Archive for April, 2010
ULSA, Okla. – A 67-year-old Oklahoma man had quite a fright after backing his car at high speed through a seventh-floor exterior wall of a parking garage. Ralph Hudson says his foot got stuck between his Mercedes’ brake and gas pedal as he was backing up in a towering parking garage in downtown Tulsa on Wednesday. The car burst through the building’s exterior wall and sprayed debris on a parking lot below before stopping just in time. The car’s trunk and part of its back wheels were left hanging precariously out of the building but officials were able to safely drive it back inside. No injuries were reported. Police officer Jason Willingham says Hudson was not ticketed over the incident.
Agencies coordinating disaster relief for Mississippiâ€™s tornado victims say two things are needed: cash donations and volunteers on standby.
â€œThe victims donâ€™t need stuff, not yet,â€ said Paige Roberts of the Southeast Mississippi Chapter of the American Red Cross. â€œThe organizations that are here to provide them shelter, food and emotional support need money to meet those needs.â€
Volunteer coordinators are encouraging those who want to help to register with the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service and wait for a call.
â€œThere is so much debris in the area,â€ said Greg Flynn of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. â€œSo many people have big hearts, but we want to keep everyone safe as well. Weâ€™re in the process of assessing damages and can make better use of volunteers once we know what weâ€™re dealing with.â€
Saturdayâ€™s deadly twister barrelled into Mississippi from Louisiana, crossing about 100 miles and packing speeds of about 160 mph in Yazoo City and in Holmes County, according to the National Weather Service.
Authorities in Mississippi have confirmed 10 dead, 49 injured and about 700 homes damaged or destroyed.
Officials say theyâ€™ve used lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina to coordinate disaster relief. After Katrina, hundreds of volunteers with no point of contact came to the Coast to help. A lot of donated clothing was sent elsewhere. There was no place for storage.
â€œWe saw the need to line up volunteers for the spots where they can help the best,â€ said Flynn.
Joy Smith of the MCVS said many who have called to volunteer are Coast survivors of Katrina.
â€œThe majority of our calls have been from the 228 area code,â€ Smith said. â€œIt is so heartwarming. One man said heâ€™s ready to come with his tools. A little old lady from Pascagoula, who lost all she owned in Katrina, said she canâ€™t travel far but she wants to give something back.â€
The Melrose Place actress was apparently ARRESTED on Saturday night around 4am after the mess drove her BMW onto a curb and over a No Parking sign in Westlake Village, CA!
She then proceeded to do the intelligent thing…and tried to flee the scene!
Authorities somehow linked her to everything, and upon arrival at her house saw that her vehicle’s damage matched that of the accident! Locklear was charged with a misdemeanor, cited, and then released.
What was she doing up driving around that late at night?? She’s lucky it was a parking sign and not a person!
We know that having your only bit of relevancy on the chopping block for cancellation must suck, but c’mon!
According to The Telegraph newspaper in England, a 40-year-old man was pulled over by the police as he drove a modified electric Barbie car â€” maximum speed, 4 miles an hour â€” on a street near his home in Clacton-on-Sea, England.
Paul Hutton, a former Royal Air Force aeronautical engineer who is studying electrical engineering, later admitted in court that he had been drinking. â€œI was very surprised to get done for drink-driving, but I was a twit to say the least,â€ he said.
He had added larger wheels to the toy car, which is designed for toddlers to scoot around the living room. â€œIâ€™m in the third year of my electrical engineering course, and it was a little project I was doing with my son, who is doing a car mechanics course,â€ he said. â€œWhen it was done, I couldnâ€™t resist the temptation to take it out.â€
The Sun reports that Mr. Hutton said he was driving it to a friendâ€™s house when he was pulled over. The police administered a breathalyzer test, which showed him to be over the legal limit.
â€œIâ€™m not unhappy with my punishment, just a little bit surprised,â€ he said.
Because Mr. Hutton had been previously cited for drunken driving within the past 10 years, his license was revoked for three years, and he was ordered to pay $130 in court fees.
â€œThis is most unusual,â€ said Magistrate Neil Munson. â€œI have never seen the like of it in 15 years on the bench.â€
While it was not clear exactly which model Mr. Hutton was driving, Fisher Price builds a Barbie Jeep that runs off a rechargeable 12-volt battery and retails for $250.
â€œThe vehicle is not even capable of doing the speed of a mobility scooter,â€ said Mr. Munson, â€œand could be outrun by a pedestrian.â€
NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Firefighters had to use heavy metal-cutting equipment to extricate a man from a car in front of 159 Urban Ave. Wednesday night after a bizarre incident that neighbors said began when he flew into a rage over someone taking his parking spot.
Before the incident was over, the man smashed his vehicle into at least four parked cars and, according to neighbors, tried to run them over and used a crow bar to smash a kitchen window. It ended when, in the process of hitting another car, his own vehicle tipped over, trapping him inside.
Battalion Chief Gerald Capaldi said the man, who was not immediately identified, was unconscious when rescuers arrived at the scene around 9:15 p.m. He said the man appeared to be the only one injured in the car smashing spree, which ended with his being transported to the trauma unit at Rhode Island Hospital.
Nicole Hopp, who lives at 159 Urban Ave., said she became aware when she moved into the neighborhood in January that there was a man living in half of the two-car garage next to her house. She said she did not know his name but that everyone referred to him as “Metal Mike.”
Wednesday afternoon, things began to get tense when “Mike” returned to the street and began racing his car up and down. Hopp said the man became upset because someone had cut the garage’s electricity and because her boyfriend, who has several cars, left a car with a flat tire in what he viewed as his spot in front of the garage.
She said he proceeded to ram his car into one of the cars belonging to her boyfriend, Ryan Fuller, and when people came out of the house to see what was going on he drove his car straight onto the lawn in an apparent attempt to run them over. “I thought he was going to ram the house,” she said.
Instead, she said, he pulled out a crowbar, using it to smash her kitchen window as well as her front door.
Then, she said, he got back into his car, using his vehicle to smash other cars belonging to her boyfriend, pushing one of the vehicles into the garage door and damaging a car inside In the process, the man’s own car tipped over.
Mayor Charles Lombardi, who was at the scene, said it was apparent that the man had set the garage up with all the comforts of home, and that he would asked the town’s building official to inspect the set-up to determine whether it was legal.
This is a story out of New Zealand:
A man has been arrested after police found his baby alone in his car while he was visiting a Wellington strip club.
A Wellington police spokesman told NZPA the man was charged overnight on an outstanding arrest warrant, but further charges involving the baby could follow.
The 42-year-old was due to appear in Wellington District Court this morning.
Police were contacted after a member of the public spotted the baby in a car parked near Courtenay Place, in the central city, TVNZ reported.
They broke into the car and took the baby to hospital.
The baby’s father was discovered a short time later in a strip club and was arrested.
How to Buy a Used Car –
Thanx to Brett of artofmanliness.com for this post:
Benefits of Buying a Used Car
Avoiding depreciation. Itâ€™s common knowledge that once a new car drives off the lot, its value depreciates immediately. In the first two years of ownership, a new car can lose about 30% of its original value. And if you decide to sell your new car a few years after you buy it, youâ€™re going to lose a lot more money in the re-sale than if you had bought it used.
Price. If depreciation is your enemy when buying new, itâ€™s definitely your best bud when buying used. There isnâ€™t much difference between a brand new car and a two year old car. By buying a car brand new, youâ€™re basically paying 30% more than you need to. Thatâ€™s a big mark-up for that new car smell.
You can save even more money if you decide to buy older cars that have more miles on them. A buddy of mine back in college bought an â€˜86 Honda Accord hatchback for a couple hundred dollars. It was super ugly, but it drove just fine and lasted him a few years.
Bigger selection. Because used cars are cheaper than brand new cars, you effectively widen the selection of cars you can purchase. Instead of being merely a dream, luxury and sports cars enter the realm of possibility. I remember back in high school when my dad and I were shopping around for a car, I found a late model (this was back in the 90s) Mercedes Benz for about $5,000. I couldnâ€™t believe it!. Something had to be wrong with it. So, we took it for a test drive and to a mechanic. It was in tip top shape and drove like a dream. I ended up not buying the Benz. I was too punk rock for that. Instead I went with a 1992 Smurf Blue Chevy Cavalier. Now thatâ€™s punk rock. However, the experience did open my eyes to the fact that if you look hard enough, you can find some awesome cars for super cheap when you buy used.
Save money on insurance. If you buy a considerably older used car, you can save money on car insurance by only getting the state mandated minimum coverage. If your car is worth less than 10 times the premium on your insurance, itâ€™s probably not worth getting comprehensive coverage.
Buy from a Private Owner or a Dealership?
When you buy a used car, you have two possible sellers: a private owner or a dealership. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
- Great deals. When you buy from a person who put an ad in the paper or on Autotrader.com, you can often find some really good deals. The best deals Iâ€™ve seen are at estate sales. You can find an older car with low mileage because the little old lady who owned the car only drove it to church and the grocery store. The car might smell like mothballs, but youâ€™ll enjoy the sweet scent of saved cash.
- Less intimidating negotiations. Negotiations can also be less intimidating because youâ€™re working with an average Joe and not some highly trained salesman who has to take your offer to a mysterious backroom boss to get it approved. Moreover, dealerships often try to throw in unneeded extras when youâ€™re buying from them- extra floor mats, XM Radio, etc. When you buy from an owner, theyâ€™re just selling you the car and nothing more. Makes the experience less irritating and cheaper.
- Complicated and annoying negotiations. Owners tend to be more attached to their cars than dealerships. To them, theyâ€™re not just selling a product, theyâ€™re selling a memory. These sorts of owners can be difficult to work with. Theyâ€™ll bust your balls in negotiation over a piece of crap Buick simply because it was their grandfatherâ€™s beloved car, and they hate to see it get in the hands of the â€œwrong person.â€
- No consumer protections. Private sales arenâ€™t generally covered by many statesâ€™ implied warranty laws. Implied warranties are unspoken and unwritten warranties that hold sellers responsible if the product they sold doesnâ€™t meet reasonable quality standards. When you buy from an owner, youâ€™re buying the car â€œas is,â€ meaning if the car has a problem (known or unknown by the seller) once you buy the car, it becomes your problem and the seller doesnâ€™t have to do anything to fix it. Moreover, private sales generally arenâ€™t covered by the FTC Used Car Rule which requires dealers to post a Buyerâ€™s Guide in used cars for sale.
- Certified Pre-Owned Program. A CPO vehicle undergoes rigorous mechanical and cosmetic inspection before itâ€™s put on sale. Moreover, CPO cars are often covered by a warranty beyond the original factory warranty which includes items like roadside assistance. Buying a CPO vehicle can give you the piece of mind that the car youâ€™re buying is in great condition and not a piece of crap. Even if you donâ€™t buy a certified pre-owned car, when you buy from a dealer, youâ€™re likely protected by your stateâ€™s consumer protection laws such as implied warranties or warranties of merchantability.
- Extra services. Dealers will often throw in extra services for free that a private seller canâ€™t. For example, when Kate and I bought our last car, before we drove it off the lot, the dealer cleaned and detailed it, performed a free oil change, and gave us a discount on our first service visit with them.
- Trade-ins. Dealers also take trade-ins which lowers the amount you have to pay in cash. Personal finance guru Dave Ramsey has a system set up that uses trade-ins on used cars to allow him to upgrade his vehicles every year or two without having to take out a loan on his car. Check it out. Itâ€™s pretty brilliant, if you ask me.
- Better negotiation experience (possibly). The negotiation experience can be a bit more even keeled with dealerships. Itâ€™s just a business transaction for them. You can avoid some of the emotional baggage you often find when negotiating with owners.
- Financing. If you donâ€™t have all the scratch on hand to buy a car, a dealership can often provide financing to help you make the purchase. And with the crum-dum economy, car manufacturers and dealerships are providing some pretty good deals if you decide to finance a car. Things like cash-back or zero interest can make financing a car a reasonable thing to do.
- Higher list prices. List prices at dealerships tend to be more expensive than when buying from an owner. However, you can usually negotiate this down easily.
- High-pressure negotiation. Negotiation with car salesman can be more high-pressured than when buying from owners. Selling is what these guys do for a living. They know every trick in the book and will unleash them on you without hesitation. When you step foot on the dealerâ€™s lot, gird up your loins, and prepare to play hardball.
- Up-sales. Dealers will try to up-sale you until your eyes bleed. Theyâ€™ll tell you that you need to add the extended warranty or that you need the new stereo. If youâ€™re not careful, you can drive out with a car that cost you $1,000 more than the original value simply because you let the add-ons creep in. However, you can turn the up-sale to your advantage by simply using it as leverages in negotiating. If the salesman presses for an extended bumper to bumper warranty, tell him youâ€™ll take it only if he lowers the price of the car a few hundred dollars.
- Financing. Financing is both an advantage and disadvantage. When you finance a car, you can end up paying thousands of dollars more for your car than if you had paid in cash. Dealers that finance to buyers directly want this extra cash, so theyâ€™ll often pressure car buyers to finance their new car. Save your money. Pay in cash.
Blue Book It!
When youâ€™ve decided on the type of car you want, start researching its value using the available tools online. Itâ€™s essential that you know how much a car is worth when you start negotiating.
Kelley Blue Book. Since 1926, Kelley Blue Book has been providing used car prices in their trademarked blue book.
Edmunds.com Edmunds.com will not only give you the manufacturerâ€™s suggested retail price (MSRP) for a vehicle, theyâ€™ll also check what others have paid for that particular car and give you an almost real time market price for it.
How to Inspect a Used Car
Alright. So youâ€™ve picked out a car you like thatâ€™s in your price range. Before you make an offer, you need to inspect it to ensure youâ€™re not buying a lemon. This is especially important if youâ€™re buying directly from the owner. Your best bet is to take the car to a mechanic you trust and let him look it over for any defects. If you donâ€™t have a mechanic handy, hereâ€™s how you can inspect a used car.
CarFax. Get one. CarFax is a comprehensive report of a vehicleâ€™s history. The report costs money to buy, but itâ€™s definitely worth it. The report can tell you if the car has sustained flood or frame damage, two things you want to steer clear of when purchasing a used car. All you need to run a CarFax report is the carâ€™s vehicle identification number (VIN) which can be found on the dashboard, just below the windshield on the driverâ€™s side or on the driverâ€™s side door, just below the locking mechanism.
Before you start the car, give it this initial inspection:
- Look underneath the car for rust. A car with a rusted frame isnâ€™t structurally sound. While a rusted frame can be salvaged, it can be expensive and time consuming. Choose another car.
- Check the tires and wheels. Look for even tire wear. Uneven wear in the front could mean the wheels or suspension are out of alignment.
- Inspect the exterior. Look for recent paint jobs as this may indicate body damage. You can sometimes detect paint jobs by finding over-spray on the rubber window molding. Tap along repainted areas and listen for a change in tone that reveals patchwork.
- Check the interior. You donâ€™t want a car thatâ€™s been torn to shreds on the inside. When inspecting the interior, check the odometer. If the car says it has low miles, but the wear and tear on the inside looks like itâ€™s been to hell and back, something might be up.
- Look under the hood. If you see rounded or stripped nuts and bolt heads, it could be an indication of shoddy repair work. While youâ€™re under there, check the spark plugs to see if theyâ€™re newer than the rest of the engine. If they are, thatâ€™s a sign the car has undergone regular maintenance and tune-up. Thatâ€™s a good thing.
- Kick a tire. Just for the hell of it.
- Drive it cold. A cold engine will tell you a lot more then a warm one will.
- Plan your route. You want your test drive route to be similar to your daily driving experience. Sure the car might drive nice on neighborhood streets, but how does she feel on the expressway? Mix up your route with freeways, city streets, rural roads, and parking lots.
- Turn the key. Does the car start easily? Does the engine make any funny noises while turning? Do you have to turn the key a lot to get the car started?
- Check controls. Test the wiper, lights, radio, and air conditioner controllers. There shouldnâ€™t be any noticeable drop in engine performance when you turn on the A/C.
- Check the transmission. If the car is an automatic transmission, it shouldnâ€™t make any loud clunking noises or hesitate when you switch gears. A manual transmission should shift smoothly. If you hear any grinding noise when shifting it could mean the synchronizers are bad. Also, check the clutch of a manual transmission by going slowly uphill in a higher than normal gear, like 3rd or 4th gear. If the clutch is good, the RPM will decrease and nearly stall. If the clutch is bad, the engine will rev but wonâ€™t go anywhere.
- Check the brakes. Find a road without any traffic and accelerate to about 50 mph. Hit the brakes hard. If the car pulls to the right or left, it may mean you have a loose brake caliper or thereâ€™s not enough hydraulic fluid on the side itâ€™s pulling to. Also, if you feel a shuddering when you brake, it could mean the brakes are warped. The brake pedal should also feel firm when you press down on it. If the brake sinks all the way to the floor, you may need to replace the master cylinder.
- Check the alignment. While driving, take your hands off the steering wheel for a moment and see if the car pulls in one direction. If it does, you might have some front-end alignment problems.
- Check for smoke. Youâ€™ll need a buddy for this test. While driving full speed, take your foot off the accelerator completely for a few seconds, and then floor it again. If you see a blue cloud of smoke, it means oil is burning and the car has internal engine problems that may require an engine overhaul.
- Take the car over a bumpy road. Check out how the car responds to the bumps. If you feel the bumps a lot, the shocks are probably worn.
- Listen. If you hear rattles, groans, and clunks, thatâ€™s a problem. Sure, the ailment might be repairable, but why waste your time or money?
Click here to find out the secrets of out-foxing a used car salesman. Yes, even YOU can beat them at their own game.
These accidents were fatal. Mostly due to drunk drivers and reckless speeding. Take this as a strong lesson and heed the advice. Please DO NOT DRIVE DRUNK OR SPEED EXCESSIVELY. These people either chose to or were victims of criminals who chose to.
The snow has melted away in most areas, the cold is fading and spring is in the air. That means it’s time to clean up from the harsh winter months. Spring is the perfect time to clean up your car, getting it ready for the warmer seasons ahead. To help motivate you, here are some tips on what to tackle and how to do it.
Start by throwing out the trash and removing unneeded items. Then organize whatâ€™s left in the car by putting things away in the side pockets or compartments. After all is tidy, use a mild spray with a microfiber cloth to remove dust and grime off the dash and consoles.
After the inside is clean and dust-free, use a vacuum to remove debris and dirt from the seats, floor mats, rugs and trunk. If you have stains on the upholstery, a steam cleaner is a good option, but could be expensive. You can also use a spray-on carpet cleaner. For leather trim, use a leather cleaner. Next, clean the inside windows with glass cleaner, but spray directly on a cloth to avoid streaking.
Never wash or wax a car in direct sunlight or if the paint is hot to the touch. The sun can soften the paint and make it more susceptible to scratching. Use a dedicated car-wash soap designed for use on automotive paint. Apply the suds with a large, soft natural sponge or a lamb’s-wool mitt â€” making sure they are clean, so as to avoid potential scratches from embedded particles. Wash the car from the roof down. Use a separate sponge to clean the tires and wheels as they could be coated with debris that could harm the vehicleâ€™s finish. Donâ€™t let the car air dry when done â€” use a soft towel to dry.
Waxing a car can provide a good shine and some protection for the paint. Car waxes come in three forms: liquid, paste and spray.
Overall, we have found that paste waxes are easier to use than liquid waxes; liquid waxes cleaned the best; and spray waxes were easiest to use and left the fewest stains on plastic parts, but they didnâ€™t last as long as other waxes. With any wax you choose, we recommend you first try using it on an inconspicuous area such as a clean doorjamb. And regardless of how hard you work, how much you spend, or what longevity claims manufacturers make, don’t expect any wax to last all that long. All of the products we tested showed a significant loss of protection within about five weeks.
After the harsh winter, itâ€™s a good idea to check your windshield wipers for wear and tear. If they are leaving streaks of water, itâ€™s time to replace. However, before you replace, clean the blade first to see if that does the trick.
The winter months can also give your tires a beating. Inspect your tires to make sure they have proper tread. If you notice that your tires have less than 4/32-inch of tread left, then itâ€™s time to go shopping. In addition, check to make sure the tires are properly inflated. In our tests, we noticed a decrease in highway fuel efficiency when tires were underinflated by 10 psi. More important, underinflated tires compromise handling and braking, and wear faster.