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Fixing Your Own Car – gadgets to make it easier

Posted by Elise on November 30, 2010

Fixing Your Own Car Just Got Easier

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If you like to make auto repairs yourself, here are a few gadgets, including diagnostic tools, that could make it easier…

Battery Monitor ($19.95). Know the current state of your car battery at a glance with the simple installation (with basic hand tools) of the Battery Doctor 3-in-1 monitor on or near the battery. The device also can act as a surge protector during jump-starting (or recharging). Available from AutoSport, 800-953-0814,

Non-Contact Laser Thermometer ($59.99). Car lovers often need to take the temperature of components in their cars to trace an overheating problem. This handheld tool saves time and hassle because you can read the temperature of things, such as radiators and cylinder heads, just by pointing at them. It also is helpful for diagnosing problems with air-conditioning systems — and can read temperatures from -4°F to 968°F. Available from Harbor Freight Tools, 805-388-3000,

Multi Fluid Extractor ($89.99). Changing the oil can be a messy job that may require jacking up the car and crawling underneath — unless you have this tool. The pump can suck the old oil out of the engine with a nozzle that slips into the oil dipstick tube. It holds nearly seven quarts of oil. Available from Griot’s Garage, 800-345-5789,

POR-15 Super Starter Kit ($19.80). A car lover’s nemesis is rust — and POR-15 is the best stuff available to stop rust in its tracks. A rust-preventive paint (a favorite of those who restore old cars), it permanently seals existing rust and can protect exposed metal with a virtually indestructible coating that can be drilled and painted. The kit includes enough POR-15 to cover six square feet with two coats, plus metal-preparation treatment, a degreaser, gloves and two brushes. Available from POR-15, Inc., 800-726-0459, (click on “POR-15 Rust Preventive Paint”).

Source:  Eric Peters, Washington, DC-based automotive columnist; author of Automotive Atrocities! The Cars We Love to Hate . Member of the Int’l Motor Press Assn and the Washington Auto Press Assn.  He has been writing about cars for 17 year and his next book, Road Hogs , will be published later this year.


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