Your Guide to Car Exterior Decor (2024)

If you love your car but think it could use some upgrades, consider investing in some exterior decor. We've consulted the experts to find the best car exterior decor to make your vehicle look like new with items from Amazon and WeatherTech.

What Is Car Exterior Decor?

Car exterior decor is any accessory that you add to your car's exterior to enhance its appearance or provide a practical benefit. Here are some of the benefits that exterior accessories provide:

  • Improved Appearance: Adding an accessory is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to enhance your car's appearance.
  • Customization: When you find the right car exterior decor, you can customize your car to better suit your style. If you end up not liking how an accessory looks or you want to try something new, it's easy to remove and replace with something you like better.
  • Improved Performance: Some exterior accessories don't just make your car look better, they can also improve performance by enhancing your vehicle's aerodynamics.
  • Protection: Some exterior accessories do a great job of protecting your car from dents and scratches.
  • Increased Value: If you drive a popular make and model that you eventually plan on reselling, adding distinctive exterior decor can make it stand out among other cars on the market.

Types of Car Exterior Decor

There are all sorts of accessories you can add to your car's exterior:

Decals

Decals are a quick and easy way to decorate your car while expressing your personality. You can get decals featuring characters from your favorite movie or the mascot of your favorite team. If you use your car for business purposes, consider custom lettering to transform your vehicle into a mobile billboard. The best thing about decals is that they are inexpensive and easy to put on your vehicle or swap out for new decals.

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Your Guide to Car Exterior Decor (2)

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Antenna Balls

Antenna balls are another fun and easy way for drivers to enhance their vehicles. As with decals, you can select an antenna ball that looks like a movie character, team mascot, or other pop icon.

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License Plate Frames

Since you have to keep a license plate on your vehicle, why not jazz it up a little? You can add a license plate frame that dazzles or one that expresses you. With other license plate frames, you can add custom text.

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Mud Guards

Mud guards will enhance your car's appearance while protecting the paint job from dirt, gravel, and other debris. They come in an array of colors, so you can choose a set that matches or contrasts with your vehicle's exterior paint.

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Bumper Protectors

Bumper protectors are another stylish yet practical accessory that you can add to your car. Like mud guards, bumper protectors an excellent option if you frequently drive on poorly maintained roads. They can also protect your vehicle's bumpers from grocery carts and cars in busy parking lots.

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Roof Racks

If you enjoy outdoor activities like bicycling or kayaking, you deserve a roof rack that can handle your gear. Roof racks are also a great accessory if you like going on road trips and need room for extra luggage.

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Wheel Caps

Adding wheel caps or replacing your wheels can make your car look like an entirely new vehicle if you choose a different design or finish. You can choose from a variety of colors or find wheels that feature manufacturer logos for your particular make and model. To protect your new wheels, consider adding some dazzling chrome wheel locks.

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LED Light Strips

If you really want to turn heads when you're driving, consider adding LED light strips to your car. You can find light strips in just about any color that you can wrap around your car or apply to your headlights. Underglow lights go underneath your car and produce a puddle of light that surrounds your vehicle with an eye-catching glow.

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Car Covers

After you add new accessories to your car, you'll want to protect them from the elements with a car cover. A car cover is an excellent investment if you park your car outside all day while you're at work or if your residence doesn't have a garage. While universal car covers are available, a car cover designed for your car's make and model will provide optimal protection.

How To Choose Car Exterior Decor

When selecting exterior decor for your car, you'll want to consider the following:

  • Your Budget: Setting a budget before shopping for car exterior decor can keep you from overspending and over-accessorizing your car.
  • Your Goals: What do you want to accomplish by adding accessories to your car? Do you want to replace something that's worn out or do you want to give your vehicle a whole new look?
  • Your Lifestyle: If you're constantly on the road for travel or running errands, it's an excellent idea to add accessories to your vehicle to help you get the job done, such as roof racks and cargo baskets.
  • Colors and Design: If you want to use accessories to enhance your vehicle's appearance, it's essential to choose car exterior decor in colors and designs that complement your car instead of clashing with it.
  • Your Car's Make and Model: While some accessories are universal, others are only compatible with specific makes and models.
  • Safety: When safety is a major concern, it's worth investing in automotive accessories that can protect your car from theft and vandalism.
  • State Regulations: Depending on where you live, state laws may prohibit certain accessories. For example, some states regulate the use of license plate frames. Many states also place restrictions on what color lights you can put on your car and where you can place decals.
  • Vehicle Age: If you drive an older car and are thinking about trading it in for a newer model, you might not want to spend too much time or money on accessories.

How To Replace/Install Car Exterior Decor

Disclaimer: The guidelines in this story are general and not meant to replace instructions for your specific vehicle. Please consult your owner's manual or repair guide before attempting repairs.

Adding accessories like decals or an antenna ball is a breeze. However, with accessories like lighting or roof racks, you'll want to consult product instructions or even hire a professional to install such items.

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Hearst Autos Research

Hearst Autos Research, produced independently of the Car and Driver Editorial staff, provides articles about cars and the automotive industry to help readers make informed purchasing choices.

Your Guide to Car Exterior Decor (2024)

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