Tag Archives: oil changes

Working With Dad

Nobody was better with a wrench than Dad…

As we celebrate Father’s Day, we here at Backyard Buddy can’t help reminiscing about learning to work on cars with our dads, and thinking about some of the ways we can pass a love of wrenching on to our kids. A lot of us had great times working with our dads, whether it was handing him tools while he did routine maintenance on the family’s Olds 88, or him helping us keep the pile of junk that was our first car running so we could go out on a saturday night.

For a lot of us, it seems like nobody was better with a wrench than Dad, although we suspect that he thought the same thing about Grandpa. If you’d like your kids to think the same thing about you, there’s no better way than to have them help you take care of your vehicle, whether it’s the family minivan or your fully-restored 58 Vette, or for you to help them take care of theirs.

For young kids, or kids without much interest in “how things go”

Take them on a “tour” of your family’s vehicle. They’ve likely never given much thought to how a car works (Mommy or Daddy sit up front and we get where we need to go!), but if you ask them how they think a car goes, they may suddenly be very curious about how it works.

The key is to keep it simple and fun. Show them that the gas pedal makes the car go and the brake makes it stop (you can show them the clutch, but good luck explaining the transmission. There’s plenty of adults that don’t get how that works), let them turn on the wipers and the turn signals, and as long as you’re sitting in the driver’s seat, let them turn the engine on and off. For the finale, let them pop the hood (if they can) to hear the satisfying “thunk” of the release, and lift them up to look into the engine bay. If they’re still curious, you can talk with them about how the engine works and show them the major components.

Once you’ve shown them the basics, Invite them to “help” whenever you’re working on something, but be fully aware that they’re probably going to wander off or stay and ask 100 questions, so be prepared to not get much done.

For school kids

This is the classic “hold this flashlight for me. No, point it there. No THERE” age that we all survived. Unfortunately, this is not the best way to get kids to fall in love with wrenching.

Instead, try holding the flashlight for them. Give them simple tasks that you know they can manage (break a lug nut free and then let them take it all the way off, have them check the pressure on the tires, let them pour the oil in during an oil change), explain carefully what they need to do to complete it and what tools they need to use, help them if they get stuck, and encourage them when they are successful. It can take the patience of a saint, but the worst thing to do is to take over the job from them when they’re too slow, or doing something wrong. The investment in time and patience will be worth it!

When you’re working on a project, bring them over and explain what you’re trying to do (“I need to change the parts that make the car stop”) and give them a simple overview of the steps you need to take to do it, then ask them if they’d like to help. Odds are they’ll wander off in 5 minutes anyway, but it can be hard to tell what will strike a child’s curiosity. We’ve seen a first grader with no interest in cars suddenly decide that she was going to be an expert in changing out a dead brake light bulb after asking her dad what he was doing to the car, and she became a lifesafer getting into the confined space with her little hand.

Also, don’t overlook teaching them to fix their things. Instead of fixing a flat tire or squeaky brakes on their bike, work with them to help them fix it.

Like most skill building with kids, the keys are to be patient, explain things thoroughly, and let them learn from mistakes (this may not be the time for them to help with the Vette mentioned above), while celebrating their successes. They’ll have plenty of time to curse at a stuck bolt when they’re older. For now, try to keep it fun and enjoyable.

For older kids

Hopefully by now you’ve sparked an interest in wrenching, but don’t be disappointed if your teenager doesn’t want to get a junked car and rebuild it for their first car.

Many of our households had a “you drive it, you fix it” rule, and while we may not have appreciated it at the time, we learned a lot from it. Although modern cars are getting harder and harder for backyard and shade tree mechanics to repair, you can still help your kids do basic maintenance on their own vehicles. Again, be patient, but teach them how to change oil, change air filters, swap out a battery, replace dead bulbs, check tire pressure, and fix the basic little problems that come up with their car. Always be there to help, but make sure they’re the one doing the work. Even if they’ve never shown an interest before, once their ride is on the line, teens may suddenly be all ears about how to maintain and fix their car.

After all this, your kid may not end up being the type that can tear down an engine or fix anything with spit and bailing wire, but they will at least know the basics of working with their hands to take care of their own vehicle. That’s a Father’s Day gift for all of us.

As always, we’re here to help you work on your vehicles with lifts and accessories that even the youngest mechanic can appreciate. Give us a call at (800) 837-9353 from 8:00 to 5:00 Eastern time so that we can help you find a lift that your kids are likely to inherit.

Benefits of Backyard Buddy Lifts

Most men and women who enjoy working on cars truly appreciate good equipment and tools.  The right tool helps make a job fun because it can be done more quickly and efficiently.  We tend to have our favorite tools that we go to over and over again because we like them and the way they work.  At Backyard Buddy, we are confident that our lifts provide our customers with several benefits.  Here are just a few:

  • A Backyard Buddy Lift is the very best tool you will ever use in your garage.  It allows you complete access to work on your car, even underneath it.  No matter what job you need to do – whether it’s working on your exhaust or changing out tires, the Backyard Buddy Lift makes this job easy and fun.  These lifts hold cars, trucks and recreational vehicles up to 9000 pounds, allowing you to work and service your own vehicles right in your own garage.
  • Backyard Buddy Lifts are completely safe.  Safety is of the utmost importance to Backyard Buddy.  We guarantee that our lifts are manufactured using the best materials and design possible making these lifts the safest available in today’s market. Accidents occur when the proper equipment isn’t used.  Working under your car with jacks can cause a potentially hazardous accident if the jacks slip or were knocked out.  Backyard Buddy Lifts allow you to safely work below your car without any worry of slippage because the weight of the vehicle is fully supported.
  • Backyard Buddy Lifts create space and storage in otherwise crowded garages.  These lifts allow you the ability to store cars, boats, ATV’s, snowmobiles and other seasonal vehicles on top of one another as long as you have the height space within your garage or storage unit.  By storing one on top of the other, you give yourself double the storage capacity.  Backyard Buddy can also supply you with accessory kits so vehicles can be properly stored in the off-season.
  • Customer service guaranteed.  Backyard Buddy has a great track record for 25 years now and is committed to great customer service and satisfaction.  We are the largest manufacturer of four-post freestanding car lifts for the residential and commercial business in the U.S. which keeps us committed to serving our customers well.
  • Backyard Buddy supports locally owned businesses and companies.  As a locally owned company, we are committed to supporting other small business owners in order to help grow our own economy.  We desire to see small business owners make an impact in the communities in which they live.

To find out more details about a Backyard Buddy Lift or one of our other great products or to get more information on how to purchase one of our great products today, visit our website at:  http://backyardbuddy.com. 


A Backyard Buddy car lift will help get my projects going again

Classic Chevy pickup hot rod on a 4-post car liftWe were shooting the bull with one of the guys who does creative work for Backyard Buddy a little while back. He’s a real car guy that’s been involved with restoring his own cars for over 30 years now, and he shared some of his thoughts about our lifts with us.

Gary mentioned how as he’s gotten older (like all of us), and that it’s been getting harder to get up the ambition to work on his projects. He lives in the northeast and always plans to accomplish a lot during the winter months when the cars are off the road. But even with a heated garage, once the floor freezes it’s not much fun to lay on the floor and try do nice, detailed work. He blames age, but it might just be all those years of laying on his back and working in a cramped space catching up to him. All the old joints are starting to ache more and the cold doesn’t help. He thinks having a Backyard Buddy lift will help get his projects going again!

He built a new garage three years ago with nine-foot ceilings anticipating getting a lift to at least get his cars up high enough to work on comfortably, if not completely overhead. Like a lot of us, he’s always got one or two more project cars lined up and is running out of storage, so a Backyard Buddy Lift would help in that area too, as far as letting him store one car under another.

It would be great to be able to get the cars off the ground, even if it’s not at standing height. He’s thinking it would great to be able to fabricate an exhaust system like he’s doing now, or just to do simple maintenance like oil changes or cleaning up the chassis after a road trip.

What do you think? Do you have a Backyard Buddy lift and think having one would get Gary motivated again? Would making your projects easier get you motivated again?