How to give your car a technology upgrade


Get the tech of a new car with these easy add-ons

In today’s car market it seems as though the technology and features of vehicles are constantly evolving – being upgraded and becoming more and more high tech. Every time I get a new piece of tech it can feel as though a week later my product is no longer the newest on the market.

For those of you who feel that your current car lacks in the tech department, you can upgrade your car without having to make major changes or even spend money on a brand new vehicle. We have found some affordable and user-friendly add-ons that can upgrade your car quickly and easily.

Apple CarPlay
For certain cars with the right capability, you can add this function by simply buying it from Apple. This feature hooks up your iPhone to your in-car entertainment system, connecting your maps, messages, music and more. You can talk and interact with the car so you have safe hands-free driving while being able to make calls, dictate a text message, or map the fastest route to work. This is an exciting new feature from ever-evolving tech giant Apple that may make your daily drive much easier. For those non-iPhone users, Android Auto is a similar product.

Head units
While products like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto require the right car capabilities and some sort of display screen, you can easily purchase a display for your car if it doesn’t already have one. These small screens, often called head units, can upgrade your old radio or display system to a high-tech display with a touch screen, radio and XM features, Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, and capabilities for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. These products easily mount to your dashboard for a more cost-effective way to completely upgrade your car’s technology. Learn more about highly rated head unit products at

Bluetooth transmitters
A smaller and cheaper option for upgrading your car’s technology is to add small Bluetooth transmitters. They have similar functions to common car displays, like connecting your phone’s music and navigation to the sound system, but often don’t include the screen. You can do many of the same things but must do them from your phone, so make sure to stay safe and pull over if you need to, say, change your directions or choose a playlist. (Or you could always dictate to Siri what you would like to do). These adapters are typically small and easy to hook up to your current radio system. You can find some of the top rated Bluetooth adapters at

Tip: Pair a Bluetooth system with a phone mount so you can view and hear your phone and keep your eyes up. As many of us know, using our phones while driving can be unsafe and is illegal in many states, so a mount is a safer, legal alternative that allows you to continue to use your phone. You simply stick the mount to your car’s dashboard or window and you can safely view your navigation or music selections from the driver’s seat. Here are some of the best options for smartphone mounts.

Wi-Fi pebbles
This is useful for those of you on the go. Whether it be to connect your iPad to map functions or for your passengers to surf the web, Wi-Fi is a popular new car function that almost anyone can add to their vehicle. You can turn your car into the newest Wi-Fi hotspot. Often called a pebble or dongle, simply insert this small device into your car and you are free to surf the Web.

Or, simply use your mobile device as a personal hotspot: many popular phones and service providers allow this function so you can hook up your laptop or iPad while out and about without an Internet connection. If using your phone or these pebble hotspot products, you will typically incur monthly fees, so look into your service provider plans, and certain costs that these may involve.

Backup camera
Often, while trying to squeeze into a tight space, or back up in a crowded area, I have a hard time viewing what is behind my car. While many new cars have display options to view the “harder-to-see areas” using cameras and sensors, drivers of older cars may not be afforded this option. However, you can now add a backup camera display and sensor capabilities so you can safely and efficiently reverse your car. Some popular products can be found at

Head-up display (HUD)
Have you ever heard of an HUD? Sounds funky, but, if you haven’t, it stands for head-up display. Essentially, this is one of the newest tech inventions of our day, and most new cars don’t even contain it, with the exception of a few higher-end and very high-tech cars. It is a car display, often including speed, gas mileage and other automobile data, that allows the driver to keep their head up and eyes on the road. They are often clear, or can project an image onto the front windshield so the driver can see typical dashboard data right in front of their eyes. These functions often look as though a hologram is projected in front of the driver’s eyes, without blocking their field of vision. Since many cars don’t provide this function you can find popular HUD products at

Gadgets for the family

We can always be adding on and updating our car with new innovations. Many are easy to find and won’t break the bank. I have found some other fun gadgets that may come in handy for many modern parents.

Track your child’s driving with Verizon Hum
Verizon Hum allows parents to track their child’s driving route and driving patterns so they can monitor their actions on the road. For example, it will track whether the driver is staying within speed limits and following traffic rules, and can track their location to ensure they are actually going to study at the library when they claim to be. Learn more about Hum in The Verge’s article “Verizon’s Hum connected car gadget is now a teen driver’s worst nightmare.”

Installable DVD players
For parents or nannies, an installable flip-down DVD player to entertain the kids may prove invaluable, especially on long journeys. Learn more about flip-down DVD players, and installation options, at

Garmin BabyCam
For those of you with younger children you can get a BabyCam for when you are driving and want to keep an eye on your little one in the back seat. The camera works with a compatible Garmin satnav system.


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