A Car Modification To Make Dad Proud

You guys remember my dad? In addition to his talents at driving in reverse and climbing mountains, my dad is a bit of an amateur product designer. He doesn't make anything from scratch, but he is no stranger to modifying something to better fit his needs. Whether it's clothing, camp gear or his own truck almost everything he owns has been tweaked in some way. This post is in honor of dear old Dad.

The hubby and I recently swapped cars and I had to do a few modifications to make it feel like my own; change the radio pre-sets (goodbye, sports radio!), add a pro-bluegrass bumper sticker and wedge my yard sale trashcan in the backseat.

The last modification took a bit more time, but not much. Like a lot of my projects lately, this one was quick, simple and done with stuff I already had on hand.

My "new" car has lots of little storage places - can you tell why I wanted to trade? - including two little cubby things in the dashboard:

Here's a close-up:

I have no idea what the small one is for. It seems a good size for a pack of cigarettes but I think auto companies have stopped catering to smokers. When was the last time you saw a new car with an ash tray? The wide one, on the other hand, is perfect for stashing sunglasses and cell phones.

The only problem is that the cubbies are made of hard, slick plastic so whenever I accelerate or go around a curve my phone, glasses, etc (also made of hard, slick plastic) go flying. Not cool. Thus the modification.

This may or may not strike you as odd but I have a grocery bag full of rubber bracelets I got from Freecycle. I wanted them for another project (more on that later) but I figured I had enough to spare for this project, too. Also, Freecycle is amazing.

I thought the rubber bracelets would be the perfect material to create a friction strip on the edge of each cubby. The rubber is flat, so it won't hinder the storage capacity, but it is grippy enough to keep things in place. The only hard part was picking a color. I narrowed it down to transparent blue (to match the car's exterior), translucent blue (to coordinate with the exterior, but better hide the glue), translucent yellow (for visibility) and solid blue and green (to best hide the glue).

Based on aesthetics alone I preferred the transparent blue. See how nice it looks?

However, after I cut it up I discovered the transparent plastic is much flimsier and less dimensionally stable than the solid bracelets. Wop, wop.

I returned to my bag-o-bracelets hunting for a matching pair of solids, but none were to be found. Mis-matched blue and green it was. The color combination bugged me a little but not enough to go out and buy two matching bracelets. In this case my cheapness bitch slapped my OCD.

After I settled on a color scheme all I had to do was glue my bracelets down. For my adhesive I used E-6000 because it is strong, heat resistant and smells super-good in a small confined space like a car. It's a good thing windows roll down.

The smaller cubby was configured so that I could be all fancy and use things like BLOCKING and CLAMPS. I love a good clamp. But not in the kinky way. Clamps belong in my wood shop, not my bedroom.

The wider cubby was a bit more awkward, so I went with the less-official-looking-but-still-tried-and-true tactic called put something heavy on it.

After allowing the glue to set overnight my friction strips were complete! Here is one of them, living the dream and keeping my glasses in place.

I still have no idea what is supposed to fit in this cubby - deck of cards? can of sardines? - but when I figure it out you can be sure it will stay put.

So now we know this apple didn't fall far from the OCD, stuff-modifying tree. Like father, like daughter. Have you made any modifications lately? What do you think goes in the smaller cubby? Inquiring minds want to know!


Anonymous said...

It's a good thing that you're a lot like your dad! Being able to organize or modify your stuff according to your own style and manner, the way you want it makes life a lot comfortable.

Sara Anthony

Erwin Calverley said...

Well, if you’re really the type of person who tends to have a lot of stuff in his car, storage spaces like these are a must in your car. It’s nice to have this so that you can keep your things clean and well organized.

Erwin Calverley

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