Accessories to Improve Comfort in Your Vehicle

Nowadays, modern cars come with many different accessories that in the past were not included or even possible. For example, GPS, Back view camera for when going in reverse, some come with integrated cooler/heaters, etc.

Some add-ons you can buy separately are simple but desirable enough to have them in your car. Examples are below:

GPS

The GPS is a must for everyday life. It takes you to any address anywhere without hassle. It even calculates the fastest route based on traffic and you can filter things like tolls to avoid them (as much as possible) in your way to your destination. GPS systems are integrated nowadays in every cell phone and there are many applications for it, but if you want it fixed in your car so you can use your phone for any other purpose at the same time, you may get an automotive GPS system as an accessory and it comes with mounting kits and everything needed to make it easier.

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Heated Mug

Heated mugs for cars are accessories that keep beverages like coffee, tea or any other liquid at a desirable warm temperate. It plugs in your car’s cigarette lighter socket and heats liquids as long as the engine is running unless your car has a cigarette lighter socket that is energized all the time, as it happens in some Kia car models. Some heated mugs have temperature control to suit even more your taste for the beverage.

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Coolers

Coolers sold for automotive use, really are cooler/warmers, as it can either cool or warm your beverages, snacks, lunch, medications, etc. It is an accessory which comes in many sizes. One small sized cooler/heater can be as small as a lunch box and can cool or heat a couple of cans of beverages of the size of soft drink cans. Depending on your needs, it is also available in other sizes, like as large as a small fridge. The small fridge sized one is excellent for picnics. These gadgets can go as low as 45 degrees F and as high as 140 degrees F, which is great for a portable system with no internal moving parts. Most of these units come with a plug for the car cigarette lighter socket. Many come also with USB terminals for charging your cellphone or any other USB device, like a tablet.

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Lights

There is a vast range of LED lights for cars, either for the interior as decoration or for the exterior, as the headlights, tail lights, license plate lights, etc. The thing about LEDs is first of all, their way lower electrical consumption is great. It is several times less power consumed when compared to regular lights, like incandescent, incandescent halogen, HID light or even fluorescent lights. Modern LED lights can easily outpower traditional lights when it comes to luminescence, while only consuming a fraction of the electrical power. Another great thing is their extremely long life and on top of that, the many colors available. You will notice that even when some LED light bulbs have some color masks, it is not needed. LED lights can be clear an when powered, it shows the color it was built to show. The reason is that since LEDs are semiconductors (diodes), it will “vibrate” at the frequency of the specific color it was designed for.

For the interior, there are available LED replacement light bulbs for the courtesy and dome lights, for which you may choose different colors other than white. These bulbs shine brighter than its counterpart and produce less heat. Also, there are the LED strips that you either plug into the cigarette lighter socket or hook directly with a switch to the car’s electrical system. Those LED strips are very colorful and can be programmed for different colors and flashing patterns. Although these are merely for decoration, they are beautiful and nice to look at when it illuminates the interiors of your car.

For the exterior, the LED headlights are so bright that it could be painful to look at, even in daylight. You can see the difference on the first time you drive at night after installing them. These lights are commonly categorized in lumens (radiation power) and color-temperature (relative color of light produced). For these, you should check your local laws to make sure you are not exceeding any limits of power or radiance.

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Power Inverters

Power inverters are equipment that converts the 12 vdc or your car’s electrical system to the 120 vac domestic electrical system for powering small domestic appliances. These are sold by how many watts they produce and the type of signal produced. The power produced is an important characteristic that you will need to have in mind when wanting to buy a power inverter for powering an appliance from your car battery. If an appliance use 500 watts, keep in mind that though 500watts inverters are easily available, it will draw in theory, a current of 42 amperes current from your car’s battery to do the conversion. That means that you should not use it too long before charging the battery. Speaking about theory, it basically means that if you have a battery with a capacity of 100Ah, it will power the inverter for a little more than 2 hours before the battery is dead, assuming that you are using 500 watts continuously. If not, relative time would be [(Battery Capacity in Ah) / ((Watts Being Used)/12)]. Keep in mind that it is only an approximation so you can have an idea.

About the type of the signal produced, there are two common types of inverters; the modified sine wave output and the pure sine wave output. It refers to the shape of the wave of the current it generates and how much it resembles the current coming out of a wall outlet (high quality) in your home. The pure sine wave inverter is the best quality of those two types (more expensive too) and are a must for powering sensitive electronics. The other type, the modified sine wave inverters are less expensive and the quality of the signal produced is less, as its wave is a combination of different square signal levels to resemble a sine wave. If you could see the waves, the pure sine wave would be a perfectly rounded wave and the modified sine wave would be a pixelated picture of the rounded wave. While modified sine wave inverters are considered of lower quality, it will not be a problem for powering appliances that are not sensitive this and 500 watts of a modified sine wave will still be 500 watts. For example, a fan will power up with both inverter types, but you will hear a low pitched buzz when powered with a modified sine wave inverter. If the sound does not bother you, this will not harm at all the fan or the inverter. So you can say that pure sine wave inverters are more quiet to what we can appreciate. For the rest, we would see no difference if the device being powered accepts both wave types.

Some inverters (low powered) come with a cigarette lighter socket plug to power it from your car’s electrical system, but some others will need to be wired directly to the car’s battery terminals with clamps, which are often included with the inverter. Inverters up to 200 watts can be powered from the cigarette lighter socket. More power than that may blow the fuse that protects this connection in the car. Inverters exceeding 200 Watts, like the 500 Watts inverters of our example, commonly comes with both, the car cigarette lighter plug and wires for direct connection to the battery, depending on how much power you will consume out of it. Always, always read the instructions manual to make sure you are on the safe side when it comes to electrical equipment, especially high power equipment like these.

You may power up laptops, desktop computers, cell phones, coffee makers and many others. We have even powered up a microwave oven, but that was with a 1000 watts pure sine wave inverter, wired directly to the car’s battery.

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Some other ideas are scents, cellphone mounts, floor mats, dash cams, seat covers, steering wheel covers, sun shades, cellphone wireless chargers, wireless Bluetooth equipment for your car stereo and many more.

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