How can I cover my car in Astroturf?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jul 01, 2004

Dear Tom and Ray:

Soon I will be receiving as my first car -- drumroll, please -- a 1993 Buick Roadmaster Station Wagon! My parents have given me permission to decorate it in any way, as long as it does not destroy the "value" of the car. In other words, they don't want me to do anything that can't be removed when it's time to sell the car. So, as my big design, I decided to cover the wood details with Astroturf, or another substance like it. My question: What can I use to keep the Astroturf on the car? It would need to be windproof, waterproof and removable. When it needs to be removed, it cannot damage the "paint job." Thanks. -- Aaron

TOM: Well, your parents are very lucky, Aaron. My kid's first move would have been to try to lay a Sealy Posturepedic in the back of the wagon. So Astroturf sounds wonderfully innocent to me.

RAY: Unfortunately, this is not an easy problem to solve. Big sheets of Astroturf are pretty heavy. You have to make good and sure they're not going to fly off while you're driving. If a guy driving behind you suddenly gets his windshield covered with an Astroturf doormat at 60 mph, he's likely to have an accident. And then -- rightfully -- come after you with a baseball bat. And a lawyer.

TOM: Unfortunately, the adhesives that stick the best are also the most difficult to remove. You can try a contact cement and a release agent, but they're probably going to mar the car's finish. So try it out first in a nice, inconspicuous spot.

RAY: Like on your neighbor's car.

TOM: If that sounds too risky (it does to us, Aaron), you might look into magnetism. There are lots of magnetized decorations you can buy for your car, and those will come off in a snap when Mom and Dad repo the Roadmaster.

RAY: And you'll even be able to change them yourself from time to time as your interests change (which happens approximately every three weeks, when you're 16 years old).

TOM: So that's what I'd do, Aaron. Can't you see flames on each side? Or a big sign for the back that says "Caution: I Brake for Toyotas."

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