TO some, SEO and Keyword Research sound like some sort of voodoo. While it may seem that way at the start, once you begin to get the hang of things, it all comes together and starts making sense! Hopefully, these SEO Keyword Research Tips will help you shed some light on things!

Let your competitors do the research for you!

Sounds easy, right? you can use Anchor Text Analysis tools like this one, as well as the Google AdWords keyword tool and SEMRush to spy on what your competition is doing, then simply rinse and repeat! Ok, ok, I’ll admit it might sound a little shady, but it’s a proven tactic! And like the old saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Here’s how it works: First, make a list of your top 5 competitors. Specifically the ones at the top of the rankings for your targeted search term or niche.

For this example, I’ll use “SEO Keyword Research Tips” as my search term.

My competition?

seo-tips

Change your language and location demographics based on your targeted audience. Choose Global and English if you are targeting a worldwide audience.

Under Keyword Options, choose ‘Only Keywords Closely Related to my Search’ to keep things neat and closely targeted, and voila! You’re working your way towards some usable keywords to begin targeting. You’ll immediately be able to see the search volume and competition for the keywords, so go ahead and pick one that you feel will work for your niche, and pick a few more that are closely related to the first one. Grouped together, you have a tightly themed set of keywords just begging for some marketing!

Blog on Breaking News, Upcoming Events, Product Launches, etc.

Getting ranked on a topic before anybody else gives you a head start, making it easier to stay at the top of the pack! Best of all, this can be combined with the other SEO Keyword Research Tips to form a very effective strategy to land you at the top of the search results!

If you know something is not being searched much today, but will be heavily searched in the future (next year’s black friday, for example), you can get content out and get those rankings up well in advance of your competition! Basically, these strategy relies on anticipating keywords that will be highly searched in the future. These keywords will be easier to rank for since you’ll have little to no initial competition.

Add Geo-Targeted keywords to your list

If you want to rank for “Auto Repair” for example, that could take months or years due to the competition level. Start with Auto Repair in Mesa AZ, and/or Auto Repair Arizona, and your list of competitors just got much smaller, and easier to rank for. Best of all, you’ll still be relevant to your original goal! These geo-targeted keywords might have less overall search volume, but they are highly targeted and typically offer higher conversion rates.

Check your Google Analytics or Google Webmaster Tools data

Don’t forget to research your own site and see how your users are finding you! Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Webmaster Tools, and other similar systems can be a valuable place to find those long-tail keywords you may have missed!

seo-keyword-research

In the above example, you’ll notice a few keywords not really related to our original “auto repair” goal, but some of them may still be useful for traffic generating purposes. This is a prime example of something that may have gone otherwise unnoticed!

Do you have any Keyword Research tips you’d like to share? Feel free to chime in below!

This Kobalt Tools Review will focus on the Mechanic’s Screwdrivers. These screwdrivers (shown in the picture) have a blue acetate polymer hard handles, and are quite a bit heavier (and assumably tougher) than your standard screwdriver handle. Each screwdriver handle, with the exception of the stubby screwdrivers, has a steel pommel cap. The shanks, once again excluding the stubby screwdrivers, feature a hexagonal bolster allowing you to use a wrench for extra torque if necessary. The tips of all of the screwdrivers are coated with a black phosphate finish for increased grip on the screw head, and by extension, less wear to the tips and less rounded off fasteners.

Kobalt Mechanics ScrewdriversKobalt Screwdriver Cap Kobalt Screwdriver Shank Kobalt Screwdriver Tip

The best part? These new screwdrivers are made in the USA! That’s right, they are made right here in the United States by Great Neck Saw Manufacturers, Inc.  of Mineola, NY.

Lowes is offering these new drivers in a few individual sizes, and there’s also a new 5-piece set that comes with two Phillips, two slotted, and one mini offset screwdrivers. The rest shown in the picture are available in singular packaging.

Note that some readers have reported seeing 5-piece sets labeled Made in China, while individual screwdrivers are still labeled Made in USA. This may mean that the offset screwdriver (unique to the set) is made in China. Alternatively, it could mean something else entirely! I honestly don’t know, but if you’re in the market for new screwdrivers, I wouldn’t let this observation dissuade you too much.

In this review, we will be comparing Kobalt Tools sockets from Lowes to Pittsburgh sockets from Harbor Freight. Both samples were purchased new in 2015.

Kobalt Vs Pittsburgh Kobalt Vs Pittsburgh

First Impressions

Both sockets are of chrome plated steel construction, and 6 point 3/8in drive design. The sockets are in a similar size range, as the Kobalt is an 18mm and the Pittsburgh socket is a 11/16. They both seem to be of reasonably high finish quality, with the Kobalt winning out very slightly in the chrome plating (fewer imperfections), though neither socket had many to speak of.

The Kobalt Socket

The Kobalt socket, as you may notice has a laser-engraved size marking near the top of the socket, and a blue acrylic band near the bottom designating it as a metric socket.

Kobalt Socket Front Kobalt Socket Top 2 Kobalt Socket Top Kobalt Socket Bottom

The Pittsburgh Socket

The Pittsburgh socket is roll stamped with it’s size marking, but offers no color or other markings to distinguish SAE and Metric sockets.

Pittsburgh Socket FrontPittsburgh Socket Top 2Pittsburgh Socket TopPittsburgh Socket Bottom

Durability

I have had a chance to put both the Kobalt sockets, and Pittsburgh sockets through some light to medium duty use, and both seem to be pretty well up to the task mechanically. Neither socket has rounded any fasteners or showed any sines of failure. Not even so much as a little chrome flaking. In the event that anything changes, I’ll be sure to update this review. For now, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend either brand of socket for DIY work!

 

I am writing this Williams WRS-1 Magnetic Ratcheting Screwdriver Review based upon this one I got as a gift on Christmas of 2014. I have had many chances to put it through it’s paces since then working on my ’03 Suzuki Katana and ’97 GMC K1500, and I feel I am now able to publish a comprehensive review.

First off, there is no comparison between this Ratcheting Screwdriver and the ones commonly found in cheap sets at big box stores. The screwdriver comes with 5 bits; 2 slotted, 2 Phillips, and 1 Torx. They are stored in the handle, and have a Snap-On “S” logo. Yes, they are Snap-On Bits. For those who are not aware, the Williams Tool Company is a division of Snap-On. Williams is their industrial tool line, and the quality is on par with Snap-On at a fraction of the price.

Williams WRS-1 Magnetic Ratcheting Screwdriver Review 1 Williams WRS-1 Magnetic Ratcheting Screwdriver Review 2 Williams WRS-1 Magnetic Ratcheting Screwdriver Review 3 Williams WRS-1 Magnetic Ratcheting Screwdriver Review 4 Williams WRS-1 Magnetic Ratcheting Screwdriver Review 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ratcheting action on this screwdriver is smooth in both directions, and the middle “lock” setting is strong, never slipping even under large amounts of torque. The stainless steel shank is satin finished, and is not likely to ever wear out. Since it is solid stainless and not chrome plated, it is not prone to chipping, flaking, or other aesthetic issues even under heavy use.

All in all, if you are considering buying your first ratcheting screwdriver, or you are currently using a cheapie bought at a big box store, I say pick up one of these today! You won’t regret it!

Today I am writing this Vessel Megadora 980 Impacta review, after a week of ownership and use. First off, I’d just like to say that having a JIS Screwdriver period is a godsend if you work on Japanese cars or motorcycles. This particular JIS screwdriver / Impact Tool, however, is doubly awesome. So far I’ve used it to de-winterize my ’03 Suzuki Katana, and there wasn’t a single screw on the bike it couldn’t handle. The screwdriver itself is of high quality, the impact portion of the tool works very well, the finish work is neat. Overall, it is well worth the asking price (I paid $22 after tax and shipping when I bought mine).

Vessel Megadora 980 Impacta Review 1 Vessel Megadora 980 Impacta Review 2 Vessel Megadora 980 Impacta Review 3 Vessel Megadora 980 Impacta Review 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The impact feature is amazing when it comes to breaking loose rusted, oxidized, or otherwise stuck screws, and when you’re not using it as an impact driver, it works well as just a standard screwdriver. This saves time, as you don’t have to get out your standard hand impact tool and bits, as well as a normal screwdriver. the Vessel Megadora 980 Impacta does both, in one handy package!

Being born into a mechanically inclined family, I was raised on tools. I still remember wrenching on my first bicycle, then lawnmowers, and finally my first car. Each step of the way I learned a bit more, and gained a few more tools. If you’re just starting out, the sheer number of tools you’ll find at your local store can be daunting. I came up with this list in an effort to help clarify the tools every beginner mechanic needs in order to start working on their own car, truck, lawnmower, motorcycle, or whatever you may have!

A Word on Brands – The actual brand of tool you purchase doesn’t matter nearly as much as long as they come with a lifetime warranty, and are readily available in your area.

Craftsman – A DIY staple for many years, Craftsman Tools can be found at Sears. I would stay away from the bigger craftsman sets and opt for the “Premium” or full polish craftsman tools instead. The fine tooth ratchets, and full polish wrenches are much better than their “economy” craftsman counterparts. Made in China/USA (Depends on Tool).

Kobalt – My personal favorite currently, Kobalt tools can be found at any Lowe’s Home Improvement. It seems to me like their tools are generally on par with craftsman’s premium lines, though the variety in Kobalt’s line is a bit smaller than that of Craftsman’s. Made in Taiwan/China.

Husky – Home Depot’s tool line, Husky tools are very similar to Kobalt’s, but in my opinion they lack some of the fine details that Kobalt’s tools have, such as color coded SAE and Metric tools so you can tell at a glance what goes where. Still a great buy though. Made in Taiwan/China.

S-K Tools – S-K Tools are considerably more expensive than the othe 3 brands in this list, but 100% USA made. These guys are the best option if you absolutely refuse to buy imported goods. Professional quality, and a cheaper price than the truck brands (Snap-on, Mac, and Matco).

1) A Toolbox

Masterforce 56in ToolboxOK, while this one technically isn’t a tool, trust me when I say you will definitely want a place to put all of your tools so you can find them easily when they are needed. I like the rolling cabinet type toolboxes, as they provide both a toolbox and a workbench in one unit if you don’t buy a top chest. Additionally, they can be rolled from job to job if necessary. Check out Masterforce or US General toolboxes if you’re on a budget under $1000. Waterloo or Craftsman HD are good choices if you want to spend a bit more. Searching Craigslist for a used Snap-on or similar “truck brand” toolbox is another option to consider.

 

 

Kobalt Ratchets2) Ratchets

You’ll need a total of 3 ratchets to start off, a 1/4″ Drive Ratchet, a 3/8″ Drive, and a 1/2″ Drive Ratchet. These are the 3 most common sizes used, and you’ll be using them on basically every project. Most Automotive tool kits from Craftsman, Kobalt, or Husky will include all 3. If yours didn’t, no big deal. Just go pick up the one (or ones) you’re missing! Also, check out my Kobalt Ratchet Review to see what makes these things tick!

 

 

Sockets - Tools Every Mechanic Needs3) Basic 6-Point Sockets

Every beginner mechanic needs both SAE (Inch) and Metcric (MM) sockets to go with each of their ratchets. These will be your bread and butter, and what you’ll be using to remove and replace most bolts you’ll encounter. I recommend starting off buying 6 point sockets (you’ll notice they have 6 sides) as they are less likely to round off bolts than their 12 point cousins. Socket Organizers like the ones pictured are also a good investment if you have a big toolbox, as they keep everything neat and easy to find. Just don’t get the Hansen Socket Trays (or anything with labels for that matter) if you have OCD. You WILL have empty spaces.

 

Hex and Torx Sockets4) Torx and Hex Sockets

Torx and Hex sockets are a necessity if you plan to do brake jobs at any point, as most brake calipers are held on by one of these fasteners. You don’t need too many of these, so don’t go blowing through your budget on them. If possible, figure out what you’ll be working on most often and see what the brake calipers require. You can start off with just those and pick up more as needed. I don’t suggest trying to get away with using a screwdriver on caliper bolts, you’ll want to be able to torque them properly.

 

Tools Every Mechanic Needs5) Socket Adapters, Extensions, and Swivels

Swivels, Extensions, Wobble Extensions, and Size Adapters make it possible to remove sockets from hard to reach places. With most modern inline engines, the spark plugs alone will require a long extension and possibly a swivel, depending on the design. A lot of the automotive tool sets you’ll find come with a swivel and an extension or 2, but you will definitely end up buying more as you need them. I have extensions ranging from 1 to 24 inches in all drive sizes (not all of them are pictured), and they all get used.

 

Breaker Bars6) Breaker Bars

There is no substitute for torque. Beginner mechanics often can’t afford to buy a full set of power tools, so you’ll need breaker bars to “break” loose stubborn nuts and bolts. Ratchets are prone to failure if used for this particular task, so a set of breaker bars is a good investment. Like ratchets, you’ll want to have at least one in each of the 3 most common drive sizes (1/4″ 3/8″ and 1/2″).

 

 

Kobalt Mechanics Screwdrivers7) Basic Screwdrivers

You’ll encounter countless phillips and flathead screws no matter what you work on, so a good set of basic screwdrivers in various sizes and lengths is something every beginning mechanic should have on hand. At the very least, you should have #1 and #2 Phillips and 3/16, 1/4 and 5/16 Slotted screwdrivers in long, standard, and stubby lengths. Go for quality over quantity here. The Kobalt Mechanic’s Screwdrivers pictured are a good, heavy-duty starting point. This Gearwrench Screwdriver Set covers pretty much every common screw you can think of.

 

Hex and Torx Screwdrivers8) Intermediate Screwdrivers

Hex Screws and Torx Screws are common on pretty much everything these days. Tamper proof Torx and Hex (AKA Security Torx and Security Hex) are becoming more and more common. If you own a Japanese car or motorcycle, you’ll most likely encounter JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard) screws. These look like phillips screws, but a standard phillips screwdriver will round them off. The easiest way to have all of these on hand is to buy a good ratcheting screwdriver (I suggest this Williams Magnetic Ratcheting Screwdriver) and simply buy more bits as you find you need them. Want one pretty complete, organized set? Check out this Gearwrench 40 Piece Ratcheting Screwdriver Kit.

Read More: Williams WRS-1 Magnetic Ratcheting Screwdriver ReviewVessel Megadora 980 Impacta Review

Kobalt Wrenches9) Combination Wrenches

While these may seem pretty obvious, many people don’t actually have a quality set. You’ll be using combination wrenches when a socket just won’t fit, or when you need to hold one end of a bolt while you tighten a nut. Like sockets, you’ll need a set of SAE (Inch) and Metric (mm) wrenches. 6 point combination wrenches are available, but I suggest getting the 12pt variety instead, as they are more versatile and work better in tight spaces. This Kobalt 34pc Wrench Set offers a pretty complete package at an easily affordable price.

 

Line Wrenches10) Line Wrenches

Fuel Lines, A/C Lines, Brake Lines, Oil Lines, pretty much any line with a fitting that can be unscrewed. Line Wrenches (AKA Flare Nut Wrenches) spread force over a greater surface area of the fastener than a combination wrench would. This helps prevent the fastener from rounding off and becoming the world’s biggest pain in the you-know-what. You don’t need to buy every flare nut wrench in existence. Just buy a basic set like the Kobalt one pictured, and work your way up from there.

 

hammers11) Hammers

You wouldn’t think a mechanic would need a hammer as much as they do, but sometimes a part just needs some good old fashioned “convincing” to go where you need it. Stuck parts are another common reason you may need to beaterize something with a BFH (Big Freakin’ Hammer). Ball Pein Hammers, Sledgehammers, Dead Blow Hammers, and Mallets all have their uses. You’ll want to have a good variety of hammers to start with, so a set like this one on Amazon is a good choice.

 

 

Pliers12) Pliers

You’ll need Channel Locks in a couple sizes, Standard pliers, and Needle Nose pliers in a few sizes. You’ll use them a lot more than you would think. Most people have at least one standard plier lying around. If you need to purchase new Channel Locks, I suggest this Knipex 3-Piece Set. As for needle nose pliers, you’ll probably want one standard needle nose, a longer needle nose, and a bent needle nose at minimum. If you already have a regular Needle nose, pick up this set on Amazon and you’ll be good to go.

 

Vise-Grips13) Vise Grips

Holding up hoods and trunks when the hydraulic rods have failed are only one possible use for a good pair of vise grips. In the movie Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood’s character hands a novice tool user a roll of duct tape, a can of WD-40 and a pair of Vise-Grips. He tells the youngster that any man worth his salt “can do half his household jobs with these three things.” Clint isn’t exactly wrong. You’ll find all sorts of uses for Vise Grips, so you’ll probably want a few shapes and sizes.

 

 

 

Pry Bars14) Pry Bars

Sometimes you’ll find yourself needing a lot of leverage to make things line up properly. Other times you’ll need a lot of leverage to separate parts that have been together for thousands of miles. This is when a pry bar will be worth it’s weight in gold. To get the most bang for your buck, I would suggest picking up this 3pc Craftsman Set, or the 4 Piece Pittsburgh Tools Set at Harbor Freight (Pictured) if you have one nearby. Either option should serve you well for years to come!

 

 

 

 

Circuit Tester15) Circuit Tester

A Circuit tester is used for – as you may have guessed – testing circuits! An indicator light in the handle tells you if electricity is flowing or not. This allows you to find wiring issues, locate hot wires, and test fuses with one handy tool. I bought mine at Harbor Freight, it’s cheap and simple.

 

 

Motorcycle Battery Charging16)Digital Multimeter

If you need to measure voltage, resistance, or current, you need a multimeter. You’ll be using this a lot to test batteries, check voltages, and troubleshoot electronic parts. Invest in a good quality digital multimeter as accuracy is important, and you want it to be able to survive should you accidentally drop it. I would suggest this one from Klein Tools, as I haven’t had any issues with mine, but a lot of pro’s stand by this Fluke Multimeter. Either one should work exceptionally well, depending on how much money you want to spend.

 

 

Floor Jack17) Floor Jack

Need to get a car off the ground? You’re gonna need a floor jack! You’ll put this to work whenever you need to remove a wheel, or get under a car. Floor Jacks come with weight ratings, so you’ll want one that will support a little more than the weight of whatever vehicle you’re working on. If you’re not sure, get the biggest one you can. A 3 or 3.5 ton Jack will support almost any car, truck, or SUV. Just remember to always use Jack Stands to support the vehicle while it’s in the air.

 

 

Jack Stands18) Jack Stands

Jack Stands are a mechanical safety item when using a floor jack, or any other type of vehicle lifting device. They are there to stop the vehicle from crushing you in the event that the jack fails or slips. Jack stands are a 100% mechanical device, so they are less prone to failure than a hydraulic jack. Unless you like the idea of being a pancake, get at least one set of these!

 

 

 

digi-click torque wrench19) Torque Wrench

It’s never fun when a bolt backs itself out when your driving down the road. How do you prevent this from happening? By using the proper amount of torque! How do you know how much torque you need? A service manual or a google search. How do you know how much torque you’re using? A torque wrench! A torque wrench is a tool used to precisely apply a specific torque to a fastener such as a nut or bolt. The Craftsman Digi-Click Torque Wrenches are a great starting point.

Auto Repair in Mesa AZ

Today I’m writing a Kobalt Ratchet review based on the ratchets currently (as of 2015) being offered by Lowes. As of the time of writing, Kobalt’s hand tools (ratchets included) are made in Taiwan. I usually prefer to buy USA-made, but all things considered these ratchets seem to be high quality, and at the price point I have no regrets about buying them. Overall, I would say the ratchets are comparable in design to major competitors’ fine tooth ratchets, such as Craftsman’s Thin Profile Ratchets, Husky’s Full Polish Ratchets, and even Snap-On’s f80 Series, though for obvious reasons the truck brands aren’t directly comparable here.

In use, the ratchets are all as smooth as you would expect from a fine (72 tooth) mechanism. There aren’t any detectable hiccups in the movement that I can find. The selector works well and engages positively, with no failures or unexplained direction switching (AKA hand smashing). Tactile feedback is solid without being too loud, the clicks are just loud enough to be audible without being irritating. All in all, the ratchets each feel like they should cost more than they did.

If you’re on the fence about buying these Kobalts, I’d say go for it! The heads seem a little thicker than most, but this hasn’t yet caused any issues for me while using them.

Kobalt 3/8 Ratchet Parts Kobalt 3/8 Ratchet Gear Kobalt 3/8 Ratchet Inside Kobalt Ratchet Review

Note that the red stuff seen in the photos is Mobil1 Synthetic Grease. All of the ratchets I purchased were dry (unlubricated) when I got them home, so I opened them up and applied the grease to the 3/8in and 1/2in drive ratchets, and a shot of gun oil to the 1/4in drive ratchet.

Kobalt 1/4in Ratchet Review – Specs:

  • Price: $20
  • Tooth Count: 72
  • Swing Arc: 5 Degrees
  • Quick Release: Yes
  • Head Width: 15/16in
  • Head Depth: 17/32in
  • Overall Length: 5in

Kobalt 3/8in Ratchet Review – Specs:

  • Price: $23
  • Tooth Count: 72
  • Swing Arc: 5 Degrees
  • Quick Release: Yes
  • Head Width: 1-1/8in
  • Head Depth: 11/16in
  • Overall Length: 6-15/16in

Kobalt 1/2in Drive Ratchet Review – Specs:

  • Price: $30
  • Tooth Count: 72
  • Swing Arc: 5 Degrees
  • Quick Release: Yes
  • Head Width: 1-1/2in
  • Head Depth: 13/16in
  • Overall Length: 10in

Shop Kobalt Ratchets on Amazon

Tonight I bought a Leatherman Sidekick at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Mesa, AZ. I decided to write up a Leatherman Sidekick Review while I was sitting here playing with it and my first impressions were still fresh. I’ll try to be as comprehensive as I can with this review, and I apologise ahead of time if the photos I include are overexposed as I was in a bit of a hurry to get this posted to the blog.

If there is a particular photo, tool, or angle you want to see feel free to let me know and I’ll add it to the review.

Leatherman Packaging 1 Leatherman Packaging 2

First off, I just wanted to mention that the packaging shows a Carabiner Tool being included with the Leatherman Sidekick package (#15 in the pictures). This was not included with mine for some reason, and I’ve sent an email to Leatherman in order to try and get this straightened out, as I am a bit disappointed about this not being present since it is part of what pushed me towards the Sidekick over some of the other offerings available. Not a huge deal, but still a bit of a letdown.

Leatherman Sidekick Photo - Pliers 2 Leatherman Sidekick Photo - PliersA really minor nitpick probably nobody else will notice or care about is the finish work on this particular Leatherman is a bit rough. As a hobbyist knifemaker, I spend a lot of time on metal finishing, polishing, etc. and it’s a time consuming process that very few appreciate. In the photos, you can see the marks from the shaping / grinding process, especially on the pliers, knife, and sawblade. Given how few people probably take the time to notice, I can’t really fault Leatherman for not spending a lot of time prettying things up, as it will function as advertised either way. Again, it’s a very minor thing that I’m not overly concerned about, I just thought it was worth a mention.

 

Leatherman Sidekick Review – The Pliers

Sidekick PliersThe pliers on the Sidekick (Pictured above) won’t win any beauty contests, but they do work well. They use a spring action to expand, so they are quite easy to operate with one hand. The inner surfaces are machined pretty well, and the grooves fit together nicely. I’m not so sure about the wire cutters, as they meet point-to-point in an X shape, and the points appear to have a couple of high and low spots, but time will tell how that will effect their functionality.

Leatherman Sidekick Knife Review

Leatherman Sidekick Photo - Knife Lock Leatherman Sidekick Photo - KnifeThe knife on the Leatherman Sidekick is a pretty basic design that can be accessed even with the tool closed, which is a nice touch. and the packaging indicates that it is comprised of 420HC Stainless, a pretty common steel for quality commercial knives. Basic 420 Stainless has more carbon than 410, but less than 440. As such it is softer than 440, but has a higher toughness. 420HC Stainless is a higher carbon variant of 420 Stainless which helps harden it even further. Buck Knives famously uses 420HC almost exclusively, and my Buck 110 has held up to almost 50 years of abuse through who knows how many owners (I inherited it at a gun show), so it is a high quality, durable, and cost effective choice as a knife blade material. As you can see in the first photo, the blade on the Leatherman Sidekick is locked in place when extended by a built-in locking mechanism.

Leatherman Sidekick Saw Review

Leatherman Sidekick Saw 1 Leatherman Sidekick Saw 2The saw on the Sidekick is deployed in the same way the knife is, and can be accessed even when the multitool is closed. As with the knife, the saw locks in place when extended with a built in locking mechanism shown in the pictures with a stamped padlock icon on it. The teeth are a double-row wood saw style, and feel very sharp. As of yet, I have not had a chance to test it properly on anything, but I’ll give it a whirl on some scraps tomorrow and see how it performs.

Leatherman Sidekick – Inside Tools

Sidekick Inside Tools 1 Sidekick Inside Tools 2The tools on the inside of the Sidekick are of decent design, as with all multitools they won’t replace their standalone counterparts in the toolbox, but they work damn well in a pinch!

Large Slotted Screwdriver – It’s a rather large flat bladed screwdriver, a bit larger than I’m used to, but should you need to tighten something up or do some light prying in a pinch, this will do nicely.

Phillips Screwdriver – Yes, an actual 3 dimensional Phillips screwdriver lives in here and it works pretty well for tightening up license plate screws and whatever else you can find.

Keyring Attachment – Not going to use this personally, but it just wouldn’t be a Leatherman without one!

Can Opener / Bottle Opener – These will undoubtedly come in handy more times than I can count, and they’re a welcome addition to pretty much anything.

Small Flathead Screwdriver / 1.5in Ruler – not a bad combination, the screwdriver is an obvious plus. I’m not sure what I’ll use the ruler for just yet, but I’m thinking it will come in handy somewhere.

Serrated 420HC Knife – This is the one tool I will probably never use, as I’m not a fan of serrated blades, but I know there are others out there that swear by them. My own opinion aside, it is nice and sharp!

Carabiner Tool – ??? As I said earlier, this was conspicuously absent from my package. Hopefully either Leatherman or Sportsman’s Warehouse will get this sorted out for me at a later date.

Accessories and Carry Methods

Leatherman Sidekick Sheath Photo 2 Leatherman Sidekick Sheath Photo 3The Leatherman Sidekick I purchased came with a removable belt clip, and a decent Nylon carrying case with a belt attachment. I’ll probably end up using the pocket clip more than anything, but the case is a nice alternative option should I find that the pocket clip isn’t working for me. The one caveat here (for me) is the case being made in China, but there are so many things made overseas these days it’s not much of a surprise.

A lot of bikMotorcycle Battery Chargingers don’t spend much time thinking about Motorcycle Battery Maintenance, but they should! Motorcycle battery failures are the #2 reason motorcycles leave their owners stranded, right behind Tires in the #1 spot. Here’s the skinny: A 12-volt motorcycle battery is sort of misleading. Depending on how much use it’s seen, a motorcycle battery will actually fall somewhere between 11 and 13 volts. A fully charged battery, obviously, will be closer to 13 while a mostly depleted one will be closer to 11. Any lower than that spells trouble!

How to keep up with Motorcycle Battery Maintenance

The most obvious thing you’ll want to do to maintain your battery on a regular basis (once a month or so) is give it a full charge. Motorcycle electrical systems are relatively weak, so their batteries generally require some supplemental help in the form of a battery charger. a Battery Tender like the one pictured to the right will work wonders, as it’s an automated system, so you can plug it in before bed, unplug it when you wake up, and the charging process is over! Sounds pretty painless, doesn’t it?

The next thing you’ll want to consider is your battery’s fluid level. If you have a ‘maintenance free’ or “AGM’ battery, you don’t need to worry about this. If you have a classic ‘Wet’ battery, you’ll need to check it’s fluid level once in awhile. Should it appear to be low, you will want to refill it with distilled water. Never use anything else in your battery, as the minerals present in tap water and chemicals present in other fluids will damage your battery. While you’re looking inside your battery, shine a flashlight in there and make a quick check for sediment or mossing.

Once it’s all charged up and the internals are good, you’ll want to check the outside and clean off any dirt or corrosion, check the terminals, clamps, and battery case for visible signs of damage, and make sure all of your electrical connections are tight. Finally, double-check your battery’s charge level with a volt meter. If everything checks out, ride on!

haynes-motorcycle-service-manualsIf you’re considering working on your own motorcycle, and you should, it’s a rewarding experience, and with labor rates nearing $100/hr it’s also a great way to save money – you’ll need a Motorcycle Service Manual specific to your bike. A FREE Motorcycle Service Manual is even better! In this article I’ll show you How to find a FREE Motorcycle Service Manual for your bike! While I prefer to buy a hard copy of the service manual for the bikes I own, I decided to write this article for educational purposes and to help fellow riders who may not be able to find the manual they need locally.

How to find a FREE Motorcycle Service Manual

  • Google Search – Doing a simple google search for your motorcycle year and model followed by “Service Manual”, for example: “2007 Yamaha R1 Service Manual” usually will locate a free motorcycle service manual pretty quickly.
  • Motorcycle Forums – Forums or Message Boards are a great source of information, and many of them have motorcycle service manuals available, or know where to find them. Manufacturer or bike-specific forums like KatRiders are probably your best bet for finding a specific manual.
  • If the methods above have not been successful, try searching torrent sites like isohunt or piratebay as a last resort. You will need a torrenting client like BitTorrent to use these sites, and many dishonest people upload viruses & other malicious software here, so download at your own risk!
  • The following sites have certain manuals available:

Evan Fell Motorcycle Works

http://www.carlsalter.com/motorcycle-manuals.asp

http://hondatech.info/downloads/Moto/

http://www.repairmanualclub.com/motomanuals/

  • The Library – Your local public library may have some service manuals available, your odds are especially good if your bike of choice is popular in your area.
  • Craigslist and Backpage – If nothing else, you may be able to find a Motorcycle Service Manual here. It may not be totally free, but I have purchased a number of manuals here anywhere from $1 to $10!