Mine (’16 Mazda 3): random faint rattle over rough pavement sounded like it came from the glovebox. I stuffed tissues around everything in there including my Fastrak tag, then took out front passenger door trim to double check everything. Pressed on plastic trim and vents everywhere up front. Thought it was the seat belt buckle so had them all strapped without passengers. No difference, so just lived with it for almost 3 years.
Turns out it was my sunglasses in the overhead holder even though it’s lined with felt…
The beater, the bucket, the hooptie. Whatever you call it, we all own one at some point in our lives. Well, at least we should. Beaters are character building. They’re like the first job you get that makes your parents say “See? Now you know why you should go to college.” But, unlike working at the local gas station overnight, your beater doesn’t have to be a completely terrible time. Here are some ways that I’ve made my driving experience better in my rusty Mazda 3.
This one is just obvious. If there’s something wrong with your car, get it fixed. Do things that prevent things from breaking (oil changes, brakes, fluids, etc). Your beater might not be pretty, but what it can be is reliable. Keeping your old battery just to have your car not start on a cold day is worth more in headache dollars than it is to get it tested (for free) and replacing it with your moms costco membership. That’s not to say that you have to pay more than your car’s worth to get the catalytic converter replaced. A beater is only worth driving if its easy on the wallet. Weigh your options.
An easy way to make your driving experience better in any car is to keep it clean. On the inside and the outside. I know your car is rusty and you don’t see the point, but take it to the local coin wash (where you clean it yourself) and give it a good wash and vacuum the inside. Take all the garbage out and give your dash a wipe down with a microfiber towel. If you keep your car clean, your passengers will notice and compliment it. And that’s the only thing you can get a compliment on with your beater. You’ll also enjoy that it’s clean and feel proud that you can actually take care of something. This also brings me to my next point.
Wax your windshield
This is a super easy way to make driving in the rain way less of a hassle. I hate driving in the rain because of the lack of visibility. Waxing your windshield will cause the rain to bead up and you won’t even need your wipers sometimes. It also just helps with the rainy day aesthetic because better visibility is safer and it will make you feel comfier. Also segues to my next point.
Get good wipers
If your wipers are crap, you’re in for a bad time. Bad wipers are loud, don’t do a good job and need replacing before you know it. Good wipers last long, saving you money in the long run and allowing you to be lazy. They also perform better as well, which in my case made me a wiper snob. Trust me on this one, you’ll never look back.
Again, this is more general for all cars, but put some decent tires on your car. I can understand that you probably won’t have the car for much longer, but if your tires are low tread and you drive with them, you’re an asshole who is doing a disservice to himself and those around him. Replace them with the best tires you can reasonably budget. It makes for less road noise and safer driving. Generally speaking, higher quality, brand name tires will last longer too.
Upgrade your sound system
Putting a way better sound system in your car is cheap and easy. If you care about how your car audio sounds, I highly recommend putting in a subwoofer to start. You can keep your stock stereo by using a line-out converter, making it non intrusive. A cheap subwoofer, amp and a decent wiring kit can be found used on craigslist/kijiji or your local pawn shop. Installing makes for an educational weekend day project. I learned a whole lot about audio and car electrics by installing a subwoofer (and subsequently a new stereo and upgraded speakers down the line) and you can too.
These are things that I’ve done for my car. I’ve always considered myself a frugal person and my car is a part of that. But, I’m still a car guy at heart, and I enjoy driving and tinkering now and again. How have you improved your beaters?
So, it’s 2 am right now. I woke up and went downstairs to get something to drink and noticed that my car’s roof was open in pouring rain.
15cm of water on the floor.
Seats and stuff are all leather.
The electronics still worked, the roof closed fine.
What can i do now?
So I just saw this video on YouTube. NSFW language. We’re famous!
We all know that this place isn’t all that good for actual advice, but since we’re such a large community and very frequently appear in Google and Reddit’s internal searches, other people don’t know that. A [Serious] tag would help fix that.
Good idea? Bad idea?