Buyer's Guides / Parts

Cold Weather Survival Guide: 10 Great Items for Winter Wrenching

 

In our shop organizers guide, we showed you how to organize your garage or home shop for less. Now we’ll show you 10 items you can use to make the most of that well-organized garage — even during those frigid winter months.

The alternative: a five-month sentence to bad TV and snuggling with your significant other.

Yeah, you’ll want to read on.

Garage Heaters

It’s hard to get much wrenching done when you’re working with frozen nuts — or other hardware, for that matter. Fortunately, Mr. Heater makes garage heaters to keep your garage or shop warm and your projects manageable.

Mr. Heater’s Tank-Top Heaters attach to the top of a propane tank and put out up to 45,000 BTU/hour, depending on which you choose. The company also has overhead heaters that run on natural gas or propane, as well as forced air and convection heaters.

 

Work Lights

Like we said, the days are getting shorter, and light is at a premium. Make sure you’ve got a good quality work light so you can see what you’re doing. We’re not talking about fumbling around with a flashlight. No, we’re talking about one of Bayco’s high-powered shop lights — a man’s light. Choose from incandescent or fluorescent lights with or without retractable reels.

Vent Tubing

Statement of the obvious: you can’t start your vehicle in an enclosed garage or shop without proper ventilation.

The Crushproof Tubing Company offers specially designed tubing made to fit the tailpipes of passenger cars and trucks. Simply choose a 2 ½- or 3-inch diameter section of tubing (they come in 11-foot lengths), hook it to your vehicle and route exhaust gases out of your garage through a partially opened garage door or other exit.

 

Fire Extinguisher

Spring, summer, fall, or winter — your garage should have a fire extinguisher in case of emergency. HalGuard and MaxOut both make extinguishers designed for the most common types of automotive fires. They’re designed to eliminate thermal shock to electronics and won’t leave a residue on your vehicle.

Car Dollies

A good set of car dollies will allow you to maneuver your car or truck around a cramped garage in any direction — even sideways! Companies like GoJak and Auto Dolly offer car dollies with big weight capacities and heavy-duty casters for easy movement.

You can also find engine dollies and roll-around dollies, which allow you to move your vehicle around even without wheels and tires.

ZipWalls®

ZipWall® systems allow you to create a dust-proof barrier in any corner of your garage. That makes it great for any bodywork, paint, or coating projects you may want to conquer.

The systems utilize telescoping, spring-loaded tension poles that are adjustable to your ceiling height. Simply extend the poles into position and secure the plastic sheeting (not included) to the ceiling — no tape or staples necessary. You can add foam crossbars (sold separately) to create an airtight seal!

 

Threshold Barrier

Keep Old Man Winter — and most outside contaminants — out of your garage with garage door seals and threshold kits! Made from heavy-duty vinyl, these seals can be cut to fit the bottom of your garage door.

The heat stays in; the cold stays out!

You can also add brush seals around the sides and top of your garage door for even more insulation from the cold. These seals feature a brush design that included thousands of individual bristles, which create a solid wall of insulation. It’s a design that has been proven up to 40 percent more effective than rubber versions.

 

Battery Charger

Whether your vehicle is a work in progress or finished product, chances are it’s going to be hibernating ‘til next spring anyway. That’s why it’s always a good idea to maintain your battery’s charge so your ride can awaken from its slumber at the first sign of warm weather.

Deltran’s Battery Tender Plus and Tender Junior will keep an eye on your battery’s state of charge as well as conditions that affect it. The CTEK MULTIUS7000 is another great option for keeping your battery energized and ready for action.

Air System and Masks

Why do some people worry more about keeping contaminants out of their engine than keeping debris out of their own lungs? Truth is we’ve probably all breathed in our share of body filler and bondo. But that doesn’t make it right — or smart.

If painting, sanding, or other bodywork is on your fall or winter to-do list, you might want to invest in a supplied air system to keep your lungs happy and contaminant-free. This Halfmask Supplied-Air-System from SAS comes complete with a halfmask air respirator, ¼-horsepower air pump, and 50-feet of air line.

At the very least, do yourself a favor by purchasing a box of dust masks.

 

Shop Vac

Last but not least — a Shop Vac! Every garage needs one; you may already have one. But dust and other debris can pile up fast when your garage is closed up for the winter months, so it has to be on our fall/winter survival guide list.

You can’t go wrong with a Craftsman Wet/Dry Vacuum with extensions and nozzles. They’re available for as low as $87, and you know you’re getting a quality vac.

Off-season? What off-season? Wrenching is a year-round sport when you own the right equipment.

Put that Snuggie away and get to work!

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