Sometimes you have to show your work, Auto Interior Customization
The proof is in how the customer feels after they have taken the leap forward to improve their ride.
We believe in the materials and craftsmanship that goes into every vehicle at DickandRicks.com.
Today, we let the pictures do the talking.
If you need more proof, head on over to the owner's site to look at the whole process from first find, to some serious 'smiles' at projects end.
DUI Ignition Interlock | Sometimes the unfortunate happens and you get a DUI,
this may lead down the path of getting an ignition interlock installed in your car. Things are bad enough here is a couple of things to consider to keep things from getting worse.
- You need to remember, this ignition interlock is connected into your cars electrical system. If you own a $2000 car or a $80000 car, you don't want just anyone chopping and hacking your wires to install it. The consequences of an improper installation can leave you stranded, and more.
- The newer and more expensive the car is, the more complicated the electronics / safety / starting systems are. The Guardian interlock system works by not letting you start your car when you don't meet the correct guidelines. Modern cars and trucks have sophisticated electrical systems designed for safety and security, bad connections / installation will cause problems.
- Items like washer fluid and hairspray may cause false positives. You need to be aware of the products that you use and are around you when using an interlock. Look at the contents before applying them in and around you in the cars cabin area. Many of the times alcohol is the primary or a significant ingredient in the product. In the case of the washer fluid, don’t forget that the fresh air may come in from the exterior at the base of the windshield, if there is alcohol based washer fluid there, it will come in to the interior, albeit small amounts, but that could ruin your day by giving a false positive.
- If you have a problem where you had just sprayed some washer fluid on your windshield and you get asked for a rolling test. You might want to consider turning off your fan, pulling over and airing your car out first. Normally the interlock will give you 600 seconds (10 minutes) blow into the device.
Finally If you have a weak or bad electrical system in your car, get it fixed now / before having this installed. A bad electrical system will cause many no starts not only by the ignition interlock, but with every day driving.
DickandRicks.com is the leading Minneapolis provider of quality auto interior repair. This includes the high-tech electrical components that improve safety and security. Don’t be left along side the road with a failed electrical system.
Ignorance and safety don’t mix. Meaning you would not want to bet your life or the safety of your loved ones on luck. This knowledge has become a necessity to be able to properly work on new cars and trucks.
Auto Interior Repair SAfety 101 | This is all in reference to understanding and knowing the electrical and airbags systems produced and installed from the factory on your interior.
- How many people know if they have an occupancy sensor in their rear\front seats?
- How many shops know what the requirements are for that seat if it is removed or worked on to maintain the performance & integrity when re-installed?
- How many shops have the equipment to properly fulfill those necessary requirements?
Based on the amount of calls we get 'asking', my guess for all these questions is not many. And, because this is an electrical issue it would be a smart business move to servicing your customers as an interior repair facility to understand more than just the basics.
I bring this up because it needs to be talked about / shared. I have seen many sensors installed inproperly, wires repaired where they shouldn’t and accessories installed that have changed / altered the way these systems have been designed to protect the occupants in the event of an impending accident. We get many calls after these issues have ‘troubled’ the shop trying to get by with quick/fast turnarounds.
So what can you do? Choose wisely, have the right knowledge beforehand, and
Ask a few questions when picking a shop.
- Ask what happens or how they handle if an airbag comes on in the repair process. Just because the airbag light came on doesn’t mean they did something wrong. But it is something that is important to properly test / check out, verify that there is truly nothing that was over looked in the effort to a quick repair. If everything is alright, the airbag light will go out when cleared with the proper scan tool.
- Ask what credentials they may have that give them the necessary training. There are certifications from ASE, I-Car or from the Manufactures that can be obtained to keep the technicians working on your car current and knowledgeable.
- Look around to see what types of cars they are working on. If they have a lot of junky looking cars in their lot, chances are they will not be demonstrating the expertise needed to work on any type advance electrical system.
Remember, this is the vehicle that you are transporting loved ones around in (including yourself). Spending the extra time to secure a well-qualified shop to do the work goes very well with the internal feeling that you are doing what is necessary to stay safe in this fast paced world we live in.
The Miata, one of the top ten most popular convertibles ever built. This has to do with the style, great handling, simplicity and mileage.
Because of these features it is common to see these cars on the road that may be 20 plus years old. Now Miata’s don’t look their age since most people don’t hesitate to keep up on the maintenance, and that includes the convertible top.
Because the top is a manual top, there are very little problems with the frame. Most of the time if there is a problem with the top, it has to do with the outer covering, the plastic window and sometimes the zipper above the window.
Let’s start with the plastic window, because it is a plastic and soft, two things can happen; it can scratch and discolor. This is something that is going to happen if you drive the car and it is hard to avoid (these are considered wear items).
Here are a couple of things that will prolong your window and slow this process:
- First remember the plastic is soft and will get scratched, so it keep it free from dirt inside and out. Remember dirt is like sand paper, with that, when cleaning the dirt off, use a soft towel not paper towel like you might get at a service station.
Don’t use a squeegee; you will just be dragging the dirt across your window. It is O.K. to use window cleaners and plastic polishes.
- Now if you get fogginess in the plastic, this is from the sun and pollutants in the air and rain. A soft rag and some plastic polish will help this, but ultimately replacement will be necessary.
- If it comes to point of replacing the window, there are several options. First the plastic window curtain assembly can be replaced separately. When considering this you might want to look at the whole top before doing this because you are more than half way to the cost of replacing the whole thing.
If you do decide to replace the whole top, there is an optional upgraded glass back window that eliminates the whole fogging and scratching issue.
- Some other considerations when replacing the back window are your zipper. Many if the times the zipper is not zipping properly and would be replaced with a new top.
Also, look for cracks in the top itself, it wouldn’t make much sense to replace the window only to replace the top a year later. Because the convertible top is the whole upper half of the car, a convertible top replacement is a great investment that not only protects you from the weather, but can add a new look to your car.
Power Window Help | Like all electric door windows, they are basically a electric motor that either will go up or down.
This sounds pretty simple and the basic idea really is, but what makes them complicated? First, let’s dig in on how a 12v electric window motor works. It is simply getting 12 volts sent to it to operate, now the way it goes up or down is dependent on the polarity of the wires. To better understand this, let’s go deeper; an electric 12 volt motor has 2 wires coming out it.
One wire is getting positive power and the other is getting an negative or a ground connection. And to reverse the direction of the motor, the positive and negative are reversed and the wire that was getting the positive feed is now the ground or negative. Hence, your window will go up or down.
- So where does it get complicated?
This becomes complicated when you change the way power is sent to the motor or how you control the switching process. Why do they do they make it this way?
There are many reasons some of them has do with reducing cost, others have given way to many the options or conveniences associated with improved technology / function.
These can include; one touch windows -where they will roll all the way down without holding the button. Another improved function is to operate the other windows in the car from the drivers switch and have the option of locking the windows so they cannot be operated from other doors. This requires relays, more than two wires and quite often a computer or a multiplex unit.
- Remember that every function in today’s auto interior is being monitored by the computer inside the vehicle for protection and convenience.
Since electricity has laws it always follows, and doesn't deviate from these rules, what happens in the computers will affect and change the result. This may include reversing the polarity direction, lowering or raising the level of amps or volts that is used in the circuit. When this happens you now have all the conveniences of our modern cars and trucks.
So when something goes wrong how do I fix my window not working properly problem?
First, start with the basics. Before anything can happen, you need electrical power. Start by checking fuses, if you find a blown fuse you can replace it, but question first; what was the cause?
Chances are, if reason that the fuse went bad in the first place is not addressed, it will happen again. Next, I would check the wires and connections. This may require you remove some panels or a loom of wires.
Third, see if power is getting to the window motor, no power may mean that somewhere between the power source and the window motor there is a problem. Next, check the motor, if the motor is bad all the power in the car will not get it to move.
These are the basic places to check, from here you will need to consult a wiring diagrams and flow charts to guide you through the repair process. Having direct experience with today's complex systems gives us many intellectual tools to properly diagnose & fix instead of just replace and hope the problem goes away, it also takes a lot less time.
One quick note; many cars and trucks many need the windows Initialized if power is lost / disconnected from either a dead battery, replacement of a battery or disconnected connections within the window system. If this happens, check your owner's manual, many times this information is located inside.
Head liner repair is never an easy project. Getting everything to line up and not bind is why one should seriously consider having it done professionally.
I'll use these pictures to tell the story,
Here is the Chevelle Headliner after we installed it:
When it is all said and done, don't you want it to look this good?
If you didn't see the original blog post, go here.
- We do love the look and feel of a well installed, professional headliner, we think you will agree.
Mercedes Benz SL, BMW and Porsche Convertible tops with plastic rear windows
As spring arrives and the cars in store start to come out, if you are a convertible top owner be careful with the cooler temps.
If you are a owner of a convertible top that has a plastic back window here are some things to consider.
First as plastic ages it tends to get cloudy, this is a product of oxidation from the sun, air pollutants and chemicals that might be used on your car or on the road.
What can you do to avoid this?
Well, the real answer is; not drive your car and always store it inside. But, it is a convertible and what good is this type of car if you can't put the top down and have the window blowing through your hair.
Plastic Rear Windows: Here are some things that might help you:
Keep your window clean, but always use a soft cloth or paper towel, never use a the gas station squeegee or towels out of the dispenser.
When using window cleaner, use plenty and don't over rub the surface of the window. Items like plastic polishes are a good idea, but make sure you read the instructions. Some of these polishes with get smeary if too much is applied or it may leave residue on your top that is hard to remove.
These are some of the ways to keep your window clear longer. This is especially true with cars that have a green tint to the windows like BMW's and Porsche's. Other European cars like the Mercedes SL will have a clear plastic that because of the angle of the window will make it hard to see out of when it gets scratched or distorted.
The other thing that can cause fogginess in a window is moisture. I am not referring to the rain or washing your car but putting your top down wet and leaving it down and trapping moisture with no way to dry out. Now, not only is this not good for your window but is also bad for the canvas, this will cause shrinkage, mold and staining of the fabric.
What about preventing cracks that may happen over time?
The best thing I can recommend for a window that has some age on it is let it warm up before it is flexed. Most plastic windows are broken because it was too cold out when it was used.
I know it is tempting to put your top down on an early spring day when it is 50 degrees out, but you need to remember that there is a wide range of temperatures and most of the time it will be colder at the end of the day.
Want to know more information about your specific situation?
Years of experience with many plastic rear windows of these convertibles and how to deal with them has produced many positive results and happy convertible top owners.
Chevrolet Chevelle and many other General Motors models have a headliner that is suspended by metal bows and glued around the edges. Sounds like a pretty simple interior repair / replacement doesn’t it?
Well, just like everything, it is if you know what you are doing. Is this a project for just anyone? I would say no, or at least if you want it to look professionally done.
When customers come into my store and inquire about their car, I am honest about what I think they can do on their own and what they cannot or should not try. This happens to one of them; by outward appearance, it does looks pretty simple.
But this is one part if you put a hole in the wrong spot you can’t hide it. I understand someone that wants to try to install some of their interior, because they think of it as a worthwhile project and might be fun. And they are right; if you want to start, try the door panels or carpet.
Proper headliner installation requires the following:
- The headliner needs to be perfectly stretched into place before you install any accessories like the visors or coats hooks. If there is a wrinkle that requires the headliner to be re-positioned after these items are installed, the holes also move and will not line up any more.
- The next item to be aware of is the metal bows have a certain order they go in, and if they are out of position this will cause problems.
- It is a good idea to number from front to back if you decide to remove them. Finding center is extremely important when installing this type of headliner and is the first starting point.
- Glue, I have seen headliners that where installed by their owners and they did a pretty good job but used glue that came loose over time and ended up starting all over with a new headliner.
- Want to see what the finished project looks like?
As you can see, there are many avenues your install can head towards, and in the end- 99 percent of them (in order to fix the problem) end up starting over with new parts.
Auto Interior DIY | The big question is; should you put your headliner in yourself?
The answer is know your expectations, your abilities and what it may cost if you have to start over. Don’t make hobby or turn that fun time into a nightmare.
Convertible Top Replacement | Honda has come out with some great ideas and the S2000 is one of them.
With Hondas great engineering and the pleasure of a convertible top, there are many things to know and to take into consideration if you need a new fabric top.
Honda uses a vinyl top material that is supposed to mimic cloth, and it does a great job of that. But will also happen on this type of material is it will get shiny spots where the structural bars (from the frame) meet the top. These will eventually turn into holes but in the early stages of normal wear and tear, it is just a cosmetic issue.
There are several choices should you go the aftermarket route. The first and best way to go is using stay fast or twill canvas. I say this because these are true choices of canvas and give the car a richer look.
Also, the aftermarket top will have a glass window just like the factory. The two biggest advantages are cost and the warranty. The aftermarket will save you several hundred dollars and has a 5 year warranty; the factory has a one year warranty.
Now installing these tops is technical and not designed for ease of installation. Installing an aftermarket convertible top takes many hours for a professional and many, many more for someone that has never done one. It involves not only removing the top from the car but the seats, center console, roll bars and all the back trim. One layer of trim is installed on top of another and it is not a good idea to alter the correct installation order.
If this is not done correctly you will end up with broken parts and rattles. One other thing to consider is the Airbag System or SRS. Once the seats are removed if the key is turned on for any reason, this will turn on the SRS light to come on and will have to be reset to get the indicator to go off.
It is also important to know when you do remove the seats, it is necessary to disconnect the SRS connectors.
When it comes time to reinstall the seats, make sure that care is taken to have a positive and solid connection of those SRS wires. In the end no matter which way you decide to go with the factory or aftermarket the result will be a sporty looking car with a new top.
Here we have a Honda Oddyssey seat in for a electronic safety systems repair
Today's safety systems are so complex that not every shop is equipped to handle the sensitivity of returning a seat it its intended function; keeping occupants safe in the event of a crash. Check out this video on what goes into keeping people safe:
While every vehicle is built to a different level of safety, the fact is that repairing auto interiors has become a true science. We here at DickandRicks.com have spent the time and energy to be the one and only specialist in the twin cities area to be able to properly assess, repair and/or replace components as well as test them to make sure of your cars ability to keep you safe in the event of a crash.
These systems react in milli-seconds, time is critical here. Get it repaired right. Whether it is seat frame repair or airbag safety systems repair, we are the one to contact here in Minneapolis.