Category Archives: Tool Chest

MYCHANIC SK2 Stool 7 Wonderful Things We Love

The MYCHANIC SK2 stool is the perfect accompaniment for anyone working around cars or in a shop. This padded rolling seat will become a vital shop tool for one and all, showcasing a variety of perfectly designed ideas in a Kelly Green stool. Let’s count the top seven ways that this SK2 shop stool excels!sidekick18

MYCHANIC SK2 Stool

First off the SK2 stool is adjustable in height from 17” to 20” with a total of three seat heights. For our 6’1” frame, the full up 20” seat height was perfect. Remove four nuts and bolts and find the perfect height that suits you.

Second, we love the 3” urethane casters that roll right over the deep expansion cracks in our concrete floor. No more getting caught and having the stool fall over!sidekick21

Third, the stool has a green holster on the side to hold any gun like device. Great for holding a drill or impact gun. So nice to have a place to securely hold these bulky tools.

Fourth, the bottom drawer can securely hold the tools that you most often are using on your job. No more trying to find that wrench or socket scattered around the shop floor.sidekick22

Fifth, the tool caddy which rests on the top of the tool drawer has subtle indentations to hold it securely in place but you can easily pull it out to retrieve the tools. And that comfy handle also has a slot to hold a tablet or phone. So not only can you easily answer phone calls while working away, it’s easy to review your favorite repair video or on line shop manual while plugging away late at night.

MYCHANIC SK2 Kelly Green

Sixth, did I mention the folks at MYCHANIC used their Kelly Green coloring here on the rolling shop stool? It makes it easy to stand out and be visible when hunting around for your gear.

Seventh, the two sides of this rolling masterpiece have pockets (or bins) to hold critical pieces you might want ready access to. Great place to hold the nuts and bolts as you assemble or disassemble items.sidekick19

 

The rolling SK2 stool is rated for 350 pounds, so go ahead and squat away on this rolling tool box. It will hold all you behemoths!  The metal is powder coated to help keep it clean and rust free, allowing for years of easy ownership. It comes with a sweet two year warranty, but seriously it is hard to imagine this thing wearing out

 

We were given the SK2 to check out and gave it a whirl in the shop. We’ve been impressed with the design behind all the MYCHANIC products, like their Blade Multi Light. Check out their full lineup and you will be too. But be warned once you try out their tools, you’ll be sold and want more!

 

**Editorial content is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the authors’ alone.

Nonsense All Purpose Cleaner from Chemical Guys

            Car owners realize that keeping their car clean is important but sometimes life gets in the way. Before you know it, a car interior can get grungy. But it is amazing how simple it can be to bring a car’s interior back to prime looks. A useful all purpose cleaner is Nonsense from Chemical Guys.Bottle of Nonsense All Purpose Cleaner

Nonsense

            I have been a huge fan and user of Nonsense ever since the main guy behind Chemical Guys recommended it to me. It comes full strength and I usually get great results diluted to a 10:1 ratio. Nonsense pulls up the grime, leaves no sticky residue and doesn’t engulf the air with perfume odors. We love that it just does the job and gets great results.

Nonsense to the Test

            These seats on a 2007 Toyota Camry are a soft fabric, but the light gray coloring will attract dirt quickly. I was wondering if the dirt was ground in too much, so I did a test strip first. A simple spray of the cloth, followed by a brisk scrubbing with a hand held brush and the results showed up! Dirty Car Seat Half Cleaned with Nonsense

A few more minutes of scrubbing and the whole car seat came back to new. I especially like the fact that the cloth maintained the original feel and shape with no soapy residue left behind.Cleaned with Nonsense Close Up

Nonsense from Chemical Guys

            Nonsense is part of a complete set of boutique car detailing products offered by Chemical Guys. You can also get it at their franchised retail stores- Detail Garage. It works on a variety of stains and never lets me down. For a super tough stain you could amp up the dilution level but 10:1 seems to be the perfect stain removal solution for me. Try some and let us know what you think!Cleaned with Nonsense Extreme Close Up of Cloth

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Detailing Rig from MYCHANIC A Rolling Masterpiece

Wow!  The first thing we recognized when checking out this MYCHANIC  Detailing Rig is just how well designed it is. This is not just another one size first most water bucket but a purpose built detailer’s dream.DSCN1163

MYCHANIC

The MYCHANIC brand is an up and coming brand that is making a name for itself with well designed and professional grade materials. This detailing rig is no exception. Dressed out in their iconic Irish Green hue, this detailing rig is eye catching and handy. When offered a chance to try out this detailing rig, we jumped at the offer! They are based in Tennessee and we first met them at the AAPEX show in Las Vegas, NV last year.

Detailing Rig

The box arrived with the partially assembled detailing rig heavily padded and carefully wrapped. Order this and the FedEx man won’t be delivering a banged up, damaged product. When a company puts this much thought into how to package and ship it, you know this is a company you’ll like seeing more of.DSCN5519

This rig is made of powder coated heavy gauge metal pieces that were easy to assemble. It helps if you follow the instructions, but it was easy to assemble.

Detailing Rig Design

This detailing rig comes with FIVE heavy duty urethane casters with roller bearings. The fifth caster on the one end makes it that much harder for it tip over.  Again, well engineered!  DSCN1170

The bucket comes with a removable perforated bottom grid.  You’ve probably seen endless variations on this guard, but the purpose is to let the dirt and grime that accumulates in the water bucket, settle below the grid and not in your bucket water. Many serious detailers use a two bucket method to further reduce the dirt accumulation in your wash water, but again this shows MYCHANIC’s attention to detail. The bucket rim includes two sets of cutouts to hang your favorite detailing product from.DSCN1160

Detailing Rig Components

The metal tray is a great place to store a few rags or tools while detailing your car.  The side beverage holder is a great place to plop a drink, cuz’ we all know detailing is hard work.DSCN1159 The padded seat is form fitting and provides for a comfortable pad for your aching butt. Best news is the seat pad is easily detachable, so it can serve as a kneeling pad or you could even plop your rear end even lower to the ground.DSCN1166

The detailing rig is a good height and will put you up along the belt line of the car if you need to do some serious work along the sides of the car. Plus with the bucket it is a great tool for general car washing duties.

Useful Detailing Rig

Of course this rig is not just reserved only for detailing duties. It would be a great overall mechanic seat when working on brakes, front end and other car parts. It is heavy duty and will stand up to some serious work duty.  You can check out the seat here or look over their entire product lineup. They are good folks with some great ideas.DSCN1172

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Headlight Restorer and Protectant from Chemical Guys

It seems every year at the SEMA Show that more vendors pop up offering a headlight restoration product.  From a few companies that offered a slew of detailing gear and compounds, now anybody with a selling spot had a miracle liquid cleaner for those pesky glazed over headlights.Headlight Before

Headlight history

Ever since the car manufacturers dropped using glass headlights, (anybody remember the sealed round H-4’s ?), which was initiated in 1983; the movement to plastic lenses has also created a market to repair the glazed, cloudy lenses. Originally many just paid their mechanic to swap in a new lens but that option gets more and more expensive. So now companies offer up various cleaners to restore the lens to like new condition.

Headlight restoration

Some sites will recommend toothpaste or even bug repellant to clean lenses but honestly these are short term fixes that mask the issue. Most legitimate cleaners work by smoothing out the rough surface and then polishing the plastic back to new.  If the surface has really degraded, the repair process might need to actually start with sandpaper to get in all the deep crevices.

Headlight Restorer and Protectant from Chemical Guys

We had the chance to try out the Headlight Restorer and Protectant liquid from Chemical Guys, a leader in the boutique car detailing business.  These guys (no pun intended) know their stuff and I was impressed with the outcome.  Our test car was a 2010 Camry whose lenses have been exposed to some intense Arizona heat.  The directions call for spreading 3 – 6 dots of Headlight Restorer and Protectant over a microfiber towel or applicator pad, then scrubbing the hazy headlight lens vigorously until the polish turns clear and finally wipe off residue with a clean microfiber towel and inspect work. Repeat as necessary.Cleaner on a microfiber

The protectant part of this product is equally important because after cleaning and polishing the lens, the sun is still going to beat down on that plastic.  That means you need some sort of UV resistant layer to help prolong the squeaky clean look. Chemical Guys uses sealant technology to preserve that look and keep the sun at bay.

We were impressed with the ease of use, no need for an electrical buffer, and the look is darn right impressive.  We’ll keep an eye on the lenses and see how they hold up over the next few months, so subscribes to this blog and see how the product holds up in Arizona’s brutal heat.Headlight After

PS  Technically these electrical components are headlamps, and the light they emit are headlights but I don’t know anybody who calls them headlamps. Do you?

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Chenille Wash Mitts from Chemical Guys

Chenille Wash Mitts from Chemical GuysChenille Car Wash Mitt

Well it might not be earth shattering in the overall scope of car care, having a great wash mitt is certainly a big help. There are proponents of various wash devices, everything from the old school baby diaper to large spore sponges and microfiber towels. But this chenille wash mitt is a perfect fit.

A wash mitt is designed to go over your hand and allows you to deliver sudsy water to your car’s sheet metal. A mitt is definitely not a plastic scrubby or the back side of a squeegee. Mitts are primarily designed to bring the soap water to the car.

Chenille Wash Mitt

Chemical Guys, a boutique car detailing supplier, has a bright neon green chenille wash mitt made from microfiber. This chenille car wash mitt from Chemical Guys is packed with plush “noodles” to help hold a ton of soapy water when cleaning your ride. This allows for a scratch free way to wash your vehicle in record time. The mitt is made from a 70/30 blend of microfiber and is super plush. The mitt has an elastic cuff to make sure it stays put on your hand. The lime green color will help you easily find it amongst your cleaning supplies. I was amazed how much water this mitt can hold, you truly have to try it out yourselves.Chenille Car Wash Mitt Cuff

You can always clean the microfiber mitt with hot water and soap and allow to dry. Of course since it is microfiber NEVER use a softener sheet or liquid!

Two Bucket Car Wash Method

I generally tout the two bucket method for car washing. Fill up one bucket with soapy water and the other can be tap water. Put your chenille car wash mitt in the soapy water and starting at the top of the car, starting letting that soapy water wash away the dirt. If you find a stubborn spot a little persuasion with the mitt will remove most contaminants. Take your now dirty mitt and rinse thoroughly in the clear tap water bucket. This allows the trapped dirt to go into that bucket instead of mixing into the soapy water. Now take your rinsed out mitt and dunk it into the soapy water and repeat. You now have mastered the two bucket method of car washing. Congratulations.Chenille Car Wash Mitt Noodle

The Chenille Car Wash mitt is a great offering from Chemical Guys and should be in every detailer’s arsenal. Now go wash your car!

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Turtle Wax Exterior 1 Waterless Wash Wins

Turtle Wax, a leader in the consumer car cleaning sector, has come out with a smashing lineup of products, including a Turtle Wax Waterless Wash and Wax, labeled Exterior 1. Often times car owners are faced with a dirty car and no access to water, hoses and buckets. This product allows a car to be cleaned with just the spray bottle of waterless cleaner.Bottle

Dirty Car

Our test car was a 1968 Camaro that unfortunately was parked outside when a sudden and dusty rain storm hit. The dust stayed after the rain went away and spotted the car immensely. Of course the green and silver paint really showed the Arizona dirt. So this presented the perfect opportunity to try out Turtle Wax’s product.Rain and Dirt Attacks 68 Camaro

Applying Turtle Wax Waterless Wash Exterior 1

Now there is a technique to using these styles of cleaners. Get a clean microfiber cloth, the thicker the better, and fold the towel into quarters. That will give you four surfaces to work with on each side of the towel. As you spray on the Turtle Wax Exterior 1, cover one panel of the car, at a time. Dirty Hood

You’ll see that the liquid will actually cover the panel and gently lifts up the dirt from the surface. Use an edge of the microfiber towel and gently drag it over the surface, with the cloth just barely touching the paint.

You do NOT want to rub hard or go around in circular motions. That creates a risk of the dreaded “swirls” in your paint. Just a gentle glide over the metal will grab the liquid and the dirt. On you next pass, just move the towel up an inch or so to expose a fresh, new swatch of material. Repeat until the whole panel is clean. Repeat the process over the entire car. Change out the quarter of the microfiber as each section gets dirty.

Exterior 1

The bottle contains 26 ounces and I used about two thirds on the whole Chevy. This include the glass and hubcaps.Glass Cleaned with Waterless Washa nd Wax

The result was a clean car with no dirt or residue. If you find some tree sap or bird droppings on the car, just saturate the offending matter, and it will generally come off with a little prodding.

The scent is pleasing with a slight lemon hint. It comes out clear and did a great job eliminating the rain induced dirt.After use of Turtle Wax Waterless Wash and Wax

This would be a great product for a road trip, where your hotel might be objecting to you dragging out buckets of soapy water in the garage. For those of you facing water shortages and car wash limits, this is a viable option as well. I know I’ll be utilizing this on my next road trip, how about you?

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Coast Products Flashlights Light the Way

Coast HP2 FlashlightWhile at this year’s SEMA Show, not only do we get a chance to see some awesome cars and trucks; but can check out in person all sorts of new accessories and American ingenuity. We went down the Las Vegas Strip to the AAPEX Show and checked out a line of knives and flashlights offered up by Coast Products out of Portland, Oregon.Coast HP2 front view

Coast HP2

We got our hands on a small penlight type flashlight, the HP2, and wouldn’t let go. This small flashlight packs a powerful punch in a lightweight package. A single AAA battery powers this beauty to produce a brilliant white light and a variable beam of light. A simple twist of the front cap changes the light from a broad beam to a narrow focus. The rear rubberized push button makes for a simple on/off switch. The flashlight has an o-ring seal to keep it watertight.Coast HP2 vertical view

Coast Warranty

Coast Products offers a lifetime warranty on most all of their items. This flashlight is rated at a bright 68 lumens, is waterproof and the aluminum body can take a licking. (Don’t ask me how I found out!) This beauty is four inches long and comes with a convenient pocket clip. We snapped some photos of this light output projected on a plain piece of white copy paper.Coast HP2 outputCoast HP2 output broad beamCoast HP2 output as a spotlight

You can always tell a Coast Products light as they incorporate a thin red ring in their product line. You can find this light at their website or at a variety of local shops, like Home Depot or even Fry’s Electronics.

Usefulness

This would be a great tool for any technician who often needs to see in dim lighting. While on their website check out their full line of flashlights and lighting packages, including some slick rechargeable lights. You won’t go wrong and you’ll appreciate the difference!

If you have a Coast light let us know your opinion!

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GearWrench Gimbal Ratchet

Gearwrench Gimbal Ratchet Closeup

GearWrench makes some great tools. It is known for their time-saving closed end box wrenches and we previously posted about there two Gimbal Ratchets.  Now we show you how effective and helpful they can actually be.Gearwrench Gimbal Ratchet

Gimbal Ratchets

These ratchets debuted at last year’s SEMA Show and we were mesmerized by the engineering and thinking behind these ratchets. Unlike a typical thumb drive ratchet, the GearWrench Gimbal Ratchet floats inside two rings, so that like a gyroscope, you can tweak and twist what plane these ratchets match up to.

The beauty of these two ratchets,  in both 1/4″ and 3/8″ drive, is they can always easily line up with the fastener you are working on, regardless of where they are in a car or other application.

Toyota Camry

Camry Firewall

Now I love my tools but before adding to my inventory, the tool has to prove its worth.  Here is a real world application.  On the firewall of a 2012 Camry is a bolt, arranged around a variety of metal  tubing and some slightly flexible rubber tubing.

Camry Firewall Closeup

Clearly a box or open wrench will not fit.  A typical socket wrench will need a few extensions and flexible joints to make it work and even then you’re going to have to be a contortionist to get decent use and leverage on that fastener.

Gearwrench Gimbal Ratchet

Gearwrench Gimbal Ratchet on Fastener

Now the GearWrench Gimbal Ratchet can easily reach the fastener without any more extensions or flexible joints. The two gimbals allow the ratchet to clear the metal tubing without any worries and your hand can control the exterior drive mechanism easily with your hand (and body) in a convenient place.

Gearwrench Gimbal Ratchet with hand

Gearwrench Gimbal Ratchet in use

You can order these ratchets directly from GearWrench or find them at your favorite tool dealer.

Gearwrench Gimbal Ratchet Obstructed

 

Do you have another favorite tool from GearWrench?  Let us know.

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Sylvania Headlight Restoration Review

We decided to try the Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit on a 2007 Camry. The Arizona sun has been hard on the headlights and the owner had tried once before to restore the headlights.

2007 Camry Before

Now was the chance to again test the Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit.

Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit

At last year’s SEMA and APEX shows, it seems that everybody had a headlight restoration kit. And if they didn’t have a kit, their older product could be used for that purpose too!!

Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit

Sylvania’s kit comes with a liquid UV Block Clear Coat intended to keep the restoration from fading quickly. This sets them off from some of their competitors. The kit came with enough ample supplies to do the two headlights, sans towels and water. They give you a roll of rubber electrical tape to mask off nearby painted surfaces. We supplemented it with some blue “Painter’s Tape” as an extra caution.

Contents of Sylvania headlight Restoration Kit

Main Contents of Kit

Past Use of Headlight Restoration Kit

We have been really impressed with this headlight restoration kit, which we used before. We used it on a Toyota Sequoia always  parked outside facing south into the harsh Arizona sun. It worked out perfectly and was still in factory fresh condition when we sold it two years ago.

 

Step 1 – Headlight Restoration Kit

The first step is to spray their Surface Applicator over the headlight surface. This helps remove discoloration and soften the UV coating.

Headlight After Step 1

Step 2 – Headlight Restoration Kit

The kit comes with three grades of sandpaper, 400-1000-2000 grit. Wet sand each headlight, starting with 400 and working up to the 2000 grit paper. They recommend sanding 2-5 minutes per headlight with each grit, using plenty of water and a circular motion. With water, the lens looked better, but as it dried the lens became opaque again.

Headlight After Wet Sanding

Step 3 – Headlight Restoration Kit

Then use a tan Clarifying Compound to polish the lens.

Step Three Polish

This left the lens clean but with a slight haze after drying. Re-apply their surface activator to clean the lens one last time. Make sure the both lenses are dry before the last step.

After Polishing

 

At this point you might be wondering, what did you do to the headlights? as they may not look crystal clear. But fear not!

Step 4 – Headlight Restoration Kit

Use the UV Block Clear Coat to soak an edge of a folded paper towel and in one stroke wipe the top edge of the headlight. Continue to keep the edge moist and with a slight overlap, swipe the next portion of the headlight and repeat until all the lens is coated.  Let dry for 4-6 hours to fully cure.

Applying Clear Coat

 Final Outcome

2007 Camry After2007 Camry After 2

Close up after all steps

2007 Camry After Closeup

Sylvania Advantage and Warranty

In talking with the Sylvania pros, they proudly note that this final clear coat is what sets them off from the competition. The coating helps to keep the headlight pristine and prevents aging again. They are so confident in their kit they offer a lifetime warranty, which probably isn’t too risky for them. Not only do they offer a great product, but how many people will keep their cars another 4-5 years after doing the headlights the first time?

It took about 45 minutes for both lenses and being careful to cover all the surface area of the headlights with the wet sandpaper. A close examination can show some scratches that didn’t come out, but from even a few feet they look like new. There was enough liquid to do both headlights and some surplus remained – which I used on a 2010 Camry that was showing signs of haze already. Guess the Arizona sun does a number on these headlights.

2010 Camry Before

2010 Camry Before

2010 Camry After

2010 Camry After

 

See Sylvania’s website for more info

Have you tried this kit from Sylvania or a competitor’s? What was your experience and outcome?

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Bridjit Curbs to the Rescue

Many low slung sports cars face a suburban threat – driveways.bridjit-driveway-2

 

It seems that many residential driveways have too sharp of an incline to allow for low profile cars to enter without scraping the side effects or body panels.

bridjit3 I have even experienced  a Toyota Camry scrape a driveway when “loaded” down with four adults!  But Bridjit has come to our rescue.

bridjit-installed

These folks at Bridjit have engineered a heavy-duty rubber curb that helps minimize the drop off on many curbs and driveways.  It is made out of recycled tires, so you can even get an environmental thumbs up!  We first ran across this item at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

Bridjit to the test

Our test vehicle was stock 2003 Corvette.  Regardless of the angle of the approach, the car always scraped the front air dam.  Now Chevrolet did design this to be a flexible item, but eventually this air dam is bound to tear off or worse.

With the Bridjit in place the Corvette has a much easier time traversing the driveway.

Bridjit installs easily

The typical set up consists of a main portion of straight curbing and two tapered end pieces.  They bolt together with galvanized nuts and bolts.

bridjit-backsideIf necessary you could order additional sections of the main straight piece for longer drives.  These babies are tough and durable.  Ours has been exposed to the harsh Arizona sun for years now with no deterioration.

Bridjit is safe

Bridjit curbs are also rain and street sweeper safe.  There is a circular channel built into the underside so water can run underneath the curbing.  And the city street sweepers just steer around it when they come down our street, just like a parked car or similar obstruction.

We were originally concerned that the Bridjit might “disappear” at the hands of a midnight thief so our name was painted on the underside.  But truth be known, at twelve feet and 75 pounds, these are a bit unwieldy, after assembly, so doubt if theft is a big issue.

What will be an issue is curiosity from passerby’s.  We have had more than one car back up and peer again at the Bridjit and look it over. Nice that Bridjit inscribed their name and toll-free phone number (877 522-6611) on the curbing.  Good marketing and free advertising!

bridjit8

Purchase the Bridjit

Several car shops carry the Bridjit curbs but I’d suggest ordering straight from the website and checking in with the friendly owners if you have any specific questions.