Now may be the time to start drawing up your car shopping list

As recently as a decade ago, Mapquest was the go-to source for all of our navigation needs. We’d go to the site, type in our destinations, print the pages, and be on our way. Fortunately, we don’t have to do that anymore. The rise of the digital age has given our cars a smorgasbord of built-in tech features that enhance our daily driving experience and streamlines the efficiency by which we go about our daily routines. A lot of today’s automakers offer a lot of these standard-issue gadgets and accessories, but why settle when you can have so much more at your disposal.

From practical devices designed to assist us in our daily drives to unnecessary gadgets that are still pretty cool to own, we’ve compiled a list of extra accessories that you can look into and see if they’re worth your hard-earned money. I’m not going to force any of you to buy the items on this list. It’s just that shopping season is fast approaching, and there’s no better way to prepare for the incoming rush of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas than by streamlining your shopping list. Who knows, one of the items you’ll see here could end up on that list. Perhaps an high-definition dash cam? Maybe a coffeemaker for your car?

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Bestek Jump Starter

Shopping Rush: Useful Items You Can Buy For Your Car On Black Friday
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Price estimate: $50

A lot of today’s cars come with a jump starter in tow. But if you need an upgrade from the stock one that you have, Bestek’s jump starter is as good an option as any in the market. It’s especially useful if you live in a far-flung place where there aren’t that many other cars to help you jolt your stalled battery back to life. The cool thing about this jump starter is that it’s self-powered, which means that you can use it even without another battery in the vicinity. Even better, it also comes with a 12V wall charger, a 12V car charger, a pair of USB ports, and a flashlight. Just make sure it’s fully charged before you set out on the road, and you’re all set.

Order your own Bestek Jump Starter

Scoche USB charger

Shopping Rush: Useful Items You Can Buy For Your Car On Black Friday
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Price estimate: $13 to $15

This particular item isn’t a necessity if you’re not technologically inclined. Most cars already come with USB ports anyway so there’s no need for two if you already have what you need. But if you’re a technophile and you have a stack of gadgets in your possession, Scoche’s USB charger is a good way to kill two birds with one stone or, at least in this case, two devices with one port. The hint of a blue glow emanating from the charger is there purely for cosmetic value so it doesn’t matter if you love it or hate it as long as the device serves its purpose. Plus, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to buy one, so even if you don’t have any use for it, the charger could make for a good holiday gift this coming Christmas.

Order your own Scoche USB charger

Ion Audio Cassette Bluetooth Adapter

Shopping Rush: Useful Items You Can Buy For Your Car On Black Friday
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Price estimate: $20

If your car still has a cassette deck, you might find this item particularly useful. It’s called the Ion Audio Cassette Bluetooth Adapter, and it’s everything its name says it is - and then some. The adapter’s main feature is its ability to turn your cassette deck into a Bluetooth music receiver, allowing you to stream your playlists directly from your smartphone. It also allows hands-free phone calls, has four-plus hours of battery use, and can be powered on and off when inserted into, or ejected from, the cassette deck.

Order your own Ion Audio Cassette Bluetooth Adapter

Vantrue R2 Dash Cam

Shopping Rush: Useful Items You Can Buy For Your Car On Black Friday
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Price estimate: $100 to $120

Like them or not, dash cams have become one of the most popular tech add-ons among car owners. They’re useful in determining culpability in road accidents and a lot of companies have started to offer different versions with different features. My personal choice is the Venture R2. Its price tag of $120 is a little steep, but for what you’re paying, you’re getting a device that capture a 170-degree field of view in crystal-clear, 1080p video. It also starts recording automatically when the engine is on and powers down when the engine is off. The dash cam even has a “G-sensor” that detects any impact on your car and auto-locks the important segments that are captured in the recording so you won’t need to have to look for it in those frantic moments after a crash.

Order your own Vantrue R2 Dash Cam

Tile Mate

Shopping Rush: Useful Items You Can Buy For Your Car On Black Friday
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Price estimate: $25

If there’s one item on this list that I’d recommend you buy, it’s this one. Tile Mate is a little gadget you slide onto your key chain. It doesn’t look that important, but it’s actually a sensor that allows you track the whereabouts of your key chain in the event you misplace it. Raise your hands if this has happened to you? With Tile Mate, you won’t have to worry about misplacing your keys anymore because the Bluetooth-equipped gadget can literally track them using an accompanying mobile app. Those days of frantically looking for your keys will be long gone if you have Tile Mate by your side.

Order your own Tile Mate


Shopping Rush: Useful Items You Can Buy For Your Car On Black Friday
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Price range: $190

I’m not a coffee drinker so this item has no use to me. That said, I do know people who can’t start their day without a jolt of espresso in their system. When there’s no time to swing by your local Starbucks or Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, the Handpresso makes for a good alternative. It works well with any kind of coffee ground or even ESE espresso pods. All you need to do is plug it in directly into the 12-volt port in your car, wait a few minutes for the magic to happen, and take your shot. I will admit that it might be tricky to do all of this while you’re driving, but the benefits of having a coffee maker-on-the-go should at least make for more alert drivers on the road.

Order your own Handpresso

Escort Max 360

Shopping Rush: Useful Items You Can Buy For Your Car On Black Friday
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Price range: $550 to $600

Listen up, speed freaks. I understand the urge of flirting with the speed limit when you’re out on the road. I’m guilty of the same unlawful act. It’s not something that I implicitly do when see I clear stretch of road, but the urge has taken over my sensibilities from time to time. That’s why I recommend having a radar detector on your car specifically for moments like this. There are a bunch of them on the market now, but if you really want to spend to get one of the best that’s available, take a long look at the Escort Max 360. Its price range isn’t for the cheap-at-heart, but it is one of the most accurate devices of its kind. It even comes with dual antennas and smart phone compatibility that allows it to tell us when a police cruiser is in the vicinity, radar guns in hand. The Escort Max 360 even has a networking feature that allows you to connect with similar law-bending speedsters in the area so if somebody gets popped by The Fuzz; you’ll know about it before you summer a similar fate.

Order your own Escort Max 360

Ztylus Stinger

Shopping Rush: Useful Items You Can Buy For Your Car On Black Friday
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Price range: $25

You’ll probably won’t need this unless you’re in an accident, but just in case, it’s a useful device to have in times of distress. The Stinger is basically a tool that’s designed to shatter car windows if you can’t get out of your cars, be it through the doors or windows. A spring-loaded window punch typically gets the job done in breaking tempered glass. The device also comes with a razor-sharp blade that’s important in instances where you need to cut your seatbelt if you can’t do it normally. Unfortunately, the Stinger doesn’t work on windshields or laminated glass, so that’s something that you need to know before you decide to get one. The good news is that the Stinger only costs around $25 so even if you don’t think it’s necessary to have one in your car, you can still get it just to be on the safe side of things.

Order your own Ztylus Stinger

Fobo Tire Plus

Shopping Rush: Useful Items You Can Buy For Your Car On Black Friday
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Price range: $195

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that having to manually check tire pressure is an exhaustive exercise. You have to get out of the car, crouch down and do check the tires individually. By the time you’re done, you’re either dirty, sweating, or a combination of the two. But what if there was a way to check your car’s tire pressure from the comforts of your own smartphone? Would that be of interest to you? Thanks, to Fobo and its Tire Plus device, that’s exactly what you can do. The system uses four Bluetooth gauges (one for each tire) that can check the air pressure on each tire and relay that information directly to your smartphone. More importantly, the device is capable of monitoring up to 19 cars at a time.

Order your own Fobo Tire Plus

Blind spot mirrors

Shopping Rush: Useful Items You Can Buy For Your Car On Black Friday
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Price range: $10

They’re not the most aesthetically pleasing car accessories in the market today, but blind spot mirrors are useful, especially if you have an older car. Some new cars already have a built-in blind sport alert system that automatically detects when something is in your blind spot. If you have this feature in your car, you don’t need this item. But if you don’t, these mirrors are a sure-fire way of knowing what’s going on in your blind spot. You never know, these mirrors could be the only thing that prevents you from getting into an accident if you’re not paying attention to your surroundings. They’re also cheap too so you won’t have to worry spending a fortune to buy them.

Order your own Blind spot mirrors

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