Weekly auto rail, with garage-organization tips, Car Q&A with Junior Damato and more.

Tip of the Week


Colder weather not only has you shutting the windows and cranking up the heat, but also bringing all your belongings indoors to protect them from the winter elements. This means it's time to get your garage geared up for the season.


Making sure all your belongings fit is one thing, but this space houses your workshop, truck, big toys and, in some cases, the man cave where you escape for a football game or afternoon of hanging out with some pals. This is the perfect time of year to make your garage the storage and hang-out space you need for those long winter months.


Here are a few tips that can help you turn your garage into a space that meets all your requirements for many years to come:


- Clean it up. While the weather is relatively warm, take the time to clean out the garage of anything not needed (broken car parts, duplicate tools, half-empty cans of paint or stain and even products you've outgrown) and find storage space for what's left over. Purchase storage containers and shelving, or build hanging racks to help keep items off the floor and out of the way. Wash down the floors, scrub the walls and let it dry out before putting everything back in.


- Protect your floors. After driving through the slush and snow, your car or truck is going to be bringing a lot of sand and salt chemicals into your garage. As it melts, this corrosive mixture congregates on the floor, developing pockmarks and cracks in the concrete. Give your garage floor a protective.


- Maintenance is important. Sometimes just cleaning the garage isn't enough. You may need to invest a bit of time and energy into the electrical and - if included - heating as well. Replace all the batteries in your garage door openers, and clean the weather stripping between the door panels. Also have a heating professional check out your garage heater at the same time you are getting your home furnace inspected and cleaned. You don't want to come out to the garage on the day the temps drop below freezing and discover the heater isn't working.


- ARA


The List


According to Squidoo, here are the best remote-controlled cars available this shopping season:


1. Air Hogs Hyperactives Pro R/C Cars


2. Hot Wheels R/C Nitro Speeders


3. Kid Galaxy My 1st R/C Vehicles


4. Kid Galaxy Morphibians R/C Vehicles


5. Maisto R/C Rock Crawler Vehicle


Did You Know


Toyota and Rolls-Royce recently announced recalls, with Rolls-Royce recalling 600 vehicles in the U.S. and Toyota recalling 420,000 in the U.S.


Car Q&A


Q: A friend of mine and I were talking about a rebuilt starter motor for my four-cylinder 1999 Toyota Camry. I have checked a few places and the prices are from $99 to $239. My thought is go for the $99 starter; my friend says to buy the more expensive starter. What is your experience with rebuilt automotive parts?


A: Being in business 40-plus years you learn a lot. I have taken apart rebuilt starters and alternators before I installed them and found some insides to be dirty and not completely rebuilt. The outside condition was perfect. Over the years I have used the Bosch products and to date not had a failure, not to mention the two-year nationwide warranty. To me and my customers the Bosch products are worth the money.


- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist


GateHouse News Service