BendPak Blog

BendPak Welcomes New Facility Early 2018

October 26th, 2017
Artist's close-up rendering of a BendPak building.

The planned entryway of BendPak’s new facility.

BendPak Inc. is set to expand for the second year in a row with a 50,000+ sq. ft. facility. The bold move, coming on the heels of a massive expansion just months prior, marks a new chapter for BendPak in one of the company’s most decisive growth phases. According to BendPak management, this long-awaited announcement is simply the next step in a long series of expansions and updates that will be revealed throughout the new year and beyond. Work on the new facility is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2018.

With two new on-site facilities constructed in as many years, BendPak is setting itself up for another generation of success. When asked about his 50 years of oversight with the company, BendPak founder and President Donald Henthorn spoke glowingly about the future of his beloved brand. “BendPak is going to be here for another 50 years or more,” he said. “When you move as many large products as we do, you need a lot of space to store them. We’re making that space now and for the future.”

Because planning and multi-department coordination is critical during the early phases of construction, BendPak’s department leaders have remained involved in planning every detail since the very first discussion. “We’re excited to see all of our hard work come to fruition,” said Mr. Henthorn.

Sr. Vice President of Sales and Marketing Jeff Kritzer suggested this might be the most important, if not the most exciting, period in the company’s long and storied history. He said, “Our renewed focus on customer experience solutions and our pledge to become leaders in same-day-shipping mean both inventory and our ability to move freight are in a constant state of refinement,” adding playfully, “We’re in all-out attack mode.”

Early in 2017, BendPak management unveiled a 70,000 sq. ft. expansion to improve supply chain management and facilitate their growth initiatives. According to Javier Arias, BendPak’s Vice President of Operations, it was crucial that the 2017 and 2018 expansions remain on-site and on-schedule. “25 years ago when we purchased our current acreage, the aim was to expand our facilities and operational efficiencies as sales demanded.” Although our recent growth has accelerated faster than expected, BendPak has remained successful at keeping ahead of the curve.

Artist rendering of a BendPak building.

Artist rendering of BendPak’s upcoming 50,000 sq. ft. expansion.

The REAL STORY behind this Car Lift Photo that went Viral

October 13th, 2017

This article has been heavily edited from its original form.

A few things raced through our minds when we first saw the internet’s latest car lift fail. (Most of them are not safe for work.) BendPak has been in the car lift industry for over 30 years, so this would not be the first mistake we’ve encountered. Only this time, the photo went viral, with BendPak’s name clearly in the shot. Most of our customers are excellent when it comes to safely installing their car lifts. If they aren’t able to do the installation themselves, they hire a certified BendPak installer. This photo SEEMED to represent the exception, not the rule.

But we were WRONG.

Text message sent of car parked under BendPak four-post car lift, and left column has anchor bolts sticking out of the ground.

Unsafe… or just unfinished…

So, let’s clarify something right off the bat: no BendPak installer would EVER install a car lift like this. Today was a reminder of a hard truth. The internet can be full of foul play. This photo popped up at least 24 hours before we decided to comment on it, and it was really gaining steam across different channels. After we posted this article as a way  clarify our position on dangerous-looking installations, Chris, the owner of the lift, commented directly on our BendPak Facebook page. He posted this image and commented (below photo) on it:

Car under BendPak car lift with custom blocks under posts.

The REAL, final car lift installation

“Gotta love the internet. This pic must have been taken minutes before they (professional company) laid the slab concrete pedestals which can easily hold up the lift. No car ever went on this rack pre-concrete. Also worth noting that those bolts are 12″ long into the foundation plus [and now have] concrete pedestals.The rack is 100% level and we have custom ramps that work perfectly. Hope everyone can remain calm now…”

We definitely feel calm now. While it’s always safest to drill anchor bolt holes directly into the flooring, his custom installation should be fine. Anchor bolts are designed to fasten themselves deep into concrete. Once the bolts are turned in the concrete, they wedge themselves against the bolt hole. They’re now basically part of the concrete. The force of a vehicle lifting and lowering on the lift is dispersed throughout the columns and the concrete. When the bolts are sticking up in the air, you’re not only losing the surface area of the base plate, you’re applying force directly to loose bolts that aren’t designed to handle load in that manner. It’s quite to know the car lift was installed with all this in mind!

Chris, we all owe you an apology! We were just worried about your safety, as well as the safety of others. You did what you were supposed to do, as did your installation team. We’ll make sure to do a better job tracking our sources in the future. You never know what’s real and what isn’t these days, and in this case, we clearly came to the wrong conclusion. Hopefully the internet helps get the word out. False alarm. This lift looks great.

Please see Step 15, Page 26 in this HD-9 four-post lift instruction manual for proper anchor bolt drilling/installation.

BendPak Growth More Streamlined than Ever

July 19th, 2017

BendPak has grown to be a dream 50 years in the making. During this half-century of evolving into the automotive equipment specialists we are today, our mission has been continually focused on improvement in all areas, including engineering and design, production and logistics, and of course, customer service.

A look inside our new shipping facility expansion:

Ever since our ribbon cutting ceremony earlier this year, we have been relocating over 5,000 part SKUs from previous housings to new designated bar-code bins in new warehouses. We have relocated almost the same amount in large equipment items, as well including every finished lift and wheel service product, not to mention the hundreds of other shop equipment items we stock.

Our new Total Warehouse Logistics (TWL) approach supports day-to-day operations in our multiple warehouses. All warehouse tasks are now managed in a real-time environment, supported through radio frequency data collection devices that are carried by our warehouse workers. The new wireless barcode scanners and mini-computers record all inventory and order processing transactions in real time. Warehouse productivity and workflow, including product movements, receiving, shipping, picking, counting and accuracy, are being improved and streamlined. This new era in BendPak’s history will result in greater efficiency and higher capability. We’ll be faster and fully automated.

It’s an honor for us to supply each and every one of you with our products. We’re keeping the fires lit around the clock, burning the midnight oil and then some, as we quickly become bigger and better than ever before. This entire process is going to make the best even better, so stay tuned for more big news from BendPak.

RP50FJC Fruit Juice and Oil Filter Crusher by Ranger

March 29th, 2017

Click here to view the product page.

You’ve seen oil filter crushers before. Ranger Products makes several, such as our renowned 25-ton monster crusher, the RP50FC. What you haven’t seen is an oil filter crusher that doubles as a fruit juice maker. Finally, no more switching from kitchen appliance to garage tool, and back to kitchen appliance. Who has the time? No one in our kitchen. The high-capacity RP50FJC allows operators to crush up to 10 small pieces of fruit at once!

This combo fruit juice and oil filter crusher is the first and only tool of its type, so the world-class safety certifications and quality standards of virtually all other Ranger products are less than an afterthought—to us, they don’t even apply! This idea has been rejected so many times, it’s even become a punching bag for the industry. The testimonials say it all!

One guy wrote, “Why are you doing this?”

Another said, “Is it safe for fruit to be crushed by the same device that removes hazardous oil from used oil filters?”

Within five minutes of seeing the crusher demoed in his store, one of our distributors said, “Get the hell out of my office.”

The RP50FJC is new, so we’re not surprised that no one really understands it yet. New things are often scary and hard to understand, like making fruit juice with a converted oil filter crusher. Think of what it was like to be one of the first people to see math. “Numbers?” They must have said. “That’s not going to catch on.” Well, look around you! Math is everywhere nowadays!

We have no reason to believe the RP50FJC is going to revolutionize the industry the way math revolutionized numbers, but we’re counting on it! In fact, we’re so sure you’ll love your new combo fruit juice and oil filter crusher, we’re devoting most of our earnings from 2016 into marketing the RP50FJC. If this doesn’t work out, we won’t even be able to afford therapy. YIKES!!!

But that’s confidence. And confidence means juice. It’s good business to be confident, and it’s good juice to be in business. And that spells R-A-N-G-E-R. Whatever you do, don’t overlook the cost RP50FJC combo juice and oil filter crusher. Only $9,999.99!!!

Is it safe?

Just repeat after me: Ranger makes juice!

These Parking Lifts Will Make You Go Bananas

March 28th, 2017

Funny phrase, “Go Bananas.” Not sure what it takes to make people reach an excitement level equal to or greater than bananas, but we should add it to our BendPak mission statement. “If you don’t go bananas when you buy a car lift from us…” On second thought, maybe not. But we are excited about our new PL-6KDT double-wide and PL-6KDTX double-wide/extended-width parking lifts. And that’s to say nothing of the PL-6KT triple-wide model that lets you park up to six vehicles at a time.

If you’ve seen double and triple-wide parking lifts before, you probably haven’t seen one like ours. For one, the platforms rise and descend independently, which takes care of the morning car shuffle. Moving three vehicles just to get to one kind of misses the point of a parking lift, doesn’t it? The extended-width PL-6KDTX is neat-o because it permits clearance of wide-stance vehicles like trucks and SUVs. Those truck mirrors are finally kept safe. FINALLY!

So, who uses this kind of parking lift? Basically, space is the number one factor. Any commercial parking garage/lot that has room to install a lift will take one and never look back. A spacious home garage with valuable collector cars will house one of these puppies without a hitch. Repair shops, custom shops, etc. can safely hang onto customer vehicles while their customers’ cars are in the queue. Parking lifts are a small investment with a big payoff, as long as storing more vehicles in as little space as possible is important to you.

And now, at last, you can sing along as you do your celebratory parking lift… banana… thing. Warning: we’re experts when it comes to car lifts, not banana dances. BendPak is not responsible for inappropriate or awkward looks associated with the dance of the bananas. You have been warned.

BendPak Wins NASPO Contract for Vehicle Lifts and Garage Equipment

February 17th, 2017

NASPO How to Purchase link
SANTA PAULA, CA—February 2017—BendPak Inc., a global manufacturer of car lifts and specialized garage equipment for servicing wheels, tires and brakes, won its contract bid from the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO), formally WSCA-NASPO. Under Master Contract no. 05316 for Vehicle Lifts and Garage Associated Equipment, BendPak will be providing municipalities and government buyers two-post lifts, four-post lifts, mobile column lifts, scissors lifts, wheel balancers, tire changers and brake lathes via central purchasing offices in each of the 50 states, including the District of Columbia and other U.S. territories.

As a national cooperative purchasing program, NASPO utilizes the collective purchasing power of all 50 states to acquire the best deals for a variety of products and services. A single Lead State manages select contracts on behalf of other states. Furthermore, NASPO membership states and government entities are not required to pay membership fees.

Several BendPak two-post lifts in an open garage space. Trucks, SUVs, and sedans are loaded on the car lifts.

The Master Contract was awarded to select companies that fulfill strict government, military and vocational requirements and only those companies that have globally recognized products specifically designed for heavy-duty and commercial fleet services.

BendPak’s vehicle lift offering provides a broad service range covering vehicle types ranging from buses and military vehicles, to fleet, passenger cars, trucks and SUVs. Specialty lift models including two-post lifts designed for lawnmowers, turf equipment and landscaping utility vehicles help fill the special needs of schools, parks and golf courses. According to Jeff Kritzer, BendPak Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, this is an intentional move by the company in order to reach the widest audience possible.

“Our cities and military typically have different needs when searching for car lifts and service equipment,” said Kritzer. “They want heavy-duty equipment that can handle the big stuff, in addition to smaller passenger vehicles and trucks. From government fleet vehicles, to city buses and military transport trucks, safety is always paramount.”

Military vehicle on a BendPak four-post lift

Military vehicle on a BendPak four-post lift

“It’s a huge opportunity for BendPak,” said Pat Weber, Director of Sales and Business Development. “Only the best of the best get included in NASPO contracts of any kind, so it’s an honor to be recognized as leaders in our field.” BendPak’s contract runs from February 2017 – February 2019 with an optional three-year extension.

NASPO awards contracts only after vetting competing businesses through a lengthy, comprehensive bidding process. Companies are awarded contracts for their pricing, warranties, service record, distribution network and guarantee of available parts after-the-sale.

About BendPak‐Ranger: BendPak / Ranger manufactures car lifts, parking lifts, pipe benders, and air compressors. Their Ranger Products brand includes tire changers, wheel balancers, wheel aligners, brake lathes, and a wide variety of garage equipment. BendPak and Ranger related marks are registered trademarks of BendPak Inc. in the U.S. and other countries. For more information contact BendPak Inc. at 1-800-253-2363 or visit www.bendpak.com. General press inquiries: info@bendpak.com

What We Saw at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show

January 12th, 2017

The term “American-made” is a bit confusing these days. When the Toyota Camry is considered the most American-made vehicle on the market, perhaps our sense of pride and place becomes tangled in the globalized web that is the world of auto manufacturing. What’s the line between foreign and domestic anymore? For all intents and purposes, we believe the United States dominates the car industry. While it’s true that China actually out-buys America in vehicles sold, America ranks 3rd in vehicles per 1,000 people (the no. 1 and 2 spots are from much smaller countries), whereas China ranks 99th. In other words, America is very much still the auto industry’s darling, and GM and Toyota are essentially vying to be the world’s greatest auto seller. Here’s what we saw this year at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show.

Toyota Camry steals headlines
Who would have believed the world’s best-selling sedan and Supreme Sultan of Boringness would steal one of the nation’s most heavily attended auto shows? Not many people, most likely. The eighth-generation Camry is longer, wider and—if you ask Toyota—comes in variations of “sexy or very sexy.” Its ceiling is also lower, and you sit lower in the cockpit, giving it a sportier look and feel. At the end of the day, it’s still a Camry. Whether you get the 3.5-liter six-cylinder, the four-cylinder or the gas-electric hybrid, you’re getting one of the most reliable four-doors ever built. If it looks a little nicer, so much the better, but no one ever bought a Camry because of—again, in the words of Toyota—it’s “more sexy.” Still, pedestrian detection and lane departure warnings come as intriguing standard options.

2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show

2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Ford F-150 is still cool
The top American seller, the Ford F-150 is the local pride and joy of the auto market. The new edition offers a diesel and 10-speed transmission, as well as a 3.3L V6 and 2.7L EcoBoost gasoline options. As usual, their marketing department excels (just watch the new commercial, posted below, and tell us it doesn’t put some hair on your chest), and what they call their pickup’s high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy body is lighter and more powerful than older steel models. Updated cruise control lets you set the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, so you’re not constantly slowing down for every Prius chunking up the left lane. A pre-collision assist program is a great way to convince a skeptical significant other that yes, you do need this big truck, because of safety.

Honda Odyssey is cool again… for some reason
We’re groaning, too. But for every gas-guzzling hotrod, electric wonder-car and badass truck that hits the market, there’s an equally necessary minivan. If we get over the boringness for a moment (recall Camry), there’s a particular importance to redesigns of vehicles that are often intended to hold large numbers of young people in the back. They carry our future, if you think about it. Anyway, the 2018 Odyssey has a “magic slide” second row that makes it easier to get kids in and out. A rear-facing camera, CabinWatch™, complete with night vision puts eyes in the back of your head. CabinTalk™ is the intercom system that lets you scold children without raising your voice, even interrupting their video games and movies. Which, in the wrong hands, could be a pretty hilarious delivery system for dad jokes. The vehicle is also a roaming 4G LTE, Wi-Fi hotspot with streaming video. So that’s cool, right?

2018 Honda Odyssey

2018 Honda Odyssey

Waymo’s neat self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Minivan
It’s puzzling even to us that two minivans made our list, but Waymo’s self-driving Chrysler Pacifica is no ordinary minivan. Obviously not something that’s going to hit the general market, this vehicle tech is more of a sign of things to come. Google (Waymo), Apple and Uber are all in a competition to be the first to fully automate the auto industry, and the race is on. Google’s “Waymo” project intends to launch a rideshare program in California in the near future using these vehicles, and if they’re successful, it will go a long way toward seeing more programs like it. For now, human drivers are left in place to take over test drives as necessary, but someone will be the first to do away with that human safeguard, and that’s when things will get really interesting. Until then, it’s mind-blowing that we’re probably going to see this happen in our lifetimes.

Waymo self-driving Chrysler Pacifica

Waymo self-driving Chrysler Pacifica

Watch list: China vs. U.S. Government
Keep an eye on how this develops, as there’s great potential for China to reshape the global auto industry. It’s been well-established that the incoming President-elect has threatened to tax Mexican-made vehicle imports, should American auto plants relocate there. A number of car manufacturers have stated they will not close their American plants, while Toyota has warned that the Camry would see a $1,000 price increase if a proposed 35% import tax were adapted. The auto industry is not in total agreement over the “best” approach, but there is a newcomer on the block looking to shake things up: China.

2018 GAC GS7

2018 GAC GS7

One of China’s larger auto companies, the Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC), has returned to Detroit for the second time with the GS7, an SUV, the GE3, an all-electric with a touted range of 190mi on a single charge, and the EnSpirit concept car, a plug-in hybrid that the company claims can travel up to 435mi. The quality of these cars has yet to be truly tested, and it’s yet to be seen how American buyers will receive Chinese autos in a market that’s essentially dominated by Japanese, American and even Korean enterprises.

Will the political climate also have an effect on how well Chinese cars sell in the States, or will buyers gravitate toward the best value for their dollar, regardless of the country of origin? We live in interesting times, to say the least.

5 Impressive Auto Tech Ideas and Innovations You Missed in 2016

December 30th, 2016

2016 was a strange year, in many respects. It was a year of celebrity passing, election drama and outright Civil War.

Captain America Civil War poster

“Civil War.”

It’s wasn’t just Tony Stark’s unexpected rebellion against the Avengers that caught our attention, though. The auto industry saw some of the most interesting tech inventions and ideas to date. As a standalone achievement, SEMA 2016 was chock full of product unveilings, which only figures to increase next year. As we look forward to 2017, we’re taking a look at five fresh products and ideas you might have missed.

  1. Ford finds its groove with record number of patents

Long-considered one of the lesser companies for innovation, surprise and registered patents, Ford has spent the last few years reinventing itself, and in 2016 the company showed off its impressive tech contributions yet. According to mlive, “The Ford Motor Co. led all automakers in granted U.S. patents for the first time in the company’s history in 2016.” Considering how long Ford has been around, that’s a pretty major accomplishment. There are some things in their wheelhouse that it’s safe to say no one else is thinking about. Their eChair is a self-loading wheelchair that makes driving easier and more comfortable for disabled persons and wheelchair users. Ford engineers are even refining a water purifier that recycles and purifies condensation from the car, funneling drinkable water through a faucet in the cabin. We can only imagine the implications for developing countries and travelers in need of a clean water supply. Not sure what vehicular condensation water will taste like, but if it’s potable, that’s impressive.

  1. Goodyear’s spherical concept tires

The Eagle-360 concept tire by Goodyear looks like the bottom part of the BB-8 droid from J.J. Abram’s Star Wars reboot. The physics behind spherical wheels make them tough to master. In a way, it’s kind of embarrassing to call this one of the best ideas of 2016 because there are so, so many flaws in both Goodyear’s pitch and concept (i.e., floating wheels powered by magnets), but whatever—it’s still cool. Lots of question here. How will the “magnetic levitation” concept work? How is water repelled off the tire through “centrifugal forces” when any physics tells us centrifugal forces don’t actually exist? Alright, it’s a ridiculous concept as of this moment, but Goodyear claims to be working on it, and companies don’t like to waste money on cool ideas that don’t stand a chance of coming to light. So, maybe there’s hope?

  1. Ford Mustang 2.3L Ecoboost Turbocharger by Turbonetics
Turbonetics Mustang 2.3L turbocharger

Turbonetics Mustang 2.3L turbocharger

Taken out of the shop, the 2017 4-cylinder Mustang is capable of 310 HP. Mustang fans have been turbocharging their rides for decades, but Turbonetics has made the process simpler and more streamlined than ever. The real advantage to this turbocharger, and the reason it makes this list, is because their direct drop-in installation does away with the need for adapters or installation modifications. With a full suite of mods and custom tuning, your 2.3L Mustang will be capable of 520 HP. That’s pretty great in a drop-in device, wouldn’t you say?

  1. The Chevrolet Bolt EV
Blue 2017 Chevy Bolt

2017 Chevy Bolt

Welcome the most affordable and drivable electric vehicle to hit the mass market. Unlike Tesla vehicles, a Chevy won’t cost you an arm and a leg for basic parts and repairs. A lot has been said about the Tesla III coming out for about $35,000, but Tesla repair locations are far less common, and parts are far more expensive, meaning Tesla remains an expensive investment. Meanwhile, the Chevy Bolt is about $30,000 after federal tax rebates and boasts a driving range of 128/110 MPGe. Obviously, this isn’t a turbocharged dream machine, but it gets the job done, saves money, helps the environment and has all the techy frills of a modern road warrior, including 10.2” touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and 4G LTE Wi-Fi. We have a feeling this is going to be a top seller for 2017, especially if the mileage turns out to be as strong as they claim in variable driving conditions.

  1. Hundai Sonata augmented reality app

Hundai is giving us a glimpse of the future of auto care. Their augmented reality app, if you haven’t seen it, is just a tiny step into the next wave of auto tech that will soon become standard. Users simply download the app and point their phones at different parts of the car. The app can tell you simple things like what the radio tuner is used for (tuning the radio, as it turns out), and more useful applications, such as engine oil and wiper fluid levels. The device is a maintenance helper and user manual all-in-one. We imagine that as more companies put resources into expanding the tech in their car, apps like these will follow and become more useful and sophisticated. Imagine and entire engine diagnostic with visual aids.

How to Survive Snow, Cold, Fire, Zombies and Everything Else This Winter

November 29th, 2016

defense-gov_news_photo_081014-f-4127s-200Survival has been around almost as long as human beings have been on the earth. For thousands of years, we were pretty bad at staying alive. We ate twigs and berries. Our fires were too small to stare into and think about stuff. Our tools were basically regular rocks that happened to be pointier than other rocks. Our species was on the verge of total disaster.

But suddenly, as if overnight, we grew tired of dying from things like lions and the common cold, so we invented guns and medicine. We realized we didn’t need to walk everywhere, so we invented wheels and put them under metal boxes, and we called the boxes cars. In olden times, people needed friends just to survive, so we invented Mark Zuckerberg, who invented Facebook, which saved us from the time-consuming effort of making and sustaining real friendships. We liked it.

Since the past, mankind has even settled in Northern Canada, which goes to show how far people will take things once they know how to survive. A few surviving records even show how we survived without power steering, but how this was possible remains a mystery to Millennials.

Despite how good we have become at surviving, many of us still experience an event called winter.* Winter brings many challenges to survival, including snow, cold weather, zombie armies and interestingly enough, more house fires. You need the proper tools at hand if you want to live through these things. Lucky for you, BendPak has put together the ultimate winter survival guide to get you through anything.

*Reference page included for residents of Texas, Southern California, Florida and Hawaii. Also see: snow.

Snow tire chains wrapped around a car tire in the snow.

Snow chains

Get your tires ready for snow
Some states limit the use of winter tire chains. There’s something about steel on concrete and asphalt multiplied by a hundred thousand cars that just doesn’t “mix.” (And yes, we think that was a pretty “concrete” joke.) Tire chains just might come in handy, especially if you’re being chased by an axe-wielding maniac through a blizzard and need a quick getaway through a snow-blocked mountain pass… but that might just be The Shining. Anyway, if you live in snowy, or remote areas, make sure your tire chain situation is appropriately covered.

Jumper cables locked and loaded
Your backseat or trunk should always have a pair of jumper cables. If you lent yours to a buddy this spring, now is a good time to ask for them back. It’s one of those items everyone seems to forget about until after-the-fact. Having them increases the odds you won’t have to wait very long on the side of the road for a jump. Plus, if one single person happens to rescue another single person simply by being prepared, and the rescuer says something original like, “Hey, guess you owe me a coffee,” well, that’s a great story to tell your grandkids. They’ll love hearing you tell it too many times.

A set of red and black jumper cables.

Jumper cables

Battery health
Check that battery rust and grime. Clear it off. Roadside emergencies won’t be so bad if you have a working battery (i.e., heat). Battery cleanings are often complimentary at service stations when you order a tune-up or get other work done. If you own a multimeter, in addition to cleaning, you can check for yourself that your battery voltage is between 12.4 and 12.7 volts.

Zombies
Male zombie with greenery behind him.Don’t get bit. Aim for the head. Close range weaponry preferred for maximum effect. Trust no one.

Candles and other fire hazards
According to Allstate Insurance™, the holly, jolly holiday season is a not-so-jolly house-on-fire for an average of 67,500 homeowners. That’s a 15% seasonal increase compared to the rest of the year. Why? Because for some reason, people forget about surviving this time of year and do foolish things. For one, they light millions of scented candles and put up in their homes these big, flammable trees, and all of this has the potential to spell disaster. It seems like common sense to keep candles away from curtains, drapes, pine needles and carpet, but accidents always find a way to happen. If you’re using candles in your home, treat each little flame as if it were an open, roaring fire: clear the area of flammables and make sure it’s clear of walkways, just in case someone trips and falls near it. Additionally, people consume more alcohol in the winter (probably sad they don’t live in Southern California), which historically isn’t good for survival, either.

Bad choices and distractions
Don’t drink and drive, and try to stay off the road late at night, if at all possible, especially during the holidays. For many households, winter means more distractions, less attentive behaviors, etc. In general, we all just need to be a little more careful. Also, never light an open candle in your car. December 25th is not the Fourth of July; midnight on New Year’s Eve is not a fireworks parade.

People get robbed more frequently
Robberies/break-ins spike 7% during the holidays. After all, the kids aren’t the only ones trying to guess what’s wrapped under the tree, especially when the tree—and everything beneath it—is in plain view of a large, street-facing window. Keep your presents out of sight or else close the blinds. Be especially careful to lock every door this time of year, especially at night. If you can’t pull your car indoors, two things need to happen. One, don’t leave anything valuable in your car. Two, if there is something in there that you can’t or won’t remove, keep it out of sight. Purses and wallets go without saying, but bags of any kind should be hidden or removed. Sunglasses, your GPS device, etc. should be kept out of sight.

Snow brush and ice scraper
The dual-purpose winter car tool is virtually essential for winter living, not just emergencies. They’re cheap, effective and will grant you three wishes to make you rich and famous beyond your wildest dreams.

Snow scraper getting snow off windshield.

Snow scraper

Survival kit items
The best way to survive an emergency is to have something on hand that literally has the word “survival” in the name. Depending on where you live, some of these items may be mandatory winter accessories, not necessarily reserved for emergencies. In any case, a winter roadside survival kit will get you through most emergency situations with all nine of your remaining toes intact. Survival kits are actually pretty easy to make and should include the following:

woobie

Military-issued “woobie”

Blankets
Take those old winter coats, hats and gloves that are a little beat up, covered in a permanent layer of dried winter snot or don’t fit perfectly anymore and store them in the trunk, enough for several passengers. Add blankets and/or sleeping bags, depending on how cold it tends to get around you.

As it turns out, those thin, shiny “space blankets” aren’t what they’re sometimes cracked up to be. They are essentially heat reflectors, and the wind and rain blow right through them. If you’re stuck in your car in an overnight emergency situation, this blanket type might work, as long as it keeps dry and close to your skin. If you start to sweat, however, the blanket will reflect your cooled body temperature back at you, making it less effective, possibly useless. Arguably, the best blanket item you can spring for is the so-called U.S. military “woobie,” or dual-purpose poncho liner and emergency blanket. Woobies melt the hearts and minds of the most tested and experienced soldiers. Why? Because anything this perfect is worth melting for. They’re waterproof, windproof, comfortable and fully insulated

Flashlight and extra batteries
Some form of battery-powered light is ideal. This could be an electric lantern, flashlight, etc. Extra batteries should be considered mandatory.

Flares
This is on the fancy-extreme side of the survival kit, but wouldn’t it be great to have if you rolled your SUV down a hill, broke your leg and needed some way to signal for help? Yes, that’s unlikely to happen. In general, flares aren’t the most necessary emergency item, but if you’re in a remote area without a lot of human contact or traffic, you might think twice before going without one.

Fire
Hopefully, it never comes to the fire-building stage of your survival adventure, as this means things have gotten pretty dicey. Still, a little flame-based warmth can be the difference between life and death. If you’re really fancy, you can pull some of the dryer lint from your home dryer, store it in a plastic baggie, and with a few matches or a lighter, you now you have the best fire-starting kit in town. If you’re stranded somewhere remote, you can actually use small fires to heat rocks (like in a sauna).

Food and water
Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty obvious. Don’t store fruit and vegetables in your car, unless they’re of the dried or dehydrated variety. High-energy foods like trail mix and protein bars are your best bets. As lovers say, “Honey, bring the chocolate.” You can never have enough water bottles, either. Ever.

First aid
You can buy one ready-made or put it together yourself. The American Red Cross has its own guidelines for a good first aid kit, and for $250.00, you can purchase the whole shebang: a full emergency kit with first aid, food, water, first aid, blankets, light, etc.

Full emergency kit with food, water, lights, etc.

Full emergency kit

TL;DR: Prepare for the cold this winter by adhering to a few common-sense survival tips. Make sure you have tire chains, if necessary, and get your car trunk stocked with blankets, flashlights, batteries, first aid kits, food, water, etc. Furthermore, lock your doors to protect your home from robberies, and be wary of open flames in the household this holiday season.

Transform Your Garage with a Gunmetal Gray Car Lift

November 23rd, 2016

Since we announced the BendPak color shift from blue to Gunmetal Gray, we’ve gotten a huge response over the web. We didn’t make this choice blindly, of course; we spent months gathering opinions from customers and distributors, and overwhelmingly, the public call was for us to make the change to Gunmetal Gray. So, who are we to argue? We’re excited about this change because it marks a new chapter in BendPak’s storied history as one of the most successful and longest-running car lift manufacturers in the world.

While a minority out there has been hesitant to accept the change to Gunmetal Gray, we’re sure that when people see what these beautiful lifts look like in their garages, they’ll lose their fears very quickly. To help that process along, we’ve taken some four-post lift photos our customers sent us recently and digitally changed the lifts from blue to Gunmetal Gray. Hopefully this demonstrates why we’re making the change.

The overall contrast in this garage—comparing the two pictures below—is very clear. The original blue pops out and leaves a very obvious visual footprint in the garage. When you compare this to the effect of the Gunmetal Gray, you see the latter is much more at home in the shop. The BendPak blue will always have a place in our hearts, but it’s shocking how cleverly the Gunmetal Gray blends with the DeLoreans. We think the new color also lends itself better for showrooms. If you’re displaying a rare or classic car, like a DeLorean, you want a solid, functional car lift that looks great but doesn’t draw attention to itself.

DeLorean on blue BendPak two-post car lift

DeLorean on Gunmetal Gray BendPak two-post car lift

In the shots below, notice how your eye is quickly drawn to the vehicles. In the past, when we were a younger and smaller company, we liked the extra attention on ourselves. Now that we’ve made our mark in the industry and you folks know that BendPak stands for the utmost in quality and reliability, we trust our name alone makes the difference for our customers—more than any color ever could—and that’s something that’s never going to change.

Yellow car under and white car over on blue BendPak four-post car lift

Yellow car under and white car over on Gunmetal Gray BendPak four-post car lift

Yet another great example why Gunmetal Gray is a better color for servicing and displaying classic custom rebuilds. The original car lift nearly pops off the page; in fact, the vibrant blue appears almost as prominent as the car itself. That’s not necessarily what you want if you’re into classic builds. The Gunmetal Gray version, in our opinion, is much sleeker and sexier, especially because it helps emphasize the car. The individual who sent us this photo was initially skeptical but pleased with the result when we showed him what his garage would look like in the new color scheme. Can’t say we’re surprised!

Red classic car on blue BendPak four-post lift

Red classic car on Gunmetal Gray BendPak four-post lift

The Camaro-lover in this last example has two beautiful cars that look great on our blue lift. With Gunmetal Gray, it’s clear BendPak is moving itself out of the limelight. Typical garage environments don’t necessarily demand a bright blue car lift to announce itself at all times, but if you do want the blue, we will be retaining it for special orders. That means there will be an extra service fee, but we always do our best to accommodate everyone’s preferences.

Blue Chevy Camaro under and red Chevy Camaro over on blue BendPak four-post car lift

Blue Chevy Camaro under and red Chevy Camaro over on Gunmetal Gray BendPak four-post car lift

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