If you’re like me, the winter is good for staying inside under a blanket with a glass of whiskey or next to your heater in the garage tackling large projects. With my recent trip to Euro District, I have a newfound motivation to start cleaning up that last 10% of my BMW E30 build to make it perfect, not just passable. Naturally, that means I need to get my garage ready so I can pull the engine back out, lift the car in the air, take off the suspension, exhaust, rear end, and remove the interior. I have big plans for this car, much of which will be improving past ‘upgrades’ that I either don’t like anymore or could make significantly better. Regardless, there are a few things I need to do before I can dig into this project. If you have plans to undertake similar ventures this winter, here’s what we’re going to need to make our lives much easier.

Schwaben Fluid Extractor

Whether you’re simply tackling that oil change or you need to pull your oil so you can prep for an engine-out service, the easiest way to make this happen without having to jack up your car is with a Fluid Extractor. We have preached the superiority of our fluid extractor before, but what you need to know is that with this handy-dandy piece of equipment you can easily suck all the oil from your engine and do it without any mess. With top-mounted oil filter housings, this extractor doesn’t require you to lift the car, so oil changes become a breeze. This is especially handy in cold weather when you want to be outside as little as possible or you don’t have a garage and can’t jack your car up in your parking lot without pissing off the property managers. For me, the extractor makes prepping my car for an engine-out service incredibly easy, as it pulls more oil from the engine block than traditional draining would. That means no mess when I take everything apart. 

Schwaben European Brake Pressure Bleeder Kit

If you’re also like me and have no friends, a pressure bleeder kit is a must. It’s important to replace your brake fluid every two years or so, which means you have to bleed your brakes. Naturally, this is a two-man job without specific tools. Our pressure bleeder kit allows you to do this job solo and likely much faster than you would the regular old ‘pump the brakes’ method. Since my brake lines could use some fancying up, I’ll be using this kit myself this winter after I finish some custom lines with nice moonshine-still coiling and such.

Trim Tool Kit

Don’t be that guy that pops interior pieces out with a flathead screwdriver. You know you’re going to scratch something or break a clip, and you did it to yourself because you didn’t use the right tools. Our trim tool kit is designed to delicately and correctly help you take apart your interior so it all goes back looking as it did before you pulled it apart. For me, I’ll be finishing the interior restoration I’ve been stalling on lately by taking care of the door cards, rear quarter panel interior trim, and convertible deck lid cover. To do it right and not break any of my unobtainium clips, I’ll be best friends with this kit. 

Long Low Profile High-Lift Floor Jack

Jacks that go high enough to make large projects easy tend to be too bulky to slide under slammed cars, the ones you can fit usually don’t go up high enough and require you to do some sketchy things to get the vehicle up in the air to a comfortable height. Our long reach low-pro high-lift (that’s a lot of adjectives) floor jack is designed for use with extremely lowered cars and will easily bring your car up in the air for a comfortable working height. Since I know much of my drivetrain will be coming out so I can do some cosmetic restoration of my subframes, a bunch of suspension work, and to actually tuck my wire harnesses, this is a must for me. I highly suggest this jack for anyone who is tired of spending as much time trying to get their car in the air as they do working on it. 

3-ton Wide Base Jack Stands Tall

Hand-in-hand with the long reach jack, our tall 3-ton wide base jack stands are the safe supports you need that will keep your car in the air for comfortable maintenance and building. Don’t get crushed under one of those ‘recalled’ jack stands. Do it safely with ours.

10-liter Drain Pan

You know you’ll need to drain the coolant sooner or later. It’s either this or twenty pounds of kitty litter. The 10-liter drain pan is a much easier solution, especially if you plan to re-use your coolant (don’t do this unless it’s brand new and your drain pan is COMPLETELY clean). Our drain pan is big enough to catch the largest volume of fluid you have in your car so you don’t need to play ‘find that other bucket’ games anymore. 

Fluid Suction/Fill Pump

Diff and transmission services on your list this winter? You’ll need something to fill them back up with. Our Fluid Suction and Fill Pump is designed to make short work of those drivetrain services. Simply fill it up from your choice of gear oil and pump that stuff on in there. You can even measure it out precisely for the ‘right way’ to replace that oil.

Wall-Mounted Wheel & Tire Storage Rack

I hate tripping over my summer wheels, my girlfriend’s summer wheels, my spares, and all the burner tires I keep around. They take up a significant portion of my garage and are somehow always in the way no matter where I move them. I am about to purchase two Wall-Mounted Wheel and Tire Storage Racks to mount up and store all my wheels out of the way safely to maximize the space in my garage so Lili doesn’t have to park outside while I’m working on my BMWs. If you have more than one set of wheels, and I know you do, then you absolutely need this setup.

Padded Creeper

My back hurts. I hate laying in dust and oil. How do I keep finding that one rock that I swear I’ve thrown out of my garage like eighty times right under my shoulder blade? These are things people who don’t have cushy padded adjustable creepers say. Make your life easier, make working on your car more enjoyable, and stop complaining. Just grab one of these creepers and start working in comfort. 

Deluxe Engine Support Bar

If you’re replacing engine mounts, pulling your transmission, pulling your front subframe, or anything that supports your engine, then you need to make sure it stays in place. For several years, I’ve just used my engine crane to do this, but it’s always a hassle to move that four million pound piece of equipment around my shop, and it always seems to find some molecule to stop one of its casters in just the wrong place. Now that I have a couch in my garage, it’s made using this method even more impossible than it usually is. My new favorite thing is the Deluxe Engine Support Bar that safely supports my engine and keeps it exactly in place so I can easily remove my front subframe and running gear as one assembly without worrying about trying to dodge the legs of my engine crane or anything shifting about the engine bay for an easy re-installation. 

Automatic Battery Tender

Whether you’re just parking and storing your car for the winter or you plan to have it completely torn apart, you need a battery tender to keep your battery charged all winter. Temperatures affect lead-acid batteries, I won’t go into the science, but if you aren’t driving with it, then there isn’t an alternator to charge it. Over the winter it will likely die and then you’ll be all sad when you can’t start your car come springtime. Just snag one of these nifty Automatic Battery Tenders and call it a day.

Padded Creeper Seat/Stool With Tray

Lastly, similar to the ground pad, if you’re adjusting coilovers, servicing your brakes, or doing anything else next to your car, save your knees the pain and do it in comfort with our padded creeper stool. It has a handy tray underneath for all your tools and hardware, a nice cushion for your butt, and rolls around on some casters so you can go full lazy-mode when you do your next brake service or whatever. Seriously, there’s no glory in ruining your knees and back doing things the hard way. The longer you spend in the garage, the more this thing will pay for itself. Make your life easier and your hobby more enjoyable by picking up all the stuff you need to do it in style and comfort. 

Wrapping Up

Of course, there are waaaaaay more tools that you probably have your eyes on. I know my ‘dream garage’ tool list is about the same amount of money as my dream Porsche. Regardless, you have to start somewhere. Like building a car, if you look at the end goal too much, you can be sticker shocked and lose motivation. The best way to get where you want is to do everything in stages, be patient, and just take that first step towards your final destination. Grab one or two of the things you need and keep adding. It only gets easier from then. Before you know it, you’ll have everything you wanted and bigger, more extravagant, projects open themselves up to your exploration. So don’t wait – start putting your garage together now so it’s ready for the big winter build plans you have and you can breeze right on through them.