Our second feature, tips for finding great “Garage Sale Gear” from Popular Mechanics Magazine’s recent article
Here are some of the top automotive tools, parts and vehicles to look for:
• Memorabilia, like bar stools with flames, or old gas pumps (fat chance) or enameled signs. Many of those items are now reproductions, but they still look cool in the garage or the basement rec room.
• Jack stands and ramps, which never wear out. I have six jack stands around the shop, and there have been days when I needed all six.
• Hand tools. Don’t even bother with non-brand-name, nonwarrantied tools. They’ll round off and bark your knuckles. But I never pass up a partial set of good sockets or a brand-name ratchet. I have several sets in my toolbox made up by parsing through garage-sale sets that were mismatched or missing sizes. I also got to be a good enough customer at the local pawnshop that its owner would let me pick through the bucketfuls of stuff he had in the basement. If you found a nasty, rusty Mac or SK or Craftsman socket in the size you need, pick it up, then turn it in to the company for a new one at no charge.
• Shop-light fixtures. You can never have too many 40-watt fluorescent ship-light fixtures hanging from the ceiling.
• Anything with a gasoline engine that won’t start. Bargain until you get it for next to nothing. Then rebuild the carburetor, change the spark plug and sell it for top dollar. I had a retired neighbor who kept himself in poker and beer money this way. He turned around two to three lawnmowers a month, and also worked on chain saws and weed whackers.
• Lumber. It’s probably nice and seasoned.
What to avoid at yard sales:
• Floor jacks. Unless your yard sale is at a genuine repair shop, the floor jacks are invariably cheapo pieces of junk that are dangerous.
• Power tools. Usually these are cheap consumer-grade stuff that has been used and abused. Well, it might be okay to pick up a spare saw for the cabin, but it’s not often you find anything useful.