When you purchase your first car, you may have a lot of ideas about how you want to personalise it. Maybe you plan to turn your trunk into a wall of bumper stickers. You may have even been looking at new rims or performance-related parts. But before you tackle the fun purchases, consider starting out with these top five accessories for your first car.
1. Catch-Up Tech
For many people, their first car is an older and less expensive model. Sometimes they purchase this themselves, and other times, it’s a hand-me-down from another family member. Even newer cars may lack features that are standard in others. Thus, the first thing you’ll need to spend money on for your car is catch-up tech.
My car is a 2016 model and there were still some standard features I didn’t have and needed to invest in. Here are a few that may fall under this header for you:
- Floor mats
- Spare tire
- Alarm System
2. Dash Cam
When your license is brand-spanking-new, if you get into an accident, you may be held liable even when you are not at fault. Having less driving experience may make it difficult to convince the insurance companies and the police that you did not cause the accident. Dash cams help with this by providing an eye-witness account of what happened.
Some dash cams record both inside the vehicle and straight ahead. Others only record what happens directly ahead. The one I have rotates. I chose this so that I could discreetly record interactions with a police officer if I ever get pulled over. My dash cam also doubles as a parking monitor and has a G-shock sensor. This was a $34.99 investment on Amazon.
3. Phone Mount
When I first started driving, my family believed I would be one of those drivers glued to their phones. The opposite is true. I only touch my phone to double-check directions at a stop sign or a red light. In fact, I have an app installed that penalises my in-app driving record for using the phone while operating a vehicle. I have a perfect no-phone-use record.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving killed 3,447 people in 2015. Subsequently, Georgia and many other states in the U.S. have become “hands-free states”. Avoid a ticket by setting everthing up before you start your trip and use the phone mount. Enabling driving mode on your phone also helps to eliminate phone disractions. The phone mount cost me $10.99 from Amazon.
4. Driving Glasses
I have both night-time and day-time driving glasses in my car. It may sound like overkill, but I will explain when and why they come in handy. When I first got my car, I mostly drove after dark and before sunrise. Other drivers on the road often turned their high beams on me, making it difficult to see. Now, when they do this — often on purpose, to try to intimidate me into speeding up — I just put my night-time driving glasses on.
The day-time glasses are useful for driving at sunrise and in the later afternoon. These are the two times of the day when the sun is not directly overhead and may seem to shine directly into your line of sight. This can cause problems with visibility. Day-time driving glasses dims the sun. Both of my glasses are made from polorazing lens. I would advise you to look for the same. I paid $15.98 total for both of mine on Amazon.
5. Seat Covers
Unless you bought your car brand new, you probably have stains on your seats. My car was a rental with 42,000-plus miles on the dash. So, while it was in great shape, the seats had taken a beating. They weren’t horrible, but I didn’t want a car that felt like it had ever belonged to anyone but me, so I bought car seats. Men especially ask me where I bought these almost every time they see them. I got them off eBay for less than $20.
The covers protect the lighter-coloured seats beneath it. When these seat covers fade or become soiled, I can throw them out and get another set for $20, keeping the original seats in great shape. Note that the mats were included, but I bought the matching steering wheel cover separately.
There are many other purchases I have made for my car over the past year. For instance, rather than get a regular spare, I invested in a real wheel and tire that serve as long-term fix in the event of a tire puncture. I even bought a bicycle to match my car. You will need to do a proper assessment of your own vehicle to make responsible first-time purchases.
This article is a part of my New Driver Series. In the last piece, I provided advice on how to survive the dangerous Atlanta highways. Next, I will share some advice on how to shop for your first car.
The mechanic who accompanied me to carry out the inspections also sells cars. He told me I was the most prepared car-buyer he had ever met in his life. The next time I pop up in your feed, I’ll try to ensure you are too.