For 2018, April 17th is the deadline for filing taxes. According to smartasset, the average income tax refund is over $2,000. Even if your tax return is half the national average, that’s still a lot of money to put towards something. So what should you spend it on?
Well, if you love cars, you’re in luck. There’s a few options out there. They can be practical and/or fun and worth splurging your hard earned cash on.
Go to a Track Day/Night
Organizations like the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) host events all over the US. Some events can run up to $300. But if you have a sports car or you want to test the limits of your daily driver, taking laps on a track for a day with generally no speed limit is one fun event to splurge your tax return on. Rules vary depending on the event, but you’ll need a car in good condition and a helmet to drive. If it’s your first time, Car and Driver has some good tips to help beginners prepare.
Buy New Rims/Tires or Get an Alignment
Change your tires often? If you tend to switch your winter tires out for summer ones every year, investing in a new pair of rims can make the swap a whole lot easier. You’ll have a set ready to go when the time of year comes. And, at the very least, a set of backups in case a rim bends.
Tires are expensive. This is also a good time to consider buying a new pair if you need them. And if not, the change of season and scattered pot holes in areas that see snow are a good reason to get an alignment, which can run up to $100. This will keep your tires from wearing out early.
Upgrade to Tow Mirrors
Got a set of tow mirrors you’ve been eyeing? Maybe they’re still on your Christmas list, or you just haven’t had any extra funds to upgrade your rig. Tow mirrors can run up in price, but with affordable brands like Trail Ridge, you’ll be spending a small amount of your return on quality mirrors. If you don’t know what kind to get, check out our buying guide.
Upgrade Your Car’s Appearance and Performance
Replace a badge, get those fender flares you’ve always wanted, or buy a new pair of headlights for better vision and a brand new look. Get that LED light bar you’ve always wanted, or upgrade to performance brakes or a whole new exhaust system for a better sound. These are just a few ideas to kickstart that upgrade or part you’ve been thinking about getting or forgot about. All will be affordable with a decent tax return.
Fix Up an Easy Repair
According to a study by AAA in 2017, a third of US drivers can’t afford a surprise repair. That alone may be good enough reason to tackle a repair or put part of your refund aside for a future bill. There are also a number of repairs you can do yourself that won’t cost much and will leave you feeling accomplished by the end.
Buy Accessories or Tools You Need But Don’t Have
Torque wrenches, trim tools, magnetic tool dishes, work gloves, OBD scanners, voltmeters, jack, jack stands, car ramps, tire pressure gauges, floor mats, and bike racks are a few examples of useful tools and accessories you could add to your garage for future troubles. You can also consider buying an emergency car kit so you’re prepared for a breakdown.
Contribute to Your Car Project
If you’re a car guy with a car project on the side, you’ll now have the extra cash needed to prepare for and complete the next step. These kinds of projects can take years to complete, so every bit helps. You won’t only be treating yourself to a new improvement—you’ll also be buying more time to for yourself to fix up a ride you can eventually show off.
Join a Car Show
If you’ve got a project that’s already complete and ready to go, save forking over extra money this summer. Put a little aside. You’ve now got the funds to register and enter a car show to show off all your hard work. Not to mention see some sweet cars.
Visit a Car Museum
See the glory of car’s and technology from the past and learn about the history of automobiles. Compared to a lot of other suggestions on this list, visiting a museum for a day won’t cost you much. You’ll also get to see some rarities from all kinds of eras. The National Association of Automobile Museums (NAAM) has a list of supporting museums, so you can find one local to your area.