Five hacks to make your ride the coolest thing on the road

Car modded with Xbox 360 controlsLike hacking?  Like cars?  At EngBlaze, we’re pretty fond of both of these things, which is why we enjoy seeing creative ways to hack your vehicle.  The following projects are a few ideas if you’re looking to insert some DIY hardware into your ride (or perform surgery on an unsuspecting friend’s).  Here are five of our favorite ways to hack your ride and make it stand out from the crowd.

Transform a hunk of junk into cheap electric transportation

72V electric motorcycle conversion

Do you own a car, motorcycle, or scooter lying around that has seen better days?  It doesn’t have to end that way.  As long as you have a rolling chassis at your disposal (or if you can purchase one), gut out the parts that are too expensive to fix and start an electric vehicle project.  The web abounds with pioneers who have taken this path, using everything from electric drills to old washing machine motors to power their creations.  Instructables has a pretty good collection of these monstrosities – just a few examples here:

And there are other gems if you’re willing to dig.  For example, check out this budget electric whip on EcoModder:

There’s no limit to what you can accomplish with a rusty frame, large batteries, and a dream.

Add a car computer

This site is largely dedicated to the great things you can do with hardware, software, and electronics.  Since most of us like all of these things, why not combine them into one mega-awesome package?  Recent autos are being outfitted with plenty of advanced technology, but if you have an older model or just want that unusual feature, a DIY project can be a great route.

This writeup of a car computer build and install, though a couple of years old now, is perhaps the most thorough we’ve ever seen:

Starting with solid fundamentals, the author covers the addition of a rear-view camera, custom GPS and A/V software, an LED message sign for the rear window, custom voice commands, phone integration, and custom dashboard gauges.  If you’re even thinking about adding a custom PC to your ride, this is an excellent place to start.

Building your own car PC will give you the ultimate in geek points, but in today’s world of cheap tablets, it’s probably not the simplest route.  If you want modern amenities without designing them from the ground up, check out this hacked Nook Color installation to supply music and navigation in a Jeep:

Design your own DIY gauge cluster

Alternatively, maybe you’re looking for something to help monitor your vehicle’s performance.  In that case, you can dive a bit deeper into the world of engine management and OBDII, the standard protocol used to communicate engine performance and emissions data.  For inspiration, check out these impressive projects:

Beef up security

Kill-switch projects are all over the interwebs, and you can be as creative as you want when disabling your vehicle to thwart would-be theives.  One of the more interesting implementations we’ve found uses a full IPv6 implementation via wireless to enable starting the engine:

Build a completely new vehicle

DIY homebrew car from junk

Don’t have a car to work on?  Not a problem. Just ask this guy:

Go to a junkyard, scour your garage, and start throwing together parts.  Learn to cut.  Learn to weld.  Start with bicycle parts, then scooters, then move up to full size wheels and whatever else you can find.  The world is your oyster – an oyster that you should be tearing across as fast and as crazily as possible.

Hopefully some of these projects gives you inspiration for your own nefarious vehicle modifications.  Do you have an amazing hacked ride or an idea for a great car hacking project?  Let us know in the comments.

Top image credit: How to mod Xbox 360

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