Car Care

Modernise your car with these gadgets

Did you know that the average age of a car in New Zealand is approximately 14.4 years old?

A lot of cars manufactured over a decade ago may be falling behind in terms of technology, but here are some accessories that can help modernise your car.

Dash Cams (with safety assist features)

Over the past few years, you may have noticed that more and more people, particularly taxi drivers, have a camera installed on their dashboard that records everything in front (and sometimes behind) of their car.

A good dash cam can be a great tool to help protect you from hit and run drivers, or anything else unpleasant that happens on the road.

However, newer dash cam models do a lot more than this – they may include clever features that help you avoid an accident altogether, like Driver Fatigue Alert, Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Avoidance.

Dash cams with these safety features range from $150 to $300.

Speed monitoring devices

Keeping track of your speed and sticking to the speed limit is obviously an important aspect of driving, and a heads-up display allows your car’s travelling speed to be projected into an appropriate area of the windscreen. This results in less driver distraction by reducing the amount of time your eyes are off the road.

We found a range of affordable devices that calculate your vehicle’s speed via GPS signals and don’t require any internal wiring to install. These can be powered by either a rechargeable battery or via an auxiliary power source like a 12V lighter socket.

Speed monitoring devices range in price between $40 and $100.

Security - GPS car trackers

A GPS car tracker is an additional security measure. They’re easy to install and provide real-time vehicle location tracking. Typically, lower cost models may need some minor wiring work to install, and others are simple plug-and-play devices which gain power from your vehicle’s diagnostic port.

For increased protection, we recommend investing in a device with built-in battery back-ups to ensure a signal continues to transmit a vehicle’s location even after the ignition is turned off. 

Higher spec models can also monitor your vehicle’s speed and offer remote listening, allowing the vehicle owner to review this information through an app.

GPS trackers range in price between $30 and $200.

Device Power

Before you head out of your front door, the three essential items many of us check we have are our keys, wallet and mobile phone.

The vast majority of modern vehicles feature a built-in USB port as standard, which is designed to help you charge your phone (or any other USB-chargeable device), and also play music through the car’s stereo.

Whilst you might think that USB chargers designed to plug into your car’s 12V cigarette lighter port are old news, there are now several of these products available that support USB-C fast charging.

Similarly, if your smartphone allows wireless charging, you can help to de-clutter your car and rid yourself of wires by investing in a wireless charging pad, another feature that we are seeing more and more of in modern vehicles.

A good charger should include a built-in safety management system to protect your devices from overvoltage and overcurrent when being charged. Some premium chargers can also include a connected equipment warranty for added protection.

Typical USB and USB-C chargers we found ranged from $10 to $50. Wireless chargers can be much more expensive, setting you back between $100 and $120.

Always consider that you must adhere to WoF or vehicle manufacturer warranty requirements when considering altering or accessorising your vehicle in any way.

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