Better Options Available in Aftermarket Warning Systems

Dear Car Talk:

I have a 2007 GMC Sierra 1500 pickup truck. It is in great condition and has low miles. I would like to install (or have installed) one of the latest safety options -- blind spot warning.

Are there good aftermarket blind spot warning systems you can install on an older car? -- Dan

Blind spot warning is one of the great safety inventions of our time, Dan.

The only people who disagree are chiropractors, who are losing business because people no longer have to violently whip their necks around to see what's in their left lane.

You can get an aftermarket blind spot warning system installed in an older car. They're not quite as good as factory installed systems, but some are close.

The downsides of aftermarket systems are that they require a lot of work to install and their accuracy varies more than factory systems. By accuracy, we mean that they tend to give you more false positives, detecting things that aren't always cars coming up in the next lane behind you.

That said, the best of them seems to be the Brandmotion RDBS 1500. It costs around $600, and you might pay as much again to have it installed professionally.

Installation involves internal wiring, removing the bumper, modifying it to hold the sensors and modifying the interior A-pillars to install the warning lights.

The Brandmotion not only has very good accuracy but also includes rear cross-traffic alert, which warns you -- when you're backing up -- if a car is coming toward you down the street from either direction.

It can be installed on 2007 and newer vehicles but not vehicles with metal bumpers, so you'll have to check with them and see if it'll work on your truck. If not, you'll have to keep looking.

For installation, I'd check with your dealer or, more likely, a high-quality shop that installs stereo and alarm systems. They're used to doing that kind of wiring without making the inside of your car look like Apollo 11.

Most importantly, try to find a shop that's done it before. You'd rather not be Patient Zero if you can help it.

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