Technology is moving on so quickly and modern cars are being fitted with more gizmos, gadgets and safety features than ever before. Not so long ago, when you bought a new car the basic model was extremely…well, basic. Any “luxuries” were extra; electric windows, sun roof, air-con, decent audio, wheels. Okay, not wheels, but very little was fitted as standard. Now, we take all of these things for granted and even small, cheap models come with big car accessories.
However, if you’re not in a position to buy a new car, there are some great gadgets out there that you can fit to older cars. These can give you a better driving experience and some of them make for safer driving too. Here’s a few of our top gadgets.
Smart Phone Holder
We all know that we shouldn’t be using our phones to call or text while we’re driving and there are many hands-free options. But smart phones are now so much more than just phones. If your car doesn’t have sat-nav fitted, your phone probably has an app for it using its GPS technology, but it’s not safe to just prop it up against the windscreen. There is a variety of holders for securing all types of phone and even small tablets to the dashboard so you can navigate safely. Just make sure it’s not in your line of vision. Some of these holders incorporate a high-speed charger for your phone.
Once only available in the domain of high tech fighter pilots, heads-up displays are now a factory-fitted option on some makes of car. But you can also buy this cool gadget to fit on the top of the dash yourself. There are several different styles with varying functions. Some project data onto the windscreen while others have a built-in glass screen and none of them obstruct your line of sight. They can display sat-nav and compass, hands-free call info, journey info such as speed limits, location of “safety” cameras, fuel economy and range. Some can even plug into the car’s diagnostic system providing you with key information about the performance of components.
If your car doesn’t support Bluetooth technology there are lots of adaptors on the market which enable you to stream music from your phone through the car’s speaker system and make hands-free calls. They come in many different designs and prices to suit all pockets. Most have controls to adjust the volume, play, stop and skip tracks and end calls. Some plug into the audio or aux ports on the radio while others use the lighter socket. You can also get them with dual USB ports to charge your other gadgets.
Tyre Pressure Monitors
Your tyres are your connection with the road and having them at the right pressure makes them wear evenly, lengthening their life and also helping to improve your fuel economy. Pressure monitors fit on to your tyre valves and, depending on the type, either send information to your phone via Bluetooth or to a separate unit which plugs into the lighter socket. The system will send a warning signal if a tyre drops below a certain pressure, which can be pre-set by you. Some models also measure the temperature of the tyres and have an alarm which sounds if there is a rapid loss of pressure.
Dash cams have been around for a while now, and we’ve all seen images on Facebook of the crazy driving on the roads. Entire TV series have been made from dash cam footage. There are loads of different types which fit on the dash or onto the back of the rear-view mirror. Those with 1080p HD quality let you replay a stunning scenic drive or exciting stretch of road. Now there are dual front and rear dash cams which can be crucial as evidence if you are the victim of a non-fault accident or a road rage incident.
Many new cars have technology to make parking easier and some can even park themselves. But if you still have to do it the old-fashioned way, you can buy a camera to fit to the back of the car. Not only will it save you from scratching or denting your rear end but will warn you of children or animals going behind the car when you’re about to back up.
GPS Vehicle Tracker
Your car is usually your second biggest purchase after your house, so you don’t want to lose it. Fitting a tracker which uses GPS and mobile phone technology will help to get your car back quickly if some low-life makes off with it. Trackers can be hard wired into the car’s electrics, or you can get portable models which can be attached to the underside of the car. Higher spec trackers have motion sensors which send an alarm to your phone if there’s unexpected movement and an SOS button which can alert the police. These can also be useful for finding your car if you forget where you parked and keeping track of your teenage kids when they hit the road.
Portable Jump Starter/Compressor
Finding yourself in an isolated spot with a flat battery or flat tyre can be a nightmare but keeping a jump starter with a compressor in the car will get you out of trouble. They come in many shapes and sizes, but you need to get one that is powerful enough to get you going. Many have extra features such as flashlights, multiple USB ports and adapters to inflate bike tyres, air beds, footballs, etc.
You can have all the safety gadgets fitted to your car, but you can’t rely on other drivers. If somebody drives into you, you can make a claim against them. Consult a car accident claims legal expert to find out how much compensation you might be entitled to. Your case will be helped if you’ve got your dash cam images of the incident.