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What to Do If Your Car Has Been Keyed

Vandalism is disheartening, especially if you are targeted by a vandal to be a victim. One of the worst types of vandalism to suffer is to have your car keyed. While it is a subtle style of vandalism, it is especially annoying since it mars the the beauty of your car as well as degrades its potential resale value. If your car has been keyed, you will probably want to know what to do next.

First, file a police report. If you ever learn who the culprit of this vandalism is, you will need evidence of when this vandalism occurred should you decide to sue this person in court. Rather than have to worry about trying to produce eyewitnesses who can corroborate your testimony, if you file a police report you will have a dated record of when you discovered the damage.

Next, try to find out who did this. Ask people who may have been nearby when the vandalism occurred. Try to keep your emotions in check when you do this. If people are threatened are intimidated as you speak with them, they are less likely to share information. Thus, don’t be huffing and puffing like the Incredible Hulk as you ask others if they saw anything. Of course, if a culprit is named by anyone, don’t assume that this alleged person is guilty. Simply pass this information on to police, and make sure that it is noted in the police report.

Finally, you will need to worry about repairing your car. Hopefully, the damage is not too deep. Most people who key cars do it fast, so they are unlikely to create as much damage as they would if they were not in such a rush. If the scratch is hardly deep enough to snag your fingernail, then perhaps it can be repaired with a little rubbing compound. If, however, the damage is severe, you will probably want to take the car to a detail shop to have it fixed and waxed.

An important thing to note is that just because you have been targeted as a victim doesn’t mean that you need to continue to live as a victim. Avoid cowering in fear of another reprisal. Instead, simply repair your car and practice a policy of vigilance in order to ward away vandals.

Hopefully, you can get the culprit of the damage to pay these bills after having your case heard in small claims court. If not, just chalk up this experience as one of life’s sick jokes. Pay to have your car fixed, and don’t carry a grudge. You’ll end up a healthier person as a result.

Categories Blog

The 5 Steps to Purchasing a Car

Blankly staring with reddened eyes, the exhausted car shopper examines the thousands of vehicles continually scrolling on the computer screen. Over twenty makes and two hundred models from which to choose; factor in fuel efficiency, mileage, interior dynamics, vehicle history, title status and a myriad of other features, and there’s only one appropriate adjective for such an escapade: hellish. Newspapers, automotive traders and dealerships all vie for your attention and money – and with the thousands of available models, which to choose? Thankfully, there are five questions which draw the line between the neurotic car shopper and you – a confidant, contented customer who knows exactly what to do.

  1.  What Do I Need?

Before such heavenly visions as lavish carpets and leather seats raise their obtrusive hypothetical heads, ask yourself: what do I need in this car? A family of six, living on a $35,000 annual income, cannot afford a Chevrolet Charger, regardless of any male-oriented soliloquies regarding dreams, purpose, and living life to its fullest. Consider current and prospective family size, estimated amount of driving, reliability ratings, vehicle age and price. Filter each vehicle through a list of essential qualifications and rule out any vehicles that cannot conform to your specifications.

  1.  What Do I Want?

Now is the appropriate time to examine cup-holder alternatives. In lieu of the grinding experience just suffered by crossing-out the Ford Mustang GT from the catalog, allow yourself some leniency and muse over which extras would enhance your future vehicle. Research add-ons such as plush carpets, power control, remote entry, sun/moon roof, music options, etc. Not everyone is designed for a bare-to-the-bone Jeep Wrangler Rubicon – some were made to roll in a fashionable BMW 335i, but were regrettably borne into a Ford Econoline 150 family. Don’t lose hope – be creative; necessity is the mother of invention.

  1.  What’s Left?

Rest in peace, Chevrolet Avalanche and Audi Q7 – you’ve been replaced by the Ford Geo and Dodge Neon. After reviewing the infinitesimal list remaining from the gargantuan roster previously existing, pick the five top cars. These vehicles should all be within your budget, meet transportation and lifestyle needs, and have a spark of style to keep you interested (if this is not so, repeat steps one and two again, albeit with greater concentration). Edmunds.com, kkb.com (Kelly Blue Book), autotrader.com and usedcars.com are phenomenal rating and review websites. If you have inquiries about reliability, build quality, fuel economy, performance and other attributes, check out these sites to get the data from both professional automotive enthusiasts and past/present customers.

  1.  Research, Research

Using the sites listed in # 4, craigslist.com, newspaper classifieds and word-of-mouth information, begin investigating the top five vehicles. Continue to explore their characteristics as you work to discover available vehicles near the home. Don’t expect to find your picks within two or three days, but if the lingering stretches past a month, reconsider your selection criteria. Once you’ve discovered a good deal, take immediate advantage of the opportunity; call the seller, set up an appointment, don a good-looking outfit, and take off.

  1.  Prove It to Me

This is the final test: is the vehicle for you? When inspecting a vehicle, do not overlook your tool kit: a critical mind and an educated automotive mechanic. Never purchase a vehicle sight-unseen, unexamined or not driven. Request a test drive. Check out the handling, listen for strange noises, and familiarize yourself with the interior – could you imagine driving in this vehicle for the next 50,000 miles? If the vehicle is used, scan and study the history of the vehicle, which the current owner should present to you upon request. Finally, allow the automotive mechanic to carefully scrutinize the vehicle’s mechanics – repairs for a shoddy vehicle will probably cost much more than the sticker tag. Does this vehicle run well, have a clean history, and respond well to demands? If yes – Eureka!

Finding a superb vehicle doesn’t have to land a potential customer in the psychiatric ward for rest and rehabilitation. Red-eyed and sleep-deprived computer scanner, be gone! With a charily planned strategy and a sprinkling of creativity, you can purchase a splendid vehicle and even get to bed on time.

Categories Blog

The Budweiser Goes on the 8 Car Not the 24 Car! Crazy Mutant 'Dega Guys!

Jeff Gordon, who pilots the 24 Dupont Chevrolet, won his 77th race Sunday, passing Dale Earnhardt by 1 in total wins. The crowd went wild, but not in a very nice way. Hundreds of fans thew beer, water bottles, and even toilet paper onto the track as Jeff Gordon performed his burnout. On the cool down lap, Dale Jr. stayed on Jeff’s outside as crazy amounts of trash were hurled over the fence from the grandstands onto the track.

Seriously, just how dangerous is it to be on the receiving end of beer cans on the track? The short answer is probably not much. You’ve got sheet metal over your head, and a windshield that won’t break. I’m guessing that the fans in the stands are much more likely to be injured by thrown cans of beer and other debris than the drivers are. In all this confusion, I really worry about the fans more than anyone else.

Think about it. If you’ve ever been to an actual Cup race. The fences are high along the wall. They are high for a purpose, which is actually two-fold. First of all the high fences are to keep sheet metal, tires, and other dangerous things from bouncing off of you when a crash happens right in front of you. Second, the fences are there to prevent you, the gentle fan, from bombarding your not so favorite driver with the bomb of your choice. The fences are not high enough to prevent lobbing something over, much like young Army recruits are taught to lob grenades, but they are mostly high enough from allowing you, the bomb thrower, anything like accuracy, even from a seat way up high. If you can hit a moving target from row 120, then you should be in the Major Leagues, as far as I’m concerned. Forget Nascar, you’ve got an arm! For God’s sake, use it!

I know that a lot of fans in red inhabit the stands at Nascar races today. Red does not always mean Dale Jr. Most of the detailed pictures of beer cans bouncing off the 24 car on Sunday were blue, and looked suspiciously like Miller Lite. I doubt any good Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan in good standing would be caught with Miller Lite, much less throwing it at Jeff Gordon. Seriously, I doubt any Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan would buy Miller Lite just to throw at Jeff Gordon. It’s a thought though!

Dale Earnhardt’s birthday coincided with the Sunday race at Talladega. Dale would have been 56 on Sunday. I miss him a lot, and even if you weren’t a Dale Earnhardt fan, you probably miss him too, if you were ever a Nascar fan. It’s just not the same watching a race and not seeing that famous black 3 Chevrolet and that famous mustache and smile around a track like Talladega.

Even if Dale were still alive, I doubt that he would still be behind the wheel of that famous #3, but if Dale had lived, I wonder who would be? There’s no way of knowing, but I suspect that sooner or later, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the 3 car. Whether it is a Richard Childress Racing car, or a Dale Earnhardt Inc. car, Dale Jr. will eventually be driving it.

Dale Earnhardt’s reaction to the goings on at places like Talladega today is impossible to know, but I imagine he would publicly denounce it, as his son has done, but privately he might me smiling about it. If nothing else, Dale Earnhardt loved a good scrap, at least on the track. Off the track, Dale Earnhardt was all business. He ruled empires, including not only his own racing organization, Dale Earnhardt Incorporated, but merchandising businesses as well. Dale was one of the first, if not the first driver, to understand that more money could be made by selling racing memorabilia such as die cast cars, to tee shirts, hats, and anything else that could have his famous name printed on it. Today, virtually all drivers make more money from their online stores and souvenir trailers than they do in race winnings. Dale Earnhardt was the pioneer who began that trend that grows every year.

Talladega is a unique place in the universe, at least on race weekends. The huge 2.66 mile track allows for a lot of spectators, especially in the biggest infield in all of stock car racing. To visit this track is to feel like one is looking across something like a huge airport. I was there in 2004, and sat in the turn 1 stands. You could barely see the backstretch from where I sat, and you could see almost nothing of turns 3 and 4. Even with front row seats, I was still better than a mile away from other side of the track. I was never in the infield, but you could see a vast sea of campers and tents stretched out almost as far as the eye can see. A lot drinking happens when folks from all over the country descend on this tiny town in Eastern Alabama in the spring and fall of each year. Most fans stay the entire weekend. By Sunday, some of these people, but certainly not all, have been drinking for 48 or even 72 hours. A lot of these people aren’t just residents of Alabama, they are literally from every state, and even quite a few provinces of Canada. The party atmosphere is there, indeed, it might be the world’s biggest party held on a single site.

Even if every single member of Alabama’s law enforcement community were brought in to patrol the race, there would still be some ugliness. You simply cannot have hundreds of thousands of people at a single event and not expect some. For the record, 14 people were arrested after the race. There is one famous picture, not being circulated all over the internet showing a fan in a cowboy hat and what appears to be a Lowes smock, with the 48 of Jimmie Johnson, who’s car is partially owned by Jeff Gordon, being led away in handcuffs. Obviously, there were more than 14 people at fault, and all have been banned from buying tickets at Talladega for life, which is a joke within itself, but I’ll save that for another story.

Nascar fans, our sport is largely self policing. The teams police each other in the garage during race weekends. The drivers don’t get away with much on the track, because someone will usually put them either back in line or into the wall if they don’t behave. We, as fans must police ourselves as well. If you see a fan hurl anything at a race car, tell the nearest security person. Do us all a favor and help clean out the 0.1% of so-called ‘fans’ that make all the rest of us look bad. Nascar doesn’t need these people, and neither do we. Don’t let the actions of a few make us all look like fools.

Categories Blog

Buying a New Car Doesn't Have to Be a Scary Experience

This is part one of a three part series on purchasing a new car. In this section we will discover how to and how important it is to research the vehicle before ever sitting down with a salesperson to talk price. In the second section we will further discuss research by discussing what you need to do and have before going to the dealership. Section three brings it all together with that dreaded trip to the dealership and Finance office.

Section 1 – Research – Discovering the vehicle you want to buy.

It is a widely held belief, not entirely untrue, that buying a new vehicle is a scary, painful experience. With just a little research under your belt and the confidence that knowledge brings, you can play with the big boys. The most important word in vehicle purchasing is RESEARCH. I’ll say it again, RESEARCH. Taking the time to do the research, you can go to the dealership without those anxiety pains and leave not feeling like you’ve been ripped off.

I’ve purchased 11 new vehicles from the period 4/1997 to 2/2006 – yes that’s an average of more than 1 per year. I’ve spent most of my childhood and early adult life around the automotive business and I’ve even walked out feeling like I’d been ripped off. Every one of those times was because I had gone in without doing research and let myself get emotional about the vehicle I had found. In the last 9 years though, I’ve more often than not come out feeling like I’d worked a good deal. Though, in a couple of cases, the dealership might not have felt that way.

First things first. You probably won’t get that newly introduced or hot car without the dealer making a good profit. In any case of vehicle purchasing, the dealer must make some profit or else why would he be in business selling cars? Oh but you’ve heard about all of the “back end” profit that the dealer makes. Well I’ve been there and, in the vehicle sale transaction itself (not the things you add to the price in the F&I office) there is little room to make hidden profit. That “Holdback” that just about every “car research” site insists that you figure into your deal may or may not be there. More on holdbacks in section 3.

The second thing you need to know is that the time that you purchase your vehicle and the price you pay for it makes a LOT of difference. Here are a few important things to remember. The end of the year (last two to three weeks) is a good time. The dealership has to pay Ad-Valorem tax (if applicable in your state) on all of the vehicles that are sitting on their lot on 12/31 so they have incentive to sell, even if they don’t make much profit. Also, dealerships don’t order a lot of vehicles after the 10th of November so the vehicles on the lot have probably been sitting on the lot a while, which means they have no or little holdback left and they are paying flooring interest. The end of the months of March, June, and September are also good months. It’s quarter end and the dealerships will be dealing and the manufacturers will be offering incentives to sell vehicles. When are the worst times to buy a new vehicle? The first three weeks of January. You’ll be hard pressed to find any manufacturer incentives and the dealership personnel have been pounded with how much the dealership didn’t make last year. They aren’t going to be pressed to deal. Other than that is any time a vehicle is being introduced as “All New” or “Substantially Revised”.

So you’ve decided that now is the right time for you to buy a new vehicle. What should your first step be? Well you’ve already made it. Yes, it’s the INTERNET. There are several places in which to find information about cars and there are some different methodologies for going to the different types of sites. I’ll take two scenarios and break them out for you:

Scenario #1: You’ve seen or rented a certain vehicle, or know someone who has a certain vehicle, and you’re pretty sure that’s the one you want. This is a great place to begin. The first thing you’ll want to do, research wise, is pull up the manufacturer’s website. Most vehicle manufacturer websites can be found by simply typing in the name.com. Others you may have to Google (I’ll use “Google” as my generic “search engine”. You can use anyone you feel comfortable with.). Either way, you should find it quickly.

Now take a tour of the vehicle you are wanting. Here you’ll find the different trim levels for the model you like. You’re friend, or that rental vehicle you had, may have been the low or mid trim level but you may find you want the extras in the high trim level. What’s important in this step is that you burn the hell out of that website. Go everywhere, look at every picture, look at the models above and below the model you came there to look for (You may have loved your friends 9 seat mega-SUV but may find that the next step down would be perfect for you!). Next, search the research sites in the next paragraph for reviews, prices, etc.

Scenario #2: You know you need an SUV. You’re not brand loyal and don’t’ really know what’s out there. No problem. Go to one of the automobile research sites. (Edmunds.com, carsdirect.com, cars.com, vehix.com are all good sites.) There are several ways to research cars there. Go for it, find your dream car and see what they have to say about it. Once you’ve narrowed it down, go to the manufacturer’s site (detailed above) and research the vehicle. You may find out that car you think you may want isn’t available anymore or isn’t available with the items you want (Example: You really like a manual transmission but many cars these days aren’t even available with them.)

So now you’ve decided on a vehicle (or two or three) that you’d like to consider. You’re research isn’t over yet. I always go to the website carsdirect.com to check the pricing. This has served as an invaluable tool. First, it lets you “build” the vehicle you want and gives you real time pricing. Not only the retail price and the “invoice price” (theoretically what the dealer paid for the vehicle) but it also gives you THEIR price (yes, you can actually buy the car through them but I’ve never done that). Sometimes this may be thousands less than the “invoice price”. Not to worry, they’re taking into account any incentives and/or rebates along with special pricing. A good thing about this is that you get to see how you would like your new car configured, if it can even be configured the way you would like it, and if it is even in your price range.

Ok, so you’ve maybe ruled one or two out and let’s say you’ve decided there are two cars that you think may fit your needs, budget and wants. Now it’s time to take a test drive. I suggest two methods, if you have the time and means. I always start at the rental car agency. If you have chosen a main-stream vehicle, chances are some rental car agency has some version of it. Call around to your local rental agencies, the ones the local dealerships use are the best bets. Be up front with them and let them know which vehicle you would like to rent for a day. If they have the vehicle they’ll be happy to help you – it’s just money for them. No you may not get the same trim level, or even year that you are thinking of buying, but as long as it’s essentially the same car (Meaning the car hasn’t been revised in the last couple of years or you want a 6 cylinder and they only have the 4 cylinder version.) then you’re ok. If they have several of the cars you would like to drive, ask for the one with the HIGHEST miles. Why? Let’s face it, rental cars are driven hard. How better to get an idea of how a vehicle is going to feel, handle, stay together 12 months, 24 months down the line. It may seem like a pain but, if you don’t have friends with the vehicle or don’t know much about the vehicle, this is a great tool to use and really worth the time and minimal expense.

Once you (and the car) have passed that test, now it’s time to go to the dealership. Don’t call or email the dealership beforehand. That is what a real buyer (meaning one who’s not shopping) does. You’re still shopping so be up front. As much as their reputation precedes them, if you’re up front and honest from the beginning, a good car salesperson is happy to earn your business. The first thing you need to do is tell the salesperson who greets you (or the receptionist if in a luxury/low-key dealership) that you are there only to research a certain vehicle. You will not be buying today; you don’t even have a checkbook or credit card on you. IMPORTANT: Ask the salesperson what their “customer walk-out” policy is. Many lower-end dealerships have a policy that the salesperson cannot (meaning he/she gets punished) let a customer walk out without buying unless they speak to the Sales Manager first. This is the practice I most abhor in a dealership. I’ve heard the Sales Manager literally tell customers that it may be their fault if the salesperson’s kids don’t eat tonight! In any case, if the salesperson cannot or will not answer that question, looks down when it is asked, or says that they do have that policy. Kindly excuse yourself (it’s not the salesperson’s policy, trust me, they hate it) and walk away. There are other dealerships and that’s not the one you want to deal with.

Hopefully the salesperson will respond with a negative to that question. At that point ask the salesperson if has the time to help you in your research. If you happened to meet the “Sales Leader” of the dealership he may tell you he has an appointment soon and hand you off to a newbie or someone who is having a slow day. DON’T BE OFFENDED! He is there to do a job, sell cars and make money. Plus, someone who is newer is less likely to be pushy or feel the need to tell you everything about the vehicle. If you are comfortable with your research, you may also tell him that you’ve done a ton of research and know probably as much as he does, you just want to see how the vehicle drives and handles. This will alleviate any feelings that you’ve wasted his time later. Ok, so guess what’s going on right now, if you’ve followed this advice. YOU’RE IN CONTROL. Now, salespeople hate this, but, as long as you are polite and honest with the person you are dealing with, you’ll be fine.

So you’ve driven the car(s) and you’ve decided on one that you really like. Now you go back to your trusty computer and go to one of the pricing sites (I rely on carsdirect.com and kbb.com). You play around until you have the vehicle configured exactly as you want it. Only now do we talk about price. There is no one set formula you can use to determine how much you should pay for the vehicle. Some cars are very common and may have lots of sales incentives. Some cars are rarer and you may get no discount at all. This is where the research comes in. Every salesperson in his right mind is going to tell you that the price of the vehicle is right there on the window (“Monroney”) sticker. And he’s correct and he’s perfectly fine in asking you to pay that. Don’t be upset or offended and, for Pete’s sake, please don’t “pssshht” at him. When was the last time you brought a bottle of salad dressing up the checkout in the market and then huffed at the cashier about the price? Politeness is one of those things that goes a long way in this process.

I can’t give every scenario so I’m going to give the most common. The vehicle you want is one of the more readily available and a good seller. You price it out at the two sites and you get three final “prices”. (I’m going to use numbers from a search I just did, it doesn’t matter what it’s for, they’re just an example.) The first number is the “M.S.R.P Price” (Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price). This is the amount you’ll see on the sticker of a vehicle on the lot equipped EXACTLY like the one you configured. In this example that number is $39,975.00. Next you’ll see the “Invoice Price”. This is the wholesale price of the vehicle from the Manufacturer to the Dealer. And no, that is not necessarily what the dealer paid for the car, but we’re not concerned with that. In this example that number is $37,141.00. Next you’ll see a number under “[website name] Price or New Car Book Price”. This is the number that they are saying you should pay for the vehicle, exactly as configured. In this example that number is $35,141.00. This may include any rebate or customer incentive (look for negative numbers at the top of the list of options).

Ok, so what now? The first thing I do is back any rebate/incentive out. Rebates and incentives are not part of the purchase price and they may not even be offered if you decide to take any Manufacturer financing or lease deal. So this tells you exactly what you should pay for the vehicle. In the above example, there is a $2,000.00 rebate from the manufacturer. So, in this example, the vehicle can be purchased for invoice price. Not bad. In the case of carsdirect.com, this is what they are offering to sell the vehicle to you for so this is a HUGE bargaining tool. Your next steps are detailed in Section 2.

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Ten Strategies for Selling Your Car

Listed here are ten techniques upon marketing your own passenger car. They will make it possible to you to getting a reasonable price or actually a fabulous one.

The most crucial for the ten good tips upon advertising your own vehicle will be getting it ready from technical standpoint. Get the assistance of a technician. In most cases, owners’ really focus upon solving the big difficulties like power steering or suspension systems but getting rid of tiny complications moreover if they are really simple to correct will be furthermore mighty important.

The second to the ten recommendations upon advertising and marketing your own automobile can be to plan an effective ad together with select a paper with nationwide coverage or additionally more effective, one for the accepted internet resources to display it. Always use an advert thanks to a photograph.

3: experiment with to promote it privately as a substitute for advertising and marketing to a dealership. Typically, a trader will probably pay a lot less than the business worth.

The 4th for the 10 approaches upon promoting your own motor vehicle is simply settling an effective price. Have a look at advertising campaigns to check out the business degree for your own car type, model, year and even mileage. Set a price along with leave some room for talks.

5: a detailed internal in addition to outside detailing will put together it look almost brand spanking new yet again. Take Off floor covering or upholstery staining. Clean the glass meticulously upon each of them sides. Controls, dashboard along with center console may very well be most noticeable components in addition to any kind of debris, staining or dirt and grime requires to be got rid off. Eliminate all rubbish that you just saved in time.

6: organise a repairs and maintenance report. Any Time You wouldn’t have any sort of accident car back ground, speak about this particular in adverts.

7: should you haven’t any time frame, make sure you contemplate advertising and marketing it while in the best time for your own passenger car. Even If You have a convertible, strive to easily sell it from the summertime. Should You possess a 4 wheel drive one, attempt to advertise it late from the fall months or outset of wintertime.

Eight: strive not being in a panic. You need to not be while in the position of taking the very first offer.

Nine: organise your self for enquiries similar to “why do you wish to promote it” or “just what exactly is undoubtedly entirely wrong because of it?”. Also should you don’t have anything to conceal, it may be significantly better not to hesitate as well as give the correct responses.

Finally for the ten bits of advice upon marketing your own auto list could be to get ready to get a drive-test. Virtually Any new owner wish to select a ride. Do not hesitate to inquire about a license to drive and even always ride along because of the likely new buyer. It is going to be easier to spell out the better ponits for your Car for Sale.

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Top 5 Green Car Products

These days it is almost inhumane not to participate in the green movement. Especially, with all the available products being made and distributed into the market. One of the easiest and most effective ways to go green is by buying car products that reduce fuel emissions and eliminate toxins and pollutants created by automobiles. Companies offer energy reducing spark plugs, vegetable oil conversion systems and green car wash cleaner. The saying “every little bit helps” could not be more true in this case. Check out these products that are available to consumers world-wide.

E3 Spark Plugs

Not only will these spark plugs aid you in the effort to go green, but they will give your car’s engine a longer life span. The goal is to produce a cleaner and more complete burn generated by the spark plugs by reducing carbon deposits. E3 spark plugs boast a “DiamondFIRE” design, which makes edge-to-edge, sparks.

Price: $5.99

Web site: www.e3sparkplugs.com

Vegetable Oil Conversion System

Greasecar Vegetable Fuel Systems has created a machine that will turn your diesel guzzling machine into a vegetable oil friendly eco-car. This is great if you are patient and have a decent understanding of how a diesel car operates. However, in summation the conversion system uses heat exchange to allow proper fuel injection.

Price: $795

Web site: www.greasecar.com

Simple Green Car Wash Cleaner

For those of us who are perhaps automotively-challenged, there is a great car wash cleaner that is eco-friendly. Safe to use on paint, windows, metal, chrome, rubber, canvas and vinyl, this car cleaner special formula is biodegradable! So, go wash your own car!

Price: varies

Web site: www.simplegreen.com

Eco Microfiber Towels

After a good scrub down dry your car with these environmentally-friendly towels. You won’t be wasting rolls of paper towels on the drying process and these towels have been proven to pick up dirt instead of smearing across your car’s surface. Bonus, these towels are non-abrasive and hypoallergenic!

Price: $3.99-$6.99

http://www.ecocarcare.net

Accutire Mechanic’s Digital Tire Gauge

According to the Department of Energy, fuel economy decreases 0.4 percent for every 1 psi drop in tire pressure on all four tires. Checking your tire pressure is one of the easiest you can do as a automobile owner. While pumping your gas you can check tire pressure; and now with a digital tire gauge it’s even easier no annoying wires to mess with.

Price: $29.95

Web site: www.autosportcatalog.com

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Reasons Not to Buy a Car

/>Before you make the choice of whether or not to purchase a car, make sure to carefully consider the financial implications of it. Although a car offers greater convenience and efficiency in travel, for most people there are ways to get around having one. Think green and take an environmentally friendly stroll to work every morning.

Save Money on Insurance and Gas

The most obvious reason not to buy a car would be the cost of the gas and insurance. Gas can run into the hundreds of dollars a month and depending on your age and driving record, insurance can as well. If you make a lower income, it is important to consider exactly how much more it will cost you to drive every day. Consider the number of hours you would have to work to pay off your drive to work. If you are paying more per hour than you make, taking a bus to work would be a valid option.

Learn a Language or Read a Book

Taking a bus everyday instead of a car can free up more of your time. You can spend the time you save studying another language or reading a book. For the less goal-driven individual, bus rides can be passed in sleep. Spending your morning commute on a bus makes for an efficient start to your day.

Free Up your Life

For the travel oriented individuals, having a car can put a damper on your plans. Unless you have an income level that can support long term travels, it is best to postpone your car purchase until your backpacking days are over. Having to pay for the cost of car payments and insurance while you are away can shorten your vacation plans.

Skip Out on the Gym

Rather than driving to work, try walking or bicycling to the office. Save money on gas and get your daily work out in at the same time. Spend less on your gym membership and more time in the outdoors. Make it a power walk and put your weight loss plans in high gear.

Although buying a car is often a milestone in any young adult’s life, postponing the purchase to later years can save you time and money. In the current economy, focusing on your budget and limiting your expenditures can be a part of prudent financial planning.

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MrTechnical's Top Seven Car Theft Deterrent Methods that Really Do Work!

When I think about theft deterrents for cars and trucks I usually picture a few simple and logical steps that everyone should take every time they leave their vehicle unattended.

You may be thinking “I am only going inside for a minute” and that is all it takes for someone to cruise by and grab your valuables.

1) So the first and simplest method for deterring a potential thief is to put up the windows and lock all the doors. Car thieves and people who are skilled at snatching and dashing are not very interested in having to mess around with a car that is locked. They will just move on until they find one that is not locked and maybe even has the keys in it!

2) The second thing I think makes it harder for a potential thief is for you to set your security alarm on every time you leave the car unattended. Most cars have at least some sort of security system installed and if not, you can get an inexpensive one installed at more places now than ever. In fact adding a security system can net you a decent savings on your car insurance which may even pay for the system!

3) The third most beneficial trick to preventing theft in your vehicle is to park your car in a location that is highly visible and conspicuous. If there is a lighted parking area choose that over one which is dark. If you have a garage, then put the car in there, and remember to lock the car and the garage! This is one of the simpler tricks that is still free to use!

4) Fourth is to use one of those steering wheel locking devices which can make it impossible to drive your vehicle no matter what they do to try and defeat it. These are less costly now than when they first came out. With modern cars that have airbags everywhere there is no way a thief is going to try and remove the steering wheel since the odds of the airbag deploying if they mess with the steering wheel are right around 100%

5) Fifth method of deterring theft in your vehicles is to never leave anything valuable in the car, and to never drive anything that someone would want to steal. There are lists on the Internet covering which are the top vehicles that are stolen annually, and this includes the areas that have the highest theft issues. So you can use that information as a guideline when shopping for your next car!

6) Sixth method of preventing a theft of your car would be to install a simple hidden kill switch that prevents the car starting unless the thief knows the location of your hidden switch. Even then they would need to know exactly how to operate the switch. The more complicated you can make it the better this kill switch will work.

7) Seventh method may seem silly to some but making sure you put on the parking brake can deter a number of the less savvy car thieves out there! Some people will have no idea how to release the brake since using a parking brake had fallen out of favor with modern drivers much like the apparently optional use of turn signals when changing lanes, crossing traffic, or simply turning into a driveway. If potentially innocent until proven guilty car thief is younger than say 27 they may not even know how to use the parking brake so your car is most likely safe in their hands!

My personal trick for preventing theft is exactly what I said previously in this article, I typically drive a car that nobody really wants to steal. The age alone of my 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee has given her certain drive-ability quirks which would completely baffle the above average car thief! For example when first starting the car you have to go to reverse immediately in order for the transmission to engage the overdrive, or else it will only operate in third gear. There is absolutely no way a thief would know this unless he or she visits Yahoo! And reads this article and then somehow figures out what I drive and then they desperately calculate where it will be parked at exactly the right time when they are available to take the car!

I stand a better chance of winning the lottery than seeing this happen.

Categories Blog

He Stole My Car and I Married Him

The smell of burning leaves hung in the crisp October air. Darkness had started to fall, but the air seemed perfect for a drive. Lowering the top of my convertible, I stood and allowed myself to breathe in all that is fall. I love fall. I especially love fall in the beautiful scenic state of Arkansas, where the trees seem to be on fire with color so deep you can see them in the darkness. On this night, I just wanted to drive, to clear my mind, listen to my music, breathe the fall air, and be a teenager. I cruised the normal strip through town, as this was several years ago, gas was not an issue. I cruised from the river, to the local hangout, to a fast food restaurant, and finally to Wal-Mart. As I pulled into the parking lot of Wal-Mart, I noticed a car behind me, flashing their lights at me. I went ahead and pulled into an available space, put the top up on my car, activated the alarm and headed into the superstore. Once inside I saw a group of teenagers hanging out in the aisle. I tried to nonchalantly walk past them, but then I noticed this incredibly good looking guy. He was so incredibly good looking that my sixteen year old heart skipped a beat, and my breath refused to cooperate. Apparently he noticed me as well. He called out to me, in a playful teenage boy sort of way.

“Hey! Are you the girl driving the Mustang?”

“Ummm…yeah.” I tried to smile my most endearing smile, but all I could think is, he’s talking to me…he’s really talking to me! I felt like I might faint, and my smile was starting to hurt. I turned and decided to stand with their group, in hopes of furthering the conversation. Focusing on my breath, I took one more long look at him. He was wearing an over-sized Nike sweatshirt, the gray making his tan look even darker. His black cap emphasizing his rugged jaw line. I snapped out of my thoughts when I heard the swoosh-swoosh of his black wind suit pants as he stepped even closer to me. I could smell his cologne, and I knew I was going to faint. I had never felt this way before. I had had plenty of puppy love crushes in my sixteen years, but my body had never reacted like this. My head was spinning.

Then, in a rush I don’t quite remember, perhaps because I was trying not to faint, and just focusing on breathing and staying upright, he grabbed the keys that were dangling from my hand. He grabbed them and ran. I stood there with my mouth agape, trying to piece together what had just happened.

keys. He had taken them right out of my hand. He had just stolen my keys. But, wait, if he had taken my keys and ran toward the nearest exit, that can only mean one thing. He is taking my car.

He was going to steal my car. I turned and looked at one of the girls in the group, somehow managing to say, “He just stole my keys.”

Since she was apparently not overwhelmed by his rugged good looks like I was, she was able to think clearly. She said, “Let’s go, run after him!”

So with that clear order, I ran as fast as I could to the parking lot, retracing my steps to figure out just where I had parked. There he was, adjusting the seat of my car, with the top, again, down. Just as I approached the car, he zoomed off. I stood for a second, in complete shock.

My curfew was in only a few minutes, I didn’t have time for this. No one was allowed to drive my new car, but me. My parents were going to kill me. How could I have been so stupid? What was I going to do next?

I stood in the parking lot, frozen, waiting as if he was going to drive back up and return my car. I couldn’t call my parents, or the police. My cell phone and purse were in the front seat. So, I stood there. And waited. I’m not sure what I was waiting for. Maybe I was waiting for my brain to process everything that happened and come up with an appropriate plan of action.

But then, I heard tires screeching. I looked up and in the distance, I saw my car. I saw the tail lights as he pulled out of the parking lot and headed up the mountain. I watched in horror, as he headed to where the teenage boys race cars. I knew what was coming next. Then, I heard it. The vroom vroom of the engine as he revved it up to see what it could do. Then the tires peeling out on the asphalt. Then, silence. Again, I just stood there. By now, as any teenage girl would do when faced with this situation, I began to pray.

“Oh, please, God, please, please, please don’t let my parents ground me. Please God, let him bring back my car. Don’t let him wreck it. Please God, don’t let me get in trouble. Please don’t let me miss curfew. Please, God, I will never flirt with another boy as long as I live, just please, please let him bring my car back.”

I don’t know how long I stood there praying, but somewhere in my prayer, I looked back up to see my car come squealing through the parking lot, way too fast. And there, in front of me, was the ruggedly handsome young man. He pulled the E-brake and the car screeched to a halt in the parking place where I had originally parked it. The young man stepped out of the car, looked at me, and tossed me the keys.

Thank you, God! I felt like falling to my knees and screaming out Praise God! Praise God! But, instead, I kept it in, in silence. I walked towards my car to check to make sure he hadn’t done anything visible to it, but I had to hurry. I only had five minutes til my curfew. Just enough time to make it home, if every light was green through town.

But then, the young man came over to me, thanked me for letting him drive my car. And then, he hugged me. Apparently he put a spell on me with that hug. Because that’s the only logical thing I can imagine. His hug spellbound me, or maybe it was the cologne, magic cologne. Because I said, “You’re welcome.” And, two years later, I married him.Written by Shannon Altom March, 2008

Categories Blog

Car Exports See Growth

The global recession has disturbed the domestic car sales in the recent months but as every black cloud has a silver lining and so did the car manufacturers had a reason to smile. During these months, the overall car export sales went high with an impressive percentage of 61.8 in November this year.

In the month of November, 146,337 units were exported compared to 90,398 units in November 2007. The passenger cars played a primary role in whooping the export figure. The passenger segment recorded a sale of 34,607 units in comparison with 15,464 units that were sold last year in the same period. The Korean car major Hyundai Motors went high to 28,500 units from 9,898 units and the Indian car leader Maruti Suzuki sales raised from 4,382 units to 4,920 units.

The domestic sales has been affected in a big way with car manufacturers feeling the pinch. Many car majors have even cut down the production. Most of the car manufacturers have slashed down the car prices, though it has helped the car sales move but it has not come back to its good sales. Now the with the 4 percent cut in the general excise duty and the fuel price going down, there are scope for the car sales in India to go up.