Choosing a sat nav system

If you are lucky enough to be able to get a new car, then it may come with a built in satellite navigation system. These systems are usually quite good, but the problem comes when they go wrong. As they are built in to the stereo system, it may be that you cannot fix it and have to replace the whole unit instead.

If you are buying an aftermarket sat nav system then you need to think about what is important to you. It may be that you want to be able to receive traffic updates and have the system re-route you to find a quick way to your destination. Some systems come with some sort of traffic update such as many of the TomTom devices, they track the routes of other TomTom devices to see how long it has taken to get through traffic and to find alternative routes.

Most sat navs will need updating every 12 months or so and you may have to pay for these updates.


Handsfree phone kits

It is illegal to use your phone whilst driving in the UK unless you have a hands free kit. In the past, if you wanted a hands free kit you would either have to add it to the build of the car as an optional extra at the factory or you would have to have an aftermarket one installed, which could be pricey, but over the last ten years or so there has been an influx of hands free kits on the market meaning the prices are significantly lower.

Some stereos have Bluetooth built in to them to allow you to link your phone and then make and receive calls through the car speakers, these are a great way to stay safe whilst driving and can cost as little as fifty pounds. With Bluetooth connection you can also play music from your phone through to the car speakers and sometimes even have a sat nav read out directions to you.


Phone / Sat nav holders for cars

Many of us have some sort of device that we wish to have on display whilst driving. It may be that you have a mobile phone or satellite navigation system that you want to mount in your car and there are a number of different products on the market to allow you to do so. Below is a few of the products that I have reviewed:

Power socket charging devices / holders – These devices allow you to not only hold your device in place but also charge it when on the move. You need to consider where your power socket is in the car as this is not suitable for all makes and models of vehicles.

Suction window mounted holders – In my option these are the best option – They provide a strong hold of your device and can be adjusted to allow viewing from many angles. They are not that expensive and although simple, are easy to use and reliable.

Sticky pad holders – I recently invested in one of these products, which is a holder secured to the dashboard or window via a suction pad. The other pad is a sticky surface which you can place on the back of your phone or sat nav. They do seem to stick well but sometimes a little too well and you may struggle to remove the device when needed to.

Styling your car on a budget

If you want to stylise your car a bit but need to do it on budget then I have some top tips for you below:

  • Wheel trims – if your car has steel wheels then adding or replacing your wheel trims can make a huge difference to how the car looks. I recently lost a wheel trim and decided to replace them all, and what a difference it made for only £15.
  • Mats – Not only will car mats protect the carpet in your vehicle but they can add a personalised touch. You can even buy personalised mats with names or initials on.
  • Seat covers- If your seats are looking a little worse for wear then a set of seat covers can transform the interior of a car. They come in a range of styles and patterns as you can often match them with your steering wheel cover and mats.






After market car stereo’s

If you are lucky enough to be able to buy a new car then it will probably come fitted with quite a decent stereo. If like many of us, you have an older vehicle, you may find that you only have a cassette player or worse still just a radio.

If you are looking to improve your system, there are many retailers that sell car stereo systems, even many supermarkets. If you want something a little more hi tech or a better quality system then you could visit a car audio specialist who will talk through what you want and recommend a system.

You should consider upgrading the speakers in the car too, if you want to improve the bass, volume and quality all-round.

Be aware that you may need to inform your insurance company of any changes in audio equipment. Often a standard policy will cover you for up to £250 for example, but this may need to be increased should you be investing more.