As of early 2017, the average purchase price of a new car in the US was almost $35,000. (Kelly Blue Book) The cost to own and operate it can average to around $8,000 or more per year (American Automobile Association, Inc). The costs are worth it because Americans spend about 290 hours per year on the road. That’s seven work weeks a year, so it’s worth it to have a good car that runs well and is comfortable to drive. For people spending that much time in their cars, it’s a good idea to invest a little more and make the car a truly comfortable, efficient, and pleasant place to be. Here are some great accessories to enhance your ride.
For safety and emergencies
- A mini jump starter – While jumper cables are a must-have, you’re not always within reach of a helpful stranger. A mini jump-starter will cover you in an emergency and is easy to store in the trunk.
- A portable air-compressor – Portable air-compressors are compact, inexpensive, and can be charged in a cigarette lighter. Save yourself from unexpected flats and slow leaks by keeping an air compressor in your car.
- A travel emergency/first aid kit – With luck, you’ll never need it, but it’s always a good idea to keep an emergency kit in the car. Choose one that includes basic injury and first aid supplies, a compact thermal blanket, and roadside flares.
- A device to break the car windows – There are small gadgets that will fit on your keychain and, in an emergency, cut a seatbelt and break a car window. For the small size and low price, it’s a good investment for your peace of mind.
Accessories to ease long morning drives
- A car charger – A USB car charger is useful in a variety of situations, but keeping your devices alive during a long, traffic-packed commute is a must.
- A key tracker – Avoid late starts due to missing keys with a key tracker. Using Bluetooth to pair the devices, your phone will always know where your keys are. Just don’t lose your phone.
- An in-car coffee maker – If your mornings involve hours spent in slow traffic, an in-car coffee maker can ease the pain and make sure you arrive fully fueled. These are generally designed to use a coffee pod and powered by the cigarette lighter, and sometimes the smell of fresh coffee alone is enough to perk you up.
- A portable Wi-Fi hotspot – A portable Wi-Fi hotspot not only occupies passengers, children, and carpoolers, but it can be a godsend if you need to pull over and email a document or attachment to the office on the fly.
- A car seat protector – Over time, a car seat can wear on upholstery. Protect the upholstery and make cleaning easy with a car seat cover. Here are some good options:
Brica Seat Guardian Car Seat Protector The Brica car seat protector is designed to fit all car seats and enhances safety with dual grip traction technology. The included kick protection and durable surface make keeping car seats and upholstery clean and undamaged. Reviewers love how it protects their expensive leather seats.
Ohuhu 2-Pack Baby Child Car Auto Carseat Seat Protector Cover Dog Mat Vehicle Cover With Organizer The Ohuhu car seat protector secures car seats and fits all car and seat types. This car seat protector is easy to clean and has been crash-tested for safety. It also includes small mesh pockets to keep children’s necessities nearby and organized. Reviewers say that it’s useful and durable.
Car Seat Protector with Thickest Padding Lusso’s car seat protector provides good looks and comfort. This car seat protector is water resistant and easy to clean, as well as stylish and good looking. It includes storage and organizing pockets, to keep small items convenient and off the floor, and has a one-year money-back guarantee. Customers love this car seat protector. Reviewers say that it’s useful and durable.
Accessories for maximum comfort
- A car air purifier – While a freshener makes a car smell nice, an air purifier removes dust, pollutants, and even bacteria from the air inside your car. If you are stuck in traffic for a long time, purifying the air from pollutants is a good idea and better for your health. And even if you aren’t, improving air quality inside the car makes it a more enjoyable place to be.
- A sound-deadening floor mat – Reducing road noise is one of the key factors that differentiate luxury cars, and actually makes the drive more pleasant and relaxing. Reduce fatigue, increase energy, and make your car stereo sound better with sound-deadening floor mats.
- A seat belt cover – Seat belt covers reduce discomfort from over-the-shoulder belts and prevent weird wrinkles in shirts.
- A neck pillow – Make your seat even more comfortable with a neck pillow to provide support and comfort where you most need it.
Show off your style
- Freshen the air – A car air freshener can be so much more than a tree hanging from the rear-view mirror (although that is a classic). Air fresheners can offer the benefits of aromatherapy to enhance mood or energy, or be weird and funny to show off your personality.
- Gear shift knobs – If you haven’t looked at gear shift knobs lately, take a look. From Stormtroopers to color-changing LED lights, leopard prints and Hello Kitty, a fanciful gear shift knob is an eye-catching accessory.
- Steering wheel covers – While basic steering wheel covers protect the wheel from damage and add comfort, don’t discount the wilder options. They can be funny or fuzzy or floral; there are options for every taste.
With all the time spent in your car, a little extra time and attention to details and accessories can improve your drive and your mood, as well as express your personality.