In the time of the COVID-19 coronavirus, “social distancing” has become the new buzz phrase. To combat the spread of the deadly disease, many countries and U.S. states have turned to strict control measures like limiting the size of in-person gatherings, forcing event cancellations and restaurant closures, implementing shelter-in-place orders, and even enforcing total lockdowns.

For those of us who love to drive, the idea of being trapped in a house for weeks at a time sounds awful, especially if you don’t feel sick. However, there are ways to stay connected to your hobby without getting behind the wheel.

If you enjoy wrenching, there are numerous projects you can accomplish while isolating yourself—many in a single day. Here are a dozen automotive maintenance and upgrade projects to keep yourself busy while you’re stuck at home.

Oil Change

Not only is changing your motor oil periodically necessary to keep your engine running smoothly, but it’s also one of the easiest projects to complete. It barely counts as a project. You’ll also need an oil filter, oil-filter wrench, funnel, and drain pan.

Tire Rotation

Each tire on your vehicle wears at a different rate of speed depending on its position and your driving habits. Rotating them occasionally will help you maximize the life of each tire. Be sure to have a lug nut wrench, lug nut sockets, jack stands, and a floor jack on hand. And since you’re already removing the tires…

Brake Job

Replacing worn brake system components, including brake pads and rotors, is critical to driving safety. Whether you’re simply switching out worn brake pads and rotors or performing a complete brake replacement, completing the job in a single day is possible if you have the right tools. Depending on the complexity of the job, you may need a brake caliper tool and a brake bleeder wrench.

Wash & Wax

Washing your vehicle with a car cleaning solution is a critical part of maintenance that prevents various contaminants from sticking to it, potentially damaging the paint and finish. Automotive wax will help to further protect and maintain its exterior appearance. Consider using a microfiber towel and clay bar for a more thorough job.

Grille Guards

Grille guards, also known as bull bars, are a great way to give your truck, SUV, or Jeep an aggressive look while protecting it from collision damage. Installation typically requires no cutting or drilling, making it an easy and fast project to tackle. Learn why grille guards are one of the all-time top truck accessories.

Window Visors

Whether you’re replacing worn ones or installing a new set, adding window visors to your ride is a quick and easy way to making your driving experience more enjoyable. Having a set of these on your vehicle reduces cabin turbulence during driving, and also allows you to leave your windows open a crack on hot days to aid heat dissipation without worrying about rain. Installation is pretty simple, whether you choose an in-channel or tape-on option.

Install & Tune Carburetor

The purpose of your vehicle’s carburetor is to blend the optimal mixture of fuel and air to keep your vehicle running smoothly across its rpm range. If your ride is stalling at low speeds, the engine runs too hot or is backfiring, or the vehicle is hard-starting, a failing carburetor might be to blame. Of course, that’s not the only reason to consider a replacement. If better throttle response and more power-boosting air are your goals, a performance carburetor might be right for you.

Distributor Maintenance

Does your vehicle have a distributor? If so, maintaining optimal voltage to your spark plugs requires occasionally checking and cleaning components like the distributor points, cap, rotor, and condenser. Things to be on the lookout for include excessive carbon buildup, broken terminals, and other signs of damage. Sometimes a complete replacement is necessary. But then again…

HEI Upgrade

If you really want to test your ride’s RPM range, maybe a total distributor replacement is what you want anyway. While stock points-style distributors will work fine for most driving situations, today you can choose from a wide range of complete HEI distributor upgrade kits designed to deliver more spark for better fuel burning and increased performance at higher rpm ranges.

Tuning tips: https://www.onallcylinders.com/2016/01/08/tuning-an-hei-distributor/

Cold Air Intake

A cold air intake is often one of the first modifications automotive enthusiasts make to a vehicle for a number of reasons. Installing one is a fast, easy, and affordable way to achieve noticeable gains in power, acceleration, and fuel economy. Not to mention, they look great under the hood. The relative simplicity of this project makes it a great option for new DIYers.

Exhaust Installation

From added power and performance, to reduced weight, to improved exhaust sound quality, there are a variety of reasons to consider changing your stock exhaust system for an aftermarket alternative. There also are a variety of types of exhaust setups worth considering, depending on your needs. Installation varies in complexity depending upon your choice, but many exhaust replacement projects can be completed in a single day. Be sure to have a floor jack and jack stands on hand.

Step Bar Installation

Step bars on a truck serve a dual purpose: looking awesome and making it easier to get in and out of your vehicle. Many truck drivers consider them an absolute necessity. Luckily, even if yours didn’t come with them, they’re easy and fast to install. Check out this recent video from our friends at Summit Racing designed to walk you through the process.

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