They say that our car is not just a mere transport; it’s our mini-home where you travel in with your friends and families. Going on a family vacation, dropping off your kids at school, going on a date; we have so many memories attached, don’t we?
Whether it is for transport, racing, showing off, or a mere hobby, having a car bestows you with a unique sense of accomplishment. Your car is your private space that you decorate at will and it perfectly reflects your style, mood, and aesthetic sense.
That being said, whether you just bought your first car or have been driving for ages, certain essentials can greatly enhance your driving experience while promising added safety and maintenance for your car.
Having a set of these handy tools can save you a lot of trouble and make your driving a whole lot easier. Inspired by the post at autosimple.com, here’s our Sri Lankan list of essential gear for your motor vehicle!
1. Car charger
How to keep your phone charged while on a long road trip? Solution: a car charger. Rushing for the office and forgot to charge your phone? Solution: a car charger. Did the camera run out of battery on a family trip? Solution? Yup, you guessed it!
A car phone charger is no different than a traditional mobile charger except that it draws power from the car’s battery rather than a wall-socket. It works like a normal charger and keeps your device powered up as you travel.
Moreover, in today’s busy schedules, it’s unlikely that your phone can survive a whole day without getting charged at least once. Normally, there are two types of plug-ins in a car for charging phones:
- Cigarette lighter
As the name suggests, it is primarily used for lightening a cigarette by heating the coil via electric current. However, you can also charge your device via this port but you are going to need a dedicated charger for it that fits the port.
- USB port
Things get easier if you have a USB port installed in your car. Simply use a data cable to connect to the port at one end and your device at the other end.
Providing your phone a different voltage value than its required voltage can damage your battery. For instance, using a cigarette lighter(with a standard voltage of 12V) to charge a phone with a 5V charging requirement can have an adverse effect on the phone.
While you may not notice it now but in the long run, your device’s battery will get compromised eventually. Therefore, use a car charger only when necessary. Don’t make it a habit. Also, use only the original charger.
2. Charging cable
We’ve already gone over why we need a car charger. Now it comes to another one of its applications i-e a charging cable. Obviously, you are after all planning to use the charger with a suitable charging cable. Else, the charger won’t work in the first place.
Data cables come in all shapes and types. Choosing the right one for your phone & car is critical for fast and efficient charging. Normally, the devices use a cable with a USB-C port at one end and a USB-B port at the other end. If you plan to use a cigarette lighter for charging, the cable may vary.
A charging cable comes in handy in charging other devices as well such as digital cameras, mp3/mp4 player, digital watches, and more. Thus, it is a must-have item in your vehicle gear.
3. Car phone holder
Suppose you are trying to find your destination via phone GPS while driving. Not only it might be inconvenient for you to drive while holding the phone in one hand but it’s also dangerous. To address such issues, we have a car phone holder.
A car phone holder is a case to hold your phone that is then mounted on the dashboard. It simply grabs your phone while facing towards you so that you can still look at the screen while driving.
The most prominent use of a car phone holder is for GPS navigation. You might’ve observed it when taking an Uber or any other online cab. You don’t have to hold the phone in your hand the entire time. Simply have a glance at your phone in front of you, adjust your route, and focus back on driving. You also get car phone holders with wireless charging which helps you with navigation without your phone giving up on you anytime soon.
Secondly, you can avoid distractions while driving as taking your eyes off the road can very well prove fatal. Next time you get a call when driving, you don’t have to rush to find the phone in your pockets to see who is calling. To make the most of a car phone holder, don’t hesitate to enjoy music or audiobooks while driving.
4. Dash cam aka Car DVR’s
Have you ever seen those videos on the internet showing a road rage, accident, or cop chase from inside the car? Well, no one was holding the camera all along. It was actually a dashboard camera (short form: dash cam) that captured the entire event.
A dash cam is like a mini-camera that is installed on a car’s dashboard facing the windscreen. It acts as a video recorder to capture all the events while driving. A dash cam functions differently than a standard camera as it is primarily used for video recording instead of capturing photos. Also, it has limited storage capacity and therefore, the new footage automatically overwrites the older one.
It is powered by a battery that lasts for a few hours. However, an easy way of powering the dash cam is to plug it in the car charger so it keeps running as long as the engine is running. Just make sure your car’s battery is in good health as a car dvr will draw power from it constantly for few hours straight.
A dash cam provides you with first-hand evidence in case of a car accident. You don’t have to worry anymore about some idiot smashing your car and getting away with it due to lack of evidence.
People also tend to behave well when they realized they are being recorded. You can capture any potential road rage or report reckless driving if you have video footage. Similarly, leaving the dash cam running overnight or when parked can prevent car thefts or any such attempts.
Moreover, you can film your entire road trip while capturing the outdoor beauty and saving it as a pleasant memory. You can always look back to it and feel the nostalgia.
The use of dash cams has grown exponentially over the use and for all the right reasons. You won’t regret investing in one of them.
5. Car Vacuum cleaner
Just like your house needs timely cleaning, so does your car. After all, it’s your private space that needs just as much attention. Especially, cleaning the inside of the car is very important because, over time, the dust and debris tend to pile up. These pollutants not only make you uncomfortable but can cause irritation and allergies as well.
A car vacuum cleaner, as the name suggests, is a vacuum cleaner specifically designed for cleaning cars. These are comparatively smaller and more lightweight than a standard vacuum cleaner. They are available in both corded and cordless versions where the corded car vacuum cleaner can be plugged into the car’s outlet.
As stated before, car vacuum cleaners are smaller, lightweight, and highly mobile. Secondly, they are cordless so you don’t need to worry about finding a wall socket. Just charge yours whenever a connection is available and store it in the car’s trunk; their compact size won’t occupy much space either.
Their compact design makes them excellent for sucking any dirt even in the tightest of places. A car vacuum cleaner will remove any dirt that might not even be visible to you. It has a long tube-like sucker, thin enough to reach all around the car.
Lastly, using a car vacuum cleaner is no rocket science. It is simple enough to use by anyone. Just experiment with the ON/OFF buttons and you’ll get a hang of it.
A car vacuum cleaner will keep your car interior in tip-top position. It will readily remove any dust, strings, pet hair, or food crumbs. It is one investment that your car will enjoy for a long time while making your rides much more comfortable.
6. Bluetooth headset
If you have ever been pulled over by a cop and fined for using a phone while driving, you are going to love what a Bluetooth headset has to offer. Attending a phone call while driving is not just a traffic violation but a serious threat to you as well. That is where bluetooth or True wireless earbuds comes to the rescue.
As you might already know, Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows the exchange of data or signals between two devices. So, with a cell phone and a wireless headset, you can attend phone calls via the headset while the phone rests nearby.
You don’t violate the law! In almost every country or state, attending a call by holding the phone in hand while driving is an offense and you could be very well stopped and fined by a cop. However, there is an exception when it comes to attending calls via Bluetooth headset.
As long as your both hands are on the steering, it’s all good. Some states have a law that prohibits using earphones on both ears but anyhow consider yourself safe when using a headset.
Not to forget, a Bluetooth headset allows hands-free phone use that takes care of all the hassle. Getting a call from your loved one? Simply press the little button on the headset and you can talk as you drive.
To make things more fun, you can pass voice commands to your smartphone, for instance, to play music or call someone while you focus on the road.
7. Vehicle storage organizers
Taking care of your belongings while driving can be a whole lot of nuisance. Sure, you can store the bulk of stuff back in the trunk but what about hand items like phone, comb, cigarette box, lighter, pen, earphones, glasses, and makeup items?
Since you might need them timely, they can’t be back in the trunk and needs to be a one-arm distance away from you always. To address such trivial but frustrating issues we have a vehicle storage organizer plate.
A vehicle storage organizer or simply a storage plate is a rectangular rubberized pad that can hold small items like mobile phones, glasses, and makeup items. It has multiple non-slip crisscrossed elastic straps that firmly hold an item in place. This storage plate is attached to the inside of the sun visor making all your items available right above you.
All your frequently used items are at one arm’s distance away from you. Simply turn the sun visor inside out and grab whatever you want or place it back there.
You don’t need to find your belongings in your pockets, suitcases, or handbags in a rush while driving. It’s super convenient having a vehicle storage organizer to do its job.
Secondly, this storage plate has ample space to hold almost all your necessary items whether it is a phone, pen, earbuds, glasses, hand sanitizer, or all at once. As it is already going over the sun visor, the storage plate doesn’t occupy any extra space as well. Don’t worry; your items won’t fall off either. The elastic straps used to hold items are tight enough to grab them firmly without slipping off.
A vehicle storage organizer is a simple solution to all your storage problems that can save you a whole lot of trouble and therefore, it makes it to our list of essential vehicle gear.
COVID safety essentials
With the advent of the novel Coronavirus disease, our lifestyles have been molded to quite an extent. We can’t go back to our old habits and hope not to catch the virus. Therefore, every time you head out, whether in a vehicle or not, always wear a face mask and keep a pocket hand sanitizer with you.
Some states may even have laws that make it mandatory to wear facemasks for two or more passengers in the car. It’s recommended to keep a spare mask as well in case the old one wears out. As for the mask, it’s suggested to have a KN-95 mask with you as it is more effective in preventing virus transmission and a little filter on its one side cleanses the air you inhale.
Whether you are grabbing your snack from a drive-through, using an ATM, or shopping at the local grocery store, always use a hand sanitizer before or after the deed. This way you save only not yourself but the other person as well.
This concludes our list of essential gear for your motor vehicle. Remember, the COVID essentials mentioned above are just as important as the others on the list. With these simple but handy items, your driving can be made much more comfortable and even fun. Don’t hesitate to renovate your mini-home with decals or little ornaments if you will. Hope you enjoy every minute of your traveling. Happy driving!