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21 cool car gadgets that make driving SO much better

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Even if you consider yourself a homebody, you might be spending more time in your car than you think. A recent study found that Americans spend an average of 18 days driving per year — and many find themselves in their car for more than eight hours every week. While this may not seem like much, it's enough time to make sure your vehicle is an enjoyable space. Thankfully, these cool car gadgets can make all the difference — and they're available on Amazon.

So, what if you're working from home and only use your car a few times per week? That's fine. The best car gadgets can still help extend the life of your vehicle. It's been reported that drivers usually keep their new cars for about six years before buying another — but many technological advancements can occur within that timeframe (like Bluetooth connections, LED lights, dashboard cameras, and more). By upgrading your car with affordable gadgets, you won't have to worry about buying a new vehicle just to keep up with the times.

Whether you're looking for brighter headlights or an easy-to-install subwoofer, there are tons of cool automotive accessories you can use to upgrade your car. Here are my top picks.

1. These smart lights that add color to your ride

Not only does the adhesive backing on these strip lights make them easy to install, but you also have two options when it comes to controlling them: the included remote or the free downloadable app on your smartphone. You can also sync these lights to your music so that they change colors depending on the song, and they're completely waterproof (just in case you accidentally leave your windows open during a surprise rain shower).

2. A durable metal car charger with 2 USB ports

When your phone needs a little extra charge, just plug it into this sleek USB port. Unlike other chargers, this one is able to charge two devices simultaneously at full-speed, and the zinc alloy body is scratch-resistant and more durable than plastic. And if you're worried about overheating, don't — it features built-in protection against overheating, overcharging, as well as high temperature overload.

3. This kit that adds LED lights to your tires

If you're trying to make your car stand out from the rest, these LED tire lights will definitely get the job done. They're made with bright LED bulbs that glow in different combinations of green, blue, white, and red. Plus, they're easy to install; simply screw them onto your tire valves, and you're all set. The best part is that you don't have to turn them on or off, because they'll automatically light up when the wheels begin to rotate.

4. These LED discs that illuminate your cupholders

These LED light pucks let you add fun lighting to the inside of your car — and despite the specific vehicle logos available, they should fit into most cup holders. Plus, there are no tools or adhesives required. Choose from 17 different lighting modes as well as seven different LED colors; the batteries are easily rechargeable via USB. Dozens of styles are available with different brand names, including Ford, Buick, and Audi (but there are even certain NFL teams to choose from, too).

5. The backup camera that can help you parallel park

Have trouble parallel parking? Just grab this backup camera that you can strap onto to your rearview mirror. It'll automatically turn on when your car starts and off again once the ignition shuts down. It allows you to simultaneously record from both the front and back of your car — and it's able to support memory cards up to 128 gigabytes.

6. A laser that tells you how far to pull into your garage

Take it from someone who's dented a garage wall or two from pulling in too far: This parking laser is very helpful. Just mount it to your ceiling, power it up, and then program it so that it knows exactly where your ideal parking spot is located. Then, pull your car up to the laser until you're lined up with it. Each order comes with all the hardware you need to mount the device, and it'll automatically turn on when you pull into your garage.

7. The speedometer mount that's easy to read

Designed to work with all types of vehicles, this speedometer display shows you more than how fast you're driving. When it's installed onto your dashboard, it'll display the time as well as your direction, altitude, mileage, and more. The LCD screen showcases your driving information in extra-large, easy-to-read numbers — and the 30-degree angle helps prevent glare from the sun. And if you're worried about how accurately it's able to read your speed, one reviewer wrote that they "checked the speed against my speedometer and my mobile phone," and that it was "spot on."

8. An extra-wide dash cam that can capture up to 5 lanes of traffic at once

With built-in GPA as well as night vision, this dash cam can record up to five lanes of traffic while you're driving — and the video is clear enough that you can read license plates. The free downloadable app lets you view your camera feed in real-time, and you can even share photos and videos to social media if you catch something worth posting. Unlike other dash cams that I've mentioned, this one can swivel so you can catch what's going on outside and inside of the car.

9. This dash-mounted alarm that helps scare deer away

This dash-mounted alarm can help deter deer from approaching your car while you're on the road. The repelling sonic noise can be activated using a dash-mounted switch, your ignition, or high beams — and it has a .25-mile warning range to help prevent animals from sneaking up on your vehicle. And when it comes to installation, many reviewers wrote about how easy it was (though you can always ask your mechanic to do it for you if you're unsure).

10. A wireless charger that works through your phone case

Not only does this car charger let you power up your phone wirelessly, but it's also available in 10 different colors and finishes to suit your style. The clamps hold your phone tightly to prevent it from shaking loose, and it even rotates a full 360 degrees so that you can easily adjust the viewing angle. Unlike other wireless chargers, this one doesn't require you to remove your phone case before use.

11. This powerful subwoofer that fits underneath your seats

Give the speakers in your car some added "oomph" with this subwoofer. The casing is made from cast aluminum that doesn't get too hot, and you don't need to turn it on or off yourself since the smart turn-on circuits kick in automatically once you start playing music. It's slim enough to fit underneath your seats, many reviewers raved about how the sound is crisp and clear. "I'm 42 with kids and just wanted crisp clean bass for my 15 regal with stock stereo," one explained. "Everything is starting to break in after a month of use and it just keeps sounding better."

12. The power inverter that adds an AC outlet to you car

When you have a device in your car that can't be powered via USB, just use this power inverter. It features an AC outlets as well as two USB ports, and it takes up hardly any space in your cabin since it's about the size of a credit card. The built-in overheating and short-circuiting protection keeps your gadgets guarded from electrical spikes, and the metal housing keeps it protected against accidental drops.

13. This GPS tracker that shows the location of your car

With this GPS tracker, you'll be able to see exactly where your vehicle is at all times. Its compact size means it's hardly noticeable wherever you stash it, and the battery lasts for up to a full month before it needs to be charged (if it's not tracking in real time). If it's being used to track constantly — or every five minutes — it needs to be charged every two to three days. You're not limited to just cars, either; put it in your purse so that people know where you're traveling, or even keep it in your backpack for some extra peace of mind.

14. A jumper battery designed to hold its charge for up to a full year

There might not always be a second car around to give you a jump, so make sure you have this portable jump starter in your trunk — just in case. It's able to start cars, SUVs, trucks, and vans up to 30 times before it needs to be recharged, and the battery is designed to hold its charge for up to a full year when it's turned off. The easy-to-read LCD screen lets you know exactly how much power is left, and the built-in LED lights double as flashlights or emergency lights when necessary.

15. The heated seat cover that can also cool you down

Whereas most electronic seat cushions only provide heat, this one is designed so that it can also help cool you down when temperatures rise high. It's designed to fit in all types of vehicles, and you're not limited to just cars — you can also use this seat cushion at home, in the office, or on any chair you'd like to make more comfortable. Unlike other cushions, many reviewers commented on how quickly it heats up. "This thing gets warm fast!" one wrote. "I measured the time from plugging in the power and turning on the heat, at ~1 minute the cushion started to turn warm and at ~3 minutes I can feel the heat."

16. This kit that lets you convert your dull headlights into bright LED lamps

If your headlights are a little too dull for comfort, try upgrading them with this LED headlight kit. Amazon makes it easy to check that they're compatible with your car by including a vehicle selection tab on the product page so you can purchase them confidently. The LED lamps have a lifespan of up to 30,000 hours, and they produce significantly less heat than traditional halogen headlights, per the manufacturer. Plus, one reviewer even wrote that they help his dash cam "see" the road "a lot better now."

17. The 2-in-1 keychain that tears seatbelts and shatters windows

In the event of an emergency, this two-in-one keychain can help you escape the car quickly. One side of the gadget is a window breaker — and all you have to do to use it is press the surface firmly against the glass. The other side is a seatbelt cutter underneath a removable cover that you can slide out if you need to. This small tool available in multiple colors and has earned the status of a bestselling item on Amazon.

18. This ultra-bright LED bulbs that'll replace your dim interior lights

When the inside of your car is a little too dim for your liking, just install these LED dome lights to brighten everything up. Just like the LED headlight kit, Amazon has included a vehicle selection tab so that you can double-check that these lights are compatible with your car. These are 300% brighter than regular halogen bulbs — and they'll last longer, too. Choose from seven colors: ice blue, purple, green, white, yellow, blue, and red.

19. A transmitter that lets you add Bluetooth to your car

This transmitter will help keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road, because it'll connect to your FM radio and make your speakers Bluetooth-enabled. Not only does the built-in microphone make it easy to answer calls while on the go, but you can also control you music and listen to tunes when you aren't talking. Plus, the two smart USB ports are also able to identify your device's optimal charging speed (whether you have an iPhone or Android). It can even display your car's voltage so you always know how full your vehicle battery is.

20. This gadget that diagnoses your car when the engine light's on

Tired of paying a mechanic to figure out why your engine light's on? Just use this scanner tool instead. With a database of over 3,000 codes, this scanner will tell you what's setting off your check engine light — but it only works with vehicles made between 1996 and 2016. It's small enough that you can stash it in your glove compartment or underneath your seat, and many Amazon reviewers raved about how it's "easy to use."

21. A handheld gadget that helps read your tire pressure

Checking your tire pressure doesn't have to be difficult, and this handheld gadget makes it so easy. Just place the tip of the reader around your tire nozzle (with the help of the built-in light), turn it on and select one of the four range settings, and wait for the pressure measurement to appear on the bright LCD screen. Then, you'll know exactly how much air your tire needs before heading out for a long road trip. The grip is available in three colors: silver, blue, and red.

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