Skip To Content

    48 Things To Upgrade Your Car That Don't Cost Much Money

    Turns out, a cup holder adapter for your beloved HydroFlask could be transformative.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Some may have been sent as samples, but all opinions and reviews are our own. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. A pair of low-key seat gap fillers you may have eyed on Shark Tank and wished you'd invented them yourself.

    top down look of the seat gap filler blending in between the console and seat
    another view of the seat gap filler completely blending in between a cup holder and leather seat

    Promising review: "Never drop and lose your stuff again! I purchased these over six months ago and ended up buying another because of how convenient and safe it is. The stitching and quality for the seat filler is great with no loose fibers. This was used in a 2000 Honda Accord as well as a 2016 RAV4. I really believe this will fit a majority of cars, see images for reference.

    Having it between the seats has saved me on many occasions. You don't even notice it there until you drop something, say oh ****, but feel relieved that it stops right on top of the gap filler. Even my friends don't notice it until they drop something into the abyss." —Long-Term Product Reviews by Hugh&Co.

    Get two from Amazon for $22.99.

    2. A set of universal purse holder hooks in case you rarely travel with just one bag or often find yourself putting your groceries in the backseat.

    back of a car seat with the hooks attached to the head rest with a bag hanging from it
    Amazon

    Promising review: "I have been trying to find something for years to keep the kids' car headphones off the floor after having to buy multiple pairs because they kept stepping on them — these hooks were the perfect solution." —Meghan O. Bedair

    Get two from Amazon for $8.99+ (available in beige and black).

    3. Or some leather and stainless headrest hangers if you really wanna step it up for anyone in the backseat.

    A gif of Tik Tok user @lollyjaneblog using the hooks.
    A customer review photo of the Universal Leather Back Seat Headrest Hangers in black.
    @lollyjaneblog / Via www.tiktok.com, amzn.to

    Promising review: "These hooks fit perfectly. The leather matched my vehicle just like they came with it. Easy to install, keeps my laptop bag and purse off the floor or sliding off the seat when stopping or turning while driving." —TigerLily

    Get them from Amazon for $11.68+ (available in three colors)

    4. A steering-wheel table you *could* use for your laptop OR for an impromptu gourmet feast. Maybe both. You have range!

    Promising review: "Love this! Did have to turn steering wheel upside down, but it fits my VW Jetta. I eat in my car four days a week, and this greatly improves my dining experience. :)" —Pbrooks

    Get it from Amazon for $13.97.

    Also check out a dedicated French fry holder that'll fit in your cup holder.

    5. And a double-dipping clip that'll hang onto your car vent to keep your sauces upright instead of tipping over onto your seats.

    holder with two dips in it attached to a car vent
    3DPrintedByBrian / Etsy

    Promising review: "Bought this for my brother for Christmas, it was a hit! He's often on the road traveling and has shared funny stories of how he gets sauce on his fast food while in the car. He loved it, works great, thank you! :)" —Amanda Nill

    Get it from 3DPrintedByBrian on Etsy for $5+ (available in single or double).

    6. A chic(?!) cupholder trash can for catching all those squeezed-dry sauce pockets, straw wrappers, and receipts you no longer require.

    cup-size garbage can with gold glam lid
    Amazon

    Get it from Amazon for $6.99 (available in four colors).

    7. And a larger waterproof trash bin the whole fam can use to toss their stuff someplace that isn't the floorboard.

    cube-shape car trash can in a flamingo print with storage pockets on the front and sides
    Amazon

    BRB, buying this for my Uncle Bill.

    Promising review: "This garbage bin works so well with my sedan!!! First of all, the small-sized bin fits my car perfectly. Plus, it stops the garbage from producing weird smell in the car, not even to mention that those small little bugs. Now, I am not afraid of having garbage in my car." —Liz

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99+ (available in five colors; check out a similar trash can in solid colors for $14.87+).

    8. A spring-loaded coin holder that'll fit nicely into a cup holder and help you make speedier money moves in the drive-thru.

    Promising review: "This product works great! For years I have stored coins in the driver’s side door handle slot (‘05 Buick LaCrosse) and now in a plastic dish placed in the tan towel area seen in the photo (‘18 Prius). The coin organizer fits perfectly in the center console cupholder. It’s perfect for accessing exact change when in a drive-thru line. The coins easily slide in and out of their spring-loaded slots." —haparnold

    Get it from Amazon for $13.99.

    9. An upholstery cleaner to undo whatever it is your kids are doing to your backseats

    Promising review: "I have kids (8 and 3 years old). They have destroyed my back seat. Spilled chocolate milk, vomit, melted chocolate, dropped fries, dropped ice cream, spilled Gatorade — you name it, it has been spilled in my back seat. I was to the point of accepting my backseat would forever be a disgusting wasteland. Then I stumbled upon this product and y'all...Y'ALL IT WORKS! I almost cried when I sprayed it on, ran a detail brush over it, wiped it away with the cloth, and the stains were GONE. No scrubbing for 30 minutes. No 'leave to set for 15 minutes.' No carpet cleaner required. Just spray, scrub, wipe, and it takes everything off. I am now cleaning EVERYTHING with this stuff. It is AMAZING! An absolute MUST for any parent. 100% will buy again." —Rachel

    Get it from Amazon for $16.99.

    10. Plus a powerful tire cleaner can clean off the road dust (and so much more) on all sorts of wheels.

    dirty rims and then clean rims thanks to the spray
    Amazon

    Promising review: "Wow! I spend a long time trying to clean my rims with car soap, dish soap, and other car products without any success. No matter how much I rub and scrub it felt like the the dirt and grime was a permanent part of my rims. I've been negligent and haven't touched my rims in about two years (I know... never again). I was desperate so I decided to do some research as a last attempt. I found this and thought maybe it's because I need something specifically for 'brake dusts.' Decided to give it a try and it actually worked! I had to scrub it with a brush and respray it about two to three times on each rim before it's 90% like new again but that's mainly because my rims are so heavily soiled that I don't blame the product. At the end of the day it did what I needed it to do so I'm happy." —Rvn101

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99+ (available in two sizes).

    11. And a bug remover to clean the gore from your windshield, grille, and side mirrors.

    Promising review: "This item was recommended by a stranger in the next RV lot at a campground hundreds of miles from home. This Good Samaritan brought his bottle over, sprayed down the front of my bus, and then just wiped half an inch of smashed bugs off it! Just like magic. He then smiled, shook my hand, and left. When we got within two days of home, we ordered this, and it was delivered the day after we arrived. Again, it worked just like magic." —Hikes in Rain

    Get it from Amazon for $17.99.

    12. A sling-like purse holder you can stretch between your front two seats to keep all your essentials within reach and upright, even when traffic forces you to brake in a split second.

    person grabbing something out a purse while driving
    back view of empty sling for purse between front two car seats
    Amazon

    Promising review: "This was the best purchase I have made for myself! It works extremely well, exactly how the description described, which is a rarity these days. I spend a lot of time in my car with my children running back-and-forth doing the mommy thing. This little gadget has made my life so much easier. I actually have the pocket facing me so that way I can put my iPad in it and lay my pocketbook in front." —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $19.99.

    13. But if you have an olfactory disaster on your hands (like say, a dead mouse?!), some air sanitizer even funeral directors recommend.

    spray bottle
    Amazon

    OK, when you spray it you may want to vacate your car because it's strong! But it works!

    Promising review: "This product was recommended to me by a funeral director. He said he has been using it for years. I have to agree it is wonderful. Recently our daughter had a mouse die in her car (she was away and the car sat in the summer heat, in Florida, for a week). She was ready to sell the car... the smell just wouldn't go away. I told her about Ozium and she couldn't believe it! After one night the smell was gone! Another Ozium believer!" —jbf

    Get two bottles from Amazon for $25.98. Also check out the gel version.

    14. headlight restoration kit to revive your ghosted-over headlights so you won't have to shell out $100 at the local shop to pass inspection.

    reviewer's clouded highlight
    the same headlight looking brand new

    Promising review: "Finally used this product and I really liked it. My headlights were past the point of repair, but using this product with all included sandpapers (I had to purchase more, because of the state of my headlights) and the other included products this was a blessing. I did cheat with a power buffer to get the final polish/clarity. My headlight was so rough that it was more coarse than the supplied sheets of sandpaper (felt like a 150 grit). You do have to put in the effort (elbow grease) if you want this to work, though." —Paul A D

    Get it from Amazon for $19.99.

    15. A spring-loaded coin holder that'll fit nicely into a cup holder and help you make speedier money moves in the drive-thru.

    Promising review: "This product works great! For years I have stored coins in the driver’s side door handle slot ('05 Buick LaCrosse) and now in a plastic dish placed in the tan towel area seen in the photo ('18 Prius). The coin organizer fits perfectly in the center console cup-holder. It’s perfect for accessing exact change when in a drive-thru line. The coins easily slide in and out of their spring-loaded slots." —haparnold

    Get it from Amazon for $13.99.

    16. A lidded trunk organizer you'll be able to put SO MUCH into. Finally, you you'll tidy up your vehicle without displaying its contents to the world!

    Promising review: "Pleasantly surprised with the quality of this organizer. It was more sturdy or rigid than I expected. And I like that the top lid is easily placed on and off with Velcro. I believe it could get a few years use before replacement." —Tina

    Get it from Amazon for $27.99 (available in gray and black).

    17. An expandable cup holder so your actual child-size soda from the drive-thru can snugly fit while you show the yellow light who's boss.

    A gif of Tik Tok user @toponlinefinds placing a cup in the expander.
    The Seven Sparta Car Cup Holder Expander Organizer.
    @toponlinefinds / Via www.tiktok.com, Amazon

    It has an expandable base of 2.5-3.75-inch diameters which can fit most 32- to 40-oz bottles and in 3.4-3.8-inch diameter cup holders.

    Promising review: "Chyuhh! This cup holder/expander is excellent!! I was pleasantly surprised with the materials — very sturdy. Also, it. does. not. rattle! For those of you who can’t get enough of the larger Hydro Flask/Yetis and are tired of them flying off of your passenger seat onto the floorboard, praise be this little guy. Do yourself a favor and just shell out the $25. So here’s the compatibility breakdown (mind you, this is not all-inclusive, just validation for my gear): Hydro Flask 32-oz, Hydro Flask 40-oz, Yeti Rambler 26-oz, Yeti Rambler 30-oz, Camelbak Chute Mag 32-oz, Camelbak Chute Mag 40-oz (it’s tight, but fits), S’well Traveler: 16- and 20-oz, and the Nalgene bottle: 32-oz. Cheers!" —Chelsea Marquart

    Get it from Amazon for $18.69.

    18. Or a cupholder adapter with a slit to fit in your coffee mug handle.

    A customer review photo with the cupholder adapter inside a cupholder with a handled mug.
    The cup holder adapter.

    Promising review: "This cup holder absolutely fits in a 2019 Tacoma, which is great because none of the twelve cup holders will accommodate an actual coffee mug. Seems fairly secure with the help of the cozy that comes with it. Fits nicely in the front console cupholders without too much wiggling. The pic shows my Hydro Flask fitting with just a bit of room left over. I feel that this will be enough to stabilize it." —the delta druid

    Get it from Amazon for $16.95.

    19. Or if you can't go anywhere without your HydroFlask, a HydroFlask car cup holder so you'll never be without your precious H2O.

    the cup holder in a car
    WineandWhiskeyCo / Etsy

    Wine & Whiskey is an Etsy shop that specializes in mostly custom print transfers.

    Promising review: "This is absolutely perfect! It fits my cup perfectly and is very simple looking. The shipping was fast, which is always appreciated." —kpstitt304

    Get it from Wine & Whiskey on Etsy for $12.99.

    20. A car power inverter might just do everything except file your taxes. It has two AC outlets, two USB charging ports, a car adapter, and a car cigarette lighter socket. Whew!

    A photo of the car power converter in a cup holder of a car.
    Amazon

    Promising review: "Out of the four inverters I have, this is the best. It charges both of my phones, my GPS, and laptop all at once, no issues. The fan is a little loud but that comes with the territory. The inverter part can be turned off independently and you can still use the USB and 12V ports without the inverter and fan noise." —Shane Boor

    Get it from Amazon for $27.99.

    21. A pet protector made to fit over your backseat so you won't have to go hunting for it in your garage next time Fido rides with you for errands.

    yellow lab sitting in the backseat of a car on the car cover
    large dog sitting in the back seat of the car

    My parents have one for our shed-happy family dog Hank and they're never going back. BTW, this one has a universal fit!

    Promising review: "My fianceé and I bought this to take our dog on his first trip about four hours away. He has a problem trying to climb into our laps during drives so this was a perfect way to stop him from hurting himself. Our big concern was him not being able to see us, but he was the perfect height to still see us. It was still tall enough for him to not to be able to climb over it. However, this trip made him too anxious, and, since I didn't listen to my fianceé and stop to let him use the bathroom, he had an accident in the car. This divider helped prevent anything from being ruined. We cleaned up the poop quickly with Clorox wipes and it didn't bleed through at all. I would highly recommend this product." —DJ Fullmer

    Get it from Amazon for $19.99.

    22. And an ugly but effective tool that'll FINALLY get all the pet hair off your backseat and floors. You'll wonder how you lived without up until now. (Psst, it's also super useful in your home, too.) 

    fur covered floor of a van
    the same van floor looking clean

    Promising review: "This this is like magic. Our van was nasty and covered with hair from a German and Australian Shepherd. Looked brand-new after. Don’t think about just buy it. It will blow your mind." —Dan

    Get it from Amazon for $10.

    23. A car vent organizer that comes equipped with a charging port to safely hold onto the essentials so you aren't digging in the floorboard for a charging cord.

    pocketed pouch-like organizer hanging from a car vent
    Amazon

    Promising review: "I keep the charging cables for the family's phones rolled up and in the pockets. It doesn't hold a whole lot of weight with my use. My Pixel 2xl will fit in the middle and back pockets and supports the weight of it (for testing purposes I don't keep it in the pouch). The hook I did have to wrap around a couple of times to make the length work with my dash. Over all it works well." —Aaron H

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99.