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.



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

But if you need proof, check out this interactive graphic from 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



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!


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!



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.

Change your own damn oil: PT 2

I recently had a post titled “Change your own damn oil”, where I spoke about the importance of doing the job yourself compared to going to Jiffy Lube (aka hell on earth).

However, I didn’t focus much on the actual process of changing your oil.

If you’re still feeling clueless about how the job is actually done, check out this awesome video tutorial below!

WTF Wednesday: Brake Calipers

I previously attempted to feature new insight into wheels and how they work with “Wheels Wednesday”.

But in all honesty, it was a lazy attempt, not to mention a monotonous one. So for now on (aka for as long as I remember) I’ll be doing “WTF Wednesday” instead.

I often come across many part names and concepts about cars that honestly, I just don’t know what the fuck they are. So I’m going to research these foreign concepts and share with you all my new found knowledge. I feel it my duty to let you all know just what the fuck these concepts are so that we can all be a little more fucking knowledgeable about cars.

Oh, and I may be a little late but…

CAUTION: F-bombs ahead. Proceed to fallout shelter. 

But just like my parents would say… less swearing, more learning.

So without further adieu, I present to you all…


… this weird, red… thing.

These are called brake calipers. And judging by the title of this blog post, I’m sure most of you already figured that out.

Now, this may be because I’m female, but I always assumed that calipers were more or less a fashion statement for your car. Just like we bring a pop of color to our outfits with bold, statement necklaces, guys bring a little color to their wheels by the means of calipers. So I, looking to add a pop of color to my ride, set out to purchase a pair of bright blue calipers to compliment my car’s dark gray exterior.

Imagine my surprise to find out that calipers have absolutely nothing to do with fashion. And actually, they’re an extremely important component of the car.

Our car’s calipers are more or less responsible for our ability to brake. They create friction with the rotor of the wheel (what makes it spin), which slows it down. explained it best:

The brake caliper fits over the rotor like a clamp. Inside each caliper is

a pair of metal plates bonded with friction material — these are called brake pads. The outboard brake pads are on the outside of the rotors (toward the curb) and the inboard brake pads on the inside (toward the vehicle). When you step on the brake, brake fluid from the master cylinder creates hydraulic pressure on one or more pistons in the brake caliper, forcing the pads against the rotor. The brake pads have high-friction surfaces and serve to slow the rotor down or even bring it to a complete halt. When the rotor slows or stops, so does the wheel, because they’re attached to one another.

That color we see is actually from the caliper cover, not the caliper itself. Their purpose is to protect the car from brake dust. Not too many cars come equipped with them, and typically you see them most on sports cars.

You can purchase them aftermarket, but expect the same sticker shock that I did when I searched for them. Almost $200? Are you kidding me? If you’re looking for just the color and not really the protection, then purchase a specific spray paint to give your calipers some pizazz.

Oh, and it’s actually affordable. 

Enjoy your new knowledge, and have a great day everyone!

Change your own damn oil

Embed from Getty Images

My daddy dearest texted me a few days ago to let me know that “the pony is going to need an oil change soon.” So, I need to go out and buy a new oil filter and oil? Fantastic!

The only plus side to that text message was that for once my dad wasn’t asking me to pick up his coffee and k-cups after work…  A futile request that he knows I will absolutely forget 80% of the time. And why he never stops after leaving his own work remains a mystery to me.

Well, not even two days after receiving that message, my car alerted me to the fact that it soon will need an oil change, and only one reasonable explanation can come forth from this: my dad is the car whisperer.

But I digress!

Truthfully, I must admit that I have never truly changed my own oil. My dad is the go-to man for that in my immediate family, and he takes care of all five of our vehicles personally. He’s always been insistent on doing the job at home by hand, rather than paying someone else to do it. Mention anything about bringing a car to Jiffy Lube to my father and he may just have a mental breakdown.

Well, not everyone shares his (and utimately, our) sentiments. Ivy, a blogger at, makes the argument in her blog post that changing your own oil is simply a waste.

The regular price for an oil change at the shop I used to work at is currently $18.90. You can often find coupons for $14.90, and occasionally they have coupons for $12.90. They are set up to do oil changes very quickly, with an oil pit down below or at least on a lift. The guys that worked the oil change bay frequently could complete an oil change in about 5 minutes most of the time … Compare that to changing the oil yourself. You have to buy ramps to drive your car up on, an oil wrench, plus you have to buy the oil at about $2.50 per bottle (I’m not 100% certain on this. I haven’t bought oil by the bottle in over 7 years, but my husband who drives a car that has a slight oil leak says this is what oil costs) and an oil filter for between $6 and $10. Consider that the average car requires about 5 quarts of oil and just the oil and filter is going to run more than the coupon price.

True, it can be a little pricier, but my dad’s insistence on doing the job himself isn’t all about the cost. And actually, plenty of automotive part stores, such as Advance Auto Parts, offer bundle deals on oil change kits. You mostly always can get some money off of the filter when you purchase the oil at the same time, as well. But honestly, you could go to a shop or do it yourself, and it still is going to generally be pretty affordable.

The true reason as to why my dad prefers to do the job himself is simple: he has absolutely no trust for shops.

Anytime you go to Jiffy Lube or a similar shop, you run the risk of leaving with more than just a simple oil change. Suddenly all of a sudden that greasy guy working on your car is telling you that you are going to need a new air filter as well, and he’s offering to put a new one in for you for the low price of $50. And if you care anything about your car, then you’re willing to just pay for it right then and there to get it out of the way.

NBC affiliate Channel 4 of Southern California actually investigated into this very matter in order to get some answers in a very eye-opening segment.

They brought an early 2000’s Lexus to a Jiffy Lube for a routine oil change that was advertised as $27.99, and left with a bill over $700.

The mechanic, associate, or whatever the hell you call them at Jiffy Lube told the customer that his Lexus required premium synthetic oil, which alone tripled the price of the oil change. However, Lexus‘s standards for the car state that normal oil works fine.

Then, on top of that, they convinced the customer to let them do a bunch of little repairs on the car, ultimately bringing the price up to that shocking $700 range.

One of my friends is a former employee at Jiffy Lube, and I honestly would never in a million years let him drive my car, let alone work on it. Most of the people hired at these places have little experience (like my friend), and are prone to error. I’ve heard countless stories from friends and family members of oil changes gone wrong, where a screw was missing or they just completely messed something up, leading to hundreds of dollars worth in repairs. noted this problem in a slideshow where they explained the top 10 reasons why you should never go to Jiffy Lube, reason #4 being “new hires aren’t required to have any previous knowledge about cars”.

The entire reason you’re probably taking your car to a garage for an oil change is because you don’t know anything about car maintenance. So why would you leave your car with somebody who has the exact same amount of experience that you do? This is a fact direct from a former Jiffy Lube worker, as he explained you don’t need any education or prior experience to work here. You just need to show up and be numb enough to be able to rip off unsuspecting customers.

My dad has more knowledge about cars in his pinky than these employees have in their entire body. And ultimately, he knows the value of these cars. Those guys working at Jiffy Lube and similiar places are working for a paycheck and can’t wait to leave and go home – they don’t actually care about your vehicle. By doing the job yourself, you’re ensuring that not only is it done right, but with care.

And ultimately, care is what my dad puts into every vehicle he maintains.

This year, I’m going to try to do my own oil change for the first time, using my dads instructions and a little help from the internet. There are plenty of sites, such as Edmunds, that will guide you into how exactly the process is done. And honestly, it doesn’t sound too bad.

So this year, unless it’s too cold and my cowardice stops me from braving it, I’m taking matters into my own hand and getting  the job done myself.

Those guys at the Jiff can save their speech for another ignorant soul, and, hopefully, you’ll be smart enough now to not let it be you.



Looking to buy a BRAND spankin’ new car?… Don’t waste your money.

Most people I meet are pretty shocked to learn that I drive a newer Mustang. I think most of it is because my glasses and choice of dress screams more Toyota Prius than anything. But they always ask me one thing: “How the hell can you afford that?”

I’m a full time student juggling two jobs, an internship,  and an inconsistent sleep schedule. I don’t exactly scream “rich”.

A lot of people assume my parents bought the car for me, to which I say “hah!” My mother, who, mind you, is one of the most worrying, anxious people around, would never willingly purchase me a “speeding death trap”. To this day I can not ride in a vehicle with that woman without wishing I had a James Bond ejector seat.

I purchased the vehicle with my own money, and there’s only one secret as to how I can afford it: I didn’t buy the Damn thing new.

If you’re on a budget and want a nice car, buying a car brand new at the dealership is a huge mistake. For one, just because a vehicle is used doesn’t mean it’s inferior to the newer model, and secondly, the majority of that cars value is lost the second you drive it off the lot.

You need to keep in mind that vehicles go about 4 years without any drastic design changes.  I knew that I wanted the newest body style for my Mustang,  but I wasn’t willing to pay over $20,000 for a 2013. And ultimately, the differences between the 2010 Mustang (my model) and the 2013 were minimal. Only someone well versed in Mustangs like myself would really be able to tell the years apart.

So I got a car that looked almost just like the showroom model, but for half the price. And unless you just so happen to be purchasing the car in the year when they completely revamped the design, this is true for nearly all cars.

Had I bought my car new,  I also would have been forced to settle for the base model. These models are typically stripped down versions of the car – no bells and whistles included. They’re also the cheapest option. I managed to get a Mustang with leather seats instead of the standard cloth, a superior sound system, and built in Bluetooth and voice controls… all for less than a newer Mustang without those features.

Now I do understand people’s concerns about buying used: there’s always that belief that the vehicle will have something wrong with it, or that it won’t run as well as a new model. But from my perspective, a used car that is still running great just means that it’s a vehicle that is standing strong through the test of time.

And as far as vehicle defects go, that’s a valid concern that people reluctant to purchase used cars have, and it is indeed a risk you take. Even though my car was a few years old, there still were a few minor things that needed to be fixed. The dealer that I purchased the car from happily fixed the issues at no cost to me.

As long as you are working with a legitimate dealer with a good track record, and not some guy who has his car for sale on his lawn, you’re going to run into few issues. Most major dealers offer “certified” used cars, which basically means that the vehicle has been inspected, is in excellent working condition, and is worthy enough to be sold along side newer models.

Still, there are people, and possibly you are one of them, who are dead set on never purchasing a used car. But unless you seriously have the cash and don’t even remotely consider purchasing a new car an investment, then I’m going to think of you as a huge fool.

Take my story into consideration, and save yourself some cash! New isn’t necessarily better…

Weigh in below about your own experiences, and feel free to ask me any questions as well!