Cars have become bastions of electronic gadgetry, but that doesn't mean we can't add a few of our own. Some of us don't like what comes with our vehicles, some of us want to have emergency gear available just in case, and some of us have older cars that need help in order to be able to accommodate modern electronics.
Some of the gadgets that staffers at The Verge have used to upgrade their vehicles can be found here.
I'm a boring person who doesn't like cars other than as a way to get from point A to point B. My current car is a 2007 Honda Civic, which, despite all the dents and scratches it has undergone over the years, is still running well. The problem is that it doesn't have all the features that current cars have.
If I want to listen to my music, I have to connect my phone to the audio system via the car jack, but if I want to listen to my Maps directions, I have to secure my phone to the dashboard. I have had to find another way to make the connection since my new phone doesn't have a jack for headphones and my car doesn't have one.
I bought this receiver because it plugs into the audio jack in my car and connects to my phone. It's a simple accessory from an unknown brand, but once I press the button, it makes the connection and lets me hear my phone in the car. I haven't gauged how long the charge lasts, but it has been some time since I last powered the receiver up, and it hasn't run out yet.
You can connect your phone or other device to the aux receiver with a 3.5mm audio port.
I've been trying to find a cable that would work with both an iPad and an iPad mini. Anyone whose partner or spouse uses a different phone operating system than they do can probably relate. After a few months of regular use, many cables that turn a Microusb connection into a Lightning orUSB-C one fail.
I have found a solution that has all three connections at the end of the plug, and it's a retractableusb cable. It clicks into whatever phone I need it to, so I don't have to worry about the adapters that are going to fail. It supports data connections for both phones.
No longer do I have to deal with a gangly, too-longusb cable awkwardly draped across the center console because of the retractable design. I can pull the cable out, plug in my phone, and put my phone in the cubby near the port. The cable stays out of the way if I take a short trip and don't plug my phone in. You would think that a thin, flimsy cable would break after a few uses, but that is not the case, the cable here is thick and flat. I have been using one of the retractable cables in my cars for nearly a year, and they work just as well as they did the day I got them.
There are two charging ports on a single 3.3-foot cable. There is a two-pack.
After my car broke down in college and a stranger emerged from the darkness with a shotgun and a declaration that he would protect me until the tow truck arrived, my mom bought me a breaker bar, which is like a wrench but much longer. The idea was so that I would have something similar to a bat in my car in case I ever found myself in a similar situation, but even better, it gave me a great deal more Torque for removing the nuts on my tires. Changing a tire on the side of the road is not good because they use a gun to loosen and tighten the nuts. A breaker bar helps. Alex Cranz, managing editor, said that it can be used in case of other weird emergencies.
The half-inch drive breaker bar has a 15-inch handle.
The biggest upgrade I've made to my car is adding a radio that supports CarPlay, which will allow me to see directions and control music from a screen built into my dashboard. The Sony XAV-AX 100 seems to be discontinued. The site I use to shop for car audio stuff on is called Crutchfield and it has a compatibility checker.
It took me several days to install the Sony into my car, which I will die mad about, but there are plenty of shops around that could have done it for less. If you decide to install a new head unit in your car, I recommend looking up a guide to see if it's something you want to tackle yourself. When we got a new car, I immediately started looking into replacing its radio because I didn't have to fiddle around with a mount.
It's nice to have a charging station that can quickly charge your gadgets, whether you go on short or long car rides. You'll need a car charger that has aPD port like the one in the one in the picture, as well as other options.
It has a port that can quickly charge a device with up to 45W of power. I use the one that I have been using in our car to keep my Nintendo Switch topped up and to quickly charge my phone. The device can keep my MacBook Pro's battery from falling while I'm using it. It has a port for an additional 15W of power, totaling 60W from this particular model.
Super Fast Charging 2.0 can be charged with up to 45W from theusb type-c port. The maximum capacity of the port is 15W for a total of 60W.
Maybe someday Apple will realize that it wasn't the best idea to artificially limit the reach of its MagSafe charging system and you will be able to charge your phone on a minimalist disc that charges it at high speeds. The iOttie Easy One Touch Qi is the best of the two because it has the satisfying snap of springs. When you push your phone into its waiting jaws, it depresses a button that causes those jaws to snap closed on either side of your device. When you want to remove it, you use a pair of levers with your fingers and thumb to grab it. It is wide enough to fit almost anything on the market. Sean Hollister is the senior reports editor.
The foot adjusts to fit large and extra large phones up to 3.7 inches.
Thanks to increased emissions standards, it is very common to find turbochargers on almost all new vehicles. It's not a replacement for displacement, but it is a great way to increase engine power and improve fuel economy. The exhaust gasses that are used to make the turbochargers work can be used to give the engine more power. I will spare you the details, but it is more complicated than that.
What does this mean for car gadgets? My favorite thing to do is to use the custom software on the Raspberry Pi to adjust my car's engine control unit from my phone. With the click of a button, a special OBD-II-to-ethernet cable and a tune file can add 50 to 60 horsepower. If you don't care about cars, why? I think it's worth it if you do.
The tune is the software that the car reads and which makes changes to engine timing, throttle response, boost pressure, etc. You need to buy a tune, but you don't need the Pi. You can connect a laptop to your car to install the tune.
When the hardware kit is available, it will be out of stock, but you can make it yourself with the help of the software and guide. It doesn't require coding, you just drop the appropriate tune file onto a microSD, and you're good to go. You can use the bootmod3 app on your phone, but you have to log in first.
The off-the-shelf maps and tunes that have been tested firsthand start at around $500. Some tunes require no modifications, while others require hardware changes to allow for increased air flow. Engine tuning is not a new concept, and there are hundreds of other companies that make great tunes for various engines, but having access to vital vehicle information and the ability to makeECU changes from the palm of your hand is a welcome change for the aftermarket car community.
When you pair these tunes with the right hardware, you can make changes to your car.
I live in a state that is known for its poor tire maintenance, and so I have had a lot of tire issues. It's not much worse than that sinking feeling when you hit a big hole in the road and your tire pressure monitoring system goes off as you pull to one side, because you can probably fit three Jimmy Hoffas in it. I have become a hawk for keeping up my car's tire pressure after many flats and bent wheels. I've been using a digital air pressure gauge for years and I bought one of the handiest tools. The Accutire gauge is simple to use and instantly reads your tire pressure. If you combine that with an auxiliary power outlet that runs off your car, you can easily keep your tires topped off, which is safer in general, and may help your wheels and tires survive that next pothole.
The tire pressure gauge has a large display.