Get The Garage Space Ready For Working On Cars
There’s nothing more exciting than diving under the hood to work on your own car. Not only do you get the satisfaction of repairing the car yourself, you potentially save money that you would otherwise be paying to a mechanic.
Without the right tools and a good space to work, though, it’s not nearly as satisfying. Thankfully, by following a few simple steps, you can easily turn your garage into a place that would rival your local repair shop.
Getting Your Garage Ready for Working on Your Car
Step 1: Make a Space
This step is essential if you live in an area where your homeowner’s association or local code enforcement officers have rules about working on cars. Many places ban it completely unless you’re in a garage, so make sure to check up on your local rules or laws.
If you’ve got a garage, chances are it’s full of items that you don’t have room for in the house, but can’t bear to get rid of. Start step one by going through all of that stuff. Clear out your garage so you can pull your car into it and work comfortably.
Once you’ve made some room, it’s time to organize! Plenty of sites offer step-by-step instructions, but the basic idea is always the same: Get stuff off the floor and make it easy to find the things that you’re looking for.
Also, consider purchasing — or building, if you’re handy — a good solid workbench. There are going to be times where you’ll need to disassemble parts with small pieces, and you don’t want to do that over the engine compartment where you could lose pieces!
Step 2: Flooring
Flooring for your garage is really a matter of personal preference, but it can make things easier in the long run. If the concrete is cracked, driving your cars over it can make it worse. There are more than a few different options for flooring, but the two most popular are interlocking flooring and epoxy coating.
Interlocking flooring is usually made of rubber or some sort of rubber composite. It’s easy to clean and makes standing and kneeling on the concrete floors more comfortable since it acts as a cushion. The only downside is that it tends to be very expensive, especially if you have a large garage.
Epoxy coating the concrete in your garage is a cost-effective way to protect the floor, and can usually be completed by one person over a weekend. Like the interlocking flooring, it’s easy to clean if you spill oil or other chemicals. It’s also a fairly effective sealant for any cracks that you may have in your concrete.
Step 3: Lighting
You can’t work on a car if you can’t see what you’re doing. If the lighting in your garage is sub-par, improving the lighting should be your next step.
First, look into overhead lighting. Fluorescent light fixtures are fairly easy to install. If you have electrical experience, you could wire them to a switch for ease of use. If not, look into corded fluorescent fixtures that just need to be attached and plugged in.
Next, invest in a good portable light. Don’t waste your money on flashlights, because they’ll just run out of battery right when you need them most. Instead, look into a good drop light or clip on lamp that you can attach wherever it is needed. That spotlight will probably get more use than your overhead lighting.
Step 4: Tools
You can’t work on a car without your tools. If you’ve been working on cars for a while, then you probably have at least a few of the things we’re about to list. If not, here’s a basic idea of what you’re going to need to get your garage up and running:
• Hydraulic Jack/Bottle Jack: Always err on the side of caution when it comes to choosing your jack. If you’re going to be working on a variety of cars, consider buying a jack with a higher weight limit.
• Jack stands: Never work on a car if it’s just up on a jack. This cannot be said enough times. Jack stands are not expensive, and whatever money you’d save on them is not worth your life if the car falls off the jack while you’re under it.
• Ramps: They’re not always necessary, but they can be useful for tasks that require you to get under the car. They’re more stable than jack stands, but you can’t use them if you’re going to be doing anything that requires taking the wheels off.
• Tool Set: Don’t skimp when you’re choosing your tools: You get what you pay for. Also, look for warranties, because no matter how careful you are with your tools, you will occasionally break them.
• Air Tools: These are optional, but extremely helpful if you’re going to be working on a lot of cars or tackling large projects.
• Specialty Tools: Tools like O2 Sensor Wrenches and Spring Compressors are useful, if you happen to working on the specific part that they’re designed for. If you’re not doing a lot of O2 sensors though, there’s no real reason to buy the tools. Plus, most of these can be rented for a fully refunded deposit from your local auto parts store.
Step 5: Get to Work!
If you’ve followed these steps, then you should have everything that you need to set up your garage before you climb under the hood.
If you’re still missing some steps, feel free to go back and read them again. And if you have everything, than what are you still sitting around here for? Go fix that car!