“If the holidays are all about spending time with the ones you love – and if you love driving – how about going for a winter’s eve drive?”

‘Tis the season of buying gifts for loved ones, but what do you get the car lover in your life who really wants a supercar?

Well, you get a super gift but “super” doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune. Here are some festive ideas under $100 that will surely make Christmas even merrier.

Dash Cam (Upwards of $50)

Dashboard cameras are becoming more commonplace. What are they? They’re cameras that record what’s going on around you while you’re driving. You can tuck them behind the rearview mirror, mount them straight onto the dash or mount them in any direction you like.

Different makes and models use different sizes of screens but most are compact enough (in and around 3-inches) that it won’t interfere with forward visibility.

Furthermore, most use wide-angle lenses so you have quite a panoramic view. They tend to come in handy if you get into a fender bender and it wasn’t your fault. Hitting the track? – It can be used to film your accomplishments. Memory is stored on SD cards. Depending on how large your SD card is, you can film for hours or program your device to loop every so often. Available online or at your local tech store.

OBD2 Bluetooth Connector/ Apps (Under $40 for both)

So, you want to know what’s going on with your car via your smartphone. I have the gadgets for you.

You’ll need an OBD2 Bluetooth Connector (you can get them as cheap as $10 online) and then an app. Try TorquePro (for Android $4.95) or DashCommand for Apple ($9.99 on the iTunes app store).

Simply connect the OBD2 connector into your car’s OBD2 port (usually found underneath the dash) and pair the device with your smartphone.

Within the app, you can set certain parameters; i.e. what you want to be displayed. Torque, rpms, power, boost, speed, engine temperatures, you name it.

The connector then reads the car’s data and sends it, in real time, to your phone. A cool feature found on TorquePro is the ability to use it as a Head’s Up Display at night. You just place it on your dash, let it reflect of the windshield, and read the data that’s being displayed.

Universal Dashboard and Windshield Mount ($50)

Handsfree calling has never been easier. Especially with the Logitech [+] drive universal mount.

The actual mount will suction to any window in your car or your dash, and your phone/GPS/device is then held in place by a strong magnet. You simply adhere a small thin metal plate onto your tech toy of choice for the magnet to grab.

Your device then stays firmly in place even on rougher or the sinuous roads.

The great part about it is that when you have attached your phone, you don’t have to fumble with clasps, clamps or rubber bands to make sure it’s secure. You just press it against the mount, the magnetic force does the rest. It just stays in place and doesn’t move. Brilliant.

And when you’re done driving, you just pull it off and take it with you.

Wheel/Rim Protectant (Approx. $10)

Now that the inclement weather abounds, keeping our cars sparkling and clean is getting harder and harder. Not to mention dreaded brake dust.

But there are some ways to fight back at winter, or even throughout the year.

Perhaps stuff someone’s stocking with Armor All Wheel Protectant.

Brake dust can make your beautiful aluminum alloy wheels look far less attractive. So as you’re maintain your vehicle over the colder months or in the summer, using this brake dust repellent will not only protect the wheels, but also help repel the grime that comes along with this wonderful time of year. Available at your local car care store.

Make a Playlist. Go for a Drive (The sky is the limit/Priceless)

Most cars these days will have either an aux jack or a USB port (or even Bluetooth) to allow you to stream music from your various devices.

And if the holidays are all about spending time with the ones you love – and if you love driving – how about going for a winter’s eve drive?

The twist? Create a playlist for the ride.

Get the kids involved and get each of them to pick a song or two. Then put the playlist on shuffle to mix things up!
If you’re going for a drive with that special someone, perhaps put songs that remind you of the fun times you’ve had. Or even what you deem as “your” song.

And maybe a Christmas carol or two!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and stay safe (and warm) out there.

Contact: alexandra [dot] straub [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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