DoorShox Car Door Protection Made Easy

One of the most annoying things for any car owner is coming out to your car in a parking lot and noticing a freshly minted dent or ding on your door. You look around because you know that wasn't there before you went into the store. Well if you are tired of this happening than I have a good solution for you, it's called a DoorShox.

What is a DoorShox? If the picture doesn't make it clear, essentially the DoorShox is a device that helps you keep unwanted dings, scratches, and knicks from affecting your precious paint on your car doors. At first the DoorShox sounds a little too good to be true. However having used the Standard and Valet DoorShox models I can you tell you that the DoorShox is actually a well designed automotive product.

The DoorShox sticks to your car door with magnets. This allows it to stick securely to your car doors but makes taking them off a cinch. The DoorShox magnets are covered in silicone to prevent scratching your car paint.

doorshox
DoorShox Magnet

With the silicone covered magnets this means the DoorShox can work on virtually any car or any car door. That is unless you have plastic car doors, in which case I would recommend you find some new wheels.

The first thing that struck me when I took the standard DoorShox out of the box and placed it onto my car was how well it is made. The rubber material is strong, yet flexible which helps absorb impacts from reckless and annoying opening car doors, should there happen to be any. I even asked someone who was curios about what I was putting onto my car to open their car door onto mine.  It worked flawlessly.  As well the security cable holding the two DoorShox pieces on the standard model is also quite thick and sturdy.  I even left the DoorShox on my car in the rain and it didn't move.

What's the market for the DoorShox? Well, anyone with a car that has doors. I at least hope your car has doors! 🙂

The DoorShox would be useful for instance if you are leasing a car, which is not a good idea. This is because when you go to turn in a leased vehicle the dealership goes over the the leased car with a fine tooth comb. They try to find any dent, ding, or scratch or other imperfection on the car they car charge you for. It's the nature of the leasing business. With the DoorShox you would have some reassurance that at least door dings wouldn't be a problem. Other areas and parts of your car you might need to be a little more careful.

I would also recommend the DoorShox if you know anyone that keeps getting their car doors dinged.  It would make an excellent Christmas or holiday gift for a gearhead or auto enthusiast.

The DoorShox is made by made by the same people that make the BumpShox, a bumper protection device which I have also used and tested.  You can checkout my review of the BumpShox.

You can buy the DoorShox directly from the website if you want to stop your door dings.  The Valet DoorShox is $70 and Standard DoorShox is $120 which might sound expensive until you get a body shop estimate.  You can also order the Standard DoorShox and Valet DoorShox from Amazon if you feel more comfortable.

 

Sylvania SilverStar zXe’s, The Best Headlight Bulbs

Slyvania SilverStar zXe
Slyvania SilverStar zXe

As the days are getting shorter with winter upon us, I am sure you are using your headlights more. Inevitably one of your headlight bulbs is going to burn out or be on it's last legs, putting you in the market for new headlights. When you take a trip down to the auto parts store you should consider upgrading to some better bulbs, like the Sylvania Silverstar zXe's.

Sylvania was nice enough to send me a set of zXe's for my 96′ Honda Accord. Some fans of Adam's Auto Advice might remember I also wrote a review of the Slyvania SilverStar Ultras.  (Also see my review of the Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit.)  After using the zXe's I wouldn't bother with the Ultras because the zXe's are hands-down better.

This was made obvious one night while driving to a friend's house in Northern Baltimore county. The roads to his house are small, twisty, and lack streetlights where walls of trees line the side of the roads. This forced me to rely on the zXe's. With the brights on, they effortlessly lit the way for my Honda Accord. I had driven this same route with the SilverStar Ultras which were great, but definitely not nearly as good as the zXe's. The dark roads were simply no match for the light that the zXe's produced.

Another night, driving home on a dark Baltimore city street, I noticed two people walking in the middle of the street. I mean they were literally walking in the middle of the street! I braked and swerved around them honking. Luckily I saw them far before an accident would have occurred, but I am pretty sure I wouldn't have seen them as early without the zXe's.

Also, when driving in rain or bad weather, the zXe's shine. They are particularly useful at night when it is raining.

What makes the zXe's superior is fullness of the white light and the intensity. Some headlight bulbs provide a wide lighting area but the light diminishes around the edges, reducing their effectiveness. This doesn't happen with the zXe's crisp illumination.

“SilverStar zXe headlights use a proprietary cobalt blue coating combined with xenon halogen gas technology to generate a color temperature that rivals HID.” according to the description on Sylvania's website. Part of the appeal of the zXe's for auto enthusiasts and tuners is they mimic High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlight housings without the expense and hassle of installation. A big advantage to the zXe's is they are 100% legal and Department of Transportation (DOT) approved so you don't need to worry about running into any legal trouble. Sylvania hopes you will consider these before buying a set of HID's. While the zXe's did slightly improve the look of my Honda Accord with slicker lights, I am not sure the zXe's are a true replacement for the overall look of HID headlights. This is strictly my opinion though, maybe they look better on other cars.

One complaint I have read about the zXe's is that they do not last as long as regular bulbs. Slyvania doesn't really advertise it in big bold letters but on the box it does say, “Slyvania SilverStar zXe lamps are engineered to achieve the highest performance possible, which results in product life that is less than standard lamps.” So they are not trying to hide this or mislead Sylvania customers. It states this limitation clearly and it might be something to be aware of before purchasing them.  I have been using my zXe's for a number of months and haven't noticed that the light has diminished or had a bulb burn out though.  If they do I will let people know.

Once you use Slyvania's zXe's you will most likely not care about what the box says. It would be hard to go back to using any other type of bulb for your headlights. They are better and brighter then anything I have ever used and if you buy a set, I am pretty sure you will be happy with that choice.

BumpShox Protects Front Bumpers from Bad Drivers

BumpShox, Front Bumper Protection!

Do you hate it when bad drivers hit your bumper? Sooo annoying… especially if it's a brand new car!

BumpShox might be your solution. The BumpShox bumper protector is a relatively new foam-based automotive product that looks like a big oversized license plate holder (well it is), but it is a bumper protector. It fits in place of any standard license plate and can be installed easily on virtually any car.

I have been testing the BumpShox for awhile, on several vehicles. I liked using the BumpShox on all of our cars (a 2002 Toyota Camry, 1996 Honda Accord.) Not that it really adds to the look of the Camry or Accord, but it sure is a conversation starter when people notice it, point, and ask “Hey, what's that?”

However, one of the points of the The BumpShox is it's unobtrusive, small, and does not detract too much from the look of the car, at least when compared to other bumper protectors. Typically other bumper protectors or bumper guards will cover the whole bumper and are pretty damn ugly. What's the point of owning a Mustang if you can't enjoy the beautiful lines?

For the most part the BumpShox is not that noticeable. Once you get used to it, it's sort of a fun little addition to your car.

On one of my roadtrips, I parked my Accord in a large parking lot with a few cars. You would assume there was little use for a BumpShox in this situation. When I came out of the store, to my surprise someone had parked a tad to close to my car! The BumpShox was cushioning my car's bumper against a hideous Dodge Caliber.  (Who drives a Caliber anyway?)  I was quite pleased with this and the BumpShox saved me a a weekend of DIY bodywork, which probably would have come out with bad results.

So for protecting your front bumper against stupid and bad drivers, even in large parking lots, the BumpShox can work well.

Where the BumpShox supposedly really shines is in tight parallel parking spaces in cities. The only issue is that it is only going to protect your bumper when you are in the space or parking and moving forward to reposition your car.

Because the BumpShox is unobtrusive and small it won't protect the majority of your bumper at various angles when parking. Only slow front end taps will the foam cushion work.

For complete bumper protection, the BumpShox is not necessarily ideal. Of course larger bumper protectors that cover your whole bumper cost $150+. That's a lot to shell out! If you are tired of having bad drivers hit your beautiful bumper, the $35 bucks it costs to buy a BumpShox is probably a good investment. If you want to buy two, it will cost $60.

I can't guarantee that the BumpShox will work in all situations. For light front-end taps and bumper protection from bad drivers who can't park, even in a large parking lot, it did it's job well on my Accord. That's good enough for me! 🙂

Sylvania Silverstar Ultras Make The Road Bright & Visible

You get into your car after a long day at work. The sun set long ago and it's dark out so you get in, put on your seatbelt (right?), then turn on your headlights. Lights…what lights? You can hardly see anything in front of you!

If you find yourself in this situation with your headlights, I recommend replacing the bulbs asap. If you are going to be replacing your headlights anyway, why not upgrade to some really bright Sylvania Silverstar Ultras?

I have been using a set of Sylvania Silverstar Ultras (#9006) in my Honda Accord for the past few weeks, and I got to say, “Wow!” having a brighter set of bulbs in your car makes a big difference while driving at night.

After driving around for awhile with such awesome and bright headlights, you tend to forget the dimness of the old bulbs. For comparison sake and for this review, I decided to put one of my old lightbulbs back in my headlights and drive my Honda Accord around. The difference between the Silverstar Ultras and my old bulbs would be much more visible side-by-side.

It was a bit hard to get a good picture at night (even with my Canon Rebel), but the difference is clear and incredible!

Bright!

You can see how the Silverstar Ultras fill out the headlight more, while the old bulb just doesn't cut it.  Honestly the one Silverstar Ultra bulb lights up the road well and compensates somewhat for the old bulb's lack of brightness.  The Silverstar Ultras were bright enough for to me realize my lights were out of alignment too.  (That was nothing that a screwdriver and a bit of patience couldn't fix.)

The only problem I have read about with these Sylvania Silverstar Ultras is a lot of people complain that they don't last long.  If you look on the back of the packaging there is a graphic that shows the Sylvania Silverstar Ultras are indeed bright, but show their life is much shorter.  Also “SYLVANIA Silverstar Ultra lamps are engineered to achieve the highest performance possible, which results in product life that is less than standard lamps.” is also printed on the back of the packaging.

That doesn't really bother me as I would rather replace really bright bulbs more often, than drive with bulbs that don't light up the road well at all.  So far I have experienced no issues with the bulbs deteriorating in brightness or going out prematurely.

The Silverstar Ultra packaging does claim to improve your forward visibility by 40% and side visibility by 50%. I think those claims are a bit lofty. After making proper adjustments, my guesstimate would be that Silverstar Ultras improve forward visibility by 30%-25% and maybe 30% on the sides.

Of course there is no easy way for me to truly measure or test my guesstimated numbers.  Getting out a measuring tape was futile!

The brightness of the bulbs makes for a much more enjoyable and safe night driving experience though.  The light that the Sylvania Silverstar Ultras bulbs puts out is much more focused, clear, and full then what I had before which was terrible.

Results can vary depending upon the condition of your headlights. If you have cloudy or yellowed headlights, getting a set of Silverstar Ultras bulbs will not improve visibility too much. The best thing for you to do is buy a headlight restoration kit and spend an afternoon restoring them to a clear and visible condition.  Then buy new bulbs if they are not good.

Bottom line, I used to dread having to drive my Accord at night or in bad weather because I thought I would hit another car, person, or object. Now it's not as much of a problem with the Sylvania Silverstar Ultras installed.

Meguiar’s Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer Review

Car sales in 2012 are estimated to expand, which is great for all automakers. However, many owners are keeping their cars longer than every before. Hey, buying a new car is pretty dam expensive, and you need to buy a new washing machine and dryer before you can buy a new car. (Unfortunately those not so fun purchases just wiped out your new car budget.  Sorry to hear that buddy!)

The thing is your trusty reliable car, while you love it and have no plans to get rid of it, is showing some wear and tear and age. One clear way you know when a car is aging is when the plastic fading.  What are you supposed to do?  Well, Meguiar's has a great product which might help with this, Meguiar's Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer.

Basically Meguiar's Ultimate Black does what you think it does, restore plastic. Black plastic is on most cars, whether it be our Camry with a black interior or my Honda Accord with a beige interior, usually has some black.  So this product is fairly universal and applicable on most vehicles.

I used the Plastic Restorer on my Honda Accord, and I got to say, “Wow!” it looked great! I couldn't believe the results actually.  To be honest, it worked a lot better than I thought it would.  It really helped make my car look better, and not show it's age as much.  Meguiar's Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer worked so well, before I knew what I started doing as many plastic parts of the car as I could.

After I was done, and it dried a bit I noticed the effect of the plastic restorer had worn off a bit. I checked the instructions and saw it said sometimes a few coats are needed. So after letting the first coat dry for day or two, I reapplied a coat, let it dry, then did it again.

Check out my before and after pictures, where there is 3 coats on the plastic.  What do you think?

Bottom line… it might be hard to see in some of the pictures, but yes, Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer works.  You can see that I even used it on some dried up wax that was on my license plate holder.  (That is what the white spot is, probably should have been more careful.)  It didn't mask it completely, but did a good job of blackening up the plastic enough so you don't quite see it as much now.  My only complaint of Meguiar's Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer, I used up the bottle to quickly!

[schema type=”review” url=”AdamsAutoAdvice.com” name=”Meguiar's Ultimate Black Plastic Restorer Review” description=”I review Meguiar's Ultimate Black plastic restorer which brings faded black plastic back to looking like new. ” rev_name=”Meguiar's Ultimate Black ” author=”Adam Yamada-Hanff” pubdate=”2012-01-16″ user_review=”3.5″ min_review=”0″ max_review=”5″ ]

If you have any questions about this product, please leave a comment below.

Actron PocketPlus Scanner Review

Probably the first thing you will notice about the PocketPlus scanner is it's diminutive size.  This is the smallest scanner I have ever used.  This is actually a plus for many reasons.  It's very easy to store anywhere, which allows you to take it along with you to a friend's house or maybe just store in your vehicle.  It was always easy to find a drawer or place to put the scanner.  The size also makes it easy to handle and use when connecting to vehicles.  I found myself using it often, because it was in my pocket a lot.  I guess it is called a “PocketPlus!”  Additionally it is simple an easy to use for almost anyone.  Novice mechanics can use it easily.

What are my complaints about the scanner?  They were quite a number of codes I was able to pull from the PocketPlus, but it gave no definition.  So you will need to check what some codes mean yourself.  This is expected on a lot of scanners in this price range .  Overall when compared to more expensive diagnostic scan tools and scanners the PocketPlus did well.  It read the same codes and gave the same information in a lot of cases.  More expensive diagnostic scan tools allow for more analysis and will usually always read the codes, but they are more expensive.  Also opening the packaging was quite difficult.  This is a common problem with lots of products, but it really annoys me.  Why can't companies make product packaging easier to open?  I guess this is just nitpicking.

The scanner actually saved me the other day, big time!  I went over to a friend's house to work on some cars, while also doing some exhaust work on my Mom's van, which was all fine.  Unfortunately while driving home the “Check Engine Light” came on.  I decided to try to ignore it until I got home, thinking it was probably nothing.  Well after driving down the highway for only a short period of time, the van had no power, was making a load cracking sounds, was not accelerating, and the engine and whole van felt like it was pulsating.  I thought about what was going on with the car and whether to stop and get it towed.  I then realized I had the PockerPlus Scanner in my bag!  Probably the only scanner I would have taken along because of it's size and usefulness.  Luckily there was a rest stop to get off the highway.  I wiped out the PocketPlus scanner and hooked it up.  It read three codes, P0300 Randon Multiple Cylinder Misfire, P0304 #4 Cylinder Misfire, and P0302 #2 Cylinder Misfire.  Since it was late at night and I was unsure if the van was going to make it back to my house, I decided to head back to my friend's house which was closer.  We concluded that the spark plugs and wires could be the issue.  I stayed the night and we changed them in morning, which alleviated the issue a lot.  After some Fuel Injector Cleaner it was virtually fine with no misfiring.   Getting the codes with the PocketPlus scanner was easy, changing the spark plugs could not have been harder.  Chrysler could not have it made it any more difficult to change spark plugs on these vans!   I was really glad to have the scanner handy as it saved any added damage to the van.

What's there to say about The Actron PocketPlus Scanner?  Reviewing the PocketPlus scanner was a pleasure and actually saved me in a difficult situation.  Overall I like it and feel it performs it's job well.  For a scanner under the $50 range it is ideal for a DIY mechanic or home mechanic.

PROS

  • Small
  • Easy to store & handle
  • Simple to use
  • Helped a blogger in a difficult situation!

CONS

  • Will not read some codes
  • Does not give definitions for some codes

Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit Review

Today I used the Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit on my friend Brandon's Chevy Venture van.  (It was actually his Mom's van.)  The van has about 230,000 miles on it, making it a good vehicle to test the kit on.   Of course the headlights already had a lens restoration done on them 1 year ago.  Still that restoration has worn off and left the headlights in bad shape again.  You can see in the pictures below they are still cloudy and hazy.  Cloudy headlights reduce your ability to see clearly when you have your lights on a night and makes it more difficult for other drivers to see you as well.  Having cloudy headlights is really a safety issue and not just an appearance annoyance.  I would keep this in mind if you have a vehicle that has hazy, cloudy, or yellowed headlights.

Overall the Sylvania kit took me around 1 hour and 30 minutes to use.  I give it a “Good” rating as there are improvements that could be made.  The kit should have included an extra sheet of 600 grit sandpaper.  If you have large headlights that are are seriously cloudy you might need to do more sanding than suggested, for instance the right-hand headlight needed more work.  (I timed doing each side evenly from the instructions.)  For the Venture the amount of sandpaper was adequate, but as the instructions stated you do need to cut the paper in half to make sure you have enough for doing each headlight.  The instructions could have been printed on slightly sturdier paper and been a bit larger.  I found it difficult to read the tiny print while doing the restoration.  What did I like about the kit?  Compared to the 3M kit I tested on my own Mom's Van about 1 year ago, the Sylvania kit has a UV Clearcoat.  As far as I know Sylvania is the only company that sells these kits with a UV Clearcoat.  This is important as this is what will protect your headlights from getting cloudy and hazy again.  The Slyvania kit might last longer because of the UV Clearcoat.  Only time will tell!  The 3M kit did come out better when I used it because that uses a drill.  The Slyvania kit you do by hand, but it worked well and did not take nearly as long as I thought.

Brandon and I were pleased with how the Sylvania Headlight Restoration Kit worked and felt it was definitely worth the time to do it.  Would I recommend it… yes I would.  Why?  Simply because of the UV Clearcoat.  If your headlights were seriously cloudy, yellowed, or hazy… I might recommend another kit though as I do not see doing it by hand would work.  Overall we both were pleased.  It definitely will help Brandon and his family drive safely in the van.

If you are interested in buying a kit, they retail for $20 and are sold in most auto parts stores.

BEFORE
AFTER
AFTER

 

 

 

sylvania