Our cars offer a great way to express our personality. Given we rely on them so much, it's unsurprising we take pride in cleaning them and keeping them in tip-top condition. Some of us even give them names.
For most of us, a buff and polish and some fluffy dice is sufficient for expressing our "auto-love", but others go further.
There are a host of cosmetic changes you can make to your vehicle. Here are a few favourites that are sure to turn heads.
The classic two headlight set-up has always given cars the quality of a human face. If you want to really amp this up you might try adding some comedy eyelashes. This probably works best on a small runabout like a Fiat 500 - with its cute round headlights. You're less likely to see eyelashes on the newest BMW 8-Series - although hats off to anyone who tries it!
Credit: Oleksandr - stock.adobe.com
Car wraps and transfers
From iridescent body wraps to go-faster stripes, there are infinite ways you can modify the paint job of your motor. And best of all it’s very unlikely to push up your insurance. In the UK, a car wrap costs between £1,000 and £5,000, depending on car size and design complexity. If go-faster stripes (aka coach liners) are more your thing, you can pick them up on the Internet for under £20. Alternatives to classic strips include flames and shooting stars.
You can also install vinyl or carbon wraps for your central console and dashboard. You might opt for chic grey-striped carbon, or a dazzling purple-and-pink design. Whichever you choose, you’ll probably need to go to a firm that specialises in car interior wraps, because cutting and laying the correct shapes is a tricky affair.
Not the most low-key of modifications, these lights project designs and motifs onto the ground when a door is opened. Some cars - such as the Mustang with its running horse logo - come with these door lights as standard. You can buy novelty car door lights online which project everything from automotive logos to animals.
For those of us who don't quite have the nerve for that rainbow-and-unicorn car wrap, a set of fluffy dice might suffice; slightly eccentric but not crazy enough to derail your next job interview! Other ornaments you can hang from your rear-view mirror include cats suspended by balloons; cats in sofas; dreamcatchers; and monkeys in sunglasses. Whichever you choose, make sure it won’t distract you on the road.
Red Nose Day has become something of a British institution, and many of us show our support by buying a red Nose for our car.
If fixing a red nose to your grille isn't edgy enough, you might try installing an antlers-and-red-nose set - although this is perhaps best done around Christmas time. If you want to earn extra eccentricity points, keep your antlers on for the summer!
England flags are a common sight when the football team enters a tournament, but disappear quickly after the inevitable bungled penalty shoot-out! If you really enjoy catching the eye with flags, why not try attaching some banners from obscure countries: consider the Dutch province of Friesland, with blue and white strips and little red hearts all over it; or the defunct North Caucasian Emirate Flag, which features an inadvertent smiley face formed by stars and a crescent moon? People will wonder: are you working for the embassy of some little-visited backwater, or merely eccentric?
Buying and installing a private number plate is an eye-catching way to soup-up your car’s exterior. You can buy private number plates from the DVLA directly or through auctions; or you can purchase from companies that specialise in personalised number plates. The final cost can vary from a couple of hundred pounds to many thousands. For example, the plate “25 0” sold for £518,480 in 2014.
They say a dog is 'man's best friend' - Investing in a nodding dog for your car parcel shelf will add a companion to your car for those long journey's, and bring some amusement to passers by. What's even better, this dog won't require feeding or walking!
Improve your rear view with a larger/widescreen rear view mirror. As well as helping you stay safe on the road, they’re a great way to enhance your interior. If you want something really eye-catching, why not buy a rear-view mirror decorated with jewels - real or not-so-real.
Unlike performance-enhancing modifications - like exhaust system changes and sunroof installation - modifying the cosmetic appearance of your car is very unlikely to impact your insurance premium.
Be aware however that heavy tints to the front side windows and windscreens are not permitted in the UK. This is because heavily tinted windows make it harder for the driver to see, and more difficult for drivers and pedestrians to understand the driver’s intentions. Law enforcement must also be able to see inside the vehicle. Rear passenger side windows can however be tinted.