most car manufacturers, you still have to install a car alarm system as an after-market option. Besides protecting your car from theft, the more expensive security systems will even allow you to track your vehicle using a computer or smartphone. Installing a car security system will provide you with peace of mind and substantially lower insurance premiums.

Alloy Wheels

Alloy wheels are usually the first thing people install after buying a new car. Most mid to high-end car models do come with alloy wheels, but the designs are generally quite boring. After-market alloys allow you to put on wheels that are truly god looking and are available in a variety of finishes and sizes. Good alloys improve the aesthetic appeal of the vehicle, provide better handling and ride quality, as well as improve fuel economy.

Leather Seat Covers

Unless you are buying a car with heated seats, you will have to shell out extra to get leather seats. Getting after-market leather seats means not having to pay over-the-top prices for good quality leather as well as having a wide range of options to choose from including the colour and finish of the leather. When ordering leather seat covers, insist that the stitching is of a contrasting colour to that of the leather; it makes the seat covers a lot more visually appealing.

Sound System

Although car manufacturers do include sound systems from some very good companies, they head units and speakers are generally lower end models. If you are someone who professes to love music, there is no way you will be satisfied with the quality of the sound that the default system produces. What you need is a good after-market sound system, preferable bought and installed from a shop that specializes in car audio systems. For best audio quality, make sure the head unit and speakers are from the same manufacturer. For added oomph, you can also install a subwoofer and a crossover, although those will eat into the amount of boot space available.

Reversing Camera

When they were initially offered in luxury vehicles, reversing cameras were seen as a marketing gimmick; a toy rather than a useful gadget. However, try parallel-parking a minivan in a crowded city centre and you will realize just how useful a reversing camera can be. Most reversing camera systems can easily be integrated with the dashboard navigation and entertainment system. A reversing camera will by far be the most useful after-market accessory you can install in your car.

Unlike turbochargers and ostentatious rear-wings, the 5 accessories mentioned here actually help boost the overall value of your car and ensure that you get a good price for it when you do eventually sell it off in the future.

Jack Thomas is an avid blogger and loves driving fast cars. He shares his knowledge about car accessories and suggests that custom made seat covers are a better option for your car.