Why I am done bringing my car to repair shops!

About 5 weeks ago the wrangler wouldn’t start. It was 3 degrees outside and all it did was crank and crank. We tried a few times and decided to forget it and deal with it later. Well, as we waited the temps kept getting lower and lower. The idea of diagnosing and repairing a car in sub zero temperatures sounding like pure torture.

So I hopped on yelp and looked for the highest rated car repair shop that was close by. I found a place that I was happy with and called a tow truck company. A few hours later the Jeep was off to the doctors to get all fixed up.

A few days later I get a call to let me know the diagnosis. He said that he got it to run but repairs need to be done:

The spark plugs being used are not correct for this type of motor. This lead to it not starting in the cold. Since you tried to start the motor a few times you flooded it out. Since you flooded it out there is now gas in the oil and there is excess gas in the cylinders. Also, the wrong spark plugs damaged you coil pack and that needs to be replaced now. You total will be $1350.

$1350!!!!! that’s dollars, not pesos!

So unsurprisingly this was quite a shock. How could trying to start the car a few times do this much damage? Also, What was I supposed to do? I was not about to hire a tow truck driver to go pick up the car, bring it back, and still pay hundreds in diagnostics fees to the repair shop!

So the first thing I did was ask him to itemize the costs. He told me that it broke down something like this:

Diagnostics:  $200
Towing:          $80
Oil Change:    $50
Spark Plugs : $300
Coil pack:       $700
Fuel Inject cleaning: $50

Now the standout on that list is obviously the coil pack. 700 dollars for the coil pack and install? For the record all you need to do is take 4 bolts off of the pack, pull it off the plugs, and reverse that. Its arguably the easiest install of a coil pack in the world… Not to mention I feel like its odd that “incorrect” spark plugs can blow up a coil.

So I ask him about that line item. I say “that seems REALLY high for a coil pack.” He says “yea, they are expensive. I cannot source the OEM part for another few weeks but Delphi is an OEM provider and they have one for $600, the install is the rest of the cost.”

Being a person that works on cars regularly I had some healthy skepticism about that price. So I said, “if you got it to start then the coil pack must work to some degree.” He told me “yes, you could still get more life out of it but it might not last long.” So I immediately decided that as long as they get it running I can bring it home and do the coil pack myself. As for the rest of the repairs, if he’s being honest and says there is gas in the oil then I definitely will not want to drive it and the spark plugs should get replaced anyway. So I tell him to go ahead with the rest of the repairs so I can bring it home. That way the price only ends up being $650 and I can deal with the rest later. A few hours after getting off the phone I hop on the internet to shop for coil packs just taking his word that it needs to be replaced. I find the Delphi for $70. Yes, seventy US dollars brand new, shipped to my door in two days for free…. Immediately I get that sinking feeling that this guys is completely screwing me over. I understand that they mark up items for a profit but come on, really?

So they are already doing the repair, they finish and I go pick it up, and it drives great! Starts right up, idles super smooth (as smooth as those motors can get), and accelerated nice and strong…. for a few days…

Then about 4 days later it wouldn’t start again! WTF man! At this point I am pretty pissed off because the ink on my $650 check is barely dry and the Jeep is right back where it was a few days ago. After my head nearly explodes I know that I am not going to send this thing off again to spend a bunch more money. Not to mention I will not give that guy the satisfaction of knowing he was right about the coil pack.  So trudge out there in the 9 degree weather, fresh coil pack in hand, to take a look. I open the hood and immediately I see this:







Are you kidding me!?!

They never actually secured the coil pack to the motor! It was just flopping around on the spark plugs! This is incredibly dangerous. Where do I even start? That could be the way the coil pack grounds. It could have shorted out the ignition system trying to start it, inflicting who knows how much damage to the electrical system. The car could have lost power at any time! In the winter time you lose a lot of road shoulders, the roads are already dangerous and all the sudden you can lose spark! Not to mention we take this on the freeway. Could you imagine driving down the highway at 65-70 and all the sudden your motor dies? What about the bolts? What if they shook right out of the motor? The coil would just fall to the ground while driving and rip the electrical right out with it?

So naturally I am pretty pissed off at this point. However, I had the new coil and the old one was already uninstalled for me so the new one went on in about 6 minutes. Unsurprisingly, the Jeep drove great and has been fine ever since.

I actually decided while writing this to send an email back to the repair shop to see what they had to say for themselves. I would share the email but is basically this blog post in the form of an email.

I am writing all this not to shame the repair shop (didn’t even use their name) or to scare you off of using these places. I am writing this because I want you to be vigilant, when someone gives you a repair quote, research it and ask questions don’t just instinctively say yes. Also, when the work is done do your best to check it. Had I simply just opened the hood of the Jeep in the parking lot of the repair shop I would have seen that the job was not done.

If you bring your car into the shop for something like an alternator, power steering pump, brakes, etc. its easy to take a quick glance and at least see if the part looks new and is securely fastened to the motor. I think when people send something to “professionals” we assume that it will be completed flawlessly. As the above post explains, that’s obviously not the case.

Keep your eyes open, protect you money and your assets to feel good about the decisions you make.

Happy New Year.

The Merch Store Is Now Open!

Other than the obvious car questions that I receive, I get two questions more than any others.

One – Where can I get that T-shirt that you wear in your videos?
Two – How can I support your channel?

Well to be clear, just watching RTCG videos is support enough. I appreciate everyone who comes to check out my channel and I would never expect more.

However, for those of you who want to do something more to support the channel, I have created a store on Here you can find official RTCG t-shits and sweaters for purchase. handles all money transactions, inventory, and shipping and RTCG gets a percentage of the sales.

Race on over to and get your RTCG swag today!

Thank you for your support!




The RTCG Amazon Store is Now Open!

Amazon has this cool new program in which You Tubers can create customized pages to feature products that they like/use. I was invited by Amazon to take part so I did! The main purpose of the store front will be to compile a list of all products that I have linked in my videos. I will be a quick reference if you are looking for something but do not want to dig through my You Tube channel to find it.

The store front also allows me to comment on each item so you can see what job I used each product on and what I think of it.

You can find the store here or on the main menu at the top of the site.

This is a great way to support the RTCG channel all while getting the parts that you need!

Disclaimer: RTCG receives a portion of all sales on the products sold in the store. The items will NOT cost you any more than they would if you didn’t use the link.

Get Your Car Winter Ready

One thing I learned while I lived in the south is that people seriously neglect the maintenance on their cars when they are not forced to do it. In Florida, you can drive on your tires YEARS past when they should have been replaced. I have seen tires down there that I would not have believed  held air if I was not seeing with my own eyes. I’m talking about seeing entire bands through the rubber. In the north, 3/4 of your year involves ice on the roads (slight exaggeration). If you have tires that are not tip-top shape, then your car will literally just not leave the driveway. Not that you don’t want it to! It just physically won’t move…

Anyway. Here is my list of things you should check/accomplish before the weather outside gets frightful, and frightful it will get friends….

  • Tires

I would say the most important item on the list. Since tires are what connects you to the road it’s important that they are in good shape and are the correct tires for your current conditions. Most cars will come with “all weather” tires and that’s fine. But even all weather tires wear down. You can use the “penny test” to check if you need new tires. Below is a really simple article by Firestone showing you how to do it. The best part is that all you need is a penny. If you don’t have a penny, then no worries because you need a lot more than that to buy new tires. In all seriousness, this is how most people end up in a ditch, or worse, in an accident. Check your tires and make sure they are ready to rock. If you have a sports car that has tires designed for summer weather, you could consider getting a separate set of winter tires (and rims) for your ride. Obviously, this is the far more expensive option, but with places like Tire Rack and Discount Tire Direct you can buy complete wheel and tire sets that are already balanced and ready to mount. All you need to do is swap them out. Additionally, Discount Tire Direct teamed up with EBay and are using their interface for ease of shopping and better prices. Lastly, check for cracks, bulges, nails, etc., all over the tire. You will not want to deal with a blowout in the winter time.

  • Fluids

This isn’t just as simple as getting an oil change. Well, it kind of is, let me explain. As you know oils come in different weights. The viscosity of oil is a measurement of its resistance to deformation. Basically, the more viscous something is, the thicker it is. Temperature plays a big role in viscosity as well. The colder it is the more viscous an oil becomes. So if you are using a high weight oil and it gets REALLY cold then you will be putting extra pressure on your oil pump, and worse yet, you my not be properly lubricating your motor. So if you are getting close to an oil change you may want to consider a lower viscosity for the colder months of the year. Also, included in fluids would be your antifreeze and even your wiper fluid. If you have been adding water to you radiator (big no-no) then now is the time for a flush and refill with the proper mixture. Additionally, you can get wiper fluid that has antifreeze in it so your wiper tank does not turn into a block of ice and you cannot use it. Oh, and it will also split that cheap plastic tank in half too.

  • Wiper Blades

Wiper blades get their own category because they are arguably as important as tires. I only say that because what good are healthy tires if you cannot see where you are driving? If it’s snowing there are times where you cannot see the lines in the road, and sometimes you can barely tell where the road is!! Having good, weather appropriate wiper blades combined with antifreeze wiper fluid will give you the best vision for driving in inclement weather.

    • Battery

Batteries are one of those things that get ignored until they don’t work, like refrigerators or roommates.  In winter, the cold weather takes a toll on your battery. One that works just fine in the summer might have issues starting your car in winter. This issue is due to your cold cranking amps being stunted by the cold. Additionally, your car requires MORE power to start in the winter. You could take your battery out and go get it bench tested for health. However if you are not exhibiting any other issues then just making sure the connections are clean should be good enough. You can get a battery post cleaner at any car parts shop or online. Here is what they look like, you can click the image to pick one up on Amazon (affiliate link).

    • Maintenance

This is a bit of a catch all. These are the types of things that should be done anyway but sometimes they get neglected. Things like inspecting your tie rod ends, ball joints, transmission fluid, drive belt(s), etc. If you need to get any of this done, especially if you plan to do any of it yourself, get it done BEFORE it gets nasty out. If you have hit your knuckles while working in the freezing cold then you know what I mean. You so not want to have to deal with maintenance in the cold. For instance, my dad’s truck had a cooling line rupture in the dead of winter. My mom was driving and she was alone. Luckily, she’s a badass and was like, “WTF ever, I’ll just drive it home.” So she did. Anyway, the point is my dad spent 5-6 hours outside (truck won’t fit in the garage) replacing the water pump, thermostat, and all cooling lines on the rig. Now, I cannot speak for him, but I assume it was not a super fun time.

Now, in a perfect world we would always be on top of all of these things. But life frequently gets in the way. We end up relying on our cars day after day but not taking care of them. Most of the year that’s really not that big of a deal. If we break down we call roadside assistance or press our On Star or MBrace button and someone comes right by to help us out. But in the dead of winter, things become much more complicated and much more dangerous. Please do your part to make sure that your car is safe for yourself, your family, and the thousands of people that you drive past everyday.

Be safe this winter season and don’t forget to have fun!

The Triumphant Return of the Chrysler 300

Now I have owned a lot of cars. I mean a LOT. I am somewhere around the mid 50’s in count and one day I’ll post my (running) list of vehicles to the blog for you.  After owning that many cars, you start to hone in on what you really like to see in your ride. The format, price range, options, power, etc. These are all important when deciding what car or truck will work for you. Now my way of determining what I really love is looking at the cars that I have owned twice (sometimes 3 times).  My thought processes is that there must be something that I like about this car so much that I gravitate toward it multiple times at different points in my life.  That being said, here is a current list of cars that I have owned at least twice.

Dodge/Plymouth Neon
Ford F150
Jeep Cherokee
Jeep Wrangler
Chrysler 300

Now its no secret that I am a fan of Mopar. I think they have made some really great products. I am not a fan of the creation of FCA but I think they are still making good vehicles that stand up to the competition on the global market (and look better doing it). Anyways back to the list.

Your first car was likely not great, but you learn a lot from it.

A few on the list are pretty simple to explain. The first on the list was my very first car. I was gifted a 1995 Plymouth Neon that had gone through a hail storm and was totaled out (thank you sis, you’re the best!). I did unimaginable things to that car. I gutted it and put huge subs into it, I modded the engine, and I may have even gotten a few wheels of the ground at times but that’s a different story for a different time. You learn so much from your first car. It’s much like your first “time”. Its likely not great, but you learn a lot.
On that basis alone I loved that car and I still do today. I find it charming, extraordinarily simple, and not terribly ugly. I mean, look at it!

They were both mine but I was replacing it at the time and frankly, it was not really worthy of committing it to film at that point.

The next few cars are pretty straight forward. A truck is a truck and when you feel like you need one, you go buy one. I prefer F150s or Ram 1500s because I like the way perform and they are not Chevy…
The Cherokees explain themselves. If you have not yet, go drive a second generation Cherokee. You will love it. Simple, rugged, and capable as all hell.
The Wrangler… OHHHH the Wrangler. It has all the things a Cherokee has plus the ability to drop the top. Not to mention you can transform this thing into an off road monster and the AMC 4.0 6 cyc is a rock solid bad ass motor (read its interesting history here). Every human on earth should own one. It might be the secret to world peace.
Now that brings me to the Chrysler 300.  You may or may not know this but the 300 numbering system is more than 60 years old. Chrysler used the 300 naming for a line of “letter cars” built starting in the mid-1950’s. Read more about the origin of the 300 line here.  The modern versions of these cars are spectacular. They are comparatively affordable, offer an insane amount of options, and bonus, they can get out of their own way with its strong HEMI heart.
Every human on earth should own a Jeep Wrangler. It might be the secret to world peace.
I first owned a 300 back in 2012. I leased it and I picked out the one with the most options. Man, did I LOVE that car! It was huge, elegant, and powerful. What’s not to love?
While I had that car my partner and I moved across the country and both started working from home. A hefty payment combined with the fact that it barely left the driveway drove us to get rid of in in lieu of something cheaper and less… awesome (I believe it was a Kia Soul).  It totally broke my heart to get rid of it but I knew at the time it was the right decision. Ever since then I have occasionally cruised the lots to look for a 300 that had low miles and was in good condition.
Fast forward 5 years…
We moved back to Michigan, my husband now commutes to work, we have a few rides comprising of the GLK 250, the Wrangler and of course, the X. I found myself again with a hefty payment on the Mercedes which I just don’t drive that much since I am still working from home. However, this time things were different….
Its now been 6 years since the release of the second generation of the 300. This time the 300 IS the cheaper car that I can go find to lower my payment! YES!!
I was super excited at the prospect and we found one pretty quickly. Its a 2011 with only 58k on it and it is DECKED OUT. I got all the options that the car had to offer and I got it at a price that wont make me cringe when it sits in the driveway too long.
Since I last had the 300 I’ve learned a lot about what I want out of a car. I think that knowing what actually makes you happy whether is in a vehicle or otherwise is a pretty powerful thing. Just try to make sure it does not take buying over 50 cars to figure it out.




Putting In New Valve Cover Gaskets

I’m really glad to be doing this job.  I have been smelling this nasty burning oil smell for months now and I’m ready for it to be done. Not only does it smell bad but burning oil isn’t exactly good for your health to be breathing it in and its certainly not earth friendly. The lion share of work is just getting to the covers, actually swapping out the gaskets is really not that big of a deal. The most important thing to watch for on this job is to be sure not to drop any shit onto the cams when removing the cover and cleaning the mating surfaces.

When I did the video I performed the job on the passenger side. On the driver side the only thing that you need to look out for is the main fuel line that leads to the rails on the intake manifold. Other than that the job is just about the same. There are a few additional connectors on the driver side including the O2 sensor wire leading to the exhaust. On a positive note you do not need to remove the Cam Positioning Actuator on the driver side so it just one less thing to deal with (however you should still unplug it).

Now lets talk torque spec and order. I know in the video I talk about the specs and order of the bolts on the valve cover and the throttle body but I want to include a few more.

As a refresher here are the order and the specs for the valve cover and the throttle body:

2 Rounds of torque. One round at 17 in-lbs and the second at 74 in-lbs
-These are all 10mm bolts
















These are a single round at 74 in-lbs









What I don’t mention in the video is the intake collector bolts/nuts and what the order and spec are for those. So here ya go!

The nuts and the bolts for the collector go in at 8 ft-lbs in the following order









Other than that the job is literally just reassembling it the way it came apart. When you are you reassembling be damn sure that you are not forgetting to plug anything back in! You will be kicking yourself if you removed a fuel injector plug under that intake collector and have to remove it all to plug one little thing back in.

Let me know how it goes for you! Mine actually looked good but was still leaking for some reason. Other people have said that the actual gasket had completely split into pieces. Comment below with some photos of where your leak was coming from. Talk to ya soon!


This post references the Ry The Car Guy video below

If you are looking for the gaskets I used in the video they are here: and here is the gasket maker I used as well:

Tools I used on the job:

10mm Socket
10mm Socket (deep well)
12mm Socket
Flat head screw driver
Needle Nose Pliers
Gasket Scraper/ Razor Blade
Gaskets and RTV as mentioned above

These damn animals!

I was cleaning the X the other day and when I opened the hood what did I find? ANIMALS HAVE BEEN TEARING UP MY ENGINE BAY!
Look what those little jerks did? They tore the entire hood liner apart!

How annoying! It looks like I will have a Fast Friday video coming out someday about replacing your hood liner!
Anyone else have intruders in your X? Tell me your story below, and add a pic if you have one!




I Found A Leak!!

For quite a while now when I drive my Xterra everything goes great until it gets nice and hot. Once its hot I can smell this burning scent. The first time that it happened I immediately panicked since I’ve had overheating issues in the past. So I grab my ODB2 reader and everything checks out fine. I have been driving it like this for a while now because if the truck is not overheating then its not that big of a deal (right?).
Well the other day when I was  removing the windshield washer tank I looked deep into the engine bay and I saw it! One of the exhaust heat shields was covered in oil!
Once that starts happening the oil that is on the heat shield will get crazy hot while driving and create that nasty smell I was smelling. Anyway, I was following the oil up and determined that its coming from the passenger side valve cover.
As annoyed that I was to find out that the X was leaking, I was still very happy to uncover what was going on. I hope to finish the valve cover gasket job this weekend and get the video out within the next few weeks…
In the meantime, check out this Xterra oil change video.



My First Post


People generally put too much thought into their first post. Only a few people are really going to take the time to read it. So lets get it out of the way….

Welcome to my website, I am really excited to get this up and running! My plan is to create a place where people can come and share pics of their projects, ask each other questions, and just have fun. The You Tube comments section can really only go so far. You cannot share any media on it. No photos, videos, etc. So when someone wants to show you something the only real option is to email and who does that anymore?

I have had more than a few people ask me about contributing to RTCG. I had a few ideas so in the future this is where I will put my merch store and any links that will allow people to donate to RTCG to keep the projects flowing! I wanted multiple options because if donating to the cause it not your style then you can buy a shirt or something that helps out RTCG but you also get something cool out of it.

Other than that I will be posting blog entries like this one to keep everyone up to date on big projects, what rides I’m buying, and other general car stuff. Check out my You Tube channel here.