Monday, February 1, 2016

Flash gets Leather and Oil

Continuing the saga of Flash improvements....

Cool Cool Leather
Old seat pattern
Before the holidays, I connected with a new VW friend Jim over a set of seats. My old seats were black cloth. He had a full set of grey leather ones. Since my Jetta was silver, it had silver/grey highlights all over the interior. I figured the grey leather would brighten it up. In the end, I think the grey looks better than the black would have looked. These seats have the heater units in them, but I don't yet have the wiring harness nor switches to activate them. That's something for another day. Unfortunately for Jim, it turned out that the swamp-feet stink was in the seats, not the carpet as I had always thought. So, when we swapped seats (plus some cash on my end), I accidentally swapped out the stink.

Now, these seats are considerably colder in the winter time, as you can imagine. Additionally, the TDI engine is so efficient, it takes a long time for the heater to start producing perceivable heat. So, my commutes have suddenly become much colder. But so much more comfortable underneath. With the new rims (See Flash Gets New Shoes) and these new seats, Flash feels like a new car.

The seats remove pretty easily. For the front, there are plastic covers over the rails that need to be removed first. They are held on with a single Phillips-head bolt each. Then, at the front of the seat, near the center by the floor, there are two bolts which hold the seat down. Remove these bolts and push the seat back. For the rear seats, it is even easier. Fold the base forward, and there is a bail that holds the base to the floor of the car. Unhook this and the seat base comes away. Fold down the seat back, and look at the hingepoint closest to the door. There is a small (about as thick as your finger) silver bar protruding from the seat into a C-shaped clip within the plastic panel. With a slotted screwdriver, push the catch-ring from around the metal bar until the C-shaped clip has its open end facing upward. The seat lifts out... though you may need to wrestle it a little bit. Install is the reverse, and yes it is that simple.

Oil Changes
new grey leather
I changed Flash's oil last weekend, but I haven't been as consistent with my oil changes as I should have been. Honestly, it was much easier when I only had one car to keep track of. Now that I'm mentally tracking on at least 4, I can't do it. I know there are folks out there who use smartphone/PC tools, web based things or even spreadsheets. I am now doing it in a much simpler way: just watch the thousands place on your odometer. When it is a 0 or a 5, it's time to change the oil. This is easy to watch for, and I don't need to remember anything or write anything down. Yes, I know manufacturers say change the oil every 3k miles or every season (if driving habits mean you drive less than 3k miles per season) or after driving through dusty conditions. Most folks don't do the seasonal change because we drive so much. Unfortunately , most folks don't do the dusty conditions change either. That leaves the 3k interval.

I have heard from a few sources that the 3k is what they put in there knowing that most people will delay a little while and that the real interval is 5k.... which aligns perfectly with my little system. With drive-thru oil change places, it's easy to stay on top of it. I prefer to do my own, so I just make sure I have an oil-change-worth of oil available for my cars, and change the oil the weekend after the odometer hits.

That's it for today. More next time on Flash improvements...

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