Random Photo shoot

A few days ago I was feeling a bit sad as I realized that the “car show” season is coming to an end. I figured what better way to deal with the depression of the on coming winter months then taking the opportunity to shoot some fall photos. Here are a few of my photos. Thanks to Sean Joy for the use of this 1960 Thunderbird during the session. Full size photos from this slide show can also be seen under the Photography tab.

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By Craig Rivest

Top 10 Basic Tools of the Trade

All too often seasoned techs in the automotive field take for granted the tools they have and use on a daily basis. Recently, my shop hired a new lube tech and it got me thinking. What are the tools I use daily, and what tools should every shop tech or back yard mechanic have in their tool box? Sure, tools will vary amongst different skill sets, different variations of the trade and tech responsibilities. Here, I’ve come up with my Top 10″ list of tools that I find myself using more frequently then others. This goes without saying, that I’m sure if your a already shop tech or back yard mechanic, you already own the basics, such as screw drivers, wrenches, ratchets etc. The following is my list of tools that I feel are commonly over looked and sometimes after thoughts only to be noticed when you don’t have them.

1. Eye and Ear Protection

Shops can be loud places and two of the most vital senses for doing the job are sight and hearing. Why put yourself at risk for future problems when you can prevent them now. This goes without saying that eye and ear protection is a must for any shop or back yard mechanic.

2. Magnetic Flashlight

With any job, you are almost certain that at some point you will need to be able to see better in a dark spot. A magnetic flashlight will come in handy when that third hand is needed for shedding more light on your work area.

3. Oil Filter Claw

There are many types or oil filter wrenches on the market, some good, some not so good. I prefer the claw type oil filter wrench over the band or cup style. The claw style oil filter wrench is adaptable to confined areas and can fit almost any size filter.

4. Flex Head Ratchet

We all know that you can’t turn a bolt without a ratchet or wrench of some sort, and most of us only have a straight handle style ratchet. My ratchet of choice is a flex head style handle and the one I use 90% of the time. Having a flex head makes gaining access to nuts and bolts in tight areas easy. A flex head can also help speed up removing nuts and bolts, similar to that of a speed handle.

5. Extendable Pocket Magnet

Have you ever been working in an engine bay and “Oops”, you dropped that small nut or bolt? You can see it, but just can’t get your finger on it? Well my friends, be glad that you read this blog and you now have your handy pocket magnet to reach that nut or bolt.

6. Air Pressure Gauge

Any good mechanic knows that a properly inflated tire helps reduce tire wear and increases gas mileage. Having the ability to accurately check and fill tires fast is extremely beneficial. Here is where a digital tire pressure gauge come in handy.

7. Tire Plug Kit

This particular tool isn’t used as often as the others, but you’d be surprised in use it does get. When a customer comes in with a nail in their tire and you can’t fix it, they may not come back to your shop in the future for other repairs. This is also great for any mechanic to have in their tool box, not just those of us in shops.

8. Quality Impact Gun

I prefer the quiet baffled impact guns, as it saves on noise pollution in the shop (see item 1. in list). This goes without saying that an air source of some sort is needed to be able to use an impact gun. More and more backyard mechanics are buying home compressors as the availability is so easy to obtain and benefits of owning are great.

9. Assorted Hammers

Having a variety of hammers in your tool box is key to finishing many jobs. Now remember, your an auto mechanic and not a carpenter, no need for claw hammers here! A ball pein hammer, a nice dead blow and a small sledge would be perfect options.

10. Digital Multi-Meter

This one starts to boarder on more advanced mechanics, but should not be forgotten for the novice. Having a quality DVOM (Digital Volt Ohm Meter) will give you accurate results for those pesky electrical issues that advanced mechanics deal with. It is also a great tool for the novice in diagnosing battery, starting and charging issues.

By Craig Rivest

A Mechanic’s Misconception

In today’s day in age with an economy that’s struggling to maintain itself, you often hear people complain about how much something costs, especially when it comes to paying for services that people cannot complete on their own. One major area people feel vulnerable is with their vehicles. Sure everyone knows that an engine gives your vehicle power to run and that tires are essential in how your car handles, but when there is an issue, people often feel left in the dark about how to fix and maintain their vehicle properly.

This brings in your auto mechanic, who often gets a bad reputation from common misconceptions, a bad experience elsewhere or simply because the communication and understanding of complex mechanical operations is not known. For instance, I’m sure everyone has heard a story from a friend who just spent an arm and a leg at the mechanic, and says they would not go back there? Being a mechanic myself, I am constantly being asked advice from friends and family if what they experienced is normal.

Sure, you are going to come across shady mechanics, but you’re also going to come across shady restaurants, shady carpenters, shady landscapers and we all know about the shady banks. If you have a bad meal at one restaurant, that is not going to stop you from eating out at a different restaurant that you like. So why do mechanic’s get such bad reputations as a whole?

Being a mechanic in local repair facility has made me open my eyes to the neglect the average person has for their vehicle. On a daily basis I see issues that need to be addressed for safety or a vehicle with poor performance from improper maintenance. Often, repair for these issues is refused for a variety of different reasons. I also see issues from work performed by the home mechanic, or less skilled who serviced something wrong, then it has to be re-fixed by a certified mechanic, which often costs more then it should have the first time.

Now let’s focus on the details and logistics behind why people are confronted with quotes for service they were not expecting, when all that was asked for was a simple oil change. When any shop takes a vehicle in for service, it is the obligation of the shop to recommend any additional work that is found which requires attention. This is mainly done in the vehicle’s best interest, it’s called “Preventative maintenance”, and after all, this is your car, its part of your family. You wouldn’t deny yourself or a family member medical attention if it was desperately needed would you? Another reason for detailing out current or future problems is for shop liability, and if not noted, a customer can come back to the shop if something happens to the vehicle and put blame on the shop. Lastly, if a safety concern is found, it must be noted for liability. If work is refused, it should be stated “customer declined work”, or something similar to wave possible insurance problems in the event something serious happens due to the safety concern. Some shops will not even let a vehicle leave the shop lot, unless it’s towed away if a serious safety concern was found.

I do understand the frustration, as costs for everything is going up and people are trying to get the most out of their dollar. People often turn to the “chain store oil change place” instead of the local mechanic. Sure these chain stores offer more then just oil changes, but they are a conglomerate and not really in it for the satisfaction of truly helping a customer. You might not be getting the same quality and expertise you are actually searching for. One thing to keep in mind is that locally owned mechanics are responsible, willing to get dirty and will go out of their way to keep a customer for life. Remember, that local mechanics are often times your neighbor and are trying to make a living just like the rest of us. Local mechanics are here to serve the customer, and it is in their best interest to treat the customer in a way that deserves respect back.

Photo credits to Jerry at Forty’s Carburetor and Auto Repair.



By Craig Rivest

Picture of the day

I came across this photo while searching random blogs. I absolutely love the color contrast of this old Chevy with a Black and White background. It’s definitely re-post worthy for those who love automotive photography.

Really nice photo by Stuart Mitchell

He has more nice shoots over at his flickr site

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By Craig Rivest

Automotive NONO!

I know this is a repost but I thought it would be blog worthy for those who may have missed it the first time.

This happy Honda owner was so excited about the purchase of his rust free 1990 Honda CRX, that he immediately ran out to his local hardware store to buy mailbox letters, that he now proudly displays on the back of his “1990 CRX” for all to admire.

::DISCLAIMER:: Story depicted here may not accurately represent the views of the vehicle’s owner. 🙂

By Craig Rivest

Engine removal 101, quick and easy.

Have you ever wondered how to remove an engine, or what kind of special tools you will need to perform such a complicated task? Maybe its the amount of time that it takes that has scared you from performing your own motor swaps in your hotrods? Not to worry, I found a video on the web with everything you need to know about removing your vehicles engine in 30 seconds flat? Yes! You may be thinking, this isn’t possible? Prepare to be amazed, because it is possible to remove that tired old mill you call a motor in mere seconds.

Reckless Abandon

I spotted this beauty one day while in my local salvage yard. To some, this old Ford may just be another heep in the yard, but I recognized it as a lost treasure of American history. Sure, I may not have always thought as I do now about the beauty of old iron relics that have been laid to rest in salvage yards have. Finding this rusted and weathered truck got me thinking, thinking about all the years I have been collecting parts in junkyards, and what I have missed to appreciate in the past when I was younger, and less knowing. Seeing this truck now, in its finial glory, it was calling to me to be remembered. It was begging me, “Please Don’t Forget Me! Please don’t forget the work I had done and the foundation I helped build”. I just happened to stumble across this truck, to which I was able to take this picture to forever immortalize this beauty.

By Craig Rivest

Two vintage automobiles wrecked by out of control Lexus at car show

So I did some research on an interesting picture that I recently came across of on the web. It was of a 67 Pontiac Lemans and a 40 Ford Roadster that were involved in an interesting and wacky wreck. From what I was able to research, the wreck occurred a few years ago out in California during a car show. The 67 Pontiac and the 40 Ford were parked in a parking lot, in legal parking spaces, when a woman driving a Lexus wildly careened into the two vintage automobiles. Apparently the woman was surprised by the car show while entering the parking lot and mistakenly hit the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal resulting in the carnage displayed below.
Take a minute to read the entire article over at Jalopnik and don’t forget to click on the first hyperlink within the article to see more pictures from the wreck. One of which shows the driver of the Lexus who looks to be nursing a sore wrist. Can’t help but think, that I wish the Lemans only had a sore wrist.

Sources cited from Jalopnik, links below.
1967 Pontiac LeMans that was victim of brutal Lexus attack turns up at auction
Lexus attacks two classic cars

By Craig Rivest

GM is recalling its new Chevy Sonic to see if they forgot your brake pads.

Yes, it appears that the new Chevy Sonic may be a new breed of brake-less vehicles, thought to enhance fuel efficiency by reducing the drag created by a vehicles braking system. If you are sensing my sarcasm then you are keeping up thus far.

According to the General Motors Corporation, it has issued a recall of 4,296 Sonic’s for the 2012 model year, that are built at the Orion Township assembly plant in Michigan. The recall will have dealers inspect for missing inboard or outboard brake pads and replace as necessary.

Good news is, that customers of the new Sonic will start receiving their notices of the recall beginning on Jan 14th. Again, Sarcasm! If you’re reading this and own a 2012 Sonic, I wouldn’t wait till you receive a letter to have your new purchase inspected.

By Craig Rivest

Local Mass Brewers License Change

Here is Massachusetts; the local Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission of the Commonwealth (ABCC) wants to make a change to the current “Farmer-Brewer” License law. The change is designed to promote local economic growth by requiring smaller brewers to grow 50 percent of their raw materials themselves or buy from local farmers, in hopes to encourage the development of domestic farms here in the Commonwealth.
This change to the license would actually hurt the local brewers business. Many of the states brewers have claimed that Massachusetts lacks the infrastructure needed to produce enough malt and hops to keep these brewers going on local crops alone. Holyoke’s Paper City Brewery, which is a very small entity located in urban Holyoke would not be able to grow its own materials because of location and most of the local crop fields already spoken for. In just one day they can use a thousand pounds of crops, not to mention other larger brewery’s material use would need to be much larger to sustain they daily production.
If a local brewery was not able to abide by the new law change, then they would have to apply for a manufacturing license, which does not allow for the sale of on-site beer or allow self distribution. The brewer would then have to hire a distributor to sell its product and significant portion of it profits would be lost in doing so.
Cited Links for further reading.
By Craig Rivest