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At Hearst Autos, we're constantly trying out new gear for cars, trucks, and motorcycles—and for the people who love them. The staffs of Car and Driver, Road & Track, and Autoweek are in the trenches week after week to bring you the best in automotive news and information. In the process, we use a lot of stuff.
That includes tools for working on vehicles, aftermarket products for improving them, and the gadgets, tech, cleaners, and accessories that make them more user-friendly.
There's a ton of automotive gear and products out there—and plenty of places to buy it all. But if you haven't tried something yourself, how can you know whether it's worth spending your hard-earned money on? That's why we're sharing our personal recommendations for the car gear and automotive accessories we use ourselves.
Here are our picks for the best car gear of the week.
RhinoRamps and Power Torque Creeper
When I bought my first classic car last year—a 1953 Packard Patrician—I gave my debit card a workout throughout the summer and fall, supporting auto-parts retailers across metro Detroit. Then Christmas came and my wife bought me new wrenches, new screwdrivers, a grease gun, channel-lock pliers, and even a vinyl Champion fender guard. I’m flush with gear!
But two particular purchases have been most useful: RhinoRamps to lift the car and a Power Torque creeper to slide underneath. The ramps are heavy-duty composite, rated to handle 12,000 pounds—that’s more than two Packards! Yet, they are lightweight and easy to stand up in a corner of the garage, or even hang from the wall. Likewise, the creeper can hang on the wall when not in use, and its padded headrest was most appreciated when tightening what seemed like 500 bolts holding the oil pan to the bottom of the Packard’s straight-eight. Note the handy built-in trays for holding tools and a smartphone—necessary for gathering crucial underbody photos. And this auto-luge moves around with ease.
The RhinoRamps were $50 (Amazon has a pair for around $60 right now), and the creeper was about $35. I bought my creeper at a local O'Reilly's, but Harbor Freight has one that looks identical, just with a different brand name emblazoned across it. No matter where you buy it, it's money very well spent. –Tom Murphy, executive editor, Autoweek
Porter-Cable Angle Grinder
If Car and Driver had a 10Best list for the most versatile and affordable tools, the trusty angle grinder would be hard to pass up. Although it can be intimidating as the single-speed motor roars to life at 12,000 rpm, it proves to be the ultimate workhorse for cutting, paint removal, sanding, sharpening, and more. Dozens of attachments are available for very reasonable prices. Sharpen a mower blade, cut a chain-link fence, strip rusty and painted metal, or even cut down a small tree with the gnarly chainsaw tooth attachment.
Pick a corded one like this Porter-Cable model, as battery-powered versions generally spin slower and may limit your work time on a big project. Remove the guard at your own risk to access those hard-to-reach spots. Pro tip: Attach the proprietary wrench to the power cord, otherwise it will disappear. –Scott Olman, marketing manager, Hearst Autos
Can't get that pesky pet hair off your vehicle's seats? There's a simple solution. It's called the FurZapper Glove, and it does exactly what it says. It fits on either hand and is covered on both sides with more than 2000 soft, durable silicone tips that grab pet hair and pull it away from your car's interior. The waterproof glove collects all the hair, which can then be peeled off and disposed of. Finally, just rinse the glove off with some water and it's ready for the next cleaning spree.
I don't have a super-sheddy dog, but I ran the glove over my seats and it pulled out hair I didn't even know was there. You can also use the glove in your home—on couches, bedding, or even giving your pet a bath. It's ingenious, easy to use, affordable, and anyone can do it. If you're a dog or cat owner, you gotta have one. –Collin Morgan, associate commerce editor, Hearst Autos