Valentine’s Day offers a sweet opportunity to show a little love and appreciation for your trusty set of wheels. Your hard-working vehicle gets you everywhere you need to be, but chasing technological advances can outpace a budget very quickly—therefore, it’s always good to know which accessories are the best values for your money. If you’re ready to invest in new accessories for your vehicle, here are some that will add convenience and comfort to your drive—and value to your car.
Take smart technology to the next level with a heads-up display that puts what you want to know right in front of your eyes. The Navdy HUD projects a transparent image above the road that shows maps, calls, messages, music, and data about your car’s performance. Use hand gestures to answer calls and messages, and control your music on Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play and others. Navigate and avoid traffic using the power of Google Maps. You’ll never miss a turn or an important call again. $799 at Navdy.
Aftermarket app integration
If your car was built before the era of the infotainment system, now you can enjoy those features in a sleek, integrated unit. The Pioneer AppRadio 4’s color touchscreen gives you access to features such as audio streaming, navigation and hands-free calling. It’s compatible with iPhone and Android devices and can connect with aftermarket backup cameras. $600 at Pioneer.
Ever wish your car had come with one of those convenient backup cameras? The Esky EC170-06 mounts right above your license plate to give you 170 degrees of vision behind your vehicle. Connect it with your aftermarket infotainment system or a separate backup camera monitor. $19.99 at Amazon.
Collision detection and mitigation
Now you can enjoy collision detection in your older vehicle. The Mobileye 560 sends real-time collision warnings straight to your smartphone. A smart camera mounted inside the front windshield monitors your surroundings for other vehicles, lane markings, traffic signs, and pedestrians. When it senses a potential collision hazards, it will send you (possibly life-saving) alerts. $799 at Mobileye.
Performance data monitor
Plug in the Automatic Labs Smart Driving Assistant to your car’s OBD-II (on-board diagnostics) port to gain access to a river of data from your car’s computer. This little device sends your car’s data to your smartphone via Bluetooth. You can monitor your mileage, gas usage, performance, and engine health—and even use it to find your car if you can’t remember where you’ve parked. Our favorite feature is the check engine diagnostics. If your check engine light comes on, just open the app to see the code and a description of the problem—no more trips to the mechanic just to find out what’s wrong. $129.95 at Automatic.
Tire pressure monitor
This little convenience is a godsend for drivers in cold regions where low tire pressure is a regular seasonal issue. The Carchet Tire Pressure Monitoring System displays the tire pressure of each tire using four special four tire stem caps that wirelessly connect with a monitor you plug into your car’s 12V socket. $89.99 at Amazon.
Say no to those smartphone windshield mounts with the suction cups that block your field of vision, or those air vent mounts that actually interfere with your vent’s true purpose—that of heating or cooling your car. Instead, make use of an empty cup holder with a smartphone cradle that will keep your phone where it belongs no matter how bumpy the ride. $29.99 at Amazon.
Time for a new car?
Didn’t know so much was possible with aftermarket car tech? You’re not alone. Although some drivers take on leases, or trade in and trade up every few years in order to get their hands on the latest car tech and advances, the average car on the road today is over 11.5 years old. With that many older cars on the road, the demand for aftermarket smart tech has become massive.
If your car is much older than a decade, though, you might be due for an update. If it’s time to explore the safety and convenience of a newer vehicle, consider PenFed auto financing for competitive rates and member benefits that add value to your purchase. It’s the kind of Valentine’s Day gift of love every driver deserves.