VWheritageI got something a little different for you guys today. A special edition of Shop Shots, well sort of. The folks at VW Heritage contacted me a while back. Their shop flooded. We talked about giving folks some tips on dealing with flooding. So take it away Tara.

According to statistics the winter of 2013/2014 has been the wettest in the UK since 1910.  Extreme weather,  storms and heavy rain are on the rise globally with the threat of climate change, and predicted to increase in the US as well.

VW Heritage, a car firm based in the south of England, got a taste of this first hand recently when their UK workshop was flooded on New Year’s day: In the weeks leading up to New Year 2014 our home county of Sussex saw some of the heaviest rainfall in decades.

Our mechanic, Ben, got a call from the alarm company on New Year’s day because the movement of water flooding into the garage had triggered the motion sensors.   He arrived to discover 2 feet of water filling the workshop.

Water had been gushing from the flooded road nearby and down the ramp, straight into our unit, where Ben’s Mk1 Jetta Coupe build project and the boss’s rather special Mk 1 Golf were both stored.

Fortunately, the Golf kept the water out, apart from some soggy carpet, and we’d put the TDI engine and box up on the crane, out of harms reach – but the boot of the Jetta did get a little damp. We also lost some electrical tools, a welder, the heater and all the stuff that was on the floor, or stored low down.

Looking on the bright side, we got away lightly in comparison to the National Corvette Museum sink hole disaster recently in Kentucky. Plus, we get to share the lessons we’ve learned from our experience with others:


Top tips to prepare your garage for a flood

  • Re-assess what you keep on lower level shelving, on the floor and in the bottom of your toolbox. Big toolboxes have great storage for drills, and other electrical items that you rely on day to day.  Sadly water levels rise up, and these tools will be the first to get wet,  along with the heavy welder you leave on the floor, and the heater that takes the chill out the air.  If you can’t keep these items permanently stored  a few feet off the ground, then at least move them temporarily if there is any threat of heavy rainfall or flooding.
  •  Make sure drains nearby are kept clear, remove any debris, leaves, and blockages. Not a very pleasant job,  but you’ll be saving yourself an even nastier one later –   cleaning up afterwards is pretty gross!
  • Seal interior walls with waterproofing compounds and paints – they can’t keep water out but they can stop it seeping through and creating more damage. For timber use a wood preservative protective coating.
  • Shallow floods penetrate weak points in the building such as air vents and cracks in brickwork.  Check the building both inside and out for cracks and holes,  and then plaster or use filler or water-proofing sealant. Regular maintenance will limit the amount of water that can seep through masonry walls. Water-resistant coatings applied to porous surfaces will also fill any cracks in the masonry or the joints. To avoid trapping water in the wall purchase coatings that are micro-porous so that the wall can breathe.
  • A water proofing epoxy or hard wearing waterproof paint on masonry or concrete floors will minimize damage and make it easier to mop out water if it does come in.  Depending on your existing floor, you may need to prepare the surface before applying. There are a number of decent tutorials and lots of advice online.
  • Consider installing a hoist or mini crane to allow you to store valuable, easily damaged parts above ground or in the apex of a workshop roofspace.
  • Installing breaker sockets will ensure that if water gets into any electrical kit it switches the socket off rather than shorting out.
  • It sounds obvious but if it’s been raining heavily, keep tuned in to local news and weather stations, especially if you’re in an area that’s liable to flooding.  Severe weather and flood warnings will be issued in advance of predicted flooding.
  • A water proofing epoxy or hard wearing waterproof paint on masonry or concrete floors will minimise damage and make it easier to mop out water if it does come in.  Depending on your existing floor, you may need to prepare the surface before applying. There are a number of decent tutorials and lots of advice online.
  • If you think flooding is imminent, place sandbags around doors and entrances, you can contact local builders’ merchants for stocks of bags and sand. The use of flood barriers like this will only delay the penetration of water but at least you can buy yourself some time and move all your tools and valuables out or off the floor.


Tara Gould works for VWheritage (http://www.vwheritage.com/) who offer genuine and top quality classic VW parts for restoration and repair.





boy, that escalated quickly

Hey everyone! Today I have something a little different for you. This post comes from David. He is going to talk about something I have little experience in, dealing with a new driver in the house. David is also an insurance consultant. I may bring him back some time to give us all advice on car insurance.

I find all aspects of teenage driving terrifying. Like many other parents, while teaching my daughter how to drive I found it very hard to keep the mood light and not freak out as she tried to merge onto the interstate. I struggled with my wife when deciding whether or not to buy her a car or not, which car to buy, and whether to let her drive in the snow at all. Everything about having a teenager is a tricky mess but with some help I finally got threw it. Well sort of.

Fear and frustration in empty parking lots.

I would take my daughter out to teach her to drive in parking lots and be amazed at the skills that she lacked. I kept asking myself, “Was I this bad at basic maneuvers when I was 15?” I found it increasingly difficult to follow the advice of insurance pamphlets, which is of course to keep the mood light and reward good behavior. I kept telling myself that I need to ignore the slip ups and praise the good practices she was already doing in order make the good habits stick.

This is all good and fine for the low risk situations in the parking lot but as Ron Burgundy said, “Boy, that escalated quickly.”

boy, that escalated quickly

I had a great time with saying “I love how you’re turning steadily around corners” but once she had to start making maneuvers like changing lanes in moderate traffic I could hardly stop myself from screaming as she yanked the wheel along with her head whenever she checked her blind spot. We were lucky there was no one to our left or she would have bumped them, sending us into a spinning wreck that would have to end in a huge explosion. At least that’s how I was picturing it as I tried to explain how to look behind her while keeping her hands completely still.

New drivers have an especially hard time judging the time and distance required to make maneuvers in traffic, so we went back to the parking lot and tried to get better at timing things and separating head turns from hand movements.

When it came to buying a car for my daughter I was completely beside myself.

I always thought we would get her something in our middle-class price range, but having driven with her I decided that a teenager should have an old car that isn’t cool and doesn’t have to look good. While this may cut back on driving enjoyment, it will be safe and will get them from one place to another. Chances are it’s not going to last very long anyway, and by that point she should be graduating high school and should be able to buy her own car.

We also considered briefly not getting her a car at all, first carbut instead we decided to if she promised to save a good chunk (at least 50%) of her pay checks for college expenses. She was only working about 10 hours a week and excelling at her academic studies, so we paid for her gas and pricey teenager insurance, but the car was a really cheap 1994 Ford Aspire that we found for only $600 and I have always wanted to help my children with these things.

It also helps that I have a pretty decent understanding of car mechanics, so I could do most of the repairs that popped up. She hasn’t been in an accident yet (which is a miracle given by the grace of all things holy) but I’m keeping my fingers crossed and I continue to lecture her about driving safely whenever I can.

Dealing with teen drivers is never an easy thing, but somehow I made it out alive. My advice is twofold: 1) Make sure you do all you can in parking lots to teach them the skills they need and 2) don’t invest too much in their first car. Readers, I know I’ve been extremely lucky – do you have any horror stories about teaching your kids to drive or their first cars? Let us know in the comments below!

This post was written by a humble guest, David Baldwin. He is an insurance consultant in Boise, Idaho and is currently rebuilding a 1970 Pontiac FireBird. Follow him on Twitter @DavidTBaldwin.

Auto Mechanic Tools

Today we a a guest post from the folks over at ProTool Warehouse. Talking about buying tools in a set. This is the first type of guest post that I have done. I would love to know your thoughts on getting a different look into the world of car repair.

For those of you that have decided to join the ranks of the do it yourselfers, Auto Mechanic Toolshere’s a tip that can save you time and money, tool sets. Not only does it save time by eradicating the need to drive back and forth to the local department store for that tool you need, but it actually costs less in the long run to buy the whole set than it does to buy the
tools individually. There has been countless times where a kit has saved people a job by having all the tools right at their fingertips.

Wide Range of Kits

Whether you are in the market for tools to aid you in automotive, carpentry, sewing, electronics, or pretty much any profession or hobby out there, there
is a kit available for your convenience. You have the option of buying kits that are any number of sizes. The more pieces in a kit, the less likely you
will run into a situation where you are lacking a tool to do the job. There are a number of different sizes to choose from, ranging from 3 piece sets to
500 piece sets, depending on the amount of money you are willing to spend for the convenience.

Time Saver

As mentioned, buying a set of tools in kit style can be a serious time saver. There will be times when you are working on a project and will find yourself
in need of a particular socket, and with the tool kit you will have it right there within arm’s reach. You won’t have to go searching your miscellaneous
drawers or your cabinets to find the tool you were looking for. This benefit alone is worth its weight in gold. Without a kit, you have no idea how many
times you may have to stop in the middle of a project to go search for a socket which could have been right there , had you bought a kit, keeping the
project from extending into supper time.

Nice and Neat Storage and Space Saving

One of the benefits you will love about your kit is the way you can pack it up nice and neat after a project, with a place for every tool that fits
perfectly. You can simply slip it in your cupboard, under a cabinet, or in the trunk of your car out of the way of your hectic life until that day you need
it again.

What do you guys think? Is buying tools in a set the best way to buy tools?