These items can make your ride feel complete. (tytbil88 / Deposit Photos/)
A new set of wheels perfectly captures the American ideals of freedom, independence, and capitalism. Less sexy and thrilling—though still important—are the little gadgets that can make the vehicle even more practical. If you know someone who bought a car during the pandemic, consider giving them some of the trinkets below. There’s nothing more thoughtful than a practical present.
Don’t brush off the snow with your hands. (Amazon/)
Anyone who lives in a part of the world where it gets cold is going to have to scrape off their windshield from time to time. A good tool will make that process easier. This scraper/brush combo features a handle that can extend out as long as 46 inches, so you can use it to reach far across your windshield. What’s more, the 18-inch-wide brush folds down so that it occupies less space when it’s stowed in your vehicle.
Some assembly required. (Amazon/)
Speaking of snow, a big storm could trap your vehicle in several feet of the stuff, and things can get even worse if a plow goes by and buries it further. A shovel in the trunk offers a way to scoop your way out of that problem, and this aluminum one comes apart in three different pieces so it takes up less room. Plus, like the scraper above, the tool’s length is adjustable, so you can tweak it so that it’s comfortable in different situations.
Using the right tool for the job will make you feel less pressure. (Amazon/)
It’s safer to roll on tires that are properly inflated. Because it can be hard to trust the accuracy of the tire pressure gauge attached to a gas-station air dispenser, it’s wise to carry one of your own. This model sports a 2-inch display, a button that you can press to release pressure as needed, and a swiveling portion that allows you to position the device so you can read it clearly. Plus, it kinda looks like a cute little tire!
Insulate your drinks in style. (Amazon/)
Anyone who wants to take a hot or frosty beverage on the road—coffee, tea, cold brew—will benefit from one of these stainless steel mugs. This vacuum-insulated 20oz tumbler promises to help prevent a drink from cooling off, or warming up, for “as long as science allows,” according to Yeti. That’s pretty long! Plus, it’s safe to stick in the dishwasher.
Don’t let your phone die while you’re in the middle of using Waze. (Amazon/)
So many people use their phones as their navigation systems, and it’s always best to glance at a device that’s properly mounted. This gadget will both hold your phone and charge it, too. The Qi-certified device can plug into your lighter port for power, and then will deliver it wirelessly via the back of your phone. Depending on which model you buy, it can mount either through a vent or CD slot, the dashboard, or even a cup holder.
If your car battery dies, get a jump on the situation by having your own cables on hand. (Amazon/)
The recipient of this gift will be safer because of it. This kit includes some key preparedness items: jumper cables, first-aid bandages, a screwdriver, and duct tape. Ideally, a new car owner will place this package in their trunk and then forget it’s there—until one day, perhaps, they need it.
Give your smartphone’s flashlight a break and use a real one. (Amazon/)
Keeping a dedicated flashlight in the glove compartment can come in handy, especially if you’re going on an adventure like car camping and need to set up shop after dark. This sturdy aluminum device can run for as long as 26 hours on its “low” setting, and you can recharge it via USB when the juice runs low. The 5.8-inch-long gizmo can also be powered by traditional batteries.
Flares are exciting! (Amazon/)
Like the flashlight, this item can brighten up a tough day. In an emergency, a flare can be a good way to get attention, protect your vehicle, or mark a hazard. One pack comes with three flares, as well as instructions for safely lighting them. There’s also a bonus light stick, which will definitely entertain any bored little kids who happen to be traveling with you.
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