Owning a car isn’t just about getting from Point A to Point B, it’s an extension of your personality. It can even feel like a temporary home while you’re driving. If you want your driving to be comfy and hassle-free, consider getting several accessories.
30 Must Have Car Accessories:
Most of the accessories we chose below are less than $100, but if not, we indicate how much they cost. You probably don’t need every single one of them, but over time, you can build up the accessories you use and get all of them.
For those times when your car won’t start because of battery problems. This is particularly useful during the cold season, and for older cars that may have weak batteries. Older cars also don’t automatically turn off your headlights when you turn the engine off.
The good thing is, a lot of jump starters now have additional accessories that will let you include other accessories listed below. Saving money and getting extra perks is always good!
Check out our list of the best jump starters here.
You may be a careful driver, but not every driver on the road is careful. To help you capture what happens in an accident, get a dashboard camera. You can even have fun with it and record the beautiful landscape that you pass by if you have a long drive. Check out our page on the Best Dash cam reviews here.
Blind Spot Mirrors
You ever looked at your side mirror and thought that there was no car beside you, then when you started to turn to the side, you hear a loud honk?
Every mirror has a blind spot. That could lead to accidents if you do not double check. A lot of newer car models now address that with side mirrors that let you see cars beside you. If your car doesn’t have that feature, then it’s best to invest on blind spot mirrors. Best thing is, they cost less than $5 on Amazon.
Whether your car is new or beat up, sooner or later, you will experience having a flat tire. To change it, you’ll need a hydraulic jack. Better have one in your car because asking for help from strangers would not be easy, and it would cost a lot to call roadside assistance (unless, of course your insurance covers it).
The LiftMaster Hydraulic jack costs $30 from Amazon.
When you got one of these jacks, practice removing and putting one of the wheels of your car so you won’t be spending an hour just trying to figure out where to put the jack and how to remove and put a tire onto your car.
Car Tool Set
Your hydraulic jack would be useless unless you have the tools needed for your car. You may also want to keep these tools for minor repairs you feel comfortable doing yourself. These tools aren’t very expensive either. The Apollo 56-piece Auto Tool Kit costs about $20 on Amazon.
Digital Tire Gauge
One winter while on a long drive towards home, I noticed the Check Tire light come on. We needed to stop at a gas station to check the tires. The problem is, the Shell station we stopped at only had the analog tire gauge–you know the one that has a stick that pops up with some lines and numbers on it.
It wasn’t what I needed. So I had to drive around some more to finally fill up air at a station equipped with a digital tire gauge.
A tire gauge can help keep the correct air pressure on your tires. It’s not difficult to use either. You just plug it into the tire’s air pin and it would measure the pressure. Adjust as needed. The Tekton Digital Tire Gauge costs less than $10 on Amazon.
Smartphone Car Mount
I sometimes wonder how anybody could drive without GPS these days. Even if you know the route from your home to the office, you still need to check the traffic. If traffic is heavy, you’d probably go through an alternate route.
It’s also tedious to hold your phone in one hand while holding on to the steering wheel with the other hand. If you’re driving a manual transmission car, then that is virtually impossible!
Better get a car mount for your smartphone. I personally recommend the Sunnest 3-in-1 Car Mount, which has a suction that works really great! It costs about $11 on Amazon.
Tissue Box Holder
One way or another, you’re bound to spill coffee, soda, or some other liquid on your car. Or if you’re in a relationship and some heart to heart talk gets out of hand, it would be great to easily reach out for Kleenex.
The Wanpool strap holder for Kleenex would work best. You can put the tissue box on your sun visor, on the headrest of your car, or even on top of the box between the driver and the passenger seat. The Wanpool strap holder costs about $12 on Amazon.
No matter how powerful your smartphone is, it will still lose battery juice. Especially if you use it heavily for GPS navigation. I seriously hope you’re not texting or checking Facebook while driving, because you’re just inviting accident to happen. Being able to charge your phone while you’re driving will help you keep up with calls, text messages, and emails as soon as you arrive at your destination.
Fast charging USB car chargers are now available like the Quick Charge 3.0 Anker USB car charger. It’s a little more expensive than your usual USB car charger, though. It costs about $30, but totally worth it.
It’s good to have a jump starter in your car, for those moments that it won’t start. But it would also be great if you had a jumper cable, so that when the jump starter is discharged, or if it doesn’t work, there is still a way for you to get your car started. I was once at Goodwill and a stranger asked me for help to get his car started. Thankfully he had a jump starter with him. So within 5 minutes, his car started and he was off.
The 16-foot Cartman Jumper Cable costs about $20.
First Aid Kit
No matter the season, you should have a first aid kit in your car. If you hurt yourself while out and about, or if you meet a minor accident, it is important to have something that can treat minor wound and bruises. And it’s not just for you, you can also help others in case they need help.
This 121-piece first aid kit from AAA costs about $24.
Car Air Purifier and Ionizer
Different cities have different air quality. But if your sense of smell is sensitive and you are prone to allergy, get a plug in car air purifier and ionizer. It can also work wonders in getting rid of second hand smoke if you allow smoking inside your car. If you tried everything just to get rid of smoke smell, and there are still traces of it left, this might be the answer to your problem.
The EcoBreeze Car Air Purifier costs $20.
Smart Driving Assistant
Did you ever have the Check Engine Light come on and you had no idea what it was about? The Smart Driving Assistant will help you figure these things out. Some issues on your car are best left to the professionals, but there are small things and tweaks you can do to troubleshoot your car and get it into shape.
The Smart Driving Assistant is not cheap, but it can help you save money on gas and maintenance because there’s an extra set of electronic eyes monitoring the car for you. It also comes with an app for your iPhone or Android device. The app provides information on gas prices and mechanics. It also monitors your trips and your driving habits for these trips (including hard brakes, sudden acceleration, and speeding). It will calculate how much gas you consumed for your driving tips.
The Smart Driving Assistant costs about $180.
Your trunk and even the interior of your car could easily become disorganized, cluttered, and messy. Bottles of different types of car spray, books, tools, and other things could contribute to the mess.
Contain the mess. Get a trunk organizer. The Road Pal trunk organizer costs about $20.
In any season, a cooler is good to have in your car. During the summer, you can put some ice pack to cool your water, soda, or any liquid. They say it’s dangerous to drink from a plastic bottle if it sat in your hot car for an extended period. You can even get a travel cooler that you can plug in to your car. That’s like having a personal fridge inside your car!
The Wagan travel cooler with 10.5 liters capacity costs $68 while the Black & Decker brand costs $72.
Fix a Flat
If you need a quick solution if you ever find yourself with a flat tire, then Fix-a-Flat should come in handy. It can get you going within a few minutes. This can seal punctured areas for up to 3/16 inch in diameter. That’s a pretty big area it can fix for you. Fix a Flat costs less than $5 on Amazon.
Just a fair warning, though. Several reviews on the web say that this product could fix your tire so you could use it one last time. It may mean that you’ll need to buy a new tire after. But still, that might be cheaper compared to having to call and pay for roadside assistance and towing.
Seatbelt Cutter Window breaker tool
You may not be James Bond, but if you ever find yourself in a situation where you can’t get yourself out of your seatbelt and you badly need to get out of the car, a seatbelt cutter and window breaker tool will come in handy.
Accidents do happen, and sometimes, when you are in a serious one, your mind may become hazy, or the car is starting to catch fire, being able to reach for a tool to help you get out of the car will be make a big difference.
Keep one or two of this in an easy-to-reach location near the driver’s seat, and another one at the back seats. This two-pack IPOW car safety anti-skid hammer and seatbelt cutter costs about $12.
Emergency Roadside Assistance Kit
This roadside assistance kit may cover some important accessories and tools covered in this post. It may contain jumper cables, first aid kit, a multi-purpose tool, tire gauge, whistle, flashlight, emergency warning triangle, and a whole lot more. You can choose to have different tools, but the important thing is to cover the basics you’ll need in case of an emergency.
This 76-piece roadside assistance kit from AAA costs about $60.
For long drives, you may strain your lower back and your neck by sitting still for several hours at the time. Help your neck handle the load through a neck support pillow. It costs less than $15 for a pair.
You will spill things onto your car–tobacco, coffee, chips and pieces of food–you better have a car vacuum handy to deal with all these without needing a trip for a car wash. It can also be handy in looking for small items such as earrings, coins, and pieces of paper that get lost inside your car.
Car vacuums’ price ranges from $14 for the basic ones to about $100 for the branded and pricey ones. Having one that costs about $20 should be enough.
To prevent the need to vacuum your car frequently, provide a litter basket or bin to gather wrappers and litter, and to minimize the mess inside your car. A litter basket for the car costs about $15. If you don’t want to shell out the money for this, you can be creative by getting a small crate from your garage and lining it with a plastic bag. The result will be the same.
This will probably cost 0 dollars since you can get a blanket from your bedroom and designate it as a car blanket. This will be more important during the winter with the possibility of getting stuck somewhere cold. But it also doesn’t hurt to keep one in your car year-long. During the summer, it could be used as a mat when you go to the park, the lake, or any place where you need to sit down on the ground.
Type A Rearview Mirror
To ensure safety while driving, you should be able to see the cars and the road behind you. A Type A rearview mirror will help maximize your field of view. You can also choose to get one that functions as a dashcam, which will record what happens behind you. If somebody bumps you from behind, you will be able to see and keep a record of it.
A regular Type A rearview mirror costs between $15-$20 while one that functions as a dashcam costs between $150 – $300. Although, you may be able to see ones on sale for about $70.
Headlight Restoration Kit
Over time, your headlight might mist and become cloudy. That won’t be a problem if you drive your car mainly during the day. But during the winter when night time comes early, a cloudy headlight lens will reduce your visibility, and may become a safety hazard for you and anyone who rides with you.
A headlight restoration kit costs about $20.
Steering Wheel desk
This is more of a luxury and optional accessory for your car. Who knows, maybe for Uber or Lyft drivers, this may be a necessity. If you find yourself waiting in your car a lot of time, having a steering wheel desk can help you work on your spreadsheets, documents, and other tasks on your laptop or tablet. Doing that while driving is unsafe and will probably get you in trouble.
A steering wheel desk is not very expensive: it costs less than $15.
In some countries, the government actually requires cars to be equipped with a fire extinguisher. Come to think of it, that is a good idea! A lot of accidents happen in the United States, and some of the cars involved in this actually catch fire, leading to fatalities and injuries that are easily preventable. If you had a fire extinguisher in your car, you can prevent fire in your car, and if you’re feeling like a good samaritan, you can also help other people by stopping and putting fires that start.
A 2.5-pound fire extinguisher costs about $20. Make sure that the product you buy is approved by the Coast Guard and by the DOT.
Newer car models already have built-in parking sensors. But for older cars, backing up into the wall of a parking garage may prove to be a challenge. If you’re not careful, you just might back up into the wall and cause some damage on your bumper. Or worse, if you try to do parallel parking, which by the way is a big challenge to a lot of drivers, you may end up damaging someone else’s car.
Get a parking sensor that will help you know if you are dangerously close to the wall or to another car. A parking sensor costs about $20 but you may need help in getting it installed.
This is very useful during the summer to help keep your car cool. Read this guide on more tips to keep your car cool during the summer. Since this vent is powered by solar energy, you won’t need to shell out more money for batteries. It costs about $10.
If you have a cooler inside your car, put a snack pack there for those times that you get stuck in your car because of traffic, accidents, and if you just want to make sure you don’t get hungry while driving for a long time. Energy bars, nuts, and other snacks that could last a long time should be perfect.
Having ropes inside your car can come in handy in case of emergencies. There are different types of ropes you can put in your trunk. A tow rope (which costs about $15 for the one with a 10,000-lb capacity), some bungee ropes for securing luggage, or anything you need to carry on the roof of your car; it may also be handy for those bigger items that will leave your trunk open while carrying them.
A multi-purpose durable rope for your car such as the one below costs about $25.
Let me be clear, you don’t need every single tool and accessory we mentioned in this article. Besides, it would be too expensive to buy them all at once. Just assess the kind of driving you do daily, and look at the potential emergencies you may experience on the roads you frequently travel on.
Of course, if you’re traveling cross-country, or do a summer road trip, you’ll need to look at more things than are included in the list above. If you’re traveling with your family, safety is your number one concern.