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5 Smart Gadgets and Apps to Make Your Old Car Feel Like New

One of my biggest issues with an older car isn’t the gas mileage or look; it’s the features that you miss out on having. Technoloy has come a long way in the last 10 to 15 years. Today’s cars are safer and packed with gadgets and features that make driving easier.

Sure, your grandparents didn’t have backup cameras, lane assist or even OBD-II sensors, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not worth the expense.

Studies show that many of these safety features reduce the risk of accidents drastically. And the good news is that your “dumb car” can be turned smart with the right gadgets and apps.

Which gadgets and apps will have the biggest impact?

1. TOGUARD Backup Camera


TORGUARD’s backup camera is a complete solution for anyone who wants a backup camera in their car. The system comes with a 7” IPS touch screen that allows for recording, too. You’ll be able to enjoy a wide visual angle, and the reverse kit allows you to view the rear of the car when parking or backing up.

This “mirror dash” comes with front and back cameras, so you can record accidents, too.

A parking monitor and motion detection allow for a greater view around the vehicle, and the simple interface replaces your rearview mirror. It’s a simple, touch-screen option that is easy to install and attaches right on your rearview mirror without needing to remove the stock mirror from the vehicle.

You can turn recording on or off as you see fit.

2. Advanced Diagnostics


Advanced diagnostics is one of the key features that I love about Tesla vehicles. The vehicles have come such a long way that they’re able to pinpoint problems with themselves. Taking this a step further, Tesla’s vehicles can actually pre-order the part so that your vehicle can be repaired with as little downtime as possible.

And while I don’t know a single aftermarket product that can do all of this, I do know of a few products that can help diagnose your vehicle’s problems.

These products include:

What you’ll do is find your vehicle’s OBD-II connection, and you’ll plug your device into these connectors. The device will be able to pull all of the error codes that are being presented on the check engine light.

These codes are tricky to interpret on your own, and a lot of people go to the mechanic to have the codes read for them.

But you can download an app that connects to these devices and have the code, along with a plethora of other information, deciphered for you. The nice thing about advanced diagnostics is that you’ll be able to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape and know what’s wrong with it before going to the mechanic.

3. Built-in Navigation and Entertainment System


If you have your phone mounted onto the windshield  and are using it as your primary means of entertainment or navigation, you have other options. Entertainment doesn’t need to be an old radio that barely works anymore.

ATOTO A6  is a great option, and there are numerous others, that allows you to install an Android entertainment system. You’ll have a large screen that can connect to Wi-Fi, be tethered or even be used as a radio.

The dual Bluetooth navigation stereo also includes options for:

  • Reverse camera input
  • GPS navigation
  • Internet usage
  • App usage
  • Phone calls
  • Streaming music
  • Hundreds of other options

The entertainment system also comes with large SD support, so that you can install games, download videos or movies and watch everything right on your dashboard. It’s a great, affordable way to have your own entertainment / navigation system in your car.

4. Blind Spot Monitoring

Blind spots cause accidents every day, and when merging on to the highway, it can be very dangerous when you cannot see the vehicle beside you when merging. The quick and easy solution to this problem is to have a blind spot camera installed.

You’ll also find that there are blind spot mirrors, but these seem to be less effective than an actual camera setup.

There are a few options available, and each has its own benefits and drawbacks. I recommend that you dig into all of these products yourself to determine what the best option for your vehicle may be.

  • Integrated Car Wired Side View Camera
  • GreenYi Wireless

You’ll find that there are models that use Bluetooth and apps to make them function properly. Essentially, the app will be providing a view of your blind spot, so it will have to be mounted to the windshield via a smartphone to be functional.

You also have integrated solutions that can hook into your current setup or ones that actually come with their own screen which will have to be installed in your car.

One option is an easy option with little adjustments that need to be made, while the other will require a mechanic or someone with a lot of automotive experience to install properly.

5. Apps to Make Life Easier

When you have to install hardware or make changes to a vehicle, it’s almost a deterrent for some people. The idea of having to put that much work and effort into making driving safer stops people in their tracks.

But apps can also make life as a driver a little easier.

A few of the apps that are a must-have include:

  • GasBuddy – An app that helps you find the cheapest gas in town. Download the app, put in your location, and you’ll be able to see the nearest gas stations and prices to save money at the pump.
  • DashCam2 – An app only available on iOS, but you can find similar apps for Android. This app turns your phone into a dashcam, and you’ll be able to use it to record your driving, including speed and any accidents that may occur.

All of these apps are free, and there are tons more that will allow you to be able to get the most out of your “dumb vehicle.”

November 16, 2019

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