Switched out my License Plates

Yesterday I finally switched out my license plates from the California ones I had on my Honda Accord, to the Maryland ones I got from the MVA awhile ago. It was bit a sad for me, since I kind of liked having those CA plates on my car.  I guess it made me think of how nice CA is and how I want go back there.

The new redesigned MD plates are kind of fun though.  They have this red, white, and blue Star-Spangled Banner theme.

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.

I got my Title today!

I got my title today from the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA)!  This means I officially own my Honda Accord, one of the best cars ever made!  I am glad I got the title.  Who knows that the MVA could have forgotten or not done between when I went it to do my registration and now.

I visisted the MVA Today

$266.40 for a Title, Registration, & 2 Tags!

You might think an auto writer/blogger would be able to find some way around the terrible experience of going to the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA).  Unfortunately this is not the case.  I had to go to an MVA office today to get new Tags & a Title for my Honda Accord.  Here is the story of my experience.

I went late in the day, probably around 3pm.  Always a bad idea.  It is a better idea to go earlier in the day.  This is when people are just trying to make it afterwork or taking off early to go to the MVA.  Instead of going to Mondawmin Mall, where the Baltimore City MVA office was, I went to the new Hilltop Shopping Center office on Reisterstown Rd.  Apparently the Mondawmin office closed in May and they moved to the Hilltop location.

I waited in line for the information desk for about 20-30 minutes.  What I found strange is when I got up to the desk I told the lady, “I need to register my car and get Tags.”  I handed her the California title and inspection certificate, she took both and looked at the title like it was some weird document.  Without saying anything she went over and starting talking with the supervisor for 5 minutes.  I was thinking, “Really?  They don't see out-of-state titles?”  She came back to the desk and just said, “Fillout the information on the back as well.”

I took my ticket and sat down in the waiting area.  I started filling out the Title form and making sure I had everything set.  I realized I needed to go get the mileage from my car.  I thought I might not have time to do this… then I realized I was at the MVA.  There was plenty of time!

When I came back in from getting the mileage out of the car, I looked around at all the people in the MVA.  It didn't matter age, race, gender, whatever because everyone has the same exact look at the MVA!  “I just want to get out of here!”  Why won't this line move?”  “Why is it taking so long?”

Luckily I brought a book ‘Real Money' by Jim Cramer, but it is hard to read in there.  There is the automated voice that goes off every 20 seconds “Now serving C45 at number 12.”  After another 30+ minutes I finally got my number called.  You feel like jumping and up down when that happens.

I handed the lady my title, form, and bill of sale.  She was pretty helpful and nice.  She commented about my car, “Wow!  The mileage on this is really good!”  I told her the story of how I drove it across the country and that it was my Grandma's car.  “Oh so she just used it to drive to Church and the Grocery store?”  I replied “Yeah, pretty much!”  She told me her Grandma had a Mercedes that had very few miles on it too.  When I got out my credit card to pay I gave her my business card and said I was an auto journalist.  We talked about that for awhile and I told her about how I got a media pass to the Baltimore Grand Prix.  She seemed enthusiast about it and asked me some questions.

So I spent about 2 hours getting to the MVA office, waiting, waiting some more, and actually doing what I needed to do, before getting back to my house.  It cost $266.40 to register, get a title, and for 2 MD license plates.  Since I was smart enough to get a bill of sale stating the car was bought for $0 and therefore a gift, I was not charged 6% sales tax.  It would have more expensive if I did not have that.  Of course I still spent too much time there!

Why I Love Fixing Cars!

I Replaced These!

Two weeks ago I replaced the Valve Cover Gasket and Spark Plug Seals on my '96 Honda Accord.  I checked the spark plugs and saw that they had a good amount of oil on them.  It was clear the Seals needed to be replaced, but also it was obvious that the Valve Cover Gasket needed to be replaced because you could see it wasn't sealing properly anymore.

It was a simple job that only took a little over 1 hour & 30 minutes with basic hand tools.  After I had finished, I drove my car to make sure everything was working well.  I had an immense feeling of pride on that drive and after I had done it.  I was reminded of the reason I love fixing cars and other things.  Sure, you save money when you Do-It-Yourself, although that is not why I love fixing cars.  The pride came from the fact that I had taken something that needed to be fixed and I made it right again.  I had done it!  Not anyone else!  I was able to fix my own car.  It felt like I had conquered a mountain or crossed an ocean.  I had accomplished something that most people haven't done or will do.  That's what made it so special to me!