Tips 19

That CarChip E/X thing is definitely a cool tool. I thought you might be interested in a similar option that costs $0. All Shucks/Checkers stores (as well as most Autozones and probably every other car store chain of similar type) will read the fault codes out of your car for free. You just pull up and ask them to come out with their code reader and they’ll do it. I’ve done this many times with my two cars and it’s saved me the ridiculous $75 charge every time.

— Neil Enns


A useful source of strong wire that is universally available in every closet is a coat hanger. Keep one in the car and one in the toolbox. Uses include tieing things, creating temporary supports, unblocking drains, opening cars, fishing for lost items that are out of reach, replacement aerials, weird 12v lighting tracks, and fabricating special tools and jigs. I’ve even seen them used to make Christmas decorations. Probably as useful and universal as duct tape, only cheaper. It even functions well as a clothes hanger provided you don’t overload it. Available for free from dry cleaners when you get your clothes back though once you get two together in a closet they do seem to breed.

— Steve Burrows


One area where WD-40 has shortcomings is in any area where it will dissolve the original lubricant such as on the rods of foosball tables. Where this falls short, the solution of solutions is Pledge spray furniture polish. Works like a charm and lets you pull those really mean nasty shots that scare your opponents’ children.

— Zav


Eighth inch shock cord, the elastic stuff that holds tent poles together, is fifty cents a foot and works great for a portable backpack-able clothes line. An overhand knot on a bight at either end and you are good to go — double the line over to stick your garments through if it is windy. Half the price of the travel clothesline reviewed earlier and multipurpose — in a pinch you can replace shoelaces with it, lash stuff to your bag, repair tent poles, etc. You can buy shock cord from lots of vendors.

— Jason Morningstar