Buy Auto Truck Accessories Blog

  • Are You Ready For Winter? (Southwest)

    Getting your truck ready for winter in the southwest is tough … depending where you are, and where you are going, you need to be ready for anything and everything. Where else can you go for a drive, leave in 80 degree weather, catch a major rain storm, and finish the day off in a blizzard?

    Truck in the snow

    Yep, fun stuff right there.

    So, this should be easy … Just buy a new truck every year and stock it with cool stuff. There, problem solved - unless you can’t buy a new truck every year.

    Ok, it really is kind of basic at this point. Good tires are always at the top of the list. The issue here is you may have great tires, but can still find yourself in a situation that your tires are not ready for. Pay attention to where you are going, and keep in mind what you are set up for.

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    This is not only for you, but for the people that are inevitably not as prepared as you. You may have to help them, if for no other reason than to get them out of the way.

    Time for the truck box check list:

    • Tow rope. Check to make sure there are no cuts or frays. Replace it if needed.
    • Tire chains and tensioners. Check for broken links and cracked tensioners.
    • Shovel.
    • Tarp.
    • Kitty litter.
    • Washer fluid. Maybe two.
    • A good jack.
    • Basic hand tools.
    • These items could make the difference between almost making it home, and being home.

    Prepare Your Truck

    • Time for the oil change. Use the recommended winter weight, this makes it easier on the engine when it’s cold. I know we cover this a lot, but it really is the best thing you can do for your vehicle. Don’t skimp on it, good oil and good filters are always worth the cost. Synthetic is always nice.
    • Transmission fluid should be checked at this point. Check the color, is it brownish? It might be time for a change.
    • Check all of your u-joints, they tend to snap at the worst possible times.
    • Check the antifreeze. It’s called antifreeze for a reason, make sure its protecting down to the temperature you expect to be in. Remember, it’s also called coolant. Check it.
    • Check your differentials for play, and top off the fluid if needed.
    • Check the brakes. A simple check can save money and a life. Brakes are the most important system on your truck. If it doesn’t start, no one gets hurt. If it doesn’t stop, well…
    • Check your windshield for cracks and chips, swap out those old wipers and top off the washer fluid, and you should be ready to roll.

    Have fun, be safe, and be smart. Enjoy your truck this winter!

  • Are You Ready For Winter? (South)

    As our southern brothers and sisters get ready for winter (yes, there is a winter in the south), there are some things to keep in mind.

    Lifted blue truckFor one thing, those of you that have never spent a winter in the south, it’s not all Florida! Tennessee is the one of the coldest places there is, regardless what the thermometer says. It is so humid, it feels like the air freezes around you. It also works that way on the roads. There is not the snow that other parts of the country get, but there is ice. It’s not always there, but it can sneak up on you.

    Good tires are a must. A good all season tire is the minimum, and they should have the tread depth checked at this time. Not a bad idea to check the balance and through in a rotate for good measure.

    If you have a winch, you will probably end up being the “nice guy” at some point, and have to come to the rescue of one of your follow motorists. Don’t forget to check the cable, electrical connections, switches and all the things in your accessory bag. Check it now.

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    Open up the tool box, and make sure you have the essentials. Tow rope, tarp, kitty litter (for traction on the ice), a good jack and some basic hand tools. Better to know what’s in there before you need it. You should also make sure you have a blanket and some emergency food in the cab.

    Prepare Your Truck

    Now, let’s talk about the truck itself.

    Oil… Duh. Change it, and use the recommended winter weight, this makes it easier on the engine when it’s cold. I know we cover this a lot, but it really is the best thing you can do for your vehicle. Don’t skimp on it, good oil and good filters are always worth the cost.

    Transmission fluid should be checked at this point. Check the color, is it brownish? It might be time for a change. While you are under the truck, check all of your u-joints, they tend to snap at the worst possible times.

    Check the antifreeze. It’s called antifreeze for a reason, make sure its protecting down to the temperature you expect to be in.

    Check your differentials for play, and top off the fluid if needed.

    Check the brakes. Icy roads are not the place to find out that there is a problem.

    Check your windshield for cracks and chips, swap out those old wipers and top off the washer fluid, and you should be ready to roll.

    Have fun, be safe, and enjoy your truck this winter!

  • Are You Ready For Winter? (West Coast)

    Getting your truck ready for winter is something that often gets forgotten on the west coast. We know there is a lot that has to be done to get ready for the cold temperatures that you will see (sarcasm), but there are still somethings that need to be covered.

    Tires

    Now, you may not need to change over to snow tires for your daily commute, but a good set of all season tires in good shape is always a good idea. Make sure they have good tread. With the rains, oils will come to the surface of the asphalt, and it can feel like driving on ice. Be ready.

    This is also a good time to rotate them and to check the balance and alignment.  If you are in an area that has large temperature change through the season, don’t forget to check the air pressure in your tires regularly. It will change with the changing temperatures, and to keep your fuel mileage at its best, keep your tires filled to the specification that is listed on your door tag (not on the tire).

    Electrical System

    Temperature changes tend to wreak havoc on electrical systems. It is smart to have your battery and electrical systems checked out as winter arrives. Most parts stores will perform tests for free. Take advantage of the service before it gets to cold out.

    Antifreeze in the radiator is essential

    Coolants have changed a lot over the years. It’s not just antifreeze anymore. Antirust and corrosion inhibitors are as important as the antifreeze aspect of modern antifreezes. These additives wear out with time, and need to be checked regularly. Check your owner’s manual for the mileage at which it should be flushed and changed.

    Oil being poured into truck

    Fluids

    We cannot say this one enough! Change your oil every 3 months or at the recommended mileage. The longer it's in the engine, the dirtier it gets. Fresh oil lubricates and cools the engine better.  Make sure to replace the filter at the same time. There is no better thing you can do for your engine.

    This is a great time to check the transmission fluid. It should be changed at around 45,000 mile intervals, but make sure to check your owner’s manual. This is one of the most over looked maintenance items there is. . Differentials, transfer case, brake fluid (should be changed every 2 years) and washer fluid should all be checked at this time as well.

    Living on the West Coast does make getting ready for winter a little easier, but don’t let some of the simple things slip by. If you are taking trips to the mountains, make sure you are ready, don’t forget the items that are important to keep in your truck. Tow rope, kitty litter, shovel, blanket and some emergency food.  That should keep you ready and safe for any upcoming weather. Take great care of your truck, and it will take great care of you.

  • Are You Ready For Winter? (Midwest)

    Getting ready for winter in the Midwest can be both fun and aggravating at the same time. Saturday morning…  Let’s grab the truck and go play in the snow!  Monday morning… Sigh, another commute in the snow. Either way, your truck has to be ready for whatever Mother Nature (and you) throws at it.

    Snow chains

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    Winches, tow ropes, shovels gloves and boots - all unbelievably fun, unless you have to use them. Let’s try and keep you dry and warm this winter.

    Don’t go out in the snow with tires that can’t handle the job! Just don’t do it. It will not work out well for you, or the person who is nice enough to stop and pull you to safety.  A good, aggressive, self-cleaning tread pattern is perfect for playing in the snow, so if you don’t have off road tires in good condition, just stay at home.

    Now is the time to pre-fit your chains. Check them, any broken links? Are the tensioners in good shape? Are they the right size for your new tires? Sounds simple, but when you need them, you need them to be right.

    When was the last time you checked your winch? Don’t forget to check the cable, electrical connections, switches and all the things in your accessory bag. You never know when you’re going to need it. How is your block heater, still have the cord? Check it now.

    Now is the time to go through your truck box. Shovel, tow rope (maybe 2), tarp, an extra gallon of washer fluid and kitty litter are all a must. You should also make sure you have a blanket and some emergency food in the cab (cereal that the kids dropped between the seats does not count).

    Prepare Your Truck

    Ok, so much for the fun stuff. Let’s talk about the truck itself.

    Start at the front. Do you use a radiator cover? Time to get it out, and back on the truck.

    Check the antifreeze. It’s called antifreeze for a reason, make sure its protecting down to the temperature you expect to be in.

    Oil… Duh. Change it, and use the recommended winter weight, this makes it easier on the engine when it’s cold.

    Transmission fluid should be checked at this point. Check the color, is it brownish? Might be time for a change. While you are under the truck, check all of your u-joints, they tend to snap at the worst possible times.

    Check your differentials for play, and top off the fluid if needed.

    Check the brakes; they come in handy in snowy conditions.

    Now, a good cleaning, and a final inspection will show that you forgot to change out the wipers. Don’t feel bad, everyone does. Believe it or not, wiper manufactures say you should change out your wipers every 6 months. Do not get caught with old, streaky wipers. Top off the washer fluid, and you should be good to go.

    Have fun, be safe, and enjoy your truck this winter!

  • Are You Ready For Winter? (East Coast)

    Getting your truck ready for winter is wicked important if you live on the East Coast. Failure to plan ahead will leave you stranded, walking in the cold and ice – and no one wants that.

    Truck with snow plowWhat sort of steps should you take to get your truck ready for winter?

    Antifreeze

    Your coolant does not need to be changed every year, but it should have the level and the temperature range checked. If the mixture is not right, adjust it accordingly. The old standby of 50/50 water and antifreeze is not always accurate these days, so check your owner’s manual.  Make sure to not mix types of coolant. Easy way to keep it straight is to not mix colors. Other fluids should be checked at this time as well. Differentials, transfer case, brake fluid (should be changed every 2 years) and washer fluid… Always washer fluid!

    Change your oil every 3 months or at the recommended mileage. Heat breaks down oil, and it can become gummy or watery. When this happens, it can’t lubricate properly. The longer it's in the engine, the dirtier it gets. Replacing old oil with new fixes all these problems. The fresh oil lubricates and cools the engine better. When you flush the old oil out, you flush out the dirt and grit.  Make sure to replace the filter at the same time. There is no better thing you can do for your engine.

    Tune Up and Filters

    Younger trucks don’t need a tune up as often as older trucks, but this is the time to check. Check your mileage and compare it to the recommended schedule. While you are still under the hood, check all your filters. Air, fuel, breather and your PCV valve (if equipped). Change if needed.

    Electrical System

    Electrical systems can freeze if they are in bad shape once the frost settles in. It is smart to have your battery and electrical systems checked out as winter arrives, most parts stores will perform tests for free. Take advantage of the service before it gets too cold out.

    Tires

    Check and rotate your tires. The air pressure in your tires will change with the changing temperatures, and to keep your fuel mileage at its best, keep your tires filled to the specification that is listed on your door tag (not on the tire). Rotating them regularly will help get the most miles out of them. While your tires are off, have your brakes checked. This is also the right time to have your alignment checked and corrected if needed. This will show if you need any front suspension work, and may save your tires as well. Now is also the time to check your snow chains, try them on and don’t forget about the tensioners.

    Lastly, don’t forget the items that are important to keep in your truck: tow rope, kitty litter, shovel, blanket and some emergency food.  That should keep you ready and safe for the upcoming weather. Good luck, hope you make through another East Coast winter!

  • Truck Cabs: What's Your Style?

    So you’re planning on getting a new truck, but still trying to figure out what style of cab you want. There are 3 choices to go with:

    A regular (standard) cab normally has a 2 or 3 person seat in a single row. An extended cab will have a small back seating area. And the crew cab is the 4 door truck that seems to dominate the new truck world.

    Standard Cab

    The standard cab has been the staple of truck buyers for decades. For so many years, the pickup was used primarily as a work vehicle, so it was seen on farms and in rural areas. It was inexpressive, and served a single purpose. Today’s trucks are used more as a daily driver, and have many other purposes then they did in the past. Consumer demands as well as the more strict fuel economy regulations (has to do with the “footprint” of the standard cab) are bringing the end of the standard cab truck, and some of us will miss it. If you really want to go with the standard cab, you might want to get that order in while you still can.

    Extended Cab

    Let’s talk about the extended cab for a few. If you are looking for the most storage space, this might be the way to go. You can get the long bed that is so often needed for a work truck, and still have some extra room inside the cab. So, if you are only getting a larger cab for a little more enclosed space, this might just be the way to go. Extended cab pickups are often several thousand dollars less expensive than crew cab models, but remember that the crew cab will bring better money when you go to sell it late on.

    Crew Cab

    Now, if you are looking for a truck that will seat the whole family or the whole crew, you will want to go with a crew cab. Most crew cabs will seat 5-6 people comfortably, and for the parents out there, it’s so much easier to work with a car seat then the extended cab models. Keep in mind, the crew cab trucks normally have a smaller bed, and may not have the storage space needed in a work truck.

    All in all, it comes down to style, functionality and cost. The standard cab tends to be the least expensive, but brings lower money when you are ready to pass it on to the new owner. This may not be an issue if you are not planning on ever getting rid of it. The extended cab falls right in the middle on the cost chart, and the crew cabs comes in as the most expensive option.

    Take some time, and look at all the pros and cons of each style, and choose what works best for you.

  • Tips for Truck Maintenance

    With the change of seasons heading our way, we want to remind you of some of the basic maintenance items.  Regardless of what kind of truck you have, these things should be done or checked with every season change.

    Truck maintenance

    FLUIDS

    Change your oil every 3 months or at the recommended mileage. Heat breaks down oil, and it can become gummy or watery. When this happens, it can’t lubricate properly. The longer it's in the engine, the dirtier it gets. Replacing old oil with new fixes all these problems. The fresh oil lubricates and cools the engine better. When you flush the old oil out, you also flush away the dirt and grit.  Make sure to replace the filter at the same time. There is no better thing you can do for your engine.

    It is a great time to check the transmission fluid. It should be changed at around 45,000 mile intervals, but make sure to check your owner’s manual. This is one of the most over looked maintenance items there is.

    Your coolant does not need to be changed very often, but it is a good time to check the level and the temperature range. Make sure to not mix types of coolant. Easy way to keep it straight is to not mix colors. Easy.

    Miscellaneous fluids should be check at this time. Differentials, transfer case, brake fluid (should be changed every 2 years) and washer fluid.

    Tires and rims

    TIRES

    Check and rotate your tires. The air pressure in your tires will change with the changing temperatures, and to keep your fuel mileage at its best, keep your tires filled to the specification that is listed on your door tag (not on the tire). Rotating them regularly will help get the most miles out of them. While your tires are off, have your brakes checked. This is also the right time to have your alignment checked and corrected if needed. This will show if you need any front suspension work, and may save your tires as well.

    TUNE UP and FILTERS

    Most newer trucks don’t need a tune up as often as older trucks, but this is the time to check. Check your mileage and compare it to the recommended schedule. While you are still under the hood, check all your filters. Air, fuel, breather and your PVC valve (if equipped). Change if needed.

    MISCELLANEOUS

    With the weather changing, don’t forget the things not listed on your maintenance schedule, like your battery, windshield, wipers, belts, hoses and lights.

    Don’t let your truck down, and it won’t let you down. Keep in mind, check your owner’s manual for specific times and mileage intervals for all questions you have. There is a maintenance schedule listed, and should be followed to the letter.

  • Nerf Bars vs. Truck steps

    What’s the real difference?

    So, in keeping with the theme of your “new truck”, let’s talk about nerf bars and truck steps (running boards). What are the differences, and which ones will work best for you? To answer this, you need to know what they both really are and then go with what fits your needs the best.

    NERF BARS

    The definition of a nerf bar is: “A tubular steel bumper on some racing cars to keep wheels from touching when cars bump during a race”. Keep in mind that a “nerf” is a small, sometimes intentional collision. In the late 60’s and 70’s as the off road world was coming into its own, it was a normal practice for off roaders to build these steel tubes and mount them on the sides of their trucks for body protection from these “nerfs”. As a side benefit, it made it easier to get into their lifted trucks, and the nerf bar was born. With the simple addition of step pads at the points of entry, Nerf Bars turned into one of the most popular truck and SUV accessories today.

    Running Boards

    Now that you know what a nerf bar is, and how it came to be, let’s look at running boards. Mr. Webster had this simple little bit to say about running boards: “a long, narrow board that is attached to the side of a vehicle to make it easier for people to get in and out of a vehicle”. So, they were used to get in and out of a vehicle, but they were also a fashion statement. Let’s face it, getting into a Duesenberg back in 1932 would have simple. The running board has faded away from the cars they once were on, just think Bonnie and Clyde, but are still a staple of today’s truck world.   The styles have changed a lot over the years, but the functionality has stayed the same, a safe and simple way to get in and out of your truck.

     

    As both have changed so much over the decades, it really comes down to style. Yes, nerf bars are stronger, but the main reason for either comes down getting in and out of your truck. They both get the job done, but does a 3’ steel tube look right on the side of a 2015 Cadillac Escalade? No, just like aluminum running boards don’t look correct on a 94 Chevy with a 6” lift.

    So please people, pick responsibly - you owe it to your kids, spouses and everyone who has to see your new truck.

  • Plastic, Aluminum or Steel Toolboxes

    The Best Toolboxes

    So, you got your new truck! It’s a happy day at your place, and now you get to start molding it to fit your personality and needs. One of the first things you are going to do is get a nice new bed toolbox. They are by far the best way to keep your tools and truck necessities clean, dry, secure and ready for service. With that, what is the best toolbox to go with? There are basically 3 types of boxes, Plastic, Aluminum, and Steel. And all 3 have their place.

    Plastic

    First one we are going to look at is the Plastic box.  Don’t let the “Plastic” part scare you. We are not talking about light, flimsy plastic of old; we are talking about heavy duty ABS plastic. They are light weight, and very strong. Not as strong and durable as the aluminum or the steel options, but perfect for the weekend worrier in all of us. And then there is the price. These tend to be the least expensive of the 3. If this is not a full time work truck, this might be the right choice for you.

    Aluminum

    Next, let’s look at the aluminum box. This box might just be the most popular choice out there. They are light like the plastic box, and yet almost as strong as the steel boxes. Aluminum is very durable, and will likely outlast the plastic boxes. These boxes are more expensive then the plastic boxes, but are perfect for the part time work, part time play truck.

    Truck tool box

    Steel

    Lastly, there is the steel option. This is the box for you if you’re looking for something very heavy duty that can handle the daily abuse that a full time work truck has to deal with. Large expensive job site tools that are in and out of your truck all day, every day.  These boxes are designed for exceptional durability, strength, and longevity. While steel can be a bit more expensive, they're also easier to care for and typically last much longer than the other options, making them a good choice for professional use.

     

    Plastic for play, Aluminum for play and work, or Steel for work. Whatever your needs are in a toolbox, there is a box out there that is perfect for you. Get the right one, and enjoy that new truck.

  • The Pros & Cons of Tonneau Covers

    You probably have some very basic questions about tonneau covers. First and foremost - what’s good, and what’s not so good.

    There is a lot of information out there, but what is fact, and what is fiction? It really depends on your perspective.

    Let’s break it down to a few simple pros and cons:

     

    Fuel Economy

    Let’s start with the obvious. Improved fuel economy - a pro, right?

    This one is little bit harder than you might think. If you look up 2 different articles on the subject, you will get 2 different answers. While it makes sense that with the reduced drag, your truck would not have to work as hard to maintain a set speed. Easy, right?

    What if we told you that test results tend to show that at 55 mph there is almost no drag difference, and fuel mileage is basically unaffected?  What we can tell you on this is from our personal experience, that a ‘74 Chevy that got 8 mpg on the highway, on a good day, went to 10. Not great, but noticeable. Granted, newer trucks have a lot more going for them then an old Chevy. So, unless you have an old truck, mileage is neither a pro nor a con.

    Security & Functionality

    Next, let’s look at security and functionality.

    This one really is easy. A hard cover turns your bed into a lockable storage option for your truck. This is an easy way to keep you cargo clean and safe. You can lose some of your trucks functionality when it comes to hauling larger items, but if you have the budget for a high end retractable cover, or a mid-range tri-fold, you are right back in the game.

    So, for the security question - definitely a pro. And for functionality? Maybe. Soft covers, not so much. How do you lock up vinyl?

    Style

    Now for the fun one - style.

    Let’s face it, they look awesome. Old school trucks look great with old school vinyl covers. It was the style of the times. You can even polish up the snaps! Got an 80’s truck? The roll up covers look right at home on these trucks, no snaps or Velcro to clutter up the look. Newer truck? A fiberglass hard cover painted to match your truck might be the way to go. They all look cool with the right application. Sometimes, it’s all about style - trucks aren’t just for work anymore. We have to put style in the pro column.

     

    These are a few of the pros and con that we have come up with, and we know that many of you have your own opinions. The fuel economy one is intriguing, and without any real world studies, all we have to go on is individual reports. We’d love to hear back from you with some of your experiences and things that we may have missed, and by “may” we mean “did”.

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