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Wacky World of Rubber: Be kind to your cupholders

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Photo by WeatherTech WeatherTech offers thermoplastic elastomer cupholder coasters that fit snuggly to help keep your cupholders free from crumbs and condensation.

Luxury is relative. Especially for a college student.

My first car, the used 1994 Nissan Maxima we found after scouring the classified section of the local newspaper, was a brilliant car. It had everything I needed. Air conditioning, power windows…and a sense of freedom.

One thing it did not have, though, was cupholders. At the time we purchased the car, it didn't seem like a big deal. Who needs cupholders anyway, right?

Turns out, I do.

Over time, I learned how to wriggle my Starbucks cups into a small space between the center console and the emergency brake—which probably wasn't all that safe—so I could drive with two hands on the wheel—which was safe, so it cancels out the emergency brake thing.

My beloved little car taught me a lot of things, like college campus parking lots can be dark at night and so can the cars parked behind you, so look closely before backing up. It also taught me to appreciate the little things, like road trips with friends, hearing your favorite song on the radio and cupholders.

I've had two vehicles since—both of which have had cupholders that I have never taken for granted. They've held my beverages, served as catch-alls for my son's toys and snacks, and even once held enough water to keep a carnival goldfish alive after its plastic bag broke.

Yes, my cupholders are the unsung heroes of my daily commute and family vacations. They should be treated with respect and kindness, certainly better than I treat them.

Photo by WeatherTech A four-pack of WeatherTech coasters sells for $9.95.

WeatherTech, apparently, agrees.

The Bolingbrook, Ill.-based company best known for its custom floor liners now offers thermoplastic elastomer cupholder coasters. The coasters, which fit snuggly into the cupholder, have a small lip that helps to contain any crumbs, condensation and spills. They're removable and dishwasher safe, so keeping your cupholders clean should be easy, according to the company. That's a feature that parents can truly appreciate.

WeatherTech also claims that the snug design of the coasters helps to eliminate the rattling of travel mugs, which is good for your sanity. And it's more efficient than jamming a balled-up tissue into the space between the mug and the cupholder.

Made in the U.S., WeatherTech's four-pack of the cupholders is sold for $9.95. Keep in mind, though, if you plan on driving a 2019 Subaru Ascent, you'll need to buy five packs...because that vehicle will have 19 cupholders.

Nineteen cupholders, a dream come true!

That's enough room for a latte and a couple of carnival goldfish.

Erin Pustay Beaven is the online content editor for Rubber & Plastics News. She is an appreciator of life's littlest treasures, a reader of great books and supporter of the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Indians. Erin is an advocate for libraries, arts education and PBS. Follow her on Twitter at @EBeavenCrain.