With everyone being stuck at home and car shows being forced to cancel this summer, there’s lots of reasons why now is a great time to work on your car! Unfortunately for a lot of folks, the uncertainty of current events is leaving a lot of folks saving their money rather than modding their cars.
Thankfully, there’s plenty of cheaper or even free things you can do to freshen up your WRX/STI! I’ve put together a list of a few of my favorites below.
#1 - Perrin Shifter Stop
One of the first purchases I made for the WRX was the Perrin Shifter Stop. The functionality is pretty simple, but the difference its made to the driving experience is immeasurable! Unless you live and work on opposite ends of the freeway, you probably spend a majority of your time shifting between the lower gears, and the Shifter Stop makes this a much easier affair.
Installation is extremely easy as well, and involves only unscrewing your shift knob and popping out the shift boot. Check out my full review for more info!
#2 - Interior Chrome Blackout
The 2015+ WRX interior made huge strides in quality over the previous generation(s), but there are still a few items that, in my opinion, leave the interior looking a little dated. One of these is the use of chrome/silver for accents on the vents, door handles, and climate control knobs.
While there are a few companies that sell replacement vents and knobs, the silver trims themselves are easy enough to remove with a little finesse. A quick coat of satin or gloss black makes a huge difference to the appearance of the interior!
The WRX’s chrome door handles are shared with a variety of other Subaru/Toyota models, so sourcing black replacements is easy enough! You can either walk into your dealership and ask for the right part numbers, or order them online. Listed below are the part numbers:
- Passenger side - 61051FJ000VH
- Driver side - 61051FJ010VH
Installation is a bit trickier, as it requires removing the interior door panel to unscrew the factory chrome door handles, but it’s really not too complicated. See my sound deadening post for more details on door removal.
If you are really looking for a project, you could always wrap them in carbon...
#3 - Exterior Chrome Blackout
Just like the interior, it’s the small details on the exterior that make a big difference too! The factory chrome fender badges and emblem surrounds stick out like a sore thumb, especially on darker colors.
There are a wide variety of replacement options, but I chose to go with black to match the rest of the exterior trim pieces. Replacements can be picked up from Subiebros, Subispeed, and even Amazon.
Removal of both the fender and emblem badges is a bit tricky (making sure you don’t scratch the paint), but a hair dryer, masking painted areas off, and using some plastic trim tools can make the process much easier. I go over the specifics here.
#4 - LED Overhaul
There are a number of areas that Subaru lags behind other automakers, one of which is the continued use of halogen bulbs for the interior and license plate lights. The harsh, yellow color doesn’t put out a ton of usable light in either case, and ends up just looking cheap.
Diode Dynamics offers replacements for nearly every application on the WRX:
- Dome light - DD0299S
- Map lights - DD0299P
- Trunk light - DD024S
- Vanity/mirror lights - DD049P
- License plate lights - DD0024P
If you’re interested in complete replacements for the license plate lights, Subiebros sells pop-in replacements too. I chose to go this route as the end result is a bit cleaner/brighter light. See this post for more details.
#5 - Painted Brake Calipers
The WRX's stock steel brake calipers get the job done, but after a year or two of driving they become discolored/accumulate some surface rust. Dailying the car through the rough Wisconsin winters certainly doesn't help...
Fortunately, Duplicolor makes an excellent brush-on brake paint kit that makes cleaning up your brakes super straightforward. This project does require quite a bit of cleaning/prep and masking (unless you want to remove your calipers from the car entirely), but the end result is worth it!
Whatever color you decide to go with, I highly recommend their brush-on kit(s) over the rattle can option. I tried the spray kit the first time round, and after a year or so ended up needing to touch it up. The brush-on option has held up much better.
Bonus Round - A Good Wash/Wax
No washing your car isn’t a mod, but as far as easy ways to improve it’s appearance, it’s the cheapest and easiest! Not to mention I’ve always found the process therapeutic…and I know I’m not alone!
The variety of soaps, mitts, waxes, etc. available can be a bit overwhelming. But I’ve broken down some of my favorite stuff over in the Toolbox section of the site.
Hopefully these ideas provide some inspiration for cheap/easy mods for your own WRX/STI! What's been your favorite budget mod for your car? Do you have any recommendations for this list? Feel free to shoot me a DM on Instagram or an email and share your thoughts!
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