The 3 Essential Power Tools to Flawlessly Paint Your Car

By: Paul Kearney

To be completely honest, even the hardest working do-it-yourself-er cannot do a perfect paint job. But don’t feel bad about it, because there are even some specialty workshops that cannot do that. The great thing though, if you would see it, is that you do not have to get a paint job as perfect as the one a factory or one of those car shows on TV would. Just a few gallons of paint, and a lot of hard work, can get a car so close to perfection that no one would be able to tell the difference if you were cruising by. In fact, you can get it so close that even on close scrutiny, as long as the lighting conditions were not perfect, say on a cloudy day or late in the afternoon, most people could not tell the difference.

The secret of an excellent homemade paint job is in the quality and time you take to get the car and the painting environment ready. For one, you will need a shed or a garage of some sort that you can empty out completely and get it so clean that you could have an operation in there and not worry about infection. Next you need to get the car ready and here are the tools you will need to do that.


A Drill or a Rotary Tool

There is just one thing that ruins an existing paint job to the point where you will need to repaint the car, and that is rust. If your car is completely rust free and the paint is just faded you may want to consider simply giving the car a good polish. However, if you are dealing with rust you need to make sure that you can get rid of it all before moving on to a paint job or else you will see that rust coming back in less than 6 months; and that is if you are lucky. So you will need to use a rotary tool or a drill equipped with a wire brush and just clean up as much of the rust as you can. After that you will need to use some chemical cocktail that you can get at your local paint store, to eradicate that rust. Next you will want to use some filler to smooth out the rusted area, and then you will need to move on to the next tool.


An Oscillating Tool or an Orbital Sander

If you want to get a near perfect paint job, you will end up spending so much time with an oscillating tool in your hand that you will grow to feel naked without one. First, you will need to use the oscillating tool or the orbital sander to clean away the excess filler that you have used on the previous stage. Next you will need to use it to give the entire car a good key and you can do that by using 800 grit wet and dry sand paper. After that you will want to paint some sort of primer on the entire car, and give that a good once over with your sander tool of choice. And then, depending on how good you want to get your car to look, you will cover the car with anywhere between 2 and 5 coats of paint. After each layer, you will want to let it dry, sand it down, and add the next layer, and then sand it down, a new layer of paint, sander, and so on. Eventually, you may even want to put on a layer of clear coat, but, if you have done your job right with all that sanding, and seeing how clear coat has its own extra challenges, you may want to skip over that. And that leads us to the other important tool you have been using so far.


An Air Compressor and a Paint Gun

If you are to have any chance of actually coming close to a flawless paint job, you will need a good quality paint gun, and, since those only work with air compressors, you will need to get one of those too. You cannot really count on one of those electric spray guns because they do not have the ability to spray a thin enough layer of paint – perhaps this is where we should tell you that the paint needs to come out more like a mist than an actual layer of paint. Also, if you are planning to use paint from a spray can, you might as well just forget about every other step in the preparation process and just go for it because the end result will only be good enough for the scrap yard.


When is the Best Time to Buy a Car?

By: Cheri Shue

So, it’s time to buy yourself (or your spouse) a new car, but are you choosing the right time to buy that new car?  Here are some tricks/tips that will help you decide when to take the plunge and buy that car!

The Best time of Year?
Best Time of Year

  • Spring/Summer – Demand goes down on SUV’s and all-wheel drive vehicles during the summer because people aren’t purchasing them for extreme weather conditions and gas prices have typically increased.
  • Winter – Prices will be much cheaper for convertibles and sports cars during the winter months, especially on used vehicles.
  • Autumn- During the months of September and October dealers want to get rid of their prior year models to make room for the new ones. September and October is generally when you will see the “End of Model Year” Sales Events for many different dealers.

Happy Holidays

During the holidays dealerships are empty and budgets are tight. Dealers are eager to get rid of the prior year’s inventory and are trying to get sales to earn their year-end bonuses. Christmas and New Years are good days to find some awesome discounts!

Best time of Month?
Best Time of Month?

Since most people believe it is smart to go to the dealerships at the end of the month, salesmen are swamped with buyers. If you go the first couple days of the month the dealerships are dead and salesmen are waiting around for sales and willing to make a deal.

With that said, the last couple days of the month can also be good days to go. Salesman are trying to reach their targets for the month to get bonuses.  Just remember that there are a ton of other people who think like you so you may have to wait to find a salesman free.

Hot Tip: The last week of December is the best time to go. People are low on funds, busy with holidays, it’s the end of the month, AND the end of the year!

Best Time of Week and Day?
Best Time of Week & Day

The beginning of the week is the best time to go to dealerships because salesmen are flooded with customers on the weekends. The best time to go is early in the morning; you will have a fresh start with your salesman and most people are at work leaving you with undivided attention.

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How To Install an Air Intake Manifold

This post is for you performance junkies out there. Some of us love going fast. One of the best ways to add more horsepower to your car is by adding a performance intake manifold. Installing an intake manifold is very simple as far as the level of complication involved in general mechanics. However there are some “Do’s and Don’ts” that every professional auto tech follows.



Gather Your Tools

The first step of any car repair is to gather the needed tools. For this repair, you will need a new air intake manifold, a new air intake gasket, a socket set, a torque wrench, a fluid collection pan, engine coolant, and a screwdriver set.

Drain Engine Coolant

Drain the engine coolant by locating the plug on the underside of the radiator reservoir. Place the collection pan underneath this plug and then remove the plug. This will allow the fluid to drain out. You will need a large collection pan to hold all of the engine coolant.

Disconnect Air Intake Manifold

Now you are ready to start removal of the manifold. The manifold will be connected by a variety of sensors and wires. If it is held in place by a screw, it is most likely a sensor. Take note of where they are connected, and then unscrew all of the sensors.

Remove Air Lines

After you have removed the sensors, you are ready to disconnect the air lines. The number of lines will vary by the make and model of your vehicle. You want to remove each of the air lines from the manifold. These will generally look like small rubber tubes.

Remove Bolts

The manifold should be disconnected from all connections at this point, but it will still be held in place by a series of bolts. You want to locate these and then remove them. You will likely need to use your torque wrench to loosen them.

Remove Manifold

Now you are ready to remove the air intake manifold. It should lift easily out of the mount. If there is any rust, you may need to use gentle force to pry it off. Do not use a lot of force as there are many delicate engine components in this area you could damage.

Remove Gasket

Now that the manifold has been removed, you should see the manifold gasket where it attached to the engine. You want to remove this completely. Sometimes the gasket will tear and leave a piece attached. If this is the case, gently scrape it off.

Install New Gasket

Install the new gasket. This will form the seal between the air intake manifold and the engine. Make sure that the gasket is laid flat against the engine.

Install New Manifold

Now you can install the new manifold. Make sure that it lines up with the new gasket when you are placing it in the mount. Re-install the bolts to hold it in place. After the bolts have been installed, you will also need to replace the air lines. These should slide on easily. Finally, you will need to re-install all of the sensors. Install them in their original positions and tighten the screws to hold them in place.

Refill Engine Coolant

The last step is to refill the engine coolant. Make sure that you have replaced the plug before you add coolant. Then, simply fill the reservoir until the coolant level reaches the fill line.

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