Dont’ Buy Trico Flex Wiper Blades!

The other day I went to the auto parts store to pick-up some Trico Flex Wiper Blades I had purchased online for my Mom’s Chrysler van.  (I usually do this to save time and hassle.)  I assumed spending money on the frameless wipers, like the Trico Flex Wiper Blades, would be a good investment.  However, when I went to install one of the Trico Flex wipers on one side of the van, I noticed that it wouldn’t fit.  I thought for a minute I was doing something wrong and starting fuss with the wiper arm and the wiper blade.  This is when I noticed what the problem was.

The Trico Flex has the wiper attachment mechanism on one side of the wiper blade instead of being embedded in the into it the body, like most wipers.   This makes the Trice Flex line of wiper blades not usable for a lot of vehicles like my Mom’s van.  Talking with the girl at the auto parts store only confirmed this.  She told me when I returned the wiper blades, “Yeah, I need to exchange a lot of those because they won’t fit on customers vehicles.”  I returned the Tricos and got another frameless wiper for the other side.  It was kind of ridiculous and a waste of my time.  Wish I had taken a picture before I returned the blades so people could see what I am talking about.

Some stupid Trico engineer probably thought this was a smart move.  I am fairly sure he/she has never actually every installed wiper blades on a car though or they would have realized this serious design flaw.  Bottom line Don’t But Trico Flex wiper blades and save yourself hassle.

I recommend Bosch Icon frameless wipers and have them installed on my Honda Accord.  They are usually expensive, but worth the cost and investment since they last for quite a long time.  The set on my Accord have been installed for a year without a problem.

 

Floormats for my Honda

About 2 weeks ago I bought a set of floormats at Costco for my Accord.  I had been looking and searching for a good set of floormats but had not been able to find anything.  Every set I looked was thin rubber, or a good set with durable thick rubber was $40 or more.  Even the sets I would bought for $40 had odd designs.  It seemed for keeping dirt on the mat they would have been inadequate.  Also lots of floormats have carpeting.  Why do you need carpeting on a floormat?  Doesn’t make sense to me.  I checked Sears, Target, Wal-Mart, auto parts stores…everywhere!  All had floormats that would have worked, but not thick ones like I wanted for a reasonable price.

Costco’s set of floormats are great!  Thick, durable, and the brown-tan color blends in well with my Honda’s interior.  I expect to get a great use out of these mats especially with the bad and wet weather in Baltimore recently.

It was $15 for the set of 4 FloorMats, 2 for the front and 2 for the back.  If you want or need a set of floormats, I would recommend these from Costco.  They have been great for keeping my Honda’s carpeting from grime and dirt.  They will prove to be a good invest for a long time.

Going into the cold winter months, floormats are something that would be a wise item to get for your car.  Since a lot of people want to get more mileage out of their cars in this economy.  Obviously floormats won’t help your car run better, but will keep it looking fresh and cleaner for longer.

Notice I like to leave as much rubber material on the mats as possible, even for my small 96 Honda Accord.  That way they catch as much dirt and grime as possible, the whole point of the floormats.

How to Jump Start a Car

Today I had to go over to my brother’s apartment to help him get his Mazda3 started.  The culprit?  A dead battery!  It had been awhile since I had actually done a jumpstart with a car, since I usually use a “jumpbox” when a car has a dead battery.  It was a good refresher for my brother and me.

First thing you want to do is make sure the car with the good battery has sufficient gas.  My 96 Honda Accord had plenty of gas before going over to my brother’s.  Also you want to make sure you have jumper cables.  This is embarrassing to admit, especially since I have an auto blog, but I did not have jumper cables in my car.  I had to get a set out of another car before going over to my brother’s apartment.  I will buy jumper cables for my Accord though!  I promise!

When I got over to my brother’s apartment, I parked my Accord as close to his car as possible.  Obviously leave enough room for you to get between the cars.  Hook up the cables in this order:

  1. Red Positive Cable onto Positive Terminal to Dead Battery
  2. Attach the other Red Positive Cable onto Positive Terminal to Good Battery
  3. Black Negative Cable onto Negative Terminal of Good Battery
  4. Attach the other Black Negative Cable of the Engine Block, Alternator, or Some Ground
Here is a good picture on the jumper cable bag, if you feel my instruction don’t cut it!
How to Setup Jumper Cables!

After you have the cables hooked up start the car with the good battery and let it run for about 5-10 minutes.  It’s important to make sure the cables have a good connection or you will be wasting your time.  (I know this from experience, but got a reminder about it today.)  After letting you car run for awhile, therefore letting the good battery charge the dead battery, try to start the car with the dead battery.  If it starts, let it run with the other car with the good battery for 2 minutes.  If not, keep the car with the good battery running since the dead battery needs more time to charge.

Once you have the dead battery car running keep it running for awhile to let the alternator charge the battery, shut off the car with the good battery.  Remove the cables in the REVERSE of how you put them on.  Refer to the instructions above.  I would drive around the car that had the dead battery to bring up the charge.  It might even be good to head over to an auto parts store that will test your battery for free.  You could wait a day, drive it around, and then see if it gives you trouble.  Most likely if you do go to an auto parts store after having to jump it you will be told the voltage will be low.  My brother and I still did this today to see if what the voltage of the battery was.  I would recommend driving it around to give it a chance to bring the change back up.  If the battery has been giving you trouble and been dying on you a lot, I would recommend changing it, since that battery will only continue to give you trouble.

I hope this post helps people who do not know how to Jump-Start their car.

Jumper Cables

3M Headlight Restoration Kit Review

In my last post I suggested using Toothpaste to Restore Cloudy Headlights. It will work…. if you spend the whole day doing it!

To save yourself time and sanity I’d suggest buying a 3M Headlight Restoration Kit. These kits range in price from $15-20, and generally work well.  For restoring the headlights on my Mom’s ’97 Chrysler Town & Country I bought the 3M Headlight Restoration Kit. It took me about 4 hours to do it properly.  The process is basically what a body shop would do to restore and refinish headlights.  Except you use a drill and save a ton of money since you DIY!

Here are Pictures of the Before and After on my Mom’s ’97 Chrysler Van.

BEFORE
AFTER

I did this on March 6th, 2010. That was about 2 months ago, and the headlights still look pretty good. The headlights were so dim nobody wanted to drive the Town & Country at night, but now that’s not a problem.  (Well I don’t want to drive it because it’s van but that is obviously a separate issue.)

Restoring your headlights is extremely beneficial for your safety and other drivers out on the road.  Not only did this improve the appearance of the van, but the ability to see the road at night and in bad weather greatly improved and other people will be able to see the van better.

It’s possible the headlights will get cloudy again, meaning I might have to buy another headlight restoration kit and redo this.  If you want to avoid this in the future I would recommend going down to your local auto parts store and buying a UV clearcoat spray in a can.  Headlights that come from the factory have a UV clearcoat protection on them, which helps protect from UV damage and debris.  Generally when the UV clearcoat wears off is when you start to get cloudy, hazy, and yellowed headlights.

The 3M Headlight Restoration Kit doesn’t have any sort of clearcoat spray that comes with the kit.  Some kits, like the Slyvania Headlight Restoration Kit, come with a UV clearcoat application.  I should put a protective UV coating on the van’s headlights, to ensure I don’t need to refinish the headlights again.  I would recommend you do the same if buy the 3M kit.

Here are some tips for the 3M kit:

  • I was oversanding with the 600 grit sandpaper. The paper would gum up, before I realized it. It probably would have been helpful to wet the 600 grit paper a little bit every so often.
  • You get only 1 piece of 3000 grit sandpaper. It would have been helpful to have 2 pieces in my opinion. I did one headlight then I moved onto the other one, but by then the paper was used up. It took me forever to do the other headlight. I would suggest switching back and forth on each side if you are headlights are really cloudy, hazy, or yellowed.
  • You must Tape-up around your Headlights! I probably would have done a lot of damage to the paint if I didn’t! I just used blue Painters Tape you can buy at any local hardware store, which worked fine.
  • I would suggest using a Corded Drill, which is what I used. If you try to use a Battery Powered Drill, I’m sure the battery will run out before you finish and you will be waiting for the batteries to charge.
  • As the video says in the beginning you definitely should have a Spray Bottle and some microfiber towels.
I hope this helps people restore their own Headlights. If you have seriously cloudy, hazy, or yellowed headlights keep in mind the 3M kit probably will not work.  You might need to get them refinished and restored at a body shop.  However, it is worth it to at least try the 3M kit first since it’s not that expensive.  I’d imagine your headlights will still look a little bit better.
If you have any questions about using the kit please leave a comment below.