If the thought of adding a cool gadget to your car leaves you breathless, you’re not alone. Millions of vehicle gadgets and add-ons are sold in the U.S. every day. And look at the choices you have.
“You can find gadgets that make your car run better, make your commute easier and give your car a boost in the looks department.” — Alex Perdikis
And then there are gadgets that are just plain silly. Here are some of the car gadgets available in categories from the sublime to the “What were they thinking?”
OK, you’re running late. You forgot to set the coffee maker timer. No time to stop at the coffee shop. What can you do?
If you planned ahead, you have a coffee maker right in your car. Plug the unit into your cigarette lighter or 12-volt port and in no time you have that much needed caffeine boost. The more expensive brands let you use your own grounds. Most require their own branded coffee pods.
Eat, Drink, Spill
Accidents happen. People spend a lot of time in their cars. Eating and drinking lead to the inevitable spill from time-to-time. Add children to the equation and spills become even more common.
Sure, you can grab napkins, tissues or whatever else happens to be lying around. Or, you can use the handy-dandy instant cloth. The compact package is full of tiny tablets that, when splashed with a few drops of water, turn into a full-sized cleaning towel.
Pretty Me Up
It’s human nature to want to put your own stamp on your car. Maybe you have vanity plates. Of course, there are add-ons to purchase that make your car distinct and display your personality.
Many of these add-ons involve items designed to pretty a car up. Take for example the headlight eyelash add-on. With a little adhesive, your headlights can grow the longest set of eyelashes imaginable. You can also add crystal eyeliner for an added dash of flash.
Then there’s the Hello Kitty exhaust tailpipe. The faceless Hello Kitty shaped add-on has the icon’s famous bow and set of whiskers. No one would ever mistake who it is you love.
Boost Performance, Or Not
Many of the add-ons sold in the U.S. purport to boost a vehicle’s performance. Unfortunately, many do just the opposite. Others are simply useless.
Take the coffee can muffler. Many car enthusiasts love the sound of a high revving engine. It means power. But adding a coffee can muffler to a four-cylinder car is not only questionable but, when narrow exhaust pipe meets a large diameter opening, it also saps performance.
And about those big wheels — the big wheel look appeals to some but the handling trade-offs are enormous. Larger wheels increase vehicle weight and have a negative effect on the way a car handles and rides. Parking becomes a test of wills. And hit a curb or pothole — it’s goodbye tire.
Smarter and Wiser
Up to now, you’re probably thinking most car gadgets and add-ons are either silly or, at the very least, unnecessary. But, there are some gadgets that are worth it.
Every car should have jumper cables in the trunk. But, jumper cables only work if another car is available to help. That’s where a self-powered jump starter comes in. If you frequently drive in secluded areas or want the added security of not having to rely on other vehicles for a jump, this is one gadget worth buying.
A dashcam is another worthwhile gadget. On the lighter side, you can make panoramic videos of scenic drives you’ve taken. On the serious side, dashcam footage can capture events leading up to and during an accident.
Alex Perdikis, Koons of Silver Spring general manager and owner, lives in Chevy Chase with his wife and daughters.