Tag Archives: auto

5 Gifts For The Automotive Enthusiast

Christmas music is already playing in stores, which is our signal to start preparing for the gift giving season.  According to my mother, automtive enthusiasts are the most difficult people to buy for.  I think the difficulty comes from not understanding the hobby, as there are plenty of gifts across all price points.  These are my Top 5 gifts I would love to receive and I’m pretty sure anyone interested in anything auto would be happy to be gifted these presents as well.

1. Mechanics Gloves – These gloves are specially designed to fit tight and have grips in all the right areas.  I picked up my first pair a few years ago and now I’ll never do without.  They are rugged enough to keep my hands from being cut up, yet thin enough for me to maintain complete motion and feel in my fingers.  Perfect for picking up nuts and bolts, and staying warm.  A nice pair of Mechanic gloves can be picked up for as little as $20.

2. Small Mechanic Tool Set – My favorite tool sets are Craftsman brand, which usually have no more than 50-60 pieces.  The smaller size makes them perfect to keep in the car or truck and be versatile enough to handle most small jobs.  Pricing usually ranges from $30 to $60.  Even if the person you are buying for has one, these are great to keep as spares, I personally can attest to losing more than my share of sockets.

3. Blu-Ray Car Movies – Looking to spend under $20, no problem, DVDs and Blu-Rays may be the answer.  There are plenty of car movies to choose from that feature hot rods.  Gone in 60 Seconds, American Graffiti, Fast and The Furious Series, and Vanishing Point are just a few suggestions that make great stocking stuffers for the gear heads on your Christmas list.

4. Just In Case Kit – This is a great gift to give to someone, even if they aren’t an auto enthusiast.  Basically anyone that drives a car should have a Just In Case Kit, for safety reasons.  This kit will usually include a flash light, jumper cables, flares, road cones, first aid kit, and a few basic tools.  Pricing will vary, but will starts around $40, which is a small price to pay for peace of mind.  The winters get real cold around here, so being prepared will pay off in spades.

[quote type=”center”]it’s hard to have the internet under a 57 Chevy with you[/quote]

5. Haynes or Chilton Manuals – This gift requires you to know what kind of vehicle the gift receiver owns.  However, having these useful manuals are a God send for anyone looking to get their hands dirty.  Usually these manuals won’t set you back to far, they can be bought and ship for $25 online.  You may be thinking, but they have the internet, why do they want some old print book on how to break down a car.  Haynes and Chilton have mastered the art of putting words to pictures and are extremely thorough on an entire model car.  Finding information on line is difficult and spotty at best when looking up specifics, plus it’s hard to have the internet under a 57 Chevy with you.

Hope these great gift giving ideas help for the upcoming 2012 Holidays.

What Car Enthusiasts Notice

I'll Notice The Dirt

I'll Notice The Dirt

As a car enthusiast I notice a lot of things, that most drivers simply over look.  Furthermore, my keen eye for the automobile allows me to help my friends, family,and even neighbors.  It’s not something I can control, it’s something I was born with, developed, and now is ingrained into my subconscious.  These are the things I cannot ignore and always look for, even before getting in the vehicle.

Low Tire Pressure

Yes, the first thing I look at when walking up to any vehicle, whether I’m driving or not, is the tire pressure level.  I’m not talking about having a flat, I mean I can look at most vehicles and tell if you are 10-15 lbs of pressure low.  Yes, it’s important, having the proper tire pressure means more than just better gas mileage, it also translates into safety.  Furthermore, ride quality suffers if the tires are not properly inflated, which leads me to my next inspection point.

Consistency Of Drive Quality

Obviously I’m familiar with how my vehicle drives and am in tune to any out of place noise, vibration, or quirk.  But my super human abilities reach even further, I can sense issues with other peoples cars simply by riding along.  I may not be able to point out the exact problem, but I am capable of knowing if something is out of place.  This uncanny ability is both a gift and a punishment.

Body Imperfections

Another curse that I am forced to live with, the inability to ignore blemishes in automotive body work.  It tears at my brain and eyes, that smudge in the paint, that dent in the fender, I can pull my eyes off of it.  The good news is that I’ll gladly suggest to you the best way to repair and buff out these problems, but rest assured, that just because you think it’s not noticable, potential car buyers and enthusiasts know that it’s there.

Throttle Hesitation

My wife can’t tell, some of my friends can’t tell, but no matter what vehicle it is, I can feel a throttle hesitation.  This is typically caused by dirty injectors, bad gas, or just a floppy pedal.  All of these are easy to remedy and can be taken care of by proper maintenace and the addition of a throttle body cleaner to your fuel system.  Being the buff that I am, I prefer running some Sea Foam through my vacum hoses and added to my fuel on occasions.


Just because you don’t notice these imperfections, hicups, or annoyances doesn’t mean others around you don’t.  This point becomes increasingly important if you are looking to sell your vehicle anytime soon.  Ask a friend with super human abilities like myself, to make sure it passes the automotive enthusiast test.

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Automotive Gaming

Playing video games is probably my only other hobby besidse working on the Mustang in my garage.  Therefore I’m always on the lookout for a quality racing game or automtive themed gaming title.  Today I came across the news and screen shots of the new Burnout Paradise PC game, which has me salivating.

The screen shots below are amazing, but what’s more interesting is how they plan on bringing the game to market.  The developer intends on offering a full version for a small period of time, for FREE.  That way you won’t have to worry about being suckered into another game purchase, only to find out that the demo was not an accurate representation of the full game.  All features, online multiplayer, and other aspects of the full game will be available on the demo.

I’m stoked and plan on checking this out as soon as it’s available, which should be some time in February 09.

Four Minutes Will Save You $400 On Auto Insurance

It is possible with a little effort to slash the amount that you are paying for auto insurance by 50% by grasping a few simple ideas and facts about how auto insurance works and how the premiums are calculated. Once you grasp how it all works, you could save significant amounts on your premium not only this year but also every year.

The first thing you need is your auto insurance declarations page, if you don’t know what that is. Its one of the pages of your current policy, that sets out the details of your coverage.

You need to read through the details and be sure to make brief, but detailed notes of certain aspects of exactly what you are being covered for at the moment. You will first need to check that you are receiving all the discounts that you are liable for.

Auto insurance discounts can be given to you, for vehicle safety features that you car has fitted. These include air bags, make a note of what kind you have front, side, head and so on. Anti theft, systems can also attract a discount, especially electronic tracking devices.

Simple items like automatic seat belts can also give you a small discount. Don’t forget other safety items such as Traction control or ABS and any other features that your vehicle may be fitted with. Note down these, any other safety, and security devices fitted to the vehicle.

Next, go to the details of any deductibles that are included in the policy, all standard policies should carry a minimum of a $500 deductible. The reason for this is simple, if your policy has a $200 deductible, altering to $500 can save you 30-40% on your premium, on average that will save you $450.
Moving you’re deductable up to $1000 will then save you $650 per year on your premium. So simple math says if you don’t have an accident for two years you will have saved $1300. If you should have an accident after 15 months, you will have still paid your premium twice, even after paying the $1000 you are still $300 in pocket. It’s a gamble to up your deductable, but the odds are stacked well in your favor.

Now move on to the property damage clause, let’s say that you are insured for $150,000. This covers you for damage to ‘property’ such as a house, a wall, a mailbox. So let us assume you hit a house, not common, but it can happen. How much damage would you have to inflict to need $150,000 worth of repairs? If you hit a wall how much could that cost, $5000? $10,000?

The truth is that this kind of risk is not very liable to amount to a huge bill; in reality, $50,000 should cover nearly all ‘property damage ‘possibilities.

Another thing to consider is if you have little or no net worth then your risk is minimal anyway, so maybe you should reduce the cover even further, down to your states minimum level.

Bodily injury liability will be next on your list; it covers all drivers and passengers of your vehicle and any other vehicle that you may collide with as well as all pedestrians.

The best way to calculate how much bodily injury cover you should have is to calculate your net worth; your insurance should be equal to that figure. You may currently be covered for $150,000, your net worth, what you are worth if you sold everything you own, may only be $30,000. So why would you need bodily injury that is several times what you are worth on paper?

The last thing for you to review is your uninsured or under-insured motorist cover, this cover increases your premium by around $200. The perception is that you will be covered if you are involved in an accident with a motorist who has little or no insurance.

This is incorrect if you have a comprehensive policy you are already covered, you don’t need this additional, double coverage. If your state doesn’t require that type of insurance, cancel it, if it does then reduce it to the minimum.

That is how four minutes can save you hundreds of dollars one your auto insurance premiums. There are other ways to make savings if you contact an online agent he will be able to show you other simple ways to save lots of money on your auto insurance premium.

Hot Lava xD Special Edition Scion

Toyota is doing another push for the love it or loathe it Scion, with the special edition Scion Hot Lava xD.  This will be a very limited edition Scion with Toyota making only 2,000 units.  The Scion marketing ploy will entail 12 major cities, Website Banner Ads, and Newspaper ads all over the US.  This week it will be hard not to see some face of the Scion in your day to day life.

“Release Series vehicles give us the unique opportunity to communicate what our brand is about but with a twist,” Jack Hollis, Scion’s vp, said in a statement. “The smoking mobile billboards and street teams wearing the protective heat gear will engage consumers and bring additional awareness of the Scion brand and excitement to the xD RS 1.0’s distinctiveness.”

The Scion xD release marks the 5th Anniversary for Scion in the US and frankly it’s being met with mixed reviews.  As far as a collectors car, time will tell, but for the giddy car lover in me I don’t want one.  Of course, i was never one for the go-cart driving feel of the Toyota Scion.  But for a teenager who gets everything, $17,169 delivers the Toyota Scion Hot Lava xD.