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Painted Vent Instructions by phantomzer0

Items that you'll need:

* 1 Flat Head Screwdriver
* Spray Paint in Color of Choice [Silver for this writeup]
* Masking Tape
* Rubbing Alchohol [in case of plastic protectants and finger grease]

Install Directions:

Step 1

Alright, to start off you'll need to have a Pontiac Firebird 93-02. You can always apply this method to virtually any vents in your car, but for the purpose of the walkthrough, we'll be performing this on a Firebird.
You'll need to remove the cover for the actual vent, which is what we will be painting. The easiest way to get them out is to stick something flat[ flat screwdriver is great ] and put it as shown in Figure 1:

Figure 1

Step 2

Once you have the vent cap, you'll need to tape off the area that you don't want to be painted. To pull off the look of a ring, you'll need to tape off the area circled in Figure 2. If your caps are greasy, from a protectant, use some rubbing alchohol to get it nice and dry. Not doing so will result in the tape and paint not adhering.

If you don't tape this area off, you will wind up with the entire cap being silver. You can do this is you wish, but for the purpose of the writeup, you'll need to go ahead and tape it off, as we are making rings around the caps. Try to get the tape to make a nice line at the top and bottom of the middle post. This way, your circle will look much nicer. The more jagged your tape job, the more jagged the circle will look at those two points.

Once you have your tape laid onto the entire middle section, go ahead and set it off to the side. Now would be the time to get the other vents off and tape them. Note that the two individual side vents are larger in diameter than the three middle ones. Make sure to keep them off to the side of the other three so that you don't mix them up.

After all the caps have been taped properly, you can prepare to paint. I took a little rubbing alchohol and went over the area to be painted once more, to get my finger grease off and make sure the paint will stick. I did not sand the area down because I wanted to preserve the way the plastic looked. If you would like a smooth finish, you can take some sandpaper to it, but because I didn't do so, I can't recommend how to go about it. The paint should be fine without sanding because you won't be touching it ever after its installed and it wont flex at all because of where it is.

Figure 2

Step 3

Shown in Figure 3 is the exact color and brand of the paint I used. It's Rust-Oleum Metallic Silver. You can get it any any home improvement store.

Shake your spray-paint can up as much as you can to make sure you don't spray moisture onto your caps. They'll turn out like junk if you don't do this part right. Make absolutely sure you DO NOT cake on the paint. We are dealing with a relatively small piece of plastic and it won't require much more than 1 coat, if even. Get a nice even coat on it and let it dry. Mine dried in 5 minutes with the paint I used above. If you don't get it even, [which is pretty tough considering it's size], wait for it to dry and spray it again. Sometimes it will even out alot if you give it a bit of time to dry.

Figure 3

Step 4

Once you are satisfied with your painting, it's time to reinstall them. This part can be kind of tough for the first vent, but once you get the idea you'll be popping the other 4 in faster than a cop eating a donut.

To start, the caps will only go in one way. The top is the top and the bottom is the bottom. The best way for me to describe it is: the middle piece has a slider for the vents to open and close. If you look at the backside, you'll notice some "clips" holding the slider onto the main cap. There are two bigger sized clips and two much smaller size clips. The smaller size clips should be at the bottom when you look at it. If they are at the top you have the cap upside-down.

There are two little nubbins at the top and bottom of the cap. They will fit into their respective holes on the actual vent. Once you get the top in, line up the slider with the piece on the vent. Once you have it lined up, you just have to push the cap on the rest of the way. You will have to apply a little force to get it back on, but once its on, it will sort of click. You can double-check that it's on by pulling the cap towards your body. If it comes right off, then it is not on correctly. You may have to play with it a little bit at first, but once you understand how it works, the dominoes will fall into place.

Start off by inserting the top of the cap into the vent like in Figure 4.

Figure 4

Step 5

Finish installing the rest of your vents and sit back and bask in the awesomeness that is your work.

Here's a pic of what you can expect your finished product to look like:

Figure 3

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