7 Gadgets To Super-Charge Your Cargo Van

THE PURCHASE OF THE NEW CARGO VAN IS COMING CLOSER AND I STARTED THINKING ABOUT SOME OF THE BASIC ELECTRONICS, THAT SHOULD BE INSTALLED SOON AFTER I BRING IT HOME.

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Some can be included in the purchase as an option, yet most can be installed cheaper as an after-market product with more flexibility of choice.

Dependent on requirements, I will consider:

Vehicle Tracking System
No insurance against theft, but makes recovery of your vehicle much more likely. Three ways of tracking, starting with the most expensive:

  • LoJack Auto Tracking works with the police and uses a radio signal to recover the car. Quite expensive to install, yet no monthly fees. Restricted to certain areas.
  • GPS Tracking Devices send updates to your computer or via SMS. Subscription needed.
  • Cell Phone with GPS permanently placed in the vehicle can return basic location information. Loaded SIM card needed.

Parking Sensors
parking sensorSmall proximity sensors in your rear bumper beep with increasing frequency when you backup toward solid objects behind your car. Cheap and simple to install and best to use in combination of a rear view camera. Additional sensors in the front may make parking in your garage a breeze.

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Rear View Camera
rear view cameraOften available as a high-priced accessory in a new vehicle, these tiny camera’s are simple and cheap to install yourself. Certainly with cargo vans, these gadgets make life a whole lot easier and safer when parking or hooking up a trailer. If you plan living in your van or enjoy long vacations in your vehicle, you may think about installing a four-camera system; it would prevent you from leaving the vehicle at night, when you’re parked in a lonely spot and are wakened up by unfamiliar noises.

Car DVR
car dvrAn easy way to record while the van is in motion. Attached to a switched 12V outlet, it starts and stops when you start your car. Looping will continuously record video and a built-in GPS records the journey and speed. A good low-light camera allows for nighttime recording. Good for insurance purposes, when in an accident, but I would primarily use it to record video of the approaches to my favorite hiking, camping and kayaking destinations. You might even catch a falling meteorite!


GPS Navigation System
gps navigationIndispensable in an RV, these little screens have been a welcome addition in any vehicle. Improved systems use your smart phone for the same information in addition to road information such as accidents, slow traffic and the occasional speed trap. I’ll probably will end up using my wifi-tablet with off-line maps, while it is being charged, each time the van moves.

Car Anti-Theft System
Theft deterrent devices for your new van are available in a wide variety of gadgets, from rude devices like tire, hood and steering wheel locks to the more elegant electronic systems, each with its own deficiencies. Generally, basic precautions should first be considered: never leave your keys in the ignition even for a quick errand, park in a garage or well-lighted area, keep your valuables out of plain sight and always lock your van. Never leave your registration and insurance information in your car.

  • VIN Etching
    The most bang for your buck in protection is etching the unique VIN number of your car onto ALL the windows, exterior mirrors and other important parts of the vehicle. Simple DIY kits are about $20.
  • wheel lockSteering-Wheel Lock
    Crude and inexpensive, yet fairly effective. Can help protect against the airbag from being stolen too.
  • Hood Lock
    Will block access to the battery compartment and thus the power source for most car alarms. From $20.
  • Tire Lock
    Effective but very unpractical.
  • Kill Switch
    Ignition kill switches are one of the cheapest and most effective means of protecting your car, but always check, because some car warranties don’t allow installation. $10 and up.
  • car alarmCar Alarm
    As an additional layer in protection against theft, many affordable systems allow for DIY installation. Most important to consider are the sensors, they include: door, movement, microphones, pressure and motion sensors.

Additional USB Outlets
usb outletOne or two USB outlets are probably included in the dashboard of your car, yet as there will be numerous gadgets, that need to be charged while driving, I’d like to add several 1 amp and 2 amp sockets.

After researching the described components, I can buy these specific items as soon as I drive my van home.

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