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Maintenance and Care
  • If you love your car, almost nothing is more satisfying than washing it yourself and admiring the finished product. Sure, you can take it to an automatic car wash, but no one will take better care of it than you. Properly washing your car is key to the paint's longevity as well as its resale value. Although there are countless products on the market to help make car washing faster, easier, and more convenient all around, the proper steps to washing your car hardly ever change. This article will help you properly wash your car with some of the best products on the market to keep it looking new for years to come.
    April 28, 2020
  • Compared to planes or trains, cars are a great way to see the country while maintaining a high degree of social distancing. The surrounding atmosphere may seem surreal, but that won't change the basics of making sure your ride is prepped for a long road trip. Since there's a fair bit of information to digest, we've split it up into several parts.
    July 28, 2020
  • Even though we're all driving less than usual due to coronavirus restrictions, many of us will be relying on our vehicles for a vacation or extended road trip. Being stranded anywhere is an unpleasant experience, but it's even worse when it happens in an unfamiliar environment. To minimize the risk of that happening, we can perform a series of inspections to identify potential issues before they have a chance to ruin a much-needed getaway.
    July 31, 2020
  • All vehicles rely on a specific set of fluids to operate, and each system carries its own maintenance requirements. Luckily, most of these fluids are very easy to check and top off if needed. Let's go over the most commonly encountered types.
    August 06, 2020
The 2020 Kia Telluride competes in the three-row crossover segment. With no shortage of competitors, the Telluride is looking to make a splash among some recognizable nameplates.
January 23, 2020
Tesla may take up the majority of the day-to-day headlines, but did you know Nissan’s LEAF was until very recently the world's best-selling electric vehicle? The LEAF has sold nearly half a million units around the world with a full third of those sold here in the United States. The standard LEAF has a range of approximately 150 miles, but it's been joined by a longer-range model sporting the "PLUS" moniker. With many new competitors to the market such as the Chevrolet Bolt (238 miles), Hyundai Kona (258 miles), and Kia Niro EV (239 miles), the LEAF PLUS (215 miles) is still down compared to the competition but now has enough range to compete directly. Any advertised range over 200 miles has the potential to reduce range anxiety significantly, but don’t expect to take long road trips unless you have access to chargers on your route. Given that the range estimate comes in lower than other popular electric cars, can the LEAF PLUS make up for it with other features? I had a week to find out.
February 26, 2020
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
LATEST REVIEWS
  • 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
  • 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
  • One of the easiest ways to scratch up the paint or clear coat of your car is to use an unsuitable material for cleaning/drying. The rough textures of standard towels or old t-shirts leave minute scratches in the finish, leading to the characteristic ‘swirl’ marks found on many cars on the road.Microfiber cloths prevent this phenomenon by utilizing a state-of-the-art texture which is soft to the touch and gentle on paint surfaces. The name ‘microfiber’ is derived from the cloth itself, which is a texture that extends into the microscopic realm and does wonders to pick up dirt and dust without roughing up the surface that it is used on. These cloths are often inexpensive, and should always be used when washing your car as opposed to throw-away clothing or towels.We've chosen microfiber cloths which are ideal for washing cars, thanks to their softness and durability. Each of our picks is suitable for absorbing water, applying products, or simply removing dust and dirt. We've also ensured the following selections are reasonably priced and readily available, making them easy to replace when necessary.
    October 06, 2014
  • 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
  • It's no secret that the Honda Accord is seen as a more sporting choice than its archrival, the Toyota Camry. This is due to livelier engine options and suspension tuning which trades what some would consider excessive isolation exhibited in the Camry for a more driver-oriented feel. Thus, it's important to match the tires to suit the car's characteristics.As with any tire recommendation, individual drivers will have different preferences when it comes to what they like their tires to do. Consider any of the tires listed here to be top picks for your Accord, though some may not be available in the size needed for your car. All of our selections will complement the relatively sporting nature of the Honda Accord, while maintaining a quiet, comfortable, and compliant ride.
    September 30, 2014
  • While no single tire is the “best” for the Toyota Camry, different drivers have different preferences. Many drivers live in areas where winter traction becomes an issue when the seasons change, while those who live in warmer climates have the luxury of leaving summer tires on year-round.The tires listed here should not be viewed as first, second or third best. Rather, all of these are excellent choices for the Camry. Depending on your personal needs and wants, any one of these tires can be considered best tires for your Camry. However, each of our selections offers excellent overall performance, featuring high levels of grip, comfortable and quiet ride quality, and good tread life.
    September 30, 2014
  • Buying tires for your Prius can turn out to be quite a bit more difficult than anyone could have imagined. Tire selection for this car has to be very specific in order to not wreck the delicate balance of fuel economy and road holding that Toyota has achieved.Though the Prius is no sports car, installing ultra low-grip tires which give up traction in exchange for low rolling resistance and maximum fuel efficiency can become dangerous in critical situations. On the flip side, it makes absolutely no sense to install maximum performance summer tires on the Prius.If the tires on your Prius are worn out, consider the options listed here. We've selected tires that offer good basic traction and handling in most conditions, while having a smooth, quiet, and comfortable ride. We've also included tires to fit a variety of budgets.
    September 30, 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
  • Antifreeze, or engine coolant, is a liquid solution designed to regulate engine temperature within a vehicle and wick away excess heat to the radiator. This auto maintenance product is used with internal combustion engines, although some engines require specialty formulas to comply with vehicle regulations, especially newer engines. Antifreeze is poured into the coolant chamber, typically found under a vehicle’s hood although often installed in different configurations based on the model of vehicle. The best antifreeze products below were chosen based on their wide temperature range of performance, their compatibility with many car models and for their long service life.
    August 15, 2013
  • A tire pressure gauge is an important tool that can help improve fuel efficiency on a vehicle and promote a longer service life for tires. Auto tires should be kept to an optimum range of air pressure, measured in pounds per square inch (PSI), so the treads wear evenly and the car doesn't waste fuel. All of these tire pressure gauges fit directly onto valve caps and can take measurements of at least 10 PSI to 99 PSI. These tire pressure gauges were chosen for this list based on their ability to provide clear readings, attach easily to a valve cap, their cost-effectiveness and their accuracy; all gauges listed are accurate within 1 PSI.
    August 07, 2013
  • When the freezing temperatures, snowstorms, and black ice arrive for the winter season, there is no substitute for dedicated winter tires. All-season tires are a misnomer no single tire can perform well in all weather. Unless you enjoy the idea of sliding into the ditch or barrier for something as simple as an emergency lane change, winter tires are a must on your car. Needless to say, it is not wise to leave winter tires on your car year-round as the warmer temperatures will wear out the soft compound within a matter of weeks.
    February 08, 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