The automotive accessory market has been flooded with numerous goodies since decades, and with the love for accessorizing and customizing our cars, we Indians have a lot of exciting products to choose from, and install on our cars. The most common of them being music system upgrades, air fresheners, cell phone chargers, steering grips and custom seat covers.
There are however some accessories which may not so much contribute to the visual appeal or provide entertainment of sorts, as they do to the safety and practicality aspect. The most important and widely popularised one – remote locking, has eventually made its way into being a stock feature on most cars today.
Remote locking jumps over the system of the ignition key locking the car, and activates an anti-theft alarm once the car is locked. High quality systems also feature impact detection sensors that set off alarms at the slightest forms of tampering with a locked car. The regular remote locking system starts at a price of Rs 2,500.
There are also simple contraptions like gear and steering wheel locks that further safeguard our cars against theft. Gear locks lock the gear lever and the car sits in a set gear until it is unlocked. There are generally two types of gear locks – the U type and the Pin type. The pin type lock snaps just below the gear lever, immobilizing the unit till it is removed. The U type lock consists of a stand which is fixed to the floor of the car and a lock made of hardened steel that snaps on to the stand with grooves set equal distances apart to control the tightness of the locking mechanism. Prices of these gear lock systems start from Rs 1,500.
Steering locks lock the steering wheel and prevent it from turning. Although steering locks come stock on all cars, there is a separate bar and wedge contraption that enables one to physically jam the steering wheel. These units are spring loaded and comprise of two appendages that fit onto the side of the steering, and have extensions on both sides, that donot allow the wheel to turn. Steering locks start at Rs 500.
Puncture repair kit
Punctures are inevitable, especially in the Indian driving conditions, and a puncture repair kit can prove to be most handy when tyre repair shops are nowhere close in any direction. A puncture repair kit will help you to fix a punctured tyre without having to call upon breakdown or rescue services. It is, however, only suitable for tubeless tyres, since the ones with tubes need to be opened, have the tube pulled out, repaired and then stuffed back in. Most of puncture repair shops have started keeping puncture repair kits for tubeless tyres and charge quite an amount for every single puncture. The puncture repair kit comprises of a spiral tool, an inserting tool, puncture seals, rubber cement and a blade. Some kits also come with air canisters to provide for tyre reinflation, but generally, an electronic tyre inflator is recommended. These kits are, however, suited only for tread repair and not for the side walls. They will also be quite useless when it comes to blowouts, but for regular everyday punctures, they are quite a backup to have. Puncture repair kits start at Rs 250.
Car covers and mats
Car covers are the simplest and yet most useful of accessories. They keep the dirt, dust, bird droppings, rain water, sunlight and all the body damaging elements, well off the surface of the car, and in the long run, enhance the life of the body surface and paint quality. For indoor parking spaces, fabric covers work just fine. For outdoors, however, water resistant ones with a soft inner lining is recommended. It is important to choose the right sized cover as the very tight ones tend to rip off at the edges and lose their purpose by allowing dust and dirt to creep in, and even the oversized ones have a similar drawback though not so much as the former. The cost of covers depends on the type of car and the material being looked at.
The floor of the car is where most of the interior trash accumulates and at times becomes too much to even look at, till it is vacuumed or cleaned out manually. All-weather mats help keep the excessive dirt and trash off the floor of the car. Mostly made of rubber and with grooves on the underside that keep them from moving around, these mats also have channels on the surface to spread water over across the mat. Their raised edges keep water, mud and other contaminants from flowing onto the floor. All weather mats start at Rs 450 for a set of four.