Fluid Factoids Part I: The Mystery of Motor Oil – Synthetic vs Conventional
Question: How do I know what type of engine oil is right for my car?
If you Google this topic you’ll get thousands of different answers from thousands of different sources. The debate over engine oil has been raging for decades and spans far beyond the age-old “synthetic vs. conventional” dispute. Oil is the lifeblood of your engine and without it–well… you know what can happen. So if you’ve ever found yourself standing in front of the “wall ’o’ oil” at the local parts place with a blank stare and a puddle of drool slowly accumulating under you, then hopefully this article will help make your next oil purchase a little less er… drooly. (more…)
For most of us, the weather has turned pretty hostile. And while working on your Mustang in the middle of a snow storm may not be a great plan, the cold weather doesn’t mean that your ‘Stang has to stay penned up in its corral until spring. There are plenty of easy mods you can do in a few hours when the weather happens to give you a break.
Universal Winter Preparation
Image from justinmatson on Flickr
Whether you’re in California or New England, these tips for winter preparedness will serve you well.
- Check your tire pressure. The change in temperatures will affect your tires, and they need to be properly inflated in order to grip the road. Not sure what your tire gauge should read? Check the side of the tire or the driver’s doorjamb for the recommended psi.
- While you’re at it, check your fluids. It sounds like a minor thing, but making sure that you have the correct amount of washer fluid (one that’s designed not to freeze in cold conditions or includes a deicing agent is ideal), coolant, etc. will not only help your ‘Stang cope with the cold weather, it’ll help prevent maintenance-related breakdowns.
- Wash your car, preferably about once a month. Instead of looking at all the road salt that’s crusted on your car and thinking ‘well, that’s gross!’, take it to your local car wash. If you’re doing it yourself, make sure you clean the undercarriage, too. It sees its share of salt and is just as vulnerable to rusting as the body.
- Consider a car cover if you’re not going to be driving your ‘Stang for a while. It will protect your investment from the snow, salt, slush, and environmental contaminants until you’re ready to hit the open road again.
Question: I want to lower my Mustang; do I need anything other than lowering springs?
Lowering springs are one of our biggest sellers, and if you want to slam your Stang to the pavement and tighten up your handling they’re undoubtedly the way to go, but installing just springs could lead to a slew of other problems down the road. Check out our article on suspension basics and terminology, it will help you visualize what’s going on with your suspension from stock to slammed.
A Shocking Revelation…
$200-$300 for a 1”-2” drop seems like a steal, but in a few thousand miles your OE shocks and struts will be crying for help – aftermarket shocks/struts are a must. Lowering springs are shorter than factory, so they compress the factory shock/strut beyond what it’s designed to handle. The additional pressure will eventually break through the seals, resulting in a “blown” shock/strut. Lowering a car over stock shocks/struts causes the suspension to react uncharacteristically and can result in bottoming out and/or loss of control of the vehicle. Tokico HP shocks/struts are a great match for any aftermarket spring and would be my recommendation for a daily driver or non-track car. Adjustable shocks struts are great for street/track use, but keep in mind that they do not change the ride height – they allow the dampening to be fine-tuned for race applications.
Not everybody can be home for the holidays. It’s sad but true, especially for the people who are deployed far from home while serving in the military. There are a few ways to help deployed military personnel make the best of their situations, including sending care packages. Two of the members of ModdedMustangs.com, a forum AmericanMuscle has worked closely with for years, decided to put together care packages for any deployed member of the forum who would like to get one. The organizers, Bob and Brandon, have both been deployed themselves, so they knew exactly what would be most useful and most appreciated.
Several members stepped up to the plate and donated cash or supplies, and AmericanMuscle was among them. We decided to send radio-controlled Mustangs, since the folks getting the packages hadn’t seen their ‘Stangs in a while. They were our favorite contribution, but we rounded things out with some coffee, beef jerky, and other provisions that are generally in short supply when you’re overseas. Other donations followed the same pattern and mixed the fun and the practical, too.
AM's donation to the care package for the troops
Carroll Shelby is an icon in the Mustang performance world. Today, he’s celebrating his 87th birthday. His main goal in life has simply been to move faster, whether it was in the airplanes he’s flown or the cars he’s raced. Shelby’s legacy is one defined by the many roles he took in the automotive world and by the legendary high performance Mustangs he created.
Carroll Shelby - Image property of carrollshelby.com
Shelby has worn many hats over the years, and one of the very first was an aviator’s cap. He was a flight instructor and test pilot in Texas during WWII. When he returned to civilian life, he started farming chickens and driving in local races, often neglecting to change out of his work clothing before a race. The odd racing uniform didn’t seem to discourage major racing teams from asking him to drive for them.
Shelby’s racing career lasted from 1952-1960. During that time, he raced for some of the most famous teams of the era, including Cad-Allard, Aston Martin, and Maserati. In the 1959 season, he and Roy Salvadori won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which is one of the racing world’s most grueling, challenging events. Shelby’s racing career ended shortly after this win, however, because of health reasons.