Category: The Wise Guide

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?

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By on November 21, 2018

best black friday deals

The deals are here early! We scoured Amazon.com and other sites to pull over 30 of the best Black Friday deals we could find. Read More >

By on October 23, 2018

 

tire saleYou already saw our feature on the tire sale at TireRack on Goodyear winter tires, but it’s looking like the online superstore has a bunch of ways to earn some solid cashback between now and the end of the month. Covering everything from winter and all terrain tires to more basic all-seasons, the deals include options from Michelin, Continental, Yokohama, Cooper, Dick Cepek, Firestone, Khumo, and Pirelli. Click through the links below for a closer look at the various promos out there and how to qualify.

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By on July 18, 2018

How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Car?

So really, how much does it cost to ship a car? Whether you’re moving, temporarily relocating for an extended job contract, or buying a vehicle from an out-of-state seller, options are numerous in transporting your vehicle from its current location to its new home. In general, these options boil down to one of two alternatives: drive the vehicle to its new home yourself, or have it transported there, professionally using some kind of auto transport services.

Each option comes with its own set of pros and cons. Your final decision may be based on numerous factors, including the distance to the new destination, the timing of your trip, the cost of each alternative, and the overall time and effort required for each.

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By on November 27, 2017
Best Cyber Monday Deals for Car People

We scoured the internet for the best Cyber Monday deals for car people.

If you’re a gamer, there’s a ton of equipment and games for sale, but we found a few other useful deals as well! Check out the best deals we found below:
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By on April 6, 2017

Hopkins nVision Backup Sensor Kit

If you’re looking for some electronic assistance backing your car but don’t want to mess with installing a rearview camera, a backup sensor system might be the solution.

Consisting of ultrasonic sensors mounted at the rear of the vehicle and connected to an audible alarm inside the car, a sensor system gives you a warning when you’re getting close to something behind you, typically growing more urgent as you get closer.

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By on April 6, 2017

Pyle PLCM7500 Backup Camera Kit

There’s no question a rearview camera can add a measure of convenience to the business of backing up and increase your margin of safety. Studies have shown a rear camera makes it easier to see small children, pets, or obstacles behind your vehicle that might be otherwise invisible using just your mirrors or looking out the rear window. And that goes double for pickups and other tall vehicles, which can have a blind spot as long as 50 feet to the rear. Adding a rearview camera can also make it easier to see and hook up a trailer. 

Many new cars have backup cameras, and it’ll be mandatory equipment by the 2018 model year. For those of us without, the aftermarket offers plenty of choices. 

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By on March 30, 2017

Schumacher X114 Compact Inverter

If you’re looking for an inexpensive power inverter and don’t want to sacrifice a cup holder or other interior real estate, the Schumacher X114 might be just the ticket — as long as you don’t mind a bit of noise with your power. 

Capable of putting out 140 watts of continuous power, the X114 has more than enough juice to drive a laptop or other small electronic device. To that end, it comes equipped with one 120V receptacle, and a 2-amp USB outlet for charging a phone, music player, or most anything else that can be charged via USB. 

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By on March 20, 2017

Garmin HUD+

A windshield head-up display, or HUD, is a beautiful thing. Capable of displaying navigational guidance, vehicle speed, and other information on the lower part of the windshield and in the driver’s line of sight, HUD systems have become increasingly common on new cars since their first appearance a couple of decades ago.

More recently, a handful of aftermarket suppliers and startups have gotten on the bandwagon, offering devices that pair with a smartphone via Bluetooth to provide similar functionality, even if these devices lack the seamless integration of a factory system.

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By on March 17, 2017

Energizer EN180 Compact Power Inverter

Even if your car is equipped with a built-in power port or two, it may not have enough outlets to support all the electronic devices and habits of you and yours, or said ports may be inconveniently located or accessed. Maybe you want a configuration your car doesn’t have, like a 120V outlet to power a laptop or portable DVD player. Or maybe whatever ports your car has just haven’t been quite right since that last Big Gulp incident.

If any of these scenarios is the case, a power inverter can be the solution. Depending on the make and model you choose, an inverter can give you the versatility to power several devices at once, juice up your laptop or other electronic device, or provide more power and quicker charging than built-in ports in your car. And with prices starting at less than $50, inverters are affordable enough to make sense for almost any budget.

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By on March 13, 2017

Motorola Sonic Rider Bluetooth Speakerphone Kit

Safety experts generally agree that shutting off your phone altogether while behind the wheel is the safest way to travel, but the reality is that just isn’t going to happen for many drivers. In spite of thousands of deaths and close to a half million injuries chalked up to distracted driving every year, we are a society largely addicted to our phones.

But experts also agree going hands free is a safer option than handling a phone on the go, and most newer vehicles now have Bluetooth so drivers can keep their eyes on the road and use voice commands to make and receive calls. While arguably still distracting, hands-free calls are a better idea than punching keys at highway speeds, when a car travels the length of a football field in about five seconds — coincidentally, the average length of time it takes to read or send a text message.

For owners of vehicles without built-in Bluetooth, there are all kinds of aftermarket solutions available, from small units with a microphone and speaker that clip to a sun visor and cost as little as $20, to replacement head units that will set you back hundreds of dollars or more. For the purposes of this exercise, we looked at the former for their ease of installation and low cost.

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By on March 9, 2017

iOttie Easy One Touch 2

With the average age of cars on the road now on the far side of 11 years, the latest electronic safety and convenience systems don’t do most drivers much good. But the good news is that any car can be upgraded with many of these features, from blind spot warning to Bluetooth for streaming music and hands free phone calls. You can easily install most of them yourself, and for a lot less than making payments on a new car.

Our new series of articles detailing some of these features will take you through what products are available, how they work, and what they cost. We’re starting with nine products available from the automotive aftermarket provided by our sponsor eBay, who has also graciously offered up three $500 gift cards. We’ve independently made our product choices based on ease of DIY installation, popularity, favorable reviews from other sources and users, and brand recognition with websites and readily available customer support.

Oh, and we’re installing all these upgrades on a 1999 Acura TL with 152,000 miles.

First up, let’s keep it simple: a trick phone mount from iOttie, the Easy One Touch 2.

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By on March 7, 2017

eBay Upgrade Giveaway Contest

What would you do with a $500 eBay Gift Card?

Maybe you’ll want to hit Buy it Now on that Orange Monster you’ve been looking at for weeks, or maybe you’ll use it to pick up that rare collectible you’ve always wanted—but whatever you choose to do if you win one of the three $500 eBay cards we’re giving away is completely your choice.

Here’s how you can win.

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By on June 7, 2016

First-Track-Day

The Wise Guide team writes about things we think you’ll like, introducing you to great products, services and special deals. We do have affiliate partnerships, so we may earn revenue from the products and services you buy.

We love the idea of people taking their car out to a track day: It’s a great way to learn about handling dynamics and the limits of your car (and your own nerves).

However, going to a track day isn’t just a matter of taking your car as-is — there are things you and your car are going to need. From auto parts, to accessories, to tools, here are some of the basics.

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By on May 12, 2016

s-l1600-1

No one designs cars like the French — though many would say that’s a good thing.

Uniquely styled, mechanically complex, and (sometimes) rewarding to drive, French cars are an experience like no other. Buying a French classic is a bit like being married to a supermodel: They can be very high maintenance, but the rewards are well worth it.

Here are five of the most fantastically French cars you can buy in America.

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