NIFTY GADGET: Mountek Universal CD Slot Mount

A couple years back, my girlfriend bought a 2002 PT Cruiser from her brother. It’s the car I usually drive when I’m by myself. Despite all the guff the car gets in pop culture (“PT Loser!”), it’s actually a fun little car to drive.

But there are a couple of issues when it comes to using a GPS with the Cruiser.

The first is a design issue: the windshield is so far way from the driver’s seat that if I use Garmin’s windshield mount I almost have to squint to read the GPS, and if I want to interact with it, I have to lean all the way forward in my seat and fully extend my arm.

The second problem is a defect in the plastic used in the PT Cruiser’s dash. There’s a vent at the bottom of the dash, near the windshield, for the defroster. The plastic used to make the dash becomes extremely brittle with age, and can crack; when it does, it’s usually around that vent. And, like a crack in a windshield, the crack can grow over time. We have a crack in our dash, and it goes all the way from the vent to the front of the dash by the passenger seat, effectively splitting the dash into two pieces (here’s a Google Image search for “PT Cruiser dash crack”; here’s just one company that offers various plastic and carpet covers to hide the cracks). Anyway, the point is, because of the crack I don’t want to use a dash mount, for fear of making the crack worse.

So… how to mount a GPS or smartphone in the Cruiser that doesn’t involve a windshield or dash mount? Mountek has you covered! Ladies and gentlemen, here is the “nGroove Universal CD Slot Mount for Cell Phones and GPS Devices”:

(click to embiggen)

As the name suggests, the mount fits in to the CD slot of your car stereo. There’s a screw you turn on the underside of the unit which expands the mount in the CD slot, locking it in place. You then put your phone or GPS into the unit and squeeze the two sides to close it. The device mount swivels, so you can use your phone\GPS in portrait or landscape position (and, if you look closely, you can see that the side on the “bottom” of the unit is open, allowing you to charge your phone\GPS if that’s where the charging port is). To free your device, just press the rounded button on the top of the base and the sides pop open.

It’s a good solution to the problem of where to mount a device in my car, and it’s especially cool because it works really well with my Samsung Galaxy phone. We have a dedicated GPS unit (a Garmin Nuvi), but Google Maps on my phone gives much better directions 9 times out of 10, so I’ve come to prefer using my phone over the Garmin.

Of course, this mount makes it impossible to listen to CDs in the car; this isn’t a problem for me: thanks to iPods and smartphones and tablets, I haven’t listened to a CD in a car in at least 5 years. In fact, I’m almost certain that I’ve never even tried playing a CD in the Cruiser!

One minor annoyance is that the mount covers up the clock. Of course, if I have my phone in the mount then it’s not a problem, since I can see the time on my phone. But if I’m running a routine errand – like going to the grocery store – then I normally don’t mount my phone. And while taking the mount down isn’t a big hassle, it is too much work just to see what time it is. So I have to get out my phone and check there [note to self: take watches to get the batteries replaced!]

I also wish the mount was able to tilt “up” more. In the picture, the mount is titled upwards as much as it will go. It’s not a “bad” angle, but it is a bit more “straight out” than “up towards me” than I’d like.

Still these are minor quibbles. The mount is really pretty cool, and easily solves the problem of where (and how) to mount a device in my car. The mount is around $24.95 and is available from Amazon.

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