Tag Archives: car

America Needs A Cheap Car

Domestic car manufacturers were handed a big helping hand a few weeks ago, when Toyota announced the recall of 2.3million vehicles.  Toyota has already been fighting back the consumer backlash, spending a fortune on recall fixes, advertising, and supporting their local dealers to gain back trust.  So, as expected, domestic manufacturers have seen a slight up tic in sales, but will it last?

I suspect the disdain for Toyota won’t last and with the money Honda spent on Super Bowl ads we should expect them to gain a larger portion of market share.  Now I have to ask myself, what does America need, to compete in this economy and against steep competition from imports?  I believe the answer lies in a budget friendly car and by that, I mean cheap.

Cheap means different things to different people.  To some, cheap means value, how much they get for the money they spend.  However,  in this situation, when I say cheap, I mean a brand new car, decent equipped for less than $10,000.  We don’t need a Toyota Scion knock off and we don’t need another throw away car, what we need is a cheap car that is easy to work on, a vehicle built by Americans for Americans.

Originally when Toyota announced the release of a Scion branded small car, I believe it was intended to fill this niche market.  Perhaps the niche proved too profitable and the demand for their go-kart style cars became too much, so like any good Capitalist they raised their prices.  Now it’s not unusual to see Scions go for $17,000+, still a good deal in comparison to $25,000 cars, but not cheap enough.

Americans need a reliable vehicle they can purchase for under $10k, which is roomy enough to appeal to families.  This car needs to be serviceable, meaning drop all the bells and whistles, roll back the technology to a decade ago…or even further.  I understand the need for smog equipment, but lets leave off the equipment that takes millions of dollars worth or research and development.  Give me an engine bay that has enough room to turn a wrench and less electronics and I’ll show you a happy consumer willing to get dirty, rather than go deeper in debt.

A car serves a purpose, get from point A to point B.  The problem comes when manufacturers decide that it’s not profitable enough to fill that need, so they create a need in the mind of the consumer.  I need power windows, I need advanced engine computer controls, I need power seats.  These things are not needs, but they are all too soon becoming standard equipment, driving that inexpensive car price tag, to that of a luxury car just a few short years ago.  We need a company that can get this ideal across and sell it well.

The company, ideally a spin off from one of the Big 3, should embrace the culture of do-it-yourselfers and those wanting to live a lifestyle away from status symbols.  This company should spend marketing dollars on showing the value of having a reliable mid-size car capable of fulfilling a need and show what the money wasted on other products can now pay for.  A better life, away from debt, away from worry if it breaks down, and away from the stigma of a throwaway car.

This new market niche can be created, it can be exploited, and can be profitable based on volume.  We can have nice cars built for less than $10k, but as Americans we have to be taught that the most important aspect of a car is its ability to reach point B.  This new market won’t care about $1 million prototypes or how shiny the concept model looked at the Detroit Auto Show.  This new market will fall in love with a car they can repair in their drive way and be proud to take the kids to school in.

It’s a bold and brave endeavor, if only somebody would step up to the task.

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.

Conclusion

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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Less Miles Does Not Mean Less Maintenance

Car Maintenance

Car Maintenance

Some of us drive to work each day. Then we come home and go shopping or go out for a night on the town. So that means we put on a lot of miles on our vehicles. Then there are others who work from home or just don’t drive as much. When you put a lot of miles on your car you have to do maintenance more often.  Things like oil changes and replacing air filters is a common thing.

Some people who do not put a lot of miles on their cars think they can just skip almost all maintenance. This is far from the truth. Sure you won’t have to change your oil as often but other parts on your car will still need to be maintained.

One thing you need to do is keep your tires inflated. Regardless of how much you drive your car your tires need to stay at the rated pressure. If you do not keep your tires at the rated pressure they can wear in the wrong places. Have you ever seen car tires that are wearing on the outer edges? This can be caused by more than just a bad front end alignment. It could also be because they have ran them either pumped up too hard or they are running them too soft. Keeping your car tires inflated properly also will give you the better fuel mileage. A flat tire can make you lose fuel economy.

You also need to check your tires for wear and tear. A tire may look good from far away but up close you may see signs it needs replacing. If I tire starts to get weather cracks in the sidewalls and in the tread badly then you need to replace it. It does not matter how much tread is left on the tire if they are either old are starting to look bad replace them for your own safety.

Another thing you need to keep up with is your battery. If you do not drive your car hardly any and it just sits there then you need to either keep a eye out on it once a month or you need to disconnect the terminals
from the battery so they cant corrode. Even when you use your car your battery can corrode and sometimes does. You can use a baking soda and water mix to help remove acid buildup on the battery posts. Just make it sorta thick but make it runny enough so you can poor it on the terminals. Then get a brush and brush off the acid.

The last thing you should check is the fluid levels in your vehicle. You need to check your oil and transmission fluid often. This can tell you if they are low and if your car has a leak or is using oil. If you just had your oil changed and a month later your oil is low then you need to have your car looked at.

Maintaining your car is important for your own safety and the safety of others on the road. If you keep your car maintained you can lengthen the life on your car by a long ways.  This maintenance becomes especially important if you plan on storing your car for the winter.

Find Your Car In A Full Car Lot

Almost everyone has been shopping at a busy time of day or during a holiday. One thing about shopping during those times is how crowed the parking lot is not to mention the checkout lines. So you go shopping and park your car only to come back out with a bunch of bags and can’t find your car. I know we have went shopping even during regular times and came out only to not see our car. Then you go around everywhere looking for your car until you finally find it.

Here are some ways to remember and find your car in a parking lot.

1: Park near Landmarks

Landmarks are basically signs or something that will not move that can help you find your car from a distance. Like at a theme park you can remember where you parked by
looking at what row and section number you parked on. At your local walmart there are not row numbers but there are landmarks. For instance you could use the front doors
as a land mark. All you have to do is park on the row in front of the doors. When you walk back out all you have to do is walk straight across and down that row.

2: Make your car look unique

I have done this before. You come back out say at night and you are looking for your car. You find one that looks almost like yours and you look into it realizing its not. In some cases I bet people have even put their key in or used the remote to try and unlock the car only to set the alarm off or find out its not their car! Every car is mass produced unless you build your own car so there are bound to be look alikes out and about while you are shopping. Making your car look unique with bumper stickers,magnets,decals or a custom tag can help you find your car easier amongst the look a likes.

3: Use the Panic Button

This tip works pretty good if you have a basic idea of where your car is. The wireless remotes that come with cars now days to unlock your car have a descent operating range on them. You can use this to your advantage to help you find your car. All you have to do is to hit the “Panic” button once and listen for your cars beep or whatever noise it makes. Do not hold in the panic button as the car alarm will turn on and make a lot of noise. In some cases vehicles make a sound when you unlock or lock the car so you could avoid accidentally setting off the alarm by hitting the “Lock” or “Unlock” buttons instead of the “Panic” button.

If you put these tips to work I bet they can save you a lot of time and hassle when it comes to finding your car in a packed parking lot.

Finding your Car.

Finding your Car.

9 Zebra Paint Jobs

Is it a ‘look at me’ personality or a need to blend in with the herd?  Wait, no, that’s stupid, what are people thinking when they deface their cars with such ugly paint jobs?  I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out what drives someone to paint a car with zebra stripes and I don’t have an answer.

The good news is that it provides some entertainment for those of us who like to point and laugh.  I don’t care how immature it is, I’m laughing at you, not with you.  Check out these ugly paint jobs below.