Replace Spark Plugs

Along with swapping out the air filter and changing the oil, replacing the spark plugs is one of the few things left that require service on a modern gasoline engine. Some newer than the twenty-year old junk classics in our garage have negated even this task with spark plugs made of space-age materials that can live… » 8/10/07 1:00pm 8/10/07 1:00pm

Weekend Projects Roundup

With the weekend nearly here, it's time to pop open the hood and take a trip down the trail of parts. Those battery terminals and posts that look like a high school science experiment gone wrong need to be cleaned. As long as you're there, find the right dipstick and check the oil. If it looks as if it could be… » 8/03/07 12:30pm 8/03/07 12:30pm

Replace Axle and Oil Seals

The automobile contains a number of fluids that should all stay where they're supposed to be. Oil spots, coolant leaks, mystery drips, and other tell tale signs of fluids leaving their rightful place in the automobile are a sign to take heed of maintenance. Denying the existence of the ever-growing number of oil spots… » 7/27/07 12:15pm 7/27/07 12:15pm

Replace Brake Pads

While there is a difference between brake pads and shoes, the desired result is always the same when the foot goes down on the brake pedal. Brake pads clamp down onto a rotating disc. Brake shoes push out Flintstones-style onto a rotating drum. Inertia gets turned into heat via the miracle of friction. If all goes well … » 7/06/07 12:30pm 7/06/07 12:30pm

What's The Worst DIY Mistake You've Ever Made?

Today's question comes to us courtesy of a reader we'll just call Gregor. True, there are some green zip ties lashing down the front of our WRX. Though, the plastic bolts they replaced were actually inferior. So we can't count that. We do remember a friend with a mid-80s Thunderbird that carried 5 gallons of antifreeze … » 7/04/07 2:00pm 7/04/07 2:00pm

Bleed the Brakes

The fluid that exists as brake fluid is in reality hydraulic fluid. The helpful property of brake fluid is that it cannot be compressed. This comes in handy when the brake pedal is pushed down. Brake fluid links the parts of the brake system together as one. Brake pedal goes down. Friction is achieved! A hydraulic… » 6/29/07 1:00pm 6/29/07 1:00pm

Wheel Cleaning Tips in Detail


Whichever crackpot invented the wheel had no idea what it would lead to. Land speed records. Plus one measures of gravity on a skidpad. Four-second quarter miles. 30-inch spinners! Multiple volumes of unmentionable bad craziness. And dirt crusted wheels. While filthy wheels may not be of great concern for ox-drawn… » 6/01/07 12:00pm 6/01/07 12:00pm

Memorial Day Wrench Spinning


Some of us may already be hurtling down the roads of America in an Ultra Van or Hoonabago in celebration of Memorial Day. More still may have decided to avoid the crowds and stay put. If you haven't left yet, then check the tire pressure before loading up the Town & Country wagon with 500 pounds of cargo. Make sure… » 5/25/07 12:30pm 5/25/07 12:30pm

Replace Wheel Bearings



Automobile wheels spin round thanks to the miracle of wheel bearings. The bearings themselves contain rollers that spin around inside a cage. Wheel bearings are often tapered against the coned races in which they spin in order to handle the lateral forces placed against the wheels when the vehicle turns. Given the… » 5/11/07 1:15pm 5/11/07 1:15pm

And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Parts: Replace Struts - Part 1


The history behind the modern strut type suspension has its origins in the United Kingdom. Henny Youngman would find a joke here. Something about Scotsmen, a Lotus, a spring, and a shock absorber. The punchline would be the MacPherson strut suspension. I love this crowd! The integral spring and shock absorber… » 4/27/07 1:30pm 4/27/07 1:30pm

And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Parts: Replace Shock Absorbers


Without the shock absorber the modern automobile would simply flail about on its springs. The shock absorber is technically a damper. The shock absorber works to dampen the bounce created by bumps in the road and the weight of the vehicle acting on the suspension and springs. The less obvious yet more important… » 4/20/07 2:00pm 4/20/07 2:00pm

Ask Bob: Clutches Explained


Making the wrong choice in a performance clutch is a wicked easy thing to do. While a super ceramic or unsprung sintered iron disc may sound like the hot setup for those who fancy themselves John Force, the most common error is to choose more clutch than required. Loose fillings, scored flywheels, and grabby clutch… » 4/12/07 5:00pm 4/12/07 5:00pm

And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Parts: Taken Apart

As we're off to Las Vegas for Mopars at the Strip this weekend and riding the red-eye out to the New York Auto Show next week, the Trail of Parts will remain apart until our return. In the meantime we would like to call upon our readers to suggest both useful and amusing topics for this ongoing exploration into the… » 3/30/07 1:00pm 3/30/07 1:00pm