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Tools, Tips and Treasures for Garage Geeks
Circle butt? Waffle butt? Who among us do-it-yourselfers hasn't pulled up a milk crate or sat on an upside down 5-gallon bucket to work on our vehicles? It may be a dirty job, but with the cushy Sidekick Stool by Mychanic, we don't have to endure those fleshy impressions.
It is a quality piece with a husky steel frame that will support 450 pounds. The stool glides along the shop floor on 3-inch swiveling caster wheels. There are two drawers (with ball-bearing glides), and there is a removable tool rack to help keep your tools at hand during a job. Two foldable magnetic side trays are handy catchalls.
The Sidekick measures 19.7 inches long, 14.6 inches wide and 15.7 inches tall, so it's not a strain on knees to stand up. The Sidekick Stool is on sale now on the company website for $99.99 before shipping and taxes (down from $119).
Mychanic was a new company to me, and one that seems to rethink some old ideas for do-it-yourselfers. There is a limited choice now, including rechargeable lights and jumper cables, but more accessories are planned.
Here are two more I can recommend:
The Rechargeable MEK Light, which costs $34.99, is lightweight and can be hung, handheld or stand on tripod legs. Its ultra-bright light (650 lumens) is a big help under the hood and down low in those dimly lit corners. And it will be a savior for roadside repairs or camping.
Jumper cables are a hassle most of the time. They can be stiff to coil up, and the alligator jaws can be flimsy and a struggle to connect. Not the Mychanic Jump & Drive Booster Reel. These pliable flatwire cables (sold in two gauge sizes and cable lengths) are contained in a nifty stand. They uncoil with an easy pull and then retract by a hand crank. One side of the cable stand is red, symbolizing the positive connection, and the other side is black for negative, with directions printed on the stand. The copper-clad aluminum teeth bite cleanly on battery posts, either top or side. The four-gauge 20-foot set is $49.99, and the six-gauge 16-foot set is $39.99. As long as you recoil the cables, this set will be an ever-ready grab-and-go emergency aid.
Leno's Garage Car Care
Everybody's favorite car guy always has his sleeves rolled up, and now it's for some hands-on car care products. Jay Leno is now in the business of selling a line of specialty products to keep his cars -- and ours -- in concourse condition.
Leno, of course, has tried every car care chemical available. And while some worked great, others did not. So instead of searching for the perfect combination for show-winning results, he decided to develop his own. And all of the Leno chemicals are made and bottled in the U.S.
So far, the line includes body wash, detailer, wax and tire and trim dressing. Accessories include a Leno's Garage 5-gallon Wash Bucket ($10); applicators for wax or tire care ($1.49 to $2.49); a wash sponge or mitt ($9.99 each); plush microfiber (polishing) towels ($6.99 to $35); and utility microfiber towels ($3.99 each; 10-pack for $29.99; 25-pack for $69.99).
You can get a good sampling of the lineup in the Vehicle Care Kit for $59.99, which includes 16-ounce bottles of Vehicle Wash, Quick Detailer, Hand Wax and Tire & Trim Care, as well as a foam applicator, plush microfiber towel and microfiber wax applicator.
They are all good-quality effective products without any sickly sweet-smelling scents. I liked the carnauba wax cream because it works well by hand and does not require the power of a polisher to activate the chemicals for a deep shine. It works on clear-coat, fiberglass, gel-coat and painted surfaces.
The Quick Detailer has unsurpassed slickness, Jay says, and it won't strip away freshly applied wax. I found it to work well on just about all surfaces, and even when oversprayed on glass, it buffs out clear and shiny.
Tire & Trim Care works inside and out to darken sun-faded plastics and put a shine on vinyl and plastic trim. It leaves a nice matte finish on tires, or it can be buffed for more shine. The waterborne formulation provides anti-static properties that help repel dust and grime, Jay says, while UV protection helps shield the harmful effects of the sun.
Mark Maynard is online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find photo galleries and more news at Facebook.com/MaynardsGarage.
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