Owning a car is a constant process of buying more shit for it to improve the driving experience. Sometimes, it’s a simple problem, like realizing you need an organizer for the seat back to keep all your kid’s stuff in. Sometimes, it’s a matter of buying one of those jump starters that come attached to a battery just in case, at which point you become the favorite person in the neighborhood when suddenly everyone’s cars start dying. So, I have to ask, what’s the handiest thing you’ve ever bought for your car?
Most of my family’s vehicles are from that strange intermediary period where robust do-it-all infotainment systems weren’t a thing yet, but for some reason you still got a really big screen to show you tons of details about, like, the song you were listening to on SiriusXM.
And since I’m incredibly inept when it comes to directions, I’ve spent the last seven years trying to come up with a navigation solution. I bought a GPS right when I got my car, and it worked fine—until one day it led me into a traffic jam so obscene that it took me eight hours to drive the 50 miles from my apartment to my mom’s house.
After that, I vowed only to use Google Maps or some other phone app that could feed me live traffic data. But that has brought up its own can of worms in trying to find a phone holder that actually sticks to my car. I bought a suction-cup one to put on my windshield, which did not work. I bought one that clips into the vents, but it was the most awful contraption I’ve ever tried to use. The side clips that hold your phone in place were prone to getting stuck, and I’d inevitably have cords flying every which way when the damn thing fell off mid-drive.
My mom finally bought a mount that doesn’t suck and gifted me one for our belated Christmas celebration. It suctions to the dashboard, and you can move it around to the perfect adjustable space. It automatically clamps to your phone, so I don’t have to dick around trying to finagle it. And it also charges my phone, even in its case! Magic! I’ve stopped secretly pining for a new car with all the fancy accoutrements because I have made one smart purchase (or, in this case, gift acceptance).
What’s the best thing you’ve ever bought for your car?