10 of the best (US) car gadgets you didn’t know you needed

Note from the Editor: although Gadgette is a primarily UK site, we do have an international audience. This is a guest post for our readers in the US, although you may be able to find the same/similar products here. Please excuse the spelling. Over to Kayla!

New cars today come with so many gadgets it’s hard to believe you might need more — but there are plenty of impressive tools to make your car a little bit more comfortable and entertaining during your long drives or morning commute.

Here’s a list of 10 car gadgets you didn’t know you needed, but will probably want to add to your shopping cart soon after learning about them.

1. ARB Exhaust Jack ($250, Amazon)

Getting a flat tire sucks, and it always seems to happen at the most inopportune times. If the area where you’ve pulled off has soft sand or mud instead of a nice hard asphalt or packed earth surface, chances are the jack that came with your car isn’t going to cut it.

The ARB Exhaust Jack is an inflatable balloon you fill by hooking it up to your car’s exhaust. It can easily lift most cars far enough off the ground to change a tire and takes up infinitely less space than a traditional jack.

2. Bestek 300W 12V Power Inverter ($29.99, Amazon)

Phone chargers for your car can be helpful in a pinch, but they don’t charge your phone nearly as fast as plugging into the wall — which can be hard to do in a car.

The Bestek Power Inverter can plug into your car’s cigarette lighter or be attached directly to the battery to power just about anything from an electric cooler to a television. It also has 2 USB ports for charging mobile devices.

3. Fobo Tire Plus ($299.99, Fobo)

Keeping your tires at the correct tire pressure is one of the best ways to extend their lifespan and improve your gas mileage, but stooping down to check each tire individually is a pain in the spine — literally. The Fobo Tire Plus system allows you to remotely monitor the pressure of each tire by using Bluetooth sensors on each tire valve.

4. Handpresso ($159.99, Amazon)

Most of us can’t manage to get through our morning without a good cup of coffee, but stopping at the local coffee shop can be a pain — especially first thing in the morning when everyone else is also trying to get their morning caffeine fix. The Handpresso fits in your car’s cup holder, plugs into a cigarette lighter and makes the perfect cup of coffee right there in your car in just two minutes.

5. Automatic Car Adapter ($129.99, Amazon)

Seeing that check engine light is a significant stressor for most car owners because it means you have to take the time to go to the shop or parts store and get your codes pulled. The Automatic Car Adaptor takes all the hassle out of the Check Engine light by allowing you to pull codes directly from your car with the companion mobile app.

If your car is 1996 or newer and equipped with OBD II, this adaptor is a great gadget. It also offers Alexa integration, which is an excellent option for anyone who loves smart devices and AI.

6. Garmin Head Up Display ($149.99, Garmin)

GPS navigation is a great tool — you’ll never get lost again, but looking down at your phone to check when you’re supposed to turn is dangerous and can lead to a car accident. If you’ve got a Garmin or an iPhone, the Garmin Head Up Display gadget will project your navigation and other information on your windshield, so you can keep track of your turns without having to take your eyes off the road.

7. Ventev Wireless Pro Dock ($50, Amazon)

If you have a phone that’s compatible with wireless charging, there’s no reason to clutter up your car with a bunch of different charging wires. The Ventev Wireless Pro Dock plugs into your vehicle and offers wireless charging with a hands-free dock that attaches easily to your dash or A/C Vent. It also has a lifetime warranty — if it breaks, you can get a new one for free.

8. Podofo A1 Mini Car DVR Dash Cam ($39.99, GadgetMyCar)

A dash cam can be an invaluable tool in establishing fault if you get into an accident. You can also use it to capture beautiful scenic vistas during your road trips. The A1 Mini Car Dash Cam by Podofo records with a wide-angle lens at 1080p, loops the recording back once the storage is full and has a G-sensor that automatically locks and saves the video in the event of an accident.

9. Audiovox 7-Inch Digital LED Back-Lit Headrest DVD Player ($137.99, Amazon)

If you’ve got young kids, keeping them entertained during a long car ride can be a nightmare. This Audiovox 7-inch digital LED DVD player is built into your headrest, so there are no extra straps to worry about. Just plug it in, pop in your kid’s favorite DVD and you’re good to go — at least for the length of the movie, that is.

10. FRiEQ Air Freshener and Ionic Air Purifier ($13.99, Amazon)

Let’s face it — the inside of your car can get dirty no matter how thoroughly you clean it. Stinky shoes, sweaty passengers and beach sand all add up to a messy, smelly car. The FriEQ air freshener and ionic air purifier works to keep those unpleasant smells to a minimum by covering up scents and purifying the air inside your vehicle. This is a beautiful thing, especially if you spend a lot of time with your air conditioner on and the windows up.

With these 10 car gadget options — and the many more out there — it’s easy to trick out your favorite ride with all the best toys to make your commute or road trip more comfortable.

Product images courtesy of relevant manufacturer/supplier. Main image by Samuele Errico Piccarini on Unsplash.

About Kayla Matthews 3 Articles
Kayla Matthews is a Pittsburgh-based technology journalist and senior writer for MakeUseOf. You can read more of her work on Triple Pundit, Tech Girl, VentureBeat, and her tech and productivity blog, Productivity Bytes.