Car mods will cost you money, but not that much when you use an Arduino microcontroller. Arduino, for those just hearing about it, is every technical DIY enthusiast’s dream come true. It is a low-cost, open hardware microcontroller that lets you design and build practical yet straightforward electronic systems.
From a biometric car entry system that gives you keyless access to your ride to an easy-to-make yet highly functional HUD display, here are eight awesome DIY Arduino projects to upgrade your car.
1. Turn Signals Upgrade
Whether your turn signal bulb is old and burnt out, or you simply want to mod your car to inimitability, this DIY Arduino project will sure turn your vehicle into the coolest ride in traffic. In this project, you’ll ditch your current turn signal light bulbs for a strip of Arduino-controlled LEDs that animate whenever you hit turn signals.
They make your vehicle not just cooler but also more visible, hence safer to drive (especially at night). Check out the detailed video above for pointers on how to make this upgrade. After successfully completing this project, why not try these Arduino Projects to make outdoor play safer?
2. Biometric Car Entry
Although we live in the future (the world today is nothing like it was three decades back) and biometric access is the norm of the day, cars are still lagging as far as this technology is concerned. Luckily, this Arduino Nano project lets you equip your car with this cool feature without breaking the bank.
It uses a customized CAN-Bus shield connected to Arduino Nano and a fingerprint reader to detect the person’s identity, then give or deny access. Once completed, it allows keyless entry and is a boon to your car’s security system.
3. Remote Start Using a Laptop or Smartphone
Wish you could warm your whip even before you get in it on those chilly winter mornings? With this awesome DIY Arduino project, you can make your wish come true. It uses a Bluetooth-enabled laptop or smartphone paired with an Arduino Uno to start your car remotely at the push of a button.
Note: it’s a bit technical and will involve tinkering with your car’s ignition system, so you might want to be careful or have someone well-versed with vehicle systems help you out.
4. Parking Assistance
If you get sweaty palms just from thinking about parking your car, this fantastic DIY Arduino project is the perfect upgrade for your ride. It elevates your parking experience by using an Arduino Nano hooked to an ultrasonic sensor to detect and calculate distance and is paired with a couple of LEDs to notify when you should stop.
This simplifies parking and minimizes the chances of scratching your car while parking in tight spaces.
5. Say Thanks to All Courteous Drivers
In a world full of inconsiderate motorists who’ll readily vent their fury at the slightest provocation, saying thanks to that courteous driver who lets you in line is the least you could do to make our roads better.
And there’s no better way to say it than through this DIY Arduino project. Inspired by a James Bond movie, it uses an Arduino paired with a 8 x 32 Adafruit DotStar Matrix to display a thank-you message.
Besides thank-you, you can set up any message function you want while designing the Arduino code. For instance, you can code functions such as please back off, turning right and left, among many others. These are selected from a GUI on a phone connected via Bluetooth.
The thank-you display is vivid and eye-catching, so you can be sure it’ll make your life on the road so much easier.
6. Heads-up Display for Your Windshield
A heads-up display, commonly referred to as HUD, projects things like your current speed, wiper speed, or headlight intensity on your windshield, allowing you to keep your eyes on the road all through. It’s historically linked to military air crafts but is fast becoming a common feature in newer cars. Once you get used to it, driving becomes a tad easier and safer because it minimizes distractions.
Want a HUD driving experience but can’t afford to shell out hundreds of dollars on a whip that comes with one? This DIY electronics project is for you. While it uses a Teensy 3.2 running an Arduino sketch, it could easily be adapted to use an Arduino board if you prefer.
The board is programmed with an Arduino sketch to display your ride’s speed on a segmented display, collimated using a special Fresnel lens. It projects on combiner glass instead of reflective films and is way better than standard HUDs. Everything is connected to your car through the OBD-II port.
7. Cool Interior Lighting with Bluetooth-controlled LEDs
Upgrade and tune your car’s ambiance using this simple, low-cost DIY Arduino project. Grab some RGB LED strips and hook them up to a Bluetooth module and Arduino through a couple of jumper cables, and then program Arduino so you can control the lights using your smartphone.
The best part? Unrivaled customization options since you can choose any color on the LED strips and even program the brightness and lighting patterns just the way you want.
If you find this project quite exciting, you will definitely enjoy trying out other stunning DIY LED Projects.
8. Car Sensor Monitoring & Alarm
Tired of your car’s engine overheating and breaking down because you couldn’t keep track of its water temperature? If so, you will love this project.
As the name implies, it involves setting up a car sensor to monitor and alert you when your ride’s fuel levels, water temperature, voltage, and even oil temperature and pressure are too low. You’ll need:
- Arduino Uno
- Nextion enhanced generic 3.2” touch display
- Nokia 5110 LCD
- 52mm triple gauge kit oil temp, water temp, and pressure car meter
- Oil pressure gauge filter
- Soldering iron
The results? Pretty impressive if you ask us. Check out the above video.
Upgrade Your Ride Today
Whether your goal is to turn your whip into the coolest ride around, give it a slight performance boost, or simply express your individuality, these eight awesome DIY Arduino projects are a great place to start.
Keep in mind, Arduino is infinitely versatile, so feel free to put your creativity to work and tweak these projects to turn your standard vehicle into a fantastic, expensive-looking ride everyone will envy. Check out our other Arduino projects to inspire more Arduino mods that’ll truly transform your car.