Geeking Out: Garage Technology for Gearheads

Saturday, March 17th, 2018
A well planned garage ready for a garage technology upgrade

The garage isn’t usually the first thing people consider when choosing a home or making upgrades to existing digs, but garages serve important functions for people who have them, and some of us spend more time in them than others. Sound familiar? If you find yourself working in a setup that’s become stale or boring, here’s an overview of the abundance of available garage technology to spruce up your space and help you have the best possible experience in your home workshop.

Saving the Planet

The construction and energy industries have come a long way in the past 20 years. As a result, you can now install specially developed materials for insulation in places that lack HVAC accessibility, like your garage, to cut down on heating and cooling costs in extreme temperatures.

You can also get energy-saving lightbulbs that last longer, burn brighter and require less power to run. And let’s not forget the advent of alternative energies like solar power. With a little commitment, you can install a solar photovoltaic panel on your roof to run your garage appliances — and, in some cases, even sell power back to your local grid.

Safety Concerns

The garage is the first line of defense in home protection. To help keep your home secure, consider installing live-access surveillance systems that you can view from your smartphone or computer. Some of these systems can also send real-time alerts to you if the garage door is opened unexpectedly. If you’re doing work with running engines or other potential hazards, there are smart alarms for fire and carbon monoxide levels.

Climate Change

Certain apps allow you to manipulate the temperature in your space from afar or schedule times for the heat or A/C to turn on and off. Do you hate stepping into the cold garage from your house? Warm it up before you get there. You can also install radiant heat floors, which both melt snow and ice on winter days and effectively heat the space.

Tech Stations

When planning the layout of a modern workspace, don’t forget to account for your technology needs. Incorporate charging stations complete with USB outlets and mounts for tablets or other DIY video sources. Set up some Bluetooth speakers to keep the tunes coming all day long — and don’t forget to mount them close enough to an outlet to plug in when the battery dies.

Work Enablers

If you run a business out of your garage, make the big investments. If you have the space and it’s engineer/zoning-approved, why not put in a lift to make your job easier? There are also a number of high-tech diagnostic tools to consider. Tailor the space with creative touches like retractable storage shelves and install oil-resistant, easy-to-clean flooring.


Your garage is connected to your home, so technology can bring them together. Check out smartphone-accessible geo-fencing applications that sense when you’re on your way home or headed out, triggering a cascade of events that starts with lighting your garage and ends with a perfectly heated living room already playing the evening news.

Some things are beyond what most of us can afford, but dreaming is free. Imagine the Bat Cave: There are actually garages in the world with all manner of elevator or underground systems housing full fleets of luxury vehicles and other crime-fighting lair necessities. For the rest of us, though, there’s an app for that.

Check out all the ignition & electrical parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on garage technology, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

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3 Overlooked Car Maintenance Items

Friday, March 16th, 2018
Motorists stranded on the roadside inspecting their vehicle – this could be the result of overlooked car maintenance.

Overlooked car maintenance can put your vehicle on borrowed time. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in covering the basics — tires, engine oil, wiper fluid — that you can forget to take care of other equally crucial, but less obvious areas of automotive care. Sometimes, you may not even know you’ve been neglecting anything important until your mechanic presents you with a grim diagnosis at your next appointment.

Check out these three maintenance items you simply can’t ignore.

1. Automatic Transmission Fluid

Automatic transmissions are sometimes marketed as requiring little or no service. As with all automotive fluids, however, there comes a time when a flush and fill is required for your automatic transmission fluid. Even if your vehicle was sold to you with “lifetime” fluid, you should inspect it every 50,000 miles to ensure that it’s still capable of withstanding the heat and stress of driving. Keep in mind that modern vehicles may requires very specific procedures to service the transmission. Your local NAPA AutoCare is the place most qualified to perform this type of service, which may require a filter replacement, as well.

2. Engine Coolant

Sure, you keep your coolant topped off, but how long has it been since you completely drained and replaced the antifreeze in your engine’s cooling system? Over time, the additives in antifreeze can wear out, which reduces not only its ability to properly regulate your motor’s temperature, but also its ability to protect against corrosion and sludge build-up. If your engine coolant hasn’t been swapped in the past two years or 40,000 miles, then it’s time to do so before this overlooked car maintenance item starts to have a negative effect on the life of your vehicle.

3. Brake Fluid

Like transmission fluid and engine coolant, brake fluid is also negatively affected by heat. Over time, it can absorb moisture and lose its ability to properly transmit the force of the system’s master cylinder to all four wheels, leading to a spongy brake pedal and increased stopping distances. This situation can deteriorate components so gradually that it can be difficult to spot the problem before it becomes a safety issue.

Depending on what type of brake fluid you have in your car — DOT 3, DOT 4 or DOT 5 — you need to stick to a regular change interval to ensure confident stopping power. Speak to your mechanic to be sure, but plan on swapping in new fluid either at every brake pad and rotor change or once every two years, depending on the type of fluid used by your vehicle.

Paying attention to the condition of these hidden fluids will help you avoid any unneeded stress brought on by surprise maintenance issues and keep your car where it belongs: on the road, rather than in the shop.

Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on overlooked car maintenance, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

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5 Tips for Driving in a Hailstorm

Thursday, March 15th, 2018
A vehicle is driving in a hailstorm on a country road.

No one’s favorite pastime is driving in a hailstorm. If you find yourself in one, you’ll want to do everything within your power to get out of it with as little damage to your vehicle and person as possible. Here’s what to do when blackened skies rain down hail while you’re on the road.

1. Don’t Leave Your Vehicle

Not only can hail damage your vehicle, but it can also harm you personally. Although death by hail is infrequent, it is possible that large stones could injure you. Stay in your vehicle until it’s safe to exit.

2. Pull Over as Soon as Possible

When driving in a hailstorm, you’ll find your visibility diminished, perhaps significantly. Further, if the storm is especially severe, hail may accumulate on the roads, making them slippery. Even on a hot day, hail may accumulate enough to affect your vehicle’s steering and handling. As soon as you can, pull off the road. If you’re on a highway, find an overpass, stop underneath it and pull all the way over to the right. Keep your head lamps and emergency flashers on to warn other drivers. Avoid ditches or any low-lying place where water can accumulate rapidly.

3. Mind the Glass

If hail does hit your car, you’ll want to approach the storm from the front. That’s because windshield glass is specially reinforced and less likely to break. Your side and back windows, however, are far more prone to breakage.

4. Protect Yourself and Your Passengers

Once you’re parked and waiting out the storm, move as far away from the windows as possible. This may mean reclining your seat or having your children leave their seats to sit on the floor. If glass begins to break, instruct everyone to cover their face.

5. Deal with Damage Immediately

Fortunately, hailstorms are typically brief, lasting anywhere between five and 10 minutes. But even during that short duration, damage can be severe. Call for help if the damage to your car is extensive. Broken glass and water intrusion may necessitate roadside assistance.

If your car undergoes damage, call your insurance company as soon as possible to file a claim. Take photos of your vehicle and submit them to your insurer, if needed. Keep these photos for your personal records.

Your insurer will evaluate your vehicle and recommend repair options. Some repairs you can handle yourself, such as replacing damaged wiper blades or a smashed headlight. For more serious repairs, it’s a good practice to obtain estimates from up to three shops. Once you’re satisfied with the best repair estimate and you’ve verified the shop’s reputation, have the work done. In most cases, it’ll take one day to complete the repairs. Ask for a written guarantee before you leave the shop.

Check out all the vision and safety parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on driving in a hailstorm, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

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Signs of a Bad Thermostat

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018
A hand removes a vehicle's thermostat.

Thermostats regulate coolant flow to increase or decrease engine temperature. But they do fail, with varying degrees of severity depending on how they’ve failed. Luckily, if you can identify the signs of a bad thermostat, you can address the problem before it takes out your engine.

How It Works

Located where the top radiator hose meets the engine, thermostats open or close in response to coolant temperature. When the thermostat is closed (as it should be when first starting the engine),

The Heat Is On

Thermostats fail because they become weak, stuck open or stuck closed. When a thermostat is stuck open, coolant constantly circulates and the engine takes longer to reach operating temperature. This affects everything from performance to mileage to emissions and will ultimately take years off the engine’s life.

A closed thermostat is a more immediate problem. The radiator relies on coolant flow to work, and without the ability for the coolant to circulate, engine components quickly build up a dangerous amount of heat and become susceptible to major damage.

Keeping Your Coolant

One sign that you might have a stuck-closed thermostat is rapid temperature increase during normal operation. If overheating is indicated on your dash, do not delay in getting it checked out and repaired. Another symptom may be leaks near the thermostat housing. When blocked, the pressure can rupture gaskets and compromise weaker parts of the system at connections.

Problems with heat in the passenger compartment might indicate a stuck-open condition; the interior heat depends on hot coolant circulating through the heater core. Unusual temperature fluctuations noted on the gauge are also a sign of a failing thermostat.

Checking For the Signs of a Bad Thermostat

If you suspect a faulty thermostat, run a few checks. With the engine cold, remove the radiator cap and start the engine. Look to see if the coolant is swirling/flowing immediately — that means the thermostat’s stuck open. If the coolant doesn’t flow after 10 minutes or so and continues to be stagnant after the temperature gauge indicates it’s hot, the thermostat’s likely stuck closed. Replace the radiator cap and turn off the engine. Check the radiator hoses for differences in temperature. If one (usually the top) is cooler, but the bottom is burning up, that indicates the thermostat is stuck closed as well. Do not stick your hand near the front of the engine while the fan and belt are moving, and never remove the radiator cap from a hot engine.

The final test involves removing the thermostat and doing a temperature test. Heat up a pot of water to the stamped temperature on the thermostat and use a pair of pliers to hold it under. You should see it open at the specified temperature, otherwise you know it’s bad.

Thermostat failure can be caused by contaminated fluid or simply an old thermostat with weakened springs. Contamination happens when incompatible coolants are mixed, old coolant is not changed as recommended or particulate matter from gaskets or elsewhere breaks off. Generally you can steer clear of contamination with proper maintenance, but thermostats themselves can also just wear out over time.

Check out all the heating & cooling systems parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on the signs of a bad thermostat, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

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6 Signs You May Have a Bad Water Pump

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018
A bad water pump that has been removed from a car sits on a table.

There are some parts of a vehicle that, when failing, do not need to be immediately replaced. A water pump is not one of those parts. Due to the vital role the pump plays in cooling the engine, if it stops working, there will be fast consequences including possible all-out engine failure. Replacing a bad water pump isn’t a quick job, but it’ll save you from the worse job of replacing your engine. Know the signs of when your pump is dead in the water.

Unhealthy Circulation

The water pump moves coolant through the radiator and around the engine to dissipate heat buildup. Rapidly moving, closely connected metal parts generate a lot of friction, and thus, heat. Too much heat and you end up with components that are warped, melted, fused, broken and otherwise structurally compromised. The water pump is usually pulley driven by the drive belt. Internally, there is an impeller that keeps the system circulating.


One telltale sign of a soon-to-be-faulty water pump is a noticeable coolant leak toward the front of the vehicle. If the car is left overnight and you notice an orange or green (depending on the coolant you use) puddle on the ground, suspect the pump.


A slow leak over time will cause a bunch of gunk to build up around the pump. Look for coolant trails leading down from the pump, or a kind of gelled coolant deposit around the outside. You might also see a good deal of rust around the pump and, if you look closely, pitting (corrosion that creates small holes in the metal) or cavitation (formation of cavities in a liquid) on the mounting surface. All of this indicates a slow leak. While this doesn’t result in immediate failure, it will create a low-coolant condition (which is quite bad) and allow the lubrication protecting the moving parts inside the pump to escape (which will ruin the bearing).


A loose accessory belt will cause a whining noise that increases with acceleration. The fix for this could be as simple as tightening the belt or replacing the tensioner. If you hear a grinding or growling noise from the front of the engine, however, that indicates a bad bearing. There are other bearings on the front of the engine that can fail, but in any case you should immediately take it to a mechanic to confirm and repair the problem.


Once the pump has failed, your engine will overheat. If you haven’t noticed other signs of impending failure, take note of this one. If the “Low Coolant” light comes on, add coolant ASAP and check for a major leak. If the temperature gauge rises above normal or a temperature warning light comes on, pull over and call a tow truck.


If you see smoke or steam coming from your radiator or under the hood generally, your engine is too hot and has probably already suffered a lot of damage. Pull over immediately and call for help. Wait for the engine to cool off before poking around, as you’re dealing with scalding-hot coolant and potentially other unexpected dangers.

Because it’s located in the front of the engine behind the fan, accessing the water pump can sometimes involve a significant amount of tear down. It’s definitely a pain of a component to have replaced, but it’s worth it. Do yourself a favor and pay attention to the warning signs before it’s too late for your engine.

Check out all the heating & cooling systems parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on whether you have a bad water pump, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photos courtesy of Blair Lampe.

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Cars Over 100,000 Miles: Are They Worth It?

Monday, March 12th, 2018
This car odometer is about to hit 100,000 miles.

While shopping for used cars, you’re sure to see low-mileage vehicles favored in advertisements, as if high-mileage vehicles aren’t worth consideration. Online and around town, buyers tend to shy away from high-mileage vehicles on the grounds of their mileage alone.

This is unfortunate, because plenty of cars over 100,000 miles have a lot of life left in them. On the other hand, plenty don’t. To find out whether the high-mileage vehicle you’re considering is a worthwhile option, check out the following.

It’s Just a Number

“100,000” isn’t some magical demarcation line between “old reliable” and “could die any day.” Today’s cars are lasting longer than ever before. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation calculated that the average American car was 11.6 years in 2016 — the highest it’s been since record-keeping started in 1995.

Considering that U.S. residents drove a record number of miles in 2016, according to NPR, it’s safe to assume that many of these vehicles are either pushing the 100,000-mile mark or well over it.

Pros and Cons of High-Mileage Vehicles

Perhaps the best thing about a high-mileage vehicle is that it already has a proven track record. Because it’s run over 100,000 miles without major issues, chances of it running another 100,000 are pretty good.

There are a couple of caveats, though, such as not knowing if it’s been regularly maintained or if the last owner was the first, second or fifth owner. Comprehensive vehicle history reports may contain most of this information, and an objective inspection should reveal any real problems if you’re considering a high-mileage vehicle.

A Few Cars Over 100,000 Miles to Consider

When shopping for cars over 100,000 miles, do some research and even ask your trusted mechanic for their thoughts on the models you’re considering. Don’t ask a salesman unless they’re a friend or family.

Here are a few cars with well-known track records:

  • Toyota Camry: Yes, it’s a vanilla sedan and not exciting at all, but this model lasts forever. There are plenty of examples that still perform great while pushing 100,000 miles or more.
  • Mazda Miata: It’s great fun in a small package, like a go-kart, but it’ll only fit two people and a small suitcase. Stick with manual-transmission models for the most fun and reliability.
  • Ford F-150: For hauling and towing, look no further than America’s best-selling vehicle of all time. Strength, utility and reliability are all key considerations that make this truck worth checking out.
  • Volvo 240: It’s an older car and maybe a little weird-looking, but practically unkillable. Only Nokia makes tougher stuff.
  • Lexus RX: Aside from a few poorly maintained 3.0-liter V6s, most of which have already been scrapped or rebuilt, these SUVs are comfortable and have a great ride. Look for the 350 to avoid sludged 3.0Ls.

Take a look around, ask friends and family and you’ll find plenty of examples of reliable automobiles with 100,000, 250,000 and even 500,000 miles on them. Diesel work trucks regularly run upward of 500,000 miles, often doubling that before needing a rebuild.

There’s plenty of proof out there that you can widen your used-car search to older, perhaps out-of-style, but equally reliable vehicles over 100,000 miles.

Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on cars over 100,000 miles, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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Rossi Kicks Off IndyCar Season with Podium Finish

Monday, March 12th, 2018
| Driver: Alexander Rossi| Team: Andretti Autosport| Number: 27| Car: Honda|| Photographer: Andy Clary| Event: Grand Prix of St Petersburg| Circuit: St Petersburg| Location: Florida| Series: Verizon IndyCar Series| Season: 2018| Country: US| | Session: Qualifying| Keyword: motorsport| Keyword: Verizon| Keyword: motor racing| Keyword: Saturday| Keyword: open wheel| Keyword: single seater| Keyword: Firestone

Alexander Rossi was in contention for the win at Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, before settling for the final step on the podium while collecting very valuable championship points.



Sunday’s 110-lap Verizon IndyCar Series race showed the NAPA AUTO PARTS driver has the potential to be the next series champion. The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg weekend started with the No. 27 car having speed in the practice sessions, which translated into qualifying. After advancing to Round 2, Alexander had the time to move on to the Firestone Fast Six and fight for pole but was served a questionable penalty for an on-track incident. The penalty took away Rossi’s two fasted times, resulting in a 12th-place starting position and fueling Rossi’s motivation to walk away with a win.



When the green flag waved over the streets of St. Petersburg, Rossi jumped from 12th to eighth place and was up to third by Lap 7. The veteran driver ran in second behind pole-sitter Robert Wickens for the majority of the race and the two dominated, spreading the gap on track to the third-place driver enough to pit and secure a top-spot. After Rossi’s final pit stop, he filtered back on track behind teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay and Wickens in third and resumed the second position when Hunter-Reay entered the pits for a final time.

The third-year driver hunted down the Canadian rookie and closed the gap to passing range before sliding and almost running off-course, which extended Wickens’ advantage to nearly three seconds with only 10 laps remaining. That’s when a lucky yellow flag waved, and the field bunched up, taking Rossi to the restart nose-to-tail with the race leader. Failing opportunity to make a move on the restart, one lap later another yellow flag was waved. Rossi knew this restart was his only chance to make a move, and he took it – resulting in the most controversial move of the race which ended Wickens’ day and pushed Rossi back to third before expiring the race under a yellow flag. Sebastien Bourdais took the win for the second year in a row and Rossi stood on the final step of the podium – disappointed for how the race ended for both himself and friend, Wickens.



“Normally they don’t allow Push-to-Pass on restarts,” explained Rossi. “You’d normally have to do a timed lap before you did it, but because of the late call to go green that lap, they allowed it, and I actually got the call when I was in the middle of Turn 13 and 14. So I had a big jump on Rob [Wickens], and he got to the Push-to-Pass pretty late. The run was perfect for me going into Turn 1, and I knew there wasn’t going to be many other opportunities. Obviously [Wickens] had a good car all day, and they did a great job.


“I made the pop. He defended the position, which he has the right to do, but in doing so, in moving the reaction, he put me into the marbles pretty late into the corner. It’s difficult with these cars and with how much we’re sliding around in the first place, even on the racing line. When you’re put in the marbles, it’s hairy. Super unfortunate. Like you never want to see that happen. I feel bad because I feel like I could have won, and he could have gotten second. You never want to see that happen, but nevertheless, it was a great job by the whole team all weekend.


“I think that we showed that we had a car definitely to qualify up front yesterday, and we redeemed ourselves a little bit today. So, a great work by the whole Andretti Autosport NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda team.”


Start / Finish: 12/ 3
Points Earned: 36
Points Standing / Total: 3 / 36 points


Next Race: Phoenix Grand Prix at ISM Raceway – Saturday, April 7 at 9 p.m. ET
How to Watch or Listen: NBC Sports or INDYCAR Radio Network on SiriusXM Radio


Alexander Rossi: @AlexanderRossi
Andretti Autosport: @FollowAndretti

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Elliott Collects Second Consecutive Top-Three Finish at ISM Raceway

Monday, March 12th, 2018
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series TicketGuardian 500 ISM Raceway, Phoenix, AZ USA Sunday 11 March 2018 Chase Elliott, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro NAPA Auto Parts World Copyright: Matthew T. Thacker NKP

Chase Elliott and the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team had a consistent day at ISM Raceway resulting in a third-place finish. The finish moves Elliott to 16th in the driver point standings as the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Auto Club Speedway next Sunday.



After rolling off the grid third Sunday at ISM Raceway in Avondale, Ariz., Elliott maintained his position until a caution 25 laps into the race. Despite losing five spots on pit road, he was able to rebound and maintain his top-10 position throughout the duration of Stage 1, finishing sixth to earn five extra points.



Elliott looked to be in line to finish Stage 2 in fourth before a caution flag flew with four laps to go in the stage. When he and the majority of the leaders headed to pit road, several competitors elected to stay out, leaving Elliott to finish the 75-lap stage just outside of the top 10 in 11th.

As the NAPA AUTO PARTS team restarted fifth for the final 162 laps, the competitors who did not pit prior to the end of Stage 2 headed to pit road. During a caution early in the stage, Elliott fell back outside of the top 10 on pit road, but moved all the way back up to fifth by Lap 217.




After a cycle of green-flag pit stops, Elliott was running third with 22 laps to go, and was able to maintain that track position through the checkered flag. The third-place finish resulted in the Dawsonville, Georgia, native’s second consecutive top-three finish at the one-mile oval.



Start / Finish: 3 / 3
Points Earned: 39
Points Standing / Total: 16 / 91 points


Next Race: March 18, Auto Club 400, Auto Club Speedway
How to Watch or Listen: 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM Channel 90


Chase Elliott: @ChaseElliott
Hendrick Motorsports: @TeamHendrick
No. 9 Team: @Hendrick9Team

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Brad Sweet Continues World of Outlaws Top-Ten Streak

Monday, March 12th, 2018
Brad Sweet Continues World of Outlaws Top-Ten Streak

Brad Sweet finished seventh at Thunderbowl Speedway in Tulare, Calif., Friday night, continuing a streak of top-ten finishes in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series.

The series started its West Coast swing with a two-evening program at Thunderbowl, but the second night in Tulare was cancelled due to rain.



Sweet started the event finishing second in his heat race Friday night, automatically transferring to the feature event. He started the feature in sixth and finished in seventh.

This is his fifth consecutive top-ten finish.



The No. 49 NAPA AUTO PARTS team looks to keep the streak alive on Friday, March 16 at the Stockton Dirt Track in Stockton, California.


Start / Finish:
March 9 – Thunderbowl Raceway, Tulare California: 6 / 7
March 10 – Thunderbowl Raceway, Tulare California: Rained Out
Points Standing / Total: 3 / 828


Next Race: Friday, March 16th, Stockton Dirt Track, Stockton, California
How to Watch or Listen:


Brad Sweet: @BradSweet49
Kasey Kahne Racing: @KKRdirt

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Know-How Notes: Top Ten Garage Supplies

Sunday, March 11th, 2018
Top Ten Garage Supplies

Just like the most commonly used kitchen supplies, there are staple garage supplies that should be in every garage or shop no matter what kind of work you do, whether you are a professional mechanic, hobbyist, or a typical DIYer that prefers to work on their own vehicle. Most of the time you don’t even realize you need to have these things on hand until you reach for them only to find out you used the last one.

Not every garage is the same, and neither are your personal needs, but the following ten garage supplies are universal, and every garage cabinet should be fully stocked at all times.

Shop Towels

There are a million uses for shop towels and most of them involve cleaning, but the type of towels you have makes a difference. Reusable towels such as the classic red cloth hanging out of the back pocket of the mechanic in every TV show or movie that you have ever seen is fine for wiping grease off of your hands, but that is really about it. You don’t want to use that same towel to clean a window or wipe down your workbench after a job. In reality, those red shop towels are not good for much at all. Instead, you should keep a pack of white terry cloth towels on hand at all times. These leave less lint, are much more absorbent and when you wash them, they don’t shred or turn your washing machine pink.

Don’t forget about the softer stuff either, a pack of good microfiber towels are perfect for wiping down screens and painted surfaces on your car. Just keep them separate from the other washable towels.

It is also a good idea to keep some disposable towels on hand, such as Scott Rags In A Box. These white paper towels are very absorbent and work great for cleaning up spills, cleaning your hands, and are good for glass and interior parts as well.

There are all kinds of shop towels on the market, including reusable and throw-aways. The white terry cloth towels are great for general purpose, while the blue (any color is fine) microfiber cloth is best for detail and sensitive materials. Paper towels tend to leave lint behind, so keep that in mind for individual projects.

Hand Cleaner

Nobody likes greasy hands, and when you work in the garage, chances are you will end up dirty. Keep a jug of waterless hand cleaner on hand in the shop so you can clean up before tracking all that grease and grime into the house. Some hand cleaners are better than others, but that choice is up to you. A gritty cleaner like GoJo helps strip the grease from your hands without irritating your skin.

Waterless hand cleaner is a necessity for any garage, and these GoJo hand wipes are even better. Just pull a towel from the container, clean up and toss it in the trash. These are great for in the car too.

Rubber/Latex Gloves

Right along side hand cleaner, you should keep a box of rubber/latex gloves. While you may feel like a surgeon prepping for surgery, in reality, you are just protecting your skin from contamination from chemicals that can leach into your skin causing serious health problems if you are exposed enough. When the weather is cold, these effects are even worse, as cleaners and fuel can dry out your skin, setting the stage for cracked hands. Disposable gloves are also great if part of the job is quite messy, but you need to clean up fast.

disposable gloves are very handy, especially when your project requires getting dirty and clean in quick succession. Keep a box on hand.

JB Weld

You can find quite a few articles on how to use JB Weld products here at NAPA Know How, and that is because the stuff just plain works. You may not need a package of each product on hand, but it is a good idea to keep at least one package of JB Weld Original or JB Kwik on hand at all times. The uses for this stuff are nearly endless, and when you need to fix a broken tab at 11pm so you can get to work in the morning, you will be glad you had it on the shelf.

Oops, that part you are repairing just had a mounting tab break. No worries, bust out the JB Weld and fix it up nice.


One of the most forgotten garage supplies is threadlocker. Unless you use it often, you may not even realize you need it, but you do. Most fasteners should have some type of threadlocker on them, depending on the application. From mild to high-strength, every garage bench should have three bottles of threadlocker- Green/purple for light duty, blue for medium duty, and red for the fasteners that you never want to come apart (red is serious stuff).

Far too often overlooked or forgotten, you should always have a couple tubes of threadlocker on hand for those important fasteners that need it.

Super Glue

So you had to remove a piece of plastic trim in your car in order to get to the parts that need repaired, but the plastic broke. Great, that’s just one more thing to replace right? Not necessarily. With a some CA glue (Cyanoacrylate), that broken plastic can be back in service with just a few minutes of effort. If done well, that crack will disappear and only you will know it was ever broken.The little tubes of CA glue are good for one or two uses, mainly because they clog up pretty fast, but the bottles are much better and last longer, and are available in different thicknesses.

Multi-Purpose Grease

While the first few items deal with cleaning up grease, this one deals with applying grease, or more to the point IS grease. While some projects require specialty grease, it is a good idea to have a tube or can of multi-purpose grease on hand at all times. Whether you need to pre-lube a bushing or pack the bearings in a u-joint, multi-purpose grease is the perfect solution.

No, not the grease you wipe on your jeans at a picnic eating fried chicken, this stuff is for all those parts that require a little heavy lubrication.

Spray Lube

For those fasteners that are stuck in place or that squeaky hinge that drives you nuts every time you open the door, a good quality penetrating oil is an absolute necessity in any garage. Like most of the products listed here, the uses are nearly endless, and you should have at least one can on hand at all times, if not several cans located within an arm’s reach of everywhere in the garage- by the door, by the roll-up door, and on the bench. Personally, I keep a can located near every piece of equipment so I can maintain the bearings and moving parts every time I use the machinery.

You can never have enough lubrication, keep a can of spray lube at every machine and in the cabinet for quick access when you need it.

Fastener Assortment

This one is not a single item, but it is a really good idea to have a suitable assortment of fasteners for the vehicles/projects you work on the most. If you work on older vehicles, you need SAE fasteners, imports and newer vehicles use metric fasteners. You don’t have to spend a fortune on fasteners, but having the most common six or so sizes in various lengths on hand at all times can save you a trip to NAPA when you are in the middle of a job. Keep the same sizes in both grade 3 and grade 8 (or the metric equivalent) so you have the right fastener for the job. Don’t forget a few boxes of screws in various sizes as well. You can find both in bulk and in easy-to-store assortments.

Nuts, bolts, washers, and lockers, every DIY mechanic should have at least the bare minimum assortment of commonly used fasteners in the garage. You may not keep every size you will ever need, but the basics will save you a trip to the local NAPA when you are in the middle of a repair.

Wiring Supplies

The last must-have garage supply item is wiring supplies. Most of us hate wiring repairs, but they happen and you need to have the parts on hand to take care of it. An assortment of wire terminals, assortment wire rolls, and plenty of electrical tape are the basics that every garage should have on hand. To be more specific- barrel (butt splice) connectors, male and female spades, ring terminals, and crimp caps are the most commonly needed terminals. Wiring should be 16 to 12 gauge, a spool of each will get your through most wiring issues that you face without getting into specialty cables.

Wiring is most DIYers most hated task, make it easy on yourself by keeping the basic components for electrical wiring repairs on hand.

Check out all the tools & equipment available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on garage supplies, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

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