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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

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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. 

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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. 

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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!

 

Breaking down the “standards”

Hi I’m Kaila, a new contributor to Meg’s blog. I’ve always been in love with cars. Ever since I was a little girl looking at my dad’s beat up Hyundai with the shitty exhaust, I knew I loved cars.

About five years ago, I started dating a guy. We have since broken up, but in the four years that we dated I began to love cars even more. He was a mechanic, so cars became a huge part of my life.

What became an even bigger part of my life was the Subaru lifestyle. A lot of people think that owning a car is just, well, owning a car. That’s not the case when you own a Subaru. If you drive down the road and a Subaru drives by you, you automatically wave. If you go to a parking lot and there is a Subaru parked there, you must park right next to it. It’s a real thing. It’s a lifestyle, a family.

I bought my baby a couple years ago, a red, standard, 06 WRX. I named him Vlad. I’ve poured my heart and soul into him ever since.

As a woman driving a standard, and as a woman in the car world, I can say that it definitely gives you some street cred. When a guy automatically assumes that you can’t drive a standard cause’ you’re a woman, and you rip right out of the parking lot with your engine revving, it gives you a whole new power. You’re all like “fuck yeah, I just proved you wrong.”

But, it was never about proving anyone wrong. From the colors and mods, to the distinct subie rumble, to the rally races and the AWD, there’s nothing boring about Subarus. They excite me. They’ve started so many random conversations with so many random people. And, they’ve introduced me to WBM (Wicked Big Meet) which meets every year at Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut.

WBM is the largest Subaru meet in the country. People buy tickets and drive from far away just to go. Hundreds upon hundreds of Subarus park in this humongous lot. Even the drive to Connecticut is intense, hundreds of Subarus pass each other on the highway. All of us are revving, racing, smiling, waving, looking and laughing.

Upon getting there you’re overwhelmed with how many amazing Subies there are. From the super old ones, to the ones that are wicked modded, to even the normal base models with nothing added, it’s like an annual family reunion. Everyone is prepared to meet people, catch up with friends, strike up conversations, and buy some new merch and parts. People even get new ideas for how to mod their cars from WBM.

An even cooler thing is to see how many women are a part of this. We aren’t so much a minority here, but rather an accepted thing. Guys are impressed and treat us as equals. Women even race men in the rally races on the speedway.

You may leave with a huge sunburn at the end of the day, (I have, twice) but that three day burn is well worth the feeling of being part of such a huge, accepting family and community.

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.