Pro-Lift Creeper Seat
Amazon

20 Must-Haves for Your Car You Didn't Know You Needed

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Pro-Lift Creeper Seat
Amazon

New Necessities

Some of the things you want are so amazing that once you find out about them, they start to feel like things you need. The items on this list of auto-related awesomeness can make your car look better, perform better, be easier to fix, or more comfortable. Some you'll use right out of the box on day one; others are just-in-case preventatives you'll hopefully never have to think about. All, however, are so good that they're borderline necessities for you and your car. 


Prices and availability are subject to change.


Related: 48 Car Products That Are a Complete Waste of Money

Detailing Gel
Amazon

Detailing Gel

$8 on Amazon

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This unassuming-looking blob of slime might be one of the best sub-$10 purchases for anyone who's fanatical about making their detailing last. It gets into the nooks and crannies normally reserved for cotton swabs, but is much better at grabbing dirt and grime from fragile dust magnets, including fan vents. It's also great for cleaning delicate and hard-to-clean surfaces such as laptop keyboards.


Related: Cool Gifts for People Who Love Cars

Trunk Storage Organizer
Amazon

Trunk Storage Organizer

$25 on Amazon

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An organizer such as this one can transform your trunk from a big rectangular clutter magnet into a neat and tidy space that's easy on the eyes when you pop the lid. Its distribution of pockets of varied sizes, purposes, volumes, and closures, makes organization easy. The best part is that the entire organizer is easy to remove and transfer into the passenger compartment if needed. It's a bestseller on Amazon.


Related: 30 Essentials You Need to Buy to Keep Your House Organized

Universal Phone Mount
Amazon

Universal Phone Mount

$20 on Amazon

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Phone mounts generally go either on the dashboard or the fan vent. The first clutters up the dash and distracts from the rather important stuff happening on the other side of the windshield. The second prevents the vents from blowing hot or cold air into the passenger compartment, and freezes or bakes your phone in the process. This style has a much smaller footprint and allows you to mount a phone facing forward in the tiniest of gaps by the controls/display — right where you need it but out of the way.


Related: 100 Tech Products That Will Make Your Life Easier

Bluetooth Wireless Remote Receiver
Target

Bluetooth Wireless Remote Receiver

$20 from Target

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If your car isn't Bluetooth ready, it's easy to make it that way by plugging this small, sleek device into an auxiliary jack. From there, pair it with your phone and — poof! You have a connected car. Now you can play and control your music, make hands-free calls, dictate notes, or do anything else you want without taking your hands off the wheel.


Related: 13 Perfectly Good Wireless Earbuds Way Cheaper Than AirPods

Rightline Gear Car Top Carrier
Target

Rightline Gear Car Top Carrier

$60 from Target

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If you have a vehicle with a roof rack, you have no shortage of awesome rooftop storage options. If not, the pickings are slim. This soft but sturdy carrier holds 9 cubic feet of stuff and works on cars and SUVs whether they have a luggage rack or not. Not only does it keep all those extras out of the passenger compartment, but it protects them from the elements in a weatherproof soft shell.


Related: The Best Cargo Carriers

Seat Cushion
Walmart

Seat Cushion

$22 from Walmart

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For less than $25, you can transform a tired-looking and uncomfortable car seat into a throne. Sleek, black, and easy to slide into place, this full-size seat cushion looks good in most interiors. For those who place function above form, it comes with thick padding, straps in place, and is easy to spot clean.

Healthmate Heated Seat Cushions
Walmart

Healthmate Heated Seat Cushions

$22 from Walmart

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If your climate justifies it or if heat just makes your back feel fine, you can upgrade to heated seat cushions covered in ultrasoft velour with lumbar support without added price. The cushion plugs into a car's 12-volt outlet, heats quickly, and provides plenty of wiggle room with a 4.3-foot cord.


Related: 50 Best Products for Surviving Winter

Bissell Garage Pro Wall-Mounted Car Vac
Amazon

Bissell Garage Pro Wall-Mounted Car Vac

$202 on Amazon

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For the serious DIY detailer, it's tough to beat this Amazon's Choice wet/dry car vacuum/blower. The 12-amp system uses a helix configuration to suck up dry or liquid messes before converting to a blower. It comes with seven attachments, and thanks to a 5-foot cord, a 32-foot hose, and an extension wand, this pro unit has plenty of reach — and it's backed by the Bissell name.


Related: Best Handheld Vacuums

WD-40
Target

WD-40

$5 from Target

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Even the people who don't know anything about home repair know a can of WD-40 can solve more problems than could possibly be printed on the label. The magical water-displacing spray, however, is missing from most car kits, even though it performs as many automotive miracles as it provides remedies inside the home. It cleans license plates, removes decals and bird droppings, cleans tire sidewalls, protects weatherstripping, cleans oil, removes grime, and much more.


Related: 25 Items You Should Always Keep in Your Car

All-Weather Duct Tape
Walmart

All-Weather Duct Tape

$7 from Walmart

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Duct tape is WD-40's soul mate in the DIY homeowner's hall of fame. Similarly, it's left out of far too many car kits, despite its unbelievable number of quick-fix automotive applications. From reattaching mirrors and sealing torn upholstery to patching leaking hoses and cleaning carpeting when no vacuum is handy, duct tape is an absolute must that comes up missing in most cars.


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Custom Dash Cover
Walmart

Custom Dash Cover

$23 from Walmart

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Protect your dash and beautify the interior of a vehicle with a cover that mitigates temperature extremes and keeps UV light from degrading a dashboard. This size is for big vehicles such as Chevy Tahoes, Suburbans, and Silverados, but you can get the same thing fitted for just about any car, truck, or SUV, with the price going up or down accordingly.

Car Care Wipes
Target

Car Care Wipes

$10 from Target

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Car wash and detailing kits are easy to come by, but they tend to be pricey and packed with rarely used items. The simple but effective trio of automotive glass wipes, cleaning wipes, and protectant wipes will solve most of your problems when it comes to keeping your car looking spiffy between washes. A nearly identical three-pack from Armor All does the same thing, but sells at Target for more than twice as much — $23.50, to be exact.

Motor Trend FlexTough Tortoise Series Mat Set
Walmart

Motor Trend FlexTough Tortoise Series Mat Set

$49 from Walmart

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This deep-dish mat set from one of the most trusted names in the automotive space is the reason you never let a dealer talk you into an expensive set of mats. For less than $50, you can get an entire high-quality set for the price a dealer might charge for one. The inverted shell design traps muck and snow, and the four-piece set includes a trunk/cargo liner.


Related: 12 Signs The Car Dealership Is Ripping You Off

Carbon Fiber Steering Wheel Cover
Walmart

Carbon Fiber Steering Wheel Cover

$15 from Walmart

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If carbon fiber sounds like a familiar material, that's probably because it's the stuff they make supercars out of. Wrap your hands around a little bit of Bugatti every time you take the wheel with this cover, which provides superior grip and protects the wheel while giving your cockpit a sleek, refined, and mature look.


Related: 12 Cars That Cost More Than $1 Million

Rain-X
Target
OBD Scanner
Amazon

OBD Scanner

$249 on Amazon

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An on-board diagnostic scanner can let anyone trace the source of a dashboard warning light indicator so they can understand the problem before they bring it into a mechanic. For the more advanced DIYer, it could be the first step in a fairly complex diagnosis and repair. 


Related: 32 Lies Your Mechanic Has Told You

Pro-Lift Creeper Seat
Amazon

Pro-Lift Creeper Seat

$38 from Amazon

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This convertible creeper seat is for anyone who does their own oil changes, who works on old cars, who DIYs their own repairs when they can, or who just loves to tinker. Its maneuverability comes from its six swivel casters, and it's strong — it maxes out at 300 pounds capacity. The cushions on this Amazon's Choice selection are thick and well-padded.


Related: 18 Car Expenses That Are Really Worth the Money

Scosche Revolt Dual USB Charger
Walmart

Scosche Revolt Dual USB Charger

$14 from Walmart

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Charging in the dark requires a lot less fumbling with a backlit USB charger. This compact unit comes in a small package, but it delivers 24W and 4.8 amp total output. If that doesn't mean anything to you, the translation is that it brings drowsy devices back to life really fast.



Yankee Candle Charming Scents
Walmart

Yankee Candle Charming Scents

$9 from Walmart

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Yankee Candle is where you turn if you want your house to smell like the Hallmark Channel; now your car can get in on the action. Charming Scents come in cute and understated jewelry lockets that conceal replaceable refills in popular scents. A refill lasts 30 days.


Related: Gifts That Are Made in America

Little Trees
Walmart