Making it up as you go

6w ago


We all know that fateful scenario, when you are baking a nice cake for that special someone in the family for a special occasion, be it a birthday, winning the state figure skating comp or even their 3rd grade graduation. The cake mix is taking shape nicely, but then disaster strikes. The recipe calls for raisins, but despite a diligent search and turning the pantry upside down, there are no raisins to be found anywhere. It is too late for a quick trip down to the supermarket as the cake mix will be ruined. We all applaud that person (dismissing for a moment that a little prior planning might have helped here) who can improvise, and use, say chocolate chips, in place of raisins and still bake that cake, which eventually comes out of the oven even better than the original recipe. The ability to improvise is a great asset in the kitchen and is a mark of a talented cook.

So, what does that have to do with motoring? Well, nothing really, especially since we didn’t even take that trip down to the supermarket to buy those elusive raisins. And besides, I know very little about figure skating; even less about baking.

Shifting our thoughts now to the garage, and our shiny pride and joy that is parked there. Even the very best of cars need maintenance, and some components simply wear out or break and need to be replaced. The pricing of automotive spare parts, particularly when buying genuine, often appears to have be allocated by some kind of lottery system. With seemingly inane parts fetching far more than their weight in gold, and other parts of complex and intricate design being sold at surprisingly low cost. Albeit, not many parts fall into that latter category.

I can appreciate that car parts can be expensive, and I applaud anyone who can do clever modifications, particularly if it avoids them having to spend big money on that rare or overpriced factory item that really isn’t that good. A lot can be said for ingenuity as it has certainly stood to advance the cause of the human race over the centuries, but there are some improvisations or modifications that really do detract from your vehicle and should not be used in any circumstances. Here are but a few fine examples.

The bonnet catch breaks. No problem. I have a power drill and some self-tapping screws at home in the shed. Problem solved.

I’m sure your 2.0L EFI engine that’s done 450,000ks is a hot commodity on the black market for street racers, but surely the budget would stretch to a factory bonnet catch.

When the fuel filler cover just won’t stay closed. This is the low security version for affluent neighbourhoods. The high security version for rough neighbourhoods includes a padlock.

Beware of cheap copies, they are not colour matched to your car like this one.

There’s no dispute, automotive paint is really expensive. Paint work is faded? Can’t afford a professional refinish? If the budget won’t stretch to a professional paint job, you could always raid your paint cupboard for the left overs and see what designs you can come up with. Or take it all down to the local pre-school and let the kids loose on it.

This guy forgot to include the wheels and tyres, but The Muppets did this well. On the positive side, you'll always be able to locate your car in the car park.

Why pay for driving lessons, when there’s cloth tape?

Similar to above, beware of cheap knock-offs that aren’t colour matched to your car.

When you are going down the stretched limo route, you really need to do it properly or not at all.

In this case, I think not at all.

Knowing the difference between a good modification and a poor improvisation will enable you to hold your head high as you head to the supermarket to buy your baking products, including those elusive raisins.