4 Big “Custom” Vehicle Paint Fails

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When you hear the word “custom,” it’s usually synonymous with stunning, quality, show-stopping—or at least it should be. However, “custom” really just means something that’s done especially for a person. And sometimes that can be a DIY disaster, customization compliments of a very subpar “professional” or a massive fail that has everyone looking for the wrong reasons. When it comes to a custom paint job for your ride, custom doesn’t necessarily guarantee high quality.

You want to make sure people are looking out of awe and envy. Paint jobs can go wrong—horribly, terribly wrong. Remember all the clichés like you get what you pay for, and always do your homework before trusting a body shop with your baby. Otherwise, you might end up with one of these duds and be the laughingstock of your neighborhood.

Now That’s Dedication

 

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LINK: https://burningman.org/culture/history/art-history/perspectives-on-playa-art/art-cars-on-the-playa/

“If nautical nonsense be something you wish,” well, then one particular car is probably right up your sandbank. Who knows why one owner was inspired to make an entire SpongeBob-themed car, but to each their own. On the other hand, it looked very much like a garage project that never saw the much-needed hand of a professional, complete with a marine colored-body covered in images of the stars and the crowning jewel or a green hood. However, if you’re feeling creative, that’s great—but there’s absolutely no reason for your car to suffer along with you.

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LINK: https://daisyjoe.wordpress.com/2009/08/21/custom-flame-painting/

Next up, one truck left some wondering if this is some kind of rig Firebird? An homage to a Tesla? Nope, it’s just a “regular rig” whose owner took the idea of flames a bit too literal and far. In reality, the paint job of one particular truck was pretty awesome and a skilled person obviously took to it. However, there’s no way to get around the blatant poor choice here. If the goal is to evoke panic, then this owner is successful—but if you don’t want to cry fire in a movie theater, you certainly don’t want to do it on the highway.

What Were They Thinking?

Don’t have a professional car paint on hand? No problem—just grab a sharpie and go to town (actually, stay home since those in town don’t deserve this visual assault). Sharpies can do a lot from spiffying up your black, scuffed up shoes to providing some touches to dark furniture with nicks. But when it comes to re-painting your car, depend on the best materials and the best experts for results you won’t be embarrassed by. You know how bad that middle school Sharpie manicure looked? It doesn’t look any better on a car.

 

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LINK: http://www.cargods.com/2011/04/21/serious-paint-job-fail/

 

Can’t decide between getting in your car or heading to a circus funhouse? You can have both with a monstrosity that’s part freak show, part vehicle and has a 100 percent laughable “paintjob.” A white sedan painted with black lines similar to tribal tattoos of the 90s, sadly it just might be possible that it was done at a body shop—which is further evidence that you need to read testimonials, check out photo galleries and make sure you’re trusting your vehicle to those who know what they’re doing (and have the photos to prove it). Otherwise, you might end up with a car fit for a fun house.

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LINK: http://www.nwkite.com/forums/t-22206.html

 

What you do with your ride is up to you, whether you want to pay homage to a cartoon or go overboard with a wacky design. No matter what you do, go for quality customization.

 

Badges – Truths and Fictions

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A car emblem is more formally called a badge, and it’s the tip of the spear when trying to communicate your brand to the auto-buying public. Car makers have used taglines and sometimes even the distinctive design of the car itself to help brand their cars. Long ago they could rely on that small figure on the hood to help, but those were deemed hazardous. Still, the badge is consistently the first insight members of the public get with a brand. Like all attempts at branding, it can be entirely misleading.

background-3276749_1920A number of people believe the BMW logo is based around a propeller. In actual fact, it was based on the Bavarian flag, which is also blue and white. Having looked at the Bavarian flag though I would say that the propeller theme is more obvious which might explain why so many sources on the internet continue this myth.

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BMW isn’t alone in this type of confusion. Look at Chevrolet’s badge for instance. It may have been based around the Swiss cross (but then again a “+” is such a common symbol) or it may have been inspired by a specific design of wallpaper.

Chrysler, however, has an obvious theme. The 1930’s gave birth to the age of the jet engine and Chrysler wanted to draw subtle connections.

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Audi’s four rings are based on the link of four companies, one of them being Audi, the other three being audi-1721126_1920DKW, Horch, and Wanderer.

If you are like me you haven’t heard of any of these companies but DKW or Dampf-Kraft Wagen was into creating steam-powered cars, so understandably was a thing of its time. Horch created a number of cars in Germany including the Cabriolet.

Wanderer made automobiles, but also vans, bikes, and even trucks. This is a four-ring emblem with lots of history.

ferrari-2151244_1920.jpgFerrari is based on one of the enduring Italian symbols of the prancing horse. Apparently, a fighter pilot had a horse emblazoned on his plane. It isn’t linked to Ferrari family though, they just happened to like the design. The idea that Ferraris have horsepower and so are represented by a horse doesn’t quite work; Italians don’t use the word horsepower to describe the force of a car.

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Mercedes had the idea of a three-pointed star to represent success in land, sea, and air, though nowadays most people have forgotten that they made boats and planes and just remember the manufacturer of cars.

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Despite seeming to be only three rotated diamonds the badge of Mitsubishi, in reality, relate to two Japanese families, namely the crest of Iwasaki and the crest of Yamanouchi, the former holds a shipping business, the latter the head of a great clan. Since both represent three objects; Iwasaki was chestnut leaves and Yamanouchi was oak leaves the symbol relates to them both.

car-3258541_1920The origin of Subaru’s stars is a bit obscure. There are five stars on the logo and there are six stars in the Pleiades which is a kind of sub-constellation found in the constellation of Taurus, which is what Subaru means in Japanese. It would make more sense to have the logo have nineteen the same number as Taurus, but maybe that would be too obvious? Also, nineteen stars wouldn’t make a good badge.

When Ferdinand Porsche broke away from VW, he chose the Coat of Arms of Stuttgart (where his company headquarters was located) and the flag of the Free Peoples of State of Wurttemberg to create one of the more interesting badges.

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Still, they help to sell quality brands of cars and that’s the main reason they are there. The histories are just an added bonus.

 

Car Hacks (Vlog 21): Smells part 2b

Well, this post is a little late. I confess it should have posted yesterday. We had a collaborative miscommunication combined with crazy schedules. But things are back on track.

Today Mike revisits car smells. We’ve actually addressed smells a few times, LOL, because it’s an issue that comes up (or should I say, comes out) often.

We’ve covered:

Now, Mike is going to cover, head on, the biggest source of smells in a car…your passengers.

The Sound of Silence

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This post was written by our overseas contributor, Paul. He’s from the U.K. so I’ve provided some interpretations for those of us in the U.S. Just having a go at you, Paul.

  • Indicators = Turn Signal
  • Windscreen = Windshield

The Sound of Silence

When you use a car all day every day you begin to recognize its individual sounds. The sound of the ignition starting up, the sound of the windscreen wipers, the sound of the indicators. When you hear a noise you don’t recognize you instantly get the feeling something is wrong. But stepping back a bit, why do cars make any noise at all?

We assume cars make a noise for the same reason jet airplanes make a noise–big engines are noisy. It’s all do with their mechanical nature. Despite the fact that many components in a car have become computerized, it is still really a mechanical object.

Internal combustion engines suck a fuel-air mixture into two or more chambers, and POW, there’s a series of explosion. Tiny explosions, sure, but it’s going to make a noise. That sound would actually be quite a bit louder except for the exhaust system which channels the exhaust and sound back along the bottom of your vehicle to dissipate it before dispersing it out to the world. Along the way, it goes through a muffler designed specifically to reduce the sound. (Except, of course, for the jerks that live behind my house, who’ve never heard of a muffler.)

But some noises are harder to place than others, the sound of rubber tires on the road is something we all recognize, but why do objects like the windscreen wipers and the indicators make the noise that they do?

Although they are performing mechanical functions, the circuitry performing these actions helps create a noise. In the case of the indicators, what we hear as a click is a circuit whose function is to cause the indicators to flash. This might not make much sense, as we encounter lights all day long which don’t make a noise, apart from some humming, but because the indicator is needed to flash, there needs to be a certain type of circuit here.

Why does a faster car make more noise? Well, when a car is accelerating its exhaust has to work harder. It’s quite complicated what is going on, but in layman’s terms, it is a mixture of axles, pistons, and transmissions which need to work harder in order to increase the speed. More work means more energy, which we hear as sound. This is also why the engine is more vocal when you start the car up, especially on cold days.

We tend to be more suspicious of the less mechanical noises, the thumps and the twangs, such as may happen when the tires rub against metal or something in the trunk hits the side of the car. It might be part of our survival instinct; no one wants to drive a vehicle which is a death trap. If there’s a problem it should be fixed. It doesn’t mean that everybody takes notices of these sounds, but many drivers feel it is part of maintaining a car properly.

One fun fact, new cars often come with long mileage tires which have very hard rubber. So they will make a lot more sound inside your car than the ones you put on later.

So what about a silent engine? Well, that can only be achieved by an electric car but they provide their own problems. Pedestrians are used to cars making a noise, so when they don’t hear a car they feel that no car is there. It makes sense, therefore, to add sound to the noise of the electric car. The only problem is that a selling point of an electric car was its smooth movement, its lack of noise. So you remove this if you add a different noise when the car is in motion.

For good or bad it seems that cars will be noisy for quite a time yet.

Are AV’s on hold? Should they be?

OP-ED by A. Bunch

There’s so much we could say on the topic. Actually, there’s a lot we have said on the topic. The opinion above is interesting and worth viewing.

I notice these city tests always take place in a special zone of a city that’s pretty straightforward. More than that, they’re also specially mapped. That means that they don’t just download the same navigation you or I do, they specifically vet the maps in that zone. This means even if AVs start taking over certain city zones, the outlying areas will still require human assistance.

Why is that? Because things happen that haven’t been specifically foreseen and accounted for by programmers. Will these zones be the challenging downtown areas with heavy pedestrian use that TNC (rideshare) drivers already hate to navigate? NO! Not at all. GPS is notorious for dropping when the signal is blocked by skyscrapers.

The goal of all automation should be to replace the types of routine work that people don’t like to do and therefore grow bored and unproductive at. But if humans will still be needed for rural areas and inner-city areas, what’s the point of automation?

Crash avoidance systems, automated braking, and automatic transmissions reduce driver fatigue but it seems like the challenge of replacing drivers entirely may not be worth the billions some folks are willing to spend to do it. Will automakers be able to train their machines to recognize a human in a crosswalk? I’m sure they will. Will it justify the money they’re spending? Only the future will tell.

Living in your car: Short or Long Term

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Legality:

The first question is, can you live in your car in your specific state? Whether you are permanently living in your car or just doing it temporarily for an economical grand adventure across the US it is always best to check.

There’s not a lot of agreement among experts, it seems. Perhaps one reason is that it’s hard to make a law against something like that. As much as many cities would like to prevent you from living in your car, what can they specifically ban to prevent it? Sleeping? Many drivers’ education programs told us to pull over if you’re getting tired and take a nap. Truck drivers are required to rest a certain number of hours after driving for 10 hours. Should a patrol car come around every hour and make sure they didn’t fall asleep? Sounds like a good use of tax dollars.

Wimsett_Living 2There are a number of cities in which it is illegal to sleep in your car. One example is Palo Alto, California. Those who get caught receive a $1000 fine and up to six months in jail. Even without these vagrancy laws, you could still get charged with indecency for changing in your car. Or you may become victim to the anti-loitering laws.

There’s a movement among cities to ban car living, and cities like Los Angelis banned decades ago, however, it’s a little difficult to tell someone they can’t use their property for a certain purpose. LA’s law was struck down as discriminatory against the income disadvantaged.

This article in compare.com contains a list of cities that have banned sleeping in your car and they point out that if you are intoxicated you can still be given a DUI even if you never started the vehicle up.

It seems many states are against you living in your car…States like Texas ban it unless at a state rest area. Some states ban it entirely but generally, you can get away with it, with a few caveats. According to AskDeb.com it’s considered suspicious behavior to be asleep in a car as you aren’t necessarily the owner of the vehicle. Police can awaken you and verify your identity; they can search your car and since many people choose to commit suicide in vehicles they can spend as long as they desire to determine your mental state. This can be so interruptive that you aren’t really getting sleep.

Where to Park if you’re not Sure:

For those who simply wish to live in their car while crossing the country, truck stops and rest areas are some of the best places to sleep. Perhaps the most commonly recommended places are Walmart’s or other big box stores, which are notoriously tolerant of overnight guests since they tend to wake up and buy groceries. If you do pick a parking lot the park under a street light. Here’s a list of Walmarts that allow it from allstay.com.

Natural/Federal land allows you to park 14 days out of any single month, as long as following guidelines. City parks are an option if they haven’t posted signs against it. Industrial parks, yachting marinas and so on might be good places to park.

The experts are split on the topic of camping along seldom traveled (blue) roads. Might depend on your personal aura—some of us project a natural sense shield that tells bad guys to stay away yet invites the police to come check us out. If you fall into that category then a rural road might work better than a neighborhood street. One caution about roadside campsites is that they’re often privately owned.

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Learn to spot good neighbourhoods—too upscale and you’ll stick out, too run-down and you’ll get swept up with someone else doing what you’re doing and making a mess of it. Look for a street that looks like you’re just parked there overnight while you’re visiting Uncle Fred.

 

 

Safety:

There’s no real way to guarantee safety. However here are some precautions to help you.

Window tinting is a must for three reasons:

  1. Police don’t notice you sleeping inside you won’t get hassled.
  2. If thugs don’t see you or piles of your belongings you’re less of a target.
  3. Neighbors are less likely to identify you as a vagrant if you don’t have mountains of trash and possessions in your car, which is easy to see without tinting.

According to a Reddit post on the topic which distilled several hours of Youtube video advice down to these points:

  • don’t park in the same spot twice in two weeks
  • Come at dark, (sleep, and nothing else) and leave at dawn
  • Never poop/shower/sleep etc where you sleep–take care of that before and after

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Under the Radar is the Best Policy:

Vans can be more spacious and worth the risk, but the rule of thumb is to avoid looking like you’re living in your car so you may want to choose a vehicle that doesn’t look like you could live in it. Still, adequate space is a must.

By that same token, a new car is less targeted by police and neighbors and less likely to break down on your trip. Breakdowns are more than simply annoying in your situation for bathroom reasons listed as you read on.

Use a sun guard in your front window instead of a tarp or blanket. Again the idea is to blend in but to prevent people from easily seeing in.

The ultimate under the radar is, again, not to do your toiletries where you’re going to sleep. Defecating in your car leads to needing to dispose of said waste and having that on hand is not something you can explain away when they police wrap on your window. Don’t get caught with your pants down.

What to Pack:

You will need a great amount of water, especially when crossing the desert. For practical purposes, you will need an emergency gas can with a couple of gallons of gas inside. Note that gas fumes can be more dangerous than your thinking if you’re asleep, so if you can smell gas put the can outside for the night. Better stolen than dead.

You will also need a fully working camera to record your journey. It is also well worth keeping a journal of your experiences.

Preparing for your Journey:

You may need to rent a private mailbox in order to receive your mail, or you might choose to use the residence of a friend or a relative as a postal address. You may need to put valuables in a safe deposit box in a bank—but never, EVER, put your will in safe deposit box (your executors can’t access it until its officially read. Catch 22 anyone?)

It is always a good idea to have personal ID close at hand, such as your driver’s license and personal insurance forms when the police want to see your details.

It’s a good idea to buy a steering lock and make sure your car’s steering wheel is locked as much as possible. If your car is really your home you don’t want it stolen from you any time soon.

In order to sleep you need a mattress and a blanket. Place your foodstuff in plastic containers when they won’t get smashed.

If you chose to sleep in your car it is my hope that you stay as safe as you can be. Hopefully, your life will pick up soon.

Budgeting Car Maintenance

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Cars require a lot of upkeep, and just like your own body the more TLC and preventative care that’s provided, the longer it will keep running. However, keeping up with the costs of car maintenance can be a challenge. This is especially true of many luxury cars and foreign-made cars in which parts might come at a high price. How can you enjoy the car of your dreams while making sure there’s money in the budget for routine maintenance?

Start by considering the upsides of different manufacturers. For example, BMW parts might be more expensive than Ford parts, but the manufacturer warranties and upkeep programs might more than make up for this disparity. Customer service is a cornerstone of every business, including car manufacturers. Make sure you read the fine print and know exactly what maintenance perks may be included.

Sage advice

You’ve probably heard countless times that oils needs to be changed every three months, but that’s not necessarily true. That’s what many mechanics may want you to believe, but it all depends on the make and model of the car. Read the owner’s manual in detail, because the company that makes the car has the best advice on care. Not all machines are created equally.automotive-1159508_1920

At the same time, consider dedicating a bank account solely to vehicle maintenance. Just like you put a certain amount of each paycheck towards savings, retirement, or a vacation fund, make sure you’re not caught by surprise in case a car emergency pops up. Something like a popped tire or clutch going out can cause big problems if you’re not prepared. Budgeting for big ticket items is always smart, and if you don’t need the funds, that’s just extra savings.

Do your research

Before buying a car, look beyond the fuel economy and safety ratings. What do owners say are the most common problems? How often is routine maintenance recommended, and will you be the one paying for it or will the manufacturer? Some vehicles are more demanding than others, and you need to compare those figures with your own maintenance budget (in other words, an old Delorean may be your dream car, but it’s also a financial black hole).

A fully functioning car isn’t just a convenience, but a requirement for many. It’s how you get to the office, escape to your weekend warrior activities and shuttle the kids to soccer games. Don’t skimp on maintenance; make sure you’re prepared and financially ready to take care of your freedom on wheels.

 

 

New Car Smell

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It’s one of life’s great mysteries, why the new car smell is so appealing. But what exactly is it?

Maybe the smell is just newness in general? If a car hasn’t been used it doesn’t have that “lived in” feel? It’s an unfamiliar situation which might be reacting with our noses? Okay, that’s not very scientific talk. So then – let’s get scientific.

You’d think it would be a simple question to answer, like “the leather” or “the paintwork” but the answer is a great deal more complex than that. Any salesperson will tell you that consumers are rational but not logical, which means we care about the features of the car like gas mileage, safety, and reliability but our decision is ultimately an emotional one.

Our five senses heavily influence our answers to questions like:
How does it run?
How does it look?
How does it feel?

We may not consciously be aware that we’re asking, “how does it smell?”

And ‘smell’ is the best description, right? It’s a pleasant odor, but not perfume. Its fresh like ozone more than sweet like air freshener. It can be hard to put your finger on, and one reason could be that it’s a complex cocktail of other odors.

 

 

So what does a new car smell of?

Well, it could remind you of a newly washed sweatshirt, a bath sponge or an escalator. This is because the most active ingredients are both polymers found in those two items; polyester (sweatshirt) and polyurethane (the sponge or an escalator). Not really connecting the two odors? As appealing as you may find the smell of sweatshirt/sponge/ escalator, there’s a big difference in intensity. Escalators are in big rooms and we’re not usually closely confined with our sweaters and sponges. The odor doesn’t collect and stagnate the way it does in a car. The complexity of the molecules in a car is greater too.

 

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The scent of polymers comes from something called “outgassing” or releasing their raw materials. Fortunately, vehicles are not as insulated as houses because continued exposure to polymers it can cause headaches or dizziness. Despite the innocuousness of these materials, compared to exhaust fumes or cigarette smoke it may also lead to lung cancer if you have too much exposure to these types of materials.

 

Some simple chemicals come into play as well, which don’t account for as much volume but due to their volatile state put our more scent.  And not all the chemicals are simple. A number of more complex ones include benzene and formaldehyde. Benzene is found in gasoline while formaldehyde is a disinfectant type substance.

Most likely the compelling odor comes from all these substances coming in “one big hit” which would be a happy accident for car sellers, at least at first. Used car dealers quickly adapted and the industry has managed to bottle the scent so they can spray it in any freshly cleaned vehicle to add that special zing.

While the bottled smell fades rapidly after purchase a truly new car smell is hard to remove quickly. If you are one of the folks who doesn’t enjoy the smell of a fresh new car, don’t bother trying to mask it with a car air freshener—they’re not up to the task. The best thing is just to avoid taking the car on too many long journeys and if you do take some long breaks park in the shade. Sun and warmth just exacerbate the problem.

So to sum up, the new car smell, while pleasant is only mostly harmless. The problem is of course that people generally like a new car smell and it’s one of the reasons people buy a new car. There has been some attempt to remove some of the more volatile substances but the actual smell won’t be going anywhere for a long time.