Glorious Gadgets of SEMA

Snow Performance Methanol Injection for Subaru WRX STI

While the enormous SEMA show in Las Vegas may look more like a wild car show, it’s actually a trade show for the automotive aftermarket. This is where manufacturers and distributors show off their products, and buyers from around the world decide what will be carried in stores and repair shops. Here are some of my favourite new items that might be coming to a store near you.

Engine Stat

SafeCode Engine Stat for Mustang

Created by Mustang Project, this on-board computer is a diagnostic tool for classic car engines. It monitors oil pressure, coolant temperature, battery voltage, and engine vacuum and rpm, sending the information to your smartphone. It’s intended for vehicles that use warning lights, but one for gauge-equipped cars is coming.

Platinum Water-Methanol Injection

Snow Performance Methanol Injection for Subaru WRX STI

Shown as a new design for the Subaru WRX STI, Snow Performance’s injection system promises a 15 to 20 percent improvement in horsepower. Free software lets you save, modify or send tuning data over the Internet, while real-time injection information can be displayed on an iPhone.

Magic Guard Wheel Armor

Magic Guard Wheel Armor

When wiped on and then buffed off, this new product repels dirt and brake dust. The company says it also helps prevent corrosion.

Lava Oil Filter Shield

Lava Oil Filter Shield

Heatshield Products offers a new cover for oil filters, which are often set close to hot headers. The material gives continuous heat protection to 1,200F (649C) and intermittent protection to 2,000F (1,093C), as well as from road debris. It’s held on with magnets, which also trap metal particles inside the filter.

JETChip Dynamic Spectrum Tuner

Jet Performance Dynamic Spectrum Tuner

Owners first download the vehicle’s stock programming into the system, saving it so the ECU can be returned to its original state at any time. Then they can play with such variables as fuel, ignition, transmission shift points, idle control and fan temperature settings, or disable any factory diagnostic trouble codes.

DieHard Smart Charger and Maintainer

DieHard Smart Charger

DieHard’s compact charger can be monitored from a phone. It automatically detects 6V or 12V batteries, switches to maintenance mode when the battery is charged, and won’t work if the clamps are inadvertently hooked up to the wrong terminals.

Marvel Shift Handle

Marvel Shift Cover

Cars have to be fun. This shifter’s made by Pilot Automotive, which also offers Marvel character valve caps, and “drift charms” that swing sideways when your car does.

Gumout One-N-Done

Gumout One-N-Done Fuel System Cleaner

The company claims one treatment with its One-N-Done Complete Fuel System Cleaner is good for a year, cleaning the heads, intake valves and ports, injectors (including direct injection), the combustion chamber, and the piston tops. It also says the product can increase fuel efficiency and restore performance.


RimPro-Tec System

These protective plastic covers help prevent rim damage for drivers who like to scrape curbs. They mount onto wheels that have a minimum six-millimetre flat surface, and can be easily removed. They come in black or silver, and coloured “pinstripe” inserts can be snapped in if desired. The company says it takes about half an hour to install on all four wheels, and they’re made in the US and New Zealand.

Redline Goods Flat Bottom Wheel

Red Line Goods Flat Line Steering Wheel

Who doesn’t love the look of a flat wheel? Several companies were offering aftermarket ones, including Redline Goods, which says that the wheel is “plug-and-play” and works with the factory airbags, connectors, buttons and trim.

Cyclone Dirt Trap

Cyclone Dirt Trap

If you wash your car with a bucket, the dirt that collects at the bottom can get into your sponge and act like sandpaper on your paint. Cyclone’s bucket insert traps and holds the dirt below it, so your sponge goes into clean water.

MGP Caliper Covers

MGP Caliper Covers

While the covers aren’t new, the yellow version is. These made-in-USA aluminum covers take about two minutes per wheel to install: drop them on, install the clips and tighten the nuts. The covers come in a variety of stock or custom colours, and with MGP or automaker logo.

Mile Marker Wireless Winch Remote

Mile Marker Plug-n-Play Remote Winch Controller

Plug the unit into your winch’s remote, either temporarily or permanently, and then stand back as far as 50 feet (15 metres) to operate it with the remote. It’s a universal design and fits on any winch.

Rugged Ridge LED Interior Light System

Rugged Ridge Interior Lighting Package for Jeep Wrangler

Strictly a dress-up kit, this unit adds six lights to 2007 and newer Jeep Wranglers in the front foot wells, rear floor, and cargo area. It’s plug-and-play into the controller box, and the company says it’s only a “few minutes” to install. It’s mode-selectable and can even flash to music. It can be used in any vehicle, but the wires are sized specifically for Wrangler.

Ecoological GapShield

GapShield Tailgate Gap Cover

Made of synthetic rubber, the GapShield mounts onto a truck bed and covers the gap to the tailgate, so that debris doesn’t fall in when you’re loading or unloading. It uses permanent adhesive on the bed but isn’t attached to the gate, so it can be tucked out of the way when sliding loads like lumber into the bed. It sticks to liners and composite beds and is made in the US.

Deadbolt Hitch & Trailer Lock

DeadBolt Hitch and Trailer Anti-Theft Kit

One key fits all three locks. The trailer can be locked to the truck when it’s connected, while the Blockhead coupler lock slides on to protect the trailer when it’s on its own.

Turbosmart F-150 Blow-Off Valve

TurboSmart Ford F-150 Boost Adapter

Designed for the F-150 with 2.7L or 3.5L EcoBoost engines, the Turbosmart BOV replaces the electronic unit. The company says it improves boost performance and won’t trigger the check engine light.

Bolt Off-Vehicle Coupler Lock

Bolt Locks Off-Vehicle Coupler

After you set it with your truck’s key (for remote-equipped, use the backup key in the fob), this lock opens with it, eliminating the need to carry an extra key. Units are available for all truck brands.

Amsoil DCT Fluid

Amsoil Dual-Clutch Transmission Fluid

Many fluids are unit-specific now, and Amsoil adds one for dual clutch transmissions. The company says this 100 percent synthetic fluid helps to prevent shudder and clashing.

Bold Magnetic Work Gloves

Bold Magnetic Work Gloves

Now available at several Canadian retailers, these gloves feature a magnetic patch to hold small parts or tools while you’re working.

Element Fire Protection

Element Advanced Fire Protection

Distributed exclusively in North America by a Toronto company, which plans to make them in Canada (they’re currently from Italy), these single-use extinguishers use a simple striking mechanism, leave no residue, are easy to store, and don’t expire as conventional extinguishers do.

SmartFlare LED Emergency Combo Light

SmartFlare LED Emergency Combo Light

These lights provide as much warning to other drivers as a regular flare but without the fire. They’ll work for 14 to 25 hours on AA batteries and can also be used as a flashlight or lantern.

Ford F-150 Functional Ram Air Hood

Dawn Enterprises Ford F-150 Functional Ram Air Hood

Offered with or without paint, Dawn Enterprises’ new functional ram air hood fits the 2015 to 2017 F-150.

Craftsman Smart Lock Tool Storage

Craftsman Smart Lock Tool Storage

Walk away from this Bluetooth-connected tool box with your phone in your pocket, and it’ll automatically lock. You can unlock it with your phone, too. And since tools are expensive, it’ll even send an alert to your phone if someone tries to steal your stuff.

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Jil McIntosh

Jil McIntosh is an auto reviewer, feature writer and driving advice expert.