What's The Most Surprising Thing You've Found While Working On Your Race Car?

Illustration for article titled Whats The Most Surprising Thing Youve Found While Working On Your Race Car?

Race cars are a veritable Pandora’s Box of weirdness, be it from the bizarre things done by previous owners, improvised medical uses of duct tape, or tools you never knew fell in that hole. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve discovered while wrenching on your car?

Mine wasn’t necessarily a thing on my car, but on my hand.

The other day, I noticed that the ring I usually wear on my left hand was looking kind of dull again. It’s a simple aquamarine ring where the main stone is large enough that it will look noticeably cloudy and dirty if there’s a bunch of gunk stuck in it.


“I guess it’s time to mess around with brake cleaner again,” I thought. At that moment, I realized that it might be odd to clean jewelry by getting too much brake cleaner on your hands.

That being said, I’ve never seen this ring sparkle more than after I cleaned a bunch of Porsche 944 parts with butt-tons of brake cleaner.

Sure, it’s not smart to handle automotive chemicals with no gloves on. Brake cleaner stings when it comes into contact with open wounds. I also think I would have had a more heartbreaking result with a more porous stone, like an opal. Still, this ring looked awesome after the excess brake cleaner took off all the other gunk from from the 944 that was stuck into the ring’s nooks and crannies.

I can’t recommend using brake cleaner to clean jewelry; however, it seems to work better on certain pieces than the purpose-made stuff.


So, what’s the weirdest thing you’ve discovered while working on your car?

Contact the author at stef.schrader@jalopnik.com.

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Little Black Coupe Turned Silver

Does this count? Opened my hood and discovered this...

While going 140 on the front straight at Road America my car decided it didn’t need all it’s spark plugs, so it shot one back out. What's amazing is that the threads were fine, no real damage was done. Got a new ignition pack, another spark plug, and it's been just fine. The hole in the hood blanket is still there, because it's good for story telling. And I'm too lazy to replace something that doesn't really matter.