Scott OlmanCar and driver
At Hearst Autos, we are constantly trying out new equipment for cars, trucks and motorcycles and 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 gear and car accessories we use and trust.
Here are our picks for the best car gear of the week.
Adjustable Wall Mount Tire Rack
For me, the key to organizing garages is to get things off the floor and use empty walls or overhead space. Racks, bike hooks and louvered wall systems are great for keeping things tidy, and the same goes for wall mounted tire racks. This one MaxxHaul Foldable Adjustable Tire Rack Do it.
These are great for storing winter tires during the warmer months – while you’re at it, throw on seasonal floor mats and ice scraper – as well as performance tires for track or competition use. These racks must be mounted to wall studs, so do some planning before drilling holes. And watch that garage door! Make sure your new rack is out of the way when it is opened.
Pro tip: Keep your tire and wheel accessories together. Sometimes wheels use different cams or bolts, hub caps or spacers. Get all the goodies together and put them in the right wheel or tire. —Scott Olman, Marketing Manager, Hearst Autos
Growing up in LA, I’m used to driving my car a few hundred miles on a weekend, driving up the PCH, exploring canyons, and attending Sunday morning Cars and Coffee events in town. Obviously, those habits only intensified when I got my 2003 Porsche 911.
When March 2020 arrived, I wasn’t ready for how significantly my mileage would drop. We used my wife’s car as a shopping cart, so my baby sat and sat and sat. After my battery ran out once, I swore I’d never let it happen again. Why? Because the switch to open the frunk is electronic, and with a dead battery. † † you get the idea. So to access the battery I have to take off the front driver’s side wheel, remove the wheel arch trim, reach in there and pull a cable to pop the frunk. It’s more than pain.
I got a cheap one instead Foval automatic trickle charger on Amazon. This small investment doesn’t provide enough power to make my car jump when it’s already dead, but I leave it plugged in overnight and it starts every morning as if yesterday’s neglect never happened. This trickle charger is a unicorn product: reliable, user-friendly and super affordable. You don’t have to choose two. —Lewis Collins, Account Manager, Hearst Autos
Thread repair set
Fasteners. Fasteners are always the worst part of a project. Corroded or damaged wires can turn a simple task into a nightmare. If you can’t easily replace the hardware, it becomes an even bigger nightmare.
The fastest and most affordable solution is to fix all possible threads and keep your workflow intact. This one Long thread recovery set has just about everything you need to get yourself out of trouble.
Sure, you can break out a series of taps and dies to fix threads, which was my common path as well. However, these thread repairers are not as risky as using a tap or die as they are less likely to damage the fastener or threaded hole. While this is a newer part of my arsenal, it has been a welcome addition to save time, make my life easier, and keep my taps and dies stocked until I need to cut new threads. —Wesley Wren, associate editor, Autoweek
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