Tag: commerce

By on August 20, 2019

best blind spot mirrors

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’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: check yer bind spot! More than a few collisions (notice we didn’t call them “accidents”) occur because drivers heedlessly heave their car over into the next lane only to find themselves occupying the same time and space as another vehicle. This leads to Expensive Noises.

Plenty of machines on the road today are equipped with blind-spot monitoring systems, most of which use a system that detects when another vehicle is in one’s blind spot and flashes an amber light, usually on the face of the car’s sideview mirror. One of the best alert systems is employed by Audi, which places a big amber light on the inside of the mirror housing instead of on the mirror itself. That light then fades in and out like an Iowa radio station rather than winking abruptly like a horny teenager.

Still, there are plenty of cars which don’t have this tech — and more than a few rolling around in which it was not available when they were built — so we assembled eight options found on Amazon.

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By on August 16, 2019

best racing simulator cockpits

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 fantasy harbored by every single gearhead on the planet: the ability to jump aboard any supercar or race machine in the world and rip off a lap of their favorite racetrack. The likes of Forza, Gran Turismo, and iRacing now affords us that opportunity, albeit digitally. Still, you’re left with steering your way around Eau Rouge with a joystick or d-pad and mashing the throttle of a McLaren Senna with your right index finger.

The advent of sim steering wheel and pedal kits solved that problem and the units shown here take that a step further. You’ll need a healthy amount of footprint space dedicated to one of these racing sim cockpits, so expect to be banished to the garage or basement with it once the novelty has worn off for the rest of the family.

Presented here are seven of the best we could find on Amazon. Note that some units being hawked online don’t come with a seat, so read the fine print carefully. All of the ones listed here do have a chair as of this writing.

Your author also wondered how long it would take writing these posts for him to unholster his Visa debit card and buy one of the units on which he is writing. The UPS truck arrives next Thursday.

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By on August 13, 2019

best ev chargers

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.


Like it or not, electric vehicles are one of the Ways Forward, knowing that we can’t suckle on the teat of fossil fuels indefinitely. We will leave the timeline of the total shift for another post, but suffice it to say there are enough customers in this country buying EVs to make a list like this worthwhile. Owners of Hellcats and GT500s can scroll down to the next news article.

Believe it or not, there are a plethora of manufacturers making EV chargers for home use. Before diving too far into this sea of electrons, it should go without saying that any installation of this type of unit should be undertaken by a professional. We don’t want any of our readers lighting up like a Christmas tree or melting into a puddle of chemicals because they (literally) got their wires crossed. Be safe with this stuff and don’t cheap out on the install.

With that out of the way, we’ve assembled a group of EV chargers that will keep your electric car juiced and your anxiety at bay. May your drives be smooth and your range be long, young grasshoppers.

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By on August 9, 2019

best head units

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.


Several lifetimes ago, your author was the first person in his small town to install a good set of subwoofers, plunking them in the hatchback area of a rusting Ford. Aftermarket stereos had been around for ages, of course, but banging woofers? Not so much. All hands quickly followed suit, one-upping each other and generally infuriating the community’s rapidly aging populace.

Back then, it was easy to source an aftermarket head unit because all cars had either a DIN or Double DIN sized hole in the dash. Today’s interior styling choices have put a knee in the groin of this accessory segment but there are still a few machines into which one can swap a good receiver.

Popping the extra bit of cheddar for an installation kit is always a good idea, as it precludes the need for hacking into your car’s factory wiring with the élan of Edward Scissorhands by turning the affair into essentially a plug-n-play situation. Your author speaks from personal experience in this regard. Before the presence of such kits in the stores of his home province, many a wiring harness met with particularly graphic deaths by bludgeoning.

And, for the love of all that’s holy, use good wiring practices if you’re doing this install yourself. Simply stripping the ends, twisting stuff together, and shoving it all back into the dash isn’t good enough. Familiarize yourself with the wonders of heat-activated shrink wrap or, even better, improve your soldering skills.

Now, crank it up and annoy the neighbors.

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By on July 30, 2019

best trickle chargers

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.


What did the bartender say to the set of jumper cables that walked into the bar? Why, he said “You’d better not start anything in here tonight,” of course!

Hey. I’m a dad and am allowed to make dad jokes.

But here’s the thing – there’s an excellent chance that natty set of thick 2-gauge jumper cables actually won’t start anything if you’re working with a battery that’s constantly flat. Constantly running a battery flatter than the Prairies is a one-way ticket to the town of No Start. That’s why trickle chargers were invented.

Designed to feed a small but measured amount of juice into a car battery, trickle chargers – also called battery maintainers – use electricity to replenish batteries at or near the same amount of self-discharge. Try to find one that shuts off at appropriate times, called a ‘float’ mode, so the battery doesn’t get overcharged like festival goers trying to buy a bottle of water.

Their most common use is to be connected when a car goes into winter storage, allowing the battery to remain at the ready for the first flick of the key next summer. Some also advocate the use of a trickle charger to boost a flat battery, since the gradual re-introduction of juice is easier on a battery than a sudden jolt. It takes a helluva long time, though.

We’ve gone through the options on Amazon and present our findings here. No more dad jokes, we promise.

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By on July 22, 2019

best trailer brake controllers

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 thinking about using your truck or SUV to tow anything more than a child’s inflatable dinghy, it is an exceedingly good idea to invest in a trailer brake controller. These units, generally about the size of two stacked smartphones, manage the amount of braking force being produced by the electric brakes fitted to your trailer’s axles.

Not sure if your trailer has electric brakes? Check the plug size on the end of its electrical pigtail that gets connected to the tow vehicle. If it is rectangular with four metal connections, it is only tasked with providing the trailer’s lights with juice. If it is round with seven pins, your trailer has electric brakes.

These controllers allow the driver to monitor the braking situation astern and, in all but the cheapest examples, set the level of braking aggression provided by the trailer when you apply the brakes on your tow vehicle.

We’ve picked out eight of the best for you to consider before getting hitched and hitting the road. Be safe out there, kids.

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By on July 15, 2019

Amazon’s highly-anticipated annual shopping event, Amazon Prime Day, is finally here. This year, Amazon Prime Day starts on Monday, July 15 at midnight and runs for 48 hours. First launched in 2015, Amazon Prime Day has become “Black Friday in July” for online shoppers, with an astonishing number of products going on sale each year.

According to Amazon, Prime Day 2018 was a record-setting event for the company. Last year’s Prime Day saw sales surpass Cyber Monday, Black Friday, and previous Prime Days, when comparing 36-hour periods. That means Prime Day has become Amazon’s biggest shopping event in history, and 2019 will likely be bigger than ever. A total of 17 countries participated in last year’s Prime Day, with more than 100-million products purchased.

With more and more shoppers now subscribing to Amazon Prime, you’ll want to be ready for Amazon Prime Day 2019 if you want to take advantage of some deals before they sell out. Here’s your guide to everything you need to know about this year’s Amazon Prime Day, including some of the best deals for car owners. Check back often as we’ll be updating this page throughout Prime Day 2019 with more deals as they go live.

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By on July 12, 2019

best car covers

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.


Whether it’s a sports car or snazzy truck, chances are you’ve invested a lot in your ride. If you’re serious about preserving its value, whether for trade-in time or simply for extending the life of its paint, slapping down a few bucks on a car cover falls squarely into the category of a Very Good Idea.

Like most security items in life, a cover isn’t perfect but it certainly acts as a good deterrent. That ne’er-do-well with the keys in his hand will find it more difficult to carve epithets into the paint of a covered car than one which isn’t comfortably ensconced in some form of man-made polypropylene. Same goes for the miscreant who wants to haul open the door and drive away.

We’ve searched Amazon to unearth eight good examples of the breed. As you’d expect, some are cheap while others are uber-expensive. Read on to discover what we found.

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By on June 28, 2019

best trailer locks

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, I know it seems we got our pithy phrase backwards in the title. What we mean by it is that after loading your trailer, you should lock the thing, geddit? We’ll be here all week folks; try the veal.

It doesn’t matter what’s in the tow behind — boxes of tools, camping equipment, or a Hemi ‘Cuda — it all makes a tempting target for the criminal element. This goes for actual camping trailers, too. A retailer near your author’s hometown has to deal with loss prevention more often than anyone would care to admit. After all, in most cases, the theft is as simple as a hitch-up-and-go.

In the same way The Club steering-wheel lock is used to simply provide a deterrent, rather than making your ride theft-proof, so do these hitch locks for trailers. If there are two units side by each, a thief will likely make off with the one that provides the least resistance to an easy payday. A person should still lock the doors on the thing or, if it’s a flat deck, find some other way to secure the valuables.

Meaning, of course, that none of these are a total waste of money. Something is always better than nothing and we waded through a few different options so you don’t have to.

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By on June 27, 2019

best floor mats

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.


Floor mats are, much like your author, routinely ignored until needed or they fail to work properly. These things serve faithfully to keep your car’s carpets clean yet are hardly given a second thought — unless they’re annoyingly bunched up near the base of your seat, at which time they’re cursed to high heaven. They’re the Rodney Dangerfield of car accessories, I tell ya.

Okay, maybe that’s too much hyperbole but you get my point. A good set of floor mats make the difference between a salt-stained mess that scuppers your car’s trade-in value and a clean whip that you’re proud to show off.

You guys know my flamboyant personality, so there will be a mix of practical and retina-searing suggestions on this list. We don’t care which one you choose, so long as you choose something. A clean car is a happy car and, if the placebo effect is of any consideration, it runs better too.

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By on June 6, 2019

happy father's day

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.


Listen up, ungrateful youngsters — dear old Dad has a special day coming up and you need to remember to get something for him. He’s brought you to hockey practice, bailed you out of the drunk tank, and deftly handled the gruff owner of a taxi company into one of whose cars you reversed into at 1:00 am the previous night. That last one was a suspiciously specific example. Anyway.

We’ve pawed through Amazon and found a few items that he’ll actually want, which means there will be no pen holders shaped like Mount Rushmore or loudly patterned ties on this list. Also, I’m a Dad myself, so I know what to look for. Now, get to reading this list before I count to 10 and turn this car around for good. Don’t make me come back there.

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By on May 31, 2019

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.


Let’s get one thing clear from the start—you shouldn’t skimp on brake products. They are, after all, one of the only things on your car between it and a crash.

If you’re not sure about the process or procedure to replace the brake rotors on your car, take it to a professional mechanic. Spending a few extra bucks on installation beats the heck out of the feeling one gets when hitting the middle pedal only to find that forward motion is not decreasing. Take it from a guy who, in his youth, owned a ratty Ford Escort whose brakes could be best described as ‘hesitators’ or ‘delayers’. Having crap brakes is not fun.

Also note that we haven’t specified a singular make and model for each of these brake rotors. Some will fit your vehicle, some will not. Be sure to check your application carefully before hitting the Buy button. A pro may give you options other than the ones shown here, as well. With that out of the way, here are eight picks for replacement brake rotors.

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By on May 30, 2019

best hitch cargo carriers

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’s a theory that the amount of stuff parents need to carry with them is inversely proportional to the age of their kids. Newborns generally require at least 500 diapers and wipes plus a mandatory assortment of toys and attention grabbers. Toss in an ergonomically correct jogging stroller and a pediatrician-approved collapsible play pen and you’ve suddenly no room left in the car for humans.

Fortunately, there’s an answer. It arrives in the form of exterior cargo bags. After all, these types of storage solutions have been around for ages in some form or another. Fun fact: the shape we know as the modern sedan was created when an enterprising person bolted a rectangular chest to the back of their pre-war rig for extra storage.

Who says TTAC isn’t educational?

We’ve covered rooftop carriers in a previous installment of this series. Today, we have scoured the web for hitch-mounted carriers for those people who need extra storage space but don’t want to lose sunroof functionality. Here’s our picks.

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By on May 23, 2019

best bumper guards

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 not your driving habits or parking skills that are in question here — it’s the other guy’s capabilities (or lack thereof) from which we need to guard ourselves. The cynical amongst us will say these types of bumper guards also fortify your own bumper to inflict maximum damage on others. Verticalscope’s bedwetting lawyers are reminding me not endorse that activity.

We’ve not limited ourselves to a single make or model in this post when selecting contenders for this list, so please be certain your bumper guard of choice fits your vehicle before ordering. Most of the ones shown here are of the “universal” variety. However, a lifetime of installing (and then removing and re-installing) vehicle accessories has taught your author that “universal fit” doesn’t always mean exactly what you think it does.

Not all of us are fortunate enough to have a garage, or even off street parking, so there is a measure of usefulness to these items. In fact, there must be a fairly big market for this type of car protection if the array of available options is any indication. Your author used to be proponent of the phrase “bumpers are for bumping,” but today’s styling decisions often render that belief more obsolete than a Commodore 64. Note well: the non-adhesive versions of these things should only be deployed when the car is parked.

And don’t worry, we’ll have a list of off-road bumper guards coming up soon.

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By on May 17, 2019

best foam cannons

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.


For a good many gearheads, washing their car is a form of relaxation, if not outright therapy. From the initial hosing off of loose dirt to the final wipe of a chamois, taking one’s ride from dirty to clean hardly a chore for most people reading this post.

We’ve assembled eight options of foam cannons designed to help you make the most of that time. Whether one uses the two-bucket method or a foam cannon shown here, no one wants to scratch the heck out of their vehicle’s paintwork. Pro tip: if you drop your sponge or cleaning cloth, pitch it into a dark corner of the garage and don’t use it again until it has been thoroughly cleaned.

A clean car is a happy car (it’s my twisted belief it runs better, too). Here are a few options to help you get it your whip in top form.

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