Ask a Mechanic: Who Are You?

You may have seen a few recent “Ask a Mechanic” blog posts, but who is this mechanic, and what makes him qualified to give car advice to people on the internet?

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Ask a Mechanic: How to Care for Your Car During Quarantine

While there are numerous articles about how to set up a work from home station, or how to stay productive during a quarantine, one thing that hasn’t been addressed is how your car is dealing with all of this. And would any of you be surprised that I’m concerned about your cars well-being?! If you’re doing your part to flatten the curve by staying home (and if you’re essential and can’t stay home-thank you!!), there’s a good chance that your car isn’t getting driven nearly as much, or maybe not at all.
And while being a car enthusiast may make me qualified enough to give you car care advice, I’m taking it one step further and giving you advice from an actual, qualified mechanic. My boyfriend, Tony, has been a Volkswagen mechanic for over 10 years, and has seen it all! Here are his tips for making sure your car makes it through the quarantine in the best way possible!

  • Wash and wax – Listen, I know even you aren’t showering every day anymore, but you should treat your car to at least one good wash! After it’s been scrubbed clean, put a healthy coat of wax on (and then wax off)! This will help make future dirt, dust, and bird poop less likely to stick and wear down your paint.
  • Fully inflate your tires – While your car is sitting for extended periods of time, you want to be sure your tires are fully inflated. If you aren’t sure what PSI your tires should be at, here’s how to find it: Open your driver door. There should be a sticker on the door jamb with amounts for both your front and rear tires (they will likely be 2 different amounts). You can add 5 PSI when storing as well. Note, there are also PSIs on your tire-don’t fill them by this number!
  • Treat your car to a tank of the good stuff – Believe me, I know how much cheaper 87 is. But think of it as ice cream for your car…it deserves a nice tank of 91 octane while it’s sitting! Higher octane gas burns cleaner and better, it has been more refined, and contains better additives, all of which make it less likely to go bad while it’s not being driven. (Due to technology in fuel systems and quality of gas, you don’t need fuel stabilizer unless you’re storing your car for over a year.)
  • Change your oil – Since you aren’t commuting to and from work each day, you’ll likely need to get oil changes based on time instead of mileage. The majority of modern cars will recommend oil changes every year or 10,000 miles, whichever comes first. If you aren’t driving your car very often, it’s best to get an oil change every six months, or before you drive it again (think road trips or even daily commuting).
  • Drive! – I know this sounds like a very “Lauren” thing to say, but your car wants to be driven! Even if you don’t need to go anywhere, take your car out for at least 30 minutes every week, and let it get up to operating temperature. One situation that Tony sees very frequently is carbon build up in cars that are only driven around town, with owners that never “give it the beans!” You can avoid this by driving your car on a varied route (through town, on the highway and on back roads). When it’s safe to do so (like on an on-ramp to the highway), put the pedal to the floor! You’ll also want to hit the brakes fairly heavily (please make sure there’s no one behind you first). When your car sits, the brakes can accumulate rust and water, and believe it or not, slamming on your brakes occasionally will help your brake pads live longer.

If you have questions about something we didn’t cover, add a note in the comments or find me on Twitter!

The Best Month of the Year

I moved in with Tony, started a new job and turned 24. I’ve driven Ferraris, Bentleys, Aston Martins, Maseratis and more. All in one month.

I was able to participate in fantastic work trips like going to a private island and taking my car around Brainerd International Raceway.

Then, over the last weekend, my mom and dad came up to do a million and one things with Layne, Michael, Tony and myself. We attempted an escape room (we failed), found a big fluffy dog at a brewery, created Bloody Mary’s that were way too big, went boating and drank lots of beer.

Red car brigade

Make your own Bloody Mary bar

Testing out wacky tech at the science museum
Now onto the middle month of the year…crazy.

8 States in 15 Hours…And Back

Ever since I bought my first Volkswagen, I realized how tight knit the community of drivers was. But even I didn’t fully comprehend the extent of this until I bought my R32. Wookies in the Woods started as an event to honor the 2004 R32, but has since grown to include other models of the R32 and Golf R. I bought my R soon after Wookies last year, so I knew this year I had to attend. Being one half of an R32 power couple, it was a big decision deciding whether Tony and I would both take our cars or not. Since the red R was being a little sassy leading up to the event, we decided to take the blue R this year.

The event is held in the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina, right off a stretch of road known as the “tail of the dragon”, one of the greatest driving roads in the US, with 318 turns in 11 miles.

We started our 1,000 mile journey at 8PM on Tuesday, driving through Chicago at about 1AM, and it was a weird experience with nobody on the roads. After driving through numerous states and stopping to take a few naps, we finally made it to the cabin where we were staying. Since there were only 5,000 2004 R32s made, it was extremely cool to see so many of them gathered in one area. Over the next few days, we drove to waterfalls, scenic overlooks, and through the mountains. On Saturday, everyone gathered for the “sound off”, where only Rs were allowed to park and rev their engines for all to hear.

I was so excited to be part of the events and activity going on, and I can’t wait to go back next year in the new and improved red R!

We can’t help how attractive we are.