At Hearst Autos, we’re constantly trying out new gear for cars, trucks and motorcycles – and for the people who love them. the staff of Car and driver† Road & Railand car week are in the trenches week after week bringing you the best in automotive news and information. We use a lot of stuff for that.
That includes tools to work on vehicles, aftermarket products to improve them, and the gadgets, technology, cleaners and accessories that make them easier to use.
There’s a ton of auto gear and products out there – and plenty of places to buy it all. But if you haven’t tried anything yourself, how do you know if it’s worth spending your hard-earned money on? That’s why we share our personal recommendations for the car equipment and car accessories we use ourselves.
Here are our picks for the best car gear of the week.
Rhino Ramps and Power Torque Creeper
When I bought my first classic car last year – a 1953 Packard Patrician-I trained my debit card all summer and fall, supporting auto parts stores in metro Detroit. Then came Christmas and my wife bought new wrenches, new screwdrivers, a grease gun, channel lock pliers and even a vinyl Champion fender protector. I’m right with gear!
But two specific purchases were most helpful: Rhino Disasters to lift the car and Power Torque creeper slide underneath. The ramps are made of tough composite and can handle 12,000 pounds – that’s more than two Packards! Yet they are lightweight and easy to set up in a corner of the garage, or even hang on the wall. Likewise, the creeper can hang from the wall when not in use, and the padded headrest was most appreciated when tightening what appeared to be 500 bolts holding the oil pan to the bottom of the Packard’s straight-eight. Note the handy built-in drawers for storing tools and a smartphone – necessary for collecting crucial photos from the underside. And this car sled moves around with ease.
The RhinoRamps were $50 (Amazon now has a pair for about $60), and the creeper was about $35. I bought my creeper at a local O’Reilly’s, but Port freight has one that looks identical just with a different brand name on it. Wherever you buy it, it’s money well spent. †Tom Murphy, Editor-in-Chief, Autoweek
Porter Cable Angle Grinder
If Car and driver had a 10Best list for the most versatile and affordable tools, the Trusted angle grinder would be hard to pass up. While it can be intimidating when the single-speed engine roars to life at 12,000 rpm, it proves to be the ultimate workhorse for cutting, paint removal, sanding, grinding and more. There are dozens of attachments available at very reasonable prices. Sharpen a mowing blade, saw a chain link fence, strip rusty and painted metal or even cut down a small tree with the gnarled chainsaw tooth attachment.
Choose a corded one like this Porter-Cable model, as battery-powered versions generally run slower and can limit your work time on a large project. Remove the protective cover at your own risk to access those hard-to-reach areas. Pro tip: Attach the patented key to the power cord or it will disappear. —Scott Olman, Marketing Manager, Hearst Autos
Can’t get that pesky pet hair off the seats of your car? There is a simple solution. It’s called the FurZapper Glove, and it does exactly what it says. It fits both hands and is covered on both sides with over 2000 soft, durable silicone tips that grab and pull pet hairs away from your car’s interior. The waterproof glove collects all the hair, which can then be removed and discarded. Finally, rinse the glove with some water and it is ready for the next cleaning.
I don’t have a super sheddy dog, but I pulled the glove over my seats and it pulled hair out that I didn’t even know was there. You can also use the glove at home – on couches, bedding or even when bathing your pet. It’s ingenious, easy to use, affordable and anyone can do it. If you are a dog or cat owner, you must have one. †Collin Morgan, associate commerce editor, Hearst Autos
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