Upgrading the Safety Technology in an Older Vehicle

Vehicle Technology

If you’ve been listening to the radio or watching TV lately, you’ve been bombarded with commercials from Ford, Toyota, Honda and Nissan enticing you to buy a new vehicle to get the latest safety technology. New cars, trucks and SUVs come with backup cameras, parking sensors and blind spot monitoring systems that can dramatically reduce your chances of an accident. While it’s true you can buy a new car to acquire these features, your local specialty mobile enhancement retailer can easily upgrade your existing vehicle with them.

Add a Backup Camera

Vehicle Technology
If you have a Jeep Wrangler, adding a backup camera can be easy with this upgrade from Brandmotion. The camera image displays right on the screen of the factory-installed radio.

Backup camera systems are perhaps the most straightforward upgrade available for your vehicle. These cameras and their associated displays let you see what’s behind your car, truck or SUV as you maneuver into a parking spot or your garage. Cameras are available in compact stand-alone designs that can be mounted near your license plate or as a vehicle-specific solution built into a third brake light assembly or truck tailgate handle.

An important consideration for your backup camera system is the display that will be used to show the image. The last thing you want is to add clutter to the interior of your vehicle. Unless necessary, adding a stand-alone screen to your dash or center console isn’t the best option.

If your car or truck has a color display for its infotainment system, ask your retailer if there’s an integration option available that will let the camera image be displayed there. If there isn’t, your best bet is an upgraded rearview mirror that includes a compact color screen.

Parking Sensor Solutions

Vehicle Technology
The TE-4PSKRUB parking sensor kit from iBeam is designed to be installed in vehicles with metal bumpers.

Parking sensors, also called backup sensors, are a great upgrade to help prevent back-over accidents. These systems use an array of small ultrasonic transceivers to detect objects behind your vehicle. Depending on the solution you choose, the systems warn the driver of an object by producing a beeping sound that increases in frequency as you get closer to it. Some systems include small displays that will show you the distance to an object. These are good options for people who want to back into a parking spot in a garage and leave room to walk behind the vehicle.

Parking sensors are added by drilling holes into the rear bumper or bumper cover. There are usually four sensors in a kit, and they are often available in a variety of colors or they can be color-matched to your vehicle to make them blend in.

Unlike a backup camera, you don’t have to remember to check the parking sensors for them to offer protection. As soon as you start backing up, they start working.

Blind Spot Warning Systems

Vehicle Technology
Brandmotion offers add-on blind-spot monitoring upgrades specific to 2015 through 2020 Ford F-150 pickup trucks.

When you drive around town or on the freeway, it’s easy for another vehicle to hide in your blind spot if your side-view mirrors aren’t adjusted properly. Blind spot monitoring systems use short-range radar transceivers to detect vehicles in the lanes adjacent to you and illuminate an indicator icon inside the vehicle. If you activate your turn signal while a vehicle is in your blind spot, the system will produce an audible warning alert while flashing in the indicator to let you know it’s not safe to change lanes.

Blind spot warning systems can be added to almost any car or SUV that uses plastic rear bumper covers. These solutions cover the area from the B-pillar rearward for about 45 to 50 feet with a width of roughly 12 feet on either side of the vehicle. If you have an older vehicle with a metal rear bumper or a pickup truck, blind spot solutions are available that can be mounted around the rear license plate to provide warnings. Finally, some companies now offer vehicle-specific sensors integrated into replacement taillight assemblies for popular pickup trucks.

Upgrade the Safety Technology in Your Existing Vehicle

Before you run out and spend $20,000 or $30,000 on a new vehicle, consider upgrading the safety and collision-avoidance technology on the car, truck or SUV you already own. You can find a retailer near you specializing in these upgrades by using the Dealer Locator here on the Vision Zero website.