The holidays are just around the corner, and Americans overwhelmingly agree: it is the perfect time of year to give to charity. In fact, “Three times as many people make donations during the holidays vs. non-holiday months,” according to Business Wire.
If you wish to give back this holiday season, endeavor to do it in the ways that matter most. What charitable donations make the most difference?
Reliable transportation is an essential part of our day-to-day lives. We need a car to get to and from work, to drive our children to school, and to get to medical appointments in a timely manner. This holiday season, consider donating to a charity that meets this fundamental need.
One such charity is Wheels 4 Hope based out of North Carolina. “Wheels4Hope is a non-profit, faith-based car donation program that turns donated cars into local blessings,” according to its official webpage. The charity asks those who are able to donate used motor vehicles. From there, they work with volunteers to fix these cars and then get them to those in need — those who desperately need a car for a stable job, to continue their education, or to take care of their children.
This season, donate used vehicles to Wheels 4 Hope. Donate car parts and helpful car accessories that will help keep much-needed cars on the road. Purchase these accessories for loved ones, or buy a few key accessories to keep your own vehicle running at its best.
Here are the most helpful car accessories to purchase or gift this holiday season.
Some of the most helpful car accessories may surprise you. When you are donating, gifting, or purchasing accessories for your own use, consider the needs of the person receiving them.
For example, an engineer is on his or her feet all day. They may spend hours operating machinery and teaching new employees the tricks of the trade, like how to use a burnishing tool. After these long, tiring shifts, it is more than reasonable to assume engineers will want to travel home comfortably. For engineers and other workers who are on their feet all day, cushions make the perfect car accessories.
Seat cushions can also be helpful car accessories for those who suffer from back pain, those who regularly drive long distances, and even those who are overworked, tired, and wish to drive more safely. Seat cushions improve posture, and that, in turn, makes drivers safer and more alert.
Plus, covering a seat with a cushion can help protect carseats that would otherwise be susceptible to wear and tear over time. For example, should you spill your coffee, it much easier to remove a seat cushion and wash it than it is to get a stain directly out of the seat in your car.
Wheel Covers and Car Hangings
If you are on the lookout for helpful car accessories to own, gift, or donate, wheel covers have more benefits than you might think. Wheel covers keep your steering wheel cool to the touch on especially hot days. It makes driving somewhat safer, as many steering wheel covers help improve drivers’ grip, and it enables drivers to make their cars truly their own.
While it may not seem necessary to personalize our cars, that isn’t quite true. These days, “Over the course of the year, Americans collectively spent 70 billion hours behind the wheel — an eight percent increase since 2014,” The American Automobile Association (AAA) reveals. With people across the country spending such significant chunks of their lives behind the wheel, personalizing or customizing our vehicles can do a great deal for our mental health.
For example, those who like to go sailing can purchase custom wheel covers or car hangings that celebrate that interest. Even small accessories, like wheel covers and car hangings, can go a long way to boost our mood and improve our mental health. Before purchasing car hangings to donate, gift, or decorating your own vehicle, take a quick look at state laws. “In the majority of the states, hanging things from the rearview mirror is not illegal when the object is ‘not’ materially obstructing the vision of the driver,” Rear View Mirror Glue writes. However, some states do outlaw car hangings altogether.
Helpful car accessories run the gamut. They may increase safety, improve comfort, or even help lift drivers’ spirits.
Helpful car accessories may also include car accessories that are critical for drivers’ safety. Without a phone holder, some drivers are blatantly unsafe. Drivers may hold their phones in their hands while getting directions or precariously place their phones in or on top of the middle console, where they may slip and fall. Other drivers may continually look down to look at their directions, and continually looking down means their eyes are not on the road. Even taking your eyes off the road for seconds can be extremely dangerous — or even deadly. “According to analyses of data from the 100 Car Naturalistic Driving Study of adult drivers, eye glances away from the forward roadway two seconds and longer doubled the risk of a crash or near-crash,” according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
This is an especially pressing problem for new drivers in high school who are prone to taking their eyes off the road not only to check directions but also to text or to look at social media. For these reasons, gifting a high schooler a phone holder can help prevent car accidents. Even young drivers are much less likely to respond to texts if they must disconnect their phones from phone holders first.
Give the gift of safety this year. Drivers of all ages are markedly safer when their phones are safe, secure, and easily visible as they drive.
Other helpful car accessories include organizational accessories. Improve the interior of your car — or help loved ones do the same — with portable trash cans, wireless charging stations, and bug swatters.
To make the most of our time in our vehicles, it is wise to do what we can to keep them organized, clean, and useful. According to The News Wheel, “One-third of survey responders said that they only clean their vehicles a few times a year or less, and more than two-fifths of the polled vehicle owners give little thought to how filthy the inside of their car is or might be.” That means many vehicles are filled with trash, clutter, and possibly even bugs.
A few accessories can help drivers keep their cars markedly tidier. To start, kill bugs with a bug swatter. Plus, a portable trash can with a lid goes a long way to keep trash in one place and out of the rest of the car. Drivers will also be more liable to remove trash from their cars when the trash can is full. After getting the trash in their cars under control, drivers will see fewer bugs and notice fewer smells.
All drivers can benefit from a mobile charging station as well. Keeping your phone charged can be essential for your safety. Without a charge, you may not be able to get the directions you need or make a phone call or phone calls in the event of an emergency.
Speaking of portable trash cans and fly swatters, it is also wise for drivers to keep cleaning supplies in their vehicles. Helpful car accessories to keep cars clean may include car wash soaps, car wash mitts, microfiber cloths, dustbusters, and sealants. All of these items go a long way to keep cars clean on a day-to-day basis.
For best results, wash your car every two weeks, vacuum your car once a month, and use appropriate sealants to help prevent dirt, dust, bird droppings, and insects from building up on the exterior of your car.
For a deeper clean, you may need to team up with professionals. If you hear strange noises or identify problems that require deep cleaning, work with the right professionals to get the job done. For example, if your engine is accumulating dust and debris, work with professional engine cleaning services.
“A clean engine runs a little cooler because removing the gunk formed by dirt, oil, and grease allows engines to run cooler,” Cars.com writes.
First Aid Kits
One of the most helpful car accessories a driver can have is a fully stocked first aid kit. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), here are some key items you need to have in a car’s first aid kit: Jumper cables; a flashlight with spare batteries; plenty of drinking water; non-perishable food items, like “unsalted nuts, dried fruits, and hard candy,” according to the NSC; bandages, aspirin, antibiotic ointment, gauze, tape, tweezers, a thermometer, hydrocortisone, and an instant cold press. An extra phone charger and a blanket may come in handy as well.
Also consider having supplies to protect you from the extreme cold, especially if you live in an area with strong, wintery conditions or travel to these areas. These supplies may include a shovel, snow brush, a hat and gloves, and cat litter. Finally, have emergency contact information handy. Keep a list of numbers, including your emergency contacts, the local police station, the local fire station, your insurance company, and the number of a reliable vehicle accident attorney.
One of the most helpful car accessories — and one of the most important — is a first aid kit. Refer to resources from the American Red Cross and NSC to stock your car’s first aid kit with the essentials.
If you are gifting or donating helpful car accessories this holiday season, consider purchasing or donating job-specific accessories.
For example, a commercial electrician may stow terminal seals, wiring, and tools in his or her vehicle. Many of these products and tools have sharp edges. Purchasing toolboxes and/or durable car seat liners can help protect ordinary car seats from these sharp edges.
Similarly, if your loved one or friend is a chef, you may want to gift liners and/or sealants that help protect car fabrics from grease that may be on their clothing, aprons, hats, or gloves.
Consider Donating to Low-Income Families During the Holiday Season
Approximately 75% of Americans own a used vehicle. Unfortunately, even owning a used vehicle is expensive. “For vehicles driven 15,000 miles a year, average car ownership costs were $8,469 a year, or about $706 a month,” according to AAA and NerdWallet. It goes without saying that many people cannot fully swing this. Instead, they let their cars fall into disrepair and/or significantly neglect their vehicle’s upkeep.
That is where charitable donations of cars, car parts, and helpful car accessories can go an incredibly long way. These donations can save drivers hundreds of dollars and make it possible to keep their cars running for months — or even years — to come. Help keep someone’s car running for the holidays, and you may very well be safeguarding his or her livelihood.
If donating a car, car parts, or helpful car accessories is not right for you, consider donating other items that can help with essential transportation. For example, donate a bike to help those in need get to and from work — and to do it without the added expense of paying for gas.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals that, on average, a car accident occurs once every 60 seconds. Many of these accidents cause injuries and necessitate major repairs. An overwhelming 63% of Americans confess that they cannot afford unexpected repairs on their vehicle. When Americans are struggling to upkeep their vehicles and make ends meet, saving on any expenses is a great help.
In fact, even small, relatively inexpensive items can be among the most helpful car accessories. Make the roads safer for everyone by donating or gifting any of the items you may find in a car’s first aid kit, phone holder, or an extra phone charger or portable charging station.
Gift portable trash cans, bug swatters, cleaning supplies, and customizable steering wheel covers to help keep drivers healthy — emotionally and physically, and don’t forget to give back this holiday season. In addition to purchasing accessories and gifting them to others, make sure to donate essential items, too.