Top 5 Best and Worst Cars of Professional Athletes

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people who are totally obsessed with pro athletes and celebrities. But when you have millions to burn (and likely eventually go bankrupt), it is interesting to see the an athlete’s taste in cars. Since most of us will never own one of these cars, it’s fun to dream. Here the 5 most gorgeous automobiles that athletes own as well as 5 of the ugliest that make you wish their teammates would knock some sense into them.

5 Best Cars (Yeah!)

#1 – Kobe Bryant’s Ferrari Italia 458

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#2 – Alex Ovechkin’s Mercedes-Benz SL65

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#3 – David Beckham’s Porsche 911 Turbo

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#4 – Mario Williams’ Lamborghini Murcielago

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#5 – Lebron James’ Chevy Camaro SS

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5 Worst Cars (Ugh!)

#1 – Darren McFadden’s “Cop Attracter 5000”

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#2 – Joe Johnson’s Ford F650

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#3 – James Harrison’s Smart Car

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#4 – El Hadji Diouf’s Cadillac Escalade

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#5 – Stephen Ireland’s Range Rover

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How to Change the Oil in Your BMW E92 M3

m3-oil-changeToday’s modern cars are becoming increasingly complicated to work on. There are less things you can do in your own garage. I’ve changed the oil in my BMWs many times but I find that changing it in my ‘E92 M3’ is even more challenging. They’ve made it very difficult to completely drain all the oil out of the engine and made it extremely easy for me to overfill it.

Everybody knows that the ‘tools make the job’. Having the right tools is a must before you try to change the oil in your car. When changing the oil in an M3 you should do it while the oil is hot. Warm up the engine before you climb under the car. You’ll need a good set of ramps or jack stands to create enough space for you to slide underneath the car.

I have my own procedure that I follow that begins with removing the oil filter and oil fill cap. I use a 36mm socket to remove the filter. Before removing it I make sure I have a pan or tub underneath to catch the oil that dribbles out. When the oil is finished draining completely I move underneath the car.

While underneath my M3 I locate the 2 drain plugs under the motor. It takes a 6mm hex to get them out. I like taking a 6mm hex socket and adding it to a 3/8″ drive. There are certain safety precautions to take when changing hot oil. You can burn yourself really seriously if you don’t focus on safety. Oil that is at 140 degrees Fahrenheit can raise a 3rd degree burn in just 5 seconds. It only takes 1 second if the temperature is 156 degrees Fahrenheit.

As a precaution, when loosening up the drain plugs, I take a long socket extension with a swivel elbow to give me some room away from the plug. I also throw on some leather gloves to protect my hands. I start with the rear or main reservoir and loosen the plug.

oil-changeAfter it begins to slow down to a trickle it’s time to remove the other plug and let both of them drain simultaneously. As they drain I focus my attention on replacing the 2 ‘O-rings’ on the lid of the Oil Filter Housing. You can pop them out using a flat bladed screw driver. The larger one is quite easy to replace, then you have a smaller one that’s located on the tip.

Before installing the new O-rings take a little oil and smear it on them. Now it’s time for the oil filter. This should come in a complete kit including 2 gaskets and 2 copper crush washers. Replace your 6mm hex drain plugs. Be sure to put on the new crush washers. Torque the plugs down to 25 Nm (18 ft-lb), which is not that much force. Install your new filter and torque down your oil filter housing lid to 25 Nm as well.

The BMW Owner’s Manual is full of good and relative information, like how much windshield wiper fluid to put in or how much fuel. However, it does not tell you your engine’s oil capacity. When you look at the OEM of the E92 S65 motor you see that the motor capacity is 8.8 liters. To get an idea of how much oil the engine holds, you multiply 8.8 times 1.05 quarts per liter. That comes to around 9.3 quarts. The capacity of your oil pan is 8.3 liters and around .25 liters for your oil filter housing.

Again, I find it very difficult to completely drain all the oil from the engine. There is a bit of oil found at the bottom of the front air dam. An M3 comes with 2 oil pumps and 2 reservoirs. Because of all these oil pathways a total draining becomes quite difficult. With oil still left within the engine, when you try to add in 8.8 liters of new oil, it’s very easy for you to overfill your E92 M3. That’s why it’s so important that you drain it while the oil is warm. It comes out much easier that way. You could, of course, leave it to drain overnight or tip the rear end up but just draining it while its hot seems to be proficient.

Using a funnel for refilling helps to keep things neat and clean. Once the draining is finished and the plugs replaced you can add in an even 8 liters of oil. Here is where things can get a little trying. When you try to check your oil level and get an accurate reading you’ll have to start your car. The only way to get a truly accurate reading is when the oil reaches its operating temperature (above 160 degrees Fahrenheit).

If you haven’t overfilled your M3 I recommend taking your oil filter out and sucking the oil out from your oil filter canister. There is approximately 1/4 liter of oil in there. This is a far better option than draining some more oil from underneath the motor. This can be messy, hard to control, and inaccurate.

BMW has stated that you should change the oil in your M3 around every 15,000 miles or once a year. I like to change mine at around 7,500 miles or once per year.

Here are the tools that make this oil change much easier to perform:

  • 36mm Socket (for removing oil filter)
  • 6mm Hex Drive and Socket
  • Vehicle Ramps (or floor jack and jack stands)
  • Funnel
  • Flat Screw Driver (to remove oil filter gasket)
  • Torque Wrench
  • Mechanics Gloves

DISCLAIMER

Hot oil will burn you fast and deep. Be sure to take all precautions to avoid getting burned. Use the leather gloves for protection. Make sure your car is stabilized and will not fall down on you while you work.

Preventing Water Damage in Your Garage

flooded-garageIf we’re going to have to suffer damage from water in your home, most of us would agree that it’s better to have it in the garage than in one of the rooms our kids and pets live in. Water damage isn’t necessarily a major inconvenience in the garage. After all, we often get oil stains and spill other liquids on that poor old concrete floor too. But while damage from water, flooding or whatever, may not appear that big a problem, finding and fixing the cause can start running into real money.

So the object here is to discuss ways and means to avoid having to face the concern in the first place. Here, I’ll try to explain what every homeowner should know about the causes of water damage, and how to beat it to the punch.

Possible Causes and What to Do

  1. Please keep the garage door closed. It’s common to see open garage doors as we drive down the street. Some just forget to close them on occasion, while others never seem to close theirs. When the kids get out bikes or other amusements, they’ll almost invariably leave that huge door open. Even if they’ve been taught to close it, their usual excuse is that they’re just going to be out for a minute.
  2. Being the largest opening your home has, this not only leaves your home open to major flooding in really bad weather, and even a short hard rain can allow a considerable amount of water to enter the garage damaging anything soluble that may happen to be lying about. Another ominous thought is that an open garage door may be a tempting invitation for thieves to come in and help themselves.
  3. Weather stripping. Weather stripping is there for a valid purpose, but it’s the kind of thing we never notice. Just as we often don’t notice worn windshield wipers until a good rain comes along, weather stripping slips by unnoticed until bad weather really brings it to our attention and by then a lot of damage may already have been created. Any sort of protection like weather stripping tends to dry out and eventually crumble and in the end, when you need it, it fails. And a wise homeowner doesn’t only install weather stripping at the bottom of the garage door but it should have stripping up the sides as well, just to make sure. When weather stripping is much worn or even missing in places, a lot of unexpected and unwanted water can get into the garage before you even realize what just happened.
  4. When a garage door panel is compromised, just one bad segment may leave vulnerable cracks—admit it, sometimes early in the morning we accidentally bump into the door a bit before we’re fully alert—and water has an opening to slip right into the garage. It’s a very good idea to check the garage door carefully for any damage and if you do find anything, you need a pro to come in and handle the problem properly. Playing with garage doors is not for sissies.
  5. Image courtesy of www.waterheaterhub.com
    Image courtesy of www.waterheaterhub.com

    Of course, despite all these precautions, there are other ways water can manage to leak into your garage causing damage. Many homes have the water heater located in the garage, and they sometimes begin to leak. The reasons for this may be varied, but in the end, water leaking from a water heater is just as insidious as water entering the home from outside. As with garage doors, water heaters need regular inspection, and when anything awry is noticed, it’s really imperative to call in a professional to fix the leak and/or advise you on what to do about this before it escalates into something seriously disastrous.

  6. The roof of your garage may begin to leak. As with almost everything in and around your home, you should have the roof inspected on a yearly basis. A trained roofer will check your roof and advise you of its overall condition. He may simply recommend having the roof and gutters properly cleaned, or the problem may be repairs or even a new roof. In any case, working on the roof can be very dangerous and it’s not a job any homeowner should tackle. Time lying in a hospital bed with broken limbs is a pretty awesome price to pay for trying to save a buck by working on the roof on a sunny Saturday morning.
  7. Yes, as I mentioned above, clogged gutters can cause a real problem. Cleaning the gutters is a tiresome job and it’s frequently forgotten by even the most prudent homeowner. When water begins to back up in clogged gutters it begins to look for ways to seep into the garage or it can pool up around the base of your garage compromising the integrity of your concrete foundation as well as the garage flooring.

So a last word of advice to avoid water damage in your garage is to make sure you clean out those gutters on a regular basis.

My New Harbor Freight Compressor

central-pneumatic-compressorIt was a year and a half ago, that I bought a Central Pneumatic air compressor at Harbor Freight. I had wanted one with a decent SCFM rating, although I had a limited budget. The particular compressor can handle upwards of 125 PSI. It uses a 2.5 HP motor with a 21 gallon capacity tank. Its rating is for 5.8 SCFM at 40 PSI, or 4.7 SCFM at 90 PSI. I learned previously with my 2-gallon Craftsman compressor that I needed a much bigger tank if I wanted to use it with an impact wrench or even blow up the new inflatable pool we got at Costco.

It certainly isn’t the best model, although it is priced right for my needs. And it gets the job done. My main dislike about it is the constant need for a PSI greater than 90. Essentially it will not keep up this PSI rate, and certainly won’t maintain it. In fact, the whole compressor stops, just as it gets to the PSI level necessary. It is also necessary to setup the regulator, upwards of 125, only to have it drop back down to around 90 PSI or worse.

Despite the fact it didn’t meet my expectations, it still was a decent tool. With the purchase of an extended warranty for just 20 dollars. The cashier made it sound enticing, and that I would be wanting it. She ended up being correct. Recently I had to utilize the warranty, after only a year and half of use, and light use at that. The company replaced the item without question. My former red one, now had been replaced with a black one with a more sturdy handle. Although it didn’t have the shut off valve connected to the hose attachment. I even ended up buying another 2 years of warranty coverage, once again for 20 dollars. If I have to get another one because it stops working again, I doubt I would buy the warranty protection for a third time. It just seems pointless, even if 20 dollars ever 1 or 2 years is not so much of a hardship.

I love Harbor Freight, especially for any really low price too I need for a project. Although for something like this large compressor, it would be best to find a higher quality item. I already said, that for the price, it wasn’t bad. Still you get what you pay for and this item sacrifices it in quality. It is funny, that the one I got with the warranty is somewhat improved, in comparison to the first one purchased. Who really knows, it might actually work fine.

This item is on harborfreight.com priced at $170. With a local store discount coupon, it’s possible to save as much as 20 percent off. After purchasing an extended warranty, it ends up only costing approximately $160 in total. Not too shabby of a deal.

I’m Having a Baby!

amateur-dad-mechanicWell my wife technically is. Although I had debated whether or not to mention this topic on a car blog, I decided it was time to let everyone know that my wife and I are expecting our second child. I’m sure there are readers out there who are either new to the role of dad or will be soon, so I’ve decided to use this post to discuss my five simple strategies for surviving the newborn period I learned as a first timer and plan to make good use of with baby #2.

Above all else, SLEEP anytime the opportunity presents itself. There are few things more tiring than being the parent of a newborn. For example, it doesn’t matter if you have spent the entire night trying to calm a colicky baby, you’ll still have to go to work in the morning. To try and make up for the missed sleep, offer to take shifts with mom during the evening and try to rest whenever possible during the day. If you are at home and the baby is asleep, take a nap. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for the help of friends and family. In an effort to make the transition into fatherhood a bit easier, take full advantage of any paternity leave or FMLA time you have available.

From day one, stay involved and hands-on. In other words, don’t make the mistake of waiting for the baby to start interacting with you, while mom and baby hang out and form a strong bond. Yes, newborns are a bit boring, but if you wait until he or she starts giggling and cooing to get involved, you may feel left out. Be involved in bath time, bedtime, feedings, and well-baby checkups, which happen pretty often in the first few months.

new-dadHelp out! Don’t wait to be asked to do something. Instead, offer to change a diaper…it’s easier than you think and something you’ll be doing quite often for the next couple of years, so you might as well perfect your diaper changing skills now. If mom is struggling to calm a crying baby, give it a try. You’d be surprised how good dads can be at comforting an upset baby. Help fix meals.

Take time out for your partner. When a new baby comes home,they take almost 100% of the focus, which can cause strain to develop in even the closest relationships. Don’t pass up opportunities to reconnect. This can be as simple as sitting on the couch for a few minutes together after the baby goes to bed or enlisting a family member for babysitting duties so the two of you can go out to eat. Sign off of social media after a certain time at night. Above all, remain patient and positive. When you offer support, your partner will quickly realize you are the real deal…both a man and an awesome dad.

Enjoy the moment. It’ll seem like no time has passed before your newborn is fighting to get out of your lap and make a mess or feeding him/ herself. At this age, developmental milestones pass quickly, so take videos and photos, while also taking the time to savor every moment. Now it’s time to take a nice long nap and prepare yourself for the days ahead.

Any other dads out there have any tips they’d like to share for others? Leave a comment below!

Top Ten Reasons Why Your Check Engine Light is On

check-engineIs your check engine light showing? Can you tell what the cause is? What comes to mind is the garage and parting with some money. Some fixes you can do by yourself although but for some you still have to visit your car specialist. One or several of this reasons might be the cause of the engine light to show.

1. Defective or broken oxygen sensor

An oxygen sensor determines the amount of oxygen in the engine and helps the computer to inject the required amount of gas into the engine. If it’s faulty or damaged the computer can’t tell the amount of fuel required and in most cases, it injects more fuel affecting the fuel consumption sometimes as much as 40% more than average.

2. Loose or faulty gas cap

If the gas cap is not sealed tight vapor will evaporate from the gas tank, and this interferes with the fuel system efficiency which alerts the driver using the engine light. The range will decrease and emissions increase.

3. Faulty catalytic converter

A catalytic converter is used to lessen harmful exhaust gasses. It fails if something else breaks such as the oxygen sensors or defective spark plugs. This triggers the engine light and reduces the gas mileage.

4. Broken Mass airflow sensor

The mass airflow sensor informs the vehicle’s computer to dispense the appropriate amount of gas based on the air flowing through the engine. It fails when the air filter is not replaced or fitted incorrectly. It decreases the range, increases the emissions or the car might shut down completely.

5. Faulty spark plugs or spark plug wires

Spark plugs initiate combustion and if they wear out or are defective the car might have a hard start or the ride will be jerky especially during acceleration. If the spark plug wires are naked or faulty, they should be replaced. When ignored the car might stall.

6. Broken alarm system

Car alarms that are installed after the cars are manufactured should be done by an expert because a wrong connection might affect the engine management system prompting the engine light. If the car already has the alarm, it should be properly mounted or removed entirely.

7. Faulty thermostat

A thermostat keeps the engine cooling functions in check. If it is defective, it might mismanage the engine and cause it to overheat, to avoid that the engine light alerts the driver.

8. Faulty Exhaust gas re-circulation

The exhaust gas re-circulation pushes back exhaust gasses through the combustion chamber which increases the gas mileage and reduces pollution of the environment and when it fails it does the exact opposite. The primary cause of failure is a broken ERG valve or a blocked system which should be cleaned or replaced.

9. Defective battery or a bad battery charging system

Most of the new cars engine management system are relying on the battery so when the battery or the charging system fails the whole engine will not function properly.

10. Bad ignition coil

The coil steps up the voltage of the battery and uses it to produce sparks using spark plugs which initiate the combustion. Poor maintenance, use of substandard spark plugs or old coils might be the cause of the failure.

Most of these glitches can be avoided by regularly servicing and diagnosing your car to fix them before they disable your vehicle.