14 travel essentials to keep your dog safe and comfortable in the car, recommended by experts

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  • If you’re taking a road trip with your dog, you’ll need to ensure their safety and comfort.
  • We rounded up the best dog car travel accessories, including a crash-tested dog crate and harness.
  • You can protect your dog from overheating on the road with window shades and plenty of water.
  • For more expert reviews and buying advice, check out the Insider Reviews homepage.

Best dog car travel accessories to take your pet on a road trip

With changes to how we travel, Americans across the country are hitting the road with dogs as their copilots. Whether your plan is to hike and camp, explore back roads and under-the-radar towns, or visit family and friends, the promise of an adventure on the open road is intoxicating not just for you but for your dog, too.

To ensure the success of a road trip with your pup, you’ll need a handful of dog car travel accessories to keep them safe and comfortable during long drives. As a professional dog trainer by day and travel writer by night, I have years of experience hitting the road with dogs. I’ve combed through my own gear to come up with this list of essentials for a canine-friendly road trip.

For expertise on traveling safely with a dog in the hot summer months, I’ve consulted with veterinarian Tanya Fraser, medical director of VCA Allendale Animal Hospital in Allendale, Michigan, and Lindsey Wolko, founder of the Center for Pet Safety in Reston, Virginia. Below we’ve rounded up our favorite travel gear as well as tips for traveling safely with your dog.

Here are 14 of the best dog car travel accessories for a canine-friendly road trip:

A crash-tested kennel to protect your dog in a collision

dog car travel crate from Lucky Duck

Lucky Duck Lucky Kennel Intermediate, available at Amazon, $569.99

According to Wolko, you should never travel with your dog in a plastic crate that has been buckled in with a car seat belt because it can easily fracture in a crash. Instead, use a crash-test-certified crate to give your pet the best possible chance of survival in a crash. The Center for Pet Safety has tested several crates for their Center for Pet Safety certified list, including the Lucky Kennel by Lucky Duck, which received a five-star crash-test rating. Crating may also help alleviate motion sickness in some dogs, according to Fraser.

A crash-tested harness to travel safely with your dog outside of a crate

Best dog car travel accessories to take your pet on a road trip

Sleepypod Clickit Sport Dog Safety Harness, available at Sleepypod, $79.99

Sleepypod Clickit Terrain Dog Safety Harness, available at Sleepypod, $94.99

Testing done by the Center for Pet Safety indicates that a crash-test-certified travel harness is an effective way to keep a dog safe on a road trip, especially a dog that has never been crate trained or that suffers from confinement distress. Sleepypod’s Clickit Sport Harness and Terrain Harness each earned a five-star rating. They attach to the seat belts in the back seat of a car through built-in loops. 

A hammock-style seat cover to keep paw prints and dirt at bay

orvis dog car seat cover for road trip

Orvis Grip-Tight Windowed Hammock Seat Protector, available at Orvis, from $169

If any portion of your road trip involves hiking, camping, or other explorations of the great outdoors, do yourself a favor and get a water-resistant seat cover to protect your car from moisture and dirt. This version from Orvis blankets the back seat and the backs of the front seats. A see-through mesh panel between the two front seats prevents your dog from feeling too isolated.

A foldable car ramp for pets with mobility issues

Petsafe car ramp for dogs

Petsafe Ultralite Bi-Fold Pet Ramp at Chewy, Amazon, Wayfair, from $69.95

Just because a dog’s mobility is limited doesn’t mean they aren’t an ideal road trip companion. Bring along a lightweight car ramp to make your travels with an older or disabled dog go more smoothly and save you from having to lift them in and out of the vehicle 20 times a day. In between stops, just fold up the ramp and slide it behind the seat for easy storage.

A pet first-aid kit just in case

pet first aid kit

Rayco International Ltd. Pet First Aid Kit, available at Amazon and Walmart, $24.99

From foxtails to ticks, there are dozens of nasty surprises that await your dog on a road trip. Be prepared for the dangers in your path with a high-quality pet first-aid kit. Fraser also recommends downloading the American Red Cross’s Pet First-Aid app to help you navigate minor injuries. If you’re headed for a specific destination, she also suggests looking up a local emergency clinic before you arrive.

Shades to block the sun and keep car temperatures down

munchkin window shade to protect dog from overheating

Munchkin Brica Window Shade, available at Buy Buy Baby, Target, and Amazon, from $13.99

Even with the air conditioning on full blast, the interior of the car can heat up to uncomfortable levels when temperatures get extreme outside. Sunshades can help to minimize the greenhouse effect inside the car by blocking the heat out. Don’t expect them to help when you’ve parked the car, though. Temperatures can skyrocket inside a parked car in just minutes. “Never leave your dog in the car, even with the windows down, and even for just a few minutes,” said Fraser.

A spill-minimizing bowl so your dog can quench their thirst anytime they want

large travel water bowl for car

Heininger Waterboy Portable Pet Bowl, available at Chewy, $13.38

Heininger’s portable water bowl, which has a reservoir that fills with water when laid flat, has lived in my car on and off for years. Leave it out while you drive — the well has been designed to minimize spillage — or stand it up to drain the well water back into the jug. The BPA-free device holds up to 3 quarts of liquid. 

Interlocking treat-dispensing puzzle toys to help alleviate boredom

west paw dog toy for car rides

West Paw Toppl, available at Chewy and Walmart, from $15.95

Keep your dog from getting restless on the road by occupying them with treat-dispensing puzzle toys. West Paw’s Toppl can be stuffed with treats, spread with peanut butter, or sprayed with cheesy goodness. For smarty pants dogs, try combining a large Toppl with a small one to create a toy that’s a bit more challenging.

A soft, washable blanket that doubles as a dog bed

Carhartt_blanket_from_promo_material

Carhartt Dog Blanket, available at Chewy , Amazon, and Carhartt, from $75.99

If you’re exhausted by the end of a day of driving, so is your dog. Whether you’re staying in a hotel or camping overnight, pack something soft and cozy for your pup to cuddle up in. I always bring a soft, washable blanket along for the ride. Not only is a blanket easy to fit into an overstuffed trunk, it’s ultra-portable and can double as a dog bed whenever needed.

A dog-size backpack for outdoor adventures

ruffwear_approach_backpack Ruffwear

Ruffwear Approach Dog Pack, available at Ruffwear, Backcountry, and REI, $79.95

If you plan on doing a lot of hiking or backpacking on your road trip, it’s only fair that your dog should carry their share of the gear. Always limit your dog’s load to no more than 25% of their body weight and make sure the pack fits properly before your adventure.

An insulated water bottle with a dog bowl built right in

kong_water_bottle_for_dogs

Kong H20 Stainless Steel Dog Water Bottle, available at Amazon and Chewy, from $10.90

Whether you’re on a nature walk or in a socially distanced beer garden, keep your dog hydrated with a combination water bottle and dog bowl. This version from Kong is made of insulated stainless steel that will keep liquids cool and refreshing all day long.

A long line to let your dog safely explore new environments

signature_k9_biothane_long_lead

Signature K9 Biothane Long Line, available at Amazon, from $19.96

Even if your dog has an excellent recall, the allure of the new environments they’ll be exploring on your road trip may prove more powerful than your cue. Bring along a 15- to 20-foot long line to give your dog some freedom while ensuring they remain out of trouble.

Grooming wipes or waterless shampoo to quickly remove grime and nasty smells

earthbath_grooming_wipes Chewy

Earthbath Green Tea & Awapuhi Grooming Wipes, available at Petco, $14.99

Bodhi Dog Waterless Lavender Dog Dry Shampoo, available at Chewy and Amazon, $13.29

On the road, there may be hundreds of miles between you and the closest dog-washing station, but if your dog is living their best road trip life, chances are they’ll need at least a little cleanup before your trip is over. Grooming wipes are an easy way to freshen up your dog’s coat or remove debris from their paws or muzzle. If you’ve got a dog that loves to roll in stinky things, I can tell you from experience that you’ll need something stronger to remove the stench. A waterless dog shampoo works a bit better and it never hurts to bring a bottle along for the ride.

A folding travel crate for use inside a hotel room

Sencha_in_Orvis_Travel_Crate

Orvis Hose-Off Folding Travel Crate, available at Orvis, $129

To keep everyone safe when you leave your hotel room, you’ll need a portable crate to set up inside your room. While most hotels don’t require this, I’ve heard one too many horror stories about a hotel staff member who has been bitten after walking into a room with a canine guest. Choose something that collapses flat and has a handle for easy carrying. I like Orvis’s version, which also has two doors and plenty of ventilation and comes with a padded fleece mat.

Additional safety tips for road trips with dogs

To ensure the success of a road trip with your pup, you’ll need a handful of items to keep them safe and comfortable during long drives. Dogs also need regular breaks from the road, just like we do. “Stopping every few hours to get out, move around, and use the bathroom is ideal,” said Fraser.

All that driving also increases the possibility that your dog may, at some point, experience some car sickness. Most dogs outgrow motion sickness in puppyhood, according to Fraser, but if your dog is prone to nausea in the car, things like withholding food for a few hours before traveling or letting your dog see out the window can help. Roll down the window for additional airflow but not so low that your dog can thrust their head into the wind. That’s very dangerous. “You know the sound your windshield makes when a rock hits it? Imagine your dog being hit by that rock. Ouch!” Wolko said.

Before you embark on your trip, Fraser recommends making sure your pet is up-to-date on their vaccines and parasite control. Consult your vet if you have questions. They can also provide you with anti-nausea medication if your dog frequently experiences motion sickness.

 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best breathalyzers to confirm your blood alcohol content is low enough to drive

  • Home breathalyzers test your blood alcohol content to confirm sobriety before driving.
  • We tested 6 portable breathalyzers for accuracy, reliability, and ease of use.
  • Our top choice, the BACtrack Trace Professional Breathalyzer, is quick and highly accurate for $100.

It’s been a couple of hours since your last drink. You feel fine, but what if your judgement is off?

Home breathalyzers – much like, and in some cases the same, ones used by law enforcement during traffic stops – can be a great safeguard for safe driving when used appropriately. These devices essentially run an alcohol breath test, measuring the chemical composition of your breath to generate an estimate of your blood alcohol content (BAC).

In the U.S., the legal BAC limit for drivers over 21 is 0.08% – about two to three standard drinks (that’s 5 ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer). (For those who are underage, limits change by state but are typically .00 to .02%.)

Let’s be clear: Driving while under the influence of alcohol is never okay. But it is possible to, say, have one drink with dinner, or cut yourself off after a few at a party to get behind the wheel a couple of hours later.

But because a lot of factors go into how quickly alcohol leaves your system, it’s smart to confirm your BAC: “You might feel like you’re okay,” Shannon Sovndal, MD, an emergency physician who practices in the Boulder, CO area told Insider, “but because alcohol skews your judgement, you might feel that when it’s not the case.”

You need a more objective method of gauging your sobriety – and blowing into a breathalyzer is one of the simplest ways to confirm you’re good to drive. A reliable and accurate device will tell you within 30 seconds if your BAC is as low as you feel or whether you should just hang out for another hour. As Sovndal said: “You need to be reasonable and responsible, period.”

Because the most important feature of a breathalyzer is an accurate reading, I tested six devices against various sobriety levels to see how easy each one was to use and how accurate the BAC was. At the end of this guide, I go into more detail on how I tested the devices, as well as what to look for when buying one and FAQs like how you use a breathalyzer and who breathalyzers might not test accurately for.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Here are the 5 best breathalyzers:

The best overall

The BACtrack Trace Professional Breathalyzer judges your alcohol level quickly and accurately.

The BACtrack Trace ticks every box for a personal breathalyzer: It is not too expensive, is highly accurate, warms up quickly, and displays results quickly.

Pros: Accurate, reliable, great value for price, quick to use

Cons: Requires recalibration

Our tests found the BACtrack Trace to deliver readings as precise as the more expensive, high-accuracy breathalyzers. It takes about 11 seconds to prepare for use once you turn it on, and it delivers results within just a few seconds as well, so you won’t be stuck staring at the screen for long. At $100, it’s a great value for the price.

The only real drawback is that the breathalyzer needs to be sent in for calibration every 6 to 12 months to maintain accuracy, depending on how frequently you use it, but this is true of virtually all breathalyzers so we can’t really count it against the Trace.

The best on a budget

The AlcoHAWK Ultra Slim Breathalyzer is cheap, but still highly accurate.

Don’t be fooled by the low price — the AlcoHAWK offers accuracy on a budget.

Pros: Fairly high accuracy, dramatically lower price

Cons: Takes a minute to warm up, less precise, requires calibration for best results

Proof that price doesn’t always reflect quality, the AlcoHAWK is a fraction of the cost of competing products but, based on my testing, delivers similar accuracy and reliability as the professional-grade breathalyzers I tried. If you’re interested in having a breathalyzer on hand for the random afternoon wine tasting or dinner party, this is the one to get.

It does have a few small cons: The device takes a minute to warm up between tests which some might find mildly annoying if you’re testing multiple people. Also, the results displayed on its red LED screen are rounded up to the second decimal place, so your reading won’t be as exact as on other machines. But you don’t need a third decimal place to determine if you’re sober enough to drive or not. And we love that it rounds up instead of down, erring on the side of caution.

The best high-accuracy

The BACtrack S80 Professional Breathalyzer boasts police grade accuracy and speedy readings.

The BACtrack S80 offers “police-grade accuracy” and speedy readings if you’re testing several people.

Pros: Precise and reliable readings

Cons: Higher cost, requires recalibration

BACtrack describes this model — its most expensive — as having “police-grade accuracy,” and all sources seem to agree. The S80 has received glowing reviews from customers and publications, and it proved its reliability and accuracy during our own tests as well.

If you’re using a breathalyzer as a parent or school administrator, this is the one you should invest in for the sake of being as fair as possible. Plus, it’s quick: The device warms up in under 15 seconds and gives you your reading within 3 seconds, which can be helpful if you’re testing several people.

The best high-tech

The BACtrack Mobile Smartphone Breathalyzer is small, accurate, and connects to your phone via Bluetooth.

The BACtrack Mobile is small, connects to your phone via Bluetooth, and provides an estimate of how long till your BAC will be 0.00%.

Pros: Compact, accurate, estimates how soon you’ll be sober, easy to connect to phone, rechargable

Cons: Estimate doesn’t take personal factors into account, requires a smartphone

Welcome to the 21st century: The BACtrack Mobile connects to your smartphone with Bluetooth, so it automatically logs your results, which is useful for those looking to monitor their alcohol consumption habits over time. The connection is easy and intuitive to set up and use, and the device is rechargeable so you don’t have to worry about batteries.

This gadget doesn’t have a display, so you do need the app to use it and see your results. If you don’t have a smartphone or don’t want to rely on one, this device is not the one for you. Note that also means if your phone is dead, you can’t use the breathalyzer.

Based on our tests, this device is also highly accurate and comparable to other BACtrack models. And the Mobile is considerably smaller than most of the other breathalyzers on this list, which can be convenient for slipping into a purse or pocket.

Using the app also provides you with another piece of information: your “ZeroLine,” which is an estimate of how soon your BAC will return to 0.00%. This can be super useful for planning the rest of your night and determining whether to drive or call a car. However, it should be noted that people process alcohol at dramatically different rates, based on their size, what they’ve eaten that day, and many other individual factors, so while the ZeroLine can provide you with a general timeline, you definitely want to test your BAC again before driving.

The best compact

The BACtrack C6 Smartphone Keychain Breathalyzer is conveniently always with you and pretty accurate.

The BACtrack C6 Smartphone Keychain Breathalyzer is smaller than a pack of gum.

Pros: Super compact, convenient, optional smartphone connect, fairly affordable

Cons: Slightly lower accuracy, requires recalibration

Conveniently, the C6 is designed as a keychain, so you’ll always have it on-hand when you’re wondering if you’re ready to leave a dinner party or should hang out for a while longer. Even smaller than the BACtrack Mobile, the C6 also estimates your ZeroLine to tell you how long till you’re likely at 0.00%.

What’s more, it has the ability to connect to your phone in order to store your reading, too. However, on this model, this feature is optional — if your phone is dead or you just don’t want to use it, the keychain breathalyzer functions on its own, displaying your BAC reading on its screen.

Also convenient is the fact that the C6 warms up quickly, in just about five seconds. And being one of the cheaper products we tested, it’s good value for the money. The trade-off is that the C6 isn’t quite as accurate as the more professional devices, but the difference is marginal and unlikely to change anything in practice.

Our testing methodology

I personally tested each device on this list to get an idea of what it’s like to use and to judge its accuracy. I drank exactly one standard drink (5 oz of wine) then after 30 minutes measured my BAC on each device and noted each reading. I measured again another 30 minutes later. Then, I repeated the whole process the next day (to make sure we didn’t have any flukes).

I then evaluated the data to see if any outlier readings were statistically significant. The products we deemed most accurate and reliable were those with the fewest anomalous readings and most consistency with other devices.

 

Test 1 –
30 mins

Test 1 –
1 hour
Test 2 –
30 mins
Test 2 –
1 hour

BACtrack Trace Professional Breathalyzer

0.036 0.025 0.023 0.017

BACtrack S80 Professional Breathalyzer

0.033 0.025 0.024 0.017

BACtrack Mobile Smartphone Breathalyzer

0.037 0.027 0.025 0.017

AlcoMate Premium AL7000 Professional Breathalyzer

0.039 0.029 0.026 0.02

AlcoHAWK Ultra Slim Breathalyzer

0.04 0.03 0.03 0.01

BACtrack C6 Smartphone Keychain Breathalyzer

 

0.033 0.024 0.021 0.015

Note: Despite drinking the same, standardized amount for Test 1 and Test 2, my BAC reading was different between the days. This could be from a variety of factors, like what I ate and how long beforehand. What’s important is comparing Test 1’s tests among the different breathalyzer, and seeing if those discrepancies were repeated with the same brand on Test 2.

What to look for when buying a breathalyzer

There are only a handful of companies that make breathalyzers for the general public (which is why we include multiple devices by BACtrack) but even so, the products on the market have some significant differences. When buying a personal breathalyzer, consider:

Price: The cheapest product we tried was about $40 and the most expensive $131. Generally, the more expensive breathalyzers do tend to be more accurate and reliable, but you don’t need the same level of detail for recreational use as, say, a police officer would. If your reading is at all borderline or uncertain, you can always just wait a little longer and test yourself again later.

Accuracy and reliability: Virtually all major breathalyzer manufacturers  claim “professional” or “police-grade” accuracy, so it can be difficult to determine which devices actually deliver on that claim. Since accuracy is crucial in staying safe behind the wheel, we conducted trials to test the accuracy of each device so that we can tell you which ones live up to their price tag. And we found price does not denote reliability.

Result readability: Some breathalyzers will display your BAC right on the device, while others have an optional or mandatory Bluetooth smartphone connection. The latter can be useful if you want to store your results in a log. But if you don’t have or don’t want to use a smartphone, skip this feature and be sure to get a standalone device.

Calibration and charging: Most breathalyzers need to be sent back to the manufacturer for calibration after 6-12 months in order for the device to continue to read BAC levels accurately. If you’d rather replace the sensor yourself, pick a model for which that’s possible. Also, note what kind of batteries the device takes and if it’s rechargeable or not.

What else we considered

What we don’t recommend

AlcoMate Premium AL7000 Professional Breathalyzer ($131): The AlcoMate, like the other devices on this list, is slim and simple to use; however we found its accuracy a bit questionable, especially considering the price. Instead of sending it back to the manufacturer for calibration, however, you can replace the sensor yourself, which may be appealing for some.

FAQs

Breathlyzers FAQ

Do personal breathalyzers really work?

First, it’s worth acknowledging that breathalyzers are fallible and results can be affected by operator error (aka you) as well as technical issues. This is partially why breathalyzer BAC readings, on their own, are considered inadmissible trial evidence in some states. But high readings from a personal device should never be shrugged off as a false positive — if there’s any indication that you’re not sober, don’t get behind the wheel.


How do you use a breathalyzer?

Timing matters, a lot. The manufacturer’s instructions for all the products we tested say to wait about 20 minutes after eating and drinking to use the breathalyzer since it takes time for alcohol to be absorbed into a person’s system after consumption. But because people’s bodies metabolize alcohol at different rates, measuring at 20 minutes isn’t always going to produce the most accurate results. Depending on your physiology, what else you’ve had to eat or drink, and timing, among other factors, your BAC could very well keep increasing even after a 20-minute wait.

“I can’t give you a fixed number [of how long after a drink to measure], because depending on how much you drank, your alcohol content is going to keep going up,” Sovndal said. “If I drink 5 beers and 2 tequila shots and then measure it, I could still be on the uprise. It might not flatten out for another hour.”

To be safe, measure your levels after 30 minutes and then again after 60. If your BAC is higher at the second reading, wait another 30 minutes before taking another reading.     


Do breathalyzers work for everyone?

Certain groups of people are more likely to blow false positives, namely diabetics and those on low-calorie or ketogenic diets, as the presence of ketones in one’s breath will interfere with the reading.

Our sources

In addition to research, for this article we spoke with Dr. Shannon Sovndal, MD, FACEPS, who is a board-certified doctor in emergency medicine and emergency medical services (EMS) in Boulder, CO. He is a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians and has worked extensively in pre-hospital medicine, the fire service, and tactical medicine. He is currently the medical director for multiple EMS agencies and is the author of three books including his most recent “Fragile.”

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The 14 best cleaning products that’ll keep your car looking pristine, recommended by a car enthusiast

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Cleaning car
  • Some say a clean car drives better – but at the very least it looks better.
  • As spring nears, everyday drivers and collectors work to keep their cars free of dirt, pollen, bird droppings, and other debris.
  • As a car collector, these are the products I use and recommend, like soaps, waxes, leather conditioners, and microfiber cloths.

During winter, the extent of cleaning your car probably consists of removing snow and salt so you can actually see where you’re going – but during warmer seasons it’s all about attention to detail.

Dirt, pollen, tree sap, bird droppings, and normal road build-up are just some of the many things that can prevent your ride from looking its best.

Instead of constantly spending money at the car wash, you can piece together an arsenal of products designed to keep your car in pristine condition – and in the long run, you’ll save a lot of money.

I own three classic BMWs: a 1991 325i convertible, a 1991 318is, and a 1993 525i wagon. With each of them being more than 25 years old, I do my very best to maintain and preserve their appearance and these are the products I use every year.

Whether you’re a meticulous enthusiast preparing for a car show or an average person trying to care for your car, these are the products you’ll also want at your disposal. You’ll find everything from car wash soaps and waxes to leather cleaners and microfiber cloths – plus a few other unexpected picks.

Here are the best car cleaning and detailing products:

Chemical Guys Snow Foam Car Wash

A1Yk5B2OeFL._SL1500_

If your at-home car washes include using liquid dish soap from the kitchen, you’re doing it all wrong. Chemical Guys’ car wash eliminates dirt and grime with a pH-neutral formula that’s safe on all surfaces of your car. It has a foaming agent for maximum suds and a fresh honeydew scent.

Chemical Guys Microfiber Wash Mitt

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To go along with the right car wash soap, you need the right cleaning tool. The Chemical Wash mitt easily cleans your car without scratching your paint. Its made of an extra-plush, soft, and absorbent microfiber material, and is easier to control than a towel. 

303 Touchless Sealant (wax alternative)

303 Touchless Sealant

Waxing your car with traditional paste wax can be a long and tedious process. If you want the protection and shine of wax within minutes, 303 Touchless can provide it. The spray uses a SiO2 (silicon dioxide) base to create a hydrophobic and UV barrier on paint, and it’s also safe to use on windows and wheels. It made my car shiny, smooth, and repelled water longer than other waxes I’ve used.

Read my full review here

SuperClean Degreaser

3

SuperClean Degreaser has a multitude of cleaning uses, so it comes in handy for many of your car detailing needs. I wouldn’t recommend using it at full strength on your paint, but it works wonders cleaning built-up oil, grime, or dirt on your engine bay, under-body, or exhaust pipes. When diluted, it does a great job at cleaning carpets, floor mats, and chrome pieces as well.

Brush Hero

Brush Hero

Described as “the ultimate detail brush,” the Brush Hero is perfect for cleaning car parts — most specifically tough to reach areas like wheels. It features a rotating brush head that is powered entirely by water pressure from a standard garden hose. I recently had the opportunity to try it out and experienced amazing results.

Read my full review here.

Mother’s California Gold Clay Kit

5

Even after washing your car meticulously, there’s still dirt and debris that you just can’t get off. That’s where claying your car comes into play. The Mother’s California Gold Clay Kit comes with two clay bars, Instant Detailer spray, and a microfiber cloth. Simply spray a liberal amount of detailer on the car and use the clay in a sweeping motion.

At first, you’ll feel some resistance (that’s all the fine dirt and debris). Once it’s all clean, your paint will be looking and feeling like glass. Whether your car is relatively new or decades old, you’ll definitely notice a difference.

Turtle Wax Microfiber Towels

6

If you thought using old t-shirts and bath towels as rags was an ok idea, it’s really not. Although you may not be able to see it immediately, it can scratch the surface of your paint. Microfiber cloths are a safe and effective way to detail your car without creating damage. Instead of using the same dirty cloth over and over, this 12-pack ensures you’ll have a bunch of clean cloths at your disposal.

Zymöl Cleaner Wax

7

One of the most important, but often-skipped, steps to having an immaculately clean car is a decent coat of wax. Unlike thick waxes that take a lot of time to apply, Zymöl Cleaner Wax goes on easy and it works exceptionally well. Derived from a 120-year-old German formula, the wax cleans your paint (though not as a full car wash replacement) and is gentle and safe.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve seen my dad use Zymöl on his cars. I’ve tried several other waxes for my own, but this is the one I’ve consistently come back to.

Armor All Extreme Tire Shine Gel and Applicator

10

While most tire shines dry up and wear away after a day or so, Armor All Extreme Tire Shine lasts for weeks. The gel formula adheres to your tires to create a durable shield from the elements. It’s also a great way to avoid messy over-spray on your wheels and fenders that you’d expect from a traditional tire shine.

Turtle Wax Headlight Cleaner & Sealant

8

Almost all modern cars have plastic headlight covers that get dull over time. Not only do they start to look bad, but they can also drastically reduce your headlight output. The Turtle Wax Headlight Cleaner & Scrub Daddy Restoration Kit can bring your plastic lenses to like-new condition — improving your car’s appearance and your visibility.

California Car Duster

4

If you’ve ever washed your car only to find it covered pollen the next morning, you know how frustrating it can be. Instead of having to clean your car all over again or let your fresh wash go to waste, use the California Car Duster. It effectively lifts dust with one pass and there’s no need to use any water or cleaners. 

Black & Decker Dustbuster Auto Vacuum

Black+Decker Dustbuster

Cleaning the inside of your car is just as important as cleaning the outside. With a cordless design and multiple attachments, the Black & Decker Dustbuster Auto Vacuum is perfect for reaching every part of your interior. Its compact design makes it easy to store in your trunk, too.

Leather Honey

9

If you have a leather interior, simply vacuuming isn’t the only detailing step you should take. Leather Honey deeply penetrates into the pores of leather to protect new leather and rejuvenate old leather. In the long run, this conditioner can prevent cracks and tears associated with worn-out leather.

CleanTools Absorber

12

To prevent streaks or watermarks, it’s always a good idea to hand dry your car after giving it a wash. If you’ve ever used a normal towel for this, you know how ineffective it becomes once it’s soaking wet.

The CleanTools Absorber is more absorbent than a towel makes drying anything faster and easier. Just wring the water out when you’re done and put it back in the included storage tube.

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The 3 best ice scrapers and snow brushes of 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A good scraper will effectively remove snow and ice from your car’s mirrors and windows for safety.
  • The Hopkins SubZero is our top choice thanks to its flexible blade, built-in squeegee, and extendable handle.

On far too many frigid winter mornings, scraping snow and ice off of your car is an unavoidable chore. Fortunately, ice scrapers and snow brushes allow you to remove the top layer of snow and then chisel away at the ice coating the windows.

For areas that see huge volumes of snow, you might need a larger snow broom type or find it necessary to invest in a snow cover.

I own four different snow scrapers and while that may sound excessive, it meant I knew what to look for when rounding up the best car ice scrapers and snow brushes below.

Here are the best ice scrapers and snow brushes of 2021

The best car ice scraper overall

hopkinssubzero

The Hopkins SubZero Ice Crusher is an all-in-one removal tool with a flexible blade, built-in squeegee, sturdy snow broom, and extendable handle.

Pros: Sturdy construction, flexible blade, built-in-squeegee, lightweight, comfortable handle

Cons: The ice-crushing teeth are located opposite from the scraper, so you’ll have to flip the tool if you’re crushing and scraping

Winter is unpredictable — one morning you might have a light dusting of snow on your windshield, and the next you could find yourself cracking through ice just to be able to see out of your car. That’s why the  Hopkins SubZero Ice Crusher is our favorite, versatile tool. It combines ice-crushing teeth, a flexible scraper blade, a heavy-duty broom, and a squeegee head to make quick work of clearing everything from frost to heavy wet snow. 

While the SubZero is 51 inches while extended, it collapses into a 32-inch unit, making it easy to store. It features a soft foam grip and weighs less than half a pound — both important details that lessen arm strain when you’re chipping away at stubborn ice. 

The best car brush for deep snow

sno brum

The Auto SnoBrum will help you clear snowdrifts without scratching glass, auto paint, or vinyl wraps.

Pros: Ideal for heavy snow load removal, gentle on paint, long pole provides great reach

Cons: Insufficient for stubborn ice

The Auto SnoBrum is particularly great for clearing off deep snow because of its telescoping handle that can extend from 26-inches out to 46-inches in length, giving users of most heights (and arm lengths) easy access to the entirety of the windshield, hood, and even the roof of most vehicles.

The foam head is sturdy enough not to bend or buckle even as you push against heavy snow load, yet gentle enough not to scratch the exterior of your car — that includes auto paint, window and windshield glass, and even those more delicate vehicle vinyl wraps.

Here’s the catch: This is not a true ice scraper, so for thick, stubborn layers of ice, you’re going to need a different tool with a harder edge. But for snow alone, the SnoBrum is ideal.

The best heated car ice scraper

heated ice scraper

The Perfect Life Ideas Heated Snow Ice Scraper is lightweight, easy to use, and clears your windshield. 

Pros: Reduces effort needed to loosen ice, long power cord, power indicator light

Cons: Rather flimsy plastic housing

There is no magic bullet when it comes to removing ice from your car’s windshield, but Perfect Life Ideas’ Heated Snow Ice Scraper measures up. The heat it generates melts the ice so you’ll spend less time scraping. The unit plugs into the DC outlet (otherwise known as the cigarette lighter) in your car and features a 12-foot long cord that should allow access to all of the windows of your vehicle. Ford Excursions and Chevy Suburbans are possible exceptions, however.

Beneath the scraper, a simple heat coil quickly warms up the tool, helping you to break up and remove ice so you’ll exert less force. 

Check out our other guides to car accessories and snow gear

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