Past GSRTech

I decided that instead of just changing the GSRTech info each month that I would save the past articles and tips in another area. This way if you missed something, you could find it all in one place. Each Tech, Tip or Update is highlighted in RED so you can skim through the list easily. So get searching and find some tips and info you "forgot" about...;) Make sure to check out the GyrlSpeed Garage section coming in Spring 2014. Some of the info listed here may also be in the current or past videos!

TIP OF THE MONTH:
Check your ride's bulbs and make sure they ALL work. Most importantly make sure your headlights and tail lights are in working order. I know I can't stand seeing cars with one headlight or tail light working. Think about it, you don't walk around with one eye closed, right? So why would you drive that way? I suggest getting Sylvania Silverstars or the Sylvania Silverstar Ultras. They made my old bulbs (which I thought were bright) look like they weren't even on! They are a direct replacement just 100 times better. You can get your own pair at your local Auto Parts store. They cost between $40 and $50 bucks a pair. They are a little costly but when you see the difference...it's worth it.

TECH: PCV VALVE
All I have to say is PCV Valve or Positive Crankcase Ventilation Valve. Sounds scary but it's not. Basically it's a little valve that does a lot. It helps keep compounds (junk) out of the crankcase and off of the engine's interior surfaces. Make sure to change this valve and hose every time you get or do an oil change. Not doing so may result in loss of compression, high idle and loss of power. Depending on your vehicle, it costs between $5 and $10 to replace (since you're doing it yourself) so do it now. It's one of those little things that go unnoticed but contributes alot to how your ride runs.

TECH: STRUT TOWER BARS
Here's something everyone needs to know when dealing with Strut Bars or Strut Tower Braces. Think you can just unscrew those strut bolts and screw them back on...NOPE! What is torque you say? No it's not that old flop motorcycle movie with Ice Cube. Simply put, torque is the force that turns or rotates something. In this case, turning the strut bolts. Make sure that ONLY the specified amount of torque is used to tighten those bolts. Believe me, I know better and still managed to overtorque bolts to my top engine mount...and THAT turned out to be costly. Anyway, overtighten them and they can cause your strut bolts to snap. You do that, and you'll probably need a new strut mount...see where this is going? The easiest way to handle this is to get yourself a good Torque Wrench. With a good torque wrench, all you have to do is set the dial to the torque amount that you'll need for the job. For example, the torque setting I would need for my strut tower bar (front) is between 21 and 22 ft/lbs of torque. Hope this helps when putting on your new strut bar...or any other part for that matter. [NOTE: The torque setting listed is for Saturn S-Series (coupe, sedan and wagon) ONLY! Please check to find the proper setting for YOUR vehicle before doing so!]

TIP: MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE
Now that the weather has changed, it's time for you to pull out that Owner's Manual. You know, that thing that came in the glove box that tells you all about your baby? Yeah, that. Well open it up, it's time to get back on track with taking care of your car. And I know you're gonna say: "I get my oil changed every 3 months or 3,000 miles!". That's great but that's not all you need to pay attention to. What about those Belts (not around your waist) and hoses? These are not just things you should check on a regular basis but things you should check as a part of your OVERALL car maintenance schedule. While you can follow a standard maintenance schedule, it is still best to follow the one that was specifically set up for your car. Now if your car has over 100,000 miles, there are things that you should keep an eye on or replace because of the mileage. My car is special so she tells me when she needs something changed. Your car is not like mine so you need to follow proper maintenance. Of course belts, battery and bulbs are obvious but what about your exhaust system and transmission fluids. These are things to stay on top of all year around. For example, you haven't checked your transmission fluid since you bought the car and now you can't figure out why it won't shift...the trans is dry!!! What I'm saying is, don't wait until something has fallen off in your driveway or on Roosevelt Boulevard before you get it checked out.

TIP: CAR CARE
Warm weather and washing your car by hand...oh the smell of dish washing liquid!!!!!! Don't even try it! Think about it: You use dish liquid to get rid of week old lasagna in that glass dish or the pan you fried up that 10 pound steak in. Now WHY in the world would you use it to wash your car? Although it may look okay now, you will slowly start to see your finish getting duller and duller with time. Why? Because dish soap is eating away any protectants you put on the car like wax and/or polish. And now your clear coat is trying to do all the work...with no help. Do you know what the clear coat does? IT PROTECTS YOUR PAINT! Please! Please! Please! (In a James Brown voice) don't use it. If you don't have the proper car wash handy, don't even bother washing your ride until you can get some. Or if you need your baby cleaned immediately (am I really saying this) take her to a car wash. But ONLY if it's brushless/soft touch. That way, you won't get those lovely swril marks that show up over time in your paint that those brushes cause. Not too many car wash places use them anymore but just in case there are, on to the next one!

TIP: CLEANING AIR INTAKES
All I have to say is PCV Valve or Positive Crankcase Ventilation Valve. Sounds scary but it's no. Basically it's a little valve that does a lot. It helps keep compunds (junk) out of

TIP: FIBERGLASSING
All I have to say is PCV Valve or Positive Crankcase Ventilation Valve. Sounds scary but it's no. Basically it's a little valve that does a lot. It helps keep compunds (junk) out of

TIP: INSPECTIONS
All I have to say is PCV Valve or Positive Crankcase Ventilation Valve. Sounds scary but it's no. Basically it's a little valve that does a lot. It helps keep compunds (junk) out of

TIP: OIL CHANGES
Have you done an oil change lately? Good. I'm sure you made sure to drain your oil and have the right size pan to catch it...I'm also sure that you replaced the oil filter and the right number of quarts as well. All good things. But one last question is: Did you check your oil drain plug and gasket? Ahhhhhh, I bet you didn't. A rule of thumb for me is to check my oil drain plug and gasket (if you have one) at EVERY oil change because if your plug is stripped, it won't hold the oil as well as it should. Better yet, if your gasket is old and worn, you can leak oil...and leaking oil is NEVER a good thing. So guess what? The next time you get under your ride and change the oil, don't just pull the plug...check it too!

WINTER UPDATE:
With this Winter Tech update, I decided that GSRTech would focus on our Garages. If you're into cars, even just a little, it is necessary to have some if not all of these things in your garage. You can't even do the simplest things to your ride without any tools and if you can then you're probably a robot. Anyways, here are 10 things EVERY gyrl, I mean everyone should have in their garage.

1. Basic Toolkit:
This is a necessity! It should include the basics like screwdrivers: phillips and flathead, pliers: standard and needlenose, ratchet and sockets, torque wrench, tweezers (not for your eyebrows), scissors, etc. You can get a good basic toolkit for around $60. A torque wrench is not part of a basic toolkit but you can get one for $20 and up.

2. Shoplight:
You definitely need a decent shoplight when you're working at night. Yes you will have other lighting but sometimes you need a shoplight to get up close and personal under that hood. Shouldn't run you more than $20 bucks...$10 if you catch it on sale.

3. Protective Gear:
I want you to be safe and yes you will break a nail or two but that's not all we want to worry about. You should have some protective gloves that are thick enough to protect your hands but not too thick where you cna't grip tools like you need to, I suggest Mechanics Snap On or even baseball gloves. They should cost between $10-$35 a pair. Make sure to get some latex style gloves too when you're working with liquids like oil, coolant, trans fluid, etc. Also grab some protective eyewear. I suggest the old school lab lech look or some of the newer styles that are more sleek and protect just as well...$5 to $25. Last but not least, grab a mask (not for your whole face)...one that will cover your mouth and nose area. You can grab a pack of 3 for about $2 to $5 a pack. These are for basic use. If you are doing more detailed work such as sanding in painting, you may want to get a semi respirator style, which is a standard face style but thicker and has a filter. These are to be used a few times and then thrown away. They are about $5 to $8 each. A full respirator style with replaceable filters can start at about $25 and up.

4. Oil Filter Wrench:
Since you will be doing all your own oil changes, you will need an oil filter wrench. These are fairly cheap and although sometimes you can even use your hand to screw oil filters off, you still need one. There are two basic types of oil wrenches, one looks like a band with a handle on it that slips around the oil filter. The other looks like a cap and it fits on the top of the filter. Now, I will say that these filters don't always catch onto every filter but it's better to have one then not. If you use K&N oil filters like I do, you don't have to worry about either of these because they have a 1inch nut on the top that allows you to remove the filter with ease. Anyway, you'll spend about $5 bucks...oh wait, you do know what an oil filter is...right?

5. Haynes Manual:
This is a necessity!...if your vehicle does not have a manual available, it may be a good thing. Personally, certain vehicles should not be poked around underneath the hood by the home mechanic. Moving on...this is an absolute must for the beginner. If you don't get one, you cannot read on any further! (Well, you can, I just wanted to say that.) The Haynes manual will help you, in pretty good detail to do the basic and not so basic maintenance to your ride. First of all, it will teach you what's what and what it does. With this manual, you will learn the basics to do oil changes, brake jobs and other maintenance jobs you give to your local shops. It will also show you how to do your own teardowns and rebuilds to a certain extent(don't get scared but it's there if you want to try it). I'm suggesting the Haynes manual and not the Chilton manual because Chiltons gets extremely detailed. I think you should get a Chiltons later on once you are familiar with your vehicles' layout and system. The Haynes manual will cost between $15 and $22.

6. Touch Up Paint:
Very simple. Keep a small touch up pen, bottle or can of touch up paint along with automotive clear in your garage. You'll be surprised at all the little rock chips and scratches that pop up from everyday driving. Fix them as soon as you notice them...you'll be happy you did. From the local parts store, you can get a touch up pen or small bottle for around $7. If you want a custom can mixed up for slightly larger jobs, you'll need to contact an automotive paint place...still not expensive at about $25 to $30.

7. Tire Pressure Gauge:
Another must have...tire pressure gauge. You'd be surprised with how much your ride will go down the road if your tires have the correct air pressure. It's also to help keep your gas mileage in order as well. Not sure where to find the correct psi/air pressure amount for your tires? There is a placard or plate on your door sill that tells you the proper tire pressure. You can also look at your tires (duh). On the sidewall, your tires will list what the maximum tire pressure is...it's not exactly what your vehicle calls for BUT it tells you the maximum amount of air specific to that tire. Also, if you have a newer vehicle, you will probably have a TPMS or Tire Pressure Monitoring System. This system automatically tells you when your tire pressure is low or there's a problem going on. I STILL recommend having a tire pressure gauge just in case something is going on with one of the sensors. Sooo, grab a tire pressure gauge for $3 - $6 bucks or for your techies, a digital one for around $10.

8. Jack and Jack Stands:
Now that you're familiar with your ride, it's time to jack that baby up! No superwoman, with a floor jack. It is so easy to jack up your car since that jack is doing all the work. Check your owner's manual to see where your jack points are. Now, if it's for a quick job like changing a tire, you won't need jack stands(this is usually true when you're in an emergency situation and just putting on a spare tire. If you are changing more than one wheel, I recommend jack stands). If you are doing something such as changing your oil, you'll absolutely want to put your ride on jack stands since you will be underneath the vehicle. When jacking up the front of your ride, make sure to place a block or brick behind each of the back tires as well as put on the e-brake. This will ensure that the vehicle will not roll backwards or move while you're working on it. Also, and I have to say this: *MAKE SURE YOU ARE WORKING ON LEVEL GROUND! DO NOT do this on a sloped driveway or uneven surface! I am not responsible if you turn yourself into a pancake. You can actually get a good set of jackstands and a floorjack for about $35. The one I picked up even had a creeper...small enough for my daughter to use but I can use it if need be.

9. Bodywork Materials:
For those of you who are do-it-yourself gyrls and guys, you definitely need to have bodywork materials in your garage. Basic materials such as spot putty, bondo and fiberglass repair kits should be on your shelves. These materials can help you take care of small fixes that bodyshops can do with their eyes closed. Now don't get me wrong, there are repairs that should go to a bodyshop but things such as minor cracks/splits can be fixed by you. My suggestion is to practice on things from the junkyard BEFORE you try it yourself. Mess around with bondo and fiberglass/resin, like how to mix it properly as well as getting used to setting times. I wanted it done so I did it without having done it before...not bad advice but I've been lucky that my repairs have turned out good. Depending on what brand, type and amount of materials, cost will be $4 to $30 each.

10. Air Compressor and Accessories:
Oh yes, I went there! You need an air compressor in your garage. Not just the compressor but the air tools that go with it. If you get a good kit, you are on your way to being a pro! The kit should have everything you need to take your wheels off to painting your bodykit. Uh huh, I said paint your bodykit. Oh, you were going to take it somewhere to have it painted? I don't think so! Do it yourself. The kit that I have came with an impact wrench, tire gauge setup, spray gun and attachment, 99 piece toolkit, various spray gun nozzles, staple gun, etc. I will say that as I became more knowledgable about parts, I realized that the spray gun with the kit was not for automotive painting...nor did the toolkit have the best parts BUT it's what you need to get started and get better. In the end, it's about you being serious about doing your own work. As far as pricing, I purchased a kit some years ago that had all the stuff I listed above. I'm not sure if they still sell a kit like this, if so, it would probably be at least $200. Otherwise, you can start with getting an air compressor for at least $70, more if it has a bigger air tank.

So there you have it. 10 things EVERY gyrl...and guy should have in their garage. Did I miss something? Do you have something in your garage that I didn't list? Email me and tell me what I missed...maybe I'll update the list!

By the way, did you notice that I did not list all the places where you can get these items? That is because you can get them almost anywhere...some places are better than others and I know you know how to bargain shop. And don't have a hissy fit thinking you have to run out and get all this stuff today. Just add these pieces as much as your pocket allows. Well add them if there are no shoe sales going on...yes, I do understand!!!!

 

 

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