What Is The Best Wrenching Music?

Cranking wrenching music from the Ridgeline’s speaker as I work on an old Mustang.

A reader shot me an email earlier this week desperately asking for advice about which tunes to crank whilst wrenching. Not to keep the poor bastard confused and listening to static coming from his garage’s AM radio, I’m here to provide help.

The reader’s name is Rosin, and here’s the message he sent asking for some wrenching wisdom:

Dear David,

I write to you today with a question. What you do with that question is up to you. Will you simply answer it? Will you write an article about it for the Garage or Jalopnik? Will you ask it to the readers and compile their answers in a Countersteer fashion? Will you ignore it completely? The question, as you can see in the subject line, is:

What is the best wrenching music?

Interpret that any way you want. I look forward to your answer.


Obviously, the answer here is subjective, but I like to match the music up with the specific repair job.


If, for example, I’m just doing some basic, easy maintenance like bleeding brakes or swapping serpentine belts, I’ll crank on some nice, light country music. Here’s a good’n that includes reference to a Jeep:

But sometimes you don’t want to listen to happy music. Sometimes you just got your ass handed to you by a repair job, and you just want to curl up in a ball and cry in the corner. Like that time I seized my engine. Or the time I tried fixing my Jeep’s electrical gremlins. Or that time I sheared off the shift knob on my J10 pickup. (I can go all day, here).

In those instances, a nice sad song to sulk in your own pity is usually a good choice. Sarah Mclachlen’s “Angel” or Gary Jule’s version of “Mad World” should help you cry yourself to sleep while gorging on a bucket of Neapolitan:

Other times, instead of sadness, you might find yourself absolutely livid trying to repair the 10000000000th suspension component that’s broken on your shitty Honda Accord in the last week (totally just a hypothetical example). In those instance, get “turnt,” as the youngsters say, and play something a little wilder. Then grab a breaker bar and BASH THAT DAMN HONDA’S WINDOWS OUT, POP THE TIRES AND SET THAT BITCH ON FIRE (calm down, DT, the Honda is out of your life now).


Anyway, few things can get my turnt-juices flowing like a bit of Eminem:

Then there are times when you’ve got to focus, because you’re doing something very time-intensive and intricate, like that time my friend and I rebuilt my Willys’ transmission, or pretty much any time you work on magical contraptions like transmission valve bodies or carburetors. For those jobs, you’ll want to break out some classical music to keep your heart rate steady, and your mind sharp:

Then of course, you need music for when you succeed. Something to help bolster an already wonderful moment, like that time I swapped my friend’s cylinder head on my way passing through Colorado Springs. Or the time I installed a badass lift for only $120 bucks. That’s when you break out some Fiddy, particularly “How We do.”

So there you go, Rosin. Those are my contributions. Let’s see what the rest of the wrenchers out there come up with.

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About the author

David Tracy

Writer, Jalopnik. 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle, 1985 Jeep J10, 1948 Willys CJ-2A, 1995 Jeep Cherokee, 1992 Jeep Cherokee auto, 1991 Jeep Cherokee 5spd, 1976 Jeep DJ-5D, totaled 2003 Kia Rio