Top 10 Tips and Tricks For Winter Car Wrenching

 

auto repair in the winter

Being a gearhead in a cold and wintery environment is the absolute worst!  Without some kind of heat source in your garage, you won’t even know that half of your knuckles are missing. You say you don’t have a garage at all? I know that lifestyle all too well. In that case, you might as well forget that the outdoors even exists until March 11th. That’s when the 2018 daylight savings finally rescues us from never ending darkness and unproductive evenings.  Now, I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer here. I’m just writing what every single sub-30-degree-living car enthusiast is thinking. Being a Massachu…setts…ite(?) and hardcore wrench spinner for my entire life, I’ve learned a few things that may (or may not) help you survive another depressing winter.

Here is my top 10 list of things that all gearheads need to survive winter:

#1 Carhartt Jacket

I don’t know how people survived before these existed. I prefer the heaviest one that they make, with the hood, and all black in color. That way you can go straight from the junkyard to the class reunion and nobody will have a clue (other than the smell) that you’re covered in oil stains and gasoline. Most importantly though, these jackets keep the wind and cold out. In late January, when everybody else around me is crying about the cold temperatures, my jacket allows me to feel like I am on a beautiful Caribbean island.

#2 Carhartt Overalls

No, I am not getting paid to brag about this stuff, I promise you. Same deal as above, but I do recommend trying these on in a local store before buying them. You want a size that will slide over your jeans easily, and not bunch up, and not show off your ankles to old man winter.  Obviously, I also prefer a dark color for its filth-hiding properties. Combined with the jacket, these basically make you unstoppable in a winter environment.

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11 Common Jeep Problems & Complaints You Need to Know

Exasperated owners may say “it’s a Jeep thing,” but the truth is, every car or truck you can think of has its own unique quirks and issues and Jeeps are no exception.  That being said, Jeepers are known to run into certain problems time and again. In fact, the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee have been singled out by Consumer Reports as the least reliable vehicles in their respective classes, and the Renegade made their top 10 Least Reliable Cars list.

Of course, I don’t want to discourage anyone from driving a Jeep. When you want a Jeep, there really is no substitute. But knowing what pitfalls might lie ahead can help you be ready to deal with problems as they arise. So, to help you out, here are some common issues that affect Jeeps and some tips on how to fix or even prevent them.

1. The Death Wobble

Death Wobble is probably the most infamous problem in the Jeep community. At high speeds, especially after hitting a bump, the steering wheel may start the shake and vibrate violently, to the point that some drivers report that the Jeep becomes hard to handle. Usually, if you slow down or stop, the wobble will go away. Despite the scary name, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), reports that there have been no fatal accidents associated with the condition. You can see a close up example of what death wobble looks like, in this video:

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Formidable Car Collections & Their Famous Owners

Car collections. When you’re rich, bringing all the toy cars you had as a kid to life is an actual possibility. Who wouldn’t take their Testarossa out to lunch and then switch over to the 442 for groceries just because they can?

These celebrities have made that dream a reality. Some of them you may know, others you may have forgotten about, but their collections are cool, big, and treasured by their owners.

Jay Leno

The most obvious on the list, Leno’s garage holds cars and bikes alike, and his collection is so big he stores it in a hanger known as his “Big Dog Garage.” He even has his own show, Jay Leno’s Garage, on CNBC where he gets to show them off, review others, and have guests show theirs.

His collection include a 1963 Jaguar E-Type Coupe, 1955 Mercedes 300 SL Coupe, 1994 McLaren F1, 1955 Buick Roadster, 1986 Lamborghini Countach, and a steam-driven 1906 Stanley Steamer.

Also, he got to drive Batman’s Tumbler.

Ralph Lauren

This fashion mogul also has a strong passion for vintage cars and their designs. And can you blame him? Lauren’s cars have the beautiful, classic and curvy look absent from most cars today, and he’s featured them beside the runway in a recent fashion show and has exhibited parts of his collection in museums throughout the years.

Lauren prefers European cars, as seen in his D.A.D. Garage. Some of the rarer models he has includes a 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe, a 1950 Jaguar XK120, and a 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Volante Drophead Coupe.

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Complete Guide for Buying Tow Mirrors

tow mirror attached to pickup sunny day

 

Towing mirrors give such an extended rearward view, they’re essential for any towing job.

But there’s no one-size-fits-all. How do you know what’s right for your truck?

Deciding which options are most compatible with your vehicle can make the upgrade go a lot smoother. Let’s review what’s available.

Snap-On, Suction, and Clip-On Tow Mirrors

If you don’t want to remove the side view mirrors, there’s a few ways you can transform them into a towing aide. These extensions will take minutes to install, no tools needed.

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Complete Guide for Buying Shocks & Struts

DIY auto repair - man changing his shocks & struts

When your shocks or struts wear out, you’ll notice a difference in ride quality. You’ll feel the bounce as you drive down the street, and you may lose some control of the steering. Without shocks and struts, your wheels would bounce freely as they make contact with the road, springing the body of your car up and down like a bouncy house on wheels. While this sounds fun, it is dangerous. It’s important to replace worn shocks and struts before the driving worsens and becomes unsafe.

So where do you start? There are so many different options to choose from it can get confusing out there. This is a guide to help you make sense of the different kinds available so that finding the right one for your vehicle can be easier and a little stress free. But first, in case you didn’t know, it’s important to understand the difference between a shock and a strut.

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Did a Tax on Chicken Change the Pickup Truck Industry?

Subaru Brat in a Brook with a Bridge Featured in Background
Subaru Brat Created as an Attempt to Circumvent the “Chicken Tax”

 

It sure did. A German tax on imported chicken from the 1960s is still affecting where and how trucks are built and what trucks are available in the US – even though the original German tax has expired! International trade is complex and the results can be strange. Cheap chicken in the ‘60s is the reason you can’t get a Ford Ranger in the US today.

Why was there a Tax on Chicken in the ’60s?

Following World War II, US chicken farms became extremely productive, bringing down the price of chicken not only in the US, but in Europe. Cheap imported chicken led West Germans to eat 23% more chicken than before. That was great news for German chicken eaters and American chicken farmers, but bad news for German chicken farmers, who couldn’t produce chicken cheap enough to compete. In 1961, to keep German chicken farmers from going out of business, Germany imposed a tax on imported chicken. France, in a similar situation, followed suit.

The tariff became a point of contention between the US and Germany. German Prime Minister Konrad Adenauer later reported that most of his conversations with President Kennedy were about chicken.

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A/C Not Working? Here’s How to Diagnose It

 

Does your car have a broken A/C? On a hot and humid day, that’s the worst. No one wants to feel like a fried egg, and sometimes putting the windows down just doesn’t cut it. So here’s a list of symptoms that can help you diagnose what’s wrong with your car’s air conditioning.

Just find your symptom on the list, and we can tell you what to check so you can troubleshoot the problem.

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