mustang

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.

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In Memoriam: Ford Mustang, 1964-2014

It is with great sadness that I must announce the end of not only a friend of mine, but an era. For years, she set the standard for what an American muscle car should be:  intimidating, powerful, and, above all else, mean.

She had been the apple of my eye since childhood, and was my main goal throughout my teenage years.

But now she no longer exists. She is lost to us, stranded in the echelons of cliched curvature and design.

A new car emerges from her absence that dares to take on the title of “Mustang”, yet we, lovers of Mustangs all over, know exactly what has replaced her: the Ford Fusion coupe (seen below).

As paining as the loss of our once glorious Mustang is, her memory shall indeed still live in the hearts and minds of owners and lovers everywhere. So today, I leave with you all a visual reminder of her days, and hope with you all that one day, Ford will bring the Mustang back to it’s former, unique glory.

Farewell, my once loyal friend… I knew thee well.

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!

First love

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Happy Valentines Day, everyone!

The blogosphere is abuzz with stories of romance and first love… so, although it’s totally cheesy, i’ll share mine.

My first love was a lady named Eleanor. And shocker!… She’s a car.

Eleanor was the gorgeous and ferocious dark gray Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 in Gone in 60 Seconds, a movie i’ve seen about 100 times since childhood.

I was still under 10 years old when I vowed to get my very own Eleanor. I searched the house for pennies, nickels, and occasionally stole quarters from my parents in order to save up and buy one for my sweet 16.

Well, that never happened.

But over a decade later my dreams came true. I purchased my very own dark gray mustang last year, and turning my car into a complete beast worthy of the Eleanor name has been an obsession ever since.

Snow Day!

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My 2010 Ford Mustang Premium, pre-storm.

Well our snowy, relentless New England winter continues. I can’t even back out of the garage today without getting stuck, making my hour-long commute to College absolutely impossible.

Oh the struggle of Rear Wheel Drive! Luckily, I have my Mother’s Subaru today.

If you absolutely need to be on the roads after (or, god forbid, during) a storm in a RWD car, try these tips:

  • Snow tires. Obvious, I know. Cars that are more on the sporty side (like my Mustang) tend to have tires that are more suited for a summer highway drive than a slushy, post-storm road. You’re going to need a lot more grip and traction on your tires if you’re to survive the roads easily, which snow tires do offer. They can be on the pricey side (which is why I don’t own them yet, personally), so I would reccomend purchasing them in the Spring or Summer when they are likely to be on sale.
  • Put the junk in the trunk. In order to greatly reduce fishtailing and sliding you need to put weight in your trunk. Sand bags are a perfect option, but basically anything that is heavy enough will do the job. Just make sure you aren’t adding too much weight, otherwise you’ll be taking “two-wheel drive” to a whole other level!
  • Kitty litter? Yes, kitty litter. If you’re caught in a icy jam in your driveway and can’t move, sprinkle kitty litter around the base of your tires and make a path behind the tires, as well. It’ll give your tires something to grip on, and with a little gas you should be able to make it out. If you don’t have a feline companion, then regular sand will do just fine!
  • Always have a shovel. Keeping a shovel in the trunk isn’t just for mafiaso! If you’re snowed in away from home (like I always tend to be at work), then dig yourself out! There’s plenty of compact shovels available in stores that can be easily stored in your trunk.
  • Prepare for the worst. Even with the best preparations, shit still tends to hit the fan. Always keep a gas can in the trunk in case you get stuck after running out of fuel. if you are low on gas (as I always am guilty as charged) then you run the risk of having your fuel freeze over. So to be safe, always keep AT LEAST half a tank during the winter. Equally as important is your warmth. I always keep a giant down comforter in the trunk, just in case. And ladies… keep your phone charged. You can’t call AAA on a dead battery.