Cars Are More Than People-Movers
Cars are much more than people-movers that get us from point A to point B. Sure, we use them for work or school commutes, road trips, and hauling groceries and household goods. But a car is more than that. For some of us, they serve as a mobile office (with stacks of cards, flyers, and folders to prove it). Our vehicles can transport bikes and other sporting equipment, and often hold an extra gym bag for last-minute workouts. Some people store beach mats or rubber boots and umbrellas, preparing for spontaneous getaways or sudden changes in weather. Others like to keep books and an extra pair of reading glasses in case the sun makes an unexpected appearance and there’s time for a break at a favorite park.
Pimping Your Ride
No matter how you use your car, there are lots of ways to personalize it to make it more “you”. Here are a few inexpensive customization options that can add functionality and even a touch of personality to your car. (We chose to focus on the more practical improvements, excluding any big-ticket ride-pimping options like installing a hot tub in your back seat or adding extreme hydraulics.)
Roof racks offer a good deal of additional storage, especially if you’re big on outdoor activities. With roof racks you can haul your kayak, your ski equipment, all your camping gear. In fact, there are some really cool roof-top tents that roof racks accommodate, adding options to your car camping adventures.
If you’re really into music, why not upgrade your sound system? There are so many customization options, from sound deadening (which also reduces engine and road noise) to replacing your speakers, or the entire system. Other upgrades are available, too, like better displays, dual phone connections, and additional apps that offer more functionality. For many people changing out a stereo is a great DIY project.
Pockets For Storage
There are a surprising amount of car accessories dedicated to organization. You can add pockets to the back of your car seats, holders that fit in the gap between your front seats and the console, there are trunk organizers, slip-on holders made for your visor, even dividers that velcro to the carpet in your cargo area to help keep items neat and tidy.
This is a great addition for anyone who spends a lot of time in their car. You may not appreciate it as much in winter months but come summer you’ll be the cool one. Heading to the beach or a park for a picnic? No problem! Going on a long drive to visit family? No need to stop at the store when you can show up with chilled wine or soda you brought from home.
Many people prefer LED lighting to incandescent bulbs. They emit less heat, are whiter in color, and cast light over a broader area making it easier to see. If your interior lights aren’t LED, in most cases you can replace the bulbs. And if you like funky lighting, you’re in luck! Nowadays you can install strip kits to enhance the interior of your car. Whether you want to add light to dark areas, or kick it up with color and ambiance, lighting is another inexpensive way to add personality to your ride.
Vanity plates can be a fun and CRE8TIV way to express yourself. You can even show your support for causes with your custom plate. In Oregon, you can select available backgrounds that support the Oregon Tourism Commission, Trail Blazers Foundation, OSU Marine Mammal Institute, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and the Parks and Recreation Department Fund, Oregon Trust for Cultural Development, and Crater Lake National Park Projects.
When Dogs Are Your Co-Pilot
Besides the humans for whom we provide transport, many of us share our vehicles with our beloved pets. AAA did a survey and found that a surprising 56% of people travel with the dogs in the car, but only 16% of them utilize any kind of restraint.
Seat-Belts And Restraints
For their safety and yours, if you don’t already have one, measure your pet and look for the right harness, a pet-friendly seatbelt, or a crate made for car travel. There are step-in harnesses you can use in and out of the car, even car seats that double as carriers. All of them should securely fasten to your car’s seat belt.
Little legs or arthritis can make everyday activities challenging. Storing a ramp in your car or SUV is a great way to help your canine friends get in and out of cars more safely, and with less pain.
You can find a wide variety of options to cover the back seat for cleanliness and safety. You can also put up a barrier if you need to prevent Fido from climbing into the front seat to snuggle with (distract) you.
Be sure tags and microchips are current
This is important to do anyway, in case your dog is ever lost. It may never happen while your traveling by car, but there have been instances where a dog somehow gets out of the automobile. Current identification makes it much easier to reunite a dog with its owner.