Car accessories you should keep in your car

By Tony O’Kane, 10 Feb 2017 Car Advice

Mobile phone holder in car

Air fresheners? Fast food trays? 12-volt toaster ovens? We look at which in-car accessories all motorists should carry.

Dashcam

This is one of the more expensive accessories you can buy for your car, but in-car dashcams have a serious function and could potentially save you thousands should you be unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident. The range of cameras is immense, with price tags that are proportional to feature count, resolution and memory capacity. Many can even automatically start recording if the car is nudged while parked, and rear-facing cameras are becoming commonplace. Do your research on which one is best within your budget.

Dashcam in car

Sunshades

The Aussie sun is pure punishment for car interiors, and with windscreens typically being the largest piece of glass in a car (and prohibited from being tinted by law), a full-span sunshade is a good idea if your car spends a lot of time parked in the open. There’s nothing worse than having your fingerprints seared off by a scalding-hot steering wheel rim.

Phone holder

It’s generally a bad idea to be holding onto your phone while driving a car. The law takes a dim view of it, and common sense dictates that having two hands on the wheel is definitely better than one. If your car isn’t equipped with Bluetooth phone integration, a dedicated phone holder is the only way to handle in-car telephony, but which one do you choose? A windscreen-mounted suction cup that may obscure your view of the road ahead, or a dash-mounted one that may block airflow from your air conditioning vents. Go with whatever suits your car better.

12-volt USB adaptor

In an age where we are increasingly at the mercy of our mobile devices, keeping our phones and tablets charged up is vital. Most new cars on the market already come with at least one integrated USB charging port, but older vehicles will need an aftermarket solution. Thankfully, you can convert the 12-volt cigarette lighter socket in your car to a USB power outlet with just a ten dollar note and a visit to your local auto parts store.

USB charger in car

A bin

Grotty cars are the worst. Few people would admit to being comfortable with the idea of driving around in something resembling a mobile garbage can, but we’re all guilty of throwing the occasional choccy wrapper into the passenger footwell when chowing down on a mid-drive snack. The solution is to carry a proper bin so you have a place to stash your trash (with a lid to keep your shameful detritus out of view), and there are plenty of car-specific bins available from eBay, Amazon and the like. Most will tuck away neatly into a door pocket.

Car door pocket bin

Boot storage

This one may not be so obvious, but a luggage caddy is one of the more underrated car accessories you can get. Most take the form of a collapsible multi-compartment box – made either of fabric or rigid plastic – with grippy material on the underside to stop it from sliding on your boot carpet. If you’ve only got a few small items to carry, one of these things could be the difference between having scrambled eggs all over your interior, or intact groceries in your fridge.

Grocery holder in boot

Umbrella

Pretty self-explanatory. Sometimes you forget to check the forecast for your destination and are greeted with torrential rain, while those of you who live in Melbourne … well, you know how it is. In any case, having an umbrella permanently tucked away somewhere in your car will help keep your hair dry.