Yearly Archives: 2013

Is your classic ready to hit the road?

Is your classic ready to hit the road?

Although I heard the mention of snow in the Overland Park forecast for next week, I’m going out on a limb and guessing you are more than ready to get your classic car prepped for warm weather driving. There is more to it than removing the tarp and checking the oil! First, do a visual inspection. Walk around the car checking for anything amiss, like leaking fluids. Check under the hood for popped connectors or hoses because this may indicate damage caused by frozen water. Look for cracks or even hoses that are too hard. Be sure to remove any rodent blockers you cleverly installed last fall like paper towels stuffed in the exhaust pipe. You don’t want the mice to have the last laugh when you forget to remove that! Take a good look at your tires. Check for wear—it may be time for an alignment. Also look for dry rot and foreign objects which may have lodged in the tire over the course of the winter. Top off to the correct PSI and make sure the spare is ready to use! While you ... read more

Categories:

Classic Cars

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

Know your tow rope etiquette (Part I)

Know your tow rope etiquette (Part I)

Growing up in western Kansas with parents who owned a farm implement dealership, I was given the job helping people get their stuck cars out of the snow. At the time it was just a chore assigned by my mother, but now I see how much fun it really was. Here in Overland Park, on rare occasion I get the opportunity to relive those times. Not for money, just for fun–and I really enjoy it. I have a four-wheel drive 1990 Ford F150 which I brought back from the dead years ago, after rebuilding the engine, transmission and both differentials, etc. It is our official New Concept Auto Service shop truck (complete with a little rust). After a big snowstorm, I like to help my neighbors out of the snow. Last Thursday, all the employees of our Overland Park auto service made it to work, but as the snow began to fiercely pile up, I sent everyone home. I hung around to monitor the phone. I did follow one of my ASE techs down 87th Street to make sure he got on I-35 toward Olathe. As he made in o ... read more

Public speaking: Facing the abyss

Public speaking: Facing the abyss

I envy people who can stand up in front of a small or large group of people and just talk. In my Kansas grade school for the Christmas play one year I was dressed like a toy soldier with short black pants, white socks and oversized cotton gloves. At the end of the performance my assignment was to face the audience and say, “Cookies and punch will be served after the play.” Not a speaking role, just more of a public service announcement. During the play, I just had to march around with a wooden rifle. One of the older boys, Tim, who liked to tease, kept telling me my socks were showing. I kept saying they are supposed to. I would walk away and inch my pants down a little with each comment. For the life of me I could not memorize the line, so the music teacher gave me a half sheet of paper with the short but informative sentence. I didn’t know how to fold it, so I just wadded it up with my big gloves. When the time came, I made my best little military “right fac ... read more

Categories:

Team New Concept

Five ways to help your car in the bitter cold

It was 14 degrees F at New Concept Auto Service when I unlocked the doors this morning. Although some might not consider that bitter cold, here in Overland Park, Kansas, I think it qualifies! Here are some tips to help ensure your car will start for your frigid morning commute: Fill your tank. Stick with regular grade fuel and make sure your engine has a good tune-up. Premium fuel is a good product and I use it in some of my personal cars. However, it has no specific benefit for cold starting. Premium fuel has a higher octane rating. Higher octane fuel creates less pre-ignition or pinging in the engine especially during hot weather. Unless your car specifically calls for premium fuel, just use regular in the cold weather. Also, ethanol works well in cold weather. Gas stations, especially in metropolitan areas, contain up to 10 percent ethanol as mandated by the EPA. Check the pump and if you have a choice, use the 10 percent ethanol in the cold weather. (E85 gas pumps ... read more

Categories:

Cold Weather

Taking recycling seriously

Taking recycling seriously

It’s been great to see Overland Park and surrounding communities get serious about recycling over the last few years. Besides the handy curbside pickup, you can’t help but notice the bins for glass and paper recycling popping up in many parking lots. There are even bins for donating used clothes and household goods for reuse. As an engineer, I was taught to be efficient with our limited resources and respect Mother Nature, so we have long been good stewards of the environment. You may have noticed our “Excellence in Environmental Management” award from Quaker State Oil hanging in our Overland Park auto service lobby. That was awarded to us through Kansas State University in recognition of dedication to protecting the environment. In addition to properly disposing of all fluids, our employees are meticulous about sorting materials into several different trash cans. We also feel pretty good about donating scrap metal. According to the Automotive Recyclers Association, rec ... read more

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