From the moment we’re old enough to collect matchbox cars, we fall in love with driving as a ticket to adventure and freedom.
But cars don't just leave the showroom perfect!
Happily, there’s a whole world of car accessories out there, perfect for making your road trip more fun or your commute safer.
Here are 20 cool car gadgets to make any road trip better.
If you’ve ever seen a viral video in which someone fakes a run-in with a driver to claim insurance money, you’ll know you need a dashcam.
Dashcam footage can be crucial in the event of an accident and mean lower insurance down the road.
Check out Nextbase for a range of well-reviewed options.
2. First Aid Kit
One of those items you buy hoping you’ll never need it, a first aid kid is essential to have on board.
From fixing minor injuries through to full recovery kits designed to help save a life, firstaidkits.com.au has a wide range of first aid tools, or support St John's Ambulance by buying from them.
3. Pet Ramp
Whether they’re too small or too old to hop into the car on their own, a ramp can save you time (and back pain!) getting your furry family members into the car.
Aussie company Ramp Champ’s range of telescoping ramps is hardwearing and convenient for dogs of all sizes, so everyone can pile in and enjoy the drive!
4. Puncture Kit
You don’t want to be caught out on the road without having a way to patch a tyre until you can get a professional.
Compact and convenient, the BETOOLL 22-Piece kit can quickly plug a hole, buying you precious time while you find a garage.
5. Air Compressor
Portable and affordable, a 12-volt air compressor could just save your skin.
Plugged into the lighter or powered by the battery, a compressor can refill a flat on the go (or re-pump tyres let down for 4WD crossing) and is handy for inflating beach and pool floaties.
Check out Super Cheap Auto’s "Thunder" inflator for under 80 bucks.
6. White LEDs
Is there any light more gloomy than the weak amber glow that car interior lights (barely) emit?
Swap your interior light bulbs out for bright, white LEDs to make getting into your car alone safer, and finding that dropped french fry easier.
Narva LEDs are bright white and come with a 3-year warranty.
7. Protective Paint Film
Being hit with small stones on any drive is inevitable, but getting paint chips because of them doesn’t have to be.
This protective film is high-impact resistant and also shakes off damage from chemicals, bird droppings, and bugs.
Paintgard Protection Film is a brand that can help you protect your car and its value.
8. Car Cup Holder
One of the simpler gadgets you can install, a cup holder isn’t just functional, it’s safer too – spilling a hot liquid isn’t ideal for your concentration!
A great idea is to store your reusable keep cup in the holder, so you’re never without an eco-friendly place to fill up on coffee.
Visit theorganisedauto.com.au and check out their adjustable car seat cup holder.
9. Seat Organiser
Over time – especially if you have kids – your car can get messy with maps, snacks, CDs, travel games and more littering the floor.
Not only can chaos in the car make you a more anxious driver, but it can also be dangerous if anything rolls under your pedals.
Check out Aussie Outback Supplies’ Australian-designed and made Heavy Duty Canvas Seat Organiser, which has a whopping 9 pleated pockets!
10. Car Cover
None of us gets as much time to wash our cars as we’d like, and sap from trees, animal droppings and even rain can really do a number on our paintwork, making a car cover a must-have investment to prolong the life of your car.
Fitmycar.com.au guarantees a perfect fit for any make and model, which is great, because the easier a car cover is to put on and take off alone, the more likely you are to use it!
11. Phone Holder
The risks that come with being distracted, along with strict laws about handling your phone mean it’s absolutely off-limits while driving, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need it.
The Quad Lock range is Australian-owned and will ensure your maps are within view while allowing you to keep your eyes on the road.
12. Pet Harness
Having a companion animal loose in your car is a recipe for an accident, and you, your passengers or your pooch could be severely injured in the event of a collision.
The Aussie Kumalong harness is an easy and stylish way to keep everyone in the car comfortable and safe.
13. Portable Fridge
Ideal for long drives and camping trips – or even just for keeping sandwiches cool for a day trip to the beach, a fridge that plugs into the car's power combines luxury with practicality.
The Dometic CFX3 25 is even a fridge-freezer combo, and links to a mobile app for remote cooling – futuristic!
14. Blind Spot Mirror
More and more newer models of cars come with blind-spot monitoring as standard, and with good reason.
But, if your car is a little older, the Feca blindspot mirror can make merging safer (especially on the highway), and help you see objects previously hidden.
15. Cordless Compact Vacuum
Trips to the beach are one of the many reasons we love cars, but the sand that follows us home isn’t so great.
Sand and grit can, over time, damage your car’s interiors, but a ThisWorx car vac is lightweight and perfect for getting into nooks and crannies.
16. Backseat DVD Player
Love road trips with the kids but are not so keen on hearing “are we there yet?” every couple of kilometres? Then a DVD player is a must.
Frankies Auto Electrics provide a great range of head rest smart TVs and DVD players so you can focus on the drive ahead, while the little ones focus on Frozen!
17. Car Clothes Hanger
A long (or even just hectic) commute can leave you crumpled, which is no way to make an impression at work (or a wedding!)
Happily, Repco has a heavy-duty hanger that will keep your suit jacket crisp and your dry cleaning straight.
18. Rooftop Tent
Love camping, but not so keen on the set-up? These tents are convenient and comfortable.
Available in soft or hard shell, they unfold into a cosy place to sleep in minutes!
Check out the award-winning brand The Bush Company, and disover the endless possibilites of rooftop camping.
19. Recovery Boards
The fun of 4x4 driving also comes with the risk of getting bogged.
Fortunately, recovery boards provide you with great grip if you’re stuck on soft sand, wet rocks or icy snow.
OnTrack Outdoor provides your go-to recovery boards for serious traction. Visit OnTrack Outdoor for robust and reliable camping and outdoor gear.
20. Car Air-freshener
No point having a kitted-out ride if no one wants to hop in!
Make your ride inviting with Nativebliss natural car freshener, which uses native Australian botanical oils and plant extracts to make your car a haven.
Whether you’re shopping for accessories that could save your life, or simply want to pimp your ride, there are loads of automotive gadgets to make your time behind the wheel more enjoyable.
Now you just need to pick a dream road trip destination!