Posts Tagged car
In the SuperFreakonomics chapter on global warming, we describe pollution as a negative externality, a cost that is generally borne by someone other than the party producing the waste. In so doing, we discuss the difference between two anti-theft devices for cars, the Club and LoJack. Because LoJack is a hidden device and thieves cannot therefore know which cars have it and which donâ€™t, it cuts down on overall theft. Which means it produces the rare positive externality. The Club, meanwhile, works in the opposite manner:
The Club is big and highly visible (it even comes in neon pink). By using a Club, you are explicitly telling a potential thief that your car will be hard to steal. The implicit signal, meanwhile, is that your neighborâ€™s car â€” the one without a Club â€” is a much better target. So your Club produces a negative externality for your non-Club-using neighbor in the form of a higher risk that his car will be stolen. The Club is a perfect exercise in self-interest.
Having read this passage, a man named Jim Burns wrote in with an interesting background story:
Back in the â€™90s, I was working as a design engineer for Chrysler. I had responsibility for key cylinders and door latches. At that time auto theft rates in Europe were increasing and driving the insurers to put pressure on the Euro governments to require increased theft deterrence devices on all new cars. As part of our attempt to figure out where best to invest our design dollars, we hired some professional car thieves to provide a more hands-on perspective than us engineers had (well, maybe not all of us).
At some point, the Club was mentioned. The professional thieves laughed and exchanged knowing glances. What we knew was that theÂ Club is a hardened steel device that attaches to the steering wheel and the brake pedal to prevent steering and/or braking. What we found out was that a pro thief would carry a short piece of a hacksaw blade to cut through the plastic steering wheel in a couple seconds. They were then able to release The Club and use it to apply a huge amount of torque to the steering wheel and break the lock on the steering column (which most cars were already equipped with). The pro thieves actually sought out cars with The Club on them because they didnâ€™t want to carry a long pry bar that was too hard to conceal.
Ah, the beauty of unintended consequences. And do not pass too quickly over the fact that a car company hires car thieves for consultation. If you are a businessperson, do you regularly engage those who wish to do you harm? If you are an intellectual, do you regularly sit down with those who wish to call you names?
STEPHEN J. DUBNER Of New York Times
Thinking about zipping through that red light? Well, you wonâ€™t physically be able to if IBM has anything to say about it. The technology giantâ€™s recent patent application forÂ â€œA System and Method for Controlling Vehicle Engine Running State at Busy Intersections for Increased Fuel Consumption Efficiencyâ€ prevents cars from running red lights byâ€“get thisâ€“remotely stopping vehicle engines.
The patent describes a system that can receive position data from all vehicles waiting at traffic lights and send a â€œstop-engineâ€ notification to cars waiting for more than a specified amount of time. The patent explains, â€œThe method may comprise..responding to a proceed status indicated by the traffic signal, further comprising: sending a start-engine notification to a first vehicle in the queue; calculating an optimal time for an engine of a second vehicle in the queue to start when the first vehicle starts moving; and sending the start-engine notification to the second vehicle in the queue at the optimal time.â€
This seems at first glance like a simple way to prevent traffic accidents, but weâ€™re not thrilled about the idea of a traffic light having access to car engines. What happens if hackers get a hold of the system? And what if there are glitches? Weâ€™ll be watching to see if this patent application brings about any actual products.
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.
Disclaimer: This is only if you lost your keys. It is illegal to hotwire a car that is not yours. We, here at Junk Car Nation, do not condone any drunken joyrides with stolen vehicles. Unless you call us first.
1. Get your stuff together: You’re gonna need 1 flathead screwdriver with an insulated handle, 1 cordless drill and a small drill bit.
2. Time to get down and dirty: There is a flap at the end of the keyhole. Set the drill on the keyhole about 2/3 of the way up and drill in about the length of a key. This will destroy your lock pins and make the key switch able to be turned on and off without a key. Every pin has 2 sections, followed by a spring, so drill it more than once, removing the drill each time to allow the bits of the lock inside to fall into place.
3. The hard part is over: Insert the screwdriver in the keyhole the same way you would put your key in.Â Since the pins are already broken, the screwdriver need not go in very deep.
4. Look out for COPS: Now,Â just turn it and presto! Congratulations! You have just committed a felony. If it is indeed your car, you should probably know that this method of hotwiring will destroy your key switch and thus allowÂ anyone with a screwdriver toÂ steal your car. Good times.
OR YOU CAN JUST USE YOUR CELL PHONE!
Here at Junk Car Nation, it’s no secret that we love our cars. The leather, the burning rubber from the tires, the little red tree hanging from the rear-view mirror, the tuna sandwich you realized you left in your car last week. And those are just the smells.
Driving a car utilizes all 5 senses and even a sixth if your a good driver ( ” i see dumb people – dumb people driving aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh”). Today we are not celebrating the feel of the grip of theÂ steering wheel or the sound of the engine as you pass an old lady in the left lane driving 40 mph (the sound of you cursing the life of that driver, and then seeing how old she was, then immediately feeling guilty also counts). No, today we are observing some statistics and facts regarding anything remotely related to cars. Just random info we think might possibly save your life one day or win you a million dollars on the final question of “Who wants be a millionaire”. You never know. You’ll thank us.
1. Four of the top five appreciating used cars had S in their names: Jaguar S Type, Volvo S40, Volvo S80, and Audi S4.
2. Overall in 2003, there were 3.7 billion hours of travel delay and 2.3 billion gallons of wasted fuel for a total cost of more than $63 billion.
3. There were approximately 6.4 million auto accidents in the United States in 2005. The financial cost of these crashes is more than $230 Billion dollars. 2.9 million people were injured and 42,636 people killed. About 115 people die every day in vehicle crashes in the United States — one death every 13 minutes. (I know, why can’t they update these stats once in awhile?)
4. The fastest production car in the world is the 257mph SSC Ultimate Aero. When it broke the world speed record, it was driven by a 71-year-old called Chuck Bigelow.
5.The fastest non-jet powered car is the wheel-driven Vesco Turbinator, which was driven by Don Vesco at 458mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats on October 18 2001.
6. The fastest car of all time is the jet-powered Thrust SSC, driven by Wing Commander Any Green, which reached speeds of 763mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA on October 15 1997.
7. The first ever land speed record was set on December 18 1898, when French race car driver reached a speed of 39.23mph in an electric car.
8. The Porsche 911 was originally designated as the ‘Porsche 901′ (901 being its internal project number). Peugeot protested on the grounds that they owned the trademark to all car names formed by three numbers with a zero in the middle. So, before production started, the new Porsche had its name changed to 911. It went on sale in 1964.
9. The Rolls Royce hood ornament is called the Spirit of Ecstacy.
10. A Rolls-Royce Phantomâ€™s leather interior is made from 15 different hides.
11. The Bugatti Veyron takes ten seconds to stop from its top speed of 253mph.
12. The paint on a Ferrari F40 is so thin you can see the carbon fibre weave through it. More layers would have added undesirable weight.
13. Ferrari makes a maximum of 14 cars a day.
14. The first car was the three-wheeled Benz Patent Motorwagen, built in 1885.
15. The best-selling car of all time is the Toyota Corolla.
16. In 2007 Toyota became the worldâ€™s biggest car manufacturer, taking over from US giants General Motors.
17. If a car is hit by lightning its occupants will generally be safe. The Faraday effect (discovered by Michael Faraday in 1845) causes the electricity to dissipate around the car’s metal frame.
18.The engine bay of a McLaren F1 road car (pictured right) is gold plated because itâ€™s the best material for reflecting heat.
19. Game designer Kazunori Yamauchi, the man behind Gran Turismo, helped develop the Nissan GT-R.
20. The first traffic lights were installed in Cleveland, Ohio in 1914.
21. The onboard computer in a typical modern car is more powerful than the one used to send astronauts to the moon in the 1960s and 1970s.
22. The fastest time for removing a car engine, and replacing it, is 42 seconds for a Ford Escort, on 21 November 1985.
23. Porsche is the worldâ€™s most profitable car manufacturer.
24. The world’s widest road is widely believed to be the Monumental Axis in Brazil and that it fits 160 cars side by side. This is untrue, as the road consists of two avenues with six lanes on either side; a total of twelve lanes. However, it was in the Guinness Book of Records as having the widest median of a divided highway in the world.
25. The worldâ€™s longest car is the 100 foot limousine built by Jay Ohrberg of Burbank, California. The car features a king-size waterbed and a swimming pool, complete with diving board, and a helicopter landing pad.
26. The worldâ€™s lowest street-legal car is the 19 inch-tall â€˜Flatmobileâ€™, built by Perry Watkins from Buckinghamshire. The record was previously held by Andy Saunders, whose car â€˜Flat Outâ€™ stands 21.5 inches off the ground.
27. On August 20 2004, 21 people squeezed into a Mini Cooper in Athens, Greece, setting a new world record.
28. The most expensive car sold at auction was the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder for $10,894,900.
29. In 1916, 55 per cent of the cars in the world were Model T Fords.
30. The U.S. uses about half of the world’s gasoline.
31. Traffic congestion wastes three billion gallons of gas a year.
32. U.S. aircraft used 19,704 gallons of fuel and traveled 848 billion passenger miles in June 2007 to May 2008, which works out to 43 pMPG.
33. In the 1960′s, 90% of children who lived within a mile of their school walked or biked to school. Today? Only 31% do so.
First we’l l start you off with a little bit of……..
just to keep you interested. Now we’ll give you a taste of….
Not interesting enough? How ’bout this?
That wasÂ a Lamborghini. This is a BMW.
Last one i swear…
OK. Maybe you don’t like art on cars. Maybe you’ll like this.
I knew you’d like that one.
Not sure what the next one is, but it sure is eye catching. Seems likeÂ a goth chick-magnet.
These next couple are weird, but give theseÂ guys respect for time and effort.
If you look closely you’ll notice there is actually a driver in the top car.
Get ready for your mind to be smacked around a little bit.
or alot a bit.
Not sure who the girl is, or what the point is, but this is talent.
We’ll wait for you to get back to your chair.
Do you need a seat belt?Â Why do you keep falling off of your chair?
And now for some oil canvas art..