Equip: Car Essentials, Week of May 4th


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Social distancing has put a damper on a lot of hobbies, but for car enthusiasts, there’s a glimmer of hope. The lockdown’s a convenient time to carry out your personal projects and go for a responsible, law-abiding drive if there’s a scenic road nearby. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of car essentials to help you keep busy and improve your car-cred.

Universal Magnetic Smartphone Holder

One of the cheapest, most practical solutions to keeping your smartphone near you in the car is also one of the most elegant and useful. These magnetic mounts slide into your car’s air vent.

$8.99 from Amazon

Blue Coral Upholstery Dri-Clean

If you own a shop vac and want to make your car’s interior look like it just came from the detailers, invest in some spray shampoo. It takes a little effort to apply the foaming soap, scrub it into your car’s carpets and wet-vac it out, but you’ll be amazed at the impact it has on the inside of your car. Lingering odors and pesky stains, gone. It’s the best way to make your car’s interior feel and smell new. 

$12.85 from Walmart

Crutchfield Aftermarket Stereo

Adding some high-fidelity sound to your car is a great project to fill up an afternoon or two. This could be anything from a simple speaker replacement, to an all-out amplifier-driven audio powerhouse. You’ll need a few tools and some time, but the latest batch of aftermarket receivers can even add Apple Carplay or Android Auto to your car. 

$100 and up from Crutchfield

BLACK+DECKER Handheld Vacuum

Oh-so-critical for getting those little crumbs, pet hair, and dust out of hard-to-reach spaces. Just make sure you get one that has enough power and battery life. As a bonus, you’ll put it to use around the house, too. 

$59.86 from Amazon

WeatherTech Window Deflectors

These oft-overlooked plastic runners might seem like just a simple aesthetic add-on, but they’re actually quite functional. They help keep the wind and rain off your face with the windows down, keep the glare out of your eyes and in the right color, they actually do look quite good. Best of all, they’re simple enough to install on your own with very few tools.

$65 and up from WeatherTech

3M Headlight Restoration Kit

Nothing ages a reasonably new car like foggy headlights. But you can avoid car cataracts by using a simple kit to polish them up. The best ones work using a buffing wheel, or by taking advantage of your cordless drill to fashion one. In fifteen minutes, you can take years off of your car’s look. 

$14.50 from Amazon

Black Magic Tire Wet Foam

How do those car wash places make your tires look so shiny and black? Using tire foam, or spray. You can buy it yourself and save a visit to the car wash. Adding a little tire black is another great trick to help your car look newer and really brings out the aggressive tread pattern on sporty tires. 

$4.74 from Amazon

A Power Tune

Computer-savvy types in the car crowd will recognize this one quickly. Tuning your car’s engine computer has been in practice since the 1980s, however, modern cars are so reliant on turbocharging and computer-controlled fuel maps that you can extract significant amounts of power from them without ever turning a wrench. 

The tuner below is for a Jeep Wrangler, but they’re available for a range of cars.

$89.95 from Amazon

Mothers California Clay Bar System

You’ve probably heard of waxing your car’s finish to keep the paint healthy and give it luster and shine, but you can go further to preserve your car’s finish using a clay bar and some quick-detailing liquid. The hard clay glides over your car’s surface, removing any small impurities or imperfections in the paint. The result is an ultra-smooth finish that will look even better once you apply your wax.

$18.79 from Walmart

Redrock Cold Air Intake

Performance-minded enthusiasts looking for a good first project might find it in a new short-ram or cold-air intake. They install in a few hours and can add a modest power increase with the added bonus of livening up your car’s engine noise. 

The price and intake details will change depending on your car.

$169.99 from Amazon

Lexol Leather Rapid Restorer

Owning a car with a nice leather interior can be a labor of love to preserve your resale value or a sad story as you watch your seats and interior dry and crack. Which do you prefer? There’s never been a better time to get out the leather treatment and grease up those seats, steering wheels and shift boots. After all, you’re not going anywhere for a little while, are you?

$10.99 from Amazon

Lego Technic Cars

Even if they don’t admit it, every car nerd wants a Lego Porsche, Ferrari, or Land Rover. These kits are too cool to pass up, and they’re a great way to stay occupied.  

$99.99 to $349.99 from Lego

Cruising Toward Summer

We’ve run the gamut from expensive performance upgrades to convenient, affordable interior accessories and lifestyle pieces. If you’re an enthusiast looking for a way to stay occupied this summer, give a few of these items a try. 

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