Hammer Time: Black Friday

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang

I’m not the ‘new’ guy at TTAC. When someone starts talking to me about their 2010 C-Class or A8, my instinct is to find some darts, get a beer, and ignore the conversation. Most new cars really take the fun out of driving, and they cost way too much compared with almost everything else on the road. But there is one time during the year where ‘new’ makes me smile. That would be Black Friday. Here’s what I got.

Two well reviewed tires for Mom. Cost? $110. Tires Plus had a $100 deduct if you spent $200 or more and my purchase barely tipped over that threshold. They were ‘quiet’ tires and given that my mom now drives a novacaine inspired Camry 3000 miles a year in West Palm Beach, it was the right buy at the right price. Then there was a 10′ x 20′ car canopy that I got for $50. This is right along a Craigslist price level, which is what I really use to compare all my ‘nice to have’ purchases. That I got from Pep Boys along with a nice line of extra ‘supplies’.

Champion Platinum Spark Plugs were $1.49 for 16. I bought all 16. The trick for a car guy is to buy what you drive at the moment. If you end up buying something else during the year, then just exchange the parts for those that serve your new ride. 4 gallons of antifreeze were $2.98 each, which is absolutely perfect for the de-clunkered and rarely driven Jersey Lincoln that will need an extra couple of flushes between now and weekend driving. Then of course are the brakes.

Pep Boys screwed up on this one. The add mentioned the brand instead of the type. This enabled me to get the high end OEM equivalents instead of the ‘Value’ brand for $10.99. Bought two of those. A chintzy $10 tool set for any potential car issues, a jumper box for $13, and a $9 tire repair kit from Northern Tool pretty much eliminated the need for AAA or calling the shop for a tow. Oh, I also found out that Pep Boys will now tow within a 20 mile radius for $40 which is a pretty neat service for those who don’t have their own hauler.

Finally there was motor oil. 5 quarts of Castrol and a Puralator filter for $4.99. I got two of those. What surprises me this year is that the ‘cheap’ tires are no longer. The $12.99 deal I saw on the 40k mile tires is now $27. Tack that one up to a trade-war and the dollar’s devaluation. All told my purchases were less than $250. It’s not nearly as good as 2007 when I got $300 worth of auto stuff at O’Reilly’s for the cost of taxes and stamps. But for those car nuts that are also frugal zealots, a good Black Friday is always a festive occasion.

Steven Lang
Steven Lang

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  • Davey49 Davey49 on Dec 03, 2009

    Why didn't you buy 4 tires for mom?

  • Steven Lang Steven Lang on Dec 03, 2009

    Mom only needed two. The other two were Michelins with plenty of tread.

    Points well served. But it's really not a matter of being 'cheap'.

    There are things that don't really contribute much at all to my daily life. If I can reduce or eliminate that cost... great!

    If a motor oil passes API standards, I really don't care about anything but the price. I do upgrade the filters with substitutes that usually add a dollar or two to the sales price. To me that's worth it.

    A good brand spark plug sold at a loss? I'm in!

    A battery jumper that will be used infrequently? Fine by me. Add that to my usual emergency kit and I'm good for all the unusual issues I can get when picking up vehicles at the auctions.

    I'm the type of guy who puts the repair costs of a vehicle at the back of the loan with no interest, and then gets two to three new customers as a result of it.

    The goal isn't to be 'cheap'. It's to be helpful, nice, and smart. I only go retail if I have no choice and the price makes it an easy decision.

    Otherwise I go to the Internet.

  • ToolGuy Personally I have no idea what anyone in this video is talking about, perhaps someone can explain it to me.
  • ToolGuy Friendly reminder of two indisputable facts: A) Winners buy new vehicles (only losers buy used), and B) New vehicle buyers are geniuses (their vehicle choices prove it):
  • Groza George Stellantis live off the back of cheap V8 cars with old technology and suffers from lack of new product development. Now that regulations killed this market, they have to ditch the outdated overhead.They are not ready to face the tsunami of cheap Chinese EVs or ready to even go hybrid and will be left in the dust. I expect most of their US offerings to be made in Mexico in the future for good tariff protection and lower costs of labor instead of overpriced and inflexible union labor.
  • MaintenanceCosts This is delaying an oil change for my Highlander by a couple of weeks, as it prevented me from getting an appointment before a business trip out of town. Oh well, much worse things have happened.I also just got a dealership oil change for my BMW (thanks, loss-leader prepaid plans!) and this didn't seem to affect them at all.
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Gonna need more EV fuel.