Top 10 Must Have Auto Accessories

Personalizing the appearance and improving the driving experience of your auto is one of the great pleasures of owning your own car, SUV or truck. There are so many different auto accessories out there on the market it can be tricky to narrow down which ones you might want to consider getting to improve your vehicle. The following 10 accessories are those which we consider really are the “must haves”:

1) Floor Mats – It really is pretty ridiculous that an item so basic as a floor mat is an optional extra on many new cars. If you want to protect the interior of your automobile and prolong the life of the cabin’s upholstery then floor mats are an essential and worthwhile investment. Floor mats can be easily picked up from just about every auto accessory shop and even in many supermarkets.

2) Auto Covers – The last thing you want to happen to your pride and joy is for its shiny paintwork to get damaged by the elements, falling objects, or even bird droppings. By using an auto cover you can give your vehicle the protection it needs from the harsh summer sun, heavy rain and hail, corrosive bird droppings and destructive objects falling from trees or blown by the wind.

3) Cargo Liners – Like floor mats for the passenger compartment of vehicles, cargo liners are also a great accessory for keeping the trunk clean and tidy. If you are often putting dirty boots or tools in the trunk of your vehicle, for example, then a cargo liner will keep all that filth off the lining material as well as protecting against any scratches and dents.

4) Brake Dust Shields – With modern vehicles getting more and more powerful and having larger brakes, the amount of brake dust produced is increasing. Using brake dust shields on the insides of your wheels helps to prevent the dust from gathering on your shiny alloy rims, making keeping your auto clean much easier.

5) Car Bras – Bumpers on modern cars are often made from plastic which might look good but isn’t able to put off with much abuse caused by stones, grit and other street debris. A car bra is a specially made protector that wraps around the bumper to shield against flying stones, insects and other debris that can cause damaging stone chips and dents.

6) Fender Flares – Travelling at speed on country roads or rarely used streets can lead to gravel, rocks and other objects flinging up and striking the paintwork of your vehicle. By fitting fender flares you can greatly reduce the amount of debris that can reach your auto’s exterior. For most cars it is possible to find fender flares that match the original color and finish.

7) Mud Flaps – Further protection can be provided by the use of mud flaps which also prevent the dirty water spray containing all manner of pollutants and oil from reaching your car’s paintwork.

8) Heated Seats – Driving a car throughout the long winter months without heated seats can be somewhat torturous, especially when first entering the vehicle. Heated seats can make a journey in cold weather 10 times more pleasurable.

9) iPod / iPhone / MP3 Docks – Tape cassettes and even now CDs are getting very long in the tooth. Why not make use of your iPod or MP3 player in your vehicle and invest in a dock that allows you to listen to your tunes through your car speakers. Many docks also double up as a hand-free system; much safer than talking on the phone normally.

10) Bug Shields – These are an absolute must have, particularly in the South where insects are even more prevalent. A good bug shield made specifically for your model of car or truck can do wonders in limiting the amount of insects and other debris hitting your windshield and hood. Bug shields not only help to keep your car clean, but are also a useful safety accessory helping to maintain good visibility.

Electric Vehicle Kits – Build Your Own Electric Car

With rising fuel costs, more and more people and are looking for alternatives. One such alternative that is gaining popularity, especially with the do-it yourself types, are the electric vehicle kits. Anyone familiar with automobiles can now use these kits to convert traditional gas powered vehicles to one powered by electric current.

However, converting a traditional Gas powered vehicle into an electric vehicle can be a very daunting task. Only those who are the very mechanically minded should try this. To convert the vehicle will require extensive modifications to nearly all-mechanical parts of the car. Everything from the engine to the radiator, heater and air-conditioning, to the gauges on the panel. On top of that, the electric cars have to be recharged on a regular basis, which means having to purchase or use the services of recharging station. Solar power could be another potential source of power for the electric vehicle.

Can any car be converted into an electric vehicle?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Not all cars can be converted into an electric vehicle. However, and the most common electric vehicle kit seems to be the Chevy S-10 pick up kit. For examples to follow just do a search online for Chevy S-10 pickup Electric conversions.
Other cars that are good candidates for conversion are the Chevy Geo, especially from 1989 to 1999. These cars are good potential candidates for an electric vehicle kit conversion. Cars similar to the Chevy Geo Metro, such as the Chevy Sprint, Pontiac Firefly and the Suzuki Swift are also ideal for conversions too.

Are there downsides to using an electric vehicle kit?

Going back a few years, many people associated electric powered vehicles with slowness and a lack of power. But as usual, thanks to technology, significant advances in the electric vehicle have changed all that. With these electric vehicle kits some cars can reach top speeds of between 70 and 75 mph. nonetheless, converting to electric power still has its drawbacks.

The biggest drawback it is of course the need for recharging the batteries. As an example, the Chevy Geo Metro kit must be recharged every 20 to 40 miles, depending on driving habits and battery quality. For city driving, this would be ideal. However, for lengthy commutes on the highway, this would not be ideal.

The Chevy S-10 with an electric vehicle kit installed will run a little longer on a single charge. On a single charge, the S-10 should last between 40 and 60 miles. Again this depends upon the driving habits as well as the size and quality of batteries. Some S-10 models can be equipped with solar powered panels which would in reduced in the need for charging, at least when driving during daylight hours.

Converting vehicles with electric vehicle kits is not a cheap affair. Most conversion kits seem to cost between $8000 to $10,000. And this does not even include professional installation as well as the cost of the batteries, not to mention access to or the purchase of a charging station.

Quite frankly, with the cost involved of using an electric vehicle kit, it probably wouldn’t be very practical for the average consumer, especially if they do a lot of highway driving. However, that being said, it probably would be ideal for a back yard mechanic who loves to tinker with cars and has a few bucks to throw around and wants to impress his beer-drinking buddies.

Truck and Auto Accessories – Splash Guards

The main function of the mud flap is to keep dirt, slush and other debris from being kicked up by your truck’s tires, protecting both your truck and the windshields of the drivers behind you. Usually, people don’t pay much attention to mud flaps, but these days, the standard variety of truck and auto accessories have become yet another form of automotive self-expression.

The most iconic of these truck and car accessories characters is simply known as “The Mud Flap Girl”. We’ve all seen her before: She’s the buxom silver silhouette of a long-legged beauty lounging with one leg provocatively crossed over the other, hair blowing in the wind. Bill Zinda of Wiz Enterprises in Long Beach, California, created this famous character to promote his line of truck and auto accessories and based the character upon a famous model named Leta Laroe.

Another famous character to make an appearance on these truck and car accessories is Yosemite Sam pointing his two cartoon pistols with a caption beneath declaring, “Back Off!” or, “All Fired Up”. Other Warner Brother characters have also made appearances, such as a frightened Daffy Duck and an overly upset Tweety Bird.

These mud flap characters are so engrained in our psych that they have gone beyond truck and car accessories and began appearing in commercials together. One famous commercial created for the Superbowl in 2006 had the Mud Flap Girl and Yosemite Sam driving away in a Honda Ridgeway.

Sadly, it appears that both of these figures have been targeted by legislation, when officials in Arizona tried to pass a ban on the two icons on the grounds of political correctness (one promoting sex and the other promoting gun violence). For the time being, the legislation on these truck and auto accessories has been struck down.

As long as that law doesn’t pass, you can find quality auto accessories and mud flaps that can have anything on them from your favorite sports team logo to the picture of your dog.

Manufacturers know a good thing when they see it, and customized truck and auto accessories, such as mud flaps are big money makers. If you don’t want Yosemite Sam or the Mud Flap Girl, you can have your own mud flaps customized with whatever you want on quality materials to continue protecting your truck and showing everyone who you are at the same time.

The most popular use of custom mud flaps nowadays are for company cars. If you’ve ever been caught behind a large semi on the highway, or maybe stuck in traffic behind a moving van, you may have noticed that mud flaps are an effective advertising tool. Most companies spend a little extra in this truck and auto accessory to manipulate their vehicles to carry their company name and phone number on mud flaps.

More than mere truck and auto accessories, mud flaps can be a unique form of showing off who you are or acting as a clever bit of advertising. Never before have truck and car accessories been so interesting, versatile and amusing – while it protects!