Category: Accessories

By on April 24, 2019

best power inverters

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.


Take a quick look around the place where you are seated. Chances are there are several items that require electricity, most of which you can take along in a car. Your smartphone, the laptop, coffee pot … ok, maybe not the last one.

To address the demand for electrons, car maker have been busying themselves stuffing their machines with USB ports and 120V “household” outlets of various juice and amperage. Not every car gets it right, with some offering up only a single USB port to placate the yowling masses or placing the convenient outlet in a wholly inconvenient location.

Or, simply, your ride is old enough not to have any of these gee-whiz conveniences. Those of us choosing to roll around in a 1989 Lincoln Mark VII will find it difficult to plug in, as will gearheads who take their cherry 1970 Chevy Chevelle to the local car show. Even the lucky sods with a Integra Type R in their garage must do without mobile power.

Power inverters have been around for years, long before smartphones were surgically attached to us all, but back then they were largely the domain of people who spent a lot of time on the road and needed a jolt of power for preparing something to eat or powering up their (at the time) enormous laptop. Today, with all hands looking for a place to plug in—and not all cars providing the tools to do so—we thought it a good idea to round up a few examples of the best power inverters.

Just don’t brew coffee on the interstate, okay?

Read More >

By on May 26, 2016

ReliefBand, source ReliefBand Technologies

They say the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

I was blessed with an appreciation for road racing and cars that corner and handle well. Unfortunately, I’m also very prone to motion sickness. That means I can’t race cars.

Back when I was riding around in the rear facing far back seat in the Buick station wagon belonging to my best friend Stevie Margolin’s mom, this affliction was called “car sickness.” It was either in that Buick or on one of Detroit’s Bob-Lo boats that I recall first experiencing nausea when in motion.

Nausea and motion have a long association. The term nausea in fact comes to use from the ancient Greek word for boat. Up to 95 percent of the population experiences some form of motion sickness, with 5-15 percent being extremely sensitive to it. Placebos, pharmaceuticals, over the counter medications, pressure bands, and even skin patches behind the ear have all been tried as treatments to varying degrees of success and side effects.

A new wearable medical device called the ReliefBand may make that motion induced nausea a thing of the past — and finally let me go racing. Read More >

By on August 3, 2015

K40

I’ll admit it. I haven’t used a radar detector in years. My typical method of avoiding tickets has relied on the (patent pending) Spousal Alert System, in which the wife screams at me if the car is going too quickly in proximity to one of Ohio’s finest.

Problem is, 10 years in, I have yet to find the mute button.

Plus, she doesn’t drink coffee, so the Spousal Alert System has some glitches on drives longer than four hours. A planned family reunion in northern Wisconsin, 10-plus hours from home, reminded me that an alternative was needed. Thankfully, the kind folks from K40 Electronics offered their new RLS2 radar/laser detector for review. I’m pretty sure it already saved me from a ticket or two. With an MSRP right around $400, it is priced in the ballpark of the major players in the market.

Read More >

By on February 3, 2014

The vehicles we aspire to own have one thing in common: timeless design over mere transportation: Ferraris over Fiats. CUVs instead of sedans, or personal luxury vehicles in lieu of a hatchback. So why not treat yourself to a leather-wrapped charging apparatus? Read More >

By on March 31, 2011

The ad says that cotton is “the fabric of our lives.” It wasn’t the fabric of my youth, I can tell you that. There were the blue school uniforms, seemingly forged in a single piece from iron-strong polyester, hot in the summer and abrasive in the winter. There were suits and ties in rough wool to wear during the weekends, sweaters in soft Lacoste velour and miserable Brooks cable knit, and the instantly dirty, plasticized leather of the Nike “Burt Bruin” shoes on my feet. And, of course, there was M-B Tex, eternal and unchanging, perennially youthful even as the car surrounding it disintegrated into flakes of chromed rust.
Read More >

By on July 28, 2009

Rear view cameras are becoming commonplace on SUVs, CUVs and luxury cars but only as part of very expensive option packages. If you prefer spending your money on things like groceries and house payments, or have an older vehicle, you’re pretty much out of luck. But not entirely. Peak (yes, the antifreeze people) offer the Peak Wireless Back-up Camera System. To see if it passes muster, I installed one on my 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe.

Read More >

By on May 25, 2009

Yes, I realize animated GIFs are so twentieth century, but when I try to explain how my car cover works, I’m often met with looks of confusion and bewilderment. Known as SmartCover, this product lands between the nearly useless cardboard/foil foam windshield reflector and a whole-car-takes-ten-minutes-to-unfurl-and-position-before-you-realize-it’s-inside-out cover in both price and usability.

Summers in the California Central Valley are brutal. Just last week we had a few days of 100°+ temperatures that cause the leather interiors of most cars to become skin singers. First-degree burns on the backs of thighs aren’t fun (don’t ask me how I know). When you think about it, what good is a windshield shade if the sun is in its highest position or if your car is pointing away from the rising or setting sun? Not much good at all. Better to shield all your car’s windows if you’re going to bother.

Read More >

Product Review: SmartCover Product Review Rating

Recent Comments

  • markf: “Fundie churches don’t work that way, FreedMike, they encourage trolling and worse, because of a...
  • JimZ: https://www.freep.com/story/mo ney/cars/detroit-auto-show/202 0/03/28/coronavirus-detroit...
  • thelaine: It is becoming apparent that the end-of-the-world predictions, computer models warning of an apocalyptic...
  • Arthur Dailey: Cheap and simple remained a mantra right until the end of the Soviet Union. From the AK-47 to the...
  • EGSE: Driving a friend’s Leaf had very appealing “performance” at the other end of the driving...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Timothy Cain
  • Matthew Guy
  • Ronnie Schreiber
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth