Imagine you’re going on a 27 mile hike over the course of three days.
It’s a long journey ahead. Hills nearly as big as mountains. Wet and slippery ground everywhere.
And the sun? It can beat you down to the point where you feel as ragged as a wore out mop. There will be no hiding from the obstacles ahead. None.
Now imagine if your partner for this journey came up to you, and the first words he blurted out were, “Those are some nice boots you have! But I got a killer deal on mine.”"
Would you think they were, well, a schmuck? To put it lightly?
Now consider this…
Video contains offensive language — JB
“Sweetie, please don’t tell them I’m a car dealer.”
“They already know Steve. Oh, before I forget, Jeff will be asking you where to find a cheap transmission for his Dodge Caliber.”
“Hmmm… you know what? I think maybe I should change my name to Siri. I could have the guys pull my finger and the women…”
“No you won’t! And don’t go on about fixing Johnson Valves and torquing your nuts. And please, don’t brag about your John Holmes drill either.”
If there ever was a combination of good and bad offers for the DIY auto enthusiast, it’s the so-called Black Friday deals.
5 Quarts of Valvoline with a Purolator Classic for $9.99 plus a $5 Valvoline coupon is pretty much the best oil deal I have seen since the G-Oil giveaways.
Impact wrenches that are made of low quality materials and old-school heavy batteries, utter garbage. Some of the manufacturers of these models should be shot on principle alone.
You can also throw in cheap wrench sets into the mix. I know they work in a pinch. But I just hate em’. Too many bad memories.
So what’s worth buying?
At what point are you willing to accept a low-ball offer for your old beater?
Is it when the tranny blows out? Or does it eventually come through the scourge of rust, and the constant breaking of electric doo-dads that no longer work all through your doo-dah-day?
Some folks simply get bored of their ride. While others just try to drive their cars until their bodies become the rolling representation of swiss cheese.
Everyone has a reason to curb a car. Thanks to the efforts of Nick Lariviere (<— Click the link!), and the cooperation of an automotive conglomerate with more money than some state governments, I now have 257,020 purely anecdotal examples of this type of personal decision making.
I now need to figure out one simple thing.
What does all this data tell me?
I admit it. Every once in a while I buy a vehicle that simply doesn’t work out.
Everything checks out at the auction. But then, I get a birthday surprise.
It could be a transmission that randomly goes out of overdrive after about 20 or 30 miles. Or an engine that has far too many aged wires for me to easily track down a stubborn check engine light.
Sometimes I buy a 4000-pound ATM machine that only allows you to put money into it; a rolling lemon, par excellence. Then I have to figure out how to make it into lemonade, lemon meringue pie, lemon tart, and even repair fodder for the other rides on the road that are still lemon-free.
Lemons are never fun… but every once in a while fate has a wonderful way of smiling on a pitiful set of circumstances.
A herd of automotive journalists get led off into a dark room filled with oversized furniture and cheap snacks.
It is where the ritual slaughter of truth takes place. A screen bigger than Wilt Chamberlain’s …. flashes in front of them as discordant music pulses and the beautiful people beam out their irrational exuberance of owning the upcoming 2014 model.
The actors and actresses on the screen are all young, sexy, virile, obscenely joyful, and about as genuine as a thirty-three dollar bill. Which is A-OK for me. Because after the fifteen minutes of corporate infomercials filled with empty code words such as “Value”, “Best In Class”, and “Award Winning”, the head honcho of the press junket let’s me, and everyone else, off the hook with the biggest lie in the car business.
“We believe our core audience will be young people in their 20′s and 30′s.”
When you think of a cop car or a taxi, chances are this vehicle will pop in your mind.
Now think of the cars that old people drive. No not Camrys! Get that thought off your mind right now mister!
Well, come to think of it, that’s a big part of the problem. If any car out there is stuck in the netherworld of wholesale heaven at the auto auctions, it’s this one.
A reader writes:
So glad to see you back at TTAC. I’ve learned so much more about auctions to go along with what you and I discussed a year-and-a-half (!) ago.
I have a question of a personal nature. Well, it’s still car-related, but it has to do with MY car, so I guess that’s what makes it personal.
Ah, the good old days. A time when smartphones were just PDA’s with hormone imbalances.
A time of basic cell phones, brick-thick cameras, and camcorders barely big enough to require a hand strap.
I remember all this old tech like it was yesterday, and for one simple reason: I still used all of them until recently.
Happy days are here again!
April new car sales were up 9% from April 2012; which doesn’t sound like all that much until you realize that the winning brands beat losing brands by a near 5 to 1 margin.
As for used cars sales, they are even better. Official stats for the used car market are always hit or miss. But with large dealer networks such as Sonic Automotive, Carmax, Group One, and Asbury Automotive all recording double digit used car sales growth, it’s safe to say that the overall market for late model vehicles remains healthy.
And for all that good fortune, you can thank one overwhelming force in today’s marketplace.
Sometimes the cheapest vehicle you can buy is one that strongly discourages you from ever becoming a life-long auto enthusiast.
Few cars do a better job with this than the Dodge Dynasty.
You often write about the importance of evaluating a car’s history before purchasing it. We all have access to Carfax and Autocheck reports, but what are some things on those reports that trigger your red flag?
Here are five red flags that always give me a sense of caution whenever investigating the history of a vehicle.
Mileage: 212,914 miles.
Running condition: Unknown
Exterior: Saturated with dust, dirt, and blurry as hell
Would you place a bid on it for $750?
Last week there was a 2003 Toyota Tacoma with 430,000 miles on it.
I thought to myself, “Well this isn’t news. The quartet of GM/Ford trucks, Honda Cars, and Toyota everything is still cleaning up the charts. I won’t write about it this time”. So I waited…
This week the mileage champion out of 6,945 vehicles was a 1999 Toyota 4Runner with 344,400 miles. The enthusiasts among us are probably a bit Toyonda Chevorded out at this point. So this time, let’s focus on longevity.