Saturday, January 23, 2021
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Really, Is Monroe Shocks A Good Brand?

Gabriel shock absorber off road

Is a stock shock absorber not working optimally? Are you looking for an aftermarket replacement that will not only absorb and dampen the shocks of the road but also will enhance the overall stability of the car? Want a suspension system that comes preassembled?

Among all the suspension manufacturers, Monroe and Gabriel are the ones that are known to offer an excellent shock absorber to the market. The quality of aftermarket shock absorbers used in your vehicle will have a significant impact on the life of your vehicle. Poor quality shock absorbers can lead to poor handling and poor performance. But is Monroe Shocks a good brand?

What Is A Shock Absorber?

A shock absorber is a part of a vehicle’s suspension system that absorbs road imperfections. Monroe’s Sensa Trac 58620 absorbers are known for their ability to handle a wide range of road conditions and still maintain a high level of ride quality.

This shock absorber can handle a load of up to 1,100 lbs without the need for sagging or rebound. The Sensa Trac absorbers combine a high-quality spring with a piston that can respond very well to road conditions.

What Are Quality Shock Absorber Characteristics?

Shocks are filled with nitrogen which is ideal for use in almost all weather conditions. This fluid also reduces the overall friction and allows the piston to actuate optimally. You should have a consistent riding experience in all but the most extreme weather conditions.

The nitrogen gas will help in enhancing the overall handling and comfort of the vehicle. This way you will have more control over your vehicle. Additionally, it has self-lubricating fluid seals that keep the struts moving smoothly for a long period of time.

They are an important part of your vehicle’s safety system, so make sure to keep them in good working order. A shock absorber is designed to absorb the energy of an impact, so they need to be replaced after they have served their purpose for a while.

Monroe Shock Absorber Pros

They love to advertise your semi-unique special fluon-banded piston design. It maximizes strut life and working capability while most other brands comparatively don’t. You will like the ride quality that is delivered, which was generally better than the Gabriel model.

They are among the most popular on the market because they are both affordable and high quality. Monroe shocks are known for their quality and reliability.

Gabriel’s 49235 model Shocks are the equivalent model range to Monroe’s Sensa Trac shock absorbers, but their basic design is very different. They do not use a spring, but rather are fully enclosed air-charged shocks. This design allows the shocks to be precisely adjusted for different loads.

When towing a heavy load, the internal pressure can be increased to stiffen the shocks and reduce the loss. The chamber is pressurized with nitrogen gas. These shocks work on floating piston technology. They have a tube design that keeps them cool and doesn’t cause heat-related problems. They have a 46mm bore.

Monroe Shock Absorber Cons

The biggest problem you may encounter is the fact that their shock absorber can become noisy sooner than expected. It caused by the spring’s exposure to the elements. It will eventually lead to the drying of the lubrication. Once that happens, the characteristic squeaks and groans of an aging shock absorber begin.monroe shock absorber replacement

Still, You may experience the kind of premature squeaking that other customers claim. We’d driven on the shocks for much longer. These are specifically recommended to buyers who will be towing significant loads and want the smoothest ride possible when they aren’t towing. The Sensa Trac shock absorbers can work great with light or heavy loads together.

So Which Is The Best Shock Absorber Brand?

Monroe is known for better customer reviews than Gabriel. Both the Monroe and Gabriel brand shock absorbers are quality products, about equal in price, and offer high-quality products. Customers have found fewer factory defects, and they get something closer to what they expect when they buy a set of Monroe shocks.

Are Monroe shocks made in the USA?

Yes, they have been making shock absorbers in the USA since 1992.

Do Monroe shocks have a lifetime warranty?

They do offer a lifetime warranty for their shocks. In fact, they are one of the few companies that will cover normal wear-and-tear. Many companies limit lifetime warranties to factory defects.

How long do Monroe shocks last?

They begin to lose their capacity to smooth out bumps on the road around 50,000 miles, and that’s when they recommend that owners replace their shocks as well.

Thanks for reading and stay dirty

Are You Serious? What Is A Jeep Mall Crawler?

A Mall Crawler is a very specific thing. It is a vehicle that is designed with looks over function. The accessories will shine and glimmer, but they won’t hop over a curb. They are for people that want the look but don’t want to earn it.

Maybe a weekend warrior’s wife wants the look but she is more of a spectator than a driver and wants to feel close to the lifestyle without getting her hands dirty. The soccer mom will drive one.

What Does Mall Rated Mean?

Mall Rated is a parody of the Jeep Trail Rating system. Jeeps are synonymous with off-road. When you see a Jeep that is too shiny, too aesthetically pleasing with no sign of dirt, it may be Mall Rated. If the Jeep has big rims and skinny tires it is Mall Rated. If it has too much chrome it is Mall Rated.

You will see a soccer mom in a Mall Rated Jeep. You will see Mall Rated Jeeps in front of a mall (imagine that). You will not see a Mall Rated Jeep in the hills getting dirty. They won’t leave the pavement because they have all the bells and whistles to look pretty. A woman all done up with make-up won’t want to play a pickup game of football.

What Is Mall Crawler Mean?

Your mom has a mall crawler. Soccer moms drive mall crawlers. Jeeps that look like they are ready for anything are going to the store or the mall and nothing more. They are a money pit. Like an off-road beast or a rock crawler, they love all the accessories you can bolt on them.

But they are only for looks. The function takes a back seat and rightfully so. Stick on chrome or huge wheels with street tires don’t function so well. Racing stripes don’t look so cool when you’re spinning tires getting your pretty paint job all dirty.

You can call them a Street Princess” or maybe Brodozers”. They are off-road badass trucks or SUVs that never leave the dirt and sit there and look pretty. They are the show dog. They are the trophy wife. High maintenance and low function.

Make Your Own Custom Jeep Badges

Some people are taking it one step further:

“It’s a Jeep. If I wanted a Hummer, I’d call your sister”

  • Jurassic Rated
  • Pirate Rated
  • Beach Rated
  • Not His Rated
  • Her Jeep Rated
  • Taco Rated
  • Surf Rated
  • K-9 Rated

How Much Water Can Ruin An Engine?

Water can wreak havoc on an engine. Engines are designed to create times explosions by compressing gas vapor. Water is not good for explosions as we clearly see when we go camping over the weekend or make foolish decisions during the fourth of July.

So what can water do to your engine? Will water kill the engine? How much water can ruin an engine? These are essential questions that can cost, or save, you a lot of money. This is a classic case of an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So let’s break down how and why water can build up in your engine and what you can do to prevent it.

How Does Water Get Into A Car Engine?

  • Enter through your air intake
  • Worn head gaskets
  • Cracks in your engine
  • Water buildup from your gas tank
  • Condensation from extreme daily weather

Commonly water can get in the engine through the air intake. If you have a short ram intake or a cold air intake that can be more susceptible to water entering.

Can rain hydrolock an engine? Yes! Heavy rain, especially with high winds, can easily get under your hood and into your air filter. Rain and nature can buildup inside your hood and cause some blockage or a spot to attract water.

On older vehicles, water can enter the cylinder compartment through worn gaskets or cracks in the engine through the engine cooling system i.e. radiator. Your engine has tubes that push radiator fluid around to aid in cooling. If there is a crack in the engine block or any fluid lines there could be fluid going somewhere it does not belong.worn intake manifold causing hydrolock

Water can enter your gas tank in a number of ways. If you lost your fuel cap water can build up pretty quickly in certain climates. Someone could maliciously pour water into your tank. Constantly keeping your gas tank at almost empty can cause condensation to build in your tank. There are probably lots of other ways.

Areas with extreme daily weather can cause a quick build-up of moisture in your engine. And there could be enough build up over a weekend to ruin your Monday or if you go on vacation.

So Really, How Much Water Can Ruin An Engine?

A single cup of water can do some damage to your engine. Water pushed into your cylinder compartment can cause damage quickly. The compartment only has so much room. The larger the cylinder, the more room you have for error potentially, though if the compression ratio is high this may hurt you more.

So essentially, a higher performance engine with larger cylinders may help you but the higher performance may hurt you. Not to mention a replacement cylinder head repair or even replacement on a HEMI will cost a hell of a lot more than on a 2.0-liter Civic engine.

Damaging your engine and ruining it can be different. A single blown head gasket can be repaired in a day or two and will not cost you a lot. Ruining an engine is basically causing enough damage where to fix it costs more than the cost to replace the engine.

To add a cup of water to your engine may take a while. Rain spewing into your air filter can add up quickly. Someone pouring a cup into your gas tank can be done in a minute. Water can ruin your engine fairly quickly.

Will a Hydrolocked Engine Crank?

No, a hydrolocked engine will not crank because the water inside the engine is basically acting like a brick pressing against the cylinder head.

The space inside the cylinder head is reserved for the air/fuel mixture that explodes driving the cylinder away from the manifold cover. If there is water in this space instead of a precise mixture of gasoline and air the cylinder will not be able to move.

If there is no permanent damage to the engine you can remove the water from the cylinder compartments and get your engine running normally. But be very careful when doing this.

How Do You Get Water Out Of Intake Manifold?

  • Remove the intake manifolds and blast air until everything is dry or free of water or let it dry out completely. Replace manifold covers and start the engine.
  • Remove the spark plugs from each cylinder and crank the engine until water has been removed and only gas is coming out.

Note: Cranking an engine without sparkplugs can be simple and easy. Though you should get heed if you try it. There may be other water damage that may cause additional issues to your engine. Use extreme caution at your own risk.

How Do You Prevent Hydrolock?

Preventing hydrolock can be easy. Prevention is almost always much cheaper and easier than fixing hydrolock. Using good practices can overflow (no pun intended) to other parts of your vehicle that can help your vehicle’s longevity more than average. Here are some common and easy practices:

  • Lock your fuel door or gas cap
  • Keep your gas tank relatively full or fill your tank up completely each time you fill up
  • Buy only quality aftermarket air filters or performance mods such a short air intake or a cold air intake
  • Clean your engine bay monthly or every couple of months
  • Monitor any leaks or cracks in your powertrain
  • Buy a snorkel if you go off-roading and encounter deep puddles
  • If you live in a climate that has big swings in the temperature you should monitor engine performance and use additives regularly if there are large gaps in the frequency of vehicle use.

Note: There are multiple ways to get water out of an engine. The easiest and safest way is to take it to a shop and have them do it. If you have enough water in your engine to cause it to hydrolock clearing it should be done only if you know what you are doing. Otherwise, you can brick your engine.

Water can ruin an engine. That is a fact. Hydrolocking an engine can be done relatively easily. Just drive through a deep puddle for a while. Boom! You have sucked water into your engine and now it is stuck inside.

Luckily if you are this foolish or daring there are ways to easily remove the water from your engine before it ruins it. With a little know-how, it will only cause damage to your psyche. Hopefully, you have learned something and will give a little more thought to what would happen if you are in a situation where you may get water in your engine.

Thanks for reading and stay dirty

Am I Nuts? Why Does My Truck Ride So Rough?

Trucks are designed to handle diverse terrain. While cars are made for pretty much on-road use, trucks should handle basic off-roading. This makes them ride rougher than cars. They handle decently in more conditions than cars, though cars handle very good in only one road condition.

But a smooth-riding truck is not rare. Maybe you are asking why does my truck ride so rough? Maybe it has been riding different than when you drove it off the lot the first day. Maybe something happened the last time you went to the supermarket. There could be many things that could happen. But there are usually only a few things that go wrong.

Can I Make My Lifted Truck Ride Smoother?

  • Upgrade to air suspension
  • Soften your suspension
  • Change the wheels, tires, or suspension
  • Fix vibrations and squeaks

    2020 RAM Truck 1500 air suspension system

Air suspension is the smoothest suspension money can buy. The new RAM trucks come equipped with an air ride and it is the highest-rated riding truck on the market. The Tesla Cybertruck will come with air suspension standard due to its flexibility and extremely comfortable ride. The only downside is that an air suspension is much more expensive than a strut/shock suspension and even more so than a leaf suspension set up.

Softening your suspension will affect performance but it will give you a cushier ride. The bumps will be a bit more exaggerated but they will be smoother and less noticeable compared to the abrupt “slapback” of a rigid suspension system absorbing every little imperfection in the ground.

Changing your wheels, tires, or suspension parts can do wonders. Factory-installed equipment can be easily upgraded with aftermarket parts for sometimes cheaper than you think. Don’t ignore the junkyard either. There can be gems found for those looking hard enough.

Tires made for asphalt will ride more smoothly and quieter than knobby off-road tires. They will handle rain better as well. This can be the quickest upgrade to making your lifted truck ride smoother.

Truck leaf rear suspension set up

Fixing vibrations and squeaks is effectively tightening the chassis to move as one unit. When different pieces are moving in different directions all the time it can cause an imbalance and unwanted rocking or moving. This means that you will a dip here, or a sway there, ever so slightly at times, but enough when there are many to cause strange movements.

This means more bumps and shifts that affect ride quality. Imagine walking with your wallet hanging on a chain swaying back and forth instead of secure in your pocket. That extra weight moving around negatively affects your momentum.

That happens with the 100’s of small parts on a truck. They can come loose, or come installed with rattling. Rattling is just loose parts moving pack and forth banging into one another. Securing all of these things can really help your ride quality. Putting everything together into one solid unit moving together as one mass can really improve the ride quality and fuel economy as well.

Do Bigger Tires Ride Smoother?

2020 Ford Raptor with 24-inch rims. 20-inch rims could give a smoother on-road ride.

Yes, a bigger tire with a smaller wheel will give your truck a smoother ride compared to a large wheel with thinner tires. The style is to put 20″ or larger rims on a truck with thin tires, though this may look good to some it will result in a rougher ride.

How Long Should Shocks Last On A Truck?

A general rule is that shocks should last 50,000 miles of normal daily driving. IF you are doing any other extreme driving such as dunes or off-roading on a semi-regular basis, these factors may severely affect the life span of your shocks.

In general, warranties are good for about one year. Shocks should be under warranty if you attempt any of the driving conditions mentioned above during this time.

Regular check-ups should be done when you get gas, wash your car, or notice a change in your truck’s driving characteristics. Tires, shocks, or struts can fail at any time and they are usually the main culprits if your truck is not riding smoothly.

Can I Replace Shocks Myself?

Yes, you can replace shocks yourself in an afternoon. The shocks are a relatively simple swap out that requires a few tools. This would be a step up from changing any fluids in your truck so if it is your first time I would watch videos on Youtube, read the manual, or have a friend help if possible.

Replacing shocks can be very infuriating, especially if the shock is damaged, and you will make mistakes. But will some patience and determination it is something anyone can do.  The money you will save will make it worth it as well.

Truck coil-over suspension system

Can I Replace Struts Myself?

Yes, you can replace your truck’s strut yourself! Replacing a strut can be a dangerous job. But as long as you follow the correct procedure outlined in your truck’s shop manual you can minimize any risk of injury.

To make things even easier you can buy a complete strut assembly with a coil-over shock already installed over the sturt. That way all you have to do is simply raise your truck and swap out the parts. No need to compress your springs (which can be dangerous for a novice.)

This is, of course, more pricey. But you can sell your shocks online to recoup some of the cost. And you will have less downtime in case you run into any problems or you need to buy (or rent) additional tools.

Should I Replace All 4 Shocks At The Same Time?

Rarely do all 4 struts fail at the same time. At the minimum, you should replace the front or rear pair of shocks at the same time. This way you can maintain greater control over the handling of your vehicle. Would you ever replace only one shoe? Or would you replace both shoes at the same time? The same logic applies in this case.

The same goes if one front and one rear shock are going bad, or they have completely failed. In this instance, replacing all 4 shocks at the same time is the only safe option. Even with a properly aligned and installed suspension and tire set up an older shock matched with a new shock can spell disaster driving at highway speeds.

I wrote this piece after wondering why does my truck ride so rough. There can be a lot of factors involved. Usually, there are only a couple of main culprits. And they can be fixed at home, without the need to go to the mechanic and shell out extra cash.

The easiest fix is usually tires or even the suspension. The suspension usually causes the biggest change in ride quality. Changing the wheels and tires can cause a dramatic change in ride quality, though you are looking to shell out quite a bit for new wheels and tires. As long as you keep on top of your maintenance and don’t ignore any warning signs you should be able to maintain a quality riding truck for years.

Thanks for reading and stay dirty

I Am 4Runner Crazy. So How Does Crawl Control Work? A TRAC?

What is the Crawl Control system? Developed by Toyota, Crawl Control controls your truck or SUV in low-speed off-road conditions where traction is minimal. Similar to all-wheel drive crawl control goes further where it automatically controls each wheel with throttle and brake to give you create the most control. It will minimize your tires digging deep in sand and water.

It is sort of a dumb autopilot where you can focus only on steering. The traction and acceleration parts are completely automated until you deactivate them by pressing on the brakes. Crawl Control has been around for a while. It is a feature pretty much only offered on TRD or Limited Toyota trim packages.

What Year Did Crawl Control Come Out?

Crawl Control was developed and debuted in 2008. 5th generation 4Runners were equipped with Crawl Control starting in 2009.

How Does Toyota Crawl Control Work?

Crawl Control is very similar to all-wheel drive and cruise control. It takes power from wheels that don’t have traction and send the power to other wheels. Crawl Control does this automatically while maintaining a constant speed. It uses numerous sensors to monitor traction, speed, and braking.

So you are essentially riding through the sand or mud with your feet on the dash steering through the many surprises that come along. Your truck’s Crawl Control will maintain a constant speed and traction (if possible) through demanding terrain. This way you can concentrate solely on steering and maneuvering instead of trying to keep the wheels from spinning constantly.

Does The 4Runner Have Crawl Control?

The fifth-generation 4Runner (2009-current) was the first to offer Craw Control. It started is available in the “Trail Edition” (now part of the TRD line) with some other off-roading features that let you drive off-road in luxury:

“The new Trail Edition offers Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) and Crawl Control which had previously only been available to premium Toyota vehicles, as well as a rear locking differential like the previous Trail Package.” – Wikipedia

Toyota has had over a decade of experience tweaking its Crawl Control feature to get it just right. It is not perfect but Toyota keeps improving since it was released in 2009.

The TRD line makes up only about 4% of the 4Runner’s total annual sales, so it would be rare to hop in a 4Runner with Crawl Control. Out on the trails, it may be less uncommon overall.

Does SR5 Have Crawl Control?

No, the Toyota 4Runner SR5 trim does not have crawl control. Only the TRD package has Crawl Control, which is a step above the more basic SR5 package. The TRD trim is basically the SR5 package and Toyota adds off-road focused features to the existing platform such as:

  • Dynamic suspension
  • Electronic locking differential
  • Level type transfer case
  • Running boards

What Does TRAC Do On A 4Runner?

Active Traction Control or A TRAC is a feature used when off-roading. It transfers torque to wheels that have the most grip on the ground by actively braking each wheel that does not have any traction with the ground.

It optimizes power sent to wheels so the driver can have the most control over the SUV. It is ideal when in snow or mud type conditions. Some like to call it a “brake locking differential” which is sort of accurate. It is an active process that acts in the same way a locking diff does.

All 4Runners have A TRAC. It should not come as a surprise either. It is a simple system that has been in 4Runners for ages. It adds an immense amount of control to the vehicle, almost as much so as going from 2WD to 4WD.

The Toyota 4Runner has been an offroading staple since the early 1980s. It is almost as common as a Jeep in the hills. With this type of history, the amount of attention and experience off-roading would be hard to beat.

Toyota proves that with its features if offers in the 4Runner. From A TRAC to Crawl Control to other luxury 4×4 features, there isn’t a shortage of comfort. The technology behind these features is not too complex, though few other automakers have it. If you wonder how does crawl control works it is not too different than locking differentials or all-wheel drive.

Thanks for reading and stay dirty

Is It Safe To Drive With A Plugged Tire?

Sometimes when you blow a tire it can be a real hassle. Replace or repair? What is the best option? Can I fix it quickly? Or will that cause another blowout? Well, today it is very easy and simple to fix a flat tire. But what is the safe and right way to fix one? Is it safe to drive with a plugged tire?

Yes, it is safe to drive with a plugged tire. Repair shops will even warranty a plugged tire. Though the warranties would be limited. A plugged tire is not designed to be a permanent fix. It is designed to get you to a shop to replace the damaged tire. A tire patch or replacement is a safer and long term solution for a blown tire.

But what do people normally do? A plugged tire is usually used for thousands of miles after the repair. If the repair is done right it can give a tire new life that lasts for months or even years.

If you can, replacing the tire is the best and safest move. A new tire always performs better and safer than a plugged tire. Especially a tire that has been plugged more than once. Day to day driving will not demand a lot and you can get away with a plugged tire for a more long term solution, though this should be done at your discretion and it will not be covered under any type of warranty.

Is A Tire Plug Permanent?

No. A tire plug is designed to fix an inflatable tire that will last long enough to get you somewhere to replace the entire tire. A tire plug can be permanent though it will not function 100%. That said, it is designed as a temporary fix. Though, most people use this fix until they replace their tires.

If the plug is on the tread one inch or more away from the sidewall, most auto shops will warranty the fix. The warranty could be good enough where it will last until the tires need to be replaced.

If the tire plug is put on a brand new tire you may need to replace the damaged prematurely or replace the tire plug within months or years. I always recommend replacing a plugged tire as soon as you can.

Can Tire Plugs Go Bad?

The process of plugging a tire is crude. You rip out the nail or whatever punctured your tire. Then you rough up the hole with a sharpened tool. Then you insert a very goopy and sticky piece of rubber-like substance that sticks to everything it touches. This goopy mess does a great job sticking to the tire and closing the hole.

Though many factors can cause the tire plug to go bad. The tire or plug can dry out. IT can get damaged further. The hole can open more. A piece of metal may be stuck inside the tire and cause havoc. The sticky gooey plug can attract other things that can stab your tire. Again. Any number of things can cause issues and cause the tire plug to go bad.

Again, this is a temporary fix that can cause more issues to occur in the future. Mostly these things never happen. But when they do, they happen at the very worst times.

When Should You Not Plug A Tire?

You should not plug a tire that has damage on the sidewall or on the tread that is within one inch of the sidewall. No repair or tire shop will repair a tire with this type of damage. Some people view this as a scam to get you to just pay for a new tire.

But try taking the damaged tire to a place that doesn’t sell tires and see what they tell you. They will not do the repair simply because the liability they are taking on is much greater than the cost of the repair. It is simply not worth it because failures from this type of repair happen too often.

I have purchased used tires in the past with this type of damage. But they always warned me that they can’t warranty it and it may cause a blowout on the freeway that could cause an accident.

Luckily, that has never happened to me but that doesn’t mean it won’t. It does happen to many people every day. Accidents from a damaged tire could be fatal or financially ruin the party at fault.

Can I Drive Long-Distance With A Plugged Tire?

Yes, you can drive long-distance with a plugged tire. It is for the most part safe to do, though please do it as a last resort. You may drive on a plugged tire for thousands of miles with no issues. Or you may blow out your tire while exiting the repair shop.

A plugged tire is a temporary fix that may cause more issues in the future, though some people choose to drive on a plugged tire for many miles. It is always recommended to replace the tire or patch it as a more legitimate long term fix. But people drive with plugged tires daily with few to no issues. Please choose safety over short term comfort and cost savings.

The long term benefits may be highly diminished by the short term gains of driving long distance with a plugged tire. You could cause more damage by driving long distances and even have to replace more parts on your car or truck.

Can You Plug A Tire Twice?

Sure, you can plug a tire twice. But is it safe? A tire plug is a temporary fix. If you already have one plug in the same tire a second will only increase the likelihood of further damage.

Some repair shops will not do a second repair if the two plugs are within a certain distance. Repair shops look at this as a temporary repair and if you arrive with an older plug they may not want to attempt another repair as they will be liable for BOTH tire plugs at this point. They may offer a replacement tire if it is covered under the warranty. Check your warranty and see what it covers.

Can I Plug Tire Without Taking It Off?

Yes, you can plug a tire without taking it off your car. As long as you can push and pull on the tire head-on you can repair it. You have to remove the nail or shard that punctured your tire so make sure you can rotate the tire into a position you have enough leverage to do this.

Then you will have to run a reem in and out of the hole in a provocative manner and this can require some elbow grip. I prefer to rotate a tire so the puncture is facing the end of the vehicle. If it is on the rear you will want to angle the puncture towards the trunk and in the front, angle the tire towards the front bumper.

That way you can fix the tire without having to put your body under a major portion of the vehicle or your arms inside the wheel well. This is the safest way you can plug a tire without taking it off. You will have enough leverage to remove the puncture and insert the tire plug.

Pro Tip: Keep a simple repair kit in your trunk. Don’t forget gloves, reflective triangles, and wet wipes. They come in handy for many uses.

Where Can I Get My Tire Patched For Free?

There are a few places where you can get your tire patched for free. The most obvious place would be to take your tire to the place where you bought it. They should warranty small repairs or damages. A plugged tire should be covered for a period of time after purchase.

Below are some other places you may try to get your tire patched for free. Just call ahead to make sure they offer this service and are available for walk-ins:

  • Pep Boys
  • Walmart
  • Discount Tire
  • Evans Tire
  • Express Tire
  • Monroe

Many people drive with a plugged tire. It happens to many people every day. A plugged car tire is an easy and simple repair. Anyone can purchase a kit and keep it in their truck and easily do the repair on the side of the road. It can even be done without having to take the wheel off.

Though it is a simple and easy fix, driving with a plugged tire should only be a temporary solution. If you want to drive long-distance with a plugged tire it should only be done as a last resort as a plugged tire may cause more damage. There are other better and safer long term solutions to repair a tire.

All in all a plugged tire is a fast and easy repair. It happens to the best of us. But with a tiny bit of information, you can keep it a small problem before it turns into a big one.

Thanks for reading and stay dirty.

I’m Stuck! How Do You Get A 2WD Out Of Sand?

Encountering sand when you are driving can be a nightmare. If you have a 2WD on sand car with not a lot of horsepower you may not be searching for opportunities to test your vehicle’s ability to handle sandy terrain.

But what happens if you are up against a stretch where you need to drive through? What do you do? Find another way? Maybe it is your first time and you want to see how it can handle it.

If you do get stuck how do you get a 2WD out of sand? Don’t worry you are not the first or last person to ask this. But with a little know-how, you will be prepared to handle it when it happens.

I’m A Bit Adventurous. Can 2WD Go On Sand?

Yes, a 2 wheel drive car can go on sand though it is not a smart idea! If the sand is dry and deep there is a good chance you will get your car stuck in sand especially if you stop.

Some all-wheel-drive vehicles get stuck in sand in some conditions. A two-wheel-drive car will have even more trouble managing the sand. But if you drive quickly and under control through a patch of sand you may have no trouble passing over it.

If you do drive slowly and carefully you will most likely get your car stuck in sand. If that happens, don’t worry I have your back. If you are plan ahead you will have not a problem managing this newfound adventure.

Before I continue, I want to state that the easiest way to be unstuck in a 2WD on sand car is, like sex, to practice abstinence. Prevention is 100% effective to avoid getting stuck in sand in your 2WD car.

How Do You Get Unstuck From Sand Without AWD?

Consistant Pedal Control:

      • Keep your foot on the gas and don’t let off or rev it a lot. Giving consistent power will keep you from giving it too much gas and spinning your tires and it will keep your momentum. Try to avoid going too slow and stopping or trying to speed up.
      • A consistent 5-10 MPH through sand will give you better results than stopping or trying to quickly take off.

Get Ready To Dig:

      • If you are stuck it is probably because your tires have sunk into the sand. You can get better traction if there is less sand around the tire.
      • You can also put down mats, a piece of wood, or other large objects laying around the area in front of or in back of your tire to get more grip.

Use Specialized Equipment:

      • Trac Grabber is used for heave mud or deep sand when even 4×4 equipped vehicles need help. To get unstuck from the sand without AWD a Trac Grabber will help quite a bit.
      • A makeshift one made of wood or a rock strapped to even a single tire can get you to safety.
      • If you have long planks you can wedge under your tire in front or in the back. They will get your tires off the sand and on a stable surface so the tires can grip. Even if they are a foot or so long they will offer you much better traction than sand. LITEWAY Traction Boards make a great set to keep handy.
      • Even a bunch of rocks lined up in a row will give your car a chance to start moving so you can get some momentum that will push you forward through the rest of the sandy terrain.

Wet Sand Is Better Than Dry Sand:

      • It is better to drive on wet than dry sand with 2WD vehicles. If you can, pour water in front of your tires so the sand can compact and form a harder surface to grip.
      • You will need a lot of water to do this. Wait for the water to drain through the sand and then pour more water a few times. The idea is that the sand will compact all around. It will act more like a road rather than loose sand.
      • Wet sand will give your car a better grip as it sticks to itself more and offers a harder surface. You won’t sink down in wet sand as much as dry sand.

Add Weight To The Tires:

      • Tires spin because there is not enough downward force to provide traction. If your passengers can sit over the tires that are powered by the engine they may give you enough traction to get out car out of sand.
      • NOTE: This may make things worse if you do not do any of the things above. You may just dig your tires deeper into the sand if you tell everyone to jump on your car and go.

Find A Tow:

Should You Deflate Tires In Sand With Only 2WD?

Yes, absolutely. You should deflate the tires powered by the engine (the front tires on front-wheel drive vehicles or the rear vehicles on rear-wheel-drive cars) and inflate the free-spinning tires within 5PSI of the maximum recommended PSI setting on your tires.

That way your driving tires will get the most grip to keep the car moving and the free-spinning tires will offer the least resistance to sand and will help your car ride on top of the sand.

Check out this video of a Subaru Outback with all-wheel drive. It shows an attempt up a sandy bank with normal tires and partially deflated tires. Notice the difference (and how even a car with AWD still has a lot of trouble in sand):

If you are traveling more than across a small area and you need to get through a bunch of sand and there are no other options then you should do all you can to not get stuck. Deflating your tires so they look about halfway inflated should be enough (about 20 PSI per tire).

Of course, make sure you are able to inflate your tires when you leave the sand as it can be dangerous and unstable to drive with deflated tires.

Can FWD Drive On Sand At All?

Yes, front-wheel-drive cars can drive on the sand, though it is not recommended. If you need to drive for extended ranges you have a very good chance of getting stuck. For shorter distances, it may not be a problem, though with dry deep sand you are running a high risk of getting stuck.

With front-wheel drive SUVs or heavier sedans driving on the sand is almost always a terrible idea. A vehicle that is heavy and offers little traction is a recipe for creating an expensive beach tent.

As long as you’re not driving on really soft wet sand you should be ok with that FWD Honda. Lightweight vehicles seem to do better than big SUVs, but I see 2wd heavy SUVs out there. They do not seem to be very aggressive, but they drive out to a camp or bonfire area and sometimes drive around some.

Can 4×2 Go Off-Road Safely?

Yes, 4×2 vehicles can handle off-road terrain safely. transiting to and from an off asphalt road with favorable weather conditions should not is a major issue. When you are driving through unknown terrain where you may encounter water hazards, large rocks, or other serious barriers, a 4×2 vehicle will not only get stuck in sand but can also be seriously damaged.

Driving a truck with all-wheel drive or 4×4 will handle many times better than any 4×2. While a 4×2 can go off-road safely it is not recommended and there may be a very high chance of something bad happening if you do.

A 4×4 equipped truck will power through ice, sand, dirt, rocks, uneven roads, mud, and any combination. Think of walking in the sand. You have two legs and you move with relative ease. Now imagine hopping around. You are less stable and may sink in the sand quickly.

Your ability to move through the sand slowly and under control is severely limited. The same thing applies (though in a much different way) to 4×2 and 4×4 trucks.

They say, “it is better to have 4×4 and not need it than the other way around“.

Thanks for reading and stay sandy

Can You Put Air In A Tire With Nitrogen?

Filling your tires is not a strange or complicated thing. It is simply adding gas from the atmosphere, the air you and I breathe, into your tires. So, can you put air in a tire with nitrogen?

Yes! It will do no harm to your tires if you have 100% nitrogen in your tires and you need to adjust the air. The atmosphere is made up of:

  • 78% Nitrogen
  • 21% Oxygen
  • 0.9% Argon
  • 0.1% Miscellaneous gases
  • 0-4% water vapor in humid areas

Filling your tires with normal air from an air compressor would result in about 3/4 nitrogen and 1/4 oxygen. Adding this to 100% nitrogen would lower the level of nitrogen minimally.

Note: I type 100% nitrogen but in reality, tires are filled with around 95% nitrogen and 5% atmospheric gases. But for this article, I will argue as 100%.

If we did a quick calculation and say you want to fill your tire up from 40 PSI to 50 PSI we can do the following:

Tire pressure: 40 PSI / 50 PSI = 80% volume capacity
Regular air: 10 PSI * (78% nitrogen) = 7.8 PSI pure nitrogen
The tire at 50 PSI contains 47.8 PSI pure nitrogen 

The new ratio is 95.6% nitrogen and 4.4% oxygen and other gases. This is not a large change from the 100% nitrogen-filled tires from before.

What’s The Difference Between Air And Nitrogen In Tires?

The difference between tires filled with air and nitrogen is about a 20% increase in nitrogen when filled with pure nitrogen. Tires filled with nitrogen will have marginally better duration and performance because with more nitrogen in the tires, there will be less moisture inside.

When there is less moisture the rubber will last longer. Moisture can cause the rubber to break down quicker. Also with less moisture, the tires will give a more uniform performance which will cause you to get better mileage and more control over your car. The difference between the two configurations is very marginal and they may unnoticeable to most drivers.

Some dealerships use this feature to make extra money. There was a lawsuit filed that stated one dealer charger $299 per car to “Add nitrogen to tires”. The suit further states that the nitrogen machine was broken at the time as well.

Do you think nitrogen-filled tires a gimmick? $299 for a simple and almost cost-free process can be egregious and irresponsible to some.

Is it worth putting nitrogen in your tires? For the average consumer, the evidence would show that nitrogen is not a smart purchase and can be avoided. If you demand ultimate performance then nitrogen may be one of the few improvements that may push you over the edge.

Where Can I Get My Tires Filled With Nitrogen?

  • Tire stores – Name brand tire stores that sell and service tires will all offer nitrogen-filled tire service.
  • Big Box Retailers – Retailers like Costco and Walmart will have tire centers where you can fill your tires with pure nitrogen for a fee. They will typically be cheaper than anywhere else.
  • Dealerships – Car dealerships will off this service. Though they will typically be more expensive they offer a warranty better and will honor that warranty with less hassle than most other stores.

Can Nitrogen Go In Any Tire?

Yes. Nitrogen can be put in any tire. It can improve performance and handling for some people.

How Much Does Costco Charge To Fill Tires With Nitrogen?

Some Costcos nitrogen is free or it costs under $10 per tire. It will depend on your location as some Costos may charge depending on certain factors.

Many people swear by nitrogen in their tires. Though there is no concrete evidence people can even tell the difference between nitrogen filled and atmospheric filled tires.

Thanks for reading and stay dirty

Why The Heck Do Jeeps Break Down A Lot??

Do jeeps break down a lot? Jeeps, part of the FCA US LLC family has had a history of less than stellar reliability. But that is not because of one single thing. It has seen transmission issues, electrical issues, as well as others.

One issue that not been critical has been its engine. In fact, some engines in Jeep’s history have been some of the most reliable and sought after in history. So why do Jeeps break down a lot?

while other trucks have embraced change and adapted technology in their electrical systems and drivetrains, Jeep has not followed this trend in line with the industry. Jeep started the 4×4, tough, go-anywhere, military image and embraced it. Customers need a simple machine that is easy to work on and does one thing very well:

Get thru any terrain.

The rest, premium stereo, premium accessories, automatic features are not part of their modus operandi. They instead offer a truck that is built for off-roading first and everything else second.

The new Ford Bronco has the same intentions, though, it incorporates a lot of modern features that are not in newer Jeeps. Customers desire a truck they can modify easily and work on without advanced computers.

Jeep is at fault where they were once the leader in an uncrowded field of vehicles that can excel off the pavement. Today, that is not the case. Many manufacturers have developed, and continue to develop trucks that can do everything the Jeep can do and more.

Jeep has a very loyal crowd. If you buy a Jeep you are more likely to buy another Jeep rather than if you are a Honda owner.

What Are The Most Common Problems With Jeep Wranglers?

  • Death Wobble
  • Control module failures
  • TIPM failures
  • Exhaust manifolds premature cracks
  • Water leaking from the doors

What Is The Death Wobble On A Jeep?

The Wrangler’s solid front axle is designed to offer maximum support while driving slowly off-road. When driving at highway speeds if you hit an obstruction on the road the solid front axle will not absorb the hit easily and will cause a wobble, or shake, which can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.

The solid front axle design is used best for uneven slower speeds where you can maintain control. Unfortunately, drivers that use a truck with this design for all types of driving on and off-road, would feel the effects of this flaw. You would have great control off-road, rock climbing, rock hopping while having dangerous driving conditions at a higher speed.

Is 200k Miles A Lot For A Jeep?

No, 200k miles is not a lot of miles for a Jeep. You can find Jeeps in great condition if they have been maintained over the years. If you are searching for a Jeep but you do not have a lot of money to spend buying a jeep or similar 4×4 with a lot of miles may be your only option.

But you should not be wary of a high mileage Jeep? A lot of times you will see a Jeep with high miles in incredible condition. Those that have Jeeps for the long term can be very passionate about their trucks. They monitor issues and take preventative measures to ensure they last as long as they can. This is the type of seller you want to buy a car from. Someone that monitors their truck like a parent would of their child is reliable.

Of course, do your own due diligence to make sure you are buying a truck that will last for years to come.

How Many Miles Are Too Many For A Jeep Wrangler?

Every Jeep is different, but for some years a Jeep Wrangler will drive for 500k miles plus. Make sure you bring a knowledgeable mechanic to check any potential issues that may come up. If you are handy and have access to tools then buying a Jeep with more miles may not be an issue.

Should I Buy A High Mileage Jeep Wrangler?

Jeeps are very reliable with their engines, interior, and suspension. They are designed to take a beating. Though some have transmission issues and the electrical system and certain parts of the drive train can cause issues. The clutch and master cylinder have been known to not last as long as competitors. But it depends on how the owner drives.

What Should I Know Before Buying A Jeep Wrangler?

When buying a used vehicle you must always do your own due diligence. Bring a trusted mechanic or read up on issues that may come up with the year, make, and model of the vehicle you are purchasing. Research any recalls that should have been done that year. Specifically, with the Jeep Wrangler you should monitor:

  • Damage to the undercarriage
  • Properly installed modifications
  • Tires
  • Any rust on the body
  • Fluid leaks

Buying a Jeep Wrangler is very exciting. They can last for many years. It is not uncommon to see a 40-year-old Jeep selling for the same price as a 5-10 years old Wrangler. They hold their value and can be some of the most well-maintained vehicles you will come across. Owners are passionate about their trucks and they love to work on them.

You are probably looking for a Wrangler because you want to get a truck that is great off-road and one that you can work on with relative ease. A Wrangler that is decades old can be a great buy. Just be sure to monitor certain aspects that can tell you if it will last for months rather than years. That way you can beat the thing up, fix it, and beat it up again without having to break the bank.

It is well worth it for the right purchase. I would highly recommend purchasing an older Wrangler if you make the right purchase while doing your homework.

Thanks for reading and stay dirty

Can You Paint Brake Calipers?

Painting your brake calipers is becoming more common and easier to do. It is a subtle styling that can really make your car go from hooptie to sleeper. But if you do it wrong your calipers will burn off cheap paint and it’ll look like a botched job done in your garage.

So how can you paint brake calipers? Like anything, it can be easy to screw up. But with the right prep, paint, and location you can paint brake calipers in your home and make them look professional.

Source: Cal Chrome

Should You Paint Your Calipers?

You should paint your calipers if you can do it right. Painting calipers can make your car really pop. Choosing the right calipers will make the difference between a quick and short-lasting job to one that will make your car look more expensive and stylish and last for years.

READ MORE: WHAT DOES SERVICE BRAKE ASSIST MEAN?

Painting your calipers can be done on the cheap. It requires more elbow grease than expensive equipment. Not everyone can but an air compressor, spray gun, paint, catalyst, protective gear, and a cleanroom. Instead, you can find can prep your calipers using basic ingredients, buy spray cans, use an enclosed and isolated area, and get superior results in a weekend.

How Long Does Caliper Paint Last?

2-7 years

Painting brake calipers with a rattle-can spray paint can last up to two years. If you pay a paint shop to paint your brake calipers they will last up to seven years. Your car paint will usually start to show imperfections within a few years depending on environmental and maintenance factors.

If you keep your car clean and do not live in an environment with extreme heat your car pain should last seven years. This goes with your brake calipers as well. They are painted with the same paint (or much higher quality paint) as your vehicle’s paint. They will not receive the same UV damage as your car’s exterior but will experience degradation from brake dust, oil, and other road elements.

What Temperature Do Brake Calipers Reach?

400°F (204°C)

Daily driving heats up brake calipers to temperatures reaching 400°F at times. Though even these temperatures are extreme. If you are drifting or racing brak calipers reach temperatures of 1000°F. These are extreme driving conditions. They are not relevant to daily driving unless you are commonly running from the police (I do not advise this in any capacity).

Source: AQcomputare Gesellschaft

Do Brake Calipers Need High Temp Paint?

Yes, you need high temp paint for brake calipers. Most high-temperature paint is rated up to a few hundred degrees (200°C or 400°F~) and that is fine for most people. But bear in mind if you are racing or in a competitive racing environment, your brakes can reach temperatures closer to 900°F+ (480°C+). Those temperatures require engine paint or high-temperature paint.

What Kind Of Paint Do You Use On Calipers?

Engine or high-temperature paint works best for painting brake calipers. Rattle can spray paint is the easiest and cheapest to get started. If you have access to a spray gun and a clean room this will get you the best and longest-lasting results.

There are specific “caliper paints” on the market that work well. Though they will not work for everyone and they last for months instead of years. Buy these if you want to change your color frequently. You can even try out a color with these paints and then invest in a harder and higher quality paint once you lock in the color or shade you will be happy with ln the long term.

Does Caliper Paint Need Primer?

Yes, you should absolutely use primer for your brake calipers. Like any paint job that requires tough and gritty paint primer is the right choice. A professional paint job will always involve a primer and you can do this too.

Good primer paint is not cost-prohibitive and it will actually save you money in the long run as the paint job will last longer and look nicer.

Take what Autobody Tool Mart says about primer:

First and foremost, primer helps the paint adhere to bare metal. Without primer as a buffer, the shiny metal surface, whether old or new, won’t bond with the paint well. This leads to peeling, flaking, and eventually rust, which turns a driveable car to junk in no time. Automotive primer acts as a bonding agent to help the paint adhere more strongly to the body of the vehicle. 

Some rattle cans state they have primer mixed in, though these may perform slightly better than spray paint without primer mixed in, a multi-stage painting process with a separate priming stage will always outperform and last longer much longer than combining the two stages.

Is Paint And Primer In One Any Good?

Paint and primer in one is good to use if you don’t have a primer. Ideally, you want to use a primer and then your paint. Primer is thicker and acts as a glue to make the paint stick to the smooth bare metal.

Paint has scrub and heat resistance, UV protection, sheen, and other characteristics. Without a separate priming stage, in time the paint will chip, flake, burn, or come off without a primer to adhere to the well-prepped metal.

Can I Use Hammerite Paint On Brake Calipers?

Yes, you can use Hammerite paint on brake calipers. Though, it is not a long-term solution as it is not designed for outdoor high-temperature conditions. With time it will fade, crack, or peel. Expect Hammerite paint and equivalents to last between 6 months to 2 years depending on weather conditions.

Are Caliper Covers Lame?

Caliper covers are a cheap and effective way to change the overlook of your vehicle. Though, caliper covers can give your car a cheaper look some think. They are only noticeable to more experienced gear heads. Like hubcaps, they seem to be a fad that will last for a while then, well, who knows, fade away or not…

Functionally they can eliminate brake dust from forming on your wheels. Though, they can trap heat that can lower performance in more demanding situations. It is up to you if you want to add them. The more ideal option is to upgrade your brake system to a name brand and paint the brake calipers matching your car’s color.

Are brake calipers lame? Well, that is up to you to decide. While they are cheap and simple to install some think they look bad and are not worth it. There are other options that can be better choices. There are many that love the way they look. Custom printed brake calipers can offer a subtle and classy way to upgrade your car’s looks. Putting your last name or your car club’s name on them can be highly desirable.

How Much Does It Cost To Get Brake Calipers Painted?

To paint a set of 4 calipers will cost around $400-500. It depends on the shop, options, type of paint, and other factors. If little or no prep is needed then you may pay much less. The shop will make more money off labor and may offer a warranty if they do their own prep. So the tradeoff is up to you.

Can You Paint Calipers Without Taking Them Off?

Yes, you can paint brake calipers without taking them off. You will need to do a great job prepping the calipers and the area around them to achieve a positive result.

Using brush paint, as opposed to spray paint can be an option if you can’t prep as much. It requires less prep and you can get away with not using a clean room, though you have to be thorough when applying as with a brush it can leave uneven marks and it is easy to miss hard-to-reach areas.

The brake disc and wheel well should be taped and masked off beforehand. Make sure the only area exposed is the area you want to apply paint. Otherwise, the paint is very sticky and it attaches everywhere. You would be surprised where it goes and how hard it is to remove from undesirable areas.

If you use a paintbrush you may have less area that is at risk of being painted. With spray paint, you should mask off as much of the area as you can. Airborne paint spray will get everywhere.

It is much cheaper, quicker, and less stressful to mask off a larger area than having to remove spray paint from all sorts of nooks and crannies especially your car paint. You don’t want spray splatter on your exterior.

How Long Does It Take Brake Caliper Paint To Dry?

  • 15 minutes to recoat
  • 1-4 hours to touch
  • 4-5 hours to handle
  • 24 hours full dry

These times are established based on 70ºF (21ºC) and 50% relative humidity. Lower temperatures or higher humidity require longer dryer times. Less humidity and higher heat can lower drying times, though it is still recommended you wait these full time.

If your paint has specific directions that differ from the times above then differ to the recommended directions printed in the instructions or labels.

How Long Does It Take To Powder Coat Calipers?

The turnaround time to powdercoat brake calipers is 3-7 business days. I have worked in manufacturing facilities where we outsource powder coating and for small projects with an expedited charge, turnaround times can be at little as 1-2 business days. Though normal times are under a week.

Powdercoating can be a good option, though, it may not be best for those racing and demanding higher temperature paint. Powdercoating is a process that melts and chemically sticks to the metal at around 325°-450°F (162°-323°C). So if you want to enhance the look of your daily driver powder coating can be a solid choice as the brakes won’t get too hot in really any condition and it should last much longer than paint.

Calling around, I have found that powder coating costs about $30 and $90 per brake caliper. It depends on certain factors, of course. Powdercoating can be a much better option and you can also choose different colors that are not offered with auto paint.

Source: Caliper Creations And Car Care

You can even choose glow in the dark, but that usually turns out like crap since in the daytime it is an awful light puke green color and if they do not absorb light during the day the glow in the dark effect will be weak and last under an hour.

READ MORE: WHAT ARE POWER RUNNING BOARDS?

Can you paint brake calipers? You definitely can and a lot of people do. Spending a little bit of money and/or time can really transform your car’s appearance. The difference between a blacked-out SUV with some blue brake calipers can really make it stand out.

It is often overlooked as well. Upgraded brake calipers usually come painted to show off the purchase and offer free advertising. But simply painting your brake calipers can be a cheaper way to offer an upgraded and cleaner look to your vehicle. Chose painting or power coating depending on your driving style as they both can last years and years.

Thanks for reading and stay dirty.

What Is The Purpose Of A Truck Headache Rack?

Headache racks received their name because they keep tools and materials from breaking into the cab through the rear window or even crushing the truck cabin. By preventing items from coming through the rear window, they also protect passengers in the cab from being struck in the back of the head, which would cause a massive headache.

With some workers in industries, headache racks are vital. They have saved many lives and will save many more. They can be the first accessory bought for some trucks. Their utility also extends to storage, mounting for additional lights, radios, or signaling equipment. I break down what exactly is a headache rack, if you need one, and how to buy one.

READ MORE: HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT ROOF RACK

What Is A Headache Rack?

Source: CL7 Metal Works

A headache rack, cab protector, or cab guard is a rack or grill that sits just behind your truck cabin in the truck bed. They design it to protect the truck cabin from cargo sliding forward from the cab. Also, you can attach and load things to the rack for storage or secure cargo to the truck bed.

Commonly used with tow trucks or repossession (repo) trucks to protect the driver and passenger from the towed vehicle. vehicles are attached with straps and chains, but they are not 100% failsafe. There have been instances where the straps came loose, failed, or were simply not attached and the vehicle being towed has crashed into the truck cabin.

With a headache rack, there is an added protection from serious injury. No one wants to get a car bumper to the back of the head when slamming on the breaks. Talk about a real headache.

Backrack’s is a brand that offers similar units that mount above the truck bed that gives you more room if you have a truck toolbox or a Tonneau cover.

Do I Need A Headache Rack?

Source: Spyder Industries

You need a headache rack if you commonly carry large and heavy cargo in your truck bed. Cargo is never 100% safe and it can shift when in motion. There is not a lot of protection between the truck bed and the truck cabin so a headache rack can really protect the driver and passengers.

When dealing with a potential injury a headache rack can be very cheap insurance. A worst-case scenario could be a piece of cargo jostling loose while driving and then applying the brakes the cargo shifts quickly and hits the driver in the head and then losing control of the vehicle. That is not a scenario anyone sane would appreciate.

Headache racks also provide an additional source of support to attach and secure cargo. You can store items frequently used tools in convenient locations that otherwise need to be stored loose in the bed, inside the truck, or forgotten at home.

Are Headache Racks Universal?

There are headache racks that can fit a wide range of trucks. With some modifications, you can get a generic headache rack to fit any truck. You can find many options that are designed for your specific truck. But there are universal options available that will fit most if not all trucks. The best option is a custom option that fits all your needs but you should look for a headache rack to fit your specific truck. This will provide the best function and look.

Headache racks are generally the same style. They feature horizontal support bars that attach to the front of your truck bed. The biggest differences are the material used, weld quality, and design.

The materials used are steel and aluminum. They use (stainless) steel for the more economical models and for higher-end models they use aluminum.

Weld quality will obviously vary depending on price. More economical models will have less than ideal welds which will contribute to bending and cracking around seals and intersections.

Design can vary more than the other previously mentioned features of the headache racks. Some have lights, some have bars or punch plates, some extend down into the truck bed, and some rest above the truck bed if you want to use a truck bed cover or a truck toolbox.

Can You Use A Tonneau Cover With A Backrack?

Yes, you can. Backrack is a brand that makes headache racks that are compatible with Tonneau covers. These racks do not reach into the truck bed. The Backrack headache rack installs on the back of the truck’s cabin and site above the bed giving room to install some Tonneau covers.

Fit is not perfect and compatibility is not 100%. Backrack has a page to spec out each model with all the major truck models. But Backrack will offer an option for each truck with a Tonneau cover or toolbox.

For example, Backrack offers a “low profile” installation kit that will work on the Safety Rack 10500 model with a 31-inch toolbox for the 2014 Ford F-150 with a 6.5-foot bed. You should be able to find an option that works with your setup.

READ MORE: ARE RUNNING BOARDS WORTH IT?

Are Headache Racks Required?

There are no federal or state laws that dictate the public use of a headache rack though it is a common and wise option. I have stated before that it is cheap insurance as you can spend a few hundred dollars on one and never have to use it at all.

Or, possibly you can skip buying a headache rack and have a large object come and give you an unhealthy concussion while driving your truck at freeway speeds. It is your life and you are in control of it. Decide on what is the best option for your daily use.

There are many options for headache racks on the market. They all can offer a lot more safety and protection from outside objects. Most people do opt for them. But what is a headache rack? Maybe the name is just a warning. Without one, you may get a very bad headache, and with one, you can easily avoid a headache.

Thanks for reading and stay dirty

What Are Power Running Boards?

Power running boards are simple running boards that swing out of the way when they are not in use. The running boards are activated when a door is opened when a car is unlocked, or they can even be programmed to work when a leg sweeps past a sensor. These would be more automatic running boards. The true sign of luxury.

They will usually cost around $1,000 to buy and install but for those willing, they can be well worth it. If you lift your truck you can get away with some sleek styling with hideaway power running boards.

They can be almost completely hidden, so when you’re driving off-road they won’t lower your riding height and they won’t stick out and hit a rock or bush. Power running boards are a complete luxury but they do offer additional comforts and practicality. Power running boards are not as common as side steps or running boards but brands do offer plenty of color and styling options.

Can You Turn Off Power Running Boards?

Yes, you can turn off power running boards. You can program most power running boards to act however you want. You can set them to stay hidden, open and close on a delay, to stay open, or whatever you can think of.

If you want to set your power running boards to stay retraced up and away when you are changing your oil, riding in extreme terrain, or other infrequent events you will be able to set them in your advanced settings.

You can also set them to stay extended you can do the same thing. There are situations where you need to have the running boards extended, such as in an action movie, or if you want to perform a sweet stunt for a youtube video.

How Long Do Power Running Boards Last?

Power Running Boards typically last for 5 years or 60,000 miles. The average manufacturer’s warranty covers the first 3 or even 5 years of operation, so you can figure it should last about 5 years or just a little bit more than that. AMP Research is the leading manufacturer of power running boards and their warranties are for 3 and 5 years.

Some users report they last much longer. Others report that one gets stuck down and the other side won’t extend so they are stuck with half of one. The good thing is that you could be able to peg one up or down until you are able to get it fixed. But most users report AMP electric running boards to work well and should last for years.

How Much Are AMP PowerSteps?

The AMP Powerstep’s most economical version starts at $1,075, $1,599 for the Powerstep EXtreme, and $1,899 for the Powerstep XL. Prices change and Amazon usually has the most competitive prices, though AMP’s website has MSRP pricing.

AMP also manufactures a manually retractable Bedstep as well. It is a single step that installs in front or behind the rear wheel on either side of your truck. It works great for stepping up and adjusting or securing things in the bed. They are best for shorter people, or taller people with lifted trucks.

So, What Are The Best Power Running Boards?

AMP Research is the standard and the most popular electric running boards. They are generally regarded as the most reliable (designed and manufactured in the USA) and the easiest to install and use. There are others as well, here is my list of the best power running boards:

AMP PowerStepXL

Buy if you want the best of the best and don’t mind the prices.

Good: Probably the most reliable power running board on the market it boasts a 5 year or 50,000-mile warranty. It features a large platform, lights, extends 9 inches, and tucks away almost completely.

Bad: It’s the most expensive electric running board on this list.

AMP PowerStep

Buy if you are price conscious but want the best brand.

The Good: AMP Reliable is excellent. It can be 100% hidden when retracted. It has a flat and secure 6-inch extension and a 3 year/36,000-mile warranty.

The Bad: It is the most complicated to install.

Aries Offroad ActionTrac

Buy if you need the double step for the elderly/children.

The Good: It is the only one to offer a “double” step 4-inch at door level and an additional 3-inch platform dropped 8-inch. It offers an industry-leading 650 lb weight limit. Installation is simple and Ares offers a great 5-year warranty.

The Bad: It is more expensive than its competitors’ equivalents.

Bestop PowerBoard

Buy if you installing is not your strong suit

The Good: It has a standard 6.25-inch wide platform that extends 6 inches. It connects only with WIFI and boasts the easiest 2-step install, and it comes with an industry-standard 3 years/36,000-mile warranty.

The Bad: WIFI only connection may turn some off.

Are AMP Steps Universal?

Yes, AMP Powersteps are universal. AMP makes mounting brackets for all major pickup truck manufacturers and custom mounting brackets can be made for other carmakers. AMP also offers a universal mounting bracket that can be modified depending on your truck.

If you have a vintage raised Disco and you want to add some automatic Powersteps you can do it. Like with most work on a vintage truck you will have to cludge what you have to make it work. But it can be done and still look professional. The Powerstep tucks away and is almost completely hidden. Powerstep 2 is larger and has a lower extension and it is designed to be shown off.

How Far Do Amp Powersteps Drop?

The original Powerstep drop 6 inches. The PowerstepXL drops 9 inches, 3 inches lower than the original). They both support up to 600 lbs per side so two sumo wrestlers can even use the Powersteps at the same time and nothing will happen.

How Long Does It Take To Install Amp Power Steps?

2-3 hours. AMP Research states you need about 2-3 hours to install both Powersteps. From a difficulty scale of 1-4, AMP Research rates this installation at a 4.

You will need to cut, strip, and solder wires, run electrical wire, insulate with silicone caulk, tighten bolt and nuts, drill through your frame, and drink 3-5 beers during the installation process. It is complicated though it can be done in an evening or a weekend with ease.

AMP Powersteps are more involved than other power running boards. This is their biggest downside. You need to drill in the frame to run wire and connect it to your existing truck’s electrical system. Sometimes this can take hours itself and require special tools. Though, when it is finished you have a hard-wired system that will fail less than competitor’s systems that use a wireless connection.

How Do I Lubricate My Power Running Boards?

Spray every pivot point and moving part with a spray lubricant (motorcycle/bicycle chain lube or something equivalent works excellent) every few months or when you hear or feel a lack of freedom of movement.

Power running boards come from the factory properly lubricated. Though with time and weather this lubrication needs to be replenished. It is a simple process that can be done in minutes.

Simply open your door to extend the electric running boards. Then at each point where there is bare metal, a pivot point, or a moving piece, spray lube. You may need to get under your truck or use a mirror to view locations under or behind the running boards. Otherwise, you may miss spots and this could lead to further damage that can be easily prevented.

Thanks for reading and stay dirty