It’s not unusual to see a new car on the street, or a repairman removing the airbags of a crashed car.
But it’s not as common to see the repairman installing a new, high-tech car meter, or even the removal of a vehicle’s airbags, according to the owners of three different car-meter modifications in Winnipeg.
A new car, a repairmen said, is just a simple matter of adding a car meter to the car.
“You’ve got to have a good car,” said Mike Ewing, a retired electrician who has been running car-meter modifications for five years.
“It’s not like I’m going to have to spend hours doing it.
I don’t think you should go out and buy a car with the intent of installing a car-measurement system.”
In a bid to make the process easier, Winnipeg is offering a $2,500 subsidy to any home owner who installs a car gauge on their house.
The subsidy is available only to those who already have a car that is registered to them.
The city is also looking at introducing a “free” car meter for residents who want to get rid of their old cars and other items in their yard.
Mike Ewell, a car owner and owner of the Car Meter Project, said the program has already been a huge success.
“People have been very positive and supportive of it,” he said.
“They want to be able to do their own research, and they want to take the time to do it properly.”
The program is being expanded to include other items.
“We want to expand this program to include more items in order to get to the point where there is a wide range of different types of modifications that can be done,” said Ewell.
A couple of Winnipeg car-meters are already up and running.
The owner of a home on the south side of the city has installed one.
“The first thing I do is put on a coat,” said Jim Grewal.
“I don’t have any extra coats, so I just put on one coat and I walk down the street.”
Jim Grows up to install his new car meter at the car lot.
“With my car, I had to go in there every day, go through a full day of paperwork, so the first thing that I did was to put on the coat and go out to my car,” he told CBC News.
“There’s no extra coats required, just put one coat on.”
Jim said he plans to install another car meter soon, and is not opposed to doing more.
“If there is another city that is doing it and has a better track record, we might consider doing it in the future,” he added.
“But right now, we’re focused on our house.”
Jim says he’s already noticed an improvement in the quality of the cars in his neighbourhood.
“For me personally, the quality has definitely improved.”
Mike Ewings says he wants to see more cars up and on the streets.
“In a lot of areas, there’s no parking on a daily basis, and you can’t go to a shop and buy anything, because there’s not a lot in Winnipeg.”
He hopes to see that change in the near future.
“That’s why I’m doing this, because I want to see it in Winnipeg,” he explained.
Mike’s car meter has already cost him $6,000.
He’s hoping to raise that to $10,000, but said that could be a bit of a stretch.
“Hopefully, in the next couple of years, the city will make it easier to do things like this,” he concluded.
A local car-repair shop owner agrees.
“Just look at it,” said Joe, a local car dealer who has had a lot more success with his modifications.
“Most of them have a $1,000 deductible and there are people out there that can do a lot less.”
Joe said he has been installing a free garage-mapping service on his cars, and he’s been a big fan of the new Winnipeg car meter program.
“My car meter is probably the best one I’ve ever had,” he admitted.
“As long as I have one, I’ll never be without it.”
Joe hopes to expand his car-protection business to include a free-of-charge car-sensor system in the coming years.
Mike and Jim’s car-making projects are also gaining traction in Winnipeg’s west end.
“Now we’re seeing a lot from the area around the city,” said Grewan.
“A lot of people are doing car-paintings and they’re getting a lot better quality.”
The city has been working to make car-measures a standard part of the streetscape for the past two years.
Last month, city staff approved a proposal to make them a compulsory part of all city-owned