Vanishing Point Car Movie Review

Vanishing point DVD

Actual Vanishing Point DVD

I continue to search for and hunt down car movies that I haven’t seen yet. This weekend I got my hands on the remake of an old classic known as vanishing point.  Don’t miss the pictures and information about the Kowalski special edition 2011 Challenger SRT8 below.

The film was made in 1997 and stars Viggo Mortensen as James Kowalski an ex race car driver and former army ranger turned classic car transporter. The DVD disc is an exact replica of the speedometer from a 70 challenger RT pegged at over 150mph. Pretty cool bonus for people who like to collect muscle car films.

Of course like in the original the star of the show is a 1970 Challenger RT. True to the original this Mopar muscle car is in stark white with a black interior. A desirable four speed manual transmission with the famous pistol grip shifter. In today’s market a car like this would bring well over 100,000 dollars in decent condition. The sky’s the limit in pristine condition. Continue reading

How to deal with Stripped Oil Drain Plugs

new oil drain plug

Oil Drain Plug

After performing well over 2000 oil changes I think I have seen it all as far as things that can go wrong with this simple service. The focus of this article will be on oil drain plugs and how to solve some of the most common problems associated with them during oil changes.

At the very bottom I will include some of the tools and replacement parts that are mentioned. I have seen damaged oil drain plugs ever since I first got into the auto repair business in 1984. Although it was far less common in the old days due to better materials. Back then most of the damage would be taken by the softer drain plug instead of damage occurring to the threaded hole inside the heavy steel pan.

Even if there was damage to the threads in a metal oil pan you could usually chase them with the proper sized tap. But as time went on we started to see the quality of the steel oil pan start to tumble as auto companies used cheaper and thinner parts to save money and reduce weight. Then they took this a step further and started using stamped aluminum oil pans. This meant a whole new series of problems associated with a stripped oil drain plug. Now it’s just as common to see a severely damaged hole in the oil pan as it is to come across damaged threads on the plug itself.

Simple Preventative Solutions for Oil Changes Continue reading

Cadillac Tire Pressure Warning Light

tire warning message

Tire warning message

This morning I was greeted by the tire pressure warning light on my 2009 Cadillac SRX. Although I am no stranger to the warning light and the monitoring system that turns it on this was the first time I’ve seen it on my own personal vehicle.

The Cadillac is equipped with a driver information center referred to in the owner’s manual has DIC. So I scrolled through the information that was available on the Dic to confirm the original message of check left rear tire. Lo and behold the left rear tire was the lowest one on the vehicle coming in at 24 psi

The first thing that crossed my mind was that yesterday there was no warning lights and everything was just fine, the tires where reading 25 psi across the board. But overnight we had low humidity and clear skies that allowed the temperature to drop into the upper 60s. This reduced the pressure just enough to trigger the dash warning light. What a difference a single psi of air can make. Continue reading

Three Signs Your Mechanic is a Crook

Image of Mark the Mechanic

Me Fixing a Big Truck

Just because this article is about crooked mechanics doesn’t mean that I think all or even a majority of automotive technicians are crooked. Being a professional mechanic for about 30 years I have worked with and for many honest and talented people that cared about the consumer.

With that said, there was often a bad apple in the bunch that did things that were selfish and harmful to the customers. Whenever I start telling stories about crooked mechanics the first one that pops into my head was a dealership mechanic I worked with in the 80’s that kept a squeeze bottle of used engine oil in his toolbox.

He would squirt it around gasket surfaces and then claimed that they where leaking and needed repair. When we start talking about good mechanics and bad ones I think it is necessary to point out that any industry will have its share of good and bad people contained within that microcosm. In fact this is just my opinion, but I’ve met more crooked Dentists and Doctors then I have professional automobile technicians.

Continue reading