4 garage projects you can start right now

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Statewide calls for folks to shelter at home are increasing—and for good reason. Idle hands are the devil’s workshop, though, so we put together this list of projects based on input from the Hagerty Forums that can keep you busy with some automotive-related tasks.

The theme here is focusing on what you can do at home with items you already have. Yes, shipping companies are still delivering packages, but truck drivers are currently fulfilling the vital role of delivering necessary supplies to millions of stores and households. It’s considerate of us house-bound gearheads to avoid overloading the system with parts orders. 

So what can we do? Here are four ideas that will keep you productive and engaged without leaving your garage. 

Clean and organize your workspace

garage work table and tools
Kyle Smith

It’s an unsexy task, and that’s probably why your workshop looks the way it does. Tackle organizing the spare parts shelf, or that bucket o’ bolts that’s been hanging around the corner of your shop for months. A cleaner workspace will make future projects go much more efficiently. 

Shop organization is a slippery slope. Most of us don’t even realize the clutter is getting worse and the shop is losing some functionality. Are you storing an engine or stack of parts in hopes of a future project, only to dance around it to get any work done? I know I am. Since the shop is still technically functional, I let it slide. It becomes one more “I’ll deal with that next”—except I never deal with it. Now is the perfect time to stop procrastinating and make your shop work for you. 

Tackle that big scary project

man working underside sunbeam tiger dash
Kyle Smith

The project called out in the Hagerty Forums thread was rust repair, but that is only one example of a big, hairy project that will soak up hours upon hours. First, however, take some time and create a plan you can control, rather than letting the task loom in a vague cloud of steps. Laying out a plan for a project takes a bunch of time but can be immensely rewarding—and makes tackling that task much less painful. 

If you already have a plan in place, dig into one of those big projects. Finding leaks and making new gaskets, pulling an engine to get ready for a rebuild, or getting that new rear axle gear installed are all perfect projects to keep you distracted for a while.

Do an inspection

peerless 8 great race car between lift
Kyle Smith

How long has it been since you really analyzed your car from end to end? Possibly never? Now is a time to mentally catch up with the current condition of your ride. Start at the front and work your way back, inspecting each part and system of the car. Everything might be great—and you can motor into the next driving season with extra confidence.

Alternatively, you might find a component that is just starting to show signs of failure, signaling that it’s time to start saving for a repair. Worst case, you find an issue that requires immediate attention. Remember, though, it’s better to discover these problems in the garage than on the side of the road or in a traffic jam. 

Research

motorcycle research manual
Kyle Smith

I’ll admit, this is a task I skimp on when it comes to my cars. I could review the service manual or read a well-written online tutorial, but instead I dive in, impact driver first, only to get stuck thinking about how I should have approached the problem. 

You have time now. Sit back and review the project you want to start and formulate a plan of attack or, at the least, a list of tools you will need. Laying out the tools I need has helped me through projects in the past… especially when I reached for a tool I hadn’t planned to use. It gave me pause to think whether I was doing the right thing.

If you are a less hands-on type, take this time to research your car. Go as deep as you want, from the history of the model or manufacturer to the exact history of your VIN.

It is a time of uncertainty for many right now, but if you take some of your time and dedicate it to something as awesome as advancing your project, it can be a constructive distraction from the news. We might not be on the road for a bit yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy our vintage rides in one way or another.

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