“For people having difficulty climbing in and out of their truck, power boards that open automatically when the door is opened would be a much appreciated gift.”
One week left until Christmas, which sure came quickly.
If you, like me, thought you still had lots of time to buy presents, then you can officially start to panic. In a bid to ease that terror, I have listed some of the new truck products that came out this year.
Smittybuilt has many off-road items for under $50. R.U.T Utility tool is a foldable military style shovel that has a serrated edge and a double position neck. Storage bag included $20.89. U.F.O is a safety light that is actually an emergency flare with visibility up to a mile with a built in flashlight. It is waterproof and comes complete with a high capacity lithium battery. $25.69. Have you ever hit the trail and do nothing but rub the dust away from your eyes. Trail goggles will come in handy, made from high impact material, three interchangeable lenses (yellow/clear/gray), anti-fog, anti-scratch and only $28.19.
Rigid industries are the makers of popular LED off-road lights. Many new models have come out lately including curved versions that work perfectly over the windshield. Sizes range from 20” all the way up to 54” and mounting brackets are available. Price ranges from $924–$2,149.
Is cold weather affecting your battery’s ability to hold a charge?
CTEK has a battery charger kit that regulates how much power it gives to the battery and automatically slows down when fully charge. It stands by only giving power when required to maintain your battery for a longer life.
For people having difficulty climbing in and out of their truck, power boards that open automatically when the door is opened would be a much-appreciated gift. Close the door and they tuck up nicely out of the way. They are made from carbon steel and have a built in anti-pitch safety feature that senses pressure to keep the board from retracting on your hands and feet. $1,325.
Snow is coming and what better way to get it off your driveway than a Snowsport plow. It is an easy to install with a front receiver hitch. Self-adjusting and does not require cab controls. The Snowsport is a quick and easy solution to snow clearing. $1,816 – $2,205.
Winter debris melting from your car can make a mess of anyone’s garage floor. Tapson has garage mats that are designed to keep mud, slush and other debris from depositing on your floor. Easy to slide outside and hose off and you’re ready to go again. Available in two sizes 7’ 4” x 18’ 4” and 7’ 4” x 21’ 4” – $289.09–$317.69
Fabtech is a suspension company and is very popular with the off-road community. They have built a unique item that will appeal a wide range of people. It is a 38,000 BTU propane barbeque made to look like a mechanics toolbox. Door slides upon to access a propane tank and the top opens like a traditional grille. Check it out at Fabtech.com
“If the holidays are all about spending time with the ones you love – and if you love driving – how about going for a winter’s eve drive?”
‘Tis the season of buying gifts for loved ones, but what do you get the car lover in your life who really wants a supercar?
Well, you get a super gift but “super” doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune. Here are some festive ideas under $100 that will surely make Christmas even merrier.
Dash Cam (Upwards of $50)
Dashboard cameras are becoming more commonplace. What are they? They’re cameras that record what’s going on around you while you’re driving. You can tuck them behind the rearview mirror, mount them straight onto the dash or mount them in any direction you like.
Different makes and models use different sizes of screens but most are compact enough (in and around 3-inches) that it won’t interfere with forward visibility.
Furthermore, most use wide-angle lenses so you have quite a panoramic view. They tend to come in handy if you get into a fender bender and it wasn’t your fault. Hitting the track? – It can be used to film your accomplishments. Memory is stored on SD cards. Depending on how large your SD card is, you can film for hours or program your device to loop every so often. Available online or at your local tech store.
OBD2 Bluetooth Connector/ Apps (Under $40 for both)
So, you want to know what’s going on with your car via your smartphone. I have the gadgets for you.
You’ll need an OBD2 Bluetooth Connector (you can get them as cheap as $10 online) and then an app. Try TorquePro (for Android $4.95) or DashCommand for Apple ($9.99 on the iTunes app store).
Simply connect the OBD2 connector into your car’s OBD2 port (usually found underneath the dash) and pair the device with your smartphone.
Within the app, you can set certain parameters; i.e. what you want to be displayed. Torque, rpms, power, boost, speed, engine temperatures, you name it.
The connector then reads the car’s data and sends it, in real time, to your phone. A cool feature found on TorquePro is the ability to use it as a Head’s Up Display at night. You just place it on your dash, let it reflect of the windshield, and read the data that’s being displayed.
Universal Dashboard and Windshield Mount ($50)
Handsfree calling has never been easier. Especially with the Logitech [+] drive universal mount.
The actual mount will suction to any window in your car or your dash, and your phone/GPS/device is then held in place by a strong magnet. You simply adhere a small thin metal plate onto your tech toy of choice for the magnet to grab.
Your device then stays firmly in place even on rougher or the sinuous roads.
The great part about it is that when you have attached your phone, you don’t have to fumble with clasps, clamps or rubber bands to make sure it’s secure. You just press it against the mount, the magnetic force does the rest. It just stays in place and doesn’t move. Brilliant.
And when you’re done driving, you just pull it off and take it with you.
Wheel/Rim Protectant (Approx. $10)
Now that the inclement weather abounds, keeping our cars sparkling and clean is getting harder and harder. Not to mention dreaded brake dust.
But there are some ways to fight back at winter, or even throughout the year.
Perhaps stuff someone’s stocking with Armor All Wheel Protectant.
Brake dust can make your beautiful aluminum alloy wheels look far less attractive. So as you’re maintain your vehicle over the colder months or in the summer, using this brake dust repellent will not only protect the wheels, but also help repel the grime that comes along with this wonderful time of year. Available at your local car care store.
Make a Playlist. Go for a Drive (The sky is the limit/Priceless)
Most cars these days will have either an aux jack or a USB port (or even Bluetooth) to allow you to stream music from your various devices.
And if the holidays are all about spending time with the ones you love – and if you love driving – how about going for a winter’s eve drive?
The twist? Create a playlist for the ride.
Get the kids involved and get each of them to pick a song or two. Then put the playlist on shuffle to mix things up!
If you’re going for a drive with that special someone, perhaps put songs that remind you of the fun times you’ve had. Or even what you deem as “your” song.
And maybe a Christmas carol or two!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and stay safe (and warm) out there.
Contact: alexandra [dot] straub [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca
“Getting stuck in a friend’s snow-covered driveway can be embarrassing, getting stuck on the side of a lonely highway is far more serious!”
Yes, winter weather has arrived early this year, but there are some clever new products available, designed to make life with an auto less stressful and safer in sub-zero temperatures.
Ranging in price from $9.99 to $159.99 these products could also be a great Christmas gift for just about anyone who drives.
Working with its suppliers, Canadian Tire has helped develop some new auto products that address winter driving problems. They’re as basic as scratch-proof snow and ice removal tool that’s easier on your car’s paintwork to a compact and light-weight emergency traction aid that could be a life-saver.
The Garant EVA Snowbrush has a bristle-free brush with a foam head that’s less abrasive on vehicle paintwork. It addresses the negative feedback from customers about conventional snowbrushes and it’s sold in two sizes. The 28-inch brush retails for $15.99 and the 36-inch brush retails for $19.99.
Getting stuck in a friend’s snow-covered driveway can be embarrassing, getting stuck on the side of a lonely highway is far more serious! The Trac Grabber Car Traction Aid ($39.99) is not a replacement for conventional chains, as it’s not intended for highway driving use. Easy to use and quick fitting, this traction aid is also far lighter and easier to store in a vehicle than tire chains. A truck version ($49.99) of the Trac Grabber Car Traction Aid is also available. Sold in pairs, a Trac Grabber is attached to each drive wheel, similar to a tire chain (but is much easier to use). It’s designed to supply provide enough traction to release a car (stuck in snow or mud) and get it back on the highway (where it should be removed).
Another good auto safety gift idea is the MotoMaster Eliminator Tripod Light ($29.99). This multi-function light has an articulating head with red LED emergency light and fold-put tripod legs that extend for additional stability when placed on the road to warn drivers that they are approaching a broken-down vehicle. It also features a powerful lithium-ion rechargeable battery.
Good vision when driving is very important in cold weather. If you have to park you’re vehicle outside overnight, the Subzero ArcticGuard Snow and Ice Windshield Cover ($9.99) is an inexpensive investment. A hook system secures it inside the car, however, users do complain about it flapping in strong winds. You may also consider upgrading your current headlights to SilverStar Ultra Lights ($59.99). They promise up to 50 percent brighter light with up to 40 percent more down-road illumination than standard halogen lights. New wiper blades can also make a big improvement in driver vision and a set of Bosch Icon Wipers cost from $24.99 to $25.99. This premium dual-rubber synthetic product claims to last 40 per cent longer than other blades.
If you have a fear of running out of fuel, or a friend who does it regularly or you simply want a peace-of-mind back-up supply of gas for a long driving trip, Spare Fuel ($19.99) is a non-flammable gasoline derivative that is safe to store in the trunk. It’s safe to use in all engines that use unleaded gasoline, comes with filler tube and it can be stored in your vehicle all-year-round.
The most common winter auto emergency is a dead battery. Yes, you could carry a set of jumper cables and hope that you can get a boost from another vehicle, but that’s not always easy or possible. Another solution is the Noco Genius Mini Booster, GB30 ($159.99). It may seem a little pricey, but this compact yet surprisingly powerful lithium-ion jump starter pack is mistake-proof and multi-functional. Offering 400 peak amps it can provide up to seven jump-starts on a single charge. It’s also a seven-mode LED flashlight and it can be used as a portable recharge (USB) dock for other electronic devices.
Being a safer driver or motorcycle rider is beneficial for everyone. And how to get there doesn’t have to be boring…
Looking for the perfect gift for the car lover in your life?
I am, too.
In the search for some cool swag, here are a few places you can stop by or check out online for some unique pieces of automotive goodness.
Blipshift.com ($15.00 + shipping)
Direct from the website, it says, “Blipshift brings you high quality, limited edition auto-enthusiast focused shirts for just $15. Each shirt is available for only a few days before it is towed off to the crusher, never to be printed again.”
If you wan to torture yourself and see some amazing designs from weeks past, you can do so by scrolling through the different pages.
Sometimes, there are extras in specific designs, so you might just be in luck.
Carry all for the Motorcycle: Ogio Rig 9800 Rolling Luggage Bag $250 (approx.)
For anyone carrying motorcycle gear frequently, this is a fabulous bag. I recently purchased one and I love it. It fit both my motocross gear (big, chunky boots), pants, shirt, elbow and knee pads and my one-piece leather racing suit, track boots, gloves and a helmet. Yes, there’s a specific area to put your helmet. I checked it in at the airport and there were no issues. It’s heavy duty, and has handles at very convenient sports. The kicker? It can stand upright by itself. It’s pricey but worth the investment.
Wilkinson Automobilia (Various prices)
Need a book, DVD, poster or die cast model? Chances are Wilkinson Automobilia will have it. With unique items in store every day, it really is a place where any car lover could spend most of their pay cheques.
Should you not live in the Lower Mainland, fear not, they have an online store, which is eAutomobilia.com.
There are items there that appeal to both four and two-wheel enthusiasts.
A Visit to the Spa (for your Car… various prices)
It’s a good feeling when you’re feeling clean. And we all know that winter is not a season that promotes spotlessness. With salt on the roads, grime hanging around, and foreign objects getting stuck to your vehicle, you’d wonder how a bath can even help. Well, it does. Washing it cleans off the salt that covers the roads and can help prevent corrosion. And on the inside, think of what your boots bring in. A trip to the spa prevents stains from totally setting in and can leave your car smelling good, too. Whether getting just a quick treatment or the full shebang, your ride will thank you for it.
Build a Racecar in 158 Pieces ($24.99)
Building a racecar can be done in 158 pieces thanks to Lego. If you’re young, or young at heart, surely you’ll have a good time assembling this toy! Plus, it looks cool.
Steering in the Right Direction (From approx. $240.00)
Want to spice up your ride? Perhaps add a sporty element? Sparco makes steering wheels for both street and race cars. Then again, it’s kind of a one-stop shop. They also sell race attire, seats, shoes and more. If nothing else, they make some very comfortable hats!
Safety First (Name your price!)
The gift of practicality is priceless. How about an emergency car kit? You could even pack it yourself by using these guidelines at getprepared.gc.ca. Or you can get one already prepared at various stores like Canadian Tire or your local automotive retailer.
The Gift of Knowledge (Various)
Being a safer driver or motorcycle rider is beneficial for everyone. And how to get there doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it’s a lot of fun. The Advanced Rider Training (ART) course through the West Coast Superbike School is one way (WestCoastSuperBikeSchool.com) to learn a lot and have a good time. Or, if you want to do it behind the wheel of a car, check out Morrisport Advanced Driving (MorriSport.com) Whether it’s your first time or not, there are new skills to be picked up each time the tires roll onto the track.