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Maintenance and Care
  • Shopping for an oil filter can be confusing with so many different brands to choose from. It’s not uncommon for an identical filter to be sold under a number of different brand names, further adding to the confusion. However, the internal construction and the quality of the filtering element can greatly differ between two brands, and many filters from the most popular brands are of very poor quality.The following filters were picked for their objective filtering performance based on the quality and surface area of their filtering element where the particles are trapped. The construction of the anti-drain back and bypass valves is also important since they maintain hold oil pressure. Finally, we picked the following oil filters for their overall value since there's no need to purchase an expensive filter in order to have solid, basic performance.
    November 03, 2014
  • Often called the “secret weapon” of show car detailing, a quality glaze is used just before waxing to impart a rich depth and glow to make the finish look just so, deep. These products fill any swirl marks and/or micro fine scratches, resulting in a smooth finish with some containing a small amount of micro fine polish to remove small imperfections at the same time. Since car paint glazes are intended for cosmetic use they'll only last around a week or two without an added layer of protective wax or sealant on top.We've selected the very best car paint glazes which when properly applied, produce some of the most amazing results possible. All of our picks will reduce the appearance of light scratches and swirls, while leaving behind a glossy that’s deep and reflective. Some of these products might be easier to find than others, but each offers excellent paint rehabilitation as proven by their cult followings and continuing popularity.
    April 14, 2015
  • If you are serious about caring for your car, then you want to keep it clean. These car wash soaps are formulated to remove dirt and road grime without removing your car’s wax job. It's important to use the right cleaning products on your car, because using the wrong ones (such as a dish soap) will leave the finish totally exposed to the elements.The advantages of each of the following selections is they’re all designed to generate suds and increase the lubricity of the water so the soap lifts the dirt and grime without stripping the wax, scratching or creating swirls. Another critical characteristic of these best car wash soaps and shampoos is they’re formulated to rinse totally in cold water while other soaps are not which can leave a contaminated surface.
    October 02, 2014
  • Let’s face it, no matter how well you try to take care of your car, scratches are bound to happen. Whether this happens due to careless people in parking lots or something as simple as accidentally grazing your car with a sharp object, scratches on the paint show up sooner or later.While deeper scratches extending into the bare metal of your car require professional attention to repair, lighter ones can often be taken care of with a good scratch remover. These products work by polishing the surface of the scratch until it blends in with the rest of the paint, making it nearly unnoticeable. However, the quality of the repair varies depending on the person performing the repair.We've chosen scratch removal products that require minimal effort while producing maximum results. Suited for light surface defects, each of the following picks will effectively reduce the appearance of scratches, swirls, and other minor paint issues. Most are also quite affordable, making them a no-brainer to have on hand for when the inevitable scratches and scuffs happen.
    October 02, 2014
Nissan's Rogue has been on the market for over a decade, with the very first examples wading into the hot compact crossover market in late 2007. Now in its second generation, the Rogue nameplate has steadily become one of America's best sellers, and is Nissan's top seller by a long shot. In 2018 alone, 412,110 buyers chose the Nissan Rogue over its two main rivals, the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. We spent a week with a 2019 Nissan Rogue SL AWD to find out why nearly half a million people found a reason to park one in their driveway.
October 04, 2019
We spent a week with the 2019 Nissan Rogue SL, and used it as a daily driver. We commuted to work with it, went on shopping trips with it, and did just about anything you would do in an average working week. Here are some great features that stood out during its stay with us.
October 04, 2019
Even though many new cars sold today have the option of adding an in-dash navigation system, nothing beats the convenience of having a portable unit. However, one glance at the market can confuse anyone who simply wants a GPS navigator with useful features and good performance. We’ve narrowed down the selection and categorized them with respect to their particular advantages. For more information about how to pick a good GPS, have a look at the buyer's guide below.
September 25, 2019
LATEST REVIEWS
  • Tinting your car windows provides a lot of benefits -- a more stylish look, lower interior temperatures, and more privacy. But there are several different types of window tinting films on the market, and each one has its own set of pros and cons. Read our window tinting buyer's guide below to help you make the best decision depending on your application, budget, and desired look.We definitely recommend professional installation for best results. That said, if you're determined to try installing window tint yourself, you'll need a basic tint installation tool kit to start.
    August 29, 2019
  • Synthetic oils have become ubiquitous in modern cars, and it's getting increasingly uncommon to find a new vehicle that doesn't come filled from the factory with synthetic oil. Most experts agree that the main benefit of using synthetic oil is the convenience of longer oil change intervals. While conventional non-synthetic oil is recommended to be changed every 3,000 miles, you can typically go 5,000 7,500+ miles on synthetic without worry. And though synthetic is much more expensive, it's worth the extra cost for drivers that dont want to change their oil as frequently.One of the most notable automotive trends in the past decade is the widespread adoption of turbocharging. What was once a niche technology reserved for high-performance sports cars and top-spec race cars can now be found in popular mainstream models like the Honda Accord and Chevy Equinox. Turbochargers are a great way to boost power output from smaller engines, but the extreme heat and high turbine speeds tend to place heavy demands on the oil used to lubricate and cool their inner workings. If your car is equipped with a turbocharged engine, it's important to make sure that the synthetic oil you select will function well with turbochargers.That said, when shopping for oil, it's hard to go wrong if you use a brand approved by the manufacturer and the correct viscosity. We've narrowed down our selection based on performance and availability, and factored in user feedback including used oil analysis results. Our picks for the best synthetic oil show consistent performance over long drains.
    August 28, 2019
  • "Jack of all trades, master of none." This is the perfect description of modern all-season tires, which promise to offer reliable performance year-round. Unlike what their name implies, all-season tires are heavily biased towards dry and wet road conditions, sacrificing winter traction for longer tread life. With a few notable exceptions, drivers who deal with snow, ice, and slush in the winter months are better off equipping winter tires.
    August 27, 2019
  • Car batteries are often overlooked during general maintenance. While this may not be much of an issue with modern-day maintenance-free battery designs, the real problem may not show up until the temperature drops and your battery cannot supply enough cranking amps to start your engine. If your vehicle is already displaying signs of struggling to start, you may want to preemptively replace the battery before you're left stranded.
    August 09, 2019
  • As the name 'summer tire' implies, these tires are best suited for high performance driving when the weather is good. Important characteristics for a summer tire are overall grip and steering response above all else, with road manners coming in second. That's not to say you have to live with an unbearably loud or harsh-riding tire to get maximum performance - the best summer tires manage to blend both high traction levels with refined road manners. Less important are factors such as treadwear and price, while winter traction is not considered at all.
    February 03, 2016
  • Subwoofers are specially-designed speakers built to handle extra-low frequencies that make up the ’bass' in music. While not strictly necessary for basic bass reproduction, a good subwoofer goes a long way towards adding that extra low-end punch which is lacking in most factory audio systems.Subwoofers are normally installed in 'sealed' or 'ported' enclosures, with each enclosure type offering distinctive playback characteristics. Sealed enclosures generally deliver tight, accurate bass hits while ported enclosures specialize in loudness and low frequency response. If you’d like to learn more about the different considerations that go into picking a new car subwoofer, check out our buyer’s guide below.
    May 14, 2015
  • There’s lots of reasons why you might be looking for a replacement stereo for your vehicle. Maybe your current car stereo doesn’t offer the technology you want or perhaps the stock stereo which came with the vehicle stopped working. Whatever the reason, there are hundreds of available options which can make the shopping process quite daunting to even begin. Fortunately, we've narrowed down the field to select car stereos which offer some of the best options currently available. To learn more about choosing the right car stereo for your needs, check out our car stereo buyer’s guide down below.
    March 31, 2015
  • Coaxial speakers are so named after their configuration – the woofer and the tweeter are mounted on the same axis. This carries the benefit of projecting a full range of sound from a single location. Coaxial speakers also tend to be easier to install than their component system counterparts, as all of the wiring is grouped in a single location. This also means that there is no need to drill into panels to install tweeters in non-factory locations.
    January 23, 2015
  • Let's face it - not all cars come with stellar sound systems. One of the best ways to improve any stereo system is to replace the factory speakers with a good set of component speakers. Decent speakers are capable of superior performance, bringing out minute details in your music without sounding shrill, tinny, or harsh. Higher-quality speakers can pump out music at higher volumes without distortion or loss in sound quality. Be advised, though - you'll pay a premium for the privilege of increased performance.Although this list features multiple picks, it is ultimately your decision that you will have to live with. Therefore, be sure to sample each system before deciding which one is right for you.
    November 21, 2014
  • No matter what, it's always an inconvenience to be in a situation where your car won't start. One of the most common causes of this problem is a flat battery which can’t provide enough power to crank the engine. The usual solution to this is to ask someone to help out and hope they have jumper cables. Alternatively, you can spend a little money and solve a big problem by having around a portable jump starter. A battery jump starter can range from a basic model with the sole purpose of jump starting your cars battery to being more of a multi-purpose emergency power source.This list is focused on the best budget-friendly jump starters that don't sacrifice stable starting performance that is, the ability to reliably start a vehicle with a dead battery. The focus on affordability means sometimes having to sacrifice extra features such as built-in air compressor, but all of the following picks will usually be sufficient for those who want the security and convenience of a battery jump starter, without having to pay a lot of money.
    November 21, 2014
  • When it comes to protecting both your car and your valuable possessions inside, there is no substitute for a good car alarm. A good car alarm should serve as both a deterrent and a response system. The better ones include a 2-way pager system that alerts you when your car is being broken in to, which can give you those critical few moments to take action to stop a burglary from taking place. Otherwise, the sound of the alarm should draw enough attention to the car thief that the burglary attempt either is aborted or foiled by law enforcement officials.
    November 21, 2014
  • A lot of people use these products on their cars instead of a traditional wax because they’re easy to apply, produce a great shine, and last for months. If you’re not a car hobbyist, then one of these products is probably what you are looking for. However, you must have the car very clean before you use one of these products because they are sealants, not polish, and therefore have no abrasives. These are basically what you use after the car is clean to make it shine.These are all modern synthetic products designed to work with today’s clear coat automotive finishes. With almost no work by traditional standards, you can get an impressive shine that will last for months. Although they range in price and availability at major retailers, each of the following best non-abrasive car polishes will deliver shine and protection for your vehicle's paint. They might not be true polishes, but they all offer extra depth, shine without abrasives, ease-of-use and overall excellent results.
    November 21, 2014
  • A wax is a product designed to protect the finish it’s applied on. It’s not intended to clean, remove grit, grime, oxidation, or scum from the finish. All that work has to be done to make the finish as good as possible first, then you wax to protect and preserve it. Cleaners, polishes, and sealers go on first; then you wax.All the products here claim to be pure carnauba wax with NO abrasives. However even a “pure carnauba” product is only about 30 percent wax, otherwise it would be a wax brick. The rest is a mixture of liquefiers, oils, emoluments and whatever the manufacturer thinks will work best. That’s why there are differences of opinion.The goal with these best car carnauba paste waxes is not a blinding sharp sparkling shine as there are better products to achieve that look. What you do get is depth, warmth, and glow while at least two companies speak of a liquid look. These products also provide protection from the elements and long lasting durability.You have to pay attention to the instructions on all these products. Thin applications are usually recommended to get optimum results and to get the most for your money. It’s generally accepted that 8 to 12 weeks is the limit for any of these products to provide effective protection.
    November 21, 2014
  • In-car entertainment has become necessary for long road trips and one solution is the flip-down DVD player, which can be relatively easily installed and seen by everyone in the back seats. Some flip-down DVD players offer the option of direct integration with your car's audio system, while virtually all of them support headphones for a more personal viewing experience.Though prices may vary, all of these best flip-down DVD players have a good blend of features, including a screen large enough to be visible to all the occupants in the back; even better if the screen swivels or rotates to improve viewing angle. These best flip-down DVD players also have good connectivity, being compatible with multiple devices and able to play audio through the vehicle's speakers or otherwise. Finally, we've chosen options that are overall good value for the money, meaning relatively good reliability ratings, solid build quality, and picture quality for a consistent and pleasant in-car viewing experience.
    November 21, 2014
  • Properly-functioning fuel injectors and the fuel system as a whole are vital to a smooth and efficiently running engine. The system in older and neglected cars can become clogged with corrosive deposits and contaminants over time; negatively affecting your vehicle's performance.Having the fuel system of your vehicle cleaned can be rather costly, leaving people to seek ways to improve performance on their own and with minimal effort. Fuel system cleaners are capable of removing deposits and contributing to better performance overall. These improvements include a smoother idle, better fuel economy, more power, and reduced emissions.We've chosen fuel injector cleaners proven to be effective when used properly on vehicles that can benefit from this type of product. We've also ensured each of our picks is relatively affordable, making it possible to use them as a regular part of maintaining your vehicle. Finally, most of the following fuel system cleaners are easy to find at major retailers.
    November 06, 2014
  • Radiator Stop Leak products are somewhat debated as to their effectiveness, or whether they’re worth using at all. Although they generally are able to temporarily stop a leak in some cars, they’re not a long term solution as they can cause more issues further down the line by clogging up engine systems. Some people do use these products without any issue, however, and it's worth knowing which the best are in the event that you need a stop gap measure.We've chosen the best radiator stop leak products that are well-rated for their effectiveness, and have been around long enough to note any long-term issues likely to arise following their use. Each of the following products is relatively affordable and simple to use, making them good to have on hand for emergency situations.
    November 06, 2014
  • As high mileage vehicles tend to have more wear than new engines, gaps between components can form, leading to leaks. As a car engines ages, seals and gaskets have a tendency to dry out, crack and oil begins to burn off between changes. All of this can ultimately contribute to the buildup of oil sludge and deposits in the engine, potentially shortening the life of your car's engine.High mileage motor oils are designed to include additives that provide better lubrication, help protect engine seals, and prevent sludge from building up. This minimizes engine wear and extends the life of the engine, while ideally improving performance in the meantime.We've chosen high mileage motor oils from leading companies proven to perform over time and contain all the positive traits we've described above. Price varies quite a bit depending on oil sales at the time as well as your local market, so it's best to simply pick the oil that best suits your needs.
    November 06, 2014
  • Every new car today comes with ODB2 which is a federally mandated on board diagnostics computer which is used for service related matters. OBD2-equipped cars have a distinctive port hidden somewhere in the passenger compartment, into which a diagnostic device is connected. When your car is running rough or the check engine light is illuminated, a scan tool is often the first instrument deployed to isolate the issue.While many auto parts stores will perform a scan for you either for free or for a nominal fee, nothing beats the convenience of having your own scan tool. We’ve chosen the best OBD2 scanners to keep handy in case things ever go wrong.These selections were based on each scanners overall value, although most are not packed full of features. We've also opted to select well-rated and extremely user-friendly models which allow almost anyone to perform diagnostics on their own vehicle. All of the following selections offer a good balance of features and price, providing excellent all-around choices for even novice users.
    November 06, 2014
  • Keeping your wheels clean can be a labor-intensive and messy process, with brake dust and grime seeming to get everywhere and yet stick relentlessly to the wheels. However, when not done on a regular basis, the corrosive residues can begin to damage the wheels.The best wheel cleaners need to not only cut through and dissolve brake dust and other residues, but suspend the particles to avoid scratching your wheels. We've ensured the following best wheel cleaners are safe on most surfaces, although it's important to always check if the product you want to use is suitable for your wheels.For those who regularly wash their wheels with soap and water, using these cleaners regularly is likely to be overkill. However, if it's been a while since you cleaned your wheels or your car is particularly prone to brake dust, these picks will effectively remove build-up.These products are also helpful for cleaning the hard-to-reach areas of your wheels, reducing the amount of scrubbing that is needed. However, a small bottle of cleaner can be used deceptively fast, so keep that in mind if you plan on using a wheel cleaner on a regular basis.
    November 05, 2014
  • Traditionally, API rated automotive engine oils have been successfully substituted for motorcycle oils, with little or no immediate problems. However, over the long haul, automotive engine oils break down faster in a motorcycle. This is due to the higher rev range of a motorcycle engine, and the fact that an engine oil must also be used to lubricate the transmission and the "wet clutch" design inherent on most modern motorcycles. Essentially, an automotive engine oil is forced to work harder by doing triple duty lubrication when it was only designed for single duty engine lubrication. This is where a motorcycle oil fills the gap. These oils are specifically designed for the multiple tasks of engine, transmission and wet clutch lubrication. The best of them will maintain their viscosity longer, break down less over a longer period of time and limit metal on metal wear to nearly imperceptible levels.This list addresses all of those specifications for the best motorcycle oil available.
    October 28, 2014
  • If your car didn't come with a factory-equipped navigation system, these aftermarket units offer a comparable experience. All of our top in-dash navigation receivers cover the basics well - good sound quality, lots of useful features, and ease of use combined with versatility. We also examined which models offer a superior navigation experience.
    October 28, 2014
  • Though keyless door and trunk systems have been factory standard features on cars for years, the capabilities of remote car operations have increased drastically. With a remote car starter, you can not only start your vehicle from a distance, you can even activate your heater or air conditioning.Whether you live in a sun-baked climate or frigid tundra, these devices give you the ability to regulate the environment of your car from your couch. Most systems today have two-way communication between the transmitter and remote telling you whether the car successfully started, your alarm just engaged, or the trunk opened because you sat on the remote.We've chosen remote starters that offer reliable performance with at decent range and good basic features such as keyless entry. Some of our higher end picks even include two-way functionality with displays allowing for monitoring information such as the interior temperature of your vehicle. All of our selections are from trusted manufacturers, and we've included picks to meet every price range.
    October 23, 2014
  • In-car power inverters have many uses. Some people may choose to use them for recreational purposes on road trips to power TVs and game consoles for the rear seat. Others are more business-oriented and need a good inverter to charge laptops and cell phones on the move. Either way, it’s essential to pick a reliable inverter to avoid damage to both your car and your appliances.We've chosen five of the best power inverters for a variety of purposes, anywhere from the occasional use to charge more than one phone, to the more extensive needs of a mobile office or camping. As such, the price also varies quite a bit, but each of our picks offer good value and convenience for the money. We've also ensured that each power inverter we've selected has adequate safety features to protect your vehicle and devices.
    October 07, 2014
  • A clean engine air filter helps to maximize efficient engine performance. When choosing a replacement air filter, it is important to first determine your needs. If you simply want to maintain a vehicle, an economical air filter is usually perfectly adequate. If you’re looking to improve air flow with the goal of boosting the efficiency and power output of the engine, more expensive filters suit this purpose.We've focused on good all-around filters that will be suited to most typical driving needs, with good air flow and excellent filtration. With the exception of our high-performance pick, the K&N High-Flow air filter, all of the following picks are quite affordable to purchase and easy to find at most major retailers. With regular maintenance, these quality air filters can improve the performance and extend the life of your engine.
    October 07, 2014
  • Anytime your car is stored or remains inactive for long periods of time, there’s a good chance the battery will be completely drained when you try to start your vehicle up. Inexpensive trickle chargers can keep the battery alive, but can also damage it if left connected for extended periods of time. Each of the following picks is a good choice.for drivers who want the convenience of a charger that can stay hooked up all the time.We've made our selections based on charger/maintainers ability to be hooked up and left alone for a while, thanks to features such as an onboard microprocessor which allows the charge cycle to become automatic, preventing overcharging of the battery. Most of our picks are also compact or portable enough to be used for a wide variety of applications, while being easy to use thanks to their design. While price varies, we've included options to fit a range of budgets, without compromising on safety or performance.
    October 07, 2014
  • Non-synthetic oil (also referred to as dino or conventional oil) is extremely cheap and performs very well as long as you change your oil every 3,000 miles. In fact, if you don’t mind the added cost and hassle of short oil change intervals, it can be difficult to justify the cost of much more expensive synthetic oils.Typically, any dino oil that has an API SM or SL rating will do well in most applications, but our top picks were chosen because they’re cheap compared to synthetic oils, and are widely available at major retailers. They also all offer consistent performance as rated by users over the course of many years, meaning with proper maintenance your vehicle will run smoothly and reliably.
    October 06, 2014
  • Too often, drivers ignore the condition of brake fluid in their cars. Not only does brake fluid have to serve as an incompressible medium within the brake lines, it must maintain a consistently high boiling point in order to function properly.Over time, the boiling point of brake fluid slowly drops due to deterioration, contaminants, and moisture. This leads to decreased brake performance, and can result in a dangerous situation where the heat generated from the brakes can cause the fluid to boil. To avoid this, using a high-quality brake fluid and performing regular changes are both highly recommended.Brake fluid is an important component in car safety, so make sure that your choice offers more performance than you are likely to need.Since brake fluids with much higher performance are often considerably more expensive, it's best to evaluate your needs first. However, not needing racing brake fluid for your driving doesn't mean an inferior product will do.These are some of the best brake fluids on the market, based on their overall performance. All of the following picks offer performance which exceeds the needs of most regular drivers, with several picks that are suited for the high demands of track driving.
    October 06, 2014
  • Spark plugs are a critical component of engine maintenance, yet many drivers remain unaware of this requirement. Old, worn, or dirty spark plugs will decrease your engine's ability to perform, as they will be unable to ignite the fuel/air mixture as efficiently as they should. Having good spark plugs will make your engine run smoother, cleaner, and consume less fuel.These best spark plugs make use of the latest technology and materials, and can achieve both high performance and durability without compromise. While these highest-performing spark plugs may come with a higher price tag, their ability to increase your engine's overall performance will be worth the added cost.
    October 06, 2014
  • Headlights aren’t just a stylistic choice, they’re an integral part of automobile safety. Driving at night with dim or blown headlights is dangerous not only to yourself, but to oncoming motorists as well. Whether your current vehicle headlights are dying or not, there’s never been a better time than now to replace them with higher-performance options.Some things to consider when replacing headlights are brightness and color as you want to avoid blinding or dazing oncoming motorists. When replacing headlights, be certain to not touch the bulb with your bare hands since headlights run at extremely high temperatures, and the oils from your hand can cause them to wear out much more quickly.We've selected some of the best replacement headlights available, due to their excellent overall performance. All of our picks offer excellent illumination of the road ahead while still being road-legal. Each of the following headlights should offer reliable performance, lasting long enough to ensure getting more than your money's worth in longevity and performance.
    October 06, 2014
  • Windshield wipers are an integral part of vehicle safety. Often overlooked, the rubber compound on the wipers is constantly exposed to sunlight and harsh elements, which can cause degradation and cracking. A damaged windshield wiper can hamper bad weather visibility, causing serious safety issues.If you’re in need of replacement windshield wipers, it’s smarter to look at models that are top-rated for performance. Often found at auto parts shops, these top five replacement windshield wipers are excellent choices for the worn blades on your car. However, it’s important to check your vehicle before purchasing, as not all replacement blades will fit each car.We've chosen windshield wipers that offer top-notch performance in all conditions and reliable visibility regardless of the season. Our top picks are all hinge-free designs, allowing them to maintain better pressure on the windshield, as well as preventing the buildup of ice and snow in winter. Prices vary, but each of the following selections offers excellent performance for the money.
    October 06, 2014