Each November, some 100,000 plus aftermarket and new vehicle manufacturer personnel, gather to view the latest in parts, accessories, tools, equipment, wheels, tires, performance enhancements, customization, car care, business services, and restoration – whew. This party is the largest of its kind in the world, including shows by SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) and AAPEX (Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo). These two occupy the enormous Las Vegas and Sands Convention Centers, including miles and miles (literally) of booths and displays to salivate over.
The highly customized vehicles of every size, age, sort, and type, number in the hundreds with creative talents displayed which are mesmerizing – worth the trip by themselves. If all of this isn’t enough for you, there are dozens of learning and sharing workshops and meetings to cram into your agenda. So, if you missed it this year, put it on your agenda for next November.
Top items, sort of….
While it is impossible to select the best of the best in whatever category, I did stumble on interesting items I thought I would share with the technical minded. Some of these aren’t absolutely new while others are; some are just a good deal or quite interesting.
Rip-Tite sockets and wrenches – This SEMA award winning tool can literally loosen or tighten any nut or bolt with a head in almost any condition of wear. Older vehicles have often had every sort of cheap (shall I say Chinese) ill-fitting socket and wrench applied to common bolts and nuts, and they sometimes end up almost rounded. That’s no problem for this unique technology, which as a restorer, I found quite desirable. If interested call Alex Gordon at: 574-272-6128 – firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Elevator – A guy perched stomach-down on what appeared to be a highly elevated creeper caught my eye. The crux of this apparatus is to allow a tech to rest face down over an engine compartment of a larger vehicle (say tall pickup truck) to conveniently perform work in the engine compartment without climbing around. I jumped up on The Elevator and found it easy to maneuver up and down. It has a handy tool tray, bumpers to protect the vehicle, and lots of safety mechanisms. Contact Murray Hepting at: 403-862-6937 — email@example.com.
Black Lightning Gloves – There are nitrile gloves galore, but I haven’t experienced any as good as these powder-free low-perspiration hand protection covers. Many I have used end up torn quickly, but the construction and thickness of these wear extremely well, and five sizes are available. Call 1-800-540-4397 (Atlantic Safety Products), www.LightningGloves.com.
The Filler Detective – This device is especially useful for appraising vehicles, or planning for accident repair. It’s a handheld tool, which you simply rub on the vehicle’s body (has a fiber pad) and it finds hidden damage and body filler with a beep and light, then it measures the depth of the filler. I used it, and it worked perfectly. Contact Thurston Schultz at: 310-832-8336 – firstname.lastname@example.org, www.fillerdetective.com.
Sun-Spot – OK, how about an award-winning portable paint drying method, which utilizes a one-pound bottle of camping-style propane to produce a flameless catalytic infrared heater to dry solvents and water? Curing time is approximately 10 minutes on a 22-inch footprint at 18 inches. 877-499-9950, www.sun-spot.ca.
EScan Pro – Scan tools can be very expensive, but I discovered an economical, but comprehensive program, which saves a ton of money by utilizing your laptop electronics. EScan Pro was selected by Motor magazine as a top 20 tool because it contains diagnostics and other unique information after interpreting the data it collects. Dealers soliciting work on other makes and models will find this to be a smart purchase. Call Neal Pederson at: 800-572-6112, www.AutomotiveTestSolutions.com.
Sun Spots – Most stall lighting is inadequate for illuminating the underside of a vehicle – in fact most of the time it is downright dark without added lighting. Today’s LED droplights are usually pathetic; but I stumbled on this impressive portable super-bright light, which is powered by just 12 volts or using a wall plug with its supplied power pack. It features a powerful magnet and fully adjustable aiming. ESI Products: 518-785-5810.
SpectraChrome – I was enamored with this product, a spray-on chrome paint system. The amazing application of this product is that it is completely flexible after application. A motorcycle seat had been painted silver chrome and it handled the flexing of sitting on it perfectly. This system features a multitude of stunning chrome-like colors. 800-230-6358, www.SprayOnChrome.com.
The aftermarket industry sponsors a Car Care Council, which among its consumer educational programs, publishes and distributes a comprehensive Car Care Guide. The “what” and “why” information here creates an excellent maintenance training workbook for rookie dealer service advisors and sales department personnel, as well as customers. Check out www.carcare.org for more great information and to order the Car Care Guide. 240-333-1088.
Check out www.SEMAshow.com for more details. Plan on attending next year – you will be glad you did and I bet the experience will get your creative juices flowing – a treat like no other for car guys and gals.