Tag: commerce

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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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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?”*

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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.

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By on August 27, 2019

best rear view cameras

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 2019, most new cars and trucks come with a backup camera as standard equipment. Daddy Goverment decreed the rearward lens to be standard safety equipment about a year ago, with the effort pushing for this law gaining steam in the early 2000’s after a tragic driveway accident. Having more visibility astern is never a bad thing.

Not all of us are driving new cars and, this being TTAC, a good number of the readership would likely rather pilot a knackered 1993 Ranger Splash 4×2 than splash out on a new set of wheels (hey – I’ve been around here for nearly 10 years; I know you lot). A twenty-five-year-old Blue Oval pickup is unlikely to have air conditioning, let alone backup cams.

With that in mind, we present the best backup cameras – eight good options for fitting six o’clock peepers.

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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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