vehicles

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: 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!

unnamed

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.

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…

Image

… 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.

Howstuffworks.com 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!

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!

Men vs Women: Whose better at driving?

Okay guys, let’s get down, dirty, and controversial.

I stumbled across a random article online whose title managed to intrigue and irritate me all at once: “Women are Bad Drivers“. Yet before you start clicking that link, I must implore you not to waste your time on such a poor excuse of an “educational” piece.

Yet I take this….umm.. “authors”… words with a grain of highly concentrated salt. After all, the article, which is found on Askmen.com (your first hint that you’ll encounter sexism and copious reference to “titties”) has related links such as “Women can’t park” that suggests that “Maybe a study correlating bra size to parking speeds should be scheduled,” because apparently the theory as to why women are supposedly bad at parking is because their boobs get in the way.

But irregardless of some random idiots babbling on the internet (which, I’m sure, some may accuse me of as well…  and touche!), it does make me wonder: whose the better driver?

First, let’s look at some statistics.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, men are more likely to die behind the wheel than women, and are more than 50% more likely to be cited for reckless driving.

“Men take more risks behind the wheel than women, and so men are more likely to get into serious crashes,”

And it doesn’t stop there, check out these statistics from the early 2000’s.

Fatal passenger vehicle crash involvements per 100 million miles traveled, by driver age and gender, April 2001–March 2002:
Age Male Female Total
16-19 Crash Involvements: 4,257
Miles: 46,427,394,010
Rate: 9.2
Crash Involvements: 1,852
Miles: 35,264,476,105
Rate: 5.3
Crash Involvements: 6,109
Miles: 81,691,870,114
Rate: 7.5
20-29 Crash Involvements: 8,949
Miles: 225,999,581,860
Rate: 4.0
Crash Involvements: 3,172
Miles: 156,283,683,955
Rate: 2.0
Crash Involvements: 12,122
Miles: 382,283,265,815
Rate: 3.2
30-59 Crash Involvements: 15,027
Miles: 845,507,965,689
Rate: 1.8
Crash Involvements: 6,946
Miles: 551,350,306,430
Rate: 1.3
Crash Involvements: 21,973
Miles: 1,396,858,272,119
Rate: 1.6
60-69 Crash Involvements: 2,097
Miles: 128,814,817,845
Rate: 1.6
Crash Involvements: 1,008
Miles: 64,778,212,790
Rate: 1.6
Crash Involvements: 3,105
Miles: 193,593,030,635
Rate: 1.6
70-Plus Crash Involvements: 3,148
Miles: 76,991,652,560
Rate: 4.1
Crash Involvements: 1,571
Miles: 39,093,332,009
Rate: 4.0
Crash Involvements: 4,719
Miles: 116,084,984,569
Rate: 4.1
Total* Crash Involvements: 33,733
Miles: 1,324,373,970,682
Rate: 2.5
Crash Involvements: 14,633
Miles: 847,734,931,097
Rate: 1.7
Crash Involvements: 48,638
Miles: 2,172,108,901,779
Rate: 2.2

Honestly… these statistics really aren’t that surprising to me.

It’s men, not women, who speed through crowded parking lots in their little Honda, trying to show off that (sorry) not so impressive 4-cyl engine to the ladies walking by. unbeknownst to these guys, however, us ladies aren’t impressed. In fact, that rusty old piece of junk is a total turn off, and men who drive them would look more impressive if they stopped putting thousands and thousands into a broken shell and instead invested their money into a newer ride.

Speaking of money, us ladies are going to be spending less of it when it comes to our car insurance. Because men are more likely to get into accidents and get in trouble with the police for traffic violations, ladies don’t have to pay as high of a premium.

Seems like when it comes to driving, the score is settled: Women 1, Men 0. 

But I’m more interested in seeing your thoughts. Leave a comment below, and let the trolling begin!

Snow Day!

car

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.