Comment of the Day: So That's What Those Brushes Are For Edition

Photos: Raphael Orlove
Photos: Raphael Orlove

One of the fun things about working on cars is you get to assemble a tool kit. You never knew you needed a circuit tester, but once you realize it can let you do static timing off the coil, it’s a fun thing to have around. One tool it took me a while to realize I needed was a bit less obvious.

Illustration for article titled Comment of the Day: So That's What Those Brushes Are For Edition

That was, of course, a fingernail brush.

When I was first driving and wrenching on my Baja Bug, most of my trips were A-to-A kinds of journeys. Go out for a rip, come on home. Go out to a rallycross, rip, come one home. It didn’t really matter how dirty I got, as I was always either alone, surrounded by other car people who were helping me replace my clutch cable or something, or coming home to a hot shower anyway.

But I have a nicer Volkswagen now, one that (somewhat) reliably can get me from A to B. As such, I have realized I need certain things to keep me from arriving at Point B not looking like I had just come from a Peanuts convention cosplaying as Pigpen. Included among these items:

  • Coveralls
  • Disposable gloves
  • Shop towels
  • Fast Orange
  • My personal favorite, a fingernail brush

What a joy it is to get to arrive somewhere in a 1974 Volkswagen and come out with clean fingernails.

This all came to mind when I was reading the comments on my coworker David Tracy’s great explainer on Why Tires Are Black:


The explanation isn’t exactly simple, involving different technologies reaching maturity around the same time, as well as a world war, but the color itself is easy to ID. It’s all thanks to a manufactured soot called Carbon Black, something that reader ISoldMySplittieFor1500BucksDoh is familiar with:


So I have apparently been underestimating the utility of my fingernail brush. Soon not only will my fingernails be clean, so too will my face. And well exfoliated, too.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.



Just explain to the cops why you have rubber gloves, coveralls,  and zip ties when you get pulled over