Car Care

Tech Car Gadgets

When buying a new car you often get the latest and greatest security and driver assist features which help make your car more secure and pleasurable to drive.  But what happens if you have an old used import or older new car which doesn’t have these fitted? What can you do to access these innovations?

There are plenty of aftermarket accessories and gadgets readily available in New Zealand designed to improve your vehicle’s safety, security and comfort.   We’ve selected a few to give you an idea on what is on offer.  But please note: you should always be mindful of adhering to the WoF requirements and vehicle manufacturer warranty requirements when considering altering or accessorising your vehicle in any way.

Driver safety - Speed monitoring devices

First used in military fighter jets, the heads-up display allows your car’s travelling speed to be projected into an appropriate area of the windscreen, resulting in less driver distraction as it reduces the amount of time your eyes are off the road. We found a range of affordable devices that calculate vehicle speed via GPS signals which don’t require any wiring to install.  They can be powered by either a battery or via an auxiliary power source like a lighter socket.  They range in price between $20 and $200.

Car security - GPS car trackers

Keeping your car protected from theft is always a concern.  Even if you follow all the recommended precautionary measures like parking in a safe zone and storing valuables out of sight, there is always a chance that your car can be stolen.  GPS car trackers have become popular as an additional security measure, as they’re easy to install and provide real time vehicle location tracking.  We found trackers which use the existing OBD-II diagnostic socket (available in most vehicles built from 1996) as a power source and many also have 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 vehicle speed and remote listening, and owners can review this information either through an App or online.  Trackers are especially helpful for owners who may loan out their vehicles.  GPS trackers range in price between $50 and $200.

Car audio - Bluetooth Receivers

If you have an old car audio system and don’t want to go through the hassle of completely replacing it, there are many product alternatives to enable you to connect and stream all your favourite music and audiobooks through your car’s audio system via your mobile device.  If your system has an auxiliary input, you can also purchase a wireless Bluetooth receiver, which eliminates having the dreaded tangled cords.  Some of these devices also include a built-in microphone, which will then allow a hands-free calling functionality.  If your system doesn’t have an auxiliary port, there are devices that can connect via an unoccupied FM radio frequency. The devices we found ranged in price between $10 and $50.

Device Power

The cigarette lighter socket for many car owners is a redundant feature but thankfully it can be transformed into something useful - like a power charging station for all your mobile devices.

It’s a good idea to spend some time researching which charger would be best for you to make sure it is suitable for all your devices, in particular ensuring that your device amperage requirements are met (e.g. an older phone may require a 1amp input and a larger tablet more like 2.1amps); the USB port your device takes (e.g. a late model Android smartphone will require a USB Type C port) and if it has a built-in safety management system to protect your devices from overvoltage and overcurrent when being charged.  The devices we found ranged in price from $10 to $40.

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