Guest Writer
Guest Writer Writer
4/11/23 8:42 a.m.

Story by Terry Thomas

It’s cold, it’s late, and it’s 1970. I have been pressed into service to help my father reattach the driver’s door to the family’s Ford Maverick.

The car had been in an accident that left the door misaligned, and one dark winter Sunday afternoon…

Read the rest of the story

jguillaume
jguillaume None
4/12/23 2:02 p.m.

Good article. I'm older, not old yet, and I'm setting my shop up with the future in mind. I reverently purchased an AMGO, single post moveable lift and love it. Still have to get on the floor to position it but so much better than jack stands etc. Plus I can so easily move it to different locations in the shop and somewhat store it out of the way when not in use. I use tall stabilizer stands from Harbir Freight and car is rock solid once lifted.

Dwight
Dwight New Reader
4/13/23 7:29 a.m.

GREAT, TIMELY, ARTICLE.

I have struggled for decades... First at age  40, when I had a back injury, working at a dealership. Took 2 years to actually get  back to work. Worked as a tech and in sales, Had my own small shop. But other issues came roaring in. Shoulders, [both repaired sorta] Then Rhuematoid arthritus, both hips replaced. Heart issues etc. However, I still soldier on, doing what I can, with my youngests son's help. Got a 'Quick Jack' coupla years ago and really like it.. My shop, is my garage, yet set up purdy good. I would like to add a stall, but with the prices of  construction materials so high...   I am still working, being productive and useful, in my own  business. supporting  shops and tech's. And the occasional Autox. I have two classics; '59 Austin Healey Sprite & '79 MGB LE [Sebring] I intend to compete in this years. [maybe] "Never Give Up' -Winston Churchill -

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
4/13/23 8:17 a.m.

As someone who is approaching 30, I'm definitely taking notes from this story and all the comments we've received so far.

I know I can't stop myself from aging, but there's things I can do to make the process a little more comfortable and easier on my body.

Mustang50
Mustang50 Reader
4/20/23 12:13 p.m.

Great article and very timely.  I'll be 75 this June and I find myself paying for the work on my Mustang that I used to do myself.  With arthritis in both hands it is difficult for me to hold the steering wheel or tools.  My autocross days are probably over.  Not looking for sympathy and I have good memories of participating in local events.   

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/24/23 12:49 p.m.

Packing my garage full of LED fixtures–nothing expensive–was a game changer. 

ALFASOLO62
ALFASOLO62 New Reader
5/12/23 9:42 p.m.

Working on a car may not be good for old bodies, but i'm still doing it at 84; changing the water pump & front crankshaft seal on my '91 Alfa Spider, and changing the transmission on my '76 autocross Spider. Tynelol helps, and I've found it's best to just work an hour or two a day.

George Schweikle

pdqneon
pdqneon New Reader
6/24/23 3:45 p.m.

It's tough to get old. I have held on to my 1970 Challenger R/T 440-6 since high school. Plans were to work on it in retirement. Guess what, medical stuff happens and now I no longer have the ability to fulfill that dream. New plan is to sell it, and spend some of the cash on the garage to make it a better work place. Maybe a new furnace/AC combo. Probably should insulate it. Maybe even turn one of the stalls into a relaxation hangout for that occasional nap. I do miss the recliner I had in the garage. It's amazing that on an 80 degree day, after working on a car for awhile, how sitting in that recliner could take a 5 minute break into a 2 hour nap.

kaybat
kaybat New Reader
6/24/23 5:17 p.m.

In my 60's now. I just go slower, and I now "have a guy" for the serious stuff. I do exercise, so will continue fighting the good fight.

ancientdan
ancientdan New Reader
6/25/23 5:38 a.m.

two months from my 80th.  I will not go gentle into that good night!  My wife and I drove our 15th classic, a 1994 Jaguar XJS convertible, with a factory 5 speed, down to Luray Caverns in Virginia yesterday.  In additon to the caves they have a small but extraordinary car museum with everything from carriages to Locomobiles, to a Hispano-Suiza.  

Anyway, I agree with all the measures the author has taken.  I have a two post lift in a purpose built high bay that has changed my life. Other smaller life changers include a big professional air compressor that will run anything (air scalers really take rust off even if the noise is noisesom).  The recently acquired TIG welder takes some learning time, but does a great job.  Also have MIG and Stick welders, grinders, buffers, drill press, vices, every had tool known to man.  

Lights, lights, lights!!  Just can't have too many of them.  LEDs are wonderful otherwise my garage would have the heat signature of the sun!

Battery powered and corded impact tools are absolutely necessary for me to tighten things nowadays.  Old Arthur Itis is not the best friend one could have in old age.  However, friends are essential.  Our local old car group (both cars and people) meet every Saturday morning for breakfast.  The guys sit at one table and talk about things that can be fixed, like cars.  The ladies sit at another and talk about things that cant be fixed, like adult children and grandchildren! These friends are always willing to offer a helping hand when needed, which is more and more often as the years go by.   Our 9 BMWs, 3 MGs, 2 Jaguars and other assorted vehicles will be addressed in our wills.  We ain't giving up a damn thing until the last minute!  Dan and Mary

 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/26/23 9:56 a.m.

Another tip for working in the shop: drink water. Like, a lot of it. 

Steevo
Steevo New Reader
8/25/23 12:22 p.m.

Great information, I'm looking at retirement and hoping to finally have time for some wrenching projects.  I'm building a shop Now and looking at lifts. 

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
8/28/23 7:17 p.m.

The other thing that will making working on cars much easier when you are old is if you have all you fingers and eyes, and if your back is not blown out by trying to pick up stuff that is way too.

darkbuddha
darkbuddha HalfDork
9/17/23 12:07 p.m.

When I originally read this article (back in April), I was like "yeah, that all makes good sense..."  Today, when I re-read it, it was just after I'd come home from being at the gym (early on Sunday morning), and I was immediately struck by the omission of regular physical exercise.  I'm now on the back side of this gig, and I've got bunches more stuff I wanna do and not nearly as many years left to make it happen. I need to be at this as long as possible, and exercising is as an essential element of being able to continue to wrench into one's later years. I'm not talking about body building, or training for triathalon, or even losing weight or looking fit, but rather maintaining mobility and range of motion and durability and stamina, and sure, a bit of strength. That's the stuff that really REALLY matters as we age. Lose those things and you lose the ability to do any wrenching much at all, even with the best lighting, the right tools, or good safety gear.

bosswrench
bosswrench New Reader
9/17/23 1:54 p.m.

I agree with David W- you need lots of drinks in 'sunny' Nevada. So I have a little apartment-sized refrigerator with 6 bottles of cold water and 2 beers for those needed breaks. Decades ago, the refr's content was the same but beer predominated then. And I have a single coffee cup-heater that turns on when a cup lands on it and turns itself off when things are hot enough. Handy when you forget you put a cupp'a on it 2 hrs ago. As for tools, I also find myself buying oversized ones for the extra leverage, to compensate for the strength Father Time took away. So far, so good.

wasedtum
wasedtum New Reader
10/6/23 6:03 a.m.

Great article and very timely.  I'll be 75 this June and I find myself paying for the work on my Mustang that I used to do myself. 

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elvacarsdallas
elvacarsdallas New Reader
1/9/24 3:40 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

I have a water fountain that is handy in the summer.

ddavidv
ddavidv UltimaDork
1/10/24 8:09 a.m.

Am I the only one who noticed the author's name and immediately went

Tomwas1
Tomwas1 New Reader
4/6/24 12:39 p.m.

I'm 72 with no garage, three cars in upstate New York... Not the best combination.. Have a 98 328I a friend built into an msport. A 63 Mercury Comet s22 convertible just like my 1st car and an 09 v6 mustang pony package convertible... Change all my oils in the driveway,head under the comet  couple of weeks ago greasing the front end on the comet. Got the BMW six weeks ago and thank God the PO went thru it completely. Although I did pull the driver seat to replace the skins on it... When I got the mustang last fall it had water intrusion. Removed the interior and carpeting completely and dried it out... Needless to say I suffer for a few days after these feats of strength and reconstuction.. The old body ain't what it used to be... But as over the years it's my hobby/passion and I'll keep on going as the Lord is willing to allow me... Life's still too short, ya gotta have fun...!!!

Tomwas1
Tomwas1 New Reader
4/6/24 12:40 p.m.

Tomwas1
Tomwas1 New Reader
4/6/24 12:41 p.m.

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