Apps, gadgets, and PPE: These are the new in-car essentials 

Make way for the PPE! COVID-19 has changed the way we live and travel, right down to the items we keep in the gloveboxes and consoles of our vehicles.

Some of us may have had to discard a jar of peanuts or even an old CD or two to make room for the new in-car essential, Personal Protective Equipment. 

In fact, there are a few gadgets, apps and products that should be in most vehicles most of the time these days. Read on to see which ones you need to pick up or put on your holiday wish list. 

Noco Genius Boost Jump Starter

It’s time to upgrade the jumper cables to a full jump-starter kit. The Noco Genius BoostHD Jump Starter and Power Bank provides up to 40 jump starts per charge, and can also charge smartphones, other devices, and 12V items like air inflators. Handy, and it’s $320 from Canadian Tire.

Liquid Sanitizer

Not all hand sanitizers are created equal, which is why Health Canada has had to recall a bunch of them recently. This sani from Rocky Mountain Soap Company is Health Canada and NHP-certified. Toss it in the centre console and offer it to each and every person who steps inside your car. It’s $18 from Rocky Mountain Soap Co.

It’s also not a bad idea to have the wipe version of sanitizer, too. They’re safe on your skin and most hard surfaces, including imitation leather, but be careful rubbing down luxury interiors because they could potentially damage real leather. Check out All-Clean Sanitizing Wipes, $13 at Staples.

Phone Mount

Stay focused on the road and avoid ever getting a distracted driving ticket with a mount for your smartphone. If your car has vents and your phone has a back, this iOttie Magnetic Holder will set you up. Just $35 from Amazon.

Amazon Echo Auto

It’s no bigger than a card carrier, but for those driving a technologically-outdated vehicle, the Amazon Echo Auto smart speaker is an absolute asset, pairing Amazon’s Alexa to your phone and playing it through the entertainment system via the auxiliary input or Bluetooth. Get it for $70 from Amazon.

Disposable Face Masks

Most of us have a spare mask on our face or in our pocket at all times at this point, but it’s never a bad idea to have a few extra on hand in case you or anybody within your bubble forgets theirs. Search for 50-Piece 4-Ply Disposable Black Face Masks, $10 from Walmart“.

Backup Camera

Once you’ve used a backup camera, you’ll never look back, pun intended. Drivers with cars not equipped with a built-in backup cam can get a plug-and-play unit like this top-rated eRapta ERT01 on Amazon for less than $30. The video above demonstrates how to install it. Try $26 from Amazon.

Winter Safety Kit

This is a Canadian site, and we therefore give Canadian advice: If you’re driving in winter conditions, your vehicle had better be appropriately equipped. This includes having a winter safety kit in the trunk, like this pack from Canadian Tire, which includes a shovel, gloves, warning triangles, and a year of roadside assistance. This particular kit is $55 from Canadian Tire.

Disposable gloves

It used to be that the only people who carried a box of latex or other plastic gloves in their vehicle were those who couldn’t stand the smell of gas on their hands. Now, disposable gloves are a crucial part of your personal PPE go-bag. Dig this 50-pack of disposable latex gloves, $8 from Walmart.

Tile Mate

Dude, where’s my car key? If you find yourself asking some version of that question often, you might want to consider the Tile Mate, a little Bluetooth tracker you can slide on your keychain and use the app to locate. Just $30 from Amazon.

USB Charger Backseat Organizer

The backseat organizer has been a staple in family haulers for ages, and now it’s evolved to include tech-friendly features like USB charging ports and a covered pouch for a tablet device. This one is $57 from Amazon.

PlugShare App

EV owners know how important it is to know where the charging stations are on their routes. One of the best ways to make sure the battery is topped up is with an app like PlugShare, which provides an accurate report on EV and Tesla charging stations. Oh, and it’s free from the App Store.

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