GEAR ROUNDUP
Give Your Old Car a Tech Makeover For Under $1,000
Trick out your old ride with these tech gadgets.

Let’s face it, not all of us have the means to have the latest and greatest vehicle. If I ever have a big windfall, a dark blue or red Tesla Model S would become my guilty pleasure. But until then, these aftermarket tech accessories help me find my way, stay safe, and enjoy the open road.

Solar-Powered Backup Cam is Truly Wireless

I don’t know what people do without backup cameras and proximity sensors, honestly. Disguised as a license plate frame, the $500 Pearl RearVision Wireless Car Backup Camera and Obstacle Alert System serves as both. This clever backup cam connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and uses solar power to stay charged, so there are no cables involved in installing it. I found less expensive models, but the features and low profile of this product are well worth the cost.

Best, Easiest Car Smartphone Holding Solution

The magicMOUNT magnetic car phone holder by SCOSCHE comes in three styles: There is a windshield-mounted holder, a model that sticks to the top of your dashboard, and a model intended for your center console. Each contains a rare-Earth magnet that holds your phone firmly in place. There are dozens of phone holders out there, but this $29 product is my first choice for its reliability, ease of installation and soft polymer suctions cups that leave no residue on your dash.

Zero Edge Z3 Dash Cam

This easy-to-use $100 dashboard camera will pay for itself many times over in the event that you’re involved in a no-fault accident and need proof. Every time you start your engine, the Zero Edge Z3 begins recording continuously on a four-hour loop. Installation is simple. It attaches to a quick release suction cup window shield mount included in the box. In the event of an accident – or if you just feel like capturing your drive, a simple press of a button on top tells the unit to save recent footage.

Garmin Drive GPS

Smartphones are great for helping us find our way around in unfamiliar places, but turn-by-turn map apps consume a lot of your power and data, and you might sometimes find yourself in remote places where cell data service drops off. The $230 Garmin Drive 51 GPS addresses those issues, giving you greater peace of mind. Out of the box it comes with the entire U.S. installed, so all you have to do is mount it to your dash and hit the road.

Add Bluetooth to Your Car Audio System For $30

The Bluetooth receiver by Mpow was my first choice for its simplicity and ease of use. One-second installation instructions: Insert mini-RCA post into your stereo’s 3.5mm auxiliary input. Done. Pairing is easy, too. Just push the Mpow’s center power button and it’ll appear on your phone’s Bluetooth connection list. This is the easiest way I have found to give your vehicle Bluetooth audio and hands-free calling.