Tag Archives: car lifts

5 Things to Consider When Buying the Best Car Lift

Buying a new car lift is not exactly as exciting as a buying a new car. However, picking the best car lift is nearly as important as picking the car you’re going to put on it.  There is nothing worse than thinking you’ve picked a quality product, only to learn later that it is substandard in design and, crucially, safety.

But with so many companies and brands of auto lifts to choose from, making the right choice for your auto needs can be difficult.  It’s necessary to understand the differences between lift designs, and make decisions based on the quality of the lift and its manufacturer.  Just like a car, if you want find out how well your auto lift will function, you need to “pop the hood”!  Whether you’re a mechanic working in a full-scale garage or a car collector who needs a car lift for the home garage, you’ll want to consider these 5 things to buy the best car lift:

Car Lift Column and Lock Design

The Column and Lock design is one of the most important things to consider as relates to the safety of your auto lift.  The leg and slider combo of a lift determines its rigidity— will it wobble, or will it stand firm under the pressure of your vehicle? To know for sure, all you really need to consider is whether the column and lock is designed as an “inside plastic slider” or an “outside steel sleeve.” The inside plastic slider is the design to avoid! These designs have a smaller plastic material block that rides inside an open-sided, bent thin gauge leg, to keep the sliders and lock inside the leg. Unfortunately, this means the legs can also pivot and wobble where the sliders meet the leg. On the other hand, outside steel slider joints are engineered much differently, because they use steel tubing to wrap around the outside of the leg instead of plastic blocks on the inside. Steel equals rigidity! An outside steel slider creates a solid joint that eliminates wobble and keeps your vehicle secure.

Power Unit

Picture this: you push the button on your lift to engage the power unit, and begin lifting your classic car. You’re approaching the garage ceiling, and it’s time to shut off the power. But instead of stopping, the motor keeps running— and your car keeps rising. In a matter of seconds, you’ve turned your classic into a crunch of scrap metal. How could this happen? Probably because your lift’s power unit came from an overseas distributor whose power units are prone to failure. A lot of Chinese units pull upwards of 30 amps, and only offer a 90-day warranty on the life of the power unit. You’re probably planning to own your auto lift for more than 90 days… so you should have a power unit that is also designed to last for much longer.  Before making a lift purchase, do some digging to find out where the power unit has been constructed. For companies like us at Backyard Buddy, American-made power units (and our 5-year warranty) are the standard put into all our auto lifts.

Construction

What kind of stuff is your lift made of?  From the cables to the lock linkage to the shape and material of the metal, how your auto lift is constructed will speak to its quality and safety.  In considering cables, a respectable rule of thumb is: if you cannot see cable coming out of the lift’s threaded end cable, they aren’t good cables.  Good cables have flexibility, strength, and intelligent design. Since cables are responsible for hoisting the weight of your car, these are three vital components you want your cables to possess!  Lock linkage is another little detail that will give you a good indication of a lift’s quality, but it’s also one of the most underrated. Steel rods that are 3/8 inch, with precision rod ends, offer positive locking and a smooth quality feel. This kind of rod engages properly so your lift locks every time. In contrast, cheaply-made lifts usually use 1/4 inch rods with cheap ends; these rods can bend and fail to activate the locking mechanism on a lift— a safety hazard waiting to happen. Don’t overlook those little details! Finally, what metal makes up your lift determines the lift’s durability.  American-made steel lift frames have been proven to outlast foreign steel, and be much stronger, because they lack the impurities that make “off-shore” steel difficult to weld properly.

Functionality

No matter what you intend to use your lift for— working on your car, storing multiple cars, conserving space in the garage— you want a lift that has functionality within its space, and also compatibility with accessories that can increase lift functions.  For example, if you’re a city dweller, where real estate is limited and storage is expensive, a residential car lift should afford you an increase in storage by stacking two vehicles safely on top of each other (so
you’ve got room for the minivan and the Maserati!). But what else can your lift do? Being able to add accessories, like hard rubber casters, increase functionality by making that auto lift easy to move around your space, so you can work in or organize your garage efficiently.  The more customizable the lift, the better it’ll suit your lifestyle.

Warranty

As mentioned earlier, you’re probably planning to own your car lift for a long time. Which means it needs to maintain working order for a long time.  Any distributor that has a warranty full of caveats and asterisks, or a “ship and wait policy,” should automatically raise a red flag.  An auto lift that offers a free, no-questions-asked policy, or has an extended warranty period, is going to give you the best (and most long-lasting) bang for your buck.  For example, at Backyard Buddy, we offer a warranty of 5 years top to bottom, with no fine print to wade through.  Extended warranties are also available at the time of lift purchase.  When buying your lift, always ask about the warranty!

Once you’ve considered these 5 things while buying a car lift— column and lock design, power unit, construction, functionality, and warranty— you’ll be on the right track to choosing the best lift to fit your needs and your life.  When it comes to car lifts, you truly get what you pay for. Considering the key elements that go into an auto lift, from the initial construction to the after-purchase warranty, will help you determine what is worth the most— a lift’s price, or its value? When you’re driving your car, you want that car to be safe, reliable, and maybe a little bit impressive. You should expect the same from your car lift!

Classics & Modern Cars — there’s more to it than meets the eye.

What drives a person to want to invest in American Classics? (Pun intended.)

There has been much discussion over the decades amongst car collectors, forum debaters, and  salesmen within the auto industry on the pros and cons of buying “American.” Depending on the product, angle of presentation and/or a person’s prejudices, answers may vary.
Regardless the angle or opinions you may have that has shaped your perspective on these cars, history tells a story that is worth repeating.

They have and continue to hold a unique place in the heart of car buyers for many reasons and patriotism isn’t their main incentive. While there isn’t one simple answer to this, a combination of factors play a part and some may surprise you!

A classic car has a story

A classic car has a story and for many, when they encounter a classic, history speaks: engine sounds, hand-crafted auto parts, genuine leather, uniqueness and style unparalleled by modern-day car finds. Before assembly lines and robots, cars were treasured and parts were thoughtfully and carefully made by hand. Designers and craftsmen were not hindered by constraints such as crash tests or aerodynamic drag coefficients. Instead, they were free to explore and reflect current trends and culture, delivering desirable and memorable treasures that could stand, and have stood, the test of time.

Mechanically, modern cars are quite different when it comes to car control and operation. Modern engines are now a sealed unit with components that are usually unserviceable by the average person. Advancements in technology have influenced car designers to embrace electrical systems that can now control steering, clutch usage, torque vectoring, and more.
While these systems seem to offer improvements on efficiency and safety, car character and uniqueness are really lacking. Older machines are intricate mechanical systems that function not off of pre-calculated driver aids installed within an electronic-brain, but in harmony with thousands of individual parts tuned to work together and dependent upon direct input from the driver. Today’s modern vehicle just can’t compete with this type of authentic driving experience.

One thing is for sure, getting a new car serviced can sometimes make you want to pull your hair out with the amount of money it can take to fix a problem! Take changing a fuel pump for example. What takes one person thirty minutes of work on a 1955 Chevrolet and $45 in parts might take multiple people and a lot more time to do on a 2006 Saturn. A complete assembly would be required because the gas-gauge sending unit is built-in and the fuel pump is located inside the gas tank which would have to be emptied and dropped in order to get to! The times have changed the way we take care of our cars and now due to complex engineering and electronic systems we usually have to pay someone else to get the job done.

Classic cars

Classic cars offer the driver and admirer personal experience, unique style, and an appreciation for true craftsmanship. All of which is hard to find in most modern cars manufactured by robots and in assembly lines for fast reproduction and quick money. While modern cars are safer, faster, more dependable, and more economical than the cars of the past, many classics have stood the test of time and have lived to tell about it, making car owners proud on many levels.
Your grand kids’ “classic car” will be a lot different than the ones in your Backyard Buddy Lift today. Soon the Chevrolet Stingray, will rest in your grandson’s garage taking the place of your 1969 Boss 429 Mustang, and it will be his most prized possession.

So when it comes to comparing classics and modern cars, you can see that “there’s more to it than meets the eye.”    Investing in or having a special interest in Classics goes beyond what many would say is a hobby. It’s a coveted experience that keeps driving us towards them and leaving us in awe of a different era and timeless memories packaged in steel, leather, and sounds.

Car Collection displayed on Backyard Buddy lifts

This classic car collector trusts Backyard Buddy

Support Small Businesses

Backyard Buddy as a small business

Looking around our factory floor and seeing the intricate dance of workers and machines, you may find it hard to think of Backyard Buddy as a small business, but on a global scale — and compared to some of our foreign competitors — we definitely are.

We don’t say this as something we’re in a hurry to change.

Small businesses, which for our sector is those with fewer than 1,500 employees, are one of the largest drivers of the American economy. The economic recovery since 2009 has been almost completely reliant on small businesses, including people who are self-employed. According to the U.S. Small Business Association, businesses like Backyard Buddy, with less than 500 employees, were responsible for 74% of the jobs created since our economic recovery began in 2009.

Unfortunately, you’d never know this unless you dig deep into the media. Most economic reporting focuses on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (mostly made up of the largest companies in the world) and the S&P 500 (made up of 500 large companies). While both of these are showing positive signs, it is companies like Backyard Buddy, and thousands of other small businesses that are quietly driving our recovery, creating jobs, and making sure the American economy stays strong.

Why does this affect you?

If you’re an American, and you’ve got the device and internet connection to read this, you’re part of the American economy. In a very real way the economic growth provided by small businesses is one of the reasons that you have a job (and by the numbers, your job is likely to be at a small business) and can provide for your family. Even if you’re retired and think this doesn’t apply to you, your pension or investments depend on the continued growth of our economy, driven by small business.

If that’s too esoteric for you, consider that small businesses are better for the consumer. In our case, we’re able to make a better product than our competitors because our business model needs to be centered on a quality product and happy customers. We don’t have or want the capacity to make our living on getting junk products out the door as fast as possible.

In addition to a better product, customers get better service at a small business, where the person you’re talking to on the phone or in the store probably has detailed knowledge of the product or service that they sell, and in many cases has made the product themselves. Thanks to the global economy and manufacturers controlling prices of their products, you will often pay the same for something purchased from a local business as you would from a multinational big box chain, and get the added benefit of service, something almost impossible to find in chains.

Still looking for more reasons, maybe something nobler? When you buy from an American small business, your money stays in your country, and in many cases right in your community. Small businesses are also far more likely to then also spend that money in your community, either through paying salaries to local residents, or investing it back into the business. When you buy from a global business, your money almost always leaves the U.S. and far too often ends up in an offshore bank account where it pads the company’s cash reserves or just makes a wealthy person wealthier.

As the holiday season approaches, we ask that you spend your hard-earned money at small businesses to not only give someone in your life a gift, but to give all of us the gift of a strong community, a strong job market, and a strong national economy.

To find small businesses in your community (for everything other than vehicle lifts and accessories, which you know exactly where to find), check out this searchable map from the American Express Shop Small program: https://shopsmallnow.americanexpress.com/shopsmall.

Let’s Work Together

I don’t know about you, but if I never see another political ad again, I’ll die a happy man.  This was one of the most tumultuous presidential elections I’ve ever witnessed, and I’ve been around for a little while.  Whichever side of the aisle you stand, you have to admit that there was far too much negative rhetoric being hurled at the other side.

The result of this election stunned “the establishment,” shocked the mainstream media, and left the pundits asking, “How could we have been so wrong?”  Even The New York Times’ publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr. admitted the paper failed to appreciate Donald Trump’s appeal.  He is quoted as saying, “After such an erratic and unpredictable election there are inevitable questions: Did Donald Trump’s sheer unconventionality lead us and other news outlets to underestimate his support among American voters?”

He’s not the only one asking those questions.  And there are a large number of people who are pretty damn angry about him winning.  But the Electoral College spoke volumes on election night; it was a sea of red.  Our president-elect is a candidate who appealed to Americans who felt unheard.  He listened.  They voted.

I employ nearly 30 hard-working, blue collar workers; many who have families to support.  During this economic decline; they’ve had no voice.  I stumbled on an explanation of this year’s presidential election outcome by Mike Rowe, former host of “Dirty Jobs” on The Discovery Channel.  He wrote a Facebook post comparing Trump’s White House win to his 2003 “Dirty Jobs” pilot on The Discovery Channel.  His reasoning sure makes sense to me.

This is an excerpt from a November 11, 2016 article in The Washington Times, titled, “Mike Rowe Explains the Real Reason Donald Trump Won” —

“It wasn’t pretty or careful. It took place in sewers and septic tanks, and featured a subversive host in close contact with his 8-year-old inner child who refused to do second takes,” the 54-year-old wrote. “Everyone agreed that Dirty Jobs was totally ‘off-brand’ and completely inappropriate for Discovery. Everyone but the viewers.

“Dirty Jobs didn’t resonate because the host was incredibly charming. It wasn’t a hit because it was gross, or irreverent, or funny, or silly, or smart, or terribly clever,” he continued. “Dirty Jobs succeeded because it was authentic. It spoke directly and candidly to a big chunk of the country that non-fiction networks had been completely ignoring. In a very simple way, Dirty Jobs said ‘Hey — we can see you,’ to millions of regular people who had started to feel invisible. Ultimately, that’s why Dirty Jobs ran for eight seasons. And today, that’s also why Donald Trump is the President of the United States.”

You see, the silenced finally found a voice; they found someone willing to listen.  Celebrity elitists just don’t represent a majority of the electorates.  (Have any of them packed up and moved out yet?)

There are lots of angry people out there; some of them are still protesting.  And because they live in this country, they have that First Amendment right – the rights that allow us to march in the streets, to worship freely, and to share our thoughts through blogs like this one.

Speaking to supporters at a victory celebration, Trump said it best, “It’s time for America to bind the wounds of division.  I say it is time for us to come together as a united country.”

I agree. Let’s start working together.

Stand Up, America

It’s obvious that there’s a lot of turmoil going on in America right now. In the past few years, we’ve seen riots over race and officer-involved shootings, an extremely divisive presidential race, and a growing feeling that something’s just not right.

At Backyard Buddy, we’re proud to be a business that is keeping Ohio’s strong manufacturing tradition alive. We’re proud of our commitment to building our lifts and accessories using American-made raw materials assembled by American workers. But what we’re most proud of is what we all are: American.

One of the core, fundamental values of being an American is that we are all responsible to and for our country. We are all in this together. This is our country, and together with our fellow citizens, we will keep her strong and work to solve any problems that we run into along the way. This spirit has kept our country strong even through a Civil War that almost tore us permanently apart, and through all of the ups and downs over the past 240 years. Even though we are facing some tough issues right now, every one of us should be proud to be American, and committed to working together for our future, even if there are many different visions of that future.

Unfortunately, not everyone feels this way. This summer and fall, we’ve seen athletes from the NFL to high school teams, and even American Olympians taking a knee for the national anthem. While we respect everyone’s right to free speech, this is a deliberately disrespectful act and we cannot support those who do it. Our flag and our anthem are symbols of the rights and duties that each and every one of us has as an American, and disrespecting them is disrespecting all of us, especially the veterans who fought and died for everything these symbols stand for.

We understand that the people doing this may feel that they don’t have a voice, but they are wrong. Each of us has a voice. Our collective voice is heard every time we vote. Our individual voices are heard through a free press, and thanks to the internet, everyone can share their opinion with the rest of the country. If we want to commit to deeper change, any one of us can participate in local politics by attending and speaking at local government meetings, or even running for office. In most places, running for local elective office is far easier than people think, and often only requires that you be well-respected in the community.

One of the greatest things about being an American is that each and every one of us has the power to change our country, but none of us can do it alone. We can organize our neighbors to change a neighborhood. We can work with others to change an entire city. A select 44 of us have inspired their peers to be given the honor of helping change the entire country.

Instead of protesting the symbols of our country, those who want to change it the most should celebrate that they are given the opportunity to do just that. No matter how much you disagree with what may be happening, stand tall and proud that you are an American, and that you have the power to create the change you want to see.

Said it before; Say it again – Buy American!

As the Presidential campaign heats up, one thing that has been refreshing to hear is both candidates talking about the need for more American jobs, especially in manufacturing. Even Walmart, probably the country’s largest purveyor of foreign-made products, is running an ad talking about their commitment to buying American-made products.

Of course, where the politicians get it wrong is that they think only they have the answer, with some grand plan for bringing jobs back to the USA. While we’re all waiting for those campaign promises to come true, every one of us has a way to bring back good American jobs:

Buy American.

It’s a simple as that. The more American-made products each one of us buys, the stronger our country and its economy will be.

You don’t need to make a radical commitment to only buy American products (and some things, like electronics, are almost impossible to buy from American manufacturers). All you need to do is to get in the habit of checking labels to see where whatever you need is made, and you’ll be surprised what you can find that is still made in the USA.

Lots of clothing, household goods, tools, and other consumer goods are still made right here. If you’re shopping for something a bit bigger and durable, like appliances, machinery, or a car, your odds of finding something made in the USA are even better.

When you vote with your wallet and buy American products, you’re helping your country by keeping our manufacturing capacity strong, helping your countrymen by ensuring that they have good jobs, and helping yourself by buying a superior product.

Right now, American manufacturers that make non-consumer goods and components are thriving because business customers can’t afford to risk buying a cheap foreign product that is likely to break or be out of spec in the first place. Why should consumers settle for any less?

Here at Backyard Buddy, we are proud to be part of our country’s manufacturing base. Our American workers use American steel to produce a high-quality product that our foreign competitors can’t touch, right in the heart of America’s manufacturing belt. Obviously, we’d like you to buy one of our lifts, but our constant refrain of “Buy American” goes way beyond that. Even if you never have any intention of buying one of our lifts, we implore you to buy as many American-made products as you can.

Just like it’s your patriotic duty to vote this November, it’s also your patriotic duty to vote with your wallet in November and all year — Be American. Buy American.
.

Being a Target

One of the problems with being at the top of your field is that you end up with a big target on your back. Everyone is aiming to take you down, by any means they can find.

At Backyard Buddy, making the best lifts that money can buy means that we have to constantly deal with detractors who insist that their shoddy, imported product is just as good as ours.

One of our favorite things that they attempt to insult us with is that our lifts are “over engineered.” Mostly, we take issue with the idea that something you literally are trusting your life to should be called “over engineered” as a negative.

Our lifts are built to be incredibly strong and incredibly reliable, and are designed to make failure almost impossible. Our lifts have survived earthquakes with cars on them. Our guiding principle isn’t value engineering or making our lifts just safe enough so that we can avoid lawsuits if they fail while still maximizing our profits. Our guiding principle is producing the best lifts possible. Full stop.

We do things the right way, not the cheap way. Most importantly, we use high-quality, American steel that we know will perform as advertised, not foreign steel that has a low chance of actually being inspected and a high-chance of having air bubbles and impurities in it. We use welded steel and frames to make our platforms, not cold formed or pressed steel. We use full square legs for strength, not formed C-shaped legs for more profits. We use externally routed, high-quality cables so that in the unlikely event they begin to fray our users can see the damage, and not find out about it from a sickening snap and clang of a broken cable hitting steel, or even worse, the crash of a vehicle hitting the ground.

Another thing that our competitors don’t like to mention is that we use American workers who actually care about making great products. Our employees are not moving as fast as they can to put lifts on cargo ships. They’re working as hard as they can to put lifts onto trailers to go down the road or across the country, not across the ocean.

This is not to say that we don’t dish out a little of our own. We’re happy to point out that a lot of our competitors use cheap foreign steel, cheap foreign labor, and cut corners wherever they can. We’re even happy to point out that some of our competitors’ lifts wobble when you push them, even under a load.

Ultimately, we are happy to put our lifts next to any of our competitors’ and have anyone give them a try to see which one they would rather stand beneath with a couple tons of steel above them.

If you’d like to come stand under one of our lifts and try to make it wobble (we’re happy to tell you that you won’t be able to), come visit our factory and showroom in Warren, OH. Give us a call at (800) 837-9353 during business hours and we will answer any questions you might have.

Our Hometown – Warren, Ohio

If you have read more than a couple of our blogs, you know that Backyard Buddy is extremely proud to be a manufacturer of American products made by American workers. You probably won’t be surprised that we’re not only proud of our country, we are all so proud of our city: Warren, Ohio.

Warren is a small city of 41,000 residents in Northeast Ohio, about an hour east of Cleveland, and has a proud industrial history. It was the first city to have electric street lights, thanks to the Packard Electric Company, which also spawned Packard automobiles, one the first major automobile manufacturers in America (our facility is just down the street from their original factory). As its industrial might grew, the city also made steel for thousands of American products for most of the 20th century.

Unfortunately, like so many small industrial cities in the Great Lakes, Warren fell on hard times when the American steel industry collapsed in the face of cheap, foreign steel in the 1970s and 80s. Good jobs became scarce, and many residents either left the city to find their fortune elsewhere, or struggled to find new jobs in the Warren area.

One of the things that we are most proud of at Backyard Buddy is that we’ve worked for almost three decades to stop these losses. We make a quality product using American steel and American workers, making us almost alone in a sea of foreign junk.

Today, Warren is home to many small and midsized businesses like ours, including AVI Foodsystems, a national-level food service and hospitality provider. The National Packard Museum downtown celebrates the city’s important place in the history of the automobile, with more than 30 historic cars, and an archive that is the envy of any Packard enthusiast. For those looking for wings instead of wheels, the Ernie Hall Aviation Museum showcases planes and artifacts from the early days of flight.

Warren has a lively arts scene as well. The city’s Packard Music Hall brings in national acts (did we mention that Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters fame was born here?), touring theatre productions, and classical and modern performances from Warren Civic Music. If you’d rather hear your music under the stars, the Riverwalk Amphitheatre features a rock and pop concert series every summer. Downtown, the Trumbull art gallery has rotating exhibits of local and national artists.

Warren also has lots to offer outdoor enthusiasts. Mosquito Lake State Park (don’t worry, it’s just a name) is about 15 minutes north of downtown Warren and offers boating, fishing, swimming, camping, and hiking. There are also several public hunting areas less than a half hour drive away.

We should also mention that our showroom is another local attraction where you can check out our impressive quality and features firsthand and talk to our knowledgeable staff. We invite you to come see our products and then spend a day or two taking in all Warren has to offer.

Let’s Make America Great Again

Normally, I wouldn’t dedicate a blog to the U.S. presidential race, but this year we have the choice of someone who isn’t the normal candidate. This year, I ask that you join me in supporting Donald J. Trump, because he is not just another politician, and he is the best candidate that American businesses and workers have had in their corner in years.

It’s no secret that I, along with many other American business owners, have to constantly fight against a tide of cheap, crummy, low-cost foreign products. For most of my adult life, I’ve watched good manufacturing and industrial jobs leave the United States for Mexico, China, and everywhere else but here.

As a patriotic American who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, as someone who loves my country, and as a businessman who is trying to provide for my family and the families of all those who work at Backyard Buddy, it pains me to see good jobs leave the country. Our hometown of Warren, Ohio, like many other small cities and towns across America, has been devastated by the mass exodus of manufacturing jobs over the past 40 years. I’m sick of watching the “American Dream” fight for its life.

For the first time in a long time, I have faith that a presidential candidate will actually live up to his promises. Trump has repeated one simple pledge over and over: to make America great again.

Here at Backyard Buddy, I’ve spent decades doing my small part to keep America strong. To keep good jobs in America. To help my fellow Americans make a decent living while producing an excellent product. To keep good jobs in the Rust Belt. It hasn’t been easy. It seems like every politician for the past two decades has sold out hard-working Americans for international trade and a flood of foreign crap coming to our stores.

Trump is the first presidential candidate in a long time to set himself apart from this tide of globalization that is hurting America. Trump knows that Americans are getting ripped off in trade, watching our hard-earned dollars flowing to Asia and South America. He knows we’re losing millions of jobs and thousands of businesses. He has pledged to help stop this tide by taxing cheap imports, making it less attractive for companies to leave the United States and undercut American wages by hiring people living in poverty in the third world.

Trump will stem the tide of illegal immigrants coming from the Mexican border and taxing our social services while undercutting American workers. He has also pledged to be the greatest job producing president that the country has ever seen, and to develop a tax plan that grows the U.S. economy and trims the debt.

I would urge you to vote Trump even if I only agreed with him on these critical issues that will help American businesses and workers, but I stand with him on so much more. He has pledged to uphold the Second Amendment, to keep our military the strongest in the world, to fix our education system, to stop the flow of illegal drugs coming from over the border, to respect our law enforcement officers, to end the tyranny of political correctness, and to make America a better place however possible.

I ask you as a fellow American, as a small business owner, as a veteran, and as someone trying as hard as he can to provide good jobs for my workers: Vote Trump!!

Thank you,
Larry Gross, Owner, Backyard Buddy

Protect Your Car in the Summer

It’s finally spring, and here at Backyard Buddy, we know that means it’s time to get your car out of the garage and go for a cruise. That doesn’t mean you can be totally carefree, however. Even if you would never let your classic vehicle see a salty road in the winter, there are still things to worry about in the spring and summer.

The first thing that everyone worries about is the hot sun beating down on their paint, and for good reason. Your paint takes the brunt of the summer’s abuse, from the sun beating down on it and potentially causing it to fade, to gritty dust acting like sandpaper wherever someone or something rubs up against it (if the neighbor’s kids are writing “wash me” on your window, you should probably take their advice). Luckily, a good coating of wax can help lock in your car’s color, protect it from damaging UV rays, and give the dust something other than your clearcoat or paint to grind off. In most places (unless you live in Arizona or Alaska), waxing once in the spring and once in the fall will give your car year-round protection. For those of you with a delicate custom or vintage original paintjob, investing in a covered parking space or even a car cover is probably worth it.

Another common worry is the greenhouse hotbox that is a nice classic vinyl or leather interior parked in the hot sun. Not only can this lead to a toasted butt and legs seemingly burnt to the seat, but it can cause fading and dry out of your interior. As above, the most obvious way to avoid damaging your interior is to park in the shade and leave your windows cracked, but there are some other tricks too. One of those giant folding windshield panels can go a long way to keeping your interior cool and out of the damaging light of the sun. Even though they may not look great, seat covers or even some blankets thrown over the upholstery can stop almost all sun damage. You should be doing this anyway, but summer heat makes it all the more critical to use a high quality leather conditioner on your leather upholstery. You can also help stop plastic and vinyl from fading with a protecting conditioner like Armor All and its many competitors. Another tip- a hot car can combine with dust and organic compounds in your upholstery to form a nasty film that is very hard to remove, so keep your interior a little cleaner than you otherwise might.

Our friends over at WeatherTech, makers of some of the finest floor mats you can buy (and made in the USA to boot) have a full line of car care supplies to prepare your paint and interior for summer, from leather conditioner to custom-made car covers.

Even though it’s in the shade, don’t forget to pay attention to under your hood. Your cooling system is also an obvious worry on hot summer days, and while we’re sure you’ve already done this, or at least thought about it, maybe take a break to look at your radiator and make sure it’s got the correct coolant and level. While you’re at it, check all your fluids, because your engine has a much harder time cooling off on a summer day, which can turn low levels of engine oil or transmission fluid into a disaster.

Everyone worries about their battery in the winter, and while a cold morning can be murder on your battery’s ability to crank your engine, the hot days of summer are a battery’s true enemy. Especially in older style batteries, heat can cause the battery’s fluid to evaporate, damaging the internal structure while it recharges off your alternator. This summer, if your battery is feeling a bit weak when you start, be sure to top it off (if you’ve got a true classic battery) or replace it before it leaves you stranded.

If you’re like most of us at Backyard Buddy, summer also means that your garage has gone from a (somewhat) tidy place to park and work to a jumbled mess of cars, lawn mowers, garden supplies, bikes, hoses, toys, and Lord knows what else. Just a reminder that we’ve got lifts that can help keep your car in your garage and out of the sun, with a rock-solid design that makes it safe to store bikes, mowers, and all of the summer’s jumble under your vehicle.

Give us a call at (800) 837-9353 from 8:00 to 4:30 EST any weekday to learn more about how we can help you keep your car off the ground.