The Negotiation Tactic No One Should Ever Use

August 22nd, 2014

2014_volkswagen_jetta

I’m sitting in a car dealership listening to people buy cars.

I’m here because my car is in for service, and the normal waiting area is under construction, as is the rest of the dealership. For that reason the sales, negotiations and business sides of the car buying process are unfolding before me.

It’s fascinating, because I want to High Five some people and High Five others right in the face.

To the left of me sits an older couple, negotiating for a Volkswagen Tiguan. In front of me is what appears to be a single young woman, perhaps in her late 20s. To the right is another single woman, probably in her 50s and buying a Jetta. Guess which one I want to slap?

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Finally, an Easy Recall Lookup Tool!

August 21st, 2014

VIN locationsThere’s a 30 percent chance that the used car you’re driving has never had a defect repaired.

Automakers issue recalls on cars almost as often as they produce new models, so odds are good that your car has been recalled at some point. Thirty percent of recalled cars are never repaired, which isn’t a big deal if the recall is minor and involves something like a floor mat or trunk hinge. The missed repair could be devastating if the recall is for something more serious, like the recent GM ignition switch debacle.

Used car shoppers, until now, had to conduct difficult research to determine whether or not a car was recalled and repaired. As of this week, there’s an easy online tool that anyone can use to find out quickly whether or not recall repairs have been made on used cars.

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Audi S4 Goes for Joy Ride: Would It Bother You?

August 20th, 2014

2013 Audi S4

Remember the joyride scene in the 1963 Ferrari California Spyder from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”?

In the movie, a valet takes the classic Ferrari for an afternoon spin but has the car back in the garage before anyone notices it’s gone. The scene was a lesson in how to properly take a car that isn’t yours for the ride of your life.

Doing so in real life is wildly irresponsible, dangerous and illegal. But it happens, probably more than we know. Leaving your car and keys with a valet, mechanic or anyone else who doesn’t own it is an open invitation to “borrow” the car until you return.

One of the safest places to leave your car is with the dealer from whom you made the purchase, but a Canadian couple have found out even that can be risky.

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Saving Fuel: New Car or Just Drive Slower?

August 19th, 2014

Canadian gas prices

Don’t be deceived by the gas signs when traveling abroad.

Gas prices here in the States are about as high as they’ve ever been, hovering just below $4 per gallon in my area. The premium stuff is $3.89 at my corner station.

That makes filling up my SUV a major account drain. In fact, there should probably be men in suits and dark glasses verifying account balances before drivers are allowed to enter a gas station’s general proximity.

Having a rig that gets 20 miles per gallon, tops, is expensive. Unfortunately, it’s also necessary when you have a family of 6 and enjoy adventurous car camping trips in another country.

A Toyota Prius just isn’t going to cut it.

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Appreciating Classic Cars: Now’s the Time to Buy?

August 18th, 2014

Maserati MC12 Corsa

If you have a Maserati MC12 Corsa to sell, you should advertise it where potential buyers hang out.

Check your garage, loyal readers, because if you have one, you’re in luck. The Corsa is the racing version of the road-going MC12, and only 50 Corsas were ever produced.

Produced back in 2004 and 2005, the car boasts a Ferrari Enzo V12 engine that makes 620 horsepower and jumps from 0-62 mph in 3.8 seconds. The car is based on the Enzo, however it’s slower and bigger than its more attractive cousin.

It’s kind of like an Enzo in a fat suit, to be honest. Regardless, the car is incredibly rare and valuable, especially in Corsa trim.

So where might potential buyers of this expensive machine hang out?

The Pebble Beach Concours, of course.

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10 Cars to Drive Before They Were Cool

August 15th, 2014

1967 Volkswagen Type 2

Do you like Wes Anderson movies? Do you listen to your Neutral Milk Hotel vinyl on a vintage Marantz turntable you found at Goodwill for 75 cents? Are you wiping craft-beer foam away from your ironic mustache while reading this? Well, we’ve got some cars for you. What we have here is a collection of vehicles that are perfect for expressing your individuality. “But cars are so bourgeois,” you may say to yourself. Well yeah, that’s the irony of it.

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Get on the Road with Maps, not Apps

August 15th, 2014

road trip map car

I had forgotten about maps.

I’m not talking about the lovely little app on the iPhone or the fantastic online service provided by Google. I’m talking about actual maps. Like the kind that is printed on paper and unfolds to almost actual size.

Remember those?

Upon entering Canada this week I received an automated text message that welcomed me to traveling abroad.

“How nice,” I thought, “My service provider is keeping tabs on me and making sure I know I’ve left U.S. cell service. What a comforting feeling.”

What I should have thought was, “Uh oh. I’m about to take out a second mortgage to pay for receiving an email.”

As it turns out, AT&T likes to charge roughly $1,333 per megabyte once a phone leaves the country. I only figured that out once I received another text, then an email, informing me that my firstborn son is about to be confiscated for the privilege of getting online.

Needless to say I switched to Airplane Mode on my phone and haven’t been online since, with the exception of the occasional spotty free wifi connection.

I didn’t panic without my phone at first. In fact, I thought it would be nice to be away from the addiction for a while. Except an addiction isn’t an addiction when it’s a requirement.

Without even thinking I reached for my phone to plug a destination into my maps, and then panicked. How am I supposed to know where to go without my GPS?

Then my wife said, “Looks like we need a map.”

I’d forgotten about maps.

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Car Camping Across Canada

August 14th, 2014

photo-3

Boat camping isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Imagine falling asleep to the quiet lapping of waves against metal pontoons while staring into a star-filled night sky. Then imagine waking up at 3 a.m. to the terrifying sound of massive thunder and the relentless flashing of lightning and remembering those metal pontoons in the water.

That’s the definition of fear. It’s also the reason my boat camping trip this week was cut short and replaced by a more reasonable and spontaneous car camping trip.

In Canada. Continue reading >>>

Driving a Large Truck? Read This First

August 13th, 2014

2003 Freightliner Fl70 24_ft_box_truck_4_lgw

I began life as a delivery boy.

Well, after actually being delivered at the hospital, I basically went right to work as a delivery boy for my dad’s business.

I didn’t deliver pizzas like most young people; I delivered mattresses, because my dad owned a mattress company.

My point in mentioning this is that I became more familiar with driving a 24-foot box truck than I did with the ’84 Accord I used to get to and from work.

I quickly learned that right turns need to be as wide as possible and low-hanging branches can punch right through the box.

These are things that people who have never driven a large truck might not think about, yet every day moving companies happily hand out keys to people who have never driven anything bigger than a Miata.

This topic came to mind because of a Facebook meme that made me laugh, but makes a very good point.

IMG_5461

That said, here are tips for driving a large truck:

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Jaguar F-Type Scares Away Its Older Brother

August 12th, 2014

2014 Jaguar F-Type V8-S

Both of my little brothers outshined me when we were kids. One could pitch a fastball better than I could ever dream, and the other could jump over a 6-foot bar while I struggled to hop over a parking stripe.

It’s not a good feeling to get trumped by a little brother.

With the introduction of the Jaguar F-Type as a new little brother to the legendary XK-Series, the big XK may have come to the end of the road.

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