What the Tech? Gadget Gift Ideas for Your Car
Is it just me or do you hate those commercials where someone is getting a car for Christmas? All my life I’ve never known someone who gets a car under the tree.
If you’ve got someone on your gift list who already owns a perfectly good car, these tech gadgets are a more realistic gift.
I love watching dashcam videos on YouTube and those devices have become very sophisticated but simple to use. The NextBase 222x dashcam bundle has two cameras, one pointed forward and another to capture video of what’s happening behind you.
The NextBase shoots in high definition (1080 with the front camera and 720 back), and saves the footage to a micro SD card.
The footage is re-written the next time you drive unless you want to save an event. With the press of a button, the 222x will lock a clip of both front and back so you can save it to a computer. Many insurance companies now accept dashcam footage to determine fault in an accident claim.
The NextBase 222x is simple to operate and I had it up and running in about 15 minutes. It comes with a suction cup mount for the windshield and another mount option with sticky tape.
I like how the camera can be removed from the base without removing the mount. The dashcam also has a park function where it will start recording if the vehicle is bumped while parked.
Most people who charge their phone in the car use the USB ports that are built into the dash or armrest. While they’re convenient, these ports do not do a good job of charging a phone because the wattage is low. If you’re listening to music or a podcast or book, that USB port will do little more than keeping the battery from dropping fast. It’s much faster to use a cigarette lighter adapter.
These add two USB ports to the relatively powerful DC outlet. You can find these at the checkout counters at most service stations and discount stores but look for the ones made of metal that costs a little less than $15.
A check engine light can make you wonder what’s going on. Should you pull over right away and shut off the engine or is it as simple as leaving a gas cap loose?
Many auto shops will charge $100 or more to diagnose the problem. An OBDII reader small enough to keep in a glove box will help solve the problem right away. Just connect the device to your vehicle’s OBDII port and connect it to an app.
The OBD Link MX+ is a diagnostic scan tool that gathers information on a car’s performance and will read any warning lights that are currently own. If you see that the check engine light is on for a minor leak usually caused by a loose gas cap, you can clear the indicator with the app. The OBD LinkMX+ is $100.
Jumper cables are good to have but can take up a lot of room in the trunk or a garage. These days they’re unnecessary because small portable jump starters are widely available. These jump starters are not much bigger than a smartphone but can jump off most passenger vehicles.
Just attach the clamps to the battery terminal, turn the device on, and start the car. Many jump starters will also charge a smartphone and some have flashlights. They start at around $50. Just make sure the one you choose is powerful enough to jump off their vehicle.