The GGA Project -- Day #311 "When Life Hands You Crappy Hubcaps..."

I love my Toyota Matrix.  It is practical and yet still manages to be a little sporty.  And although it's big enough that I can haul a whole lot of stuff in it, it gets great gas mileage.  It's the perfect car for moving the Monkey and I around.

I only have two complaints about it.  One is that while it's a lovely shade of black (probably would have been my first choice even if it weren't the only choice of used Matrix available on the lot where we bought it), that black body tends to show all of its dirt, beginning about, oh, 2 days after a washing.  I suppose it would help if I washed it more often, but I guess that's just not real high on my priority list.

My other complaint about my car has to do with what I believe must have been a design flaw.  One by one over the years, I have lost all the hubcaps off the wheels.  To be precise, three of them fell off on their own.  The fourth I kicked off myself when I realized how ridiculous it was to drive around with only one hubcap.

Perhaps you could say that this is something that just happens with cars, but the Matrix is not a very old model, and a disproportionate number of the Matrices I see on the road are missing hubcaps when compared to other newer model cars.  As you might imagine based on that last sentence, the missing Matrix hubcap question has become something of an obsession for me.

Anyway, back to my particular vehicle: While the pseudo-police car look that resulted from having plain black wheels was somewhat cool, the rust on them was really taking away from the whole aesthetic, wouldn't you say?:

When my cousins were here last weekend, JD mentioned that my car looked pretty good, except for the wheels.  When I asked for his advice about improving the situation, he suggested a good ole fashioned can of Rustoleum Satin Black.  Who new the answer would be in a $5 can of spraypaint?!

Today's New Activity: Aesthetic Auto Improvement

Once I had the can of paint in hand I decided I needed to get the job done that very day.  Lucky for me, my Dad was on hand, ready and willing to help out with the cause.  He told me to start with scrubbing the wheels, and while I was still doing that he emerged from the house and approached with a long metal rod that turned out to be a power washer (!).  I started using that to wash, and 40 seconds later he reappeared wheeling a compressor (!) behind him.

"What's that for?" I asked.

"That's to dry the wheels now," he said (like, duh).

I love the way my Dad works.  Sometimes it makes me crazy, the way my Dad works...so very methodical and German.  And I can never get away with doing a half-assed job when he's around (which is definitely my tendency with projects like this).  Well, maybe I could get away with it, but I wouldn't feel good about it, knowing he's there with 15 practical solutions to doing the job better.  But I love the way my Dad works in that I know if he's going to do something, he's going to do it right.  That means it may take longer, but it will be sturdy, reliable, nice to look at, will hold up, you know, all the things you would hope a built or fixed or in-any-way improved thing would do.

So it was that I ended up putting strips of plastic painting drop cloth behind the wheels (a tedious task meant to keep paint off the brake drums) and painter taping the edges of the wheels to keep the tires from getting sprayed.  Imagine that I wouldn't have done this if left to my own devices, and imagine how crappy the results would have been.

The actual painting I let my Dad take the reigns on.  He's just, well you know, better at getting things even and making it happen efficiently (German).  Check out the end product!  (this first one with the tape still on)

Now my only gripe is that the body paint and wheels look so nice and dark, I'ma hafta keep those tires perpetually Armor Alled if I hope to complete the look.

Part of me wishes I didn't care about this, but I really love that I have a car that I really love.  And I think one way to show you really do love something is to take care of it...you devote time to it, you make sure it has what it needs to perform at its best (and look good in the process), you tell it when it's getting rusty and help it do better.

Now for that pesky storage compartment door that won't stay closed...

1 comment:

  1. Okay, PLEASE come over and teach this trick to Tom. He has a fairly expensive (still unpaid-for) car that looks like a hobo lives inside. Your trick would improve the outer appearance 109%, but the interior would still look like the inside of a vacuum cleaner. UGH! ;>P