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by Autobytel Staff
July 7, 2008
3 min. Reading Time

Taking the scenic route is a summer tradition. Loading up the family truck or SUV and hitting the road, whether it's for a day trip or a week-long adventure, is what many people look forward to the lazy long days of summer for. The extended daylight means you can see a lot more in a day, so your opportunity for adventure is extended as well. However, being unprepared when things get a little more exciting than what's around the next corner shouldn't be part of the thrills. So, here are a few items you might find useful as you embark on your next summer fun trip.

By Vernon Heywood Photo credit: Manufacturers

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It sounds ridiculous at first, but as a longtime owner of vehicles with higher-than-average ground clearance, one of my biggest concerns on the highway is "ride under" (where the nose of one car "submarines" under or climbs over the bumper of another in a rear end collision). The Super Bumper claims to help decrease that risk as well as reduce injury and insurance claims by protecting against minor rear end collisions. Designed to fit vehicles with a two-inch receiver hitch, the Super Bumper comes unpainted or in chrome or black powder coat, 3.25-inch or 4-inch diameter tubing, and is rated Class III/IV for pulling trailers up to 6,000 pounds with a tongue weight of 600 pounds. The Super Bumper also comes with a lifetime warranty: If it bends or breaks from a rear-end collision, it will be replaced absolutely free. Can you say that about your existing bumper? Pricing ranges from $99.95 to $219.95.


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If you're heading any place this summer where civilization hasn't yet gained a foothold, the more self-sufficient you are, the better. Waking up in the boonies to a flat tire caused by a slow leak could mean a long walk back to the highway. Fortunately, Firestone Industrial Products offers two new portable air compressor kits for just such an emergency: the Inflation Station #9290 and the heavier duty #9289. Both kits are capable of inflating items up to 150 psi. Paul Gibson, Firestone Industrial's product manager claims the new kits will inflate a 31-inchdiameter, 10.50-inch wide tire from 15 psi to 30 psi in less than two minutes, getting you back on the road in no time. Both Inflation Station kits can be used to inflate all your other blowup paraphernalia as well. Inflation Station #9290 starts at $189.99 and model #9289 starts at $275.99.


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With gas prices performing more upper-atmospheric explorations than all the world's space programs combined, pickup truck owners need to utilize every trick at their disposal to improve mileage. One way to do that is to install a tonneau cover to help improve airflow. LeBra offers the Top Mount soft tonneau cover with FlipLock to achieve this as well as keep your gear dust- and rain-free, and out of sight of prying eyes. The FlipLock is a co-polymer strip that slips into the tonneau's aluminum frame to make opening the cover easy under any weather conditions. It is available for most Chevrolet/GMC, Dodge and Ford pickups, as well as the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Titan Crew Cab and King Cab. Depending on your truck, the Top Mount Tonneau retails from $293.99 to $355.99.


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If you've ever changed a tire, you know that dragging out the jack and crawling under the vehicle to position it, followed by the tedious manual cranking to lift the vehicle up is not how you wanted to get your daily calisthenics. Streamline Imports offers a solution that makes this task and any other that requires raising a wheel off the ground as simple as starting your car. The Titan Exhaust Air Jack is a PVC-coated woven polyester air bag designed to lift your car with the gases from its exhaust pipe and comes in two, three and four ton lifting capacities. The one-way back valve will hold your vehicle at the desired height for hours once the engine is turned off, and the vehicle can be lowered slowly or as quickly as five seconds when you are done. Depending on lifting capacity, expect to pay from $109.99 to $159.99 for your Titan Air Jack.


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Traveling off the beaten path requires items you don't usually need while cruising the Interstate, but I've often found I've needed an ax, a pick, a shovel, a hammer, or all of the above when exploring new roads, paved or not. That's a lot of tools to have to carry around, but Hi-Lift has made it easier by offering all of them in one easy-to-carry (and store) kit: the Handle-All. Thanks to the Handle-All's telescoping handle that fits all four implements and is easily switched by pulling and reinserting a pin, life just got simpler -- and a lot more compact. Priced at $139.95.



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