RockAuto February Newsletter
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Another Happy Customer!

Ordered spark plugs for my Lexus that the dealership was charging $28 per plug. Ordered from RockAuto at half the cost for the same OEM plug!

Vaughn in Ontario, Canada

Upcoming Events

Need goody bag items and a gift certificate for your show...RockAuto can help! Email with information about your event.

23 Day of the Duels Motoring Festival
Daytona Beach Shores, FL Email
25 Frostbite 2017
Mapleton, KS Email
25 Florida Mopars 8th Annual Car Show
Panama City, FL Email
25 Crusin with the Wildcats
Palm Beach, FL Email
25 39th Annual RODS Run
Baton Rouge, LA Email
25 Cauley Square Car Show
Miami, FL Email
25 Classic Vibe Radio Car & Motorcycle Cruise In
Baldwin Park, CA Email
3 On the Road for a Reason
Webster, TX Email
3 ONAXJA Winterfest
Attica, IN Email
4 Memorial Festival & Open Car Show
San Antonio, TX Email
4 Memorial Festival & Open Car Show
San Antonio, TX Email
4 Cruising to Clothe a Child
Union Springs, AL Email
4 Third Annual Cruising for a Cure Car Show
Vidalia, LA Email
4 Habitat Strawberry Festival
Ocala, FL Email
4 742 Race Wars
Irwindale, CA Email
5 The Fifth Annual B.I.G. European Car Show
Cape Coral, FL Email
5 6th Annual Corvette and Open Car & Truck Show
Coconut Creek, FL Email
5 Huntington Beachcruiser Meet
Huntington Beach, CA Email
5 Florida Mopar Connection 29th Annual Car & Truck Show
Davie, FL Email
APEX Gaskets
See what we have from APEX

RockAuto now offers APEX gaskets at competitive prices for a wide variety of vehicles. APEX was formed in 1969, and brought to North America in 1997 when their first distribution center was opened in Southern California. APEX is an OE supplier to major vehicle manufacturers, as well as a supplier to many other premium US gasket companies.

Reasons you can trust APEX include:

  • While other gasket companies often source components from third parties, APEX manufactures their own seal and gasket products in their own facilities (resulting in a low cost, but superior quality product).
  • APEX developed Multi-Layered-Steel (MLS) Head Gasket technology, which is a standard for modern gaskets.
  • All gasket sets include the same premium gaskets as other respected brands' sets, but include additional grommets, tube seals, etc. that are needed to do the full job.

APEX offers the best combination of quality and price in gaskets. You can find them in the RockAuto catalog under multiple categories including Engine, Cooling System, Exhaust & Emission, Fuel & Air, and Ignition.

Forum of the Month
Passat World

Passat World is a website dedicated to all things Volkswagen Passat. There are many features to make your experience informative and fun. From general info such as Volkswagen news and the forum's "Passat of the month," to more focused topics on every generation and variant of the Passat. You will also find technical forums with information on everything from Amateur Racing to Wheels & Tires, and community forums where you can find upcoming events and even show off pictures of your Passat.

Register for free and take advantage of all the features Passat World has to offer.

If you are the administrator or member of a forum and you would like to see your website featured in an upcoming newsletter and receive a discount code to share with your members, contact

Repair Mistakes & Blunders
Repair  Mistakes & Blunders

I had acquired a beat up 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 with a battery drain issue. One day the truck needed a jump-start, and in my rush to try and not be late for work, I inadvertently connected the cables incorrectly on the other vehicle's battery. Luckily there was no apparent damage. I then connected them properly and the truck started.

But, after only about 200 feet of driving, the needles on my gauge cluster started dancing all over the place and the truck shut down. I towed the truck to my shop and spent a few hours trying to figure out what was wrong. I replaced the battery, but it still would not hold a charge. The alternator was old, and I thought maybe I had fried it when I connected the jumper cables incorrectly. So I installed a new alternator, but the battery still would not hold a charge. The needles on the gauges were still crazily bouncing around. Finally after all this, I happened to be under the hood in the area above the fuse box, thinking about replacing my ECM. I had a pen in my hand and was tapping a relay while deep in thought, when I looked down and saw that the 140 AMP alternator fuse was black. DUH! Why didn’t I check the fuse?! I replaced it and suddenly, lo and behold, the battery started to charge. Then I checked gauge cluster fuses on the small fuse block and they were both blown. I replaced those and everything went back to normal.

Moral of the story (that everyone probably knows but sometimes forgets), always check the fuses when troubleshooting electrical components. Do the easy stuff first and then move on to the more complex.

Jesse in Virginia

Tell us about your most infamous auto repair blunder or unconventional fix. Use your woe to help others avoid similar mistakes or share off-the-wall solutions that worked (at least for a while!). Please email your story to Include your mailing address and if you would like a RockAuto T-Shirt (please let us know your shirt size) or Hat if we publish your story. See the T-Shirts and Hats under Tools & Universal Parts in the catalog. The story will be credited using only your first name and your vague geographic location (state, province, country, continent, etc.) so you can remain semi-anonymous!

Automotive Trivia
Automotive Trivia

The new Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 share what part?

A. Slotted Carbon-Infused Brake Rotors
B. Steering Column
C. Transmission

Answer below

No Longer Passive Slushboxes
Tom's Story

Most automatic transmissions built this century do not have dipstick tubes in the engine compartment for checking and adding transmission fluid. How do you access the fluid in these transmissions?

A common design, found on everything from the Ford 5R55S in my daughter's 2005 Mustang to the Toyota U660E in my neighbor's 2012 Camry, uses a vertical tube mounted in the transmission oil pan. Unscrew a plug from the bottom of the tube to check the fluid level. If fluid pours out of the tube, then there is too much fluid in the transmission. The top of the tube should be even with the fluid level in the oil pan. That explanation is overly simple. Please keep reading!

If fluid pours out of the tube, then there is too much

To add fluid, the Camry has a separate fill hole above the oil pan. The Ford 5R55S requires pumping fluid vertically up the same little tube mentioned above. You pump fluid up the tube and then let any excess fluid above the tube run back out. Newer Mustangs use a less messy short dipstick and fill hole just above the oil pan. The vehicle must be level while all this is going on. That means using a lift or very carefully adjusted jack stands.

So, why do the car manufacturers make it harder by sending us under the car to check or add transmission fluid? The short answer involves fluid temperature, risk of overfilling and the reduced likelihood of leaks. Automatic transmissions are no longer passive "slushboxes." Computers control nearly everything, including how much transmission fluid is in the oil pan at different fluid temperatures. The fluid level in the pan varies a lot. The "tube" in the Ford and Toyota examples above is only accurate (top of tube matches the correct fluid level) at a specific fluid temperature.

The wide fluid level variation in the pan is easy to see with Chrysler's NAG1 transmission (300, Charger, Challenger...). The NAG1 still has a dipstick tube under the hood, but the tube is plugged. To begin checking the transmission fluid, the plug is removed and a dipstick (available at RockAuto) is inserted. The fluid level should be just over the 20 mark on the dipstick (see photo below) at 70°F (21°C) and just under the 80 mark when the transmission fluid is hot, 200°F (93°C). There is a lot of distance between those dipstick markings.

Dorman Part # 917327

Transmission fluid should not really need checking and topping off unless the fluid is being changed or there is a visible leak that needs to be fixed. Newer transmission designs and gasket materials are less likely to leak.

The handy dipstick tube is gone, but so is the opportunity for somebody poking around under the hood to damage the transmission by casually overfilling it (or by adding the wrong transmission fluid). Arm yourself with a service manual (found under "Literature" in the RockAuto catalog) before heading under the car or if you are simply curious about how to drain, fill and check your transmission fluid.

Tom Taylor,

To read more of Tom's articles, click this link and choose from story titles on the Newsletter Archives page.

Kevin's 1984 Lincoln Town Car
Kevin's 1984 Lincoln Town Car
Photo taken in front of the abandoned Fisher Body Plant 21 in Detroit, famous for Cadillac limousine coach building

I saved this 1984 Lincoln Town Car from almost certain death-by-demolition-derby in May 2016. I finished the body, mechanical and electrical work to get it fully operational by October. It has been my daily driver since.

Pretty much everything that has gone into this car came from RockAuto, including some parts from my existing "inventory" filled from RockAuto over the last five years for similar cars in my fleet. This includes a water pump, fuel pump, battery cable, belts, hoses, sensors, brakes, parking brake cables, engine gaskets, oil filters, transmission filter and more. Without RockAuto, I could not keep my fleet alive.

Kevin in Ontario, Canada

Share Your Hard Work
Do you purchase parts from RockAuto? If so, RockAuto would like to give you the opportunity to have your car or truck possibly featured in one (or occasionally more) of our publications such as the monthly newsletter, collector magnets or RockAuto social media. New, old, import, domestic, daily driver, trailer queen, classic, antique, we want to see them all! Please email with your vehicle's history, interesting details, your favorite images (tips for taking pictures of your car) and what parts from RockAuto you have used.

Automotive Trivia
Automotive Trivia

The new Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 share what part?

A. Slotted Carbon-Infused Brake Rotors
B. Steering Column

Answer: C. Transmission (Ford and GM collaborated on the new 10-speed automatic transmission.)

Back up to trivia question