Installing the latest car gadgets is usually easy enough to do yourself. Why not pick up a few of them to make your daily commute, ride to the game or weekend trip more enjoyable. Whether you want to turn your old cassette deck into a Bluetooth device, keep your coffee warm or enjoy the convenience of a head-up display in your windshield, there's a cool car gadget for you.
Does anyone make a cup warmer for the car like the kind you use on a desk to keep your coffee warm?
Yes, there are a handful of options available for just under $30.00. The VETOMILE Car Cup Cooler/Warmer Holder costs $29.99 on Amazon. It keeps your hot beverage warm and keeps your cold beverages cold, just in case you decide you want iced coffee or tea in the summer. It draws power from the cigarette lighter in your car. It will hold a cup that is up to 2.83 inches in diameter.
The Auto CafA(C) Take-out Hot Cup Warmer is $25.00 on Amazon. It fits in your cup holder and plugs into the cigarette lighter. This cup warmer will hold 12- to 20-ounce cups. The cups can be paper, plastic, porcelain or foam and can have a sleeve or no sleeve. It turns on automatically when you put your cup in it and off again when you take your cup out.
If you are usually in a hurry to get out the door and don't have time to make coffee in the first place, why not up your game with a coffee maker in your car? The Handpresso Auto Espresso Maker will make a fresh cup for you on the go. It sells for $199.00 on Amazon. Be sure to order your Illy coffee pods at the same time.
How can I get Bluetooth music streaming in my car without buying a whole new stereo? I have an old stereo with a cassette deck.
Buy the Ion Audio Cassette Adapter cassette. Simply slide it into your cassette deck for Bluetooth connectivity. You can stream over four hours of music on one charge. It comes with a USB charging cable for easy recharging. This handy little device also gives you hands-free use of your phone. One of the best things about this gadget - it only costs $17.00 on Amazon.
By the way, you can get a new car stereo with Bluetooth connectivity for about $100.00.
How can I get heads-up display on my older car? Is there an after-market device that works?
Yes, and you don't have to buy a new windshield! Garmin sells the HUD or Head-Up Display for $150.00. All you have to do is affix a clear film to your windshield at a level that is comfortable for you. The device projects your speed, the speed limit, and navigation information right in front of your eyes. It also works wirelessly with Bluetooth-enabled smartphones and provides safety camera and traffic alerts.
Is there a wireless smartphone charger that I can install in my SUV?
Yes! This is a great little car gadget that everyone with a smartphone that can be charged wirelessly should get. The Ventev Wirelesspro Dock attaches to the vent. It will give you a 60% charge in 30 minutes. It costs $53.30 on Amazon. A few customers have complained that it won't work with the vents in their car because they are too close together. If you have narrow vents in your SUV, try the Probway 10w wireless charger. It affixes to the dash with a suction cup. You can buy the Probway for $24.49 on Amazon.
Can I get a backup camera without buying a new car?
You sure can and for only about $150.00. The Yuwei Wireless Backup Camera System is incredibly easy to install and works perfectly. It has a four-star rating on Amazon after 38 customer reviews. You get a monitor and camera that communicate wirelessly. The camera gets affixed to your rear license plate bracket, and the monitor sticks to your dash with a suction cup.
Is there an OnStar-type device that I can buy for my car?
There is, and it only costs $130.00 on Amazon. The Automatic PRO AUT-350 Connected Car OBD II Adapter plugs into your OBD II diagnostic port in your car. The port is located below the steering wheel, often just inside the driver's door. It alerts Automatic Pro agents via 3G if you are in an accident. They contact you immediately to see if you need assistance and alert emergency services if necessary. They can even alert loved ones for you. This handy little device also decodes check engine lights and allows you to track your car's location. That can come in very handy if you are monitoring your teen driver.
Are there any electronic devices that can help me safely park my SUV?
There is a nice selection of devices designed for this purpose. If you have an electrical outlet near the installation site, get a plug-in device. There are battery-operated devices that work well, but the batteries have to be changed fairly frequently. The Park Zone PZ-1900 is a plug-in device that is easy to install and works very well. It works like a traffic light. The yellow light illuminates when you begin to get close, and the red light indicates you should stop. The PZ-1900 costs $29.95 plus $4 shipping and can be plugged into an outlet or run with batteries.