Jim’s Blog: Garage Upgrades

This past August, my wife and I bought a new house and moved across town. Distance-wise to AC HQ, it’s not much of a change from where I was before. But the new place has more room everywhere for my family — including in my garage.

Yes, I’m the happy new owner of a place with a three-car garage. I’ve spent the last month or so bringing that space up to standard for a car guy, as the people who lived in the place before us had it packed full of boxes rather than cars. Who does that?

In any case, I’ve been working on building a perfect garage for an old car lover on a budget, and one of the most important changes I’ve made has been in lighting.

I’m typically shooting ACC How-To stories in my own space, which requires a certain amount of light. But even if you’re not doing that kind of work, having a good, solid lighting structure in place will help when you’re cleaning, waxing or just looking at your car over the coming winter months. 

My garage had three lightbulbs installed on the ceiling when I moved in, which worked OK to illuminate boxes, but for car purposes, it was on the dark side of dim. So I went to Home Depot and bought six 4-foot LED light panels, each putting out 4500 lumens. I spread them out across the ceiling and wired them up, and I have to say, at $45 each, the benefit is well worth the price of admission. I can now see all the cobwebs I never knew were there. But it’s great for working on cars whenever I need to. The difference is quite literally night and day, and as long as you have some basic wiring aptitude, and know where to turn off the power, this is an easy job to tackle.

If you’ve got car plans for the winter months, you might take a few minutes now and install some brighter lighting to help you see what you’re doing. It’s worth the time and effort.

What other garage upgrades have you found to be useful? Share them in the comments below.