Hear that? Christmas is just around the corner. Time to do a quick mental calculation and figure out if you're going to end up on the naughty or the nice list. Get in your last-minute good deeds now, because there are a number of items car-lovers are definitely going to want on their list this year.
Gadgets have been integrated into almost every aspect of car ownership and driving. They do everything from help your vehicle run better to keep you and your passengers more effectively entertained. Here are some of the coolest car gadgets – just be sure to leave some extra cookies and milk out for Santa.
Who hasn't wished they could start their car while they're finishing breakfast, giving the heat time to kick in so you can climb into a cozy ride for your morning commute? Remote starters have been a popular gadget for years, and the market seems to be exploding. The big name in this sector is Viper, a company that has manufactured an array of remote starters at varying price points depending on your budget and which features you want. For around $200, you can pick up a system that will let you start your car remotely from up to a mile away.
This technology has even been updated for the digital age. Viper recently launched its SmartStart app. This program integrates with a remote starter to let you control it directly from your smartphone.
Mobile technology has become so ubiquitous that Wi-Fi hotspots have begun cropping up in public places and businesses to accommodate a convenience-happy customer base. Even airlines have begun providing wireless connectivity in mid-flight, so it stands to reason that car manufacturers would follow suit.
Audi became the first to offer Wi-Fi in its vehicles, and in 2011, the manufacturer teamed up with telecommunications provider AT&T for faster and more reliable service. Since then, other manufacturers have followed suit. Autonet Mobile is making a splash as a provider of aftermarket mobile modems that can be installed in any car to create a Wi-Fi hotspot. The Autonet router retails for $345, and users can buy data packages of 1 gigabyte per month for $29.99 or 5 GB per month at $59.99.
You're proud of your car, and you want to keep it looking its best. That can be especially hard to do in the winter when snow, ice and salt can wreak absolute havoc on your windshield. It may seem like a small thing, but a portable window-washer can make keeping your car clean so much easier. The tiny Karcher WV2 Window Vac is a battery-powered window cleaner that not only lets you clean your windows whenever you need to, but to do so quickly and effectively too.
The WV2 runs off of a rechargeable battery. It works by using suction to pull in dirt, water and cleaning solution from your windows for a one-swipe cleaning job. The battery lasts for around 25 minutes on a single charge.
"Winter driving is stressful enough without having to worry about dealing with a dead battery."
Winter driving is stressful enough without having to worry about dealing with a dead battery in the middle of a snowstorm or deep freeze. Even though you're careful to pay attention to your interior lights and other battery-draining features, mistakes can still happen. A portable jump-starter can grant you an extra bit of peace of mind in the winter months.
The Stanley Portable Jump-Starter can provide you with 500 amps of power – enough to get your vehicle back on the road in an emergency situation. With its included air compressor providing 120 p.s.i., this device can even serve as an all-around safety must-have.
Digital diagnostic indicator
Believe it or not, your car talks back to you – you just have to know how to understand what it's saying. A digital diagnostic readout can help you interpret common alerts, like the infamous check-engine light, so you know what you're dealing with. Some models, like the CarMD that retails for $70, can even connect you to a website to help explain what the diagnostic codes mean. It even provides model-specific suggestions based on your circumstances.
If you want to give the gift of a high-quality used car this year, head to NJ State Auto Auction. You'll find hundreds of Carfax-certified cars, and the friendly and helpful staff are always on hand to help you select the vehicle that's right for you.