Sticker prices. Meager inventory. Fuel costs. Whatever the reason, more and more Americans are driving increasingly older vehicles. The age of the average car on the road grew to just over 12 years old in 2022, according to data from the Specialty Equipment Aftermarket Association (SEMA). However, owning an older car doesn’t mean having to sacrifice the improved safety, convenience, and drivability options present on today’s vehicles.
The data from SEMA is clear: We’re spending more on aftermarket automotive tech and electronics than ever. Americans are doing whatever it takes to keep our cars on the road, and that means upgrading tech and electronics to keep up in today’s world. From hands-free modules to stay connected to Bluetooth adapters to stream entertainment to dashcams and backup cameras, it’s easier—and more affordable—than ever to bring older cars up-to-date.
So what are we buying? According to SEMA Market Research, the top five mobile electronics and the percent increase among manufacturers over the past 12 months are:
- Sound-system and audio accessories: up 22 percent
- Mobile TV and video cameras: up 18 percent
- Navigation systems: up 18 percent
- Alarms and security products: up 17 percent
- Wireless and smartphone integration products: up 11 percent
Well, folks still love their sound systems—that much is clear. Aside from that obvious nugget of info, the numbers show that given the rapid pace of technological advancement, cars manufactured just five or 10 years ago don’t have enough of the gadgets and gizmos modern Americans want.
Here are some of the hottest-selling mobile tech and automotive electronics on the market today.
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Top Seller for Hands-Free Connectivity
- Can hear your voice commands over music, A/C, and road noise
- Compatible with most cars and trucks
- Multiple cords can make setup difficult and aesthetics unsightly
Echo Auto connects to the Alexa app on your phone and plays through your car speakers via auxiliary input or your phone’s Bluetooth connection. Now any older car can stream music, podcasts, traffic information, and even audiobooks. It’s fantastic for vintage automobiles and off-roading.
Top Stereo-System Upgrade
- Includes rearview backup camera
- Front, rear, and subwoofer preamp for speakers
- Might require professional installation
BOSS Audio Systems‘ double-din head unit can turn an older stereo system into an Apple CarPlay– or Android Auto–connected touchscreen gem. Access all your phone apps, including music, maps, and messaging, with just a tap or even voice control if applicable. It includes USB ports for charging, and an available adapter allows it to be controlled from the steering wheel.
- Google Maps, speed, and G-sensor readings
- Magnetic Click&Go Pro mount
- Does not include Micro SD card (required for recording)
The NextBase 522GW front and rear dashcam kit features 1440-pixel Quad HD technology with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. It also rocks built-in Alexa connectivity, night-vision capability, parking mode, and 280-/360-degree six-lane-wide recording. There are a ton of dashcams on the market, and you could spend far less on one. But NextBase is one of the more