9 Must Have Auto Accessories

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Automakers do a great deal to make today’s cars, trucks and vans more comfortable and accommodating than ever before. There are new features like satellite radio built in, new infotainment systems, heated seats and much, much more. Of course, there’s simply no way an automaker can account for every little thing you might want or need, so auto accessory makers have to step in to fill the gap. There’s a wide, wide world of accessories out there for your vehicle, but which are “must have” options? Here are some of the most important.

1. Tire Gauge

We’ll start our list with some of the more mundane yet essential options. One of the most important is a tire pressure gauge. This ensures that you’re able to easily and accurately check your tires at all times. Even if your car has a tire monitoring system built into it, you should still have a tire gauge on hand at all times. You can opt for either analog or digital. Digital technology is more accurate, but these models require batteries and they tend to be larger. Analog gauges might be a little less accurate, but you never need to worry about the batteries being dead.

2. Jumper Cables

A dead battery is frustrating in the extreme, particularly if you have to wait for someone to come along and help out. That situation is compounded if you don’t have jumper cables (the other driver might not either, meaning you’re in no better shape than you were). Make sure you have a set of jumper cables on hand at all times in your car. There are several options here, ranging from compact sets designed to tuck away easily to those that come with their own battery pack. You just need to make sure to keep the battery charged at all times.

3. Fix-a-Flat

There are plenty of different brands out there, although Fix-a-Flat is probably the most widely recognized. Keep a can of this on hand at all times to ensure that you’re not caught unprepared when you have a flat. Just shake the can, connect the hose and press the button at the top – your tire will re-inflate, and with a little driving, the leak seals itself (in most instances, but not all). However, remember that this is a temporary fix only. You still need to get to a service center to have the leak completely repaired or a new tire mounted.

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4. Vacuum

Sure, the Honda Odyssey might come with a vacuum cleaner from the automaker, but most vehicles don’t. Still, could you imagine how handy having one of these at all times would be? From spilled cereal to dirt and debris in the floorboards, a portable auto vacuum is a must-have item. The best options connect to your power outlets, and are compact enough to tuck away out of sight even in smaller vehicles. Make sure the model you choose has several different brush attachments for different surfaces in the car, as well as a carrying/storage bag.

5. Garbage Bin

It takes very little for a surprising amount of garbage to build up inside your vehicle. Having kids means it accumulates even faster. From empty water bottles to food wrappers and everything in between, a portable garbage bin will save you both time and sanity. Look for a model that’s closable (a zippered bag is best), and that is waterproof (to help prevent spills from those half-emptied sodas). Of course, it won’t empty itself for you, but at least this is a step in the right direction.

6. All Season Floor Mats

Sure, your car came with floor mats from the dealership. You probably even had to pay extra for them. However, they’re not the best for protecting your car’s carpeting from dirt, water, salt, snow and other threats.

A good set of all season floor mats will help ensure that the carpet stays in good shape for years to come. For pickups, floor mats are some of the best truck accessories. Make sure you get a set designed for your specific make and model, though. Using the wrong size is actually a safety hazard, so protect yourself while protecting your investment.

7. GPS

Your vehicle should have at least one or two power outlets, and it might have several. However, chances are good that you have more gadgets than power outlets. You can invest in USB adapters that offer multiple ports per plug, allowing you to turn a single power outlet into a charging port for multiple devices. As a note, you can opt for standard plug-in style adapters that offer two or three USB ports, but you can also opt for full power strips that give you multiple USB ports, as well as plug-ins for other types of connection.

8. USB Adapter

Your vehicle should have at least one or two power outlets, and it might have several. However, chances are good that you have more gadgets than power outlets. You can invest in USB adapters that offer multiple ports per plug, allowing you to turn a single power outlet into a charging port for multiple devices. As a note, you can opt for standard plug-in style adapters that offer two or three USB ports, but you can also opt for full power strips that give you multiple USB ports, as well as plug-ins for other types of connection.

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9. Floor Jack

Yes, your car likely came with a small jack designed to be stored away out of sight, but it’s no secret those jacks are more than a little lacking. A floor jack is much simpler to use, and you’ll find that modern designs are much smaller than they once were. Don’t fight with that scissor jack anymore when you can just slide a floor jack under the car, lift it up and change that flat tire with ease.

These are only a few of the many important car accessories that speak to safety, comfort, convenience or cleanliness. You’ll find a host of other options out there as well with a little bit of research. Just make sure that the products are of good quality, and that they actually do what they were designed to do (checking reviews can be very helpful here).