Torch and David's Unaccredited Life Garage: The Answers You Deserve

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Hot damn. It’s happening. It’s really happening. We let you know that we’re here to help with your life, your cars, your soul, your problems—all of them, car-related and otherwise, and you came through, sending us a whole rusty busload of quality, thoughtful, and, yes, sometimes painful questions. We can’t answer them all at once (doctor said so), so we’ve picked two to start with. They’re good ones.

So, let’s give you what you came for: ANSWERS.

Question 1:

Hello gentlemen,

My project car has been parked in the back yard since 1994. How do I go about getting rid of all the creepy-crawly things that have moved in over the years? I don’t want to get bit or stung when I do start working on the car.

Thank you,



First of all, TD, congratulations on finally deciding to work on that project car! Getting started is always the hardest part, to anything, really. Also hard: the middle, and ending. But, you’re doing it, and that’s great.

While I don’t think it’s realistic to embark on any new venture without the expectation that there will be some biting and stinging involved, I get that you want to evict whatever animals you may have inside your car before you get started. And I know just how to do that: add more animals!


Specifically, get some mean, hungry cats in there. Cats are wonderful animals (I have three that live in my house, I think) but they’re also adorably bloodthirsty murderers, with knife-fingers and sharp little needle teeth.

Round up some of your local neighborhood feral cats and set them loose inside the car. If there’s insect or avian or reptilian or mammalian life happening in there, chances are good those cats will hunt them down and devour them, likely with some sort of murderous glee.


Now, there’s exceptions: poisonous snakes, bees, whatever, but the cats should at the very least cause enough chaos inside that car to at least temporarily get all the fauna running away. At worst, you’ll learn there’s some seriously dangerous shit in that car and you can sell it on Craigslist.

If you can strap some GoPros on those cats so you can watch the carnage, even better, because with some careful editing, you could have a viral hit on your hands.



First, I’ll join Jason in congratulating you on your decision to dig this hulk out of your backyard after nearly a quarter century. Good job.

As for the critters: By this point, you’ve probably got entire ecosystems inhabiting your machine, and really, it’s going to suck for them to get the boot after all these years. The adolescent mice will have to tear down posters of their favorite rodent heroes (Mickey and Minnie, I’d guess), spider parents will have to leave the webs adorned with chalk marks showing the growth of their children’s nasty-ass legs, and snakes will—you know what, forget about snakes. Screw snakes.

Still, the non-snakes in your car are going to take this move pretty hard, so to soften the blow, I’ve come up with an ingenious idea: simply build an identical car right next to yours!


Okay, it can’t be literally identical, because then what’s the incentive for the animals to vacate without a fuss? No, no, you need to construct a vehicle that’s just slightly nicer than yours in every way. You want these mice, spiders, snakes, moles, dark spirits, and possibly Pokémon to feel like they’ve just been offered an upgrade to a presidential suite.

So hop onto Craigslist, find an aesthetically better version of your project car (ideally in decent mechanical shape, so you can just drive it to your yard), and park it right next to your vehicle.


From there, just wait. In no-time, the wasps, rats, antelope, Digletts—you name it—will be slithering, scurrying or digging their way into a beautiful new abode, and you’ll be wrenching happily with bite-less and sting-less hands on a thoroughly rotten shitbox.

Genius, I know.

Question 2:

I don’t know if my Dog is really a Dog anymore. He gained fifteen pounds in two days, most of it muscle. His teeth are taking to a more human shape and he no longer sleeps. He doesn’t bark anymore and just stares at the wall most of the time. He also has developed a strange slightly visible aura around him. Do you think he has a cold?

Much thanks,



Wow. First of all, GREAT question. I was hoping people would be coming to us with the real life questions that demanded real answers, and, Kevlar, you sure as hell delivered.

While your initial assessment of a cold isn’t a bad start, I did a little research by asking one of the veterinarians held captive by one of the local farms here where they produce vetrinarian milk cheeses, which I’m told is quite popular.


The vet told me that such symptoms were in no way similar to those of a canid cold; rather, they seemed to suggest that, somehow, the dog’s DNA was altering to create a new sort of being.

I did some research, and I suspect that what’s happening is less that the (former) dog’s DNA genotype is changing, but that the DNA is remaining the same, but the phenotype—that is, what genes are ‘activated’—is being altered.


While it’s not clear what triggered this phenotype change (did you switch dogfoods? Use a new shampoo?) it doesn’t really matter. What is clear is that your dog is changing into a new life form, and you need to treat this as a sort of First Contact, in case the dog has become more intelligent.

You’ll need to try and interact with the dog. Get him to look at you, not the wall, and see if you can establish communication. Keep it light at first, and if the dog-being seems to want to mate, gently dissuade them. We just don’t know enough for that sort of thing yet.


Also, try, if possible, to avoid ingesting any waste products the being may produce, no matter how much you may be tempted.

Contact some scientists, so this can all be properly documented. It’s exciting! This is potentially a whole new species!


Oh, and the glow isn’t an aura; it’s most likely simple bioluminescence, like a common firefly or ordinary household glowsquid. Don’t be silly. Auras. Pfft.


Kevlarlives, there comes a time in every wrencher’s life when he or she has to make a choice between two wonderful things in this world: the love and camaraderie of a canine companion and the freedom and welcomeness of a giant Bucket O’ Mystery Fluid.

Years ago, I forced myself to make that tough choice, opting for the latter, a large pail that promised to dutifully receive any automotive fluid I poured into it, including the nasty, corrosive stuff. We’re talking decades-old gear oil, black brake fluid, water-contaminated motor oil, battery acid, rusty engine coolant—even human bile, though I’m still not sure where that came from.


But with such an auto-maintenance luxury comes responsibility.


I’ve dropped the ball on Mystery Fluid Bucket ownership before. Just look at the video above in which my friend Brandon accidentally steps into my trusty receptacle. What’s not shown is Brandon’s limp, lifeless leg oozing into a human limb-shaped puddle onto my kitchen floor.

This was my mistake, just as not filling your dog’s water bowl was yours.

I’ve written about the ramifications of consuming primarily ethylene glycol-based mystery fluids. Things like malaise, vomiting, central nervous system problems and kidney failure—it’s nasty stuff.


Which brings me to your dog. How long as he “stared” at this wall? What do you mean he no longer sleeps? You say he no longer barks; does he make any noises at all? Did he actually gain weight, or does he just look a bit swollen?

I’m worried about your pup. Please take him to the hospital, and if somehow the doc is able to drain the mystery fluids from the animal’s drain plug, or syphon it out through its fill port (I have no idea how dogs work; I haven’t gotten around to reading the Haynes), for god’s sake put a lid on that bucket.