Here’s a tidbit of trivia for you. At a recent truck event, your author was told by an OEM engineer that running boards actually help, not hurt, fuel economy. Preliminary wind tunnel testing allegedly showed that the boards direct the air in such a way as to create something of an air curtain along the side of the truck, effectively creating a streamline effect and reducing turbulence. Scything a cleaner path through the air saves fuel. Take from that anecdote what you will.
Whether it’s a prized collector car or simply your daily beater, twisting the key (or pushing the button) only to come up with a fistful of no-go thanks to a dead battery is a deeply disappointing moment. Who left those devices plugged into the always-on 12V socket again?
The ability to serve up a cold drink has vexed automakers for years. There have been a few attempts – the icemaker in an early-90s Previa and cooled gloveboxes powered by ducted air conditioning being good examples – but, by and large, most OEMs haven’t put serious thought into providing an in-car fridge. Vacuum cleaners? Sure! But relatively few refrigerators.
Washing the exterior and cleaning the interior of one’s car is a great way to spend an afternoon – at least in your author’s increasingly muddled mind. Making sure the windows are clear enough to mistake for open sky is also a delight. If they’re as clean as they should be, then there stands the chance you’ll try to retrieve your extra tasty crispy entree at the drive thru without first lowering the window. At which point you’ll have to clean it again.
After assembling a helpful list of car emergency kits, we noticed there are an abundance of kits dedicated to simple first aid. Given that your author has a terrible history of managing to injure himself during even the simplest of jobs, today’s list is very fitting.
The signature characteristic of any gearhead worth their 5W30 is their ability to wrench on a vehicle or hitch up a trailer. Either of these activities generally necessitates the chocking of one or more wheel, lest the whole thing get out of control faster than a Vegas after-party.
Many gearheads are firm believers that a clean car runs better than a dirty one. While there is only anecdotal evidence from which to draw a conclusion about this, it cannot be denied that a clean car is worth more at trade-in time or when pulling up to the curb for your Tinder date.
There will be a few in our readership who are going to immediately point out that cordless drills aren’t strictly an automotive tool or accessory. And, for once, they’re technically correct. The first genre one generally thinks of when an ad for cordless drills appears is the construction industry. An maybe the props department for a science-fiction B-movie.
There’s a theory that the amount of stuff parents need to carry with them is inversely proportional to the age of their kids. Newborns generally require at least 500 diapers and wipes plus a mandatory assortment of toys and attention grabbers. Toss in an ergonomically correct jogging stroller and a pediatrician-approved collapsible play pen and you’ve suddenly no room left in the car for humans.
For those of us unable or unwilling to make monthly payments to an OEM overlord, preventing us from ordering a car exactly as we’d like it from the factory, turning to the aftermarket sates our desire for owning a vehicle that’s a bit different than all the others that left the factory. Beats turning to illicit substances, I suppose.
There’s a general understanding amongst gearheads that no matter how big one’s garage or storage space, it’ll eventually fill up. A two car garage will be just as full as a single, while that 40’ x 40′ unit your neighbor is building will be filled to capacity by year’s end. It’s just the natural order of things.
Not much of the driving advice doled out by my long-suffering father has been retained by your author’s increasingly foggy brain. Gripping the wheel at ten-and-two has been replaced by nine-and-three, although dad’s exhortation that my preferred wheel grip of twelve-and-nothing was absolute bollocks brings a smile to my face even now.
If you’re thinking about using your truck or SUV to tow anything more than a child’s inflatable dinghy, it is an exceedingly good idea to invest in a trailer brake controller. These units, generally about the size of two stacked smartphones, manage the amount of braking force being produced by the electric brakes fitted to your trailer’s axles.
Most of us reading (and writing for) this website either own or have had several terrible hoopties in their fleet at one point or another. In what seems like another lifetime on this site, Jack Baruth once opined that you gotta be rich to own a cheap car and, like it or not, the man had a point. Owning a beater or project car is usually – nay, always – an exercise in spending sums of cash far beyond the original purchase price.