Cougar Support Group - General Maintenance

bonnie_rickbonnie_rick Member Posts: 115
"General Maintenance" topic that we can discuss
things we've mentioned in the past, such as weather
stripping, transmission, oil changes, and such
other maintenance discussions.

Bonnie Rick
Town Hall Community Manager,


  • bonnie_rickbonnie_rick Member Posts: 115
    all the collective wisdom on how to keep that Cat
    looking GOOD!

    Bonnie Rick
    Town Hall Community Manager,
  • stageleftstageleft Member Posts: 391
    Let's all take a moment, at least every day (week, month, whatever), to appreciate our Cats and all the miles they run for us. We can do this most readily by petting them with a soft, soapy sponge after a nice hose-down. Sometimes we can spend hours at a time, just making sure their coats are shiny. I know my Cat is wishing I'd put some quality time in, but we know how it is. This area should be a tribute to how to keep the Cats running clean and fresh, inside and out.

    Any suggestions on spilled coffee? The leather cleans up well, but I think I'm going to have to break out the "clean machine" on the carpets! Oh well, every road has its hazards, bumps included.

    I like to use the Swiffers on the dash and around the center console. It works wonders in and around the shifter and the stereo, all without harsh chemicals that can leave a residue and possibly fade or crack the dash.

    Also, I have tinted windows and know that ammonia-based window cleaners are not recommended because it'll melt the film. Anyone got any suggestions for cleaning dog-nose prints from the tint? Thanks in advance.

    Take care, all, and safe cleaning!
  • stageleftstageleft Member Posts: 391
    What have you taken your Cat to the dealer for? I know I've visited on several occasions for various things including: Oil changes (every 5K miles!), Tire rotation and wheel balancing (gotta be good to 'em or they'll wear out on ya), front-end alignment (darn potholes), and other warrantee work on things that weren't quite right.

    A lot has been discussed in the past, but we all know how we like to tell the same story over and over again, so lets hear them!
  • jimbo_gjimbo_g Member Posts: 53
    Tint Cleaning- Try soap and water in a spray bottle. That is what the tint installers use to clean fingerprints off of the tint when they are gone. So it should work for Dog noses too :-) I would spray it on the towel instead of directly on the window. Spray bottles can be messy.
    perhaps Badulah, Mr. Tint himself, can offer a suggestion.
  • gustafscgustafsc Member Posts: 361
    Service visits:

    I've been to the dealer about 4 times since I took delivery of my cat.

    First tiem was for the normal oil change, a scratch fix (during transportation), crimped window gasketing, and intermittent hatch release.

    2nd time for oil change and hatch release.

    3rd time for oil and hatch release (do we see a pattern here?).

    4th time, oil, tire rotation, A/C recharge (factory tsb), door latch recall, and hatch release. This time, they got the tsb for hatch problems out, and found a wrong strut so it seems to work now. Finally, after a year of trying, the hatch works!!!!

    I've had no problems with the brakes squealing as some have, so feel lucky there. Other than the above, the car has been trouble free.

    Now, about alignment. What in the hell have you people been hitting, and how fast were you going? I live here in pothole heaven (Chicagoland), have hit one that took out the left tires (both w/big bulges in the sidewalls), wore out shocks way before thier time, and loosened one car up so bad that it rattled sitting still. NEVER had to get the front end re-aigned, and believe me, i pay attention to the handling and tracking of my cars.

    I just don't understand! By the way, the extra $5 or so for road hazard warranty on tires can be really worth it. (See pothole story above) I'm well ahead of the gamble, and will be for life.

    Bonnie Rick:

    Say 'bye' to Shifty for us, he was a good moderator!!!

    Skip G.
  • fish8fish8 Member Posts: 2,282
    What should be used to clean the interior(dash)?

    I have always used just water.
  • stageleftstageleft Member Posts: 391

    Water is the safest thing you can use. Unlike some of the petroleum-based cleaners like Armor All, and Formula 2001 -- which both leave a residue (they're supposed to, but I personally don't like to be blinded by the sun reflecting off the dash).

    As I mentioned, to get the bulk of the dust, just use one of those new Swiffer cloths, attracts dust like a magnet, and since it's cloth and it's dry, you can use it all over the interior. If you have some stubborn stains (like I have coffee all over my rear cupholder) water should do the trick!


    Thanks for the tip, I'll try it out to see if it streaks or anything. Dish soap is probably less expensive than that "Professional Tint Cleaning" stuff they use anyway.
  • stageleftstageleft Member Posts: 391

    Unfortunately, when the wheel made contact with the pothole that did me in, I was under heavy braking. Usually, I leave a "loose but tight" grip on the wheel, because most road deficiencies will bounce the wheels this way and that, and that's fine, but when I hit this particular pothole, I felt the alignment pull out. Wierd, because I've hit larger ones, but I must've just hit under the specific conditions that make a car go out of alignment. [shrugs shoulders]
  • fredlyfredly Member Posts: 201
    50/50 Vinager/Water mix for cleaning tinted windows, actually any windows.
  • badulahbadulah Member Posts: 961
    I use this foam window spray I found at my local grocery store. It doesn't not contain ammonia and is streakless.
  • bobschmbobschm Member Posts: 42
    I use swiffer cloths too. They work great for capturing the dust instead of just fluffing it around.

    For protecting vinyl, I don't use water. Vinyl likes to loose polymer esters (that's that nice new car smell) to evaporation. When that happens, the vinyl shrinks and you get cracks. Millions of microscopic cracks and the part looks dull and chalky. Big cracks and... well you know.

    If you use water, you'll clean off the grime but the evaporation is still going on.

    Armor-All restores the lost moisture but it's too thick and shiny for my taste. (I've never tried the non-glare formula).

    I use a vinyl CLEANER from Turtle wax or whoever. They are very watery, milky colored liquid. They restore the moisture like Armor-All but they don't appear to leave a thick residue. The vinyl looks factory new.
  • badulahbadulah Member Posts: 961
    How long have you been using that vinyl cleaner?
  • dasaint1dasaint1 Member Posts: 230
    I haven't yet taken my Cat in for a service. She's still got less than 500 miles on her. But I'm planning to after 1K miles. So how much should the dealer charge for the oil change? Does this price vary from dealer to dealer, or should it be one price for all Mercury dealers?

    Does anyone change the oil themselves; is it easy? I haven't really gotten a chance to look under the hood and see where everything is.
  • badulahbadulah Member Posts: 961
    I do all of my own oil changes. I use Castrol Syntec oil and a standard filter. It is very easy to do and should only take about 15 minutes.
  • dasaint1dasaint1 Member Posts: 230
    I've had my car for over two weeks now, and I love that new car smell.

    Last weekend, after detailing my Cat, I went for a ride on my Cat with a friend. He's a smoker, and I definitely didn't let him smoke in the car. But after he finished smoking his cigarette, he went in the car, and I immediately smelled that smoker's smell. I felt uncomfortable, but I didn't wanna offend him by telling him to get out and take a shower. So I just rolled the windows open and drove. All this time, I was worried about him ruining my new car smell.

    Question: is there any product out there that can preserve that "new car" scent? I doubt it, but it doesn't hurt to ask. They got Fabreze for the carpet and bedsheets; they should have something for the car (and I'm not talking about car fresheners).

    For those of you who have '99 Cougars, does it still have that "new car" smell?
  • fish8fish8 Member Posts: 2,282
    My Cat has 9500(9 monthes old) miles and it has a slight new car smell. I don't think it smells new but when people get in my car they always comment on the new car smell. I think the key to keeping that smell is keeping your interior CLEAN!!! I keep my Cat VERY clean, inside and out. Food particles all over the car don't help with that new car scent. Again, this is only my experience.
  • ambercadabraambercadabra Member Posts: 56
    I'm not preaching here, but I believe that every responsible car owner (even us women-folk - some of us don't mind getting our fingernails dirty, or evne broken.) should know how to do a few things - connect jumper cables safely and properly, check fluid levels, and do their own oil change. With the exceptions of a few cars that have oil filters that are tricky to get to, doing your own oil change is easy, only takes about 20 minutes, saves you some $$$, and lets you spent those all-important moments of cuddle time with your Kitty.
  • gustafscgustafsc Member Posts: 361
    If you hit the hole that hard, I would seriously consider examining the whole front end as getting out of alignment could mean that something got seriously bent and should be replaced.

    My $0.02

    Skip G
  • stageleftstageleft Member Posts: 391

    Thanks for the advice, and I did have them run it through the ringer. They realigned it, and it's been great ever since!

    I actually think I'm over the edge sometimes on what I think I can feel differently about cars from one day to the next, and in the case of my Cat, it is definately enhanced because I drive it everyday.

    Oh well, gotta go stare at the Cat to make sure it's okay for the night. Later!
  • gustafscgustafsc Member Posts: 361
    A bedtime story such as, "The Cat In The Hat", will assure a good night's sleep for both you and your kitty.

    Skip G.
  • dasaint1dasaint1 Member Posts: 230
    The oil change takes 20 minutes, but cleaning up the mess takes much longer, not to mention the dirt that's in your fingernails for the next couple of days. But since you're willing to perform oil change for the CSG members (if I read your last post correctly), let me know when's a convenient time for you, so I can drop off my car.
    Thanks!!! :>)

    If you and Badulah started collecting everyone's $0.02 everytime we post them, I'll bet the two of you will have enough money to retire comfortably somewhere in the Caribbean. :>)
  • dasaint1dasaint1 Member Posts: 230
    You're right about that. Today after having dinner with my wife, we drove home with a doggie bag in the car. After a while of driving with the windows closed, the smell of Mexican food permeated in the car. I cracked the window open and drove home a little bit faster. Do you drive with your windows open or closed?

    Let's see, so far we got:
    (1) keep the interior clean.
    (2) drive with the window partially open if you have a doggie bag.
    (3) never leave food in the car.

    Anything else anyone care to add??
  • stageleftstageleft Member Posts: 391

    Thanks for the recommended reading!


    If only it were that easy, if only ...
  • stageleftstageleft Member Posts: 391
    (4) don't smoke in the car.
  • fish8fish8 Member Posts: 2,282
    I usually drive with my windows closed. Especially now when all the pollen is floating around. I washed my car again yesterday and before I had a chance to pull it into the garage, pollen was all over it. DAMN POLLEN!!!!
  • rickelrickel Member Posts: 34
    I went to Brown-Daub F/L/M two weeks ago to order some touchup paint for the inevitable rock chips, when I saw something that made me stop and stare.

    In the covered driveway was a spruce green Cougar. But in what condition! The hood was up, the front wheels off, and a large part of the engine was disassembled in front of me.

    Car appeared to have a manual transmission with the V-6 2.5L engine and the sport package (rear wiper).

    Feeling chilled, I went into the parts department to order my paint, and on the way out, I spoke to a fellow at the service desk about the Cougar out front. He knew immediately what I was getting at.

    "That's not a fleetwide issue." "Oh, so I don't have to worry?" " belongs to a kid, we think he was gunning the engine and dropping it into gear." "OK, thanks."

    I went back out, and a mechanic was taking a break near the Cougar. He knew a lot of about the case, saying "I just think these are the neatest cars!" and "What a shame." His opinion was that the kid was trying to see how fast he could get the front wheels spinning.

    The car had come back with 5k miles on it--front tires totally bald! And all Mercury medallions had been removed, with an old VW medallion wired to the front grille.

    I had a sudden scene pop into my head--the boy pleading for a Beetle, his father/parents refusing ($21,000 for a Bug? Give me a BREAK!), and buying him a grinning Cougar instead.

    The boy, disconsolate, rips the Cougar stuff off of it, and proceeds to destroy the car as fast as he can. "See Dad? It's a lousy car--it broke down after only 5,000 miles! Can I have a Beetle now?"

    Mercury has to foot the bill for the repair...the Cougar is still under warranty. So if you are ever wondering why cars cost so much, think of the Nitwit family that gives Cougars to their kids.
  • dasaint1dasaint1 Member Posts: 230
    Interesting story--but maybe in your ending, you should've said, "think of the cool fathers that give Cougars to their Nitwit kids."

    Somehow I don't see that Nitwit kid spinning the tires bald on a 115 hp New Beetle.

    Oh well, I guess some kids just can't appreciate something that they didn't work for.
  • stageleftstageleft Member Posts: 391
    Has anyone used the California car dusters (as seen on TV)? I don't know if they work as well as they say they do, but if they did, then it would be nice to keep one in the back for pollen. I got a nice coat of wax on the Cat on Saturday morning, but it rained yesterday, so one day of looking superb is good enough for me!

    BTW, I used the Megwiar's cleaner wax, and the Quick Detailer. Really smooth!
  • badulahbadulah Member Posts: 961
    Actually if Mercury can prove that the kid abused the car, they can shrug off the expense and put it back on the owner.

    I have NO sympathy for kids who destroy their cars. I work in a wealthy town and all I see are these spoiled brats who drive around in these new cars that Mommy & Daddy get for them. The Kids have no respect for them and usually destroy them within 20,000 miles. The parents of these kids should introduce them to the real world. You want a car? Then get off your butt, get a job, save up for one, and buy it.
  • fish8fish8 Member Posts: 2,282
    I do have the Ca. Duster. It works fine, but I prefer to use Meguiars Detailer Spray. I feel it is hard to get the entire car "dusted" with the CA Duster. The duster, when used on windows, makes smudges on the windshield. I believe the duster has wax on it so thats why the smudges appear. Speaking of Meguiars, I just order tons of stuff from their catalog.
  • fish8fish8 Member Posts: 2,282
    I agree with you totally!!!!
  • coolchickcoolchick Member Posts: 174
    No teenager -- NOT ONE -- should have a car given to them, especially not a new car. It's idiotic! My parents were adamant that the only way I would have a car before I left home would be to pay for everything, insurance, gas, taxes, etc.

    Last week I saw a couple of high-schoolers tooling around in a Jag Vanden Plas. What is going on with their parents????
  • badulahbadulah Member Posts: 961
    My Dad gave my my first car. It was a 1987 Dodge Charger I4 MTX with 108,000 miles on it. I had to put about 1800 bucks in to the car before it ran properly and pay for my insurance. It needed the following:
    - New clutch
    - New water pump
    - New battery
    - New alternator
    - Massive cleaning in and out
    - New rear tires
    - Deodorizing (Nasty cigar smell)

    So I did get my car for free, but I did have to put a lot of money in to it, and I was totally responsible for the care and maintenance of it. Not to mention it was FAR from new. I hope this doesn't make me a spoiled brat.
  • coolchickcoolchick Member Posts: 174
    Okay -- I folks gave me a car when i moved away from home on my first real job. It was a 7 yr old Cutlass with 108K on it and a big ol' dent in the rear quarter panel. But they didn't even fill the gas tank on it! Everything was my responsibility the second it was out of their driveway!
  • fish8fish8 Member Posts: 2,282
    My first car was a 1980 Toyota Corolla With 140,000 miles. It was passed down from Mom to Dad to brother and finally me. That car lasted our family for about 186,000 miles. Good car!!!!
  • stageleftstageleft Member Posts: 391
    I think that if you have the time to do the Quik Detail spray, it's the best option for a clean car, too. I wonder why the CA duster would have wax on it? Maybe it collected it along with the dust one time? Hmmm.
  • fish8fish8 Member Posts: 2,282
    The little label on the duster stated that they put some sort of wax on it so that dust "clings" to the duster.
  • stageleftstageleft Member Posts: 391
    Oh okay, wierd. Why do you think they'd do that if it leaves a residue on glass, don't they think that you'd use it on glass, too?

    I don't get it sometimes, but if Swiffers were clearcoat-safe, I'd be using them.
  • fish8fish8 Member Posts: 2,282
    I'm not sure if the duster is made to work on glass. I think just the body of the car.

    Tomorrow I'm heading down to Florida w/ the Wife and have packed my car cleaning supplies(car wash, bucket, towels and wheel cleaner. Tell me thats not obsessive. I'm going on vacation and still need to wash my Cat.
  • rickelrickel Member Posts: 34
    Well, nothing was given to me first car was a 1976 Ford Pinto, which I bought on 2/29/84 with 75k miles on it. Cost me $750. The car needed rings right away, and every 75k thereafter, making me think of that 2,300cc Ford engine as one of the worst engines to ever come down the pike.

    But the car started every morning during my winter in purgatory, AKA Nashua, New Hampshire, during the brutal winter of 1986-87-it was -15 or less for a month straight every morning. It motored me through hundreds of high speed pizza runs for Domino's. It powered me up Pike's Peak when newer cars were on the side of the dirt road with steam coming out from their radiators. It saw me safely through a 12,000 mile jaunt around the country that took me through the vast southwestern desert (just try to find a pay phone out there!) and through the wilds of Montana and Canada.

    Because of that car, I vowed to always drive a Ford. And while the Cougar is a slight digression, it is in the same family, and I am most pleased with my choices up 'til now.

    This is my third Ford product in 16 years. The Probe lasted ten years without any major glitches. And the Cougar came off the same line.

    We have some mighty fine cars here, folks!
  • bobschmbobschm Member Posts: 42
    Just tried a new wheel cleaner. I'm not in my garage so I don't recall the name. It's made by Mother's and comes in a big fat spray bottle (not a foam aerosol). There are two versions, a red and a yellow bottle. The yellow is for factory finish, clear coated, etc. The red is a lot harsher and for steel, non-clear coat, etc. I used the yellow and results were very good. Spray it on, wait, then blast with the hose. Cleaned out that stuff in the ridge without scrubbing. For a lazyboy like me, that's good stuff.
  • bobschmbobschm Member Posts: 42
    It's called Wheel Mist.

    Works really well.
  • stageleftstageleft Member Posts: 391
    I agree, some mighty fine cars, indeed. I don't know if the Cougar is a digression, though, more of a regression, or a progression ...
  • stageleftstageleft Member Posts: 391
    And it's non-acid?
  • fredlyfredly Member Posts: 201
    The wheel mist bottle you would want is the Yellow bottle it is formulated for
    clear-coat wheels, the Red bottle says Chrome and Rough cast aluminum.

    (Yellow Bottle) Wheel-Mist Multi Purpose Wheel Cleaner
    (Red Bottle) Wheel Mist Wheel Cleaner

    I think the Red is Acid Based nich-so-gut
  • ambercadabraambercadabra Member Posts: 56
    I'm Chevy owner, to Ford Probe owner, to Chevy again, now back to Ford(ish). I will never, never, never, never (insert about 50 more "never"s here) buy a GM again. If I have my way, my kitty will be mine for a long, long time.

    BTW DaSaint - c'mon up to Milwaukee, I'll buy you a beer and change your oil. I happen to enjoy getting a little grungy, just to have the satisfaction that I slaved over my baby all by myself. :o) Let me know if you need directions...LOL
  • badulahbadulah Member Posts: 961
    Um someone please e-mail me directions to Milwaukee.

  • dasaint1dasaint1 Member Posts: 230
    Ambercadabra just invited all of us CSG members to her house in Milwaukee for a free oil change. And she's got beer money too. It might be worth going to Milwaukee just for the beer. Badulah, don't forget to bring some of Coolchick's brownies.

    What kinda beer do you drink anyway? Old Milwaukee or Bud??
  • dasaint1dasaint1 Member Posts: 230
    Since all of us CSG members are Meguiar products users, maybe we can establish a relationship with Meguiar whereby we get discounts. After all, we're promoting their products by talking about it and using it as well.

    I never heard of Meguiar's before until I started posting here in CSG.
  • badulahbadulah Member Posts: 961
    Actually I don't care for beer, i'm more of a Long Island Ice Tea man.

    Buffalo wings and Ice Teas, a meal fit for a king.

    Now back to our regular scheduled program "Cougar Maintenance".
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