A red 2018 Ford F-150 is shown parked after visiting a used Ford dealer.

Three Fords to Buy Used and Upgrade

Pre-owned vehicles are a popular choice for those looking to find reliable transportation for less, as well as for those who enjoy customizing vehicles. Customization can be pricey if you aren’t doing the work yourself, but if you’ve bought a used vehicle, you’ll be able to reserve more money for further customizations down the road. But which model do you buy? Looking for one at a used Ford dealer will show you just how many vehicles Ford has that are perfect for your next customization project, from sedans to trucks to SUVs.

There are, however, some popular models that people more often choose to customize. The best thing to do when considering buying a used vehicle for customization is to ask yourself the following questions: how often am I going to drive this vehicle? Are there customizations I should avoid because they’re outlawed in certain places? How much can I afford to spend? What should I do first? Here are some ideas to help you out…

A blue 2019 Ford F-150 is shown off-roading.

Ford F-150

Some might insist that America’s favorite vehicle needs no customization, as it is so popular it doesn’t need to change anything to remain that way. However, the Ford F-150 was built with customization in mind, from choice of engine to wheel and tire size. Want to add performance-enhancing features for off-road activity? Interested in changing up the F-150’s look a little bit? There’s no harm in seeing what’s available to ensure that your Ford F-150 has exactly what you need.

If you’re more on the practical side, you may want to add a few things to enhance your F-150 in such a way that allows more opportunities for you to haul and tow. Some people have a tonneau cover or hard top installed, while others may choose a soft topper, a supertop, or a roll-up cover. Add a trailering package and a top, and you have the perfect vehicle for work and play; haul your tools and supplies around during the week and then turn your truck into the perfect camping space on the weekends.

More interested in customizations to make your Ford F-150 stand out? You can add anything from a lift kit to a unique paint job. Dozens of options for lift kits can turn your truck into an impressive rock crawler, and there are plenty of options for paint jobs, including airbrushing, metallic paint, wraps, and a regular paint job in a combination of your favorite colors. For inspiration, look to your state flag, sports teams you follow, favorite colors, or iconic colors from your favorite film or television show. No matter how you choose to customize your Ford F-150, it’s adaptable and flexible enough to handle it and come out looking stunning.

A white 2023 Ford Explorer is shown parked near a lake.

Ford Explorer

Popular as a family vehicle and off-road adventurer, the Explorer has plenty of customization options available from Ford, including switching out the regular gas-fueled engine for a hybrid option that can save you even more money, allowing you to put together a big customization package that can include anything from cargo area liners and cargo management systems to bug shields, mud flaps, and Covercraft Carhartt seat covers.

If your Explorer is going to be a family vehicle, you may want to invest in seat covers, floor mats, and a cargo management system, the latter of which allows you to separate the items in the back so that they can be kept safe and grabbed quickly. You may also want to look into liners, canine seat protectors, and towing mirrors. These practical additions will help your vehicle stay clean and neat and help you keep your family safe.

On the other hand, if this is a daily commuter for you alone, you might want to consider one of the best customizations one can get for the Ford Explorer. What about getting a wrap for it that turns your Explorer into a Jurassic Park guide vehicle? People have done this since Spielberg’s film came out, and it’s still exciting to see one driving around town. This wrap will make your vehicle stand out, to be sure, and it will also garner admiring passers-by and maybe even a request for a picture.

You can also add things like a snow plow, different shocks and tires, a bull bar, or a step-up so that it’s easier to get in and out of the vehicle for those who are smaller, older, or have difficulties with vertical movement due to chronic pain or illness. No matter what, you’ll love the Ford Explorer and its fun, jaunty attitude. You’ll always be ready for an adventure, and so will your Explorer.

An orange 2021 Ford Mustang is shown driving on a road.

Ford Mustang

Are you more of a sporty type? Then pick up a used Ford Mustang and get ready to build the speedy, lux sportscar of your dreams. The Mustang has been beloved by drivers for decades, which has resulted in about a thousand different ways to customize it so that it stands out or slides powerfully and silently.

Of course, most will be interested in decking out the sportscar to show it off. Things like spoilers, grilles, wings, struts, shocks, and springs are often chosen to highlight your favorite aspects of the vehicle or enhance its performance when you’re racing down the highway. Still, there are many unique customizations you might not have seen a lot of but are worth checking out.

Pedal covers and extensions are customizations that not many people would think of, but these are both helpful and cool, allowing you to deck out every corner of your Mustang. You can also get seatbelt covers, a steering wheel cover, a leather or leatherette knob cover, and update the trim inside. You can install cameras and interior/exterior lighting as well, allowing you to show off your vehicle without ever getting out.

Decals, stripes, window tinting, and other such customizations can take your vehicle’s exterior to a whole new level, and if you’ve got some know-how, patience, and the right tools, you can do all of these yourself. If you aren’t sure how or haven’t done so before, it’s a good idea to see an expert to see if what you want is feasible. Don’t be afraid to pay good money for customization. After all, you get what you pay for, and you want a functioning vehicle with all the accessories and customizations that make it uniquely yours.

Buy a Used Ford and Use the Extra Cash to Deck It Out the Way You Want

When you buy a used vehicle, you have an opportunity. You can set aside the extra cash you would have spent on the vehicle and instead put it toward customizing your vehicle. However, you want to customize it—with a paint job, electronics, mechanical features, etcetera.

With that in mind, look for a build that you love, whether it’s the F-150 pickup, Mustang, or Ford Explorer, and pick up a used one. Look for customizations for that particular vehicle, and decide which customizations are the most important to you. Do you want to stand out? Do you want to blend in? Is this a commuter or a fun vehicle?

No matter what you decide on, used Ford vehicles are ripe for customization. When you’ve found the items you want to be installed—or that you will install by yourself or with help from a friend—it’s just a short time until you’re on the road with your new-to-you and improved Ford.