Info

a short diary of some part of my life.

Posts from the Automobile Category

Modern Slavery in Electronics: Facts About Slave-Mined Conflict Minerals from the Congo

The way I see this is we cannot stop what is already happening. We can slow it down by buying less electronics. There are those who are constantly upgrading their ‘toys’ every year or even every small iteration.

People need to open their eyes that your old ‘toys’ are probably still good enough. What if they start experiencing problems? Well, fix it, go to ifixit.com or discussion forums to find out where the problems are and how to fix them.

Sure, there are bad electronics out there. So, don’t buy them and be a smart buyer. A properly designed electronic should last for a lifetime. Maybe not smartphones, tablets, or computers. But they do last for a while if you take care of them.

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I was very fond on anything automatic. From electronic power seats to home automations. I was a geek in those areas. Years went on, I found out that anything that works automatically tend to fall apart quickly. They require more extensive care and services. It’s no longer fun to use when something breaks and the only way to turn it into a working product is to spend a large chunk of money or simply throw the thing away because the thing cannot be fixed or the cost to fix it is too high.

I spent a large part of my childhood dreaming about robotics, super computers, home automations, advanced electronics… Those dreams have disappeared. I did it on purpose too. As I entered school and now work environment, my interests in those items decrease rapidly. I consider some of them to be an annoyance sometimes. Most of them are expensive and high maintenance. I no longer have the time to tinker and play with them.

Nowadays, I prefer something low maintenance but not necessarily cheap. High quality items (that last) tend to be expensive. But in order for them to last, they need to be as simple as possible. To be simple, the manufacturer needs to cut down things that aren’t that important. I’m kinda like it. Why do you need anymore that you need? Why not buy items that last just about forever. Light switches for example, now you can easily find the fancy ones. I prefer the mechanical ones. Not only they last but I don’t need to replace them when new models that make the old models look dated and expired.

Another good examples are electric steering wheel adjustment and power seats. I have personally experience these two parts do not work anymore and the cost of fixing them is astronomically high. As with the light switches, I prefer a mechanical seat. They last and I have not seen one that fails. Sure, the temptation for power seats is hard to resist but when you think that you don’t actually need power seats, then you don’t need one.

Besides power seats and electric steering wheel adjustment add considerable weight to the car. You don’t want to add anymore weight to our already heavy new cars. Newer cars are heavier than old cars because of safety concerns and other complicated laws. If the government wants to keep the road safe off incompetent drivers, then make the driving tests harder!

Heavy cars consume more gas. Constant upgrades and replacements cost the environment as manufacturers pump new products into the market. With less demand, there will be less activity in the factory or less production. Then who’s gonna feed the workers? Well, that’s another issue about over populated Earth.

Tweaking is necessary for a lot of things. I tweak almost every single thing that I touch. Car wash is something delicate, something that needs a lot of care and attention to details. It’s easy to screw up car paint but it is extremely hard to maintain it in superb condition. Unlike many people in this broken world, I hold onto my cars for a long time. Hopefully my new Nissan Juke will be my last gasoline-powered car. The next car will be an electric car or a hydrogen-powered car, one with zero emission.

I wash my car every other week. I tend to leave some sort of protections on the paint, whether it is a spray wax or a long-lasting wax. It is a must to leave it protected. Road grimes, tar, bug, asphalt will seriously ruin the finish. I start by penetrating the dirt before pouring any water on it and finish it by using an extremely easy to apply spray wax.

So, here are my car wash regimes:

1. Prepare all you weapons nearby, including pressure washer
2. Two water buckets with Meguiar’s Grit Guards. One for fresh water and the other for shampoo, mix the car shampoo with water
3. Spray bug and tar remover (on lower half of the car or any hard-to-remove-looking grimes)
4. Leave it for a minute
5. Start pouring water on it, don’t forget to burst water on wheel wells and wheels
6. Start washing the car from top to bottom
7. Pour water whenever needed and clean the wash mitt with clean water whenever it turns dirty. Do not ever try to clean it with the shampoo bucket.
8. Spray more bug and tar remover if there is any naughty road grimes.
9. Pour water onto the car one more time
10. Wipe dry the car with chamois
11. Spray the spray wax
12. Wipe down all surfaces with microfiber cloth

Weapons:
1. Two water buckets with Meguiar’s Grit Guards
2. Two microfiber wash mitts
3. Nilfisk pressure washer
4. Turtle Wax bug and tar remover
5. Two high quality chamois
6. Two high quality microfiber towels
7. Meguiar’s NXT car wash + Kit wash & glow
8. Meguiar’s Ultimate Quik Wax
9. One high quality microfiber applicator pad

No Clay Bar? Nope. No need. I only use clay bar whenever the grimes are impossible to remove with bug and tar remover. Most of the time, I don’t need it. If one leaves the car unwashed for a few weeks, then one might need it.

Most of my toys are purchased from local Ace Hardware stores. All products listed above are readily available at Ace. I have no affiliation with them, I just happen to prefer products that are easy to source.

Happy washing!

I’ve been using Meguiar’s products for years. One of my most used Meguiar’s products is the Gold Class car wash. It has served me well in the past 5 years.

In Indonesia, the water is very different to what I am used to in the States. I’m not an expert in water, but the results that I am seeing with the Gold Class car wash are not the same anymore. It doesn’t clean as well as if I used it in the States. It also loses its’ slickness which is supposed to be one of its strengths.

I decided to start over. What is the best car wash for Indonesia’s hard water?

I bought all three Meguiar’s car wash shampoo (except the small red bottle which I forgot what the name is), Kit (Johnson & Johnson) wash and glow, and Armor All wash and wax.

The results:
– NXT seems to offer the best cleaning power
– Gold Class completely loses its’ magic
– Kit is surprisingly good, in terms of slickness and cleaning ability
– Ultimate’s cleaning power is sub par and to my disappointment, it does not sheet or bead water at all
– Armor All performs more or less the same as Gold Class

The condition of the car before washing:

Car Condition

Super suds produced by the Ultimate:

from this:

suds 1

to this:

suds 2

From the results above, I came to conclusion that I will be exclusively using NXT for painted surfaces and Kit for wheel wells, wheels, and tires. NXT offers the best cleaning power and slickness. Even-though the Kit is definately inferior, I still like it better than the Ultimate. BTW, Kit is the cheapest of the bunch. Rp. 15.000 Vs. Rp 180.000 for the Ultimate/Gold Class/NXT. That may be something that you might want to consider. All Meguiar’s products are at least twice the price than what you usually find in the States.

I’m extremely disappointed with the Ultimate. I don’t think it contains any wax or hydrophobic polymer at all. But I could be wrong. Perhaps it is because of the water or the dirtiness of the car. I’m keeping the Ultimate for summer usages. Hopefully, it will perform better with less dirt on the car.

A short review of my new Nissan Juke.

Pros:

1. HIgh ground clearance. I need high ground clearance badly. Roads in Jakarta are probably among the worst in the world. There are unassigned and unmarked speed bumps everywhere. Potholes, uneven road surface, rocks, constructions’ debris… Well, you name it.

2. Small and Short. Easy to park anywhere I want.

3. Superb fuel efficiency. City drive: 25-27mpg. Highway: up to 35mpg.

4. Packed with great features like the i-Con drive modes, great steering wheel (same size as GT-R), foldable rear seats and hidden storage under the trunk area.

5. Great front seats.

6. Good looking cabin.

7. Easy to clean and wash.

8. Great looking exterior.

9. Great engine for its size. I don’t feel I need more than 1.5L. This engine rocks!

So-so:

1. Hard plastics everywhere.

2. Hard ride quality. I can deal with this as I used to drive cars with stiff coilovers.

3. Small rear seat area.

4. Lack of telescopic steering wheel

5. Lack of heated mirrors. Useful during raining season.

6. Lack of armrest.

Cons:

1. Uncomfortable rear seats. Need more foam.

2. Short rear headroom.

3. Jerky and stupid CVT transmission. Nissan really need to work on this, learn from Honda! I have had hard times driving uphill because the thing couldn’t shift down.

4. Lack of rear passenger light and lack of vanity mirror light.

5. Massive chassis flexing.

Despite lacks of this and that. I enjoy driving it everyday. No car is perfect. I plan to add a front strut bar ( and probably an underbrace bar under the car ) to remedy the chassis flexing. Chassis flexing produces creaking noise which is pretty annoying considering how frequent it happens. A few more small but useful mods are also underway like a rear passenger light and extra foams for the rear seats. So far, the Juke is fun to drive. Not many cars are fun to drive. That says a lot.

I’m going to keep the car for a while, maybe, as long as it can ( After reading articles about cars passing 1 million mile, I have this curiosity to hopefully able to get that mark with my own car. I do take care of my own car, rarely let anyone touch it ) 🙂

This review is for city-dwellers. The car is great for city-driving but for mountainous-driving, it’s no where near as fun as driving it in the city. The transmission alone is a huge letdown.