12 Cool Truck Accessories That Will Make Your Old Truck Smarter
These 12 truck accessories help you play catch-up with the latest, high-priced pickup trucks. Some are high-tech smart, some are just plain smart, and they will all help you work more efficiently and safer.
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Engine-based speedometers can be inaccurate enough to risk a ticket, that is, if you can see and read them at all. This heads-up display GPS-based speedometer mounts to your dash with a 4-1/2-inch wide screen and large, high-visibility numbers that let you keep your eyes on the road. It can be recalibrated if needed and has several additional useful features:
- Records trip time and mileage to help with billing and reimbursement
- Lighter plug-in, so no batteries needed
- Over-speed alert
In-dash backup screens are fairly standard these days, but if your old truck is not equipped with one you can add a wireless back-up camera that displays through your phone or tablet. Many models are available: the one shown here uses rechargeable batteries and mounts directly to your rear license plate frame. You’ll need to download an accompanying app, but installation of the water-resistant device is quick and easy.
From time to time you’re going to need to give a client or customer a ride in your truck. A little evergreen air freshener dangling from your rear-view mirror isn’t really up to the challenge of masking the odor of work, your dog, and the sandwich you had for lunch. But luckily here’s a high-tech accessory to the rescue. The ionic air purifier shown here fits into a cupholder and plugs into a lighter port. It works the same way as a home ionic purifier, sending negative ion particles into the air, helping to purify it. It even has dual USB charging ports.
Want to learn more about ionic air purifiers? This collection of tips will help you choose the right air purifier for you.
This truck accessory may not be high-tech, but it is highly clever. Instead of carrying a set of hitches with common ball sizes in your truck, this one is adjustable and includes a ball for all three common sizes (1-7/8 inch, 2 inch and 2-5/16 inch). The hitch fits into a 2-inch receiver and has weight ratings in proportion to the size of the ball.
You’ll find many two-or-three socket 12V splitters for lighter ports. They all reduce clutter and expand capacity. But things can get pretty cluttered around the console with all those devices plugged in. Solution? Look for a splitter with an extension cord. You’ll find many ranging from one to three sockets and with cords anywhere from 3 to 14 feet. Use this to recharge tools in the back seat or even give the crew access to a plug-in phone charger while you drive.
A few years ago, WeatherTech introduced aftermarket mud flaps that can be installed without the need to drill into the fender or any other part of your truck. The advantage, of course, is that you don’t penetrate the metal and finish in a very vulnerable area of your truck body. But they are also fast and easy to install using the original equipment bolts in the truck (you also do not need to remove the tire or even jack up the truck). Because they are custom-designed, you need to order a set that is specific to the make and model of your truck, which is easy to do online.
Don’t have the ability to make or take calls in your truck hands-free yet? Get it. It’s not just the safest way to drive and talk, it is the law in many states. If you spend a lot of time in your truck and take frequent calls, look for a Bluetooth speaker that mounts inside the cab and out of the way. Many, like the one seen here, cling to your sun visor. The better ones have sound quality that far exceeds your phone or even an earpiece. Plenty of options exist, starting at around $20.
If you carry valuables in your truck, security is always a concern. To gain some peace of mind, you can invest in an aftermarket lockbox that mounts in the console of your truck. You’ll have to search online, with your truck make, model and year, or ask your truck dealership. Here is the Tuffy model for 2010-to-current Dodge Rams.
OK, if you get excited about this you are driving a very old truck. But, hey, you’re getting your money’s worth out of it, right? This adapter plugs into the cassette deck so that you can link your phone or other Bluetooth device into your truck’s sound system.
Find your way around your truck bed even when the tonneau cover is fully closed. These simple peel-and stick LED light strips run on AA batteries. You do have to turn them on with a small switch, but they will shut off automatically after five minutes. The manufacturer recommends one strip under each bed rail.
This thermoelectric refrigerator also doubles as a heater and plugs into both standard AC outlets indoors or into your lighter port adapter, where it runs on DC power. It’s not big—it holds a six-pack, essentially. Here’s how it works: the device bounces heat between the two compartments, depending on whether you are in heating or cooling mode.
A first aid kit might not be the coolest truck accessory you can think of, but it could well be the smartest. Some kits, like the ones seen here, meet the guidelines set out by OSHA and ANSI and if you employ a crew you should have one. Even if you work alone, a well-equipped first aid kit could be a lifesaver.