Here at the Frugal Village Homestead we handle car purchases one of two ways. 1) We buy a new car and keep it for a long, long time or 2) We buy a good condition used car. Yankee Bill’s philosophy is that if you add up all the repair costs you spend in a year, divide by 12, and the resulting number is less than a new car payment. . . well then you are still ahead of the game and don’t need a new car. When the repairs start mounting, well, then it’s time to sell the old and find something new.
Last year I got a new to me Honda Pilot to replace my 12 year old Chevy Blazer. That’s right, I was still driving the same car that I had purchased when pregnant with my middle schooler. My “new” Honda is a nice slightly older car, and has quite a few perks my older Blazer didn’t, like heated seats (heaven in a NY winter), a built in DVD player, third row seating and a sun/moon roof.
Being a used vehicle it also had a bit of visible wear and tear–like the H emblem on the steering wheel. The chrome coloring somehow (I mean really, how do you do this?) had been completely worn off. This left an icky, chipped emblem with the yellowish plastic showing through. Blech.
Now this didn’t effect the car’s ability to drive, and maybe no one but me ever noticed it. . . but I noticed it. I didn’t inquire at our local garage if they could fix it, because it wasn’t something I would be willing to pay to have fixed. It just isn’t that big of a deal. So I decided to see if I could fix it up a bit myself.
This little project (that can barely be considered a project) could either be considered a “Wear it out” because it takes something worn and puts it back into commission, or a “Make it Do” because I’m making what I already have work. Either way it’s a cheap, imperfect fix that doesn’t erase the problem but makes it far less obvious.
So how did I fix it? Easy. I pulled out my silver Sharpie!
I love my silver Sharpie for doing any labeling on dark items–like black plastic. The silver actually shows up! In this case I was trying to replicate the look of the chrome emblem detailing. I just carefully filled it in, trying not to get any on the vinyl of the car.
If you look, you can tell it’s not the original paint. The coverage is a bit streaky and the Sharpie isn’t anywhere near as shiny as the original “chrome”. However, who but me is looking closely? It looks far, far better than it did all worn. Instead of thinking how gross the emblem looks each time I drive the car, I now barely think about or notice the emblem.
Does it change anything significant about the car? No, of course not. But some things are psychological. Having it all worn and chipped made me FEEL like I was driving something old and second rate. Once I fixed the issue, the car somehow seemed nicer, more acceptable. I could forget about how it looked and just enjoy driving it.
Good idea! 🙂
You know, if you put a layer of clear nail polish over it? It will have a closer texture to chrome. 🙂
Jenn @ Frugal Upstate says
That is simply brilliant! Once the weather is warmer than 6 degrees, I’ll try that to make it shiny and permanent!
Did you try that? Mine is the same and it bugs me!
Which nail polish Shade
I have a Honda and I asked my husband about this. He thought that perhaps someone had wiped down the steering wheel with a cleaner that had a solvent in it that affected the “pretend” chrome plastic. I’ve used silver paint pens before for similar projects – I didn’t know that Sharpie make a silver one.
I got a $1 ton of metallic enamel from hobby lobby and it worked amazingly! Super opaque and similar to the original. I applied it with a small paintbrush then went over it with clear nail polish once it dried