Friday, May 24, 2013, 2:30 PM
With Memorial Day and summer vacations just around the bend, a good deal of us are gearing up for that first real road trip of the season. Like ballpark dogs and Fourth of July fireworks, the summer road trip is a staple in every real American man's arsenal, and it's a tradition that’s oftentimes passed down to the kids. If you’re going to get the kids excited about the journey though, there is some key planning that needs to be involved to make sure that the trip consists of more than just hours spent getting bored in the back seat. Though this likely won’t be your first road-trip rodeo, there's never any harm in taking on some new ideas and brushing up on the types of things that make good road trips so memorable.
- Pit Stops: Like the old adage goes, "It's not the destination, but the journey that counts." And needing to get directly from point A to point Z is a mistake that a lot of type-A road trippers make. The best part about any road trip lies in the ability to be flexible and experience some fun along the way, so implementing a few breaks and side trips en-route is key for making sure you get the authentic experience. Plan in advance, and use sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp to find out what highly rated attractions there are in areas you'll be passing through. From restaurants to scenic viewpoints to local museums, the possibilities are endless, and exploring them will give you an exciting way to enjoy so much more than you’d see from the freeway alone.
- The Reliable Ride: When you're out on the open road, almost nothing is more important than the vehicle you're riding in, and if that thing breaks down it can not only put a big dent in your day, but in your entire trip. That being the case, you don’t need to be an expert car technician to take an hour to give the car a solid check-up before you load up the family and venture out. Fluid levels, tire pressure, and drive belts are all small things to check that can have big risks if unattended, and packing an additional roadside emergency kit can end up working wonders if you’re called upon to take on an urgent repair on the fly.
- In-Flight Entertainment: Though many of the most memorable moments will come from outside of the vehicle, the fact of the matter is that any road trip involves a solid amount of time spent between those cozy four doors, and whether that time is embraced or resisted by the kids will have a lot to do with your planning in advance. Hand held gaming systems and phone games are an easy way to get the kids to pass time on their own, but this won't get the family involved and won't add any unique memories to the trip. Instead of just trying to kill time, adopt some road trip specific games that require everyone to pitch in and will keep both the kids and adults entertained. This list of road trip games dives deep into the classics and will ensure your kids grow up reaping the rewards of age-old favorites like "20 Questions" and "I Spy."
TIP: Having a can of WD-40® Multi-Use Product on-hand during a long road trip can help you loosen any stuck parts should you need to make repairs on the go.
Friday, May 17, 2013, 2:30 PM
Of all official months, it's hard to find one that's more enticing than May's claim to fame as National Barbecue Month. Open air cooking and thick slabs of meat are enough to make anyone's mouth water, and add to that a spell of good weather and you have the perfect recipe for a bit of old-fashioned outdoor entertaining. While the summer is long, your ability to make a first impression on your friends and neighbors goes by quickly, so being well-prepared before having your first backyard get-together is essential. Follow this checklist of tips for outdoor entertaining and you will be in high gear to have the best setup on the block in no time at all.
- Gaming the System: Let's not be fooled. Just because we may have a few grey hairs and run the mile in a few minutes more than we used to doesn't mean we don't like to stretch the limbs and get competitive from time to time. If you've put in the hard work to have a quality backyard, there is no better way to utilize that cushy turf than by getting some good sport going during your outdoor parties. From badminton to Wiffle to bocce ball, the possibilities are endless, and the choice might all come down to how fast you'll be able to move after scarfing down a few choice dogs or burgers.
- Cue the Jams: In the days of turntables and 8-tracks, having a BBQ sans music was forgivable. Fast-forward to present day with wireless speakers and iPod docks and the idea of having an outdoor party without music is the equivalent of a race car with no tires. No matter how you set it up, tunes can help keep energy levels high and set the mood for an entire event, so even if it means borrowing speakers from a neighbor, make sure that when the friends start filing in the music is already flowing. Not sure what to play? Pandora and iHeartRadio are awesome resources to create your perfect playlist.
- Premeditated Meat: We've all had burgers. We've all had dogs. And we've probably all had enough of them to know what constitutes a worthy piece of meat and what tastes like a BBQ afterthought. That being the case, you want to make sure you don't fall into that latter group of outdoor entertainment embarrassments. The key to success on the grill is treating the meat preparation just like you would any other DIY project. Buy quality meat just like you would buy quality materials. Plan in advance to perform a dry rub or marinade just like you would plan in advance with a blueprint or measurements. And when the time comes to execute, take the time to treat it with care so that the real craftsmanship shows in the finished product. From aged New York strips to ground bacon sirloin burgers, there are no wrong answers, just a right way to go about preparing the goods that will blow the crowd away.
- Outdoor Entertaining Furniture: Not everyone is into gaming or standing around the grill. For those who prefer to sit and catch up, you’ll want to have the perfect outdoor furniture. Quality outdoor furniture can last a lifetime if well maintained so be sure to insist on good quality instead of heading straight for those plastic lawn chairs. You also want to keep in mind the types of parties you will be hosting as well as your climate, since harsh, cold winters can damage furniture. For tips on selecting the right furniture for outdoor entertaining, check out our last post.
TIP: For those with portable barbeques, give your wheel casters a dash of WD-40® Multi-Use Product to keep them nice and lubricated. Also helps to remove grease and gunk from exterior.
Friday, May 10, 2013, 2:30 PM
In the summer months, it's hard to beat a day spent lounging out in the sun with some good tunes and your beverage of choice. Add to that a group of friends and some fresh meat on the grill, and you have what many would call the perfect afternoon. This kind of comfort doesn't appear from nowhere, however, and one of the most overlooked aspects of patio and yard outfits is the furniture you choose to set up. Beyond just wicker chairs and tiki tables, the world of patio furniture offers a range of options that’s well worth exploring, and we're here to help you sort through the madness to understand what is what, and what is really worth buying.
- The Off-Season: The key bit of information to consider before going out and shopping around is just what the furniture is going to be doing when it isn't out in the yard. If you live in a cold climate, you are going to need to put everything in storage towards the end of fall, and if you don't think in advance, you might be stuck with a garage full of tables and chairs where there really should be cars. Certain patio furniture is built for stacking and storage while other sets are notorious for eating up space. Be realistic with your spatial limits before you head out to shop and you'll be thanking yourself when that first winter storm comes thundering in.
- Winning Composition: Just like its indoor cousin, outdoor furniture comes in all different material make-ups, and given the fact that it’s likely going to be exposed to high heat and direct sunlight, the choice of materials is something you truly need to take into consideration. One area of furniture that is especially vulnerable to deterioration is the cushion on a bench or chair. Choosing a high quality polyester fiber will allow water to run off the face rather than creating mildew, and picking cushions with patterns on both sides allows you to flip them periodically to help them retain shape. For the furniture itself, light weight materials like plastic and aluminum are best if you think you'll be moving them around a lot, but if you plan on keeping them in one place, heavier duty options like wood and metal are always going to be the champs.
- Planning for Parties: When space and material choices have been made, the final step is to think about what your objective is with the space. Are you going to be having a few close friends over for cocktails from time to time or are you planning on hosting weekly barbecues for you son's entire little league team? Understanding just how many people you expect to attend and the type of socializing that’s going to be happening will give you a clear idea of what to look for when out shopping. A few armchairs and an ottoman might be the perfect recipe for some, while four dining tables and an outdoor bar might be spot on for others. Understand yourself, your ideas for socializing in your yard, and with a bit of wise shopping, the rest will simply fall into place.
TIP: Spray down patio furniture (excluding cushions) with WD-40® Multi-Use Product before placing into storage to prevent rust, corrosion and gunk build up.
Friday, May 10, 2013, 10:54 AM
We’d like to say congratulations to our 40 winners in WD-40 Brand’s “Blue & Yellow Can Fan Madness” Sweepstakes on Facebook! Special shout outs to MargaretAnn Rice, who won $1,000, as well as Christina O’Connor and Claire Beaufort, who both won $500. Thank you to everyone who entered in the sweepstakes and for being a fan!
Friday, May 3, 2013, 2:30 PM
With the coming of summer months comes the perfect opportunity to pull the bikes out of the garage and enjoy the outdoors on your favorite pair of wheels. And while biking is definitely a great activity to enjoy with the whole family, as the head of the household, it's also your job to make sure that the family stays safe while having a good time. Biking has its risks, and in honor of Bike Safety Month, we are going to go over a checklist of key tips to make sure that you come home from your summer bike outings in a good mood and in one piece.
- Padding up: The first, and arguably the most crucial, step in bike safety is to cover your noggin with a quality headpiece that fits well and will remain buckled. No matter how many steps you take to prevent accidents from happening, there is still always a chance that the worst will occur, and if it does, you want to be sure that the most important part of your body is well protected. Any sporting goods store should have a solid selection of bike helmets on display. And though there are a wide range of brands to choose from, be sure to talk to an in-store specialist about what is the best fit for your riding style. In general, high performance helmets are prone to sacrificing some safety features in the name of aerodynamics, so make sure you go for function over fashion and get the safest, best fitting skullcap you can find.
- Signaling for safety: If the kids are coming along for the ride and any of them are 12 or under, forget about hitting the open road. Sidewalks and traffic-free areas are the only safe places for the young ones to ride, and putting them on the road too soon could result in a big scare or worse. If you are venturing out solo, though, or with kids already in their teens, the road then becomes the safest place to ride as you won't be putting walkers nearby at risk. Knowing that you're going to be competing with two ton metal vehicles for space, having a way to communicate your intentions is key, and there are standard hand signals that allow you to let drivers know which way you are going. Check this picture of simple signals, and teach them to the kids before heading out. You’ll feel more confident on the road and will boost your odds of remaining collision-free.
- Biking Bright: It could be unplanned. You head out for an afternoon bike ride, venture a bit further than you thought, and find yourself biking home in the dark alongside fast-moving traffic. Of all biking situations to be in, biking in the dark with no proper night gear is one of the most dangerous, and can lead to catastrophic results. Rather than put pressure on yourself about having to make it home before dusk at all costs, it’s much better to be prepared for anything, especially given that unpredicted events can make a bike ride longer than you initially thought. A proper front light, back light, reflective vest, and reflective helmet badge are all easy to add to your outfit, and will arm you with the ability to practice safe cycling even after daylight fades.
TIP: WD-40® Multi-Use Product is perfect for lubricating squeaky shifters, cables, derailleurs, and pivot points. If you’re a serious cyclist, check out the new line of WD-40 BIKE products here.
Thursday, May 2, 2013, 4:10 PM
As April showers bring May flowers, unfortunately, the showers can do some damage to gardening tools left outside. As we enter the gardening month of May, don’t let rust and corrosion on your metal gardening tools empty your wallet or scare you away from the dirt. Just give them a little TLC with a WD-40® Multi-Use Product “Tool Bath”:
What you'll need:
- 1 empty coffee can
- 1 empty metal soup can
- WD-40 Multi-Use Product (a one-gallon jug is suggested)
- 1 dry cloth
- 1 standard drill and drill bits
Please note: Do not place any power tools in the WD-40 Multi-Product Tool Bath.
For larger garden tools:
- Fill a metal coffee can half-way with WD-40 Multi-Use Product (consider using the one-gallon container of WD-40 Multi-Use Product for easier dispensing).
- After you're done using your tools, "dunk" them in the WD-40 Multi-Use Product Tool Bath, wipe them down with a dry cloth and store them until their next use.
- Empty the WD-40 Multi-Use Product from the coffee can, put the top back on, and store it in a safe place for the next time you need to give your tools some TLC.
For smaller garden tools:
- Drill small holes near the bottom of an old soup can.
- Place items in the soup can.
- Fill a metal coffee can half-way with WD-40 Multi-Use Product.
- Dunk the soup can into the coffee can, allowing WD-40 Multi-Use Product to flow in through the holes drilled in the soup can.
- Remove the soup can from the coffee can, and dry tools with a dry cloth.
- After the WD-40 Multi-Use Product Tool Bath use, empty the WD-40 Multi-Use Product from the coffee can, place the soup can inside the coffee can, place the lid on the coffee can and store the unit in a safe place.
As WD-40 Multi-Use Product dissolves grease and grime, as well as penetrates stuck parts and drives away moisture, the WD-40 Multi-Use Product Tool Bath will prevent rust and corrosion, provide excellent lubrication, and keep tools looking shiny and new. Happy gardening!
Friday, April 26, 2013, 2:30 PM
It is one of the most quintessentially American traditions that we have, and with the temperate weather that spring generally brings along with it, the road trip is a right of passage perfectly suited for the months leading up to summer. Before you embark on this year’s jaunt down Route 66, however, it’s important to check your cars vitals and make sure that you’ll arrive from point A to points B, C, and D without any mechanical hiccups along the way. Using this list as a guide, spend a weekend afternoon examining your ride and preparing it for a trip of smooth sailing.
- Saving the Spark: One of the first things to check when doing an overall tune-up is that the spark plugs are in good shape and within their mileage limit. Your vehicle’s manual should tell you how many miles the originals are good for before they need to be changed, but unless they’re brand new, looking them over yourself is always worthwhile. Using a spark plug wrench with an extender, removing the plug allows you to examine it for any telltale signs of damage, which can also point to other ailments with the car. Black soot, oily deposits, burn blisters and other deformations all point to different issues going on in the engine, and a bit of research or a chat with a local mechanic can help you resolve the trouble before it turns into a major problem.
- Fastening the Belt: With the potential to put a big dent in your wallet should they ever break, your engine belts are worth inspecting even before they are replaced every 60,000 miles. With the engine off and the hood popped, you’ll find the belts easily at the front of the engine, and can get right to checking their tension. Though they should have some give, it should never be more than an inch in either direction, and they should also never show any cracks, no matter how small. A belt that’s too lose or is showing excess wear should be replaced right away, keeping your road trip from coming to a halt with an expensive emergency repair.
- Staying Charged: While not catastrophic, a dead battery can put a damper on any day’s plans, and can bring in a hefty charge if you end up needing to call a tow truck for a jump. Being smart about battery usage is the first line of defense against a dead battery, making sure that it’s in top-working order is equally as important. A sparkling clean battery surface and cables are key for good battery health, and the way to achieve this is by cleaning with a non-metallic brush along with a mixture of baking soda (1 tablespoon) and a cup water. If it’s an older battery, you also need to check the electrolyte in each cell with a hydrometer in order to see if a new battery is needed. Fancy words aside, the process is a simple one, and this page will tell you exactly what needs to be done.
TIP: WD-40® Multi-Use Product can help ease removal of stuck spark plugs from engine, displace moisture from spark plug wires and even remove carbon residue.
Friday, April 19, 2013, 2:30 PM
By every available measure, golf is nothing like riding a bike. You may return to the course and remember some advice from an old lesson, how to set your stance, how to bring your club back, but when you make contact with the ball, its flight path is going to show you just how long it’s been since you’ve been out of the game. If you think that means it’s time to panic, though, don’t. While your swing may not come back instantly, it will definitely come back, and we’ve compiled a list of tips to make sure the re-learning curve is as quick and easy as possible, getting that score nice and lean just in time for summer play.
- Go to the Pro’s: The first step in any golfer’s springtime agenda should be signing up for a one-on-one lesson. Time off can cure some of the faults in your swing, but for every fault that’s cured, another one usually pops up, and trying to use old advice to fix new problems is the equivalent of trying to slam a square block into a round hole. If you have worked with someone before, try to use that person again as that pro is going to already understand your tendencies, and then follow up with another lesson to give yourself a week to make the adjustments. Far from a big investment, even just a few lessons can set you on a trajectory that will make those few instructional hours extremely worthwhile.
- Buckets, Buckets, and Buckets: Golf has no magic formula and the key to success is public domain: champions are made on the range, and there is no substitute for repetition. Now that you’ve had a few sessions with a pro and know just what to work on, the key is to groove your swing so that it becomes second nature. Focus on what you learned in your lesson, no matter how uncomfortable it might be at first, and really make an effort not to resort back to any old tendencies while hitting through buckets of balls. You might not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but you can teach an old man to golf, and all it takes is enough hours spent focused at the driving range.
- Shortening Up: Think being able to drive the ball 400 yards and crush your three iron out of the rough is going to make you a scratch golfer? Consider these facts: short game shots make up 65% of all shots played in golf and 80% of shots golfers lose to par. Avoiding chipping and putting in favor of full swings is a common mistake, and is one that can cost you dearly if you don’t make a change, so spend this spring avoiding the trap. After hitting a bucket on the range, make a habit of grabbing more balls and heading over to the short game section. From chipping to putting to working on your sand game, focusing on the small shots will have a big impact on your scorecard, and will give you the confidence you need to follow up approach shots with a chance to land it right next to the hole.
TIP: Wipe down golf balls and clubs with WD-40® Multi-Use Product after a long day on the course so they’re ready to use next time the linx is calling you.
Friday, April 12, 2013, 2:30 PM
April is every car’s favorite month of the year, and for good reason. This month is national car care month, and that means you should be giving your car the TLC it so often needs. Assuming that you set a good baseline for car maintenance, you shouldn’t have to plan on any major overhauls, but rather some fine-tuning to keep your car looking pristine. Not only will your car love looking good, but you’ll love yourself for looking good in it. Not to mention that making sure your car is well cared for will also keep its value high, making this a great move for both your wallet and your style.
- Well-Polished Paint: Getting right to work, the first thing you should do is buy yourself a good bottle of Nu Finish Polish and get your ride shining clean and bright. Unless you have a heated garage, waxing your car between November and April just isn’t in the cards, so any smart man will jump at the newfound ability to apply a coat of wax that will last through the Winter months. Nu Finish is different than other waxes in that it’s not carnauba based and doesn’t break down as quickly, so you can apply now and enjoy the results for the entire year to come.
- Sucking up the Dust: Something that should really be done once a month, but that often gets lost in the shuffle of other projects, vacuuming your car’s interior is a must for keeping the interior looking sharp. While a shop vac works perfectly, you can also head to the local do-it-yourself carwash if you don’t have a vac on hand, and get a good ten minutes of cleaning for only a few bucks. From the floor mats to the dash to the trunk, do it all correctly and reap the rewards of a beautiful interior.
- Working the Windshield: Cleaning the windshield is easy with a bottle of Windex and an army of paper towels, but what Windex can’t do is protect that front goggle from future sprays and splatters. Known most commonly for helping keep rain off the windshield, Rain-X also is an effective deterrent against bug splatter and dust buildup. Easy to apply, this solution will cut down on the number of times you have to clean the windshield, and keep your vision clear come the occasional spring shower.
- Freewheelin’ Without Rust: Of all the things that can happen to your car, rust buildup is some of the meanest as it can eat away at the structural integrity of the metal. Taking a good look at the wheels, you want to make sure you nip any rust in the bud before it becomes an issue. If it is just surface rust, try removing it with something like Clay Magic. If it’s really tough rust, using WD-40 Rust Remover Soak would be more effective, but it requires removing the wheel for a complete soaking. It will dissolve rust to leave you with the bare metal, this solution will get you the results you want.
- Showroom Shine: When it comes to the tires, everyone covets that glistening showroom shine, and even though you’ve already put some wear on your rubber, there’s no reason to think you can’t have those tires glowing like the day you drove the car off the lot. Using Turtle Wax T-10 Black Tire Shine, getting that sleek, jet-black look is easy and budget friendly. Your tires will instantly look better and the look will last for months, even after giving the car a wash.
TIP: After cleaning the windshield, use WD-40® Multi-Use Product to help protect the wiper blades.
Friday, April 5, 2013, 2:30 PM
The sun is shining, the flowers are in bloom, and you having nothing but the weekend ahead of you. After spending so many hours chained to the warmth of being indoors, this shift in weather is a great reason to finally get back outside to enjoy some fresh air and exercise. Whether it’s taking on an active backyard project or trying your hand at a new sport, our outdoor activity list is filled with great ideas that will keep you and the entire family entertained while creating memories that will last far longer than this spring season.
- Homemade Mini Golf: For those of us real men who are faced with real winters, the months of December through February aren’t too kind to the golf game. With summer approaching, however, it’s about high time to start knocking some of the rust out of your short game, and “re-grooving” that stroke that had you dreaming of trying out for the PGA Tour. The range is a good place to take out the driver and check out just how bad that slice has become, but for the short game, you can get in some quality reps in your very own backyard. A backyard putting green made with synthetic grass is easy to install and even easier to maintain. This site has great info on putting it all together, and making sure that those 18-foot puts to save par will start rattling into the cup.
- From Dad to Coach: Yes, the kids are going to have fun messing around with the new putting green you put in the back yard. And yes, you may even get them to join you out on the course and help you run around looking for shanked balls. But the fact of the matter is, kids have a lot of energy, and after a winter spent indoors, they are primed to get the shoes laced up and let all of that energy out. Whether it’s soccer or baseball, basketball or tennis, what new sport you choose to teach them doesn’t really matter so long as they’re running around and having fun. Their newfound lease on the outdoor life will make them more enthusiastic than ever, and as a big added bonus for parents, some spring excitement for a sport is a perfect way to transition them into a summer camp.
- Family Scavengers: It’s a secret that even the grown-ups remember: kids love exploring, and even more than exploring, kids love looking for treasure. One of the best ways to spend a spring weekend afternoon is by making all of your kids’ dreams come to life and organizing a large-scale scavenger hunt that gets the whole family outdoors and on the move. Whether you want to take a page from the geocaching book and include GPS, or just base it on simple clues that the kids must uncover, the end product of finding the treasure is going to make any child smile and is a perfect activity to turn into a family tradition to carry on for years to come.
TIP: After they’ve had a long hibernation in storage, WD-40® Multi-Use Product is a great tool for removing dirt and light rust – perfect for shining up golf clubs.