RockAuto February Newsletter :: Early Edition

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Another Happy Customer!

My elderly neighbor came to me and was all upset because she broke the right side view mirror. The dealership quoted her $748.00 to replace it. I told her to sit tight, and I would look into it for her. I went to RockAuto, found her replacement mirror for about $44! She was amazed at the price difference. I ordered the mirror and it came very quickly. I installed the mirror in less than 10 minutes. I just want to thank RockAuto for being there to help me help my good neighbor!

Jon in Missouri

Upcoming Events

If you would like your event featured here email with details.

Royal Palm Beach High School Car Show
Royal Palm Beach, FL

Heart for Habitat Car and Bike Show
Palm Bay, FL

Marco Island Car Show
Marco Island, FL

Day of the Duels Motoring Festival
Daytona Beach Shores, FL

Cabin Fever Car Cruise
Vowinckel, PA

Florida Winter AutoFest
Lakeland, FL

36th Annual R.O.D.S. Run
Baton Rouge, LA

Farmington Dragway Car Show
Yadkinville, NC

Club 5th Annual Car Show
Satellite Beach, FL

Acme Headliners

See what we have from Acme Auto Headlining

Is it time to replace a torn, crumbling or sagging headliner in your 1975 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, 1966 Chevrolet Impala or 1970 Buick LeSabre? RockAuto now carries Acme replacement headliners, headliner trim kits, metal bows, and complete headliner, sail panel and sun visor kits for classic GM vehicles. Acme is the number one name in restoration headlining products. All of their patterns duplicate the original factory parts and the headliners feature the highest quality headlining weight vinyl or cloth available, in a variety of colors, ensuring an OE look and fit.

RockAuto will be carrying more headliners from Acme for everything from Buicks to Volvos in the near future, so check back if you do not see a headliner for your car at this time. Find these parts under the "Interior" category for your specific car in the RockAuto catalog.

Forum of the Month is a forum dedicated to all Ram 1500 Diesel owners and enthusiasts. This website aims to be a friendly and educational community dedicated to everything about the Dodge Ram 1500 Diesel. Take advantage of some of the most popular features of including electrical, mechanical, suspension and general maintenance topics. There is also a non-diesel Ram 1500 section of the forum.

Register today. It is quick and free!

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


When I was 19 years old, I replaced the engine in my 1978 Camaro. It had seized during a long trip, and a friend donated a spare engine that had been sitting unused for some time. I also took the opportunity to install headers and some other high-performance parts, including an aluminum intake manifold.

On a small block Chevy engine, it is necessary to remove the distributor to replace the intake. But, when I tried to re-install the distributor, I couldn’t get it to seat all the way down. In my infinite wisdom, I decided that maybe it didn’t matter; after all, the rotor was turning when I cranked the engine. And when the engine fired up, I was very happy. Of course, I hadn’t yet bothered to hook up the gauges.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that the bottom of the distributor shaft engages the oil pump driveshaft! So, after running for a while with no oil pressure, I became the proud owner of two seized engines.

Mike in Massachusetts

Author did not properly seat the distributor shaft (circled in red) into the oil pump shaft (circled in blue)

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

What is the de Dion tube?

A. A semi-independent suspension design that uses a tube, separate from the differential and axle shafts, to connect the rear wheels to each other. It is used on current Smart Fortwo cars and some older, usually small, cars.

B. A new east/west subway line scheduled to open in London this summer.

C. A collapsible steering column design from the early 1970s that is still in use on most/all new light-duty trucks and some new rear wheel drive cars.

Answer below

Automotive Hoses Explained


Once I got him to turn down the radio, my son could hear the faint groans coming from the power steering system in his '90 Lincoln Mark VII. The power steering fluid was low because the low pressure hose was mushy and oozing fluid. On this Lincoln, the power steering return hose is just a short length of straight hose. We dug through the "hose drawer" in my garage hunting for an appropriate hose piece.

My hose drawer includes everything from surplus silicone tubing for a breast pump to spare molded heater hoses for some of our cars. I stopped my son from grabbing the first chunk of black hose that caught his eye and told him it is important to use hose designed for power steering fluid. After explaining almost anything to my skeptical teenagers, I usually want to do more research on the subject so that I can do a better job next time. This is how I should have quickly explained automotive hoses to my son:

Hoses are designed to work with specific types of chemicals, pressures and temperatures. Hose fittings and clamps can even vary between hose types. Back when I was a young whippersnapper, a radiator hose would quickly turn to mush if it was regularly exposed to transmission fluid, motor oil, gasoline or old acidic coolant. Hoses for harsher chemicals were made with higher concentrations of synthetic nitrile rubber. Nitrile rubber makes stronger, more chemical resistant hoses, but it is also less flexible than natural rubber. Higher concentrations of natural rubber may still be the best choice for some parts like the flexible diaphragm inside a power brake booster. (Brake boosters were discussed in the most recent January newsletter.)

Beginning in the early '80s, most automotive hoses vastly improved thanks to commercial production of hydrogenated nitrile rubber. "Hydrogenated" means hydrogen gas is part of the manufacturing process. My son will have to ask his chemistry teacher exactly how that works. I do know hydrogenated nitrile rubber made hoses stronger and better able to withstand acids and solvents. They also age more slowly by better resisting ozone in the air.

Cutaway of a Gates Power Steering Hose

Hoses made since the '80s are less likely to turn to mush if they occasionally get splashed with a few drops of engine oil. But, it is still as important as ever to use only the hose designed (temperature, pressure, flexibility, etc.) for the specific system. A fuel hose might be able to withstand cold power steering fluid, but may not be designed to handle high temperature fluids. Maybe a power steering hose can resist gasoline, but it may not be reinforced to handle high fuel line pressures. Using the wrong hose from a "hose drawer" might cause leaks simply because the internal and/or external hose diameter is not quite correct.

Prices are similar for most types of hoses. There is no reason to buy the wrong hose. RockAuto has both short lengths and larger rolls of hose. To find the correct hose, look under the appropriate system (Steering, Cooling System, etc.) for your specific vehicle or look under the "Tools & Universal Parts" tab.

Tom Taylor,

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

Brian's 1976 Chevrolet Caprice Classic

This is my 1976 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Sport Sedan. It has 24,000 original miles (small block 400 with the original four barrel Quadrajet carburetor). My grandparents bought it brand new. My grandfather found out that GM would be downsizing the Caprice and Impala in 1977, so he went and bought this beauty. He did not want to drive a "small" car.

I have driven it on occasion since the mid 1980s. I inherited it completely in 2004. The ignition failed me recently though. But, thanks to RockAuto, I was back up and running with a new ACDelco pickup coil, and other ACDelco tune up parts (plugs, cap, rotor and wires).

I grew up with a 1973 Pontiac Catalina in the household, so this is a return to a smooth riding big car.

Brian in Maine

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 and what parts from RockAuto you have used.

Let RockAuto Help

Let RockAuto Help

Are you organizing a car show or other auto related event? From goody bag stuffers to gift certificates...RockAuto can help. We can even publicize your event in our newsletter.

Just send an email to with information about your show.

Automotive Trivia Answer

Automotive Trivia

What is the de Dion tube?

Answer: A. A semi-independent suspension design that uses a tube, separate from the differential and axle shafts, to connect the rear wheels to each other. It is used on current Smart Fortwo cars and some older, usually small, cars.

B. A new east/west subway line scheduled to open in London this summer.

C. A collapsible steering column design from the early 1970s that is still in use on most/all new light-duty trucks and some new rear wheel drive

de Dion tube used in a 1998 Ford Ranger EV

Back up to trivia question