The Car Lover's Guide to Auto Accessories

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Two cheap and cheerful accessories to buy if you need to use a rental car for an extended period

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If you need to use a rental car for several weeks or months, then you should consider purchasing these two affordable accessories for this vehicle.

A vinyl car mat

If the rental car does not already have one, you should consider buying a vinyl car mat. The reasons for this are as follows; a vinyl mat will keep the upholstered floor that you lay it on clean and dry, even if you occasionally spill drinks in this area, or if you get into the car with mud on your shoes. This is because vinyl is non-absorbent, meaning that you can easily wipe liquids and dirt off it and don't have to worry about the former soaking into the car floor's upholstery. This is important, as if you create stains on this upholstered area that you cannot remove with cleaning products, the car rental company may tack an extra fee onto your final bill when you return the car, to cover the cost of replacing the upholstery.

Getting a textured vinyl car mat, rather than, for example, an upholstered one, will also ensure that your feet don't slide around when you place them on this accessory, as this mat will provide some friction. This is worth noting, as it can take some time to adjust to driving a different car model and having your feet slip about on the car floor might distract you when you need to focus on, for example, trying to work out which button switches on the indicator or the headlights.

A seat cover

Another car accessory that could come in handy whilst you're using your rental vehicle is a seat cover for the driver's seat. There are a few reasons why you might want to get this item. Firstly, in the same way that the vinyl mat will protect the car floor, this cover will protect the car seat and ensure that you don't get stuck with an unexpectedly hefty rental bill if you spill anything on the seat. It will also be a barrier between your body and the seat. This might matter to you if you are a stickler for hygiene, as it's likely that dozens of other people will have sat in the rental car's driver seat whilst they were perspiring or unclean. Using a seat cover will ensure you don't have any contact with the grime or dried sweat that might have been absorbed into the car seat's upholstery.

Additionally, if your usual car seat has back support in the form of padding, or if it is heated, and these features make driving easier by, for example, reducing the pain in your arthritis-inflicted joints or in your back, then getting a removable seat cover that has lower-back cushioning or which is heated could make using this rental car much more comfortable.