Jon LangstonCar and driver
At Hearst Autos, we’re constantly trying out new gear for cars, trucks, and sometimes motorcycles, and the people who love them. This includes tools for working on vehicles, aftermarket products to improve them, and gadgets, technologies and accessories that make them more user-friendly. Our publications staff—Car and driver, Road & Trackand Automatic week– are in the trenches week after week to bring you the best automotive news and information. And in the process, we use a lot of things.
There are a ton of automotive gear and products out there, but if you haven’t tried something yourself, how do you know if it’s worth buying? We are lucky enough to be able to get our hands on a ton of cars every week. That’s why we share with our readers recommendations for equipment, products and accessories that Hearst Autos staff use and recommend.
Here are our picks for the best car and automotive gear of the week.
Cardo Systems PackTalk Bold with JBL headphones
To paraphrase an old joke, motorcyclists generally fall into two categories: those who use communications and those who will use communications.
With all due respect to those who have crashed and those who will crash, this adage applies equally well to in-helmet communication systems. I never thought I’d be converted myself, but it didn’t take more than a few rides before my Cardo became an integral part of my riding gear. I appreciate that a lot of riders get on the bike just to “unplug” and get away from it all, and I often do too. But long interstate slogs are sometimes necessary. For those occasions, being able to listen to music, news, and podcasts is invaluable.
I can also take and make calls or not. I can set up Waze and avoid traffic jams around town and stay in touch during lunchtime decompression rides, what if I hop on the bike to avoid life’s distractions? Heck, I’ll just take a different helmet. —Jon Langston, Trade Editor
Craftsman 4 Gallon Air Compressor
My Sears Craftsman air compressor is not new. It’s heavy as hell and loud as hell too. But it will hold over 100 psi before you start worrying about it exploding in a hurry. Got it for free from my neighbor, who was appalled that I didn’t already have a compressor. —Mark Vaughn, West Coast Editor, Automatic week
WeatherTech Floor Mats
WeatherTech floor liners are quality parts that work great, which is why I’ve put them in our family’s cars since they first hit the market. Here has Car and drivers headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan, winters are a muddy mess of snow and road salt that will turn a car’s carpet from clean to crisp, stained and coarse. Floor coverings are not just carpets; they are custom designed specifically for the floors of each vehicle. They fit tightly and, unlike normal floor mats, they extend over the sides of the feet to completely contain the detritus your winter boots are dragging around. Take them out in the spring, and you’ll find that the rugs are untouched by the withered embrace of winter. . Hose them down and they’ll be ready to protect your vehicle’s carpets when winter returns. Oh, and WeatherTech is a big fan of the race: they’re the title sponsor of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and they also sponsor a Porsche 911 GT3 R in that series. It is doubly good to know that buying their products helps keep American sports cars competitive. —Rich Ceppos, Associate Editor, Car and driver
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