Article by Jeff Wilson, photos courtesy of manufacturers
While Jolly Justin Bah-humbugged his way through a list of automotive whimsy last year, we thought this Festive Season, we’d bring a happier side of automotive gift giving.
I present to you, the Top Ten Automotive Accessories that any auto enthusiast should want, all of which should be easy to find at a local Canadian Tire or Walmart.
1) Good Quality Floor Mats
Sure you could run out and buy some $9 rubber mats from the discount department store, but chances are they won’t fit properly and will look like $9 discount mats.
If you know somebody willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on their dream machine, chances are they want to protect the fancy carpets from all that salty, muddy slop your boots drag in every time you get in the car this winter.
WeatherTech offers custom, computer-designed mats specifically for pretty much every make and model of car – even if your winter beater is a 2014 Ferrari FF. Not only will these mats keep your carpets clean, they are also designed to not interfere with your pedals when driving, making them a safer choice too.
2) Gear Wrenches
Every self-respecting motoring enthusiast likes to believe he or she has enough technical know-how to at least do rudimentary tasks around the garage. One of the greatest advancements in modern tools has been the implementation of ratcheting wrenches.
When space is at a premium and a ratchet simply won’t fit, these handy little tools can make short work of tightening and untightening exercises.
Places like Canadian Tire offer sets with big discounts around the holiday season, but for those who demand only the pro-grade hardware, lists a few pricier sets.
3) Bluetooth Speaker
While puttering around in your garage, why not have some tunes to keep you moving? Portable Bluetooth speakers likeoffer astonishing sound quality and volume for such a tiny device and connect easily to your phone, tablet or iPod.
4) Code Reader / Scan Tool
At some point or another, we’re all likely to encounter an error code of some sort from our car, usually sprung on us at the least opportune time. With a code reader or scan tool, shade tree mechanics can plug the device into the OBD II socket and read the code that has caused the fault and allow a reset. Some high-end units will give code definitions and diagnose the cause of the fault as well, helping get to the root of the problem quicker. Actron makes units across a broad price spectrum and have received considerable praise online from users.
5) Dashboard Camera
If YouTube has shown us anything, it’s that Russians love their dash cams. It seems every week there’s a new video circulating of some miraculous near miss on a Russian highway. But even if you’re not a paranoid Russian driver, admit it, there are times having a dash cam would be pretty cool.
Modern dashboard camera systems are pretty advanced pieces of kit. They’re compact enough to draw little attention to themselves, often mounting to the rearview mirror or suctioned to the windshield. Good ones will feature 1080p Full HD resolution and enable decent nighttime image capture as well. To be truly useful, a dash cam should also feature infinitely looping data recording, time/date stamping and an auto on/off function so that it becomes virtually idiot proof once it’s installed.
Some systems contain sensors that if your car is hit when it’s parked, will automatically turn on in an effort to record the offending vehicle’s departure.
Who knows, maybe your sensational and heroic driving will make you the next Internet viral superstar.