Home Making

Garage Layout and Equipment

IN contemplating the building of a garage a householder should take several matters into account. He must, in the first place, make quite sure that there is nothing forbidding its erection in the tenancy agreement. If the consent of the landlord has been obtained, and a garage is erected, this will automatically become the landlord’s property at the end of the tenancy unless the structure is of a portable nature. Even if the builder of the garage owns the property there may be provisions in the deeds forbidding its erection altogether or permitting only a building of a certain type. Apart from these difficulties the local building regulations must be complied with. These may prohibit the erection within a specific distance of the road, or may demand the use of special materials and suitable drainage. Furthermore, Home Office regulations govern the location of places in which petrol may be kept, and the tank of a motor comes within this category. When the garage is attached to the house, further restrictions are usually imposed with the idea of safe-guarding the communicating door against fire. In this respect it might also affect the validity of the insurance policy covering the house. These difficulties account for the popularity of the portable type of garage, such being exempt from the greater part of the restrictions outlined. The addition of a garage, portable or permanent, will, however, immediately raise your assessment for rates by £4 per annum.

Even so, it is as well to remember that any old shed will not make a garage, and if the owner is anxious to treat his car well and relieve himself of as much trouble as possible, he will set about building in the right way. Primarily, the garage should be dry, and if possible, built adjacent to the house. It will thus receive a certain amount of heat from the house and be warm in comparison with an isolated shed. If this is not possible, and the garage is to be isolated, see that provision is made to keep it dry and warm in frosty weather. More cars give starting trouble due to moisture and condensation than from any other cause. Also, although the use of anti-freeze solutions eliminates the bogey of frost fractures to a large extent, too much faith should not be placed in them during very hard weather, and in any case they can do nothing to make starting easier.

If the owner is really enthusiastic he will want to do most of his own maintenance work, and he should make sure there is sufficient room to pass round the car easily when it is in the garage. A garage into which the car just fits soon becomes a strain on the temper, and further, room for a work bench will certainly be required. If anything beyond pure maintenance work is aspired to, one of the first additions to the bench will be a vice. Also, with a view to keeping the floor space clear of miscellaneous articles, there should be ample provision of shelves and storage room.

If it is not too much of a luxury it is advisable to get electricity laid on, and water supply for a hose. These two amenities cannot be too highly recommended.


Having acquired a satisfactory garage, the car owner will now require to equip it for the efficient care of his car.

Care of the coachwork will no doubt take pride of place, and this is where an abundant supply of water will be appreciated. If a hose is available, it is a simple matter just to hose the worst of the mud off when coming in from a spell of wet weather. If this is done the draining process is robbed of a lot of hard work. A large sponge, a spoke type brush, a good quality chamois leather and a bucket should be obtained. A tin of reputable body polish, several soft polishing cloths, and a stiff hand-brush for brushing down the upholstery, mats, etc., are other necessities which are possibly already in the house.

It is a good plan to obtain a lubrication chart of your car, and to fix it to the garage wall for reference. You can obtain one free of charge by applying to the makers or to any reputable oil company. Next obtain a supply of lubricants as recommended by the manufacturer; by buying a 5-gallon drum of oil and a small quantity of other greases, etc, you will get the benefit of bulk supply prices and assure yourself of a constant stock of the correct, that is to say, approved lubricants. Should you decide to attend to the valves yourself you will require in addition to the above a valve clearance gauge, a set of tappet spanners, and a valve spring compressor.

In some cases the following special items are also included, and will no doubt be required at some time or another: 1 hub extractor. 1 carburettor jet key. 1 ‘C’ spanner for water pump gland. 1 ‘C’ spanner for differential adjustment. 1 hub cap spanner. 1 pinion nut spanner. 1 steering wheel nut spanner. 1 Lockheed brake bleeder tube. 1 Lockheed brake bleeder spanner.

Special spanners may also be needed for use if unorthodox drain plugs are fitted to the engine sump, gearbox and rear axle units. In addition; it is recommended that a reliable tyre pressure gauge, a wire brush for cleaning the sparking plugs, and a contact breaker points dressing-slip are obtained at the first opportunity. Other useful equipment would include a water can, oil funnel, and some distilled water for topping-up the battery. At a later date an oil-drain tray, can be added, and a pair of axle stands will be found invaluable when carrying out a brake job.

In the course of time the amateur mechanic will be certain to require the following additional tools that will enable him to carry out small repairs on the car: 1 hack saw and blades. 1 12 in. second cut file. 1 12 in. smooth file. 1 hand brace. 1 set drills for above. 1 pair footprints or pipe grips. 1 solder iron (electric if power available).

A quantity of clean rags, paraffin, and a cleaning brush, should always be on hand for cleaning down the engine, and its various auxiliaries.

Later on the collection of tools may be usefully augmented with additional spanners, screwing tackle and possibly a small stock of nuts and bolts. If this is contemplated first make sure what standard the car employs. For instance, most American cars adopt S.A.E. Nuts and bolts and consequently require S.A.E. Spanners, etc. Continental manufacturers employ the Metric Standard, and British makers Whitworth or B.S.F.

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