All image credits: Kristen Lee/Jalopnik

The three-pointed star hood ornament is one of my favorite features on my car. New Mercedes models did away with them, so they’re kind of a neat thing you don’t see much anymore. And so when mine got knocked off, a piece of my heart went with it. I had to get it fixed.

I suppose I could have easily just left the hood the way it was. It wasn’t totally obvious that something was amiss. But, as any obsessive person knows, when something is off it bugs the shit out of you. Something needed to be done. Plus, the hood ornament helped me place the front of the car. I was basically flying blind without it.

Here’s what happened. This past February, it snowed heavily in New Jersey. After returning from a trip to California, I found nearly seven inches of snow frozen in a blanket to the top of my car. Exuberant beating off of said snow was perhaps too exhuberant: in the zeal of waving a snow brush about, the C32's three-pointed star hood ornament soon lay on the slushy ground, having been snapped clean off.

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I looked on YouTube, figured out how to replace it, ordered the part off the Internet and resolved to take on life’s latest challenge myself.

During the week leading up to the day, I double- and triple-checked tips and watched videos online about how to replace the hood ornament on an early 2000s-model Mercedes. I achieved a calm state of mind; a tranquility flowed through my fingertips that I planned to harness and channel towards the project because I knew it wouldn’t be easy.

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And the day finally came: dull, gray and rainy. I removed my rings because I’d read that if you injure your hands and swelling starts to occur, it’s much harder for doctors at the hospital to cut your rings off. Also, I have nice rings.

Wrenching pants: on.

I popped the hood open and located the post that held the bottom half of the old ornament in place. The video recommended that I buy a special tool for this job, but I was fairly confident that a good pair of pliers would suit me just fine.

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I clamped the pliers onto the post and rotated its base to the right, applying constant pressure, my heart thumping in my ears. Gradually, the base turned and I was able to slide the broken ornament easily through the hole in the hood. I set that aside. The sound of the rain outside helped ground me.

The new ornament came easily out of its box. I pushed it through the hole in the hood and seated it straight with one hand while turning the base into locking position with the pliers with the other. Seconds passed. The base stopped turning. I gave the emblem a small wiggle. It felt solid. It was straight. I was done.

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My forearm came away wet with sweat when I wiped it across my forehead. I was exhausted. Drained. I felt as though I had just completed some kind of surgery.

But as soon as I looked at the fixed front of my car, I knew I had made the right choice. The hood ornament just belonged there. It would have been a crime if I had left it off.

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I’m glad I was able to get through such a delicate repairing process while staying that levelheaded. The part itself came to about 30 bucks. I don’t even want to think about what a dealership would have charged.