Category: The Wise Guide

By on November 12, 2019

best performance tires

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.


Yes, yes — we’re aware of the date on the calendar. While most of the East Coast is getting buried in snow, the middle part of the country is enduring untold misery falling from the sky, and the less said about road conditions in high elevations, the better.

Like time and gas from last night’s tacos, though, this too shall pass. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of forward planning, which is why we’ve assembled a gallery of performance tires to mount to your rig when conditions finally permit.

Not all of the tires presented here are direct competitors. Rather, we’ve taken a cross section of the segment, some of which are meant for supercar lap times and some of which are meant for eating up Autobahn miles. We’ve hit up the folks at TireBuyer to bring you a few of the best performance tire options this year, presented in alphabetical order.

Read More >

By on November 7, 2019

best winter tires

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.


In most parts of the country, winter is fast approaching. Like it or not, and some don’t, it will not be long before the toques are out permanently and your snow brush is getting a daily workout.

Quebec decrees that all drivers have a set of winter socks on their cars during the cold months and it is strongly recommended that drivers do so in other provinces as well. Even if your town isn’t pummeled with an annual level of snow to rival that of the movie Frozen, winter tires offer a lot of benefits when the mercury drops below 7 degrees Celsius or 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

Why that strangely specific number? It’s owing to the unique blend of compounds in their rubber that keeps them more pliable at cold temperatures than summer-appropriate tires. This affords them more grip even when the weather is more frigid than a school marm’s heart. Toss in a yaffle of tire engineering that permits a good winter tire to literally claw away at ice or snow and you’ve a set of shoes able to get you through winter’s worst.

We’ve hit up the folks at TireBuyer to bring you a few of the best winter tire options this year, presented in alphabetical order.

Read More >

By on November 4, 2019

best head up displays

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.


Not much of the driving advice doled out by my long-suffering father has been retained by your author’s increasingly foggy brain. Gripping the wheel at ten-and-two has been replaced by nine-and-three, although dad’s exhortation that my preferred wheel grip of twelve-and-nothing was absolute bollocks brings a smile to my face even now.

However, being told to keep one’s eyes on the road is a lesson that rarely leaves any of us. Look far ahead, he would say, because those who simply look just beyond the hood will find their drives full of terrifying surprises. Come to think of it, that advice holds true for lots of things in life, not just driving.

Some snazzier cars (and even some not-so-snazzy ones) have a head-up display that projects the car’s speed and other info onto the windshield. The thinking behind this feature is that, heeding dad’s advice, one doesn’t have to take their eyes off the road to learn their car’s velocity and other minutiae.

What’s that? Your car doesn’t have a head-up display? Worry not, for we’ve assembled a few options for fitting it to vehicles lacking the feature.

Read More >

By on October 28, 2019

best glass cleaners

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.


Washing the exterior and cleaning the interior of one’s car is a great way to spend an afternoon – at least in your author’s increasingly muddled mind. Making sure the windows are clear enough to mistake for open sky is also a delight. If they’re as clean as they should be, then there stands the chance you’ll try to retrieve your extra tasty crispy entree at the drive thru without first lowering the window. At which point you’ll have to clean it again.

We’ve scoured Amazon (pun intended) for some of the best ways to clean that glass in your car. After all, a spotless car with dirty windows is like wearing a fresh suit with muddy shoes.

Now go find your favorite cleaning cloth (you do have a favorite cleaning cloth, right?) and take a gander at these options for scrubbing your car’s windows.

Read More >

By on October 14, 2019

best tow and recovery straps

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.


Heading out into the sand — or any off-road environment — is bound to bring a fun-filled day with the chance of scattered calamity. The old saw advises that if you didn’t get stuck during your sojourn to the desert or mud pit, you weren’t’ trying hard enough.

That’s why there are a phalanx of companies eager to sell an array of recovery tools and why the SEMA show in Vegas consumes more and more floor space every year. Today, we’ll focus simply on tow straps because they’re an item that should be flung into every cargo area of each and every off-road vehicle that hits the trail. Even if it’s not used for your own benefit, one may find themselves needing to extricate a buddy who’s eyes were bigger than his ground clearance.

And, for the love of Mickey Thompson, educate yourself before using these things. Deployed improperly, they have the capability to whisk a person off their feet faster than the sun sets at the equator. Watch what you’re doing and use your noggin.

See the best tow and recovery straps below.

Read More >

By on October 11, 2019

best jumper cables

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.


Twisting the key (or, more accurately these days, pushing the button) only to come up with a fistful of no-go can be huge pain in the neck. While the root cause can be any number of maladies, identifying the fix as a simple jump start gets you going — at least for now. Stashing a set of jumper cables in the trunk of your car or under the front seat of your pickup truck is cheap insurance against being left stranded in the cold with a flat battery and long walk to nowhere.

Yeah, thanks to Stranger Danger and America’s love of litigation one may have to ask a few more good Samaritans before finding a person who’s willing to help boost the battery of your car than one would have had to ask twenty years ago. Thanks, internet. Nevertheless, there are more than a few good souls left on this earth, so all is not lost if you need to use one of these bad boys the next time you leave yer headlights on during a trip to Walmart.

Note well: the gauge rating of jumper cable wire operates in reverse fashion to just about every other measurement in the world. Here, a smaller number means a thicker cable — sets made with 1-gauge wire are hardier than sets made with 8-gauge wire. #TheMoreYouKnow

Read More >

By on October 4, 2019

best car cleaning products

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.


There are several unassailable truths ingrained in the minds of most gearheads: the check engine light will illuminate as you’re driving to the smog station, fuel prices will rise before a long weekend, and a clean car runs better.

Ok, maybe the last one is anecdotal, but the Placebo Effect can certainly work wonders in the life of a car nut. If you don’t accept the preceding, please at least permit us the following: a clean car is a happy car.

With that in mind, we have selected eight different car cleaning products fit for various scrubbing duties on your chariot. Soap, water, and a better-running car await.

Read More >

By on October 1, 2019

best clay bars

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.


Many gearheads are firm believers that a clean car runs better than a dirty one. While there is only anecdotal evidence from which to draw a conclusion about this, it cannot be denied that a clean car is worth more at trade-in time or when pulling up to the curb for your Tinder date.

If washing and waxing are the fundamentals, then a clay bar can be considered extra credit. These rectangular sticks of joy are designed to be slid along your car’s paintwork, collecting all the little particles that have accumulated on its surface over time. Particles in the air, pollution, tree sap — all these things conspire to ruin paint lacquer and make your car look like something from Mad Max.

Check out our octet of picks, but also make sure to schedule an entire afternoon if you’re planning to clay your car. Mister Miyagi might have advised us to wax on and wax off, but the professional detailers of the world will recommend you clay bar that thing as well for best results.

Read More >

By on September 27, 2019

best wheel chocks

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.


The signature characteristic of any gearhead worth their 5W30 is their ability to wrench on a vehicle or hitch up a trailer. Either of these activities generally necessitates the chocking of one or more wheel, lest the whole thing get out of control faster than a Vegas after-party.

As you’ll learn, there are more to wheel chocks than simple wedges of rubber or plastic that go jammed between a tire’s tread and terra firma. While this type of accessory isn’t generally thought of until it is needed, the level of innovation and array of products suggest that there are plenty of designers and engineers giving wheel chocks plenty of thought indeed, even if they don’t rank too high on our personal top 40.

Read More >

By on September 20, 2019

best car paint protection films

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.


Far beyond the reaches of old-school car bras and hood protectors are these clear paint protection films. Targeted at drivers who give a damn about their car’s paintwork, these options are dandy ways to keep a vehicle’s finish in good shape while not hiding anything under a leather protector.

Go ahead and expunge the mental image of a tired Camaro wearing a tattered LeBra, under which hides so much rust and miscolored paint. These modern-day solutions are a world apart from what was available in the bad old days. Also, my targeted ads are quite bizarre now after writing up all these commerce posts for TTAC.

Read More >

By on September 19, 2019

best car organizers

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.


Hey, you. Yeah, you with the messy car. It’s time to clean it up and get organized. Just because you used to allow empty Pepsi bottles and random tins of Skoal to roll around untethered in your college days doesn’t mean you can take the cavalier attitude from back when you had a Cavalier to today’s family vehicle.

It is said that the amount of stuff brought along in a car is inversely proportional to the age of the kids in the car and, to this, there is some truth. Having a spot in which to store all the detritus of daily life is important. It’s even more important to keep it in reach of the ankle biters unless you really like stopping every five minutes to find the juice boxes.

Even those of us who travel solo can use a bit of help keeping things in the car at bay. Here are eight of the best car organizers available, all found on Amazon.

Read More >

By on September 13, 2019

best steam cleaners for car detailing

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.


Every single gearhead reading this enjoys a clean car. Whether we take the time to actually remove life’s various and sundry detritus, well, that’s a different story. We all know people whose engine compartments are tidier than their passenger compartments.

Hoovering the carpets and seats only removes so much dirt, as those ads for commercial-grade steam cleaner rentals used to so graphically demonstrate. These days, portable steam cleaners abound, meaning those of us who decide to give our car a really good scrub needn’t venture to the Kroger across town that’s really scary after 4 pm.

Keep in mind these units can be used in the house, too, in case your other half is questioning your financial investment on one of these things. Dirt begone!

Read More >

By on September 9, 2019

best car escape tools

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.


It’s a scenario no one wants to think about: being trapped in a car for some unspeakable reason. Fire is, was, and always has been my  biggest fear. I can’t imagine what it would be like for someone who’s claustrophobic.

Like car insurance, something we buy but hope to never use, the best car-escape tools are an investment worth making. In situations where seconds matter, whether they’re your seconds or someone else’s, having one of these tools in the glovebox of your car is a solid plan.

And, with that alarmist hyperbole out of the way, your author feels like mentioning these things can be used for much more entertaining purposes, such as knocking the windows out of a $200 Crown Victoria before it is disposed of in a particularly violent demolition derby. Am I the only one on staff who’s been in derbies? Perhaps, though I did talk a former Managing Ed into one.

Here are a few good choices for safety or derby preparedness – your choice.

Read More >

By on September 6, 2019

best auxiliary lights

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.


If you’re eating from the instant ramen end of the automotive menu (*ahem Ace of Base ahem*), chances are your new whip won’t have all the snazzy options a manufacturer has to offer. While economy of scale and common platforms increasingly ensures that base cars have some kit they would not have had just a few short years ago, costs have to be cut somewhere.

Binning fog lights or auxiliary driving lamps is usually one of the first stops on the Cost Cutting Express, causing a certain amount of forward illumination on cheap wheels to vanish like an ice cream cone in the sun. Sure, not all of those things are efficiently designed to cut though fog (recall the useless but stylish bumper buckets on the 1993 Bonneville SSEi) but the loss of light can’t be denied.

It’s important to note that some of the aftermarket fog and auxiliary lights on this list are intended for off-road use only, so be sure to check your local laws before lighting them up out on the freeway. Also, don’t be a Chad or Kyle and blind people ahead of you in traffic. Dim these things for oncoming cars, in other words. And seek installation help if you’re unsure what goes plugged in where. Car electrical fires are never fun.

With that legal mumbo jumbo out of the way, let’s check out the best auxiliary lights available. As Gul Madred asked Captain Picard: “How many lights do you see?”*

Read More >

By on September 4, 2019

best sunshades for the car

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.


You’ve seen plenty of vehicles with completely nuked dashboards in Murilee’s Junkyard Find series. After a lifetime of baking in the sun, these cars end up with cratered and cracked interiors that resemble the moon’s surface. It’s not pretty.

Sunshades are derided by some as useless items deployed only by Floridian seniors after parking their 1992 Chrysler New Yorker at the Golden Corral. Closer inspection actually reveals these things pop up on cars deposited in sunny climate long-term lots in an effort by their owners to keep the vehicle interior temperature from reaching those normally found on the sun.

An informal survey also taught this author that some delivery drivers deploy sunshades during a stop to try and keep their office cool and avoid a furnace-like blast every time they open the door. It adds a measure of security from prying eyes as well.

Here are an octet of the best sunshades we found on Amazon.

Read More >

Recent Comments

  • DenverMike: Congrats and thanks! It’ll be mine when it’s down to $12K. I can hardly wait.
  • ajla: This car has a dishonest face. I don’t like it.
  • dividebytube: Very Lincoln MKZ + Toyota Prius + Lexus Maw
  • ToddAtlasF1: In the early or mid 2000s, I recall reading an article in one of the car magazines about the...
  • golden2husky: The FWD transmissions were an adaptation of the A904 units used in RWD cars. These 3 speed...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States