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Auto Accessories

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • In extreme winter conditions, “all-season” tires will not provide dependable traction to get you to your destination. While dedicated winter tires are the best solution to this problem, it may not make sense to many people to buy a new set of tires for a weekend up in the mountains (some areas also require the use of snow chains).As a temporary way of getting around this problem, snow chains are an option. Simply put, the idea behind ‘snow chains’ is to wrap metal chains around your tires in order to obtain a method to ‘dig’ through slippery surfaces in a way that all-season tires cannot. However, it’s recommended that you drive slowly to avoid any problems with the chains becoming dislodged.We've chosen a variety of the best snow chains available. Performance and durability are very important, as the chains need to effectively allow for driving through snow and ice while not being at risk of falling apart mid-drive. Snow chains have a reputation for being difficult to install and remove, which is mostly well-earned. However, some of our more expensive picks feature installation systems that make the process quick and painless. We've also included budget-friendly options that might not include these features, but make for a good option when you're only likely to need snow chains on a rare occasion.
    September 19, 2014
  • Jack stands are a safety tool to be used whenever one is working under a car or other vehicle. While jacks are used to lift the weight, they really aren’t designed to hold weight up and sometimes will sink into the ground, especially if it is soft or unstable. Hydraulic jacks, which are generally considered the best for heavy lifting, can gradually bleed their hydraulic fluid allowing the weight they are holding to settle downwards. Working under a car or truck with only a jack sustaining it is dangerous and foolish. In the past, jack stands were usually made of a round tube, with a smaller tube to hold the head. Holes between the two tubes were aligned and a pin slid through them to adjust the height of the head. Some larger jack stands had a threaded top for adjustments, allowing fine tuning of the overall height. Today’s jack stands use a ratchet design, which is much easier to work with than aligning the holes for the pin to go through. Some people aren’t as comfortable with the ratchet design, thinking that it could slip. I’ve never seen any indication that one could actually slip, but I can understand their concern. In response, some manufacturers have created models which have a safety pin that is installed after the jack stand is set, to ensure the ratchet teeth can’t slip. Another concern with jack stands is the ground that they are used on. These are designed for use on a solid surface, such as the concrete floor of a garage. The weight of a vehicle could be enough to cause them to sink into soft ground. To deal with this problem, some models are designed to have a solid base plate. The plate spreads the weight over a larger area, reducing the risk of sinking.While commercially manufactured base plates are metal, you can accomplish the same thing with a piece of plywood. From experience I can say that there isn’t much a 3/4 inch thick piece of plywood won’t support. Of course, you could always use a regular jack stand and add your own base plate. Jack stands are always sold in pairs, so that you can use one on each side of the vehicle. Their weight rating is based on the assumption that they will be used together. For safety sake, that rating is for each stand, so a pair will actually support twice that weight. While manufacturers build some safety margin into that rating, always make sure that you are using jack stands which will hold much more than the weight that you need to support. Remember, the front of a car is about 65 percent of its weight. Always be extra careful with the placement of your jack stands, ensuring they’re making good contact with structural points under the car and that the car can’t slip off of them. The wheels that are in contact with the ground must be chocked to ensure that the car can’t roll.
    August 19, 2014
  • Amplifiers are a crucial part of any audio system. A good amplifier can send speakers the power they need to perform well. This can make the difference between your music sounding flat and lifeless, and it sounding clean, crisp, and bright.
    June 17, 2014
  • When looking for the best jumper cables, the only option is quality. We can never predict when we will need them, but when we do, they better work. I've used different types of cables and unfortunately experienced a lack of quality in some sets. Having the clamp spring missing and trying to hold it tight while someone starts the car was all I needed to learn that quality is a priority in a set of cables. Blowing fuses, ruining batteries or damaging a vehicle's computer with bad or cheap cables is more common than you think. There are many different styles of cables and I tried to find the best ones out there today. Based on their safety features, ease of use and high quality, here are the best sets of cables on the market.
    March 06, 2014
  • Truck-mounted tool boxes are used by building contractors and tradesmen of all types. They provide a secure place for carrying handheld power tools, tool belts and other types of tools to and from the jobsite, or when running to pick up materials. These are not toolboxes for organizing small hand tools, but rather boxes for securing larger ones. Other than a sliding tray, they are not likely to have any additional organizers. The idea is that the placement of the tools themselves, in their individual cases, will provide the organization.For these tool boxes to be effective, they must be mounted to the vehicle, becoming one with it. That prevents any potential thief from just picking the box up and running off with it. Often, the mounting is done from inside the box, making it almost impossible for a would be thief to get the box separated from the vehicle.Another concern for contractors is that the toolbox does not prevent them from being able to carry building materials with them. Typically, a full-sized pickup truck is designed so that a sheet of plywood can lie in the bottom of it. If the toolbox is taking up part of that space, carrying that plywood is much harder. To accommodate this, the most common configuration of truck tool box is one that spans the bed, mounting onto the top edge of the bed on both sides. Space is left under it for putting in building materials.In addition to the cross-bed design, there are truck tool boxes which mount on the sides of the truck bed, above the sides of the bed. These, which are designed more like cabinets, provide very easy-to-use storage space for more than just tools. They can also be used for storing parts in a more organized manner. There are also smaller toolboxes which can be mounted within the bed, in the area over the wheel wells.Steel has been the traditional material of choice for these toolboxes, but some are now made of high density blow molded plastic. While not as secure as a steel box, they are rugged enough to keep the tools from falling out. It is easier for a thief to break into these plastic boxes than the steel ones, as they are built with the idea that “locks keep the honest people honest.”The most important criteria in selecting a truck mounted tool box is finding one that is both rugged and has the room you need to store your tools. Remember that you may need a larger place soon, so don’t buy one that is just barely big enough. Instead, look at what you might need over the long-term and buy accordingly.When shopping for truck tool boxes, you must make sure that the box fits your truck. Bed widths and lengths vary, as well as the placement of the wheel well. A toolbox for a “full-sized” truck may not fit yours, if it was designed to fit another brand.
    August 30, 2013
  • Many police officers claim that radar detectors are tools for scofflaws and habitual speeders with disregard towards other road users. While I am not advocating reckless driving in any way, some areas are known for artificially under-posting the speed limit to create 'speeders' out of passing traffic. A speed trap is then set up to ambush those driving over the posted speed limit. A radar detector will help even the playing field so that you're less likely to be caught off guard. Take a look at our recommendations below and a close look at our buyer's guide to find the best radar detector for your needs.
    October 13, 2011