Category: The Wise Guide

By on January 24, 2020

best battery tenders

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.


Sauntering out to one’s vehicle and twisting the key (or jabbing the start button) only to come up with a whole handful of nothing is one of the automotive world’s most frustrating experiences. Dead batteries are the bane of a gearhead’s existence. Thankfully, most cars turn off their headlights or dome lights automatically these days. They emphatically did not when your author was a kid.

Storing a car (or recreation vehicle) over the winter months can also wreck a battery. That’s why battery tenders – not chicken tenders – were invented. They are designed to facilitate a gentle flow of juice to a battery so it is not flatter than a Midwest cornfield come summer. Maintaining that level of charge is also important.

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By on January 15, 2020

best baby mirrors for cars

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.


Snicker if you must at this topic, but it’s a tried-and-true fact that the vast majority of parents will spend heartily on safety equipment for their newborn child. Since we’re no longer allowed to let them roll around in the cargo area of a station wagon while taking a road trip, infants are strapped into rear facing car seats that essentially become part of the car’s structure when properly installed.

This, of course, makes it difficult to see the kid. Mirrors like these are designed to strap onto a backseat headrest, allowing the ‘rents to peer at a reflection of their offspring while glancing astern in the rearview mirror. This means, technically, one is looking at a reflection of a reflection. It all gets a bit Inception after awhile.

Here is an array of mirrors we think fit the bill.

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By on January 8, 2020

best driving shoes

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.


Sure, the last time you wore a pair of racing shoes to a party you were endlessly made fun of by your gearhead buddies. Hey, man, what can we say? They’re just jealous of your lap times, that’s all.

There is no shortage of companies trying to shill shoes targeted at the consumer looking to shave a few tenths off their best effort at Laguna Seca or Riverside. Whether one chooses to go with a pair that emphasises style or selects a boot that simply gets the job done, there is plenty of selection in this arena.

Here are a few we selected from Amazon, including two on which your author has spent his own money.

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By on January 6, 2020

best ice scrapers

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 January, meaning wide swaths of the country are enjoying apocalyptic quantities of ice and snow falling from the sky. This, of course, covers our vehicles with the same enthusiasm with which your author covers his french fries in gravy.

This doesn’t apply to those of you who are in possession of a suburban attached garage or underground condo parking spot. Lucky sods. As for the rest of us, we will continue to mutter expletives as we remove layers of winter’s worst from the windows of our car.

Here are a few suggestions to help with that task, courtesy of Amazon.

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By on January 2, 2020

best remote car starters

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.


Clambering into a cold car before the sun comes up ranks down there with a root canal and talking to an accountant. Alternatively, for those of you residing in a part of the country where conditions do not currently resemble the surface of Hoth, sitting on scalding hot seats or touching a flesh-searing belt buckle in the summer months can also be unpleasant.

These are but two of the reasons why remote car starters were invented. We’ve taken a look through Amazon and selected a few aftermarket units for your perusal. It should go without saying that you shouldn’t run your car in an enclosed space and, if you’re not sure how to install these things, please seek out someone who can.

Now, go enjoy that warm car!

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By on December 23, 2019

best car books

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.


We’ve one more Christmas gift idea for the gearhead in your life before we break for the next few days. Not all presents given to car lovers have to be in the shape of a new socket set or some parts to a Mustang GT, though those are surely appreciated.

This time, we’re suggesting a few good reads. Some will argue that a full bookshelf is nearly as important as a full toolbox, though such a thing may be less than helpful when you’re elbows deep into a clutch job on your failing Miata. Well, except for one book on this list. Best to keep that particular one within close reach.

And, in a turn from most other lists of this ilk, your author owns every single item here. These recommendations and their attendant approvals come straight from my gas tank of a brain. Enjoy.

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By on December 20, 2019

best r/c cars

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 said that most gearheads never really grow up, it’s just our toys that get bigger. The proliferation of hi-po side-by-side vehicles and the constant barrage of retro-inspired trims (waves at GT350 Heritage Edition) proves this in spades.

Radio-controlled cars fall in this group, with car-crazy guys and gals aged 8 to 80 tending to enjoy these things in a deserted paved lot or during a day at the park. While there are still more than a few R/Cs that we’d all recognize in terms of size and complexity, there is also a growing number of these units that are over a foot long and easily able to break the posted speed limit.

We’ve chosen a few that caught our eye.

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By on December 17, 2019

best hot wheels track sets

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.


Be forewarned. The following items are gateways to a lifelong cycle of fiduciary entanglement. It’s not drugs, crime, or even rooting for the Lions. No, it’s something far worse.

You see, placing a Hot Wheels set in the hands of an impressionable young kid is the first step to finding oneself wrenching on a derby car at 2:00 in the morning when work beckons the next day or attempting to drive a clapped out stickshift ZJ across much of middle America (we wish you the best, David).

But it’s all worth it, right? Of course it is! We wouldn’t be at this for anything but the love of cars. We’ve selected eight different Hot Wheels tracks with which you can set your young mechanic on his or her way to a lifetime of fun and financial ruin. Or, y’know, you can buy these for yourself — you’ve already made your choices … and so have I, if we’re being honest.

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By on December 13, 2019

best suv/truck 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.


Tire manufacturers have long since figured out there is a market for task-specific truck and SUV rubber. Sometimes those tasks take drivers over obstacles at Moab and other times it merely involves that gravel patch in the driveway that was supposed to be fixed last week. Better call the contractor, ASAP.

We’ve chosen a selection of tires available from the lads at TireBuyer.com that are good fit for most trucks and SUVs. Their mission may differ, however – some of the rubber on this list is aggressive off-road kit while others are best served tooling around the side streets of Beverly Hills. Whatever you select for your ride is up to yourself.

With that legal mumbo jumbo out of the way, here are a few options presented in alphabetical order.

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By on December 11, 2019

best all-season 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.


Not all of us need to install a different set of rubber the instant Old Man Winter pokes his head around the corner. While parts of the continent grumble into their coffee about that day’s forecasted high (*raises hand*), wide swaths of the population can run the same tires year-round, particularly if it’s the family daily.

Especially if it’s the family daily, in fact. Your author argues at length, much to the annoyance of his family, that a car owner should emphatically not cheap out on tires. They’re the only things touching the road, after all. Ponying up a few stray bills for an off-brand whose rubber compound has the flex of an oak tree is a terrible idea. And don’t get me started on the propensity of certain people to buy second-hand tires full of frozen water and weeds.

Here are some good all-season tire suggestions, presented in alphabetical order, sourced from the crew at TireBuyer.com.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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