Sunday, April 18, 2021
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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

How Do I Stop Car Top Carrier Wind Noise?

Did you just buy a rooftop carrier because you’re heading on a trip and are packing more stuff than you thought you would? Car top carriers can be a dream for a growing family. So all is going well except you found out that none of the reviews disclosed the dang car top carrier wind noise!

Arghhh! The annoying noise of the wind hitting the carrier. Or maybe there are some straps that always seem to come loose no matter how you strap them down. We have all been there and it can be a royal pain in the butt. This can happen if you are hauling something more awkward like bicycles or kayaks. Luckily there are things that can be done to minimize or even eliminate the sound altogether.

READ MORE: WHY DOES MY WINDSHIELD KEEP FOGGING UP IN ANY WEATHER?

Let’s Understand How Does The Wind Noise Occur

Driving your car will create wind hitting the front of your car creating drag and turbulence. Carmakers try to minimize this drag to maximize MPG, create a smoother ride, and reduce car top carrier wind noise. There are many benefits to each of these things and it is well worth maximizing these benefits.

But when you add a car-top carrier it dramatically increases the drag. Think when you stick your hand out of the window while you are driving on the freeway. Now think if you hold a cup outside the window. It may slip out of your hands instantly and fly away. This drag is easily increased with even minor changes.

So when you put a cartop carrier on your roof you are adding a major wind block. That is why some people opt for a teardrop-shaped rooftop carrier, or they may add a fairing. These can really reduce the wind drag.

The turbulence generated by the nonsmooth lines of your vehicle will increase drag as well, and turbulence can contribute more to road noise than increased drag. The air is violently trying to move past your car and it can create quite a bit of noise in the process.

So now that we know why a car-top carrier causes more road noise to your vehicle let’s see how we can minimize this annoyance.

Check Your Rooftop Carrier Mounting System

If you purchased a generic “one size fits all” type roof rack you may have some trouble getting it to fit correctly. Make sure there are no loose parts or connections that seem to be installed correctly but may not fit right.

There are different types of fittings and you should only buy a square fitting if you have a square rack. Oval is more common and the fit of the rooftop rack connectors can vary wildly. Some of the higher-end car top carriers will have multiple connectors to give you the best options for getting a reliable and quiet rack.

Once you are confident the installation is 100% correct and there are no manufacturer’s defects with the rooftop carrier then you should move to the next troubleshooting step.

Can You Fit Roof Bars To Any Car?

You can fit rooftop bars to any car as long as they are designed for a universal fit and the right mounts are used. On cheaper rooftop carriers the mounting hardware can be cheap plastic that can break easily, or may not provide a secure fit. This means you may have some movement with your racks and this causes rattling or vibrations.

If you buy a rooftop carrier then you may want to look into buying some mounts separately if you cannot get a great fit. Mounts designed for your car will work much better than a generic fit.

How Do You Stop A Roof Bar Making Noise? Tips & Tricks

  1. Buy an aerodynamic cartop carrier
  2. Using proper fit mounting hardware
  3. Install a front fairing or wind deflector
  4. Test the positioning of the rack and adjust back and forth
  5. Make sure the carrier does not have loose articles sliding around
  6. Lower set cargo makes less noise and a shorter carrier will help

READ MORE: WHAT IS THE BEST ROOFTOP CARGO CARRIER FOR ME?

Using the right mounting hardware can be the cheapest and easiest fix. If your carrier does not come with the right ones then Amazon has many that should fit any car.

A front fairing is the easiest fix but it isn’t the cheapest one. If you have an older rooftop carrier and it makes a racket then a wind deflector, or front fairing, may be your best shot. It can add years of life to your cartop carrier and greatly reduce the road noise. The reduced wind contact can reduce the normal wear and tear with a fairing.

You will want to play with the position of the cartop carrier as well. If there are ways to adjust your personal carrier then you will want to try out all the different settings until you are able to lock in the best positioning that will cause the least car top carrier wind noise.

Pro tip: The more noise your cartop carrier makes the more gas you are wasting. Noise is an indicator of the amount of drag you are creating.

When you are packing you will want to start with packing the nonessential things in the rooftop carrier. This way you are sure to fill the carrier up full and prevent anything from moving around.

Remember what they say every time you fly during the pre-flight instructions. This way you will minimize the amount of stuff you have down below inside your truck so you can have the most room possible. Comfort is second to none.

How Do I Stop My Roof Rack Straps From Vibrating?

If you can, pull the straps inside your door and shut it. They will stay taut and eliminate vibration. The reason straps vibrate is because the wind is hitting them and they are moving back and force rapidly causing a really annoying sound. If the straps don’t fit then try to secure them from moving while driving. Some people twist them together. Others wrap them to another strap until they run out.

Buying a rooftop carrier can be a wonderful upgrade. Its function is sometimes worth its weight in gold. But all that is negated if the damn thing is buzzing and moving and causing all sorts of noise. This can be the worst thing when taking a road trip with the family. Luckily there are things you can do to reduce or eliminate car top carrier wind noise and it is easier and cheaper than you think.

Did I miss a tip that you swear by? Email me and I will add it in and give you credit! I love improving posts that readers can benefit from.

Thanks for reading and stay dirty

Best Truck Exterior Accessories Under $50 (2021)

You don’t have to go and spend an arm and a leg to make your pickup truck look good or more functional. There are so many truck accessories out there being invented and upgraded regularly that can fit your budget. However, the numerous amount of products can make it difficult to decide what to get.

As a result, I have personally compiled a list below of various exterior pickup truck accessories under $50 that I find are useful and aesthetically pleasing. These products are also made of high quality and are highly reviewed. Some of these products I have owned myself and highly recommend, whereas others are products I would like to own one day.

1. Cargo Net

A cargo net is a great way to prevent your stuff from flying out of your truck bed while going full speed down the highway. You would hate to be the one who delivers unexpected presents into peoples’ windshields. Cargo nets are especially useful in securing light objects like plants/tree branches, lightboxes that are stacked above your cabin height, or full plastic bags that would do anything to catch the wind.

2. Cargo Stabilizer Bar

Have you ever put a bunch of full grocery bags in the bed of your truck, drove home, then discovered that your groceries have scattered EVERYWHERE? This is where a cargo stabilizer bar could have been handy. You can place it anywhere along your truck bed in order to section a smaller area off and prevent the contents within it from shifting.

3. Lockable Hitch Pin

If you’ve ever put something in your hitch receiver like a cargo rack, bike rack, or trailer, then you know that it’s usually secured by a hitch pin that can easily be removed. To remedy that, I recommend getting a lockable hitch pin. It is lockable with a key and the keyhole is covered by a weather-resistant top. I always use one with my hitch carrier because it’s light enough to steal by one person.

4. Moki Doorstep

If you are vertically challenged or your truck is lifted, you probably find it a bit difficult to load cargo onto your roof if you had to. Even I have that problem with my shorter Tacoma so I purchased the Moki doorstep to help me get up there. You simply attach it to any of your door latches and you can put your entire weight on it. It can hold up to 400lbs!

5. Tailgate Net

Replacing your tailgate with a tailgate net is known to improve your gas mileage. You can even install it with your tailgate still attached in order to prevent rolling cargo from rolling off your bed or use it as a bed divider to create different sections. I do recommend, however, that you replace the included hardware (more specifically the self-tapping screws) with some better quality ones at a home improvement store.

6. Tow Hitch Safe

I highly recommend this hitch safe. I have owned mine for the past two years and it has been a great investment. I use it to hold my keys if I’m going out for a run or if I’m parking at the airport and am about to take a long trip. It works exactly the way it’s supposed to. It is a combo lock so don’t forget the combo once you set it!

7. Car Door Edge Guards

If you constantly find yourself in tight parking spaces, always having to open your door slowly to avoid hitting the vehicle next to you, I recommend these car door edge guards. They come in a roll where you cut them yourself to the proper length and attach them to the edge of your door. It will prevent both damage to your truck and the vehicle parked next to you.

8. Truck Window Visors

Window visors are an excellent way to keep your truck cooler in the summer and allow you slightly open your windows during rain. My dad always pushes me to get these on my truck since we live in Texas and it gets hot! Make sure the ones on the link are compatible with your truck. If not, just search for the right ones.

9. Truck Cargo Crossbars

If you need additional space for a kayak, bike rack, roof rack, or cargo box, consider getting some crossbars on the roof of your truck. Granted, you must already have side rails for these to be installed. What’s great about this set is your ability to lock them with a key. This, of course, prevents any potential thieves from grabbing them.

10. Truck Bed Light Kit

Your truck bed can be like a cave if you have a tonneau cover but it is generally dark if you have no light source for it at night. A truck bed light kit is a neat and inexpensive way to light up your bed with a simple switch. This light kit is weather-proof and can be installed using adhesive or screws. In addition, you can mount it to your underbody, footwells, or any other place on your vehicle that needs illumination.

11. Truck Bed Cargo Carrier Bag

Pair your cargo hitch carrier with a good cargo carrier bag. I normally use my hitch carrier for my large cooler, but you can also put the bag on there for things that need to be kept dry, like clothes and food. This carrier bag is weather-proof and very durable. With a 20 cubic feet capacity, you can store enough food to last you several days.

12. Truck Bed Deflector

Bug deflectors are mounted on your truck hood. Their primary purpose is to prevent bugs or other small debris from hitting your windshield. Bug deflectors also help a little bit with gas mileage as mentioned in my blog post. When you click on the Amazon link, make sure the deflector is compatible with your truck. If not, make the proper Amazon search.

13. Rear Loaded Bike Rack

bike rack fit for your truck hitch can save plenty of room in your truck bed for other important cargo. This specific bike rack is priced below other ones but it is still highly reviewed. When putting your bikes on it, I still recommend getting a device to properly secure them on there to prevent theft.

14. Truck Hitch Bumper

I have been a victim of many love taps to the rear of my truck whether at a stoplight or at a parking lot. Sometimes I get by unscathed, but other times I get a small dent. If this happens to you, a hitch bumper can be your best friend. It also doubles as a step if you needed to grab something from your bed without opening the tailgate. Unfortunately, this won’t protect your truck from a full-speed rear end.

15. Truck Tailgate Lock

I briefly mentioned a tailgate lock in my blog post about tailgate theft prevention. This little gadget attaches to the tailgate hinge cup and deters any thief from stealing your tailgate when it is down. If you know how to remove a tailgate, you know that it can be done in seconds. Just make sure this is compatible with your truck.

 

Should I Paint My Brake Calipers Or Leave Them Stock?

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 on 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 brake 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 it in 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 are good to use if you don’t have a primer. Ideally, you want to use a primer and then your paint. The 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 powder coat 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. How long does caliper paint last. Years and years.

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 power 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.

The best power running boards will usually cost over $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.

READ MORE: DOES YOUR LIFT TRUCK RIDE ROUGH? HERE IS WHY…

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.

Ok I have made up my mind. I want some for my truck. But where do I start?

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 power running boards 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: The Amp Powerstep is the most complicated power running board 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

READ MORE: WHY DOES MY ROOF TOP CARRIER MAKE SO MUCH NOISE?

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?

Power runing boards have moving parts. And they are eposed to the elements so with time even the best power runing boards will need some upkeep. Apart from a manufacturer’s malfunction you will basically only need to lubricate your running boards from time to time. Consult your owner’s manual for recomended times.

To lubricate ppower running boards start by spraying 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.

Running boards can be great and they can be an easy upgrade. But what if you go off roading, or yo udon’t like the look of them? Well power running boards will solve both of these issues. Power running boards will hide away when they are not being used and the best power running boards will tuck away so you don’t lose any ground clearance.

Overall most customers are very happy with them. And they give you a sense of luxury that few single upgrades can give you. I personally love the look of running boards, but a powered running board that opens right before you step on it is just so cool. It owuld be hard to look away on a truck that has these. Or maybe that’s just me?

Thanks for reading and stay dirty

Is It Legal To Drive With The Tailgate Down?

tailgate down is legal in most states

There are no national laws that restrict the operation of a motor vehicle with a rear tailgate in a certain position. Each state has regulates if it is legal to drive with the tailgate down.

READ MORE: HOW MUCH DOES A TAILGATE WEIGH?

Some states the tailgate needs to be secured or fastened so it can’t move while the truck is in operation. In the following states it is illegal to drive with your truck tailgate down or unsecured:

  • KS, IL, MI, MN, TX, MD, NE, NJ

The following states have no laws restricting driving a pickup with the tailgate down:

  • AK, AR, CA, CO, CT, D.C., DL, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, ME, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NM, NV, NY, PA, OH, OR, RI, TN, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

READ MORE: DOES PUTTING YOUR TAILGATE DOWN SAVE GAS?

Is Driving Without A Tailgate Illegal?

Yes, in most states. Most of the same states that do not have a law forbidding tailgate position also do not regulate if you can drive without a tailgate. So most states it is legal to drive with no tailgate.

Will Driving With Tailgate Down Damage Your Truck?

Driving with your tailgate down can be done safely. But you should understand that it can cause damage if other drivers are not aware and they may inadvertently hit the tailgate while in operation.

Also, if you are driving your truck with the tailgate down make sure you check the bed so you are not carrying any cargo that may fall out while moving. Also, some tailgates are designed to be removed with the tailgate down and when you are driving it can shake and fall off! That may be an expensive error.

Your truck’s tailgate could be stolen when left unattended as well. Texas and California are dramatically worse for stolen tailgates. That makes the most sense because these two states have the most trucks:

Thanks for reading and stay dirty

Source used
Find Law

Is A Tonneau Cover Worth It?

A pickup truck is very useful for specific jobs. But what if you need to secure your belongings in the truck bed and you do not want to worry about them getting stolen. Utilizing the extra space can be easily done with a Tonneau cover. They are readily available, custom-designed for any truck, and offer great security.

But where do you start? What should I look for in a Tonneau cover? Is a Tonneau cover worth it?

What Is The Purpose Of A Tonneau Cover?

The purpose of a Tonneau cover is to provide security for your pickup truck bed, improve gas mileage, and add greater usable storage space.

A Tonneau cover will cover your truck bed so you can keep things in there without having to keep an eye on your vehicle. Before you could throw anything you want in there but when leaving your car for an extended period of time you would transfer your things into your truck cabin and then back to the bed when you start driving.

Even in safer areas, there is always the chance of someone coming along and grabbing something in your bed. Opportunistic crimes can and should be easily avoided.

Should I Get A Tonneau Cover?

Yes, you should get a Tonneau cover. They are cheap, easy to install and remove, and lockable give you more security and flexibility with a pickup truck. You should get a Tonneau cover if you want added protection for your personal items stored in your truck bed.

The purpose of a Tonneau cover offers a lockable storage option for your bed where you can forget about having to move things around. When you do not need to use the entire truck bed you can pop the Tonneau cover on your bed and have the flexibility to store more stuff. Then simply remove it and store it in your garage when you really want to take advantage of the space.

Also, a Tonneau cover can increase gas mileage with a more aerodynamic truck profile. Though, be careful here, because with most models the more streamlined profile will not compensate for the added weight of the truck cap cover, nor the weight of the extra crap you will be much more open to store in it.

Is Soft Or Hard Tonneau Cover Better?

You have to ask yourself what you need. Tri-fold, roll-up, or hard top Tonneau cover? It depends on what you want. A soft or hard Tonneau cover can provide more value to someone who wants certain things. Do you live in a state with harsh winters? Check out my write up on the best soft Tonneau covers in winter. Here are some advantages of a soft Tonneau cover:

  • Cheaper
  • Easier to install and remove
  • Easier to store when not in use

There are some advantages of a hard Tonneau cover that soft covers will not be able to do:

  • Very secure and lockable
  • Color matching
  • Very durable
  • Washable
  • Completely weatherproof
  • Easier to operate
  • Sleeker looking

If you are OK with a more temporary Tonneau cover and you don’t need to use all the features you should be able to get away with a softcover. This way you can save a lot of money.

Then again, a “set it and forget it” more secure tri-fold Tonneau cover or even a foldless “full tilt” truck bed cover attached with hydraulic lifting supports will work amazingly well seemingly factory installed. But this will cost you much more.

Are Tonneau Covers Secure?

Yes, Tonneau covers are secure.

Every single one of them offers a better level of protection than an open bed. With the folding soft truck bed covers, though, they are still easily accessible. They are made of vinyl and sometimes reinforce with aluminum panels. This vinyl can be easily cut with a box cutter within seconds. It is better than nothing, though only slightly better.

A locking hard tonneau cover is very secure. It can be as or more secure as your truck’s cabin door. They can come with a lock and key and they are designed to be stood on and some you have a respectable load capacity. Each Tonneau cover is different and some are very secure while others are much less so.

Diamondback Covers HD bed cover with 1,600 lb load capacity

Do Tri-Fold Tonneau Covers Leak?

Yes, they do. Tri-fold covers are fitted to each truck bed, though, the manufacturer doesn’t design a truck bed to be waterproof. In fact, they design drains into the truck bed to compensate for water. A tri-fold Tonneau cover leaks but it will keep most rain out. In light rain, it may completely seal off moisture collection.

A tri-fold Tonneau covers leaks but it does an excellent job of keeping the rain out overall. Unless you live in Hawaii where it can rain 500 inches per year a tri-fold Tonneau cover won’t leak enough to make your life hell for quite a while.

Do Tonneau Covers Keep Water Out?

Hard Tonneau covers will keep water out of your truck bed. Like I stated before soft covers are limited in their protection, though they will do a great job. Hard Tonneau covers will seal near 100%.

Do Tonneau Covers Save Gas

A detailed report from Youtuber “Boats and Engine”

Tonneau covers will maximize the aerodynamic profile of your truck bed. Without a cover, there is a space of air that is jumbled around causing turbulence and increased drag. I did a complete write up driving with your truck tailgate up or down here.

With the truck tailgate up it minimizes this turbulence, but only so much. With a truck bed cover, it eliminates almost completely the pocket of air that collects and disturbs the smooth flow of air passing around the truck body.

Tonneau covers save gas more than a cab because they offer a lower and smoother profile than a full truck bed cab. The weight difference is much greater, where the added aerodynamics and weight provide much more gas savings.

READ MORE: WHAT THE HECK IS A HEADACHE RACK???

Can You Use Armor All On Tonneau Covers?

NO. Do not use Armor All on your Tonneau Cover. It is made of vinyl and a product like Armor All is not designed to clean and protect the vinyl. It will of course work fine in the short term. In the long term, your truck cover will degrade much quicker. Some covers’ warranties do not cover the use of Armor All. Though, good luck trying to prove this.

To be sure you should use cleaners that are designed for use with vinyl. There are many on the market and each is marginally better than the last. Find one that works with vinyl and is sold at a reasonable price and go for it. Amazon has a great selection and reliable reviews that will make you confident in your purchase.

What Should I Look For In A Tonneau Cover?

There a basically two mainTonneau cover styles. Each one can be a great purchase. Typically you want to look for a few characteristics when buying a Tonneau cover:

  1. Tri-fold or Hardcover?
    1. A tri-fold is cheaper because it is lighter and more temporary. It is a better choice for less demanding and less consistent use. A hardcover can be more permanent and offer more security. It can be stacked and will generally last much longer. But it is more expensive.
  2. Utility
    1. Are you using it for security? Or do you want a casual easy to flip open cover that will help save money on gas? You may not need to buy an expensive truck cover if you will be storing it more than using it.
  3. Appearance
    1. Looks do matter. Most Tonneau truck covers are black. You can find countless covers that fit your bed, that are easy to install, and won’t break the bank. Though you can make your truck stand out with a more expensive cover painted to your truck matching the manufacturer’s color code (Anvil is my first choice).
  4. Accessibility
    1. Accessing your stuff is important. You need to have the ability to get in and out at a moment’s notice. Some are easier than others and some can be opened, closed, and locked using one hand. Others need you to lock/unlock the truck bed, unscrew multiple securing latches, and fold away the panels. Some come with very handy lights as well.

What Is The Best Tonneau Cover For The Money?

There are many on the market that will make you happy. Usually, you get what you pay for and any Tonneau cover that lasts 5 years or longer you will get your money’s worth. Some top Tonneau covers I find give you the best value are:

  • Best Trifold cover: Tyger Auto T3
    • Great value, easy install, subtle look, and it may not last as long as more expensive models
  • Best Folding Cover: TruXedo Truxport
    • Best value of price to function, quality, easy install, easy to break into
  • Best Hard Cover: Undercover Elite LX
    • Light fiberglass construction, color matching, spotlight, cramped storage near the cabin
  • Best Folding Hardcover: Diamondback Cover HD
    • Best weight rating, best construction, best materials, expensive

Why Is It Called A Tonneau Cover?

Tonneau is French for “barrel“. In France, they would call an open-air horse-drawn carriage a “Tonneau” rounded and resembling a wooden barrel. When covered it became known as a “Tonneau cover” and the rest is history.

Tonneau Horse Drawn Carriage

Today, we now use Tonneau Cover to be synonymous with a truck bed cover much like Saran Wrap is used with “plastic wrap” or Band-Aid is with minor “cut self-sticking bandages”.

1903 Cadillac Tonneau. Source: Smithsonian

So, is a Tonneau cover worth it? Yes, it is. There are many uses for a truck bed cover and Tonneau covers are the leading brand. They provide great value for the money and offer you greater flexibility in use for your pickup truck.

You can now make use of all of your entire truck and feel at ease with keeping your items out of sight and secure with the flick of a key or more if need be. 

Thanks for reading and stay dirty

Are Running Boards Worth It?

Running boards can be a great investment. They off custom styling and added convenience that can really help out in less than desirable weather conditions and for passengers that are less able when entering and exiting the vehicle.

READ MORE: DOES PUTTING YOUR TAILGATE DOWN SAVE GAS?

If you want to lift your truck running boards are worth it. Unless you’re on the taller side most people will find it very inconvenient entering and exiting the vehicle. Though while inside it is pretty awesome. So I answer your most common questions about running boards, side steps, and nerf bars.

How Wide Should Running Boards Be?

Typical running boards are typically 4- 10 inches. Some are available up to 12 inches wide. While some side steps can be a single tube as narrow as 3 inches, typical running boards will be in the 4-5 inch to 8-12 inch range.

Running boards vary as much as each vehicle on the market. A running board should be as wide as the support you demand of your vehicle. If you have a larger truck you may need a wider running board. If you have a less demanding truck with no lift you can get away with a shorter running board or even side steps.

Running boards offer a more secure flat step to climb into your vehicle and are designed as such. If you have a larger truck an automatic running board may retract and extend over one foot when you open your door. This may include double steps if you have a wildly raised truck and need some major lift support.

How Far Should Running Boards Stick Out?

A few inches should be the minimum. Running boards should stick out as far as needed for the driver and passengers to safely enter the vehicle. If you can stand on the running board vertically and comfortably this should be the minimum clearance needed.

Some trucks will have a straighter door that will enable you to install shorter running boards and others may install deeper under the door. Consult stores with install recommendations for your specific vehicle. Or just buy on Amazon.com, install them, and if you don’t like them then you have 30 days to return them. That is a good way to get the exact look you want for your truck.

Do Trucks Look Better With Running Boards?

Jeep Rubicon Stock

Trucks do look better with running boards. They appear less stock and have a beefier appearance. They appear like a body kit that can make the vehicle look more aggressive and streamlined. This is typically more ideal as characteristics such as these appear on aftermarket trucks and stock on some higher-end models.

Jeep Rubicon With Side Steps

The look of a vehicle is entirely subjective. It depends on the taste of the owner and what they like in a truck. Typically the more popular trucks appear with running boards and the majority has shown with their wallets that trucks look better with running boards.

Jeep Rubicon With Running Boards

Are Running Boards Hard To Install?

Running boards are typically easy to install. They require few tools and little to no modification on your vehicle. They are completely reversible as well if you do not like the look or want to change the running boards in the future.

Typically they require you to attach them to existing holes in your car chassis and screw them together. Other models require you to drill new holes in your chassis and line them up to the holes or bolts in the chassis. This requires more aptitude and a second set of hands.

But it is still an easier job than say, changing a timing belt or flushing your brakes. With minimal tools, some concentration, and the right youtube video most anyone can install running boards.

Are Running Boards Worth It?

Running boards are worth it if your truck is raised, needs a different look, or you want a simple modification. They can add sleek styling and much-needed function to your truck for short people and comfort for taller people as well.

With a breadth of options available, you can add a custom set with color matching, automatic floorboards, sleek side steps, or nerf bars that can make your truck look like a premium trim or more expensive.

With few modifications worthwhile when you go to sell your truck, floorboards can give you the best chance to recoup your money. They are an obvious and worthwhile upgrade to your truck.

Do Running Boards Affect Gas Mileage?

Running boards will minimally affect MPG. They add weight to your truck which will make you get worse MPG. But they can increase wind resistance and streamline your vehicle.

Depending on the model they can improve or worsen airflow on the bottom and sides of your vehicle. Overall the weight addition and wind drag effect would be minimal on MPG.

Do Running Boards Prevent Rust?

Rust is an effect of moisture on exposed pieces of metal. Running boards will not prevent rust in a measurable way on your vehicle.

Can You Remove Running Boards?

You can remove running boards as easily as you can install them. Usually, they require you to loosen a few nuts and bolts and the running boards will fall off. With some wrenches or the right set of pliers, you can do this quite easily.

Consult the manual that came with your running boards or review the manufacturer’s website for specific instructions on removal. Some can be more complicated if they have lights, cameras, or sensors installed as well. There may be additional steps needed to prevent future damage to electrical cables or exposed parts after removal.

Do Running Boards Reduce Ground Clearance?

Typically running boards do not reduce ground clearance. Though with some larger running boards you can lower ground clearance if they require a lower installation point. They can attach to the frame and cause a low point. This can be a good thing as there would be less damage to other more crucial parts of your frame with a lower point of contact on the running boards.

Typically with lowered vehicles, running boards are purely aesthetic and they are not needed to function in any way as the difference in height between the ground and floorboard is minimal. Some running boards install flush to the vehicle and can offer sexy styling with minimal function.

Why Is It Called A Nerf Bar?

A Nerf Bar is a protective bar on the sides of an off-road racing vehicle to protect it when making contact with another truck when passing. Much like a side step, it is added protection.

In truck races like the Baja 500, when a truck passes another truck and makes contact it is called “nerfing”. So to protect the vehicle’s panels, bumpers, and tires a protective bar is installed on the sides. This is called a nerf bar.

What Is The Difference Between Running Boards And Side Steps?

Running boards are flat wide steps that offer a larger platform of support to step into your vehicle. Side steps are more compact supports that are tucked away and offer a more minimal addition. Difference Between Running Boards And Side Steps

A running board is typically larger and bulkier. A side step sometimes is almost hidden. Side steps are typically cheaper. Running boards have more options. Running boards are offered on more vehicles. Side steps are better for lowered vehicles. Running boards are better for lifted vehicles.

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If you have a certain preference you may be able to find a side step or running board for any set up you desire and the above is a moot point. For budget and unmodified aftermarket parts, the above-described differences should be assumed.

What Do Running Boards Attach To?

Running boards attach to the frame of the truck. They come with custom mounting brackets that are bolted to existing holes drilled by the manufacturer or in some cases require drilling of the frame.

The running board is attached to the mounting bracket and the mounting bracket is attached to the frame running the length of the car or truck.

How Much Are Truck Running Boards?

Truck running boards will cost around $120 all the way up to a couple of thousand dollars. There are many models to choose from. From basic models to models that have all the bells and whistles are available.

Depending on what you want you can spend as much as you want on a custom set of running boards that have sensors to extend, are connected to airbags that can lower your vehicle. Color options and much more can be included if you don’t mind opening your wallet.

Running boards can be a quick, safe, and stylish addition to your car or truck. They offer a level of safety and style that do not come stock on most models. When selling your car they can be the difference between a sale and tire kickers.

They usually offer more convenience and safety than the price they warrant. They can be a worthwhile investment in the long run for you and your passengers and serious thought should be given when approaching whether running boards are worth it or not.

For Mudflap running boards are worth it 100%.

Thanks for reading and stay dirty.

What Does An Air Dam Do On A Truck?

What is the plastic under the bumper called? It’s an air dam, front splitter, front lip spoiler, or front valance. Air dams are cool looking. Getting popular in truck commercials shot in California during the summer everybody wanted one. But looks aren’t everything. They do provide a function as well.

Who knew! But specifically, what does an air dam do on a truck and are they absolutely necessary? They are not as popular as they once were, though, they still can add to your truck’s function and styling.

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What Does An Air Dam Do On A Truck?

An air dam is a front spoiler that is designed to press the nose of your vehicle down to maximize traction. The valance does the same thing as a rear spoiler. It is positioned to move air around the vehicle to increase performance. They can even move air to the engine bay to improve engine cooling in certain models.

Of course, this effect is only achieved at higher speeds. If you never drive your car more than 80 mph (129 kph) then the air dam is purely for looks. Which isn’t a bad thing. They can add a missing piece to your car and get you laid in the process. Win-win baby.

What Is A Front Lip Spoiler?

For cars, a front lip spoiler is also a front valance or air dam. A front lip spoiler is a term used more commonly with on-road cars. They essentially do the same thing, deflect air in a controlled way to increase the downward force on the front of the car to increase traction, control, and acceleration while turning your vehicle.

Cheaper front spoilers are made of plastics while more expensive (and VERY expensive ones) spoilers are made of fiberglass or carbon fiber. These are more for aesthetics because under 60-100 MPH (100-160KPH) the effect is minimal. Around these speeds, the amount of air moving over the front lip spoiler is enough to notice a difference.

Like with flight, an airplane needs to reach a certain speed to be able to have enough air under its wings to achieve flight. The same thing with spoilers.

Next time you are driving in a car as a passenger stick your hand out the window while accelerating. You will notice that at a stop or low speeds there is almost no resistance. Then as you accelerate you have to hold your hand forward.

If you hold your hand flat you can even move the front edge of your hand up and down and at a certain speed, the wind itself will automatically move your hand up or down with little effort on your part.

Science!

How Do You Create More Downforce?

You can create more downforce by adding body kits to increase the downward force throughout the vehicle and lower the vehicle as well.

Does downforce increase speed? Yes, it does. It provides more traction and better use of the passing air around the vehicle which can be lost going under the car and decreasing downforce and traction i.e. control over your vehicle.

The increased downforce enables the tires to maintain a better grip going into and out of corners giving you more control and faster cornering. In the straightaways, increased drag will reduce overall speed, though it is a common trade-off with race cars to seek a balance of control and performance.

To get a basic understanding compare the following two illustrations to see the way air moves with and without air diffusers:

Source: Build Your Own Race Car!
Source: Build Your Own Race Car!

Modern race cars use splitters or diffusers to control the amount of downward force they need on a particular race track. How much downforce does a diffuser make? A diffuser can provide up to 1,000 lbs of downward force depending on speed and setup. Though with more downward force you will achieve better cornering and handling, you will at the same time reduce top speeds.

What Is The Most Aerodynamic Shape In The World?

For practical terms, a teardrop provides the aerodynamic shape.what is the most aerodynamic shape a teardrop

A teardrop will encounter resistance and thus, a single thin piece of thread, or for argument’s sake, an atom wide string can move through the air with the least resistance becoming the most aerodynamic shape.

A teardrop has a very low breakpoint where the air is moved as the shape passes. And then the air can smoothly slide past the teardrop with its long curving sides and sharp endpoint minimizing any turbulence or “eddy currents” created as a result.

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Why Does Streamlining Reduce Drag?

Streamlining is the smoothing of an object to create as little disturbance to the passing as possible. An egg compared to crumpled pieces of paper with the same weight, is streamlined. With its natural curves and sharper endpoints, it will fall faster than the crumpled up pieces of paper. The paper has lots of ruffled sides that fight and grab the air, thus, increasing drag.

Drag and traction are two opposite fighting forces. With more drag, you can achieve more traction. With less drag, you can maximize gas mileage. So, what does an air dam do on a truck and do you need one? Well with what you know now you can answer with ease.