Aftermarket Options Forum

I have become addicted to this site. And I greatly appreciate the info provided by the experts in the subject matter. Within two weeks I will close on a new lease and will have my most fair deal to date because of LH.

I am in the automotive aftermarket business (my company sells and installs leather interiors, electronics and the like) in NY and would love to see a category dedicated to dealing in this space. Aftermarket options are directly connected to leasing and I would gladly be the first registered dealer! For example, adding leather to some of Jim’s crazy Tacoma and Tundra deals would be awesome! This is true of many other trucks too, where the spread between trims makes aftermarket leather advantageous. And believe it or not, we have hacks in that space (custom built, cancelled leather kits at blowout prices from the manufacturers and overstocks for example) and I would love to connect with interested buyers to share expertise and maybe even make some deals!


So a question that immediately jumps to my mind as it regards to leasing.

When you lease a vehicle, you need to return the lease w/ the same exact equipment as when the lease began. The entire Aftermarket connotation seems to fly in the face of that.

If one leases a vehicle w/ say cloth seats and aftermarket they choose to add leather covers or other physical mods, how does one return the lease in the original condition? If they need to do a complete uninstall / removal of the aftermarket mods, then essentially they have rented that mod for 24-36mos of the lease, which is likely a much more expensive proposition than the folks here at LH are looking for, yes/no?

To me, it seems the Aftermarket mod business is really more suited for folks looking to own their vehicle, that can gain a 5-7 year Return on Investment (ROI).

I really don’t think a sub-forum or section for Aftermarket Mods make sense for this website, but maybe others think otherwise.

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You raise an interesting point but while this forum focuses mainly on leasing, we can apply many of these same principles to retail purchase when it makes sense on the desired vehicle.

This can make modifications like these make more sense. On the lease return aspect, I suppose one would remove the modifications and resell them.

The typical rule of thumb is that if you add a factory-style leather interior then you will not have a problem with lease return - ie: the vehicle has gray cloth and you install a matching gray leather. In most cases, the lease return inspector has no idea how the vehicle was originally equipped anyway and since you’ve added value, it isn’t an issue. That said, we have replaced interiors with custom colors and even embroidered people’s names in the seats of leased vehicles - I wouldn’t recommend that!! At least not unless you plan to return it to stock which, to answer your question, is entirely possible. Typically when we install leather, we cut the cloth off of the factory seats - this is a much faster way of doing it. But, we can usually save the interior if desired. And it can be reinstalled later. Probably not the most economically viable option, but if you just need to have that purple and orange leather, returning to stock is your best option!

Do you install new head units for those who want to add CarPlay/Android Auto to older cars?

My dad added a remote start to a lease and removed it at the end. I dont think he had to, but he did anyway

Yes, we do. In some vehicles, though, CarPlay can be integrated into the factory audio system.

And obviously leather is one of the more questionable items to add to a lease but recently we’ve done things like:

  1. Add front seat heaters to a 2019 BMW 550i M sport that didn’t have it from the factory
  2. Add smart hands-free unlock (via Bluetooth) to a 2019 BMW X3 without comfort access door handle entry
  3. Upgrade a Honda HRV rear liftgate to power

These are all items that would never be picked up on in a turn-in inspection. Given that we are in a market with such high lease penetration, a high % of the new cars we work on are leased. And we install a lot of leather in lease returns that are purchased by dealers for their used car lots - the last thing a manufacturer needs to worry about is a remote start added to the vehicle when you see the condition that some of these cars come back in!!!

I don’t understand why someone would penny pinch to get a cheap Tacoma but then splurge on getting leather seats that they will only use for 2-3 years. I already feel somewhat wasteful tinting my car windows with every new lease.


Many people go as far as mod suspension, wheels, engine, then sell parts for peanuts at lease return. People are people.

I think it was more about the Tundra. Prior to 2020 MY, you had to go Limited or above for leather. This year, you can get it in the SR5.

With the Taco, I have had a number of customers add heated seat(s) to it.

@JamesBond - it’s all about your POV. I look at it as a way to facilitate a custom hack. To the point made by @Bostoncarconcierge, there are a lot of people that aren’t able to hack leases on the higher trim level when often times the main or only features they care about can be added aftermarket. But it isn’t limited to the Tundra - there are always scenarios in which buyers don’t pull the trigger on a deal because the car is missing a specific feature they want. There are also many times that this realization happens after the deal has already been signed - I can’t tell you how many times we add HomeLink to a vehicle because the buyer didn’t realize it wasn’t included. And there’s always the “the salesperson told me it had heated seats”…

Great idea.