I love cars, and I love gadgets, and I bet you do too. So, we wanted to bring you 9 awesome gadgets that are actually worth buying and keeping in your car. Some are to keep you safe, some are to keep your ride safe, and some are just to make you smile, but all of them are awesome.
OBDII Scanner – DIY DTC
Our first gadget is one we’ve mentioned before, but it’s just so worth it. It’s a Bluetooth OBDII scanner. See, every car manufactured after 1997 has an on-board diagnostics system that’s responsible for telling you what’s wrong when something goes wrong.
Modern cars have a brain called the powertrain control module. When the brain notices an oopsie, it creates a diagnostic trouble code and lights up the check engine light on your dashboard so you know something’s up. Then you can take an OBD reader, plug it in, and find out exactly what happened.
It’s an absolutely necessary device if you plan on working on your car. And with Bluetooth devices like the FIXD reader, one of our favorites, it’s easier than ever to read codes and make sure you aren’t getting ripped off at the shop.
Speaking of things going wrong, don’t you just hate it when your tire pressure is low?
Compact Tire Inflator – Compressor Go BRR!
Good news, tire inflation tools are smaller and more convenient than ever before. I mean, that’s good, that’s how technological advancement is supposed to work. And what it means for you is that you can have a gadget to keep your tires inflated that fits in your glovebox. Then you have no excuse. Worst-case scenario, or really, best-case scenario, you never have to use it. But maybe you see a kid with a flat bike tire and you can spring into action and be the hero of the day!
These are especially useful to carry if you ever plan on heading off the highway. A great off-roading trick is to air down your tires a bit to spread out the tread, which increases surface area for maximum traction. The issue is that once you’re out of the rough and back onto the blacktop, you need to air back up. Good thing you have a little compressor with you, right?
Speaking of small, easy-to-carry stuff that can be an absolute lifesaver, the size of jump starter packs has gotten ridiculous.
Compact Portable Jumper – Lil Sparky
Have you ever had to jump start a vehicle using another vehicle? It’s kind of a mess. First, you have to your friend to your drive out to you, then he hooks up the cables backward and no one notices until black smoke starts filling the air. Just remember red to red, black to ground. Always.
Anyway, a portable jump pack makes it way easier. You don’t need a friend and modern jump packs double as batteries for your other electronics. Even if your car’s battery is totally dead, you can still use it to charge your phone and call AAA.
Since we’re on the subject of dealing with emergencies, you won’t believe how cool this next piece of kit is and how much fun you can have putting out a fire.
Fire Extinguisher Grenade – Eat This, Smokey
See, instead of lugging around a big metal extinguisher, you can just carry around a softball-sized “Fire Extinguisher Grenade” that works exactly how you’d think they work. You throw them at the fire, they explode, and the fire goes out.
What makes them a beautiful tool to have in your car is that they are super easy for anyone to use. If you have younger passengers or stupid friends, no one has to be intimidated by using a pressurized fire extinguisher. Just throw a ball, and your car might be saved. Or use it to save a farm if you see a smoldering spot on the side of the road. Or, and this is a cool feature of these extinguisher balls, just keep it in your engine compartment and it will go off automatically if there’s ever a fire.
And if you do something awesome like lob a fire extinguisher grenade, you might want to capture it on video with a dash cam.
Dash Cam – Hey Y’all, Watch This
Being able to record your commute can come in handy. Sometimes you need to prove that an accident wasn’t your fault, or that you didn’t actually cross the double yellow line. And pretty much the only way to do that is with video evidence.
The great news is that cameras have gotten ridiculously cheap over the last decade, and even inexpensive dash cams are good enough to record any details you’ll need to stay out of trouble.
You know what else can help you with legal issues? Knowing where your car is at all times, which is why we are recommending a GPS tracker next.
GPS Tracker – Just Like the Video Games
Car GPS trackers come in a variety of flavors. Some are simple devices that plug into your OBDII port, but we don’t really recommend those because any would-be thief can just unplug them and drive off. Instead, get a portable, battery-powered unit.
These units usually cost a little bit per month to keep active, but you can hide it in your car, and no one will know. Now, I’m not going to help you if you use it to spy on your significant other, but I will say that if you own a car you love, being able to look down at your phone and know that it’s exactly where you left it is a peace-of-mind that you can’t get anywhere else.
Now, wouldn’t it be nice if your keys were as easy to locate as your car? Like, if you could just have a GPS keychain in addition to your car tracker? Oh, wait, you totally can.
Key Tracker – Where Are My Pants?
The biggest player in this space is Tile, a company that makes, well, little tiles that help you find things. The Tile Mate is specially designed for your keys. No more running up and down the stairs searching the same four pairs of pants over and over. Just whip out your phone, turn on the app, and, presto, you know that you actually hung your keys up by the door where you were supposed to.
Oh, it works both ways too. You can use the tile to make your phone ring, so if you can’t find your phone but have your keys, you’re still in luck.
I can’t help you if you lose both, though. What I can do is suggest having a small survival kit in your car.
Survival Gear – Don’t Drink That
I love survival gadgets. Life straws, tactical flashlights, multi-tools, stuff like that. Sometimes I’ll impulse buy cool multitools, but don’t tell YouTube Girlfriend. The good news is that on Amazon there are a ton of little, easy-to-pack survival kits that have all sorts of useful things that you can use if the zombie apocalypse starts in the middle of a road trip. Don’t lie and say you haven’t thought about that.
If you don’t want to pony up the money for the entire kit, at least get a solid everyday carry knife that has a seatbelt cutter and a glass breaker. That way you can save that dog someone locked in their stupid Prius when it’s super hot out.
Man, these got kind of heavy. So, let’s end on a super positive note with something that is just a ton of fun, a little drone so you can take Instagram shots of your car.
DJI Mavic Mini – Wave to the Birdie
DJI is basically the king of consumer drones. And while they offer everything from first-person racing drones to cinema-level camera platforms, what you want as a beginner is the budget-friendly DJI Mavic Mini.
It has two huge advantages. First, it’s a DJI, so you get to use their flight app that makes it effortless to do things like time-lapse video and cinematic movements. Second, the Mavic Mini is small enough that it doesn’t have to be registered with the FAA. That means you don’t need to worry about regulations getting in your way, just unfold and fly, and get those amazing Instagram-worthy images or TikTok-worthy shorts of your prized ride.