Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Five Dollar Wax Job.

The rear door is underway, the front door shows an obvious film.
 Ian Cooper

The other day we were at Walmart buying hamburger meat and melatonin tablets, which we appear to be living on these days.

That and a little bit of beer, ladies and gentlemen, but the point is that we decided to treat ourselves to a five-buck spray bottle of Speed Wax.

Canadian Tire is right across the street if you want to pay more.

Where I live, I park under a tree and there's all kinds of birdshit on her most days. A coat of wax will make that easier to wash off next time.

This morning, we made sure to have all kinds of coinage and we took her to a high-pressure car wash, which takes three bucks and you kind of have to hustle along if you don’t want to be sticking more quarters in there before she’s done.

Next time, we;ll do the interior.
We don’t worry about hot wax in the spray booth. We start off with soap, go as quickly as we can and at the same time being thorough, especially along the sills, under the front and rear bumpers. Et cetera.

There’s no real need to wash the windows, and quite frankly I’ve always wondered about using hot wax on the car windows.

But they were clean enough and water appears to bead up on them pretty well. In fact I’ve been wondering how they did that as the car came from a used vehicle lot and them guys make a science out of cleaning cars if nothing else.

Once the car is fully blasted off, we quickly switch to rinse and then just try to get all the soap off before the machine stops. If we got an extra minute, we can do the wheel-wells and the rims and tires. Since this is prep for our next task, we were happy to be able to do that and all of a sudden there was that clunk and we had run out of money, hence water.


So then we took a little drive across town, letting her dry in the sun and the wind, avoiding dirt, gravel or sandy roads, obviously, and then we ended up at a nice little suburban park where they don’t have rails along the road. Some people are real idiots, and they’ll take great delight in driving the big 4 x 4s on public property, ripping it up for the sheer hellery of it as much as anything else. A lot of parks have curbs or rails or fences, is what we are saying.

Be that as it may, we took our five buck spray bottle and a bit of old terry-cloth towel, and started at the back. As soon as we began, it looked like it was going to work. The instructions call for micro-fibre towels, which basically means that it won’t leave lint. This is what the pro detailers would obviously use. I’m just some guy, and I also thought of that already.

She looks okay, ladies and gentlemen.
Basically, for that we have an old tea towel, which is not terry cloth and takes the lint off well enough. Once the car has been waxed, rubbed down as best one can with the sticky or dirty rag, we did the whole vehicle over again with  the clean cloth, noting any smudgy places and buffing them down as best we can.

When you’re down on the hands and knees, sure enough, there are a few places on the plastic bumpers that ain’t ever going to come up, but she’s an old car and she looks pretty good when we’re done. When you're buffing, you want to rub very lightly, pushing too hard just seems to smear it. Sometimes you wax over a water spot, and then you have to wet it with a bit of wax and clean her off again.

I honestly thought the car had mag wheels, it turns out these are simply fancy-schmancy chrome hubcaps. This wax did a nice job of cleaning and polishing those, and it saves us the cost of a proper alloy wheel cleaner anyways.

Other than that, we didn’t even vacuum the car, and there are water spots and a bit of film on the windows, which we obviously do not wax.

We have to admit we’re pleased with the results.

There is plenty left in the bottle—easily ninety percent, and the next time, we’ll find a cheap spray bottle of something to do the interior of the car. As a smoker, yeah—she tends to get a bit grubby fairly quickly. As a smoker, you want to do the inside of the windows pretty regular.

Other than that, she looks all right.




Friday, June 5, 2015

A New Ongoing Saga of My Car.

Ian Cooper

In several previous blog posts, I wrote about the ongoing saga of my car. At the time, it was a 2002 Dodge Neon.

She’s finally gone to the great big boneyard in the sky. Basically, I reckoned up the cost of a few repairs, and came to the conclusion that if you’re going to spend fifteen hundred bucks in repairs, you’re almost better off to find yourself a slightly newer piece of crap and start again.

A vehicle from a used car lot, one with an e-test and a safety check, might be a better option. 

I paid about $2,700 for the PT. The Neon only cost $1,900 at the time. I owned it for two years and nine months.

The Neon needed exhaust system work. The front tire bounced, as a belt had separated, and the front end needed an alignment. The thing even needed wiper blades…the power steering was out and so was the air conditioning.

What I did was to buy a Chrysler PT Cruiser, a 2004 model. It’s got a lot of miles on it, and yet the comparison was pretty stark: this one goes down the road straight, it’s clean, quiet, the air conditioning and power steering work. In fact it’s loaded up with all kinds of goodies, including a fairly nice stereo, a compass, external thermometer, cruise control, fog lamps even.

Seriously, it’s been decades since I had fog lamps.

The car has a five-speed manual gearbox. The power is adequate for what is more of a boulevard cruiser. The Neon had more power and better handling, but you can’t have everything, can you?

Besides, I’m getting a little older. It wouldn’t hurt to slow down a bit, drive like a little old lady and try not to, uh, drive this one into the ground.

A month after buying it, the thing died on me. The engine light came on, she started to bog and die on giving it throttle. The thing was to shift up into another gear, use torque, work it up to fifty kilometres an hour (at an idle or minimal throttle settings) and get her home.

That turned out to be the crankshaft position sensor. My mother has CAA and we got a free tow. The thing was fixed.

Imagine my surprise a day later. The car did virtually the same thing again. I barely got her home from half a mile away. We got another free tow—the value of that premium membership I guess.

That one turned out to be the camshaft position sensor.

I don’t know what to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, but at least we’re fixing something worth having.

It’s a used car. It’s got a lot of miles on it. I’m working from home these days, but reliability is still important.

Thinking of it as a kind of hobby, something to have a little fun with, might be the right attitude under such circumstances.

I still like the car, and it’s still a hell of a lot better than the old Neon.

So far, it hasn’t broken this week and that’s always good.


Hot-Rods and Free Hamburgers.

Ian Cooper

We stumbled onto a couple of free hamburgers today. As a bonus, there were a few hot-rods parked right there.

Most people have a phone with camera these days, but I never leave home without the Samsung ST-67 camera.

We got a free pen, too.

Nothing wrong with it, ladies and gentlemen.