4/09/2011

DIY project - wheel center caps

In my post about my new car, Orangina, I listed some items that needed to be fixed or replaced. The tires were the most critical, since that's the only part of the car that actually touches the road. The tires that were on the car when I bought it were old, cracked and worn out. They had been on the car for way too long. Apparently the 2000 Miata has an odd tire size, 195/50/R15, because none of the four tire shops close to my house carried them or could even get them. Michelin makes an all season Exalto in that size, but they were out of stock. The Costco tire clerk suggested TireVan, a local mobile tire store. They come to you. It's a great business model and I couldn't be happier with the service I received. You order the tires and schedule installation from the website. It couldn't be easier. TireVan carried the Michelin's, which were pricey,  but also had a off brand, Maxxis, in the Miata's size which were much cheaper and actually rated better overall than the Michelins. After doing some internet research on Maxxis tires, I found that they are makers of bicycle and ATV tires and are apparently big in the drifting community. Everyone who owned them seemed happy with them. So I went with the cheap no-name brand tires. I can't tell the difference when I'm driving. Tires are tires.

The TireVan installation is a two man job. I was talking to one of them about the ugly, faded tan center caps. I told him I wanted to replace them so that they match the wheels like they did when the car was new. I had priced them on the internet, and they ran about $25-$35 each. He suggested spray painting the caps rather than buying new ones. What a brilliant idea! I wish I had thought of that. I went to Home Depot and bought a can of silver matte finish spray paint for $6. They turned out pretty good if you ask me. Damn near perfect match. See the "after" pic on the right. I forgot to take a "before" picture. If you look closely at this pic of the car taken a few days ago, you'll see the center caps are tan. So for very little money and time, I upgraded the aesthetics of the car. Now that's DIY!

My next DIY project is another item on the car that needs replacing - the antenna. A buddy of mine who is restoring a BMW wagon suggested I go to a junkyard for the antenna instead of buying new. Another great idea. Junkyards can be hit or miss. And there aren't "pull your own part" yards close to me, but there is one in Maryland. It's worth a shot.
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