The best car accessories for daily driving in Singapore (Part 1)
If you spend lots of time in your car––ferrying your kids or significant other around town, commuting to work, doing groceries, running errands, for starters––you’re going to want your car to be as pleasant to be in as possible. Especially if you get stuck in traffic jams.
This is where car accessories come in. We asked ourselves: what would maximize extra comfort and convenience for driving around town? What accessories are useful and ergonomically designed? What would help with maximizing safety in the car? What would be essential in an emergency?
None of these are strictly necessary (in the same way that coffee isn’t necessary but makes your life so much better), but they’ll go a long way towards making your driving experience smooth, fuss-free, and comfortable. Once you try them out, you’ll wonder how you ever lived life without them.
(Incidentally, we considered adding hand sanitizer dispensers to this list, but the heat is likely to make the gel lose its effectiveness, and in very rare cases melt your car. Totally not worth the risk.)
Smartphones are quite literally the backbone of modern life, and woe betide if you run out of battery en route to a crucial meeting! Most cars come with a USB port for charging your device, but you might want to consider an upgrade to a wireless charging mount, like say, a Xiaomi 20W Wireless car Charger. Or, if your device is Qi-enabled, the iOttie Easy One Touch Wireless Fast Charging Dash & Windshield Mount (that’s an SEO-friendly name if we ever saw one) equipped with a telescopic arm and super-fast wireless charging tech. No more fumbling around for wires! Actually being able to look at Google Maps or Waze while your phone charges! Amazing.
What if you’re driving with other people (like your kids) and all of you need to charge your phone? Keep everyone happy and juiced up by transforming your car’s sad, single USB port into a multi-port charger. Try the compact yet powerful Anker Mini Car Charger, which has 2 USB-A ports and comes with an 18-month warranty, the 2-port Scosche USB Charger, which fits neatly into your cigarette lighter outlet, the ultra-compact Divi USB Car Charger, or the impressive 4-port Tecknet USB Car Charger.
Bluetooth key finder
If you’re the kind of person who can misplace their glasses while they’re wearing them on top of their head… you need the Tile Mate key finder. This lightweight Bluetooth-tracking tag can be attached to your car keys (and anything you’re always losing) and synced to your phone, so you can locate your keys anywhere, anytime. We’ve heard of friends finding their car keys in the fridge using this––truly impressive.
(We take no responsibility if you lose your phone, though, which is the main thing you need to use the Tile Mate…)
Handheld car vacuum cleaner
Concerned about all those biscuit crumbs and stray hairs growing into giant dustballs under the car seats? What you need is a handheld car vacuum cleaner to hoover up all the little bits hiding in the hard-to-reach crevices of your car. Lightweight portable models like ThisWorx, RC-Global USB Car Vacuum Cleaner, or BLACK+DECKER dustbuster Handheld Vacuum will all do the job very nicely.
Of course, if you have cash to spare and nothing but the best will do, go for a Dyson. The Dyson V7 Trigger will cost you some serious $ for a vacuum cleaner, but they’re quite simply the best in the business––a super powerful motor, completely cord free, and most importantly, by far the easiest vacuum to empty. Perfect if you really hate dealing with dirt.
Dash cams are a super popular car accessory these days, and for good reason––they’re fantastic to have on your side for insurance claims in case you get into a car accident and you know for sure it was the other person’s fault. (They’re also great for all those hilarious viral videos of incompetent drivers… or ostriches gone rogue.)
Fortunately, you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on the best dash cam out there––you just need an affordable model that does the job. There are so many to choose from:
Crosstour mini dash cam (1080p video, nice clear footage at night, loop recording, license plate stamp, and a built-in sensor that detects shakes/collisions to prevent the footage from being overwritten)
Aukey dash cam (wide-angle lens, 4K video, 24hr motion detection)
Xiaomi 70MAI Wifi Dashcam (1080p video, clear night recording, WiFi capabilities for video and image-sharing, resistant to high temperatures)
YI Mini Dash Car Camera (intuitive interface and also works well at high temperatures),
BlackVue DR590-1CH DashCam (“awesome clarity,” if you care about that for dashcam videos)
Nextbase 612GW Dash Cam (4K video, wide-angle, polarising glare-reduction filter for clear images, magnetic pad to secure itself to dashboard)
Car jump starter/battery starter
This is one of those gadgets you pretty much never use, but is absolutely irreplaceable when you find yourself in a situation where no one else can help you jump start your car battery by connecting it to their car battery. A car jump starter is small and won’t take up much space: try the Arteck Car Jump Starter 8000mAh, or the NOCO Boost Plus GB40.
Things for tyre troubles
Even though you’re never far from help on our little red dot, it’s always good to be prepared for minor emergencies. Besides getting to know how your tyres perform, knowing how to fix tyre-related problems is useful (and will also impress pretty much anyone you’re dating in case something happens). Stash a small tyre repair kit in your boot, and you’ll have a quick n’ dirty fix for emergencies when you don’t have the time or means to change a busted tyre.
It pays to keep an eye on the air pressure in your tyres to ensure good car performance (e.g. fuel economy) but also prevent a tyre blowout. For constant peace of mind, you might want to install Nonda’s ZUS Smart Tyre Safety Monitor onto your tyre valves. These anti-theft pressure sensors will send notifications to your smartphone if anything’s amiss, so you’ll never have to actively check tyre pressure. (It’s not lazy, it’s smart outsourcing.)
Another useful gadget to have is a mini tyre inflator. For an ultra-portable yet powerful model, try the Norshire Mini Tyre Inflator. This sleek lil’ baby can inflate anything, recharges via your car’s USB port or cigarette lighter, and automatically stops when the tyre reaches the right pressure. If you’re feeling really flush, try this FORTEM digital tyre inflator that plugs straight into your car outlet––it’s easy to use, idiot-proof, and can even be used to inflate things like bike tyres, balloons, and air mattresses.
Not that we’re encouraging you to drink and drive (the penalties are pretty severe), it’s always useful to know if you’re legally okay to drive home, or better off getting a Grab to your bed. Check your alcohol levels with a breathalyser: this LCD Screen model is inexpensive and does the trick, but if you want all your bases covered, the police-and-hospital-grade BACtrack S80 Pro is the most reliable one out there.