For over a decade now, I’ve found myself very happily behind the wheel of a Dodge Charger (or more specifically, an ’07 followed by an ’11). And while I’d happily transition into a newer model (or upgrade to a Challenger) the simple truth is that I’m preparing to jump ships and put myself behind the wheel of a truck. My choice (which may or may not reflect your personal preference) is something along the lines of an ’18 RAM 1500 Sport with the quad cab and 5’7” short box. Basically, it gives me everything necessary to accommodate 1-4 passengers (three of which are under the age of 13) and enough utility to haul materials for various home improvement projects. No more truck than I need, but no less either. That said, this novel sense of practicality that I seem to be experiencing at the age of 40 doesn’t mean that I don’t want to have fun with my truck, especially in terms of personalizing it. Finding the right accessories to enhance appearance, performance or just align your set of wheels with your personal sense of style is important to most owners of trucks, jeeps and specialty vehicles. Customization is especially pertinent in addressing differences in climate, seasonality and usage. Our mods may be different, but our motivation is the same. So whether you’re looking for auto parts in Cincinnati, Colorado Springs, Sacramento or Tallahassee rest assured that you’re engaged in the same impassioned hunt as a certain New Englander who happens to be writing this article. The desire for a personalized experience is universal, and with aftermarket accessories making up a $225 billion dollar market, the rulebook is being torn up and rewritten daily.
Should one choose to roll their accessories into their initial purchase, standardizing the add-on features alongside trim selection, paint color and more, there’s nothing wrong with that. A lot of dealerships employ software along the lines of AddOnAuto, which create a digital representation of how a truck will look based on the configurations and accessories selected. That said, such dealer-provided services are often limited to accessories that their parts department keeps in stock , or (in the case of poor execution) is deceptive in representing accessories which may not be available at all. This (and the desire not to finance customization) is why so many truck owners are do-it-yourselfers. It simply allows for a wider range of options, in terms of brand suppliers and, in turn, options. So, what comes first?
All too often, I hear about people using the ‘Five Under Five-Hundred’ rule. This is where the first accessories a truck owner chooses to add are run of the mill choices that don’t break the bank. Such acquisitions might include step-sides, bed liners, tonneau cover, a cargo box (or storage solution) and even custom floor mats. But, at the end of the day, none of these choices really speak to personalization (at least not in terms of any broad strokes). From there, one’s attention might shift to custom wheels (usually debating forged vs. cast), new tires and/or a lifted suspension.
But whether you’re a DIY-er, a buyer, or a supporter of custom shops it would be helpful if you had a centralized resource to help you configure your build, and generate a real-time visual to see if you’re truly satisfied with those instincts of yours.
Enter Interactive Garage, a software akin to AddOnAuto, albeit with a user-friendly interface that incorporates 30 styles of vehicles, more than 17,000 parts and accessories, yielding 2.5 million custom combinations ready to explore. It’s the ultimate example of “try it before you buy it” reducing (if not eliminating) the risk of buyer remorse. And better yet? You don’t need to go to a dealership to use it, nor are their time limits. Just hit up the website, read around and go full-demo.
Just select the make, model and build of your vehicle and you’ll find an array of options ranging from grilles and bumpers, suspensions and winches, storing and towing to lighting and suspension. Here, take a loot for yourself…
Play around. Make your pics. All finalized selections can be moved into a shopping cart for easy reference and/or purchase. It reality is one of the best tools we’ve seen, in terms of visualizing and executing basic mods. It’s the kind of interactive tool that’s ideal for in-showroom use by dealerships, but is also make accessible for the consumer to use on their own time and terms. And we’d highly recommend giving Interactive Garage a try.