Overland Park Auto Repair

Mon - Fri: 7:30 AM - 5:30 PM

Monthly Archives: March 2013

Changing a tire safely (Part II)

Today, at my Overland Park auto repair shop, we have the luxury of using five-ton, two post hydraulic lifts which are very safe provided the vehicle is staged properly. We even use custom-made hickory blocks to safely set a vehicle just right. If we use a floor jack or bottle jack, we always place a metal jack stand under as a backup, whether we are crawling under the car or not. All our floors are level, so if you are doing this at home on a slope, always block the wheels at the other end. A front wheel drive will roll if you jack up the front, a rear wheel drive if you jack up the rear. Here is something else to think about. A three-legged stool is steadier than a four-legged one, but a car is shaped like a rectangle. So if you raise a car in the air and place a jack stand at each corner under the solid frame, you may find one of the jack stands is not holding anything. Very unsafe! This is because car frames are stronger than one might think and the floor may not be perfectly leve ... read more

Changing a tire safely (Part I)

Changing a tire safely (Part I)

I started working on car repair and maintenance unsupervised at the age of 13. My uncle Donnie, who was the chief mechanic at my dad’s farm implement dealership, taught me valuable lessons on properly using jacks, chains and come-alongs. I have always been impressed by the power of leverage and hydraulics. This knowledge can be lifesaving and very handy when working on your own car in your garage or driveway. I was first inspired by watching my uncle replace a worn-out combine axle bearing in a wheat field in western Kansas. A for-hire wheat harvester AKS “customer cutter” had a front axle bearing grind itself up in the field and finally came to a halt. My uncle, being the field mechanic for my dad, assessed the situation and told the farmer to bring his massive 4×4 Steiger tractor and the longest chain he could find. We had a few short chains, come-alongs, a large (but not large enough) bottle jack, and a pile of railroad ties in the service truck. The farmer pulled ... read more

Know your tow rope etiquette (Part II)

I surely missed being around for this week’s snow. Our Overland Park auto service received record amounts of the white stuff but it appears most people took warnings seriously and stayed home. Here are a few funny stories from times when people did not stay home! One time I helped a couple stuck in a large Overland Park parking lot drift that kept getting deeper as they drove into it. (Let off the gas if your tires spin applies here– and don’t panic.) I was pulling him in reverse and soon as the van broke free he gunned it, heading right for my truck. I gunned it too, and swung my truck out of the way and he whizzed by in reverse. Luckily the tow rope fell loose and he was set free. I also ask, “Have you ever been pulled out of the snow before?” If they say, “Yes, every time it snows,” I may be dealing with a repeat offender and use more caution here. When people are a half a block from home they can get pretty frustrated and not listen. I helped one woman with ... read more