Category Archives: Automotive
Are you a car owner who doesn’t feel good and excited looking at your car because it has become old? It can happen to the best of us, especially if you are just starting out in life. I remember the first car I bought was a used ’99 Chevy Cavalier. It was in fairly good condition, but being fresh out of college meant maintaining the car wasn’t one of my top priorities. Subsequently, my old car became an embarrassment whenever I took my girl out on a date. The easier option here would have been to get rid of the used car and opt for a new one. But that’s when a good friend of mine, who happens to be an auto mechanic, suggested some tips that would make my old babe look just like new. So, here I will be sharing those tips, that will surely help all of you who want to be proud of their car, and are looking for ways to spruce up an older car.
Okay, I do agree that in order to turn back the clock the direct option is to replace all the broken/faulty parts. Now, this option can set you back anywhere between a couple of hundred to a couple of thousand bucks. For those who can’t afford that much, don’t worry. Even if your budget is low, you can make your old car look new by following the money saving options mentioned here.
First and foremost, no matter how old, banged up, or rusty, a really clean car is always going to look better than a car that is covered in dust and dirt. So, a thorough wash is a nice way to get started. A point to remember here, much like us humans, the condition of a car is always judged by looking at its exterior. In any case, that is the first thing visible while looking at a car. Hence, when going for a car makeover we shall work on the outside first and then on the inside.
Remove Dents and Repaint
The car’s paint is its protective shield against the elements, but as time ticks by all sorts of nicks and scratches appear. Being the first recognizable and visible part of the vehicle, our first objective is to make the exterior look as new as possible. This can be done by spray painting a fresh coat (starts from $1500). No matter how tempted you are to paint your car, you shouldn’t try it unless you have some professional painting experience. Else your car will probably end up looking worse than it is. Also, a banged up car with dents is an eyesore. A professional dent removal job can restore the original curves on your car. Now, a 1-inch dent can cost you anywhere between $50 to $100.
Money Saving Option
If your car has minor scratches, you can touch them up with paint pens ($4 to $20) that you can find for sale at most automotive supply stores. But be sure to get exactly the right color. Although paint pens can do a good job covering up small scratches, they are not meant to cover large areas. Likewise, for small dents, try a DIY dent-removal kit that is available on the market. But remember such kits are effective only for small dents, and might require some skill. The kits can cost anywhere between $20 to $150.
Unlike glass headlight covers used in older cars, plastic headlight lenses turn yellow and become foggy and look worn out after as little as three or four years. UV radiation from sunlight turns them yellow or cloudy, which can also become a potential safety hazard. The end result is that this makes your car look old. Getting a new pair of eyes will surely lighten up the look of your car, not to mention the better illumination at night and in foggy conditions.
Money Saving Option
Use cleaning kits (around $20-25) specifically designed to clean plastic headlight assemblies. The best ones will contain a cleaner as well as an UV protector. It is not necessary to remove the headlights from the vehicle to clean them. You don’t need special tools or skills, either. The entire cleaning routine may take around 30-45 minutes, but the result is better looking and brighter headlights.
New Set of Wheels
One of the most neglected part of a used car is its wheels. Since it is an old car, tires are bound to wear, and rims tend to rust and accumulate dust and dirt. Opting for a fresh set of wheels will surely lend a new look, not to mention the other benefits of using fresh tires. Upsizing or choosing larger wheels can go a long way in changing the look of the car. Larger wheels are instantly noticeable and also provide certain benefits like a better grip and a smoother ride. You can also opt for alloy rims to complement the look of your car.
Money Saving Option
Use a tire cleaning and dressing kit ($20-80) to give your tires and rubber trim an exceptionally brand new look. Why opt for expensive alloys when plastic hubcaps look just the same. Sleek looking plastic hubcaps (around $30-100) can give your car a sportier look and even become your personal style statement.
Change Floor Mats and Carpet
Carpets get loaded with ingrained mud, sand, and debris that cling to our footwear. Coffee or soda spills can also stain the carpet and ruin the nap on it. Floor mats and carpets really take a beating and can become worn out after a reasonable amount of time. Luckily, most auto stores sell floor mats and carpets ($30 to $100 for 4-piece set) in a variety of colors and styles to fit your fancy.
Money Saving Option
Excavate all the trash splayed all around and vacuum the entire floor. Use a carpet cleaner spray ($5 to $20) to remove tough stains. Soak the mats and carpet (if wash-proof) in warm water for half an hour and then shampoo them thoroughly.
Change Seats and Upholstery
Foam could lose its form over the years and this might end up being uncomfortable. Have it replaced and invest in a good back rest and neck-pillow. Seat covers are relatively inexpensive, easy to install and are one of the most dramatic ways to impact the interior. Perhaps best of all, they come in thousands of colors and fabric combinations. Seat covers can be ordered with emblems or logos on them, so you can even show off your team spirit or school pride.
Money Saving Option
Opting for car seat covers in the preferred choice of material and color can add a dash of color and style to otherwise drab interiors. If your upholstery is in relatively good shape, then opt to wax and buff the seats using a good wax polish ($5 to $20) and a portable buffer attachment. A little bit of elbow grease is sure to bring about a marked difference to the look of your car interior.
Polish Dashboard and Fix Console
As time goes by, the plastic on the dashboard and steering wheel becomes dull and may need replacement. The glass on the speedometer might have scratches. Knobs, switches and indicating lights on the console also cease to function properly over time, and may require replacement or repair. If worn out, you may even choose to get a new customized steering wheel, or replace certain sections of the dashboard if they are cracked or damaged beyond repair.
Money Saving Option
Use a dashboard cleaner fluid ($10-40) and a microfiber cloth to wipe the surfaces clean. Do not directly spray the fluid on to the surfaces as they tend to leave a stain. Use small brushes and cotton swabs to clean hard to reach spots. Coating these surfaces with UV protector is a good way of ensuring that the dashboard and console are protected from cracking up or getting discolored due to prolonged exposure to sunlight.
* The prices given above can vary according to location and availability.
Some More Tips
✔ Use deodorizers that eliminate odors from mold, smoke, and other causes, rather than merely masking them. You can also try eliminating odors from the air blowing ducts by spraying odor eliminator into the system’s air intake.
✔ Bluetooth integration, navigation systems, video monitors, DVD players, and a host of other gadgets lend a snazzy look and feel to the car. Moreover, all this stuff can be installed in just about any car or truck, regardless of its age and condition.
✔ Clean and polish your car’s windshield (and other exterior glass) with plain water and old newspaper. Unlike soft cloth or paper towels, newspaper doesn’t leave lint.
✔ To help restore a license plate that is beginning to rust, spray it with a good anti-rust (like WD-40) and wipe with a clean rag. Not only will this eliminate light surface rust, but will also prevent the plate from rusting further.
✔ While using water and soap to clean under the hood, be particularly careful to keep water away from electrical connections like the fuse box, cable junctions, and the large electrical connectors near the battery.
With just a few supplies and a little bit of elbow grease, shaving five years off the look of your car isn’t that difficult. It is still much better than coughing up a few thousand bucks for a brand new car. What’s more, making an older car look like new can pay dividends, worth up to 50 percent more than a car which is just fairly maintained.
Incorrect placement of sun visors and their inefficiency to guard sunrays are likely to cause road mishaps while driving. They are prone to wear and tear and require immediate replacement. The good thing about replacing a sun visor is, you can do it easily at home without taking help from a mechanic. First you have to remove the old sun visor and then replace with the new one. All you require is a proper arrangement of screw divers and screws. Check out the general steps.
- You have to locate the visor’s mounting bracket before replacing it.
Screws are attached with the visor for holding it in place and you have to remove them.
- Now take a flat headed screw driver and gently take the screw out with it. While doing this, ensure that the plastic of the visor is not torn.
- Start unscrewing from the base of the visor with the screwdriver. Keep the screws in a specific place to avoid losing them.
- Once the screws are loosened, remove the visor from the base of the headliner. Give a gentle tug to remove the visor.
- Place the new visor in the same position, along with the screws.
- Place the screws in the same position from where they were removed. Start screwing it in the opposite direction and tighten the screw with the help of a screw driver.
That was the most simple technique for replacing a sun visor. The models vary according to brands and you should pick the right one for your car. For example, Ford’s sun visor differs from Honda’s and vice versa. Go for a good quality visor capable of providing maximum protection to your eyes while driving. Replacement Sun Visor, Charcoal, 72-86 Jeep CJ, Rugged Ridge Replacement Sun Visors, etc are some of the quality products. They are durable and have metal attachment rods for providing additional support. Make sure that it matches the interior of your car or else the beauty of your luxury vehicle can be marred.
Replacing Sun Visor for Autos
Sun visors are required not only for cars but also for auto rickshaws. The purpose of the sun shade is definitely the same. It protects the driver’s eyes and keeps the inside of the vehicle cool in sunny days. You can replace the visor with a handmade visor or purchase a new visor from automobile stores. The mechanics behind replacing an auto’s sun visor is same as that of a car. Here we have explained you the process of making a sun visor at home.
- You need a cardboard, paper, paint and knife to make a sunshade.
- Cut the cardboard in proper shape and cover it with the paper. Glue it to the cardboard or tape it.
- Now cut a notch on the top of the cardboard as wide as the rear view mirror.
- Tuck the sunshade or the sun visor under the mirror.
- If the edges bulge out, just trim off to the exact size.
- Now paint the sunshade with the colors of your choice and let it dry.
If you know these techniques, then you need not call a mechanic to get the sun visor replaced. Keep the tools in your garage and make use of them while replacing car parts.
An exhaust leak will always need immediate attention, for two reasons – it will reduce the performance of your car for one and the gas mileage of you vehicle. The other reason is a serious health risk to all passengers in the car, as the exhaust fumes that leak will seep inside too. The easier way would be to hire a mechanic. But if you have the right tools and/or are maybe stuck somewhere on a road trip far off, here are the guidelines on how to find and then fix the leak.
Tips on Fixing an Exhaust Leak
Finding the Leak
Knowing how to fix an exhaust leak is pointless if you don’t know where it actually is, or how to find one. This will take time, depending on the size of the leak. One problem you should know is, if the leakage point is small, it will get shut off after using the car for some time, as the heat will make the metal around the hole to expand. So if you think there’s a small leak that you just can’t find, start your search after the car cools down to normal temperature. Now, there are two ways you can search for it:
- The first one involves clogging your exhaust tail. Make sure you have your emergency brakes on. Then start your car up and gently accelerate. With the tail clogged, the fumes should try to escape from where the hole is. Ask someone to help you find out where the leak is as you accelerate. A larger hole should be found out soon enough.
- Another way to do this is to simply go under your car and look for the leak. Prominent places where leaks will occur are the joints, welds, and rusted areas of the pipe. The points will certainly have telltale signs like small patches of burnt-out paint, or have a buildup of black carbon from the fumes on them, so keep an eye out for such patches.
- Apart from these, always check your gasket and manifold. They are some of the first things to fault with age. Check for any cracks around them that happen with age or due to exposure to excessive heat.
Fixing the Exhaust Leak
Depending on the point of leak and the situation you repair the fault under, there can be several solutions on how to fix an exhaust leak. I have written what you can find helpful in your case.
- In case of gasket fault, the best solution would be to replace the gasket. Make it a habit to sand down the ends of the pipe when you replace the gasket. You can also use fine silver spray-paint over the replaced gasket. This will seal off whatever minuscule air escape routes there are.
- For faults in the pipe, there is a crude quick fix that will work for about 1 – 2 months, till you get your replacement done. Get a kit for fixing holes up. You’ll find a tube of high temperature-resistant putty or silicone in it. I would actually prefer JB weld, because silicone doesn’t seal as effectively as JB weld can. It can also create quite a stink if exposed to high temperatures for too long. If you have nothing else, slather the putty onto the hole to seal it up for a short time. If you can, get a tin sheet, curve it and add over the putty. Clamp the sheet to the pipe with the sealant in between, till the sealant dries up.
- If you do not have the putty, you can saw off the part of the pipe that the leak in a V-shape. Get two tin sheets and roll them up, one slightly smaller and the other slightly larger than the pipe diameter. Place the smaller roll on the inside of the sawed off pipe. Make sure that it fits perfectly in. Place the smaller roll on the outside. You need to clamp the outer sheet using exhaust clamps. To be sure, use a high temperature-resistant tape or muffler tape, and tape the sheet to the pipe. Tape around it as many times to ensure that it remains air-tight.
- For motorcycles, it is better to get new gaskets and clamps.
To be clear, all the mentioned solutions are only temporary. Most will last you for a maximum of 1 year or so, that too if you have done a good job in repairing it. Also know that while RTV silicone seems a good option, it lasts only till around 500 degrees, and will crack around the edges of the exhaust pipe after some time.