100 BEST CAR TIPS
Oil and Fuel Additives
1. Rainproof Your Windshield
Manufacturers recommend replacing your blades every three months. Keep a
spare set in your trunk. A product such as Rain Clear can also help
minimize the work of your wipers; spray it onto the glass every few
weeks. In some light rains, it makes the wipers almost unnecessary.
2. Skip the DIY Car Wash
Washing a car at home uses five to 20 times more water than a
professional car wash. You also aren't doing your car any favors: A
recent study at the University of Texas proved that a single DIY wash
can leave scratches as deep as a tenth of the paint's total thickness.
3. Eliminate Distractions
As driving instructors stress, your hands tend to follow where your eyes
are looking. Adjusting the radio dial takes 5.5 seconds—and that's 5.5
seconds when his eyes may not be on the road and both hands may not be
on the wheel. Dialing a phone triples your risk of a crash. Reaching
for a moving object increases it nine times. Worst of all is texting,
which makes you 23 times more likely to crash. "Avoid the temptation to
multitask behind the wheel altogether and put your cell phone in the
glove compartment every time you get in the car," says Ray Lahood, U.S.
Secretary of Transportation.
4. Lower Your Seat
Drivers who sit higher feel as if they're driving slower. Thus, SUV
drivers, who are already piloting the vehicles most prone to roll, drive
faster because they feel like they're creeping along. So lower your
seat to get the sensation of more speed.
5. Turn Your Lights On
A Canadian study from 1994 found that people who drive with their
headlights on during daylight hours have an 11 percent decreased risk of
being in an accident with another automobile.
6. Assume the Position
Smaller blind spots mean you'll crane your neck less. Try this mirror
adjustment method from Tom and Ray Magliozzi, hosts of NPR's Car Talk:
Set your rearview mirror as you normally would, then tilt it upward so
you sit up straight. Lean your head against the driver's window, then
set your left mirror so you can see the back corner of your car. Lean
right to do the right mirror.
7. Save Your Clutch
Don't ride your clutch in anticipation of shifts. You'll accelerate
quicker and your clutch will last longer if you use it like expensive
8. Check Your Hands
Your seat is positioned properly when you can hang your wrists over the
top of the steering wheel. And remember not to grip the wheel as you
would a tennis racket, with your thumbs wrapped around so that they
connect in back with your fingers. Instead, leave your thumbs on top of
the wheel. Otherwise, in a collision, the wheel can whip back around
and snap your thumbs.
9. Don't Jump the Gun
Ramp metering, or the use of traffic signals at freeway on-ramps to
regulate flow, forces a small time penalty on drivers at the beginning
of their commutes, but it pays off. "Requiring vehicles to wait 20 or 30
seconds can save drivers 5 to 10 minutes on their trip," says David
Schrank, Ph.D., of the Texas Transportation Institute.
10. Look Left, Then Right
Forty percent of car crashes occur at intersections, according to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as do 22 percent of all
11. Deal with a Deer in the Road
Don't take radical evasive action to avoid a collision, which is more
likely to cause you bodily harm than making contact with the animal
will. Plus, you're facing a wild animal, and there's no way to tell in
which direction it will flee. If you have time, flash your headlights to
try to scare the creature out of your path. If a collision is
imminent, brake with your steering wheel straight. At the last possible
second, steer away from the animal's midsection to prevent the animal
from crashing through your windshield and landing on your lap.
12. Downshift Like a Racer
Try the heel-toe shift, recommends driver Robby Gordon, winner of three
Baja 1000s. "Use your foot to apply the accelerator and brake at the
same time," he says. "As you apply the brake, keep your right foot on
the right side of the pedal so you can rock your foot over and use your
heel to blip the throttle, which raises the rpms and allows the car to
drop into gear more easily."
13. Ford a Stream
Do not drive in water higher than the air intake, which is typically on
the front side fender. Pick an area where the flow of water is slow and
enter at an angle to cut down on the surface area of the vehicle being
pushed against by the stream. Enter gently but with enough speed to
cause a bow wave, which pushes the water forward, creating a shallower
area, and ford at a constant speed.
14. Corner on Dirt
Going sideways is the quickest way through a corner on dirt, driver Rhys Millen, who was the General Lee's main stunt driver in Dukes of Hazzard.
"To do it well," he says, "initiate the slide through input to the
steering wheel—you oversteer into the turn. Flick the wheel in the
opposite direction of the curve to break traction, then whip it back the
other way to initiate a slide in the direction you want to go. Once
the car starts to slide, you can `steer' by adjusting the throttle.
More or less throttle will make the car slide at a wider or tighter
arc, respectively. More gas makes for a more sideways slide. If you
lift off the throttle, the car will still go sideways, but it will
start to reduce speed and straighten out again."
15. Drive on Sand
Before driving onto a beach or into the desert, get out and drop your
tire pressure to 12 psi, which helps you "float" on the sand. If you do
start to sink into the sand, keep the momentum going: Do not stop. If
you really feel the car getting stuck, reverse, back out, and look for a
better way forward.
16. Survive a Rear-End Collision
First, pull your seatbelt taut. Next, release your foot from the brake
and put the car in neutral. This will help distribute the force and may
prevent you from being rear-ended twice, which can happen if you're
applying the brakes after being hit and the car behind you is still
17. Get Unstuck
If your tires have sunk into mud, snow, or sand, driver Cameron Steele, a
Baja 1000 winner, says to lower the tire pressure way down—as low as 5
or 6—and dig out space in front of the tires to give yourself a run.
"If you still don't get traction, put down some pieces of carpet, he
says. "But always put a leash on what you use for traction—say 50 feet
long—and tie it to your bumper so you don't have to run back into the
mud or gunk to pick up the pieces."
18. Survive a Water Landing
Almost all cars have electronic windows that short out when they come in
contact with water. So invest in a center punch, a device shaped like a
screwdriver but with a sharp center point. It makes breaking a window a
cinch. Store it in your center console or glove box—not your trunk.
19. Maneuver Tight Corners
At the BMW Performance Driving School, instructor Jim Clark says these
four words over and over: "Slow in, fast out." When taking a corner, you
need to scrub as much of that speed as you can while the car is
braking in a straight line, then you can accelerate out of the curve.
The converse is "Fast in, maybe no out."
20. Add Trees to Your Commute
Even if it takes you out of your way, trees may make your ride less
stressful. An Ohio State University study found that scenic drives were
more calming than those involving strip malls and endless asphalt.
21. Add Some Horsepower
If you drive a turbo, all you need is a bit of computer programming to
add some power. Whether you're driving a twin-turbo Bentley or a simple
1.8-liter VW diesel, a few minutes of "chip tuning" by your mechanic
can add 20 percent more power.
22. Get Out of a Lease
If your lease is in its final six months, you can sometimes buy the car
outright at a huge discount—below wholesale in some cases. Otherwise, a
company such as Swapalease can help you pawn your lease off on someone
who is willing to take on the payments.
23. Give It a Rest
Shift into neutral at traffic lights. The transmission doesn't care, and
it makes life a bit easier for the engine. This technique reduces the
amount of heat carried by the cooling system and can increase gas
mileage a tick or two.
24. Find the Center
The folks at DriveCam analyze driver behavior using video recorders
installed on vehicles. Safety specialist Julie Stevens recommends
sticking to the center lane on freeways. Rear-end crashes happen less
there than in adjacent lanes. "Every time you change lanes you add
risk," she says, "and the slow lane always has the most action." Other
research has shown that the "chronic lane changer" saves a mere four
minutes out of an 80-minute drive.
25. Use Your Headrest
Before you hit the road, sit up straight, raise your head as high as you
can, and press it into the headrest. Hold it there for five seconds,
then relax and repeat five times. This will improve your posture and put
muscles like your multifidus to work to keep your spine erect. This,
in turn, will reduce the strain on your neck.
26. Jump-Start a Dead Battery
If your battery terminals are corroded, crack open a can of cola and
pour it directly onto the battery terminals. The acid in the cola will
bubble away the corrosion, improving both your connection and the odds
of a successful jump-start. Once you're home, run water over the battery
to remove the cola residue and dry it with an old rag.
27. Avoid the Hot Seat
If you want to become a dad, don't turn up your heated car seats this winter. A study in Fertility and Sterility
found that when healthy men sat in a temperature-controlled seat for 90
minutes, their scrotal temperature jumped as high as 99°F—four degrees
above the optimum temperature for sperm production.
28. Ace the Details
If you want to customize a new car without making it look like something out of Pimp My Ride,
start with the wheels. A rim upgrade can be inexpensive ($1,500 or so)
and quick (your car won't be laid up for a week). If you have a
higher-end car, you don't even need custom rims—just get the wheels
powder coated in a new color.
29. Roll `Em Up
Nixing the AC lowers fuel consumption, but only if you're not driving on
the highway. Otherwise, opening the windows uses more gas because of
the drag you're putting on the car. Instead, run your AC in
recirculation mode, which recycles some already-cooled air from inside
the car, requiring less energy than completely cooling the air that
comes in from outside.
30. Hit the `Net
Research your dream vehicle online and you'll spend 1 hour and 20
minutes less time at the dealership, according to a 2007 study published
in the Journal of Consumer Research. Build the exact car you want at a site like Edmunds.com, and then use the site to request quotes from at least three dealers.
31. . Start Negotiating
Your weapon: e-mail. Once you have quotes from multiple dealers, play
them against each other. Don't set foot into a showroom until you know
who's giving you the best deal. Remember: The dealer's first offer—even
if it is that $12,000 discount—is always a bad deal. Tell him, "I need
you to do better than that." See how low you can get the salesman to go
before you give your opening offer.
32. Time Your Attack
Sellers are desperate to hit sales quotas at the end of the month, so
pounce then. And shop early: Sales managers sometimes offer a bonus to
the staff member who closes the first deal on a Saturday, according to a
former salesman Michael Royce, founder of BeatTheCarSalesman.com.
33. Arrive Armed
Before going to the dealership, learn your credit score and check with
your bank about loan options—or you'll be at the mercy of the dealer's
finance office. Just don't take on a loan that will last longer than
you'll own the car. As a general rule, if you have to stretch the
payments beyond four years, you can't afford the car.
34. Skip the Discounts
"Buy now and save $12,000!" It sounds tempting, but you'd better really
like the car (read: want to keep it for at least 5 years). Steep
discounts now create horrible resale values later. The same applies to
35. Buy, Don't Lease
Leasing is more expensive because you're using up the best years of the
car's life. A monthly lease payment is precisely calculated to ensure
that you pay for every penny of that dizzying depreciation, along with
interest and other fees. If you'll keep the car at least 5 years, buying
is usually a better deal.
36. Choose From the Lot
Dealers use credit to pay for their inventory, especially cars that are
on their lots for 3 months or more. This motivates dealers to sell
their own stock first.
37. Hide Your Emotions
If a car takes on human attributes, you're more likely to evaluate it
positively, according to Canadian researchers. That's why your
salesperson calls it "she." Keep the talk technical and ignore the rep's
attempts to humanize the vehicle. Similarly, the longer you sit inside
a new vehicle the more you'll feel as if it's yours.
38. Skip the Trade-In
Learn your car's value at kbb.com. Sell it online if the dealer's offer isn't within $500 of the private-party price.
39. Go for a Spin
This is the last step. A test drive should only break a deal you've
settled on, not serve as the basis of your purchase. "Dealers want you
to drive the car as soon as possible," says Eddie Sotto, a showroom
designer. If you have an emotional connection, you're more likely to
40. Empty Your Pockets
The average guy spends 67 minutes each day behind the wheel. A thick
wallet in your back pocket raises one hip above the other, twisting your
spine and straining your lower back. Plus it can put pressure on your
sciatic nerve, a common source of lower-back pain, says Stuart McGill,
Ph.D., of the University of Waterloo, in Ontario.
41. Be Careful in the Country
Rural roads have a death rate 2.5 times higher than that of any other
type of road. The reasons include dangerous, poorly marked curves, lack
of streetlights, distance from medical care, and a higher percentage of
42. Forget Your Keys
On your next date night, leave your cars in the garage for a change and
hire a car service instead. You'll ride in style to and from a
restaurant, enjoy a night of carefree drinking and dancing, and you
won't need to worry about staying sober for the drive home.
43. Beat Frost
Run the air-conditioning while defrosting the windshield. (New cars do
this automatically, but in older cars, turn it on yourself.) AC air is
dry, so it will take the moisture out of the air by dehumidifying as it
cools. If you're cold, adjust the temperature so that the AC pumps out
44. Use Your Eyes
A bad driving habit is focusing on the road in front of you or at the
bumper of the car ahead. Practice looking farther ahead. By the time
you're in the turn, for instance, you should be looking ahead at your
exit. It may feel like this will cause you to run off the road, but it
won't. Your peripheral vision will keep you in line.
45. Ditch the SUV
They accelerate more slowly, they brake more slowly, and it takes them
longer to clear intersections. (One study suggests they can create up to
20 percent more "lost time" at an intersection, and lost time is a
huge factor in congestion.) SUVs also obstruct the view of drivers next
to them and behind them, creating blind spots and causing other
drivers to be more tentative.
46. Check Your Emissions
The Blade is an aftermarket device that attaches to your car's tailpipe
and reduces CO2 emissions by up to 12 percent. It also improves fuel
economy by up to 12 percent by shortening the duration of your car's
wasteful cold-start period, when fuel burn and particulate emissions are
both at their worst.
47. Quickness Counts
Slipping a 5-speed's clutch—that is, pausing briefly as it engages a
gear—ensures a smooth start, but it also generates heat that diminishes
its life. So don't be bashful. Get in gear, then get off of the left
pedal as soon as the car is rolling.
48. Wax Off, Then Wax On
Most old wax leaves a car on its own—in fact, three-quarters disappears
after 2 months. But you'll want to apply an ordinary car cleaner prior
to waxing to remove the rest. Anal-retentive pros also use a Silly
Putty-like material called paint clay to remove any remaining residue.
49. Get Some Support
If your car doesn't have adjustable lumbar supports, buy your own
backrest—or simply roll up a towel and place it behind you to fill in
the small curve between your waist and hips. The more you support your
spine, the less your back will ache.
HOW TO…SURVIVE A ROAD TRIP
50. Forget Your Schedule
Trips usually take 10 to 15 percent longer than planned, says Leon
James, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Hawaii and
the author of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving. Accept this before you travel.
51. Lose the Junk
Every 100 pounds you remove improves economy by 1 to 2 percent, so clear
our your trunk and your backseat before you leave home. Both of them
are preferable to a loaded-down roof rack, however, which can fuel
economy by as much as 5 percent.
52. Skip the Corn Nuts
Keep your blood-sugar levels under control by eating fiber-rich apples
and pears and drinking water, says Monique Ryan, R.D., author of Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes.
53. Take Breaks
One long drives, take at least one 10-minute break every two hours. The
combination of tight hamstrings and the pumping of your foot can
stretch your sciatic nerve and lead to chronic pain. Muscles are meant
to stretch—nerves aren't.
54. Prevent a Ticket
Go to speedtrap.org to find lists of speed traps, submitted by users all over the country.
55. Rest Your Right Foot
Cruise control applies the throttle more smoothly, reducing fuel
consumption and increasing mileage. (And each 5 miles per hour above 60
is like paying 6 percent more per gallon of gas.) When you use it on
long stretches of highway driving, rest your feet firmly on the floor to
take pressure off your lower back.
56. Check Your Tire Pressure
Less air means more contact and friction between the tire and road,
which wears the rubber faster, makes the engine work harder, and uses
more gas, says Chris Johanson, author of Auto Diagnosis, Service and Repair. Just don't overinflate: The harder the tires, the less grip they'll have.
57. Keep Your Focus
Staring down long straight roadways for longer than 5 minutes at a time
fatigues the visual cortex of your brain, causing you to speed and
underestimate distances between cars, according to a study in Human
Perception and Performance. Check all three mirrors and your gauges at
the end of every song on the radio to keep your vision—and brain—sharp.
58. Play a Game
If you're feeling sleepy behind the wheel, ask your copilot to play Alex
Trebek. An Israeli study showed that trivia games, not music, made
drivers more alert. Try the electronic handheld Buzztime Trivia Sports
59. Beat Carsickness
If a passenger is prone to motion sickness or turns pale during a road
trip, have him or her eat gingersnap cookies. Hunger worsens
carsickness, but research has shown that ginger root can help alleviate
and prevent it.
60. Let Loose
Getting the engine up to 70 mph for 10 miles once a month (on an open
freeway) evaporates any water and gas buildup in the engine and exhaust
system, says Chris Johanson, author of Auto Diagnosis, Service and Repair.
62. Add space
Tailgating destabilizes traffic flow, says Tom Vanderbilt, author of the bestseller Traffic.
"People brake more than they have to when they follow too closely, so
the drivers behind them do as well," says Vanderbilt. "This creates
`shock waves,' which lead to stop-and-go traffic." Aim for a 4-second
cushion between vehicles. Drivers with less than a 2-second cushion are
almost three times more likely to cause collisions, according to data
from DriveCam, a driving safety service.
63. Stay in Gear
While coasting in neutral does improve gas mileage by a hair, it also
levies a heavier burden on your brakes, leading to premature—and
expensive—maintenance. Constantly reengaging an automatic transmission
at speed also causes gear wear. So let your transmission provide engine
braking as the engineers intended.
64. Mind the Music
A heavy beat might get your blood pumping, but it can also lead to
unsafe speeds and accidents—particularly when you crank up the volume.
Loud or up-tempo music slows your reaction time. Britain's Royal
Automobile Club Foundation recently named Wagner's "Ride of the
Valkyries" the most dangerous piece to play while driving.
65. Replace the Filter
Just as a colander separates cooked pasta from water, the oil filter
traps dirt that would otherwise harm your engine. Today's best oil
filters trap particles just 10 microns in diameter, a rate not possible
10 years ago and far superior to that of budget filters. Replace your
filter every time you change your oil, lest old oil get mixed with the
66. Rub It Down
Cleaning and moisturizing your dash, doors, and seats will extend their
lives. Try to clean twice and condition four times annually. If you've
got vinyl, apply a thin coat of vinyl cleaner, such as Lexol Vinylex.
For leather, you'll want both a cleaner and a conditioner. Stick to
leather products if you're in doubt, and "run like hell" from
dual-purpose products, says Larry Reynolds, CEO of Car Care Specialties.
67. Warm Your Engine
Store your ride indoors when temperatures drop below 14 degrees. Very
cold batteries produce almost no power, and they won't send enough
energy to the starter motor when you turn the key. Invest in an electric
engine-block heater (about $20) if you help warming the engine. Some
even have timers you can set to turn on at 4 or 5 a.m.
68. Fuller Is Better
Keep your gas tank more than half full during cold weather. Otherwise
any void above the fuel in your tank will fill with moist air, which
condenses to water in the cold. Since water is denser than gasoline, it
settles in the bottom of your tank. If enough accumulates, it'll be
delivered through the fuel line to the engine.
69. Know the Numbers
Modern motor oils are engineered to flow at low temperatures and to
provide adequate lubrication at high ones. Take oil labeled 5W-30, for
instance, which is suitable for all weather conditions except desert
Southwest climates. The first number indicates viscosity (the ability to
flow) at low winter (W) temperatures. Five will work in the coldest of
U.S. climates. The other number indicates lubrication performance
under extreme heat. The higher the number, the better the performance
under hot engine operating conditions.
HOW TO…TEACH YOUR KID TO DRIVE
70. Find an Open Space
Young drivers often panic and get visually locked on the thing they're
headed toward, such as a guardrail. So find a dirt road or an empty
parking lot and teach them to look where they want to go and turn the
wheel in that direction. While you're there, have them practice
correcting a skid.
71. Rail Against Distractions
Everything in the car can be a potential distraction, from talking on a
cell phone to listening to loud music. Texting is the worst of all.
According to a study for the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute,
drivers who text are 23 times as likely to crash as those who don't.
72. Paint Pictures
Want an important message to fall on deaf ears? Use numbers: "It takes
an additional 90 feet to bring a car traveling 60 mph to a stop for
every second that braking is delayed." Blah, blah, blah. Instead,
provide context by saying, "The average car traveling at 60 mph requires
271 feet to stop—that's almost the length of a football field!"
73. Limit Passengers
"Statistics show that the more kids there are in the car, the higher the
chances of an accident," says Jeff Payne, founder and CEO of Driver's
Edge, a Las Vegas-based nonprofit that teaches kids defensive driving.
The risk of having an accident increases fivefold with two or more
teenage passengers, so make that the cutoff.
74. Set a Curfew
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 32 percent of
fatal crashes involving teenage drivers occur between 9 P.M. and 3 A.M.
So if you require that the car be parked in the driveway at midnight,
your kid has half as much time to get into trouble.
75. Stop for Doughnuts
A ticked off, heartbroken, or tired teenage driver is a recipe for
disaster. Suggest that pulling over for a doughnut and coffee is the
perfect antidote for anxiety. Realistically they won't ever pull over,
but hopefully the slogan will help them take a deep breath.
76. Preach Steady Driving
When behind the wheel, speed and direction should never change abruptly.
In other words, drivers shouldn't accelerate quickly, slow down in a
hurry, or turn on a dime. If your kid sees an exit but can't get over,
for example, remind him or her to wait for the next one.
77. Embrace Caution
Tell your kid "the road is full of tools"—as in morons. By using
kid-speak, you have an edge over the dreary drivers-ed teacher, and you
allow him or her to embrace caution as an attitude that's defiant,
rather than dorky.
78. Provide a Bolt Hole
When your kid puts himself in a tight spot, gently pipe up, "Where's
your bolt-hole?" Establish that you want to spend as much wheel time as
possible in a spot where there's an exit option.
79. Lead by Example
One of the single greatest predictors of unsafe driving in teens is
having a parent who drives unsafely. Tame your rage and drive like you
want them to drive.
80. Be Specific
Mechanics want to have a dialogue. Never just say, "I hear a noise," and
drop off the keys and leave. Describe the what, when, and where. For
instance, say, "I hear a high-pitched squeal when I accelerate, and then
it stops after 30 mph." A good mechanic immediately knows to check
81. Buckle Your Seat Belt
One in five men thinks airbags make seatbelts unnecessary, when in fact
going unbuckled turns an airbag into a deadly weapon. After reviewing
12 years' worth of car crashes in which airbags had deployed,
University of Pittsburgh scientists found that the incidence of neck or
spine injury was 70 percent higher for drivers who'd gone sans
seatbelt. That's because if you aren't buckled up during a collision,
you're likely to be propelled headfirst into an airbag coming at you at
200 mpg, say the study authors.
82. Fix Your Footing
Most people use their toe on the accelerator, which makes it harder to keep
steady pressure and leads to excess gas consumption. Drive with your foot flat
on the pedal, ease up on the accelerator a bit, and lower your top speed on the
83. Play Tough
If your car gets scratched in a parking garage, start by negotiation
with its management. While almost any garage has a disclaimer
purportedly limiting its responsibility, that probably won't protect it
against negligence. If that doesn't work, threaten legal action. Often
just a letter saying that you're considering a lawsuit will make them
84. Fight Overheating with Heat
To slow the rate at which the car overheats, open the windows and turn
on the heater. It may sound counterintuitive, but doing so will draw
heat away from the engine and into the car's cabin.
85. Brake, Then Park
Putting a car into park and then activating the parking brake causes the
car to settle back, putting unnecessary weight on the transmission.
With the car still in drive and your foot on the brake, activate the
parking brake. Then put the car in neutral and release the foot brake.
It should stay at rest with only the parking brake. Shift to park and
all is good.
86. Have a Watchful Eye
If you can't trust your teenage driver, install a tiny device called a
CarChip. It plugs into your car's onboard diagnostic port and records
speed, fuel consumption, as well as hard accelerations and
decelerations. There's also an optional alarm feature, which can be set
to go off when the driver exceeds a specific speed, acceleration, or
87. Use Your Fog Lights
These beams can cut through water vapor better than regular headlights
can, says Rae Tyson, formerly a spokesperson for the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration. Fog lights are mounted low on the grille
to prevent bounce-back glare off the mist—which is why high beams are
your worst choice.
88. Be Defensive
Surveys indicate there's a nearly 80 percent chance the average driver
speeds regularly, a 53 percent likelihood that he talks on the phone
while driving, a 4 percent chance he runs red lights—on purpose—and a 2
percent chance he has driven after he's had too much to drink. How
important is evasive maneuvering? For every actual crash, drivers
experience 11 near crashes, according to a study by the Virginia Tech
Transportation Institute. Yet close to 30 percent of drivers involved in
car crashes take no evasive measures at all, according to one study.
89. Stop a Spreading Crack
If a rock has chipped your windshield, you can act fast and to avoid the
$200 to $500 cost of a replacement. So long as the chip is smaller
than a dime, a glass shop can fill the crevice with an optically
matched resin that should forestall the spread of cracks. Most
insurance companies waive the deductible and cover this cost-saving
procedure. But anything larger and you might need a new pane of glass.
HOW TO…BUY A CLASSIC CAR
90. Distinguish Yourself
James Bond had an Aston Martin DB5. Steve McQueen, a 1968 Mustang. You
have…a used Kia? Your salvation: a classic sports car, says Joe Lorio of
Automobile magazine. "It looks really cool, and nobody knows you paid the same as somebody who bought a new Ford Explorer."
91. Be Realistic
Don't think of your first classic car as an investment. "The best you
can hope for is a minimal loss or maybe a maintaining of its value,"
says Karl Brauer, editor-in-chief of the car-advice site Edmunds.com.
92. Shop at the Fringes
Stay away from clichés and you can buy a good, low-mileage muscle car
for as little as $2,500 online, says Chris Jacobs, the former host of
TLC's Overhaulin'. For example, look for muscle cars made just
after the "golden age" ended (in 1971, when emissions and safety laws
changed) or consider a V-6. "What does 600-horsepower mean anyway?" asks
93. Get Educated
There isn't one way to get the best price. Whether buying at auction,
off eBay, or in person, just go in armed and educated. If you're bidding
sight unseen, money should not change hands until you've seen the car
94. Think About a Dealer
You will pay more, but they offer security and you'll have recourse.
Even if the dealer says the car has no warranty, you're buying from a
business with a reputation to protect. Cooper Classics Collection is a
great place to start and even provides financing.
95. Navigate the Auctions
Know what you're looking for: Pick a few models and year, then study.
The National Automobile Dealers Association appraisal guide, which lists
all classic-car values in a variety of conditions, is essential. The
leader in terms of volume is Kruse, which auctions more than 13,000 cars
annually at more than 30 events around the country.
96. Go South
Barrett-Jackson throws two auctions a year, and they're the baby
boomers' beating automotive hearts, with men (and some women) quite
literally strolling down memory lane, past the cars that defined their
youth. The main event is in January, in Scottsdale, and then a slightly
smaller affair is held in Palm Beach every March. If you were in the
market for a Ferrari, this would not be your auction. Though exotic
imports will pepper the grounds, these are wholehearted displays of
97. Seek Power
Mecum Auctions is a big player in the pony and muscle-car market, so
come here for Corvettes and Camaros. It has less flash than the others,
but plenty of content, with auctions spread across the Midwest
throughout the year.
98. Find Art
Legendary auction house Christie's premier event is the Exceptional
Motor Cars auction, featuring an exclusive group of about 50 classics.
It's held every August in Monterey, California, to coincide with the
annual Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, and it is also held in Paris,
in February, and in Connecticut, in June.
99. Look for Growth
RM Auctions runs an ever-growing number of events, including the
Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction, in August; a sale held in
conjunction with the Amelia Island (Florida) Concours d'Elegance, in
March; the Ferrari–Leggenda E Passione, in Maranello, Italy, in May; and
Vintage Motor Cars, held the same weekend as Barrett-Jackson, at the
Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, in Phoenix.
100. Buy Insurance
Try Hagerty. It has no mileage limit and, like other classic insurers,
uses "agreed value" instead of Blue Book plus depreciation. This means
you assert the car's value and back it up with photos. If the car is
totaled, the insurer will pay out the agreed value.
Five Tips to Prevent Car Break-ins
1. Keep Things Out of Sight
If you have any valuables, such as an iPod, purse or video camera, store
it under the seat or in the glove compartment. Most of the time,
thieves are just looking for a quick buck and if they see something they
like, they'll smash and grab. You'll also want to put anything that
looks like it could contain something valuable, such as a box or
briefcase, in the trunk to prevent car break-ins. If the box on your
front seat says "Apple
Computer, Inc." on it, it doesn't matter what's inside – it looks
valuable. Sometimes keeping your car clean will do more than just
impress your friends.
2. Get a Detachable Stereo Face
A car thief won't steal a stereo that he can't use. Purchasing a car audio receiver
with a detachable front panel will make your stereo useless to any
would-be crook. That is, of course, presuming you actually detach the
face of the head unit and take it with you. Even if you don't want to
carry the face plate with you, detach the front panel and hide it away
to prevent car break-ins. Criminals want things quick and easy, so a
missing face plate may make them move on to the next car.
3. Keep Your Car Secure
This seems like a no-brainer, but many people don't lock their car when
they're "just running into the store" or "they'll only be a minute." A
minute is all the time it takes to break into someone's car. Lock your
doors to prevent car break-ins. Don't make the thief's job any easier
by handing him an open door. Also, make sure to keep your windows
rolled up. Your car may get hot, but at least it won't get emptied.
4. Park it in a Public Location
That sweet, little-known spot in the alley in the back may always be
open, but it is also quite private – which is perfect for any criminal.
Park your car in a high-traffic area where it will be seen by a bunch
of people. If you are parking somewhere at night, park your vehicle
near a light or in view of a security camera to prevent car break-ins.
Once again, criminals want quick and easy jobs, so they don't want a
lot of publicity or visibility.
5. Get an Alarm
Most of the time when people think of alarms, they think of the one that
accidentally goes off in the parking lot and the owner isn't there to
turn it off. Yes, that is annoying, but next time this happens, take
notice that there are no car thieves around that noisy car. They want to
keep a low profile. These types of criminals will avoid cars if they
can see that it is alarmed. Some companies even manufacturer inexpensive
products that only make it look like your car has an alarm, which also
will help prevent car break-ins.