Tag: commerce

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.

(Read More…)

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.

(Read More…)

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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By on May 15, 2019

best portable fridges

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 ability to serve up a cold drink has vexed automakers for years. There have been a few attempts – the icemaker in an early-90s Previa and cooled gloveboxes powered by ducted air conditioning being good examples – but, by and large, most OEMs haven’t put serious thought into providing an in-car fridge. Vacuum cleaners? Sure! But no refrigerators.

And, yes, I am intentionally ignoring the bucks-deluxe solutions from the likes of Rolls and Bentley. We’re a website for commoners, just like all the writers here.

Fortunately, the aftermarket has stepped in to offer some solutions to this problem. There are a myriad of companies building portable mini fridges designed to run off 110V and 12V power, allowing the things to work away in a car’s cargo area while the family circus travels down the road to Disneyland.

We’ve chosen eight options and presented them here. Some of them made the cut on price, a few on innovation, and one because it simply looked cool – pun intended.

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By on May 10, 2019

best 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.


Look, we get it. Not every road trip in your vehicle will be a model of efficient packing. Jimmy wants to take along half his soccer gear, the dog won’t eat out of any other bowl, and Jane simply has to have her hockey stick for practice because tryouts are next month. Where are you going to fit it all?

In a rooftop cargo carrier, that’s where. These things have been around in various and sundry forms since the days of the Model T and, thanks to advancements in modern materials, have actually morphed into something resembling a usable tool. Most of them are easy to access (well, if you’re tall), waterproof, and rugged enough to withstand the forces pressed upon them by 60 mph highway travel speeds.

We’ve plucked eight different options from the digital pages of Amazon. Prices vary, as does total square footage, so be sure to select carefully before splashing out the cash. These things will scupper the use of that panoramic sunroof, too, don’t forget. And, for the love of all that’s holy, carefully read and follow the instructions for a safe and secure placement of a cargo carrier on top of your vehicle. The last thing anyone needs is for the thing to fly off into traffic behind you at speed.

With that out of the way, let’s motor.

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By on May 7, 2019

best ipad holders

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.


Try as you might to avoid too much screen time for your kids, there will be times on a family road trip in which backseat urchins are kept in rapt attention by some sort of tablet. It could be on the way to a far-flung location, after the nth hour of driving, or simply you need all hands to be quiet or I’m coming back there. All those reasons are valid.

So, yes. Despite all efforts of encouraging them to look at scenery or play mind-numbing games of Road Bingo, chances are high that a tablet holder will make its way into most cars across America. On the flip side, there are also plenty of people who deploy tablets for uses other than The Backyardigans, so we’ve attempted to assemble some of those options here as well.

VerticalScope’s bed-wetting lawyers are screaming at me to remind all hands not to engage with a touchscreen tablet while driving, lest a person lose their concentration and crash into a school bus full of disabled children. They are correct, of course — hands off until the car is stopped, okay? Those riding shotgun or camped out in the backseat are free to do as they please.

With that nonsense out of the way, here are eight options for installing a tablet in your car.

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By on May 3, 2019

best running boards for trucks

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.


Here’s a tidbit of trivia for you. At a recent truck event, your author was told by an OEM engineer that running boards actually help, not hurt, fuel economy. Preliminary wind tunnel testing allegedly showed that the boards direct the air in such a way as to create something of an air curtain along the side of the truck, effectively creating a streamline effect and reducing turbulence. Scything a cleaner path through the air saves fuel. Take from that anecdote what you will.

If nothing else, running boards help the vertically challenged amongst us to hoist themselves up into the cab of a pickup without needing to deploy a rope ladder or load themselves into a trebuchet. There is an argument that they help improve the truck’s worth at resale time, but your author is not so sure of that assertion, having owned several pickups both with and without running boards. Cash will fly out the window no matter what.

Alert readers will note we’ve selected running boards which fit various iterations of the mighty Ford F-150. We chose a single pickup truck for continuity’s sake and, since the F-Series is America’s best-selling vehicle, we figured it’d be a logical selection. Most, if not all, of the boards in the following post are available for pickups without a Blue Oval on their nose.

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By on May 2, 2019

car seat 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.


Routinely ignored until needed and often derided until put into use, seat covers are the Rodney Dangerfield of car accessories. Poor fitting units bear the brunt of buyer’s remorse, while a wanton color choice is obvious to all passersby. After all, seats take up most of your car’s interior – their covering is kinda noticeable.

Whether one wants to add seat covers to their ride because the car was previously inhabited by a rabid squirrel or simply to change up the interior vibe, there are no shortage of vendors looking to take your hard-earned cash. While this is a minefield of offerings, we have attempted to wade through it all and highlight eight of them here.

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By on April 25, 2019

headlight restoration kit

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 all seen them – sad, yellowed headlights on the nose of a vehicle offering all the illumination of two fireflies in a couple of jam jars. There are several theories as to why some cars end up looking as if they should be extras in a 1970s French movie: exposure to ultraviolet light, constant assault from road debris, and just general poor quality plastic are some of the leading explanations.

With the majority of headlights on modern cars made of polycarbonate plastic, it’s inevitable that some of them – particularly those on entry-level machines – will wind up in this sorry state.

We’ll leave the ‘why’ for another day. This post is meant to give you a hand with restoring those yellowed headlights to their former translucence. Not only do the things look bad, there is the ever-present risk of poor lighting, creating a potentially dangerous situation for both the driver and other vehicles sharing the road. It’s arguable they’ll also decrease the value of your car, as curbside buyers and used car managers alike always look for any excuse to lowball sellers.

Rounding up eight selections, we learned there is no shortage of options for this DIY job on the market today. And, no, toothpaste doesn’t really work well despite what that video on YouTube says. Bin those fireflies for good and check out these eight potential solutions to restoring your car’s headlights to their showroom glory.

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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.

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

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By on April 19, 2019

best bike racks for your vehicle

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 as much as a person may try, there does come the realization that we can’t fit everything into our vehicles — even if one did master the ancient arts of Jenga and Tetris as a youngster. Sometimes a person just has to accept reality, break down, and purchase some sort of auxiliary carrier and lash it to the car.

This is especially true if said items that won’t fit are of an odd size, like several bicycles or a taxidermied tiger shark. While we can’t help you with the latter, we have rounded up a few of our picks for the former, all of which are designed to cart your two-wheeled Victorian antiquity to its far-flung destination. It is far-flung, right? Otherwise, you’d be riding the thing there.

Jokes aside, plenty of otherwise normal folks enjoy packing up their bikes and taking to the trails on weekends. Those trails could be on the rocks of Moab, the forests of Vermont, or the shores of California. Either way, not everyone finds themselves on the doorsteps of those locales, so carting bikes on the exterior of one’s vehicle is hardly a far-fetched proposition.

Assembled here are eight bike racks of various size, price, and application. Choose wisely, and the games of Jenga and Tetris won’t even enter your mind.

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By on April 12, 2019

accessories for your trailer hitch

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.


Trailer hitches are awesome. They allow you to, y’know, hitch a trailer to the back of your ride as you head off with a camper or couple of dirt bikes in tow. During those occasions, it seems to be a very logical addition to a car or truck.

But what about the other 364 days of the year in which you’re not towing anything at all? Even if you do tow something every single Saturday and Sunday—shout out to all those weekend warriors—there are still more than a couple of hundred days in which that square receiver is back there doing nothing. Let’s put it to work.

Fair warning: Not every piece of kit shown in this list will adapt to all trailer hitch receivers on the market. Class III hitches are typically installed on trucks and SUVs and bear a 2-inch receiver, which is to say the square hole on the hitch into which the drawbar is inserted measures 2” x 2”. Other sizes are 1.25” x 1.25” on a smaller Class II hitch, for example. Check yer application before splaying out cash on these or other accessories.

With that out of the way, let’s check out a few items that creative-minded individuals have built to occupy that hitch receiver when it is idle.

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By on April 4, 2019

 

fly5d auto dent removal kit

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


This post will be prefaced with two huge caveats. First, your author has exactly a single experience with this type of tool, meaning the recommendations contained within this article are drawn upon that brief encounter, opinions of others who have more experience, and consultations with a battered Ouija board.

The second? We can’t be responsible if you use one of these tools on, say, a leased vehicle only to completely fubar the paint and bodywork. Repairs are at your own risk, folks. If you’re not sure how to use these tools, go find someone who knows what they’re doing.

With that nonsense out of the way, let’s take a gander at what’s on the market for those who seek to straighten out that huge dent in the family whip. Do it right, and your better half might not even know you wrinkled the sheetmetal while hurriedly exiting the Brazzers Revue parking lot. You’re on your own for the wayward credit card receipt from that establishment, though. The best dent repair kits might be able to help drivers erase an embarrassing mistake, and most cost less than going to a body shop to get the work done. These kits won’t work miracles on all dents, however, so make sure to know what you’re getting into or get a quote from a body shop to get a frame of reference first. (Read More…)

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