Do You Need It? – Body Side Moldings

Do you really need body side moldings? Most think of the strips that run from front to back over the doors as protectors. Some think of them as decoration. Many think of them as both. The weather-proof flexible moldings are capable of absorbing the force of another car door or similar object and preventing damage to paint and metal.

Parking lots are a notorious location for collecting chipped paint and dings from others opening doors into your doors. Also a great place for you or your child to discover a light post or other unmovable object within the opening swing of your own door.

Depending on the height or shape of what hits your door the moldings will not eliminate all dings, but they can prevent a majority of them. In addition to the protection from damage they can complement the looks of your vehicle.

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Do You Need It? – Splash Guard Set

Do you really need splash guards? Whether you call them splash guards or mud flaps, there are lots of factors to consider. If the goal is to add protection to your vehicle, they can help prevent dirt and rocks from damaging your paint and fenders. If the goal is to minimize the debris that your vehicle throws up at the vehicle behind you, they can also do that. If the goal is to make your vehicle look a little more custom, they may even be able to do that.

Depending on your vehicle there may be a lot of splash guard styles to choose from. Genuine guards from the manufacturer may be the best choice because there are designed specifically for each year and model vehicle. Guards from the aftermarket may not offer the best fit for your vehicle. Most of the genuine guard sets can be installed without having to drill holes to mount them. They are designed to match up to preexisting holes on your vehicle.

Splash guards are available in a variety of materials. Some are a flexible rubber type compound. Some are rigid metal. Some are semi-rigid molded plastic. All are designed to offer added protection from water spray, mud, and rocks. Without guards these projectiles can cause dents and chip away paint that can lead to potential rust problems.

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Do You Need It? – Floor Mat Set

Do you really need floor mats? For a number of reasons the answer may be yes. You could think of them as a way to protect your investment. The actual carpet or flooring material in your vehicle can be very expensive and difficult to replace. Having something between it and greasy shoes or two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and a sesame seed bun with mustard and ketchup could have an effect on the resale value of your vehicle.

In addition to the protection they offer they can make cleaning easier and perhaps even make your vehicle look nicer. Being able to remove the mats to dump off debris and wash or vacuum is handy. To have matching color or custom logo on the mats can add to the “nice look” factor.

You do have some options. There are carpeted and rubber versions. The carpeted mats can be made of a variety of materials, but most offer a plush look and feel. The rubber mats are made of a rubber or plastic type of material and often have a raised lip around the mat to contain dirt and water.

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Do You Need It? – Roadside Assistance Kit

Do you really need an emergency roadside assistance kit in your vehicle? Well, AAA claims that 1 out of 3 drivers will be faced with a roadside breakdown of some sort this year. Chances are it will not take place near your home on a nice sunny day, so you do need to be prepared. Even if you have a membership with an auto club or a new model vehicle under warranty with roadside assistance it can take a considerable amount of time for that assistance to get to you.

Having an emergency assistance kit may be able to keep you safer, give you peace of mind, and usually get you back on the road faster. A good kit has to have the items you need to help you survive until help arrives.

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Genuine Auto Accessories Installation Instructions: Can I install that myself?

With decades of experience as a Parts Manager at new car dealerships I could not begin to count how many times I have been asked by a customer “Can I install that myself?”. It is such an open question it is hard to answer.

Unlike many aftermarket accessories, genuine auto accessories are designed by the manufacturer to precise and exacting specifications to easily fit the specific year and model of the vehicle it was made for. Many aftermarket accessories are made to apply to as many different models as they can for a broader range of coverage.

That often means many non-genuine accessories “kind of” fit a lot of models. So with genuine accessories you do have the advantage of the product being easier to install because it was usually made specifically for that vehicle.

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Wheel Locks: Lost wheel lock key – How to remove a wheel lock if you do not have the key.


Wheel locks use many different keys. There is not a “single” master key that will fit all locks. If you purchase a new set of locks the key that comes with it will probably not fit your old locks.

Wheel lock sets come with a lock code from the lock manufacturer. With that code you can order a replacement key. Most will also allow you to register your locks with them so they can supply you a replacement if you lose it.

If you are not able to find the code and you are still able to drive your vehicle you can go to your local new car dealer. If it is a factory style lock set they have a “master” key set and may be able to remove your locks. You can then either purchase a new set of locks with a new key or get the code to order a replacement key.

Going to a repair shop to have them removed can be expensive. Depending on the type of locks on your vehicle there are tools available to help remove them.

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Wheel Locks: are they worth it?

How well protected are my wheels using wheel locks? Wheel locks are a good deterrent for would-be thieves. They are not impossible to remove without the key, but very difficult.

Given enough time and privacy wheel locks can be defeated. Brute force with chisels, oversize sockets, cutting torch, and master keys can eventually overcome locks. But if your neighbor or parking lot partner has similar wheels with no locks then chances are good a thief will not spend the time to go after your protected wheels.

When taking scuba diving classes many years ago the question of if you should have a dive knife when you are in an area with sharks was asked. The instructors answer was yes. He went on to explain, if you were to be chased by a shark you could use it to stab your dive partner to allow you to get away. Thieves and threats will go for the easy prey. If you make your wheels harder to steal they will usually go elsewhere for an easier target.

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Wheel Locks: What are they and how do they work?

Wheel locks are a great way to help protect your expensive alloy wheels. Factory alloy wheels can cost several hundred dollars each and some more than a thousand dollars each.

Wheel locks are used in place of the wheel lug nuts. Usually one lug nut on each wheel is replaced with a wheel lock that can only be removed with a special key.

They often have a smooth outside surface that a wrench cannot grip onto. In the center they have a special design that only the key with that same special design can fit into. Some other wheel locks can use irregular shaped outer splines or uniquely shaped internal sockets.

To install and remove the locks you must use the key that fits into a regular socket or lug nut wrench.

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