Thursday, January 4, 2018

Jumper Cables

Not all jumper cables are created equal. Many people go to the store, see jumper cables and just buy the cheapest ones. It's just copper connecting 2 batteries, right? Wrong. A professional set of jumper cables (1-4 AWG wire) should be able to start the stranded vehicle directly from the donor vehicle. A cheap set like this 10 gauge set (remember that in American Wire Gauge, smaller number equals thicker wire) has to sit for a while and hopefully actually charge the dead battery enough to start the stranded vehicle. Unfortunately, I've seen this take as long as 5 minutes. On a car with a completely bad battery, I've seen it not work at all.
So don't just go buy the cheapest jumper cables you can find, take a look, do 5 minutes worth of research and buy a higher quality set. A high quality set of jumper cables should last at least the life of the vehicle, if not your entire life as a driver. I typically recommend this about $20 set from AAA, but even a professional quality set of 1-2 AWG jumper cables should only cost $50-60 as of the writing of this article.

As always, stay safe out there. I'll see you on the road.

Ford and GM part numbers

With a GM vehicle, if I need a part I just pull the part off the car or look it up online, find the part number, and then go to ebay or oreillyauto or wherever to find and order the correct part. Let's do an example. For a 2005 GMC Sierra spare tire jack toolkit. I can go to any search engine, type in "GM 22969377" and find exactly the part I'm looking for. There's no confusion, and that part number will get me exactly what I want, the jack and tools for the 2000 - 2013 GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado pickups.
Let's try that with an F150. The first hurdle that you will find is...what is the part number? Well a pretty exhaustive search online may eventually tell you that it's Ford part 17080. Except, Ford 17080 is the jack and tools for every Ford vehicle. Searching for that part could yield you parts for a 1938 Model A just as quickly as a 2005 F150. Okay, so there must be more to it. You also have to include the engineering number, which can often be more difficult to find. Even if you do find it, the first digit of the engineering number is the year, so for the 2005 F150, the engineering number is 5L1Z, giving us a total part number of 5L1Z-17080. But wait, aren't they all the same between 2004 and 2009? Yep, they are, and not every seller of that part will list all the compatibility between those years for each part, so you might find a 4L3Z-17080 for $30 and is identical in every way to your 5L1Z-17080 selling for $50. So if you want to pinch pennies (which, if you're looking for auto parts online, is probably a given) you have to check every compatible year for the lowest price. Smart, right?

Stay safe out there. I'll see you on the road.