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The pros (and more than a few cons) of chrome

My Shop Press colleague Lemmy and I have had an ongoing debate about chrome. Since I’m a lover of antique cars, particularly Tri-Five Chevys, you can guess that I’m a pretty big fan of chrome. I think it makes any car look luxurious and stylish. Lemmy, on the other...

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TECHNICIAN CHALLENGE: Can you identify these dash lights? (VIDEO)

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Dash warning lights: feature or bug?

Warning lights are something we’re all familiar with—all too often, they’re the reason a customer steps into your shop. Mechanics of a certain age will remember a time when the phrase “idiot light” was used to describe a dash light. The derisive term referred to the...

PSA: Check that cabin air filter

Most of us know that we should change the filter in our home heating and air conditioning system monthly, but why? What does it do? The role of the filter is twofold. First, it traps dirt, dust, pet dander, pollen and other allergens and helps keep the air you’re...

Don’t let the grind of fixing cars wear down your love for ‘em

by | Jul 4, 2023

Fixing automobiles all day is tough. The work’s too hard, the customers get ornery, the money ain’t what it oughta be, working conditions aren’t always the best, and the hours are too long.

In spite of that, I have yet to meet a tech, service writer, or counterman who is in the biz due to a lack of options. To the contrary, most of the people I know who fix ‘em up and make ‘em go all stick with this line of work for reasons far beyond business. At many auto parts stores in America there are hot cars in the employee spots. The owners of those hot cars are often behind the parts counter, selling to support their own buying habits. Similarly, it’s a rare shop that doesn’t have a few gearheads, beat from a long workday, who find time to tinker after-hours with racecars, boats, and motorcycles.

Junk car racing and crowd watching

The demo derby is always a good time. Photo: Lemmy.

If you’re down in the dumps, maybe the business aspect of, well, the business has dragged you away from what makes the motorized vehicle universe fun. We’ve written before about ways to reconnect with the fun side of cars, and while I like a good junk junket as much as the next person, I do something a little different. To get my motor mojo back, I make a habit of attending or participating in local auto events. I recommend you do the same.

Whether you’re at the local mall to watch an autocross event or stumble into an impromptu car show at the ice cream shop one evening, watching customers, colleagues, and community members really enjoying their cars is just invigorating. It’s easy to forget not every car is used for commuting.

Preston Tucker

A very awesome Power Wagon being shown at an ATCA event. Photo: Lemmy.

My regular circuit includes trips to a third-mile dirt speedway, a park that hosts ATCA and AACA shows, a fairly steady diet of demo derbies, the country’s largest RV show, and a ton of antique motorcycle swap meets. I also will pony up for tickets to truck pulls or monster truck shows whenever one comes to town.

And you know what? I have a hoot at all of them. I don’t care if I’m watching a couple locals duking it out on the blue dirt at Turn 2 or seeing the latest display at one of the nearby car museums. I really don’t tire of shifting my focus to the part of the automotive world driven by enthusiasm and fun rather than dollars and cents.

Dirt track cars racing

Dirt cars at the speedway. Photo: Lemmy.

If work is a slog, take a few minutes and go see what’s going on at your local car club chapter or dragstrip. You might make some friends, see some neat cars, and you’re probably going to help out a venue and organization that could use some financial support.

It works for me. Maybe it could work for you, too.

Bigfoot monster truck

Monster trucks rule. Photo: Lemmy.

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