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Customizing YOUR CAR

Tool and Material Checklist:

  • Mud flaps 
  • Drill and bits
  • Air dam 
  • Level
  • Body molding 
  • Measuring tape
  • Rear spoiler 
  • Masking tape
  • Window louver 
  • Knife
  • Seat covers 
  • Punch
  • Phillips screwdrivers 
  • Pliers

There are countless accessories on the market that can help you to personalize your car and make it your own. Very often these accessories are more than cosmetic. While some are designed to protect and preserve the car, others offer increased performance and improved fuel efficiency. Your choice of custom parts will depend on what you want out of your car. This booklet is designed to get you started by offering a few ideas.

MUD FLAPS

Mud flaps are installed behind the tires on all four fenders and protect the lower car body from water, mud, and stones thrown back by the tires. They are available in a variety of colors and designs.

1. Mud flap clips and screws must be pre-assembled. Slip a screw into the slot on each clip. Be sure that each screw head slot is in line with the tab on the clip.

2. Hold the flap on the fender and adjust it for the best protection and appearance. Make sure the bottom of the flap is parallel to the ground.

3. Mark the flap's position on the fender flange.

4. With the flap still in position, determine the best location for two clips on the fender flange and mark the positions on the flange.

5. Use pliers to pull the two clips over the fender flange at the positions marked. Be sure the threaded stud is facing the tire.

6. While holding the flap in position against the threaded stud on the clips, hit the back of the flap. The screws will leave impressions on the flap; this is where the holes are to be drilled.

7. Drill both holes in the flap.

8. Install the flap on the threaded studs. Secure it with two acorn nuts.

9. Repeat the procedure to install the other three flaps.

AIR DAMS

Air dams are designed to improve a car's fuel efficiency and handling. They can Improve fuel mileage by nearly 10% while decreasing front-end lift by more than 50%. Air dams are available for nearly every sporty car, and installing them is a simple process that requires only a few common tools. Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

1. If necessary, use a socket wrench to remove the original equipment air dam and towing hook.

2. Position the new air dam in place, making sure it is level with the ground. This requires three people: two to hold up the air dam and a third to observe it. If only two people are available, use a level. NOTE: When using a level for this operation, make sure the tire pressure is the same on both sides of the car. A bad shock could also offset the level reading.

3. Drill the appropriate holes. NOTE: Be sure to wear safety glasses or goggles when using a drill or other power tool.

4. Bolt the air dam into place. The addition of an air dam makes the front end of the car lower. Because of this, it is best to back the car into parking spaces to avoid scraping the air dam on the curb. Although the air dam has a small degree of flexibility so that it can bounce back when bumped, it can still be knocked off when hit with enough of an impact.

SPOILER

A spoiler offers styling distinction and improved aerodynamics. Mounted on the rear deck of the car, spoilers also create down pressure on the rear wheels and thus increase traction. Again, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.

1. Clean the trunk lid thoroughly.

2. Place the spoiler in its correct position.

3. Mark the screw holes in the spoiler on the trunk.

4. Remove the spoiler and center punch the marks.

5. Drill a 1/8" hole at each mark.

6. Peel off the protective backing from the adhesive pads on the bottom of the spoiler.

7. Place the spoiler on the trunk and attach it to the trunk lid with self-tapping screws.

8. Push the screw cover plugs into the holes over the screws.

BODY MOLDING

Self-adhering body molding both protects and beautifies your car. To insure firm adhesion, the molding should be applied at temperatures above 65 F (18 C); a heat gun or hair dryer can be used to heat the vehicle's surface and the molding to promote a better bond. Any freshly painted surface should be allowed to set for at least 60 hours before body molding is applied.

1. Measure the length of the vehicle to determine how much molding will be required for the application.

2. Clean the application area thoroughly with an appropriate solvent, removing all road film, wax, and other contaminants. A clean surface is essential if there is to be a firm bond between the molding and the vehicle surface.

3. Allow the surface to dry completely.

4. Determine the point at which the vehicle side sticks out the farthest by holding a yardstick perpendicular to the ground. Be sure the vehicle is parked on a level surface.

5. Use masking tape to mark this point at several spots along the side panel.

6. Using the marks as a guide, stretch a strip of tape along the vehicle side. The lower edge of the tape will serve as a guide for the upper edge of the molding.

7. Using a sharp knife or pruning shears, bevel cut the molding at a 45 angle for each section. Allow for a 1/8' space between the end of the molding and the edge of the panel.

8. Carefully remove the protective backing paper as you apply the molding. With the lower masking tape edge as a guide, apply the molding slowly; use light pressure against the vehicle.

9. Once the application is complete, reapply pressure along the entire length of the molding to assure a firm bond.

10. Repeat the process on the other side of the vehicle.

11. Do not wash or otherwise disturb the surface for 24 hours.

WINDOW LOUVERS

Enhancing the lines of a vehicle is only one benefit offered by a window louver. It also shields the passengers from the sun's rays and keeps the interior up to 30% cooler. And because it protects the rear window from obscuring dust buildup, a louver also helps maintain a clear rear view. Some louvers are designed with sufficient clearance for rear wipers and/or a third rear light; others lift out for easy window cleaning. Side louvers are also available for added privacy. Louvers are simple to install; some do not even require drilling or screwing.

The following instructions are general; follow the manufacturer's directions for specifics.

1. Temporarily attach the fittings to the louver.

2. Position the louver so that it is squarely aligned with the window.

3. Note the location of the fittings by marking the molding lightly.

4. Remove the louver from the window and the fittings from the louver.

5. Clean the window thoroughly.

6. Install the fittings under the molding. A screwdriver might be needed to lift up the molding and slide in the fitting. Do not remove the backing from the double-stick tape yet.

7. Temporarily reposition the louver on the fittings and recheck to make sure the louver is centered and the fittings are positioned properly.

8. Install any other installation clips.

9. Remove the louver. If any additional installation clips have been installed, spring the louver inward out of the side clips.

10. Gently lift the fittings, remove the backing from the tape, and press the fittings firmly into place. Be careful not to change the position of the fittings during this step.

11. Reinstall the louver.

INTERIOR REAR WINDOW SUN LOUVERS

This type of louver is affixed to the inside of the rear window. It is easily installed and removed and can be adjusted to fit any size car. But be fore- warned: This louver design is not compatible with liftbacks or hatchbacks.

1. Adjust the retainers to a height that secures them inside the window frame.

2. Stretch the aluminum slats to a length appropriate for the rear window.

3. Place the aluminum slats into the retainers.

4. Adjust the louver to the desired angle.

SEAT COVERS

Fitted seat covers provide both protection and restoration. Materials used for seat covers include nylon, polyester, herculon, vinyl, cotton or terry cloth, acrylic, and sheepskin. Although it is the most expensive, sheepskin is the preferred material for many reasons:

  • Ease of installation
  • Rich, elegant interior
  • Superior protection
  • Warm in winter
  • Cool In summer
  • Fireproof -
  • Easy maintenance

Sheepskin covers are available in two general styles: plates and fitted. Plates cover the seat surface only and are held in place by elastic straps. Fitted covers have a stretch acrylic sewn to the genuine skin on the seating surface, Since they provide complete coverage of the top and bottom of the seat, they are more attractive than plates but are also more expensive.

To install fitted seat covers, first read the package instructions, then proceed as follows:

1. If applicable, remove the adjustable headrest from the seat.

2. Slip the cover over the top of the seat, much like a pillowcase.

3. Cover the seat bottom and smooth the sheepskin into place.

4. Thread the elastic straps at the back of the covers between the top and bottom cushions of the seat.

5. Secure the straps around the seat's anchoring hardware using the clips at the end of each strap.

6. Make a slit in the top of the sheepskin to accommodate the headrest.

7. Reinstall the headrest through the slit in the cover.

 

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