The ten nerdiest car gadgets

It's not enough that the awkward and obsessed nerds of the world live richer, better lives when they grow up, it turns out that they also like to go faster than everyone else, too. Step into their secret and meticulous world as Jalopnik readers reveal their choices for ten greatest nerdcore automotive gadgets.


Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!

Photo Credit: HidRo

10.) Traqmate

Suggested By: keenan9

Why it's great: If you want to just go faster, you're going to have to start studying your numbers. Breaking down your laps into hard data isn't just a nerdy way to show off your ability to spend all kinds of money and/or time on your trackday sessions, it's how you're really going to find that 10th 10th that all those car reviewers keep talking about.


Video Credit: AxisOfOversteer


9.) Windshield compass

Suggested By: Dwight

Why it's great: As if reading maps isn't becoming nerdy in its own right these days, keeping a floating, bobbing compass suckered to your windshield is a true nerd's experience. Fitting in somewhere between orienting yourself on the daily variations in the sun's path and just breaking down and obeying your sat nav lady, this is the goldilocks of nerdy route-planning.


Photo Credit: Cat Sidh


8.) Tire durometer

Suggested By: unhcampus

Why it's great: It measures the hardness of your tires. Like the traqmate, this is pretty much restricted to the racetrack, but a thousand nerd points go to the anal-retentive champion who checks the hardness of road rubber. Because, you know, checking the depth of your tread with a penny is a pitifully un-nerdy way to know when you need new tires.


Photo Credit: LongAcre


7.) A fuel log

Suggested By: C³ - Cool Cadillac Cat

Why it's great: No matter how much anyone frets about mileage when buying a car, nobody actually records their fuel consumption and mileage in a real-world fuel economy log. Well, except nerds. Especially nerds with broken fuel gauges.


It doesn't make much difference in nerdiness terms if you enter your data on dead trees, on an Excel spreadsheet, or online.


6.) Fitting an iPad to your car

Suggested By: 87CE 95PV Type Я

Why it's great: We've seen nerds gut their cars to fit in their beloved iPads before, but the staggering feeling of gadgetry and nerd-dom persists.


We could discuss the pros and cons of such a setup, but then we saw that you can set it to run Star Trek: The Next Generation-style readouts, and there was no point in going on.


Photo Credit: The Mustang Source


5.) Rally Computer

Suggested By: BlowBig

Why it's great: No regular commuter needs to know their time, overall speed, distance, and other measurements with the sophistication or precision of rally computer. Only rally drivers need that. But maybe you want it? Maybe you want to know exactly how fast your commute was from the corner to the gas station, and how you can lower your overall trip from the bank and back. You'd have to be a crazy nerd to want one of those. Wonder how much a used one costs...


Photo Credit: peter_g


4.) Ark Design MFD

Suggested By: Five-Oh-No!

Why it's great: Car nerds thrive on information. It's not enough that we've spent all our extra time making our cars perfect performance beasts. We want to visualize that performance. We want the data at our fingertips. The Ark Design Multi-Function Display hooks into the car's on-board computers and spits out the numbers we demand: RPM, Vehicle Speed, Throttle Position, Injector Duty Cycle, O2 A/F Signal, Oil Pressure, Water Temperature, Secondary Oil/Water Temperature, and Boost/Vacuum.


3.) Megasquirt

Suggested By: rotundapig

Why it's great: Any asshole can buy an aftermarket ECU, but you have to be a real nerd to solder one together yourself. Reader rotundapig sums up the Megasquirt experience for you:

All you get is a PCB, a case, and some resistors and diodes and shit. It's not like there's one set of instructions, either. If you want it to work for your application, you actually have to know what you're doing (not to mention you have to know how to wield a soldering iron).


Photo Credit: RS Autosport


2.) Onboard diagnostics through your smartphone

Suggested By: Xander, Crew Champion

Why it's great: While some might call routing information from your car's computer to your phone is more geeky than nerdy, the sheer dweebiness of it all make it a moot point.


Fifteen bucks will get you a program for your beloved smartphone to talk to your car and before you know it you'll be monitoring your position in you engine's torque curve in real-time!

Photo Credit: Griffin


1.) Onboard diagnostics through your Game Boy

Suggested By: caklass

Why it's great: Hooking up your car's onboard computer to a goddamn Gameboy advance is the automotive nerd's equivalent of climbing Everest with no oxygen tanks.


You risk the ridicule of more experienced automotive techs as well as that of more hardcore gaming nerds, but it's all worth it for that perfect gadgety Holy Grail. This system is no joke, and though I don't expect to fathom its interface anytime soon, this setup really does work, and it really does blow our minds.

Photo Credit: eumylove

Share This Story