Author: megbrooks92

Brief Hiatus

Hey Everyone!

This month is set to be the busiest one of the year for me! I’m finally graduating from college next Saturday with my bachelors degree in communications! This week is going to be full of preparations to quit my awful retail job and find a new one in my related field. And on the 19th, which happens to be my 22nd birthday, I’m traveling to Paris and Milan for 10 days to study abroad. Then, when I get back I’m picking up my new puppy!

Wow… by writing this I’m realizing that I’m going to be a lot busier than I thought!

So to get all of this done, Just Clueless is going to be taking a brief hiatus! When I return we are going to explore a lot more easy vehicle modifications and some DIY ideas. And I may even head to the racing strip and report on that… who knows.

See you all soon,

Megan

Customize your vehicle!

Few of us really want to blend in to a crowd. That’s why we spend a lot of time and money customizing our homes, wardrobe, and even our phone cases!

And if you’re struggling in the parking lot trying to figure out just which car is yours, then maybe it’s time you start giving your automobile that same customized treatment. 

Break away from the crowd with these customizable ideas that are sure to make your vehicle stand out and make passers by say “wow”!

Change up the headlights! : Unless you have a higher end car such as an Audi, the factory headlights on your vehicle are probably pretty plain and boring. Try finding some halo projectors or other great looking headlights for your car instead to instantly change up it’s look! Halo projectors, for instance, will also will be an improvement for night driving. 

Play with interior lighting: every vehicle I have owned has had led lights inside, giving the car a nice glow. This is especially great if your car has a dark interior. You’ll never have to worry about losing pennies and small items to the bottom of your car again. You can find interior led kits for as low as $20 online, and the process of installation isn’t too difficult. And I do have to say, most people who ride in my car at night are definitely jealous. 

Tint it up: Tinting your windows is a great way to instantly make your car look a lot fancier than it actually is. But beyond the visual appeal, it also will protect you from prying eyes and the beating sun. It can be pricey getting them done professionally, and even more of a pain in the ass to do it by hand, bu window tinting services is often on Groupon for a fair price. 

Change up the Rims: This one can be tricky. If you do it right, your car will look fresh, updated, and fancy. But, do it wrong and you’re going to look like a total idiot. I can’t tell you how many times I have laughed at moronic people who put chrome rims on a minivan. Pick out new rims that will compliment your car, not rims that are meant for a Lamborghini. 

DIY: Changing Spark Plugs

Your vehicle’s spark plugs are responsible for delivering an electrical current to your engines combustion chamber from the ignition system.

Basically, just like other parts of the engine, they make the car run.

However, just like oil and air filters, they need to be periodically replaced. The metal that surrounds the spark plug deteriorates each time you run the car, so for a typical car you usually need to replace them every 20,000 miles or so.

But changing your spark plugs is actually an easy process, and making it a DIY job will save you a good chunk of cash in the long run.

Check out this visual tutorial from Wikihow on the proper steps you will need to take to get the job done right!

Should I buy new or used?

If you’re rolling in cash and find dropping 20 or 30 grand on a new car to be an easy financial decision, then the answer to this question is obvious. I suggest you to do the following:

  1. Click out of this blog post
  2. Go to the bank
  3. Make it rain on my house – immediately, if you will.

But for the rest of you folks who work paycheck to paycheck and are in need of a new car, heed my warning and avoid the brand new cars entirely.

Yes… I know, new cars are tempting. No miles, no scratches, and a fresh warranty? Sounds fantastic!

But in all honesty, a pre-owned vehicle can be just as good!

In article by US News titled “5 things you should always buy used”, cars were number one on the list.

“Often a car that’s only a couple years old will cost a fraction of its original sticker price, and is there really much of a difference between the 2013 and 2014 model? Not really. If you buy new, you’re mostly paying for negligible feature upgrades and the cachet of having a “new” car.”

A very valid point.

As I have said in a previous post, when I purchased my car I was able to get the new body style I wanted, plus features such as leather seats and voice controls for a fraction of the price of a new car.

Had I leased a brand new Mustang I would have actually been spending about the same monthly than I am now for a car that was three years newer. It was tempting, yes, but ultimately I wanted to OWN my vehicle, not rent it. Plus, with a leased car I wouldn’t be able to do a lot of the tuning and physical changes that I envisioned for my car.

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It really just makes better financial sense to buy a used car.

But if you need proof, check out this interactive graphic from edmunds.com and see for yourself. To calculate how much a car will depreciate in time, click on the link and enter the MSRP of any new car of your choosing.


<!–// Source: How Fast Does A New Car Lose Value

 

 

Shout out to Kaila!

I’d like to give a big thanks to Kaila for her contribution on Just Clueless!

Based on my bias, you’d think that the only car I ever would recommend to someone is the Ford Mustang.

…Actually, I recommend Subaru about 90% of the time.

Ironic, I know, since I just posted an earlier post on the importance of purchasing American.

But with symmetrical AWD on their entire vehicle lineup and some of the best safety ratings in the industry, Subaru makes vehicles absolutely perfect for all weather conditions.

Try taking a Mustang out in the snow. You’ll look like Dale Jr. doing donuts after a Daytona win. Only you’re not doing it on purpose, and yeah, you’re life is probably in danger!

When the weather is bad I keep my Stang locked up in the garage and I take out our 2009 Subaru Forester.

Thanks again, Kaila!

 

DIY: fixing minor scratches

Last tuesday I overslept, quickly got changed into my work clothes, and headed out the door with a bagel hanging out of my mouth.

So basically, it was a normal tuesday.

That is, up until I somehow grazed the side of my car while backing out of the garage. I heard the scratching of the paint and instantly let out a slew of expletives that are too vile to even bother listing.

Luckily I didn’t bend or dent the frame, but I was left with a scuff and a nice sliver taken out of the paint. Oh, and some extremely annoying white residue.

My Mustang – my child – damaged!

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I took her to the local auto body shop to get an estimate, and they told me it would be over $700 dollars to just fill in some chips on the front bumper and repaint it (something I’ve actually been wanting to do for a while, because my car has road chips that are bugging the living hell out of me).

…But over $700? Are you kidding? For that price I could buy an entire new bumper. And I just spent $1500 on a new puppy, aint nobody got money for dat.

The silver lining here was that they informed me that most of the white residue could actually come off, meaning that my side fender (which was also scratched where it connects to the bumper) wouldn’t have to be repainted at all. And if they could easily get that off, then why can’t I?

This weekend I had some free time before work, So I spent my time trying to fix the damage. And honestly, for a DIY job, it turned out pretty well. My dad helped with the process, and gave me a few good ideas on how to treat the area, including using nail polish remover. Honestly, that idea scared me… not for the fact that i’d be putting something so corrosive on my car, but actually because my nails were recently done.

So, without further adieu, here are my steps for getting some minor scratches and blemishes off your precious ride:

1. Prep the area. Wash down the area that you are trying to fix. For me, I just washed the entire car because she needed a good wash.

2. Bring out the nail polish! The white residue on my car was due to the fact that I grazed a white garage. If you’ve grazed something (or something grazed you) it’s usually going to be the color of whatever that object was that made contact with your vehicle. Apply nail polish remover to a clean rag, and slowly (but with some pressure) wipe the affected area in a circular motion. If you’re lucky, you should see the residue disappear. But if you have nail polish on like I did, yeah… that’s also going to disappear.

3. Wash down the area again: You don’t want the nail polish remover to stay on your paint. As soon as you are done, QUICKLY wash down the area again with soap and water to get the remainder of the nail polish remover off.

4. Time for a wax! No, ladies, not for you. Car wax does a wonderful job of getting rid of blemishes that your car has, such as light scratches and annoying circular patterns.It fills in the scratches and not only evens the paint out, but protects it. If waxing your car isn’t something you are already doing, then I highly recommend making it a habit. Time consuming? Yes, but you’ll see wonderful results.

5. 3M scratch remover. Available at auto stores and sorta like wax, 3M scratch remover fills in the scratches and bonds to your paint. Put some on a rag and firmly rub into the affected area until its dry. You may have to do this a few more times before you see the results you want, depending on the extent of the damage.

6. See the results!

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As you can see from my car, all that ugly white residue has disappeared. All that’s left unfortunately is the deep scratch that I can’t really fix, and another scuff. I will still be getting my front bumper professional fixed and repainted, but at least for the mean time the damage is less noticeable.

Thoughts or suggestions? Leave a comment! I’m always interested in seeing new and innovative ways to fix up my car.

April showers bring May speeding tickets

“I live my life a quarter mile at a time. Nothing else matters: not the mortgage, not the store, not my team and all their bullshit. For those ten seconds or less, I’m free.” – Dom, Fast and Furious

Threatened with losing my license, last year I had to attend a driver retraining program due to one two many speeding tickets on my record. One I attempted (and failed) to dispute in court, and all of those tickets were due to driving about 10 miles over the speed limit, which many cops not concerned about their quotas would happily laugh away.

Now, I must say that the course was the biggest waste of money I have ever spent.

The “teacher” was rude, bitter, and clearly lacked knowledge in basic Massachusetts motor vehicle laws, as she stumbled on her responses to legal questions people were inquiring about, making point to say “my job isn’t to teach you the law.”

Cell phone usage was strictly prohibited, and violators would be kicked out of the classroom and required to pay for the course again. When I started to twiddle my pen in my fingers on my lap, she came to me with dead eyes and said “text one more time and your out of here”. I promptly took my phone out of my back pocket and smugly proclaimed “I wasn’t texting. This has been off and in my pocket the whole time.”

She apologized a couple times and went on with her horrid ramblings.

It was only when she started to speak about why people like to speed that my interest was piqued. “It’s fun,” and “I’m always late” were the common answers.

But when i stopped to think about why I like speed, I couldn’t help but instantly think of Dominic Toretto’s (Vin Diesel) famous line from the matriarch of the “Fast” franchise.

There’s something about hitting a turn at high speed or overtaking a car going 100 mph that really fills me with adrenaline. And honestly, sometimes that adreline is strangely the only way I can get calm. It’s such a freeing experience knowing that I’m in control, and the roads I take in my life are all up to me.

Of course, naturally I never spoke those words to my “teacher”. Until now, that feeling has been something i’ve kept strictly inside.

Still, even though it is indeed freeing for me to drive like, lets face it, an asshole, I do need to avoid any more tickets.