January 20, 2005

not a good start to the day

It is turning out to be an infinitely bad morning.

While driving into work this morning, I noticed severe discoloration on the front passenger-side headrest (black soft-leather seats) in my brand-new MINI, caused by the product in the hair of a co-worker who I taxi'd back from lunch yesterday.

After a couple of panic-attacks that nearly drove me to tears (and nearly into more than a few semis on the road), I arrived at work, and inspected the disaster more closely. The leather is not actually discolored, but it appears to be stained, and has caused the leather to become highly reflective, losing it's matte-like appearance. It looks... bad. The outlook... not good. Can you replace a leather headrest in a MINI?

To add insult to injury, when I went to take a sip from my water bottle at work just now, I inadvertently spilled the water all over my shirt. I now have a big water spot over my heart - about the size of an enlarged one, at that. Thank goodness I have a cubicle. I'll just hide in here until it dries. It could have been worse - it could have been slimey hair product.

Remind me to steer clear of any buses today.

Hopefully this leather stain debacle will be put to rest soon. I will be attending an NXT Garage Detailing event hosted by the c3 MINI club this Saturday in L.A.

Here's a snippet of info from the MINI yahoogroups email invite:

This is an open invitation to any Los Angeles/Orange County, or anywhere that you want to drive in from---the MINI club (c3--Cooper Club for Charities) I founded holds a once a month detailing clinic. We do this at my house, and the next meeting is this Saturday--Jan. 22. All MINI owners or soon to be MINI owners are welcome. You will get your MINI professionally detailed for free using Meguiar's products, and you'll be trained on the proper use of the tools. This is not an advanced class. If you pick up a power tool and turn it on, you are qualified. =)

Read more at http://c3club.org

One more time, you don't need to be a member of our club, there is no fee, it's just a bunch of MINI owners who like to keep their cars clean. Several members of this list attend these clinics already. Bring your car prewashed if possible. Food and beverages will be available. An MTH Cartune ECU Upload is also scheduled to be performed.

This is an article I wrote from last months meet.

Please let me know if you're interested in coming by email.

I'm pretty excited about learning how to properly care for my MINI, aesthetically. I emailed the host and he assured me that we'd be able to take care of my little leather problem. Plus I get to meet new MINI owners, which is always a plus.

posted by julie at January 20, 2005 09:07 AM

things people have said

I'm SURE you can get a headrest replaced. Before that, though, I'd try some of these car leather treatment kits. They are *supposed* to be able to get stains out of leather upholstery. Are your headrests blue or black? I've got unopened bottles of Meguire's car leather shampoo and conditioner if you want to give it a try (now they probably make combined shampoo/conditioner formulae with dandruff control for glistening, flake-free leather every time...).

so said: erik at January 20, 2005 10:28 AM

yeah, it's the normal black leather headrest. (sigh). i'm thinking of calling up a local detailer and having it properly cleaned this weekend, as I've NEVER worked with leather cleaner before, and thus don't want to fuck it up by applying it wrong or something.

so said: julie (me) at January 20, 2005 10:59 AM

precisely why my bottles of leather cleaner are unopened. :)

the instructions make it sound foolproof, but i have a feeling that if i ever tried it i'd end up turning my cordoba beige into cordoba bleached blonde.

so said: erik at January 20, 2005 11:04 AM

I would follow erik's cleaning instructions. But to answer your question, yes they can be replaced. In fact to clean it I would recommend pulling it out of the MINI. Just pull the lever to tilt the seat all the way forward. Push the little switch next the the headrest for height adjustment and pull up. The headrest will come off the seat. Easy to take off and put back on. Now you can work on cleaning it inside the house where you have a better angle and light.

so said: Voldemort at January 20, 2005 11:48 AM

fantastic idea, voldemort. i, briefly, tried removing it this morning, but it hit the ceiling. of course, in the panicked state i was in, the idea of tilting the seat forward might never have occurred to me! ;)

so said: julie (me) at January 20, 2005 11:58 AM

no problem, I have removed them before for cleaning and race harness install.

so said: Voldemort at January 20, 2005 02:43 PM

I can't imagine what kind of hair product could cause this kind of damage....or what is must be doing to their scalp which is not as tuff as leather. I mean I don't think even Jheri Curl could do that, could it?

A question about C3...do they actually give money to charities?

Sorry to hear this happened to you and hope you are better after that horrid cold you had.


so said: RB at January 21, 2005 08:39 AM

I don't know much about the C3 MINI club - but I would assume that when they say they give to charities that they ACTUALLY give money to charities. They ARE hosting that charity dinner at AMVIV for an autism charity. I don't know their reputation, but I usually give the benefit of the doubt.

As for the product. It might have been some Jheri Curl-type product. I don't think it actually corroded the leather or anything, but it didn't wipe away, and it has affected the leather's otherwise matte-like quality.

so said: julie (me) at January 21, 2005 12:57 PM

That's a shame it happened. Hope you can get it fixed without having to buy a new one.

I guess it's my age but I never give anybody a benefit of a doubt, anymore.

Here's something that just happened to me and my MINI.
About 3 months ago I hit a large item on the 605 that caused damage to my left front rim and tire. I had Assael fix it and asked them to give the car a CK to see if I needed any maintenance items performed. NADA they told me.

Plus, I had the second major maintenance done early last year and the brakes were fine then.

Yesterday on my way to have the iPod thingy put on my radio I hear, usually I have my music way to loud, a strange noise. I turn off the radio and hear a scrapping sound. Assael tells me it's my brakes.

Why did they not find this when they CK'd the car 3 months ago? I have only driven 200 miles since then.

I never I had this kind of BS when I had my 4Runner. They had you bring the car in for maintenance at specific intervals not when a computer told them it was ready.


so said: RB at January 21, 2005 01:27 PM