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Mustang Interior Upgrade Guide

Written By: Lisa Schaefer

While the Mustang is a looker on the outside, the interior is where you spend all of your time. Although the S550 Mustang has been generally well praised for its interior, previous gens have received mixed reviews of their interiors. Harsh materials and not entirely ergonomic designs have cause frustrations for some owners, but all things considered it is pretty standard for a sub $50K sports/muscle/pony car. This guide will go over how you can improve the look, feel and function of your Mustang’s interior.

American Muscle

What Can I Upgrade In My Mustang’s Interior?

You can modify your Mustang’s:

•    Arm rests, head rests, and center console
•    Audio system
•    Dash
•    Door sill plates
•    Floor mats and carpets
•    Gauges and gauge pods
•    Interior lighting
•    Interior trim
•    Nav/GPS system
•    Pedals
•    Rear seats (delete kits)
•    Seat belts and harnesses
•    Seats
•    Shift knobs
•    Steering wheel
•    Trunk mat and accessories


Aftermarket Mustang Head Rests, Arm Rests, & Center Consoles

Often sold as a set, but also available individually, you can replace the plain head rests, arm rests, and center console piece for an aftermarket one. Touch pieces (things you actually touch in your interior) should be made from nice and durable materials such a strong vinyl or leather. Often, enthusiasts upgrade these pieces so that they all have a matching theme or design to give the cabin a more personal feel.



Aftermarket Mustang Audio Systems

If you can actually hear your radio over the sound of your Mustang’s exhaust, you can upgrade the speakers and head unit. For some enthusiast, owning a Mustang is all about cruising and having fun, which is why many look to replace the stock head units and speakers for nicer ones that deliver a better sound.



Aftermarket Mustang Dash Kits

The dash of your Mustang is constantly starring you in the face every time you get in or out of your car and even while you drive. You can get a dash overlay kit that attaches on top of your Mustang’s dash and can come in anything from a solid color to carbon fiber. Dash kits are a small but integral piece of your interior’s puzzle and will ultimately help to tie together whatever theme you go with.


Mustang Door Sill Plates

Door sill plates are that insert that is on the bottom of the door frame that you see when you get in and out of your Mustang. For many newer Mustangs, you can replace these and have them light up different color. Door sill plates can also be customized with different designs that are more representative of who you are and what you want your build to embody.



Mustang Floor Mats & Carpets

Mustang floor mats and carpets are more straightforward and tend to more of a maintenance item for most enthusiasts. You don’t have to wait for your floor mats to get destroyed before your replace them as you can buy many that have a unique or different logo/design on them.

There are also floor mats that are designed to trap in water, mud, and general dirt and debris that can be removed and rinsed off with a hose. It is common practice for many enthusiasts who live in states with a cold/snowy winter to have a set of winter mats and a set of summer mats for their Mustang.



Mustang Gauges & Gauge Pods

For more performance oriented Mustangs, you want to be in tune with everything going on with your vehicle which is why you need aftermarket gauges to monitor a myriad of functions. Aftermarket gauges can give you various fluid temperatures, boost amount, rpms, voltage readings, air/fuel ratios, and more. If you have a boosted Mustang, you especially want a set of gauges to monitor boost output, air/fuel, and oil temps.

When you don’t have enough space to install these gauges, you will need a set of gauge pods to your Mustang. Gauge pods can be mounted on the dash side-by-side or stacked on top of each other going down the A-pillar. You can add a single gauge pod to your Mustang, with the best mounting location being the A-Pillar.


Aftermarket Mustang Interior Lighting

There factory interior Mustang lighting can burnout after a while or just diminish overtime. Most interior lighting upgrades are sold as a kit and replace the dome/map lights only. The most common replacement is an LED bulb that will shine much brighter than the stock lights.



Mustang Interior Trim Upgrades

Mustang interior trim pieces are usually offered in billet or carbon fiber finishes and can include the:

•    Center console
•    Lock switches
•    Door handles
•    Headlight switch
•    Door lock pins
•    E-Brake handle
•    The shift knob
•    The seat release
•    Button covers

Typically, these pieces are all sold individually and can be bought for any touch point in your Mustang’s interior. Most of the pieces are “covers” and just snap onto whatever they are covering. Interior trim is fairly easy to install and will make a large impact on your Mustang’s interior.



Mustang GPS/Navigation System Upgrade

Whether your Mustang came with a GPS system or not, you can add one to your interior. There are a variety of options when it comes to Mustang navigation systems, with most of them including Bluetooth, directions, and general infotainment abilities like playing music. Mustang GPS systems can be a tricky upgrade but one you will ultimately be glad you made when you can’t find your way home from you next car show.



Mustang Pedal Upgrades

You can upgrade the pedals on your Mustang by replacing them with something more decorative. You can buy pedal covers that attach onto your existing pedals and give you a shiny appearance.



Mustang Rear Seat Delete Kits

A popular modification for performance oriented builds is deleting the rear seats. A read seat delete kit will force you to remove the rear seats and all of the hardwood holding them in, covering it with a lightweight composite board that is carpeted to maintain a clean look for your interior. In total, rear seat delete kits tend to shave off about 15-25 lbs depending upon your gen and body style, but nonetheless they will lighten your Mustang, giving you improved handling and acceleration.



Aftermarket Mustang Seats, Seat Belts, & Harnesses

Another performance oriented upgrade that can shed anywhere from 10-50 lbs or more weight out of your Mustang is replacing the factory seats with a set of aftermarket ones. Aftermarket Mustang seats typically get bolted right onto your frame to provide you with a fixed driving position that is a perfect fit for you.

Some seats use a fixed back while other offer a reclining back, but if you are going for a race seat you will want a fixed back. The firmer you're planted in your seat during a race or a drag pull, the less you'll have to focus on keeping yourself positioned and the more you can concentrate on your driving. There are some inbetween options that recline, but also sport large side bolsters to keep you in place. While also being comfortable, the inbetween seats also have slits for racing harnesses.

Continuing on the performance theme, if you are racing your Mustang one of the necessities for racing on the track is improving your belts and harness system. While the factory belts use a 3-point belt system with 3 points of contact, aftermarket belts can come in 4, 5, and 6-point harnesses that will keep you snugly held within your seat.

Adding a set of aftermarket belts will require you to properly anchor them to the frame so that they hold up in a crash. You will also want to make sure whatever belt you buy is DOT approved if you plan on driving your Mustang on the street with it as some belts don’t provide the proper protection in your average, low speed crash.


Factory Seat Brackets & Racing Seats

One thing to be mindful about in regards to racing seats is most factory seat brackets are not compatible, and new brackets will be required for proper installation. While the race seat itself does not vary by Mustang model or year range, the required brackets are generation specific. So be sure to add the proper brackets to your order to complete your upgrade.


Mustang Shift Knobs

A popular and easy upgrade that will drastically improve the look of your interior is swapping out the stock shift knob for an aftermarket one. While most short throw shifter assemblies replace the shift knob as well as the shifting mechanism, you can still replace just the shift knob by itself. Shift knobs are generally a non-performance upgrade but can improve the ergonomics and feel of your stock shifter.



Mustang Steering Wheels

Steering wheels are often an overlooked interior upgrade, but one that can give your Mustang a whole new driving feel. Steering wheels will either reuse the factory airbag or remove the airbag functionality from your wheel and will remove the functionality of any buttons you have on your steering wheel (unless you have certain OEM Ford wheels). Steering wheels can come in a variety of finishes such as alcantara, leather, and wood, with alcantara being the best for performance focused driving. 

Some steering wheels, like more racing focused wheels, will require a steering wheel hub adapter. Most brands will carry an adapter for their specific wheels. 


Mustang Trunk Mats and Trunk Accessories

Although your trunk may not get much use, you can replace the trunk mat for one that has a design or non-fabric material. You can also add storage containers to your trunk area to make grocery/shopping trips easier to manage.



What are the most common weight removal techniques Mustang owners use to drop track times?

The most popular Interior modification in this area is a rear seat delete kit which can be purchased in either aluminum for a clean look, or a simple carpet covering to continue the flow of your interior upholstery.

These kits are relatively easy to install as they are built to the size of your specific model Mustang. The following most popular interior mod is racing seats which delete any function of electronic preferences such as: heated seats or lumbar option and will remove a significant chunk of weight.

Not only do can these seats drop weight they can also contain the driver more firmly while sitting in the car for a better driving experience (it should be considered that new seat frames may need to be installed for a proper fit). 

Non Weight Reducing Mustang Performance Mods

Other performance areas such as rolls bars or full roll cages, while in the end add weight, will strengthen the structure of your Mustang while in many cases providing safety and an aggressive, race car look. Depending on your Mustang’s drag times, you may be required to have a roll cage installed in your car and even more so for a convertible Mustang.

An enthusiast with an intermediate level of mechanical knowledge can install roll bars or styling bars, but you should be aware that you might have to cut into your interior trim for proper fitment. Roll cages require welding to be properly installed safely and should be done so by a professional to meet NHRA racing requirements. 

Can I Paint Interior Trim Parts?

For plastic parts, generally a very fine sanding can aid in the paint sticking to the trim. This also keeps the plastic from becoming too rough and taking multiple passes with paint. As for aluminum, an aluminum oxide primer is crucial to a smooth and effective application of the paint. Once the primer is dry, painting on the primer is applicable.

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