A huge thanks to Champion Auto Parts for creating this great reference.

Spring – a.k.a. allergy season

You love everything about spring…well, almost everything. You love the warmer temperatures, spending time outside and hearing the birds chirp, but can do without the allergy-inducing pollen that invades the air.

If you suffer from allergies, you go through this love-hate relationship with spring every year. While you can’t magically get rid of all the pollen in the air, you can ensure the air inside your car is clean and fresh with a new cabin air filter.

What’s a cabin air filter?

You are probably aware that your vehicle’s engine has an air filter, but did you know that your car’s HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) system may also have one? Commonly called a cabin air filter, it performs the same duties for your HVAC system as the engine air filter does for your car’s engine.

Champion-Cabin-Air-Filter

The cabin air filter is a small pleated filter made of multi-fiber paper cotton or other engineered material. Before entering the passenger compartment, outside air is directed through this filter to trap the contaminants inside the filter and prevent them from entering the inside of your vehicle.

How does a cabin air filter work?

Clean air is essential to your vehicle running properly; your car’s engine air filter ensures that clean air reaches the engine. In the same way, your car’s ventilation system counts on the cabin air filter to keep a steady stream of clean air flowing.

The cabin air filter keeps dust, dirt, pollen, bacteria and exhaust gases from entering the HVAC system of your car. It also prevents bugs, leaves and other debris from clogging up the system. Vital to clean air inside the car, the cabin air filter keeps the air inside the car fresh so you and your passengers can breathe easy – something you’ll appreciate all year long but especially during allergy season.

How do I know if my cabin air filter needs changing?

While there is no warning light that comes on when your cabin air filter needs changing, there are some signs that you may notice:

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Reduced air circulation inside your passenger compartment

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Diminished heating and air conditioning performance

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Musty odor  in the cabin of the vehicle

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Cabin air intake ducting may begin to make an unusual whistling sound

If you observe one or more of these signs, it is likely that the time has come to change it. You can either do the job yourself or have your trusted mechanic switch it out for you.

How often should I change my cabin air filter?

It is recommended that you change your cabin air filter annually or every 12,000 miles. If you find yourself driving in heavily polluted areas or travelling on dirt roads, you should change the cabin air filter every 5,000 miles. Allergy sufferers may want to consider changing it more often to ensure air quality and to reduce their allergy symptoms.

What can happen if I don’t change my cabin air filter?

Dirty-Cabin-Air-Filter

If you don’t change your cabin air filter, the filter will become more clogged with dirt and debris and the efficiency of the filter and your car’s HVAC system will be compromised. The air volume into your passenger compartment will be continually reduced which will lead to the issue of foul odors inside your car. The simple act of changing your cabin air filter will dramatically improve the air quality in your vehicle.

What else can I do to allergy-proof my car?

There are some other steps you can take to ensure that you keep pollen and other allergens out of your vehicle. Here are some easy things you can do:

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Vacuum seats and carpeted floor mats to remove dust mites

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Clean spills quickly to prevent mold from developing

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Wipe down steering wheel, dashboard, console and door panels

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Ensure that windows and doors seal properly – check weather stripping

Learn more about quality cabin air filters, find your car part, or find where to buy your auto part today.

The content contained in this article is for entertainment and informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with our certified technicians or mechanics here at Dale Adams if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein.

Shelby American is proud to introduce the Carroll Shelby Signature Series Ford Mustang at the National Automobile Dealer Association Show (NADA) in Las Vegas on Friday, February 14. It is the only sports car in the world available in new car dealer showrooms with a choice of convertible or fastback, automatic or manual transmission and 825 street legal horsepower. Only 50 of the refined super cars will be offered through select dealers in North America. Each will be memorialized in the official Shelby Regist Read More

Winter Driving

Extreme Cold & Your Vehicle—Are you Prepared?

If you live in a place like where we live here in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, you realize that it can get really cold out here sometimes. We are talking temperatures that can drop to -25 °C (-13°F) or even colder when you add wind-chill. Nobody likes that, and even worse, it takes a toll on your vehicles.

So the questions is, what is the best way to prepare your vehicle and what is the recommendation for warming up your vehicle before you drive?

How Long Should I Warm a Vehicle Before Driving?

You won't like this answer, but it is actually best to minimize the amount of time you need to warm up your vehicle. Environmental benefits aside for a second, it is actually harder on your vehicle to start it and let it warm up for a long time before driving than it is to start it for just as long as it takes to clear the vehicle windows so you can see.

Please note that this advice applies to anyone driving a vehicle that was built post-1980s. If you have an older vehicle you will indeed need to warm it up a bit more.

If you want a very detailed explanation of all of this our friends at Esurance.com have an excellent detailed article all about this.

Vehicle Preparation for Freezing

 To be ready for the freezing temperatures you would be best advised to be sure your vehicle is ready for winter to minimize the chance of not starting or breaking down in a situation where you would not want to have to walk or flag down help in these extreme conditions. Trust me, I once was in a car that broke down in the country in extreme cold and trying to walk to a small local town was not fun, and downright dangerous. Here are 8 tips you should take to heart when you want to be sure that your vehicle is winter and cold ready.

1. Refill your fluids

  • Check your windshield washer fluid and think about replacing it with something formulated expressly for cold weather. Winter blends use a greater ratio of alcohol-to-water and are less likely to freeze.
  • Refill anti-freeze (be careful not to mix colors) or flush it if it hasn’t been changed in a few years.
  • Check your oil and consider changing to a cool-temp formulation with lower viscosity for better winter performance.

2. Get winter wiper blades

Swapping out your standard windshield wipers for winter blades can do wonders for your visibility in harsh driving conditions. These blades have been tested to withstand and perform at extremely low temps and are designed to be more flexible, protecting better against the buildup of snow and ice.

3. Take care of your battery

A bout of cold weather can be the death knell for a worn battery, so assess your battery’s health before the cold weather begins (hot summer days also take a toll on car batteries). Change your battery every 3 years (follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your vehicle) and check for signs of corrosion.

4. Invest in winter tires (chains)

All-season tires are fine most of the time, but if you’re dealing with extremely cold temperatures and slick pavement, it might be worth investing in a good pair of winter tires. With specialized tread patterns and rubber compounds, winter tires will give you the enhanced traction you need on icy roads.

If you are often driving in deeper snow and ice it is also recommended that you carry a set of chains or have something for increased traction control like sand, kitty litter, etc.

5. Check your tire pressure

In cool air, tire pressure can drop. You’ll want your tires properly inflated all winter long in order to maintain optimal traction, so it’s important to do periodic checks to ensure they’re at the right levels. Each car is different, though, so check your car manual for the recommended amount.

6. Grease your locks

Car locks can freeze in the extreme cold. Using a grease agent or lubricant spray can help keep all your car’s moving parts in working order. Inject lubricant spray into lock cylinders to keep things moving all winter long. And if you have a little extra time, try lubricating your door hinges too.

7. Always have a charged cell phone

Most areas are within cell coverage now and this can be a life saver. You should always have a chrging cable connected to your car so you can charge while driving. You never know when you might need help and you can't always be sure others will drive by to help. Having a cell phone by your side can save you. If you are driving in remote areas it is always good to let somebody know when you are expected to arrive so just in case you miss that deadline they can start to look for you.

We hope all of these tips are helpful and that your vehicle is ready for the cold. If you have any questions about your vehicles readiness please contact us and we'd be happy to help. We have winter tire options for all vehicles old and new at reasonable prices. Stay warm and safe on the roads.

8. Have a safety kit & supplies in the trunk

In the event something goes seriously wrong you want to at least have a minimum amount of supplies. We recommend all of these but think about having the following in your vehicle somewhere:

  • A small shovel
  • Traction aides - Chains, kitty litter, sand, salt, etc.
  • A first aid kit
  • A bunch of candles (The light and warmth of just a few candles can keep a vehicle warm.
  • A blanket
  • Some water and some high-protein snacks like granola bars
  • A flare and road signs
  • Extra windshield fluid (Good to at least -30)

Dale and the Dale Adams Automotive Crew

Hilarious Car Jokes - Part II

  • So the guy two ranks below me at work bought a used 3-series. Another guy, about one rank below, bought a newer 3-series. So I go into my boss, explain the details, and believe it justifies a raise. "I've worked here twice as long as them, and rank higher. If they're driving BMWs, I should be driving a Genesis!" My employment record now says "dismissed for poor judgement."
  • What's the difference between a grandfather clock and a BMW E36 after an autocross? The grandfather clock doesn't tell you the taillights are broken.
  • What's the good thing about Fords? They come out of the factory with the problem circled.
  • Did you know CHEVROLET is an acronym? Can Hear Every Valve Rattling On Long Extended Trips
  • What do a 1000hp Supra and a 400hp Supra have in common? They both run a 12sec quarter mile. (Joke about turbo lag, but you already knew that!).

A policeman pulls over an old man in a pickup truck because the bed of his truck is full of ducks. The officer says, “Sir, it is unacceptable to have this flock of ducks downtown, take them to the Zoo this instant!”

The old man confirms that he will and drives off. The next day the officer sees the same man in the same truck still full of ducks. Only this time all the ducks are wearing sunglasses. The officer pulls him over again and yells, “I told you to take these ducks to the Zoo!”

The old man replies, “I did! But now the little buggers want to go to the beach!”

  • A man buys a sports car and is really beginning to enjoy it when he sees flashing lights in the rear view mirror. He guns it and is rapidly up to 160mph when he realizes what he is doing. He slows down, then pulls over and soon the cop pulls up behind him.

    The cop comes up to the window and asks, “What were you thinking, taking off like that?”

    “Well,” the man replies after thinking about it for a bit, “a few years ago a highway patrol officer ran off with my wife.”

    “What does that have to do with anything.”

    “I thought you were bringing her back.”
  • A hip young man goes out and buys a 2001 Ferrari 360 Spider. It is the best convertible sports car, costing about $250,000. He takes it out for a spin and while stopping for a red light, an old man on a moped, wearing an open face crash helmet (looking about 70 years old) pulls up next to him.

    The old man looks over the sleek, shiny red surface of the car and asks, “What kind of car ya’ got there, sonny?” The young man replies, “A 2001 Ferrari 360 Spider. They cost about a quarter of a million dollars!”

    “That’s a lot of money,” says the old man, shocked. “Why does it cost so much?” “Because this car can do over 200 miles an hour!” states the cool dude proudly. The moped driver asks, “Can I take a look inside?” “Sure,” replies the owner.

    So the old man pokes his head in the window and looks around. Leaning back on his moped, the old man says, “That’s a pretty nice car, all right!”

    Just then the light changes so the guy decides to show the old man what his car can do. He floors it, and within 30 seconds the speedometer reads 220 mph. Suddenly, he notices a dot in his rear view mirror. It seems to be getting closer!

    He slows down to see what it could be and suddenly, whhhoooossshhh! Something whips by him, going much faster! “What on earth could be going faster than my Ferrari?!” the young man asks himself.

    Then, ahead of him, he sees a dot coming toward him. Whoooooosh! It goes by again, heading the opposite direction! And it almost looked like the old man on the moped!

    “Couldn’t be,” thinks the guy. “How could a moped outrun a Ferrari?!” Again, he sees a dot in his rear view mirror! Whooooosh Ka-BbblaMMM! The moped plows into the back of his car, demolishing the rear end. The young man jumps out, and it IS the old man!!! Of course, the moped and the old man are hurting for certain. He runs up to the old man and says,

    “You gotta tell me how you got that thing to be faster than my Ferrari !” The old man looks up and replies, “OK..., but first, unhook my suspenders from your side-view mirror, will ya?”

  • I was walking down the street today when tow truck driver pulled up alongside me and said, “Excuse me, I’m looking for the accident site involving a van carrying a load of cutlery.”

    “No problem,” I said. “Go straight down this road for 1 mile, then take the first left, and when you get to the fork in the road you’re there.”

  • A State Police Officer sees a car puttering along at 22 MPH. He thinks to himself “this driver is just as dangerous as a speeder!” So he turns on his lights and pulls the driver over.

    Approaching the car, he notices that there are four old ladies — the three passengers are wide eyed and white as ghosts.

    The driver, obviously confused, says to him, “Officer, I don’t understand, I was doing exactly the speed limit! What seems to be the problem?”

    The officer replies, “Ma’am, you weren’t speeding, but you should know that driving much slower than the speed limit can also be a danger to other drivers.”
    “Slower than the speed limit? No sir, I was doing the speed limit exactly... Twenty-two miles an hour!” The old woman says, pointing to a sign next to the road.
    The State Police officer, trying to contain a chuckle explains to her that the sign was the route number, not the speed limit. A bit embarrassed, the woman grinned and thanked the officer for pointing out her error.

    “But before I let you go, Ma’am, I have to ask... Is everyone in this car OK? Your passengers seem awfully shaken and they haven’t muttered a single peep this whole time,” the officer asks.

    “Oh, they’ll be all right in a minute officer. We just got off Route 119.”

Between 12:00 am on Thursday November 28, 2019 through 11:59 pm Monday December 2, 2019 Whipple is having a very rare sale on their products.

Save 15%* on your order placed between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Read More

Road Trip Hacks That are a Saviour

A huge thanks to Huffington Post for the great tips here. We chose our top 5 but you can find these and 12 more in their article. Enjoy these relationship saving hacks on your next road trip. Read the Huffington Post article here.

1. Hang an iPad off of your car's sun visor for a makeshift TV monitor.

2. Fashion your own DIY seatbelt pillow for the comfiest naps ever.

3. If you're traveling with kids, avoid the inevitable "Are we there yet?" questions with a laminated travel map. Have your kids trace the route and cross off landmarks as you go!

4. Buy a five-port car charger to keep everyone's devices powered up.

5. Lastly, always keep this handout in your glove compartment in case of emergency.

 

Should you get your car serviced at an auto shop or a dealership?

Sometimes we just want you to read what other people are saying about topics like this. Don't let us influence you and always do your own research. We are always here to talk and will give you the best advice we can. We hope you find this useful.

Dale

Original story and post on lowestrates.ca by Dominic Licorish

As far as I’m concerned, cars are magic. I know they have transmissions, drivetrains, horsepower, and all those other things they say in commercials, but as to how they all fit together and work? Don’t know, don’t care, and I’m sure many people who own cars don’t either.

If you don’t know how to fix your car, someone else is gonna have to do it. Generally speaking, that means finding an auto repair shop, and those come in two flavours: independent and dealership.

Which one is best for you?

We got in touch with Mark Whinton from the Carquestions Youtube Channel and asked him for advice to help drivers make a choice on whether they should go to a dealership or mechanic (and summarized the answers in a chart below for you lazy folks).

“In most cases, you’re going to go to the independent mechanic. It’s just more financially viable. Dealers have higher targets, so prices are usually higher. That’s just how it is.” said Whinton. On top of that, he told me that those higher prices don’t necessarily come with higher quality service.

“No matter where you go, you’re likely to get the same quality of service,” he said. Though, he did also acknowledge that dealerships can be a better solution for luxury models like Mercedes-Benz and BMW because, they’re most likely to have training, as well as access to parts and equipment that are specifically meant for your car.

So, here are a few questions Mark Whinton says drivers should ask themselves when deciding where to take their cars for service.

1. Has there been a manufacturer recall for your vehicle’s issue?

2. Is your issue covered under your vehicle’s warranty?

3. Does your vehicle require special parts, repair tools, or techniques?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, chances are you should go to a dealership.

Dealerships cover recall and warranty repairs at no cost to the owner and therefore should be the first solution to consider if your vehicle has an issue. Whinton says he’s seen people spend thousands on repairs they could have had done for free if they’d known. If your vehicle has a problem, verify if the problem falls under your warranty and go to the Transport Canada webpage for a comprehensive guide on checking for vehicle recalls.

Some independent mechanics go out of their way to be able to service luxury and/or rare vehicles, but it’s not very common. So if you answered yes to question #3, you’re most likely going to have to go to a dealership (but there’s no reason not to check the options in your area).

If you answered “no” to all of these questions, chances are you’re better off going to an independent mechanic. Whether it’s general maintenance (brake job, oil changes, tire changes, etc.) or a special issue (leaks, rattling noise in engine, dashboard warning lights), independent mechanics generally offer better prices than dealerships.

  Dealership Independent
There has been a manufacturer recall for your vehicle  
Your vehicle is still under warranty  
Your vehicle needs hard-to-find/proprietary parts  
Your vehicle has a special issue (leaks, rattling noise in engine, dashboard warning lights)  
Your vehicle just needs general maintenance (brake job, oil changes, tire changes, etc.)  

“I don’t think this is a binary question”

That’s the first thing Zain Manji, co-founder and chief operating officer of mobile auto service company Fiix, told me when I asked where drivers are better off getting their car serviced. In his eyes, either one can be good options depending on the professionalism, expertise, and transparency of the person working on your car. The right choice, he says, is to go the shop that can best meet all of those qualities while still fitting your budget.

“Many shops and dealerships don't always have the most qualified individuals working on your car. Many actually utilize apprentices to do the majority of the work, since apprentices need practice, hours, and are a lower cost option for them. At the same time, there are many shops who aren't transparent with their customers and who use fear tactics in order to up-sell their customers.”

Whether you choose a dealership or an independent shop, you can still get bad service. You never really know what’s going to happen to your car when you leave it with someone. A driver in Mississauga recently figured this out after mechanics at a dealership took his Mercedes out to get coffee.

Manji says the key to finding an excellent mechanic is to look for:

  1. A great track record and glowing reviews.
  2. Transparency from the company on who the mechanics are, what their qualifications and expertise are, and why they are great.
  3. A customer base which they've formed great relationships with. Strong word of mouth and loyalty is a great sign.

7 Driving Techniques You Should Learn from a Race Car Driver & Why

Original Post by Auto Loan Solutions

Driving your conventional 4-door sedan may not seem to have anything in common with the experience of driving a $10 – $15 million Formula 1 (F1) car. The former is for average folk, while the latter is for the exceptionally gifted drivers out there, and it’s fair to assume all racing skills are only useful for race tracks. But they’re not worlds apart. In fact, there are a number of driving techniques you can learn from a race car driver, that will help make your daily drive to work or those summer road trips better. Not only are they good for improved performance, they’re actually great for your safety as well.

  1. Use your eyes like a camera

Let’s start with your eyes and brain here. On the track, a race car driver uses his or her eyes like a film camera, capturing different “shots”, primarily focusing on what’s far ahead of them or where they want to go. They’re not fixed just on what’s directly in front of them.

This is an important skill for you as a driver. Too many people fix their eyes on the car ahead of them, rather than the flow of traffic in the distance. For a race car driver, doing so means putting yourself in a bad position. For you, that could mean ending up in a serious or fatal accident. Keep this in mind: your brain needs time to process the road conditions ahead, and you can only do so if you have time to see what’s taking place beforehand. That calls for looking into the distance, not the foreground.

  1. Brake “left-footedly”

Like the left hand, you have individuals who use their left foot more than their right. Some of the best race car drivers are in this category, preferring to brake with their left foot. Braking with the left significantly reduces the time it takes to slow down, which of course, is vital at times when driving. The reason for this stems from the fact that your left foot is closer to the brake.

Drivers of race cars need to often decelerate from speeds of 250km/h to 80km/h around sharp corners, so quick braking is essential. For the average citizen, quick braking matters not for the finesse of turning around bends (although it is impressive), but to avoid losing control of your car or prevent a rear-end collision. A second can mean the difference between escape or impact. Braking with the right usually wastes that precious fraction of time, which often translates to a distance of 30 – 50 feet travelled. Left-foot braking, however, cuts that time down by several seconds. In turn, you stop much faster than you would with traditional braking.

  1. One move at a time

For some odd reason, a lot of drivers think the busier they are behind the wheel, the better their driving skills are. They believe the constant steering, braking, accelerating and shifting of gears makes them more skilled since they’re able to multitask so well. They are mistaken. Watch a race one day – the occasional dash cam footage will show a level of stillness you may have not noticed before. The driver is usually focused on turning the wheel.

They maintain this focus to avoid losing control of their cars. Anytime they accelerate, brake or steer, there is the potential of breaking traction, which isn’t always desirable. A loss of traction is something you certainly don’t want as a driver, especially when the roads are slippery due to rain or ice. Unless you have refined chops as a racer yourself, you’ll want to maintain a smooth and steady drive by focusing on one thing at a time, without steering or braking/accelerating too hard.

  1. Grip the wheel…and pull

Here’s a strange tip: don’t just grip the wheel, pull it. Race car drivers practice this weird little hack to gain superior control of their steering. So if the driver has to turn left, for example, they’ll pull down with their left hand (or if making a right, they’ll push down with the right) as if this allows for more dexterity and as a result, more control (although some recommend pulling down and pushing up with one hand).

For both race car drivers and yourself, more dexterity and control means a better driving experience. In terms of safety, you can weave around obstacles such as potholes, or distracted drivers instantaneously. Also, sharp turns that require plenty of stability won’t faze you.

  1. Regaining control after sliding

Remember too, that racing isn’t all about speed, and safety plays a big part in the sport as well. That’s why drivers practice how to escape a slide at length since it can actually happen on a race track. Of course, there’s a difference between sliding and drifting (which is common in some motorsport such as rally racing). Drifting is controlled – sliding is not and since it puts the racer in danger, they must put their eyes where they want the car to stop, turn the wheel in that direction and maintain that position while slowly braking.

For both the race car driver and the average joe, doing so can prevent a collision with another vehicle. However, this technique is even more paramount for the average driver, because other motorists most likely won’t have the skills of a professional racer who can quickly dodge an out-of-control car.

  1. Driving in wet/slippery conditions

Racing in the rain is no doubt riskier than racing on dry pavement. So the race car driver has to keep his vehicle balanced, in order to not spin out on the slippery surface. In motorsports, there’s a “racing line”, which is the path they should follow to complete a course as quickly as possible. However, in rainy weather, racers can’t follow these lines completely, and they’ll have to focus more on finding patches of road that offer the most grip.

Of course, rain can be dangerous both to the racers and regular drivers. But how can you abandon your “racing lines” to find your grip? Well apart from equipping your vehicle with the appropriate tires, you should take your attention off doing the speed limit and trying to beat the amber light. Rather, focus on early braking, maintaining your distance with other cars, and looking out for slick patches of road that may cause skids. The goal here isn’t to get to your point B faster, but to get there safely.

  1. Surviving a tire blowout

Tire blowouts occur on race tracks too. It can be devastating for the driver since it may cost them the chance of a winning title, like what happened to F1 racer Sebastian Vettel last fall. Nevertheless, drivers remain calm and keep their car moving straight until they’re moving slow enough to drive off to the pit stop. They don’t stomp on the brake or try to steer off the road, as this could cause their car to spin out of control, smashing into other vehicles.

This technique can be hard to pull off because it goes against everything your mind is telling you in such a frightening situation. But it can save lives. Again, this driving technique is probably more urgent for the average citizen, because a lot of drivers out there don’t have the reflexes, poise and muscle memory to stay away from you if you’re out of control. So remaining in a straight path will keep you and all those around you safe.

Learning from the masters

There are a ton of racing legends out there who have their own tips on how to drive a car. Of course, classic heroes like Mario Andretti or modern phenoms such Lewis Hamilton have their own tricks which they may not share with you. However, they all follow some basic driving techniques that you can also use. And they’re not only useful for performance, but your safety as well. So the next time you see something about a race car driver, don’t dismiss them as overpaid young men who get to sit all day – their skillset has relevance for you as well.

Talk to us here at Dale Adams about all your performance vehicle needs.

 

A Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Classic Car

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Mark Purtell that was originally posted on artofmanliness.com. 

Many men have the classic car bug hit them at some point in life. Maybe they want that car they dreamed about in high school (or actually drove, and still miss). For others, it’s the idea of taking a rundown classic and restoring it to mint condition. Some guys just like buying investment-grade cars with hopes of profiting off them in the future. No matter what your reasoning for wanting a vintage automobile, before you buy one on a whim, let’s dig into the reasons you might buy a vintage car, along with developing a plan for getting the best car for your budget and lifestyle.

Why Are You Buying a Vintage Auto?

As noted above, people buy vintage vehicles for all kinds of reasons, and being realistic about why you are buying a classic car is essential if you want it to be an enjoyable experience rather than one filled with rancor and regret.

The key is to buy for all the right reasons for you.

For example, you might want to get a 1965 Mustang convertible to go get milkshakes with the family. A rust-bucket/project car, assuming you have the time, money, and dedication to restore it, is going to take several years before it is roadworthy. By that time, your kids are in high school, and they have no interest in hitting the malt shop with Mom and Dad. In this case, a turnkey, ready-to-drive option may be the best bet for you.

If you’re someone with lots of spare time (and perhaps money as well) who enjoys fixing anything mechanical, a full restoration project might fit your profile.

If you want to buy a unique car in immaculate condition with strong investment potential, that car is going to be doing a lot of sitting without much tinkering or driving required. But as I’ll explain next, it’s important to understand that most classic cars don’t actually turn out to be a good investment. 

Most Classic Cars Are Not an Investment

We’ve heard of the guy who doubled his money on a car sitting in his grandmother’s garage, but most attempts to flip a vintage vehicle for profit don’t turn out that way.

The truth is that these old cars are simply that: old cars. They have carrying costs: storage, maintenance, insurance, etc. Depending on the car, these costs can run hundreds to thousands of dollars per year.

And that’s not to mention restoration costs, of both money and time. That Mustang we referenced earlier might require $15,000 in work to get it in the condition you desire and it will still be worth about the same price you paid for it. A 1960s Corvette might cost $40,000, require $60,000 in restoration work, and now be worth $70,000-$90,000. Even if you do the repair work yourself, you might save tens of thousands of dollars in labor costs, but spend hundreds of hours in the garage away from your family. This begs the question: What is your time worth? If you like cranking a wrench on the nights and weekends, go for it. If you are thinking you will spend a couple hours a week working on a project car, you could lose interest long before its appreciated in value.

If your plan is to buy an investment-grade vehicle that you don’t plan to drive but will instead park in a temperature-controlled garage, waiting for demand to push the price up, do your research carefully on what car you buy. For example, many cars from the 1950s and 1960s have had no price appreciation for a decade. One theory is that the collectors, generally aged 60+, who used to desire these cars are either dying or downsizing their collections. Meanwhile, cars that were popular in the late 1970s to 1990s are experiencing price appreciation as the children of this era approach middle age with discretionary income to burn on collector cars.

Where to Buy Your Throwback Machine

Buying a classic car is not the same thing as buying a brand new Honda from the local dealer. You can’t just walk into a dealer, pick your comfort package, engine size, interior/exterior colors, and drive home that day with exactly what you want. To find the car you really desire, it’s going to take some work.

When buying a used car (emphasis added because racing stripes and polished wheels may make it seem new in your mind), constantly remind yourself of the phrase caveat emptor — “buyer beware.”

Buying at Auction

Classic car auctions are sexy. The crowd, the excitement, and the potential to get a deal on your dream machine all sound appealing. Here are some pros and cons for going this route:

Pros:

  • Auctions do a great job bringing in high-end cars that may have never sat in a consignment dealer’s showroom. Some of the most desirable (i.e., expensive cars) have sold at auction rather than by private party or dealer.
  • Auctions can often be accessed via phone or internet, giving you the opportunity to buy a car from the other side of the world.
  • You can get a deal on a car with a no, or low, reserve. If only a few buyers bid on the car, you could walk out with a steal.

Cons:

  • The buyer has limited options for inspection. Aside from walking around the car and maybe hearing it turn over, the chance of a complete inspection is non-existent. Only after you buy the car will you begin to discover all the surprises in the car you just purchased, and remember there are no “do-overs” at auction.
  • The seller and buyer premiums added on to the sale price can tack on 10-25% in fees to the price of the car compared to a private party transaction.

Buying From a Dealer

Just like people, there are good dealers and bad dealers. Most classic car dealers run a consignment shop, where private car sellers leave their cars on the lot for sale. In return for handling the advertising and drumming up a buyer, the dealer receives a percentage of the sale proceeds. Some dealers will buy the car directly from the seller and attempt to flip it for their own profit.

Pros:

  • Good dealers will run their inventory through an inspection before selling it. A reputable dealer will have no problem with you conducting an in-depth inspection of the car along with bringing in an outside inspector to verify that the car they advertise is the one you are buying.
  • There’s good negotiating power. The dealer will try to get you to come up on price, but they’ll also try to get the seller to come down on price; they want to get the deal done. This is a negotiation, so do not be afraid to go in 20-25% below the asking price when starting out.

Cons:

  • Dealers are in the business of turning over inventory. They often do not have intimate knowledge of the car’s history outside of what an inspection might garner. 
  • Dealers are middlemen. This means you indirectly pay a higher price because the seller will be paying a commission of 10-15% of the total sale price.

Buying From a Private Party

This method takes a lot more work than buying from a dealer or auction, but you can get a great deal on a classic car if you put the time into your search.

Pros:

  • You deal directly with the seller. Oftentimes, they will be long-time owners, or at least more intimately know the history of the car. Some of these owners look at selling their car as giving away a child and want it to go to a good home. These collectors are the ones you want to buy from because the car’s condition will generally reflect the seller’s passion.
  • You can get a much better price here without the fees of a dealer or auction house acting as a go-between.

Cons:

  • This method takes work. You need to scrounge for sale ads on every car site you can find. Many sellers only list on 1-2 sites and assume that is good enough to market the car. Unless you are searching all the classic car classified sites, you might miss your deal.
  • You might be more likely to blindly trust a passionate private seller. Each claim the owner makes about the car should be verified, if possible. If the deal does not pass the smell test, keep moving. No one is going to sell you a rare 1970 G.T.O. Judge for half off market prices just to avoid paying auction or dealer fees. What he is probably selling is a G.T.O. he’s made to look like a Judge in order to outsmart an uneducated buyer.

Use an Inspector Whenever You Can

When you’re buying from a dealer or private seller, and have the possibility of bringing in an inspector to look at the car, it really behooves you to do so.

An inspector acts as a second set of eyes that will make sure the car is exactly as described in the dealer’s sales literature or private owner’s claims. An inspector also functions as an important reality check: reining in your emotions is important to make sure you’re not overcome with the excitement of getting a classic car and end up with an overpriced toy needing more work and money than you’re comfortable with.

To find a good inspector, ask for recommendations at local car clubs or classic car dealers. Another option is calling a restoration shop that specializes in the car you are buying and hire them to do the inspection. Even if the shop can’t do it, they may be able to suggest someone who could.

In addition to hiring an inspector, you will also be well served by taking the car to a mechanic who can make sure it runs correctly too.

A Short Word on Prices 

Classic cars come in all prices and conditions. You can pick up a near-mint condition Model T for around $10,000-$15,000. You can’t even find a project Porsche in that price range.

As a broad rule, more money spent upfront will save you gobs of money throughout the life of the car. As you scroll through classic car ads, you will often see statements such as “$75,000 invested, asking $45,000 or best offer.” Is the seller lying? Probably not. Restoration projects, especially those done at professional shops, involve hundreds or thousands of labor hours plus parts. Once the work is done, the owner may drive it around for a couple years, get bored with it, and dump it on the market. This is where you move in to save yourself thousands of dollars.

A collector car usually has no functional or practical value. Just like you wouldn’t depend on a 1982 Commodore 64 for finishing your work report, you’re not going to jump in your 1982 DeLorean DMC-12 to pick up your son from basketball practice in the middle of a snowstorm. In many ways classic cars are valued and priced the same way as other fine art is: condition and demand. Scarcity may add to the allure of a car, but does not always guarantee a high price. Compare this to how your kindergartener’s art project is one-of-a-kind, but won’t be on the block at Sotheby’s next to a Klimt or Dali.

What Car to Buy — A Few Ideas for Starters 

To continue to read the rest of this article please visit the original post at artofmanliness.com here. 

Thanks for reading!

Dale Adams

Top 5 Signs of Engine Trouble

Original Article on HowStuffWorks.com BY AKWELI PARKER KRISTEN HALL-GEISLER

Do you know the early warning signs of engine trouble? See more pictures of engines.

Do you know the early warning signs of engine trouble?

We've all done it: While sitting in traffic, maybe at a red light, you listen. Is that a whirring sound? What is that whirring sound? Where is it coming from? Is it from my car? Is it in the engine? Please don't let it be in the engine. It's just the air conditioner. Or maybe it's not even my car. The car in the next lane looks like a real clunker. I bet it's that car.

Repeat with any sound, any smell, any weird feeling you get while driving. Car jerking around? They need to pave this road. Engine smells funny? That's because this whole town smells. Check engine light come on? It's probably a loose gas cap. And of course, if you hear something strange, turn up the radio and drown it out.

Because otherwise, these things can give you a panic attack. With every sound, smell, and insistent light on the dashboard, we see days without a car to get to work and money flying out of our wallets like winged monkeys in little red vests and hats.

Here are a few of the scariest signs of engine trouble, the likely causes. And yes, they almost all require immediate attention -- but there's no need to panic. Unless you actually see those flying monkeys. They're creepy.

5: Warning Lights

A "Check Engine" lamp can signal a variety of issues.

A "Check Engine" lamp can signal a variety of issues.

If your car is working properly, these are what Audra Fordin of "What Women Auto Know" calls "hello, good morning" lights. You fire up the engine and the dashboard lights up like carnival. This is the car's computer checking everything out. One by one, each of the lights turns off and you're ready to drive.

If they don't turn off, though, that's bad. Either very bad or slightly bad, depending on which light remains lit. These lights are connected to sensors that monitor everything your car does. If something seems out of whack, the computer will use these lights to tell you what it is. It can't use its words; it's not KITT, you know.

The lights you'll probably want to pay the most attention to are:

  • Check Oil/Oil Level Low
  • Oil Pressure Low
  • Check Engine

The "Check Engine" lamp is perhaps the most troubling of lights because it could mean so many different things, from "you didn't screw the gas cap on tightly enough" to "look out for pistons flying through the hood and into the stratosphere." The easiest way to find out what this light is telling you is to hook your vehicle up to a scan tool. This diagnostic tool looks a little like an oversized calculator and plugs into a communication port inside the car. After you instruct it to perform the scan, it "speaks" with your car's computers to find out exactly what's prompting the light to turn on.

You can purchase your own tool from an auto parts store for less than $100, but then what? You're probably not going to put on your coveralls and crawl under the hood yourself. Instead, visit a service station, where a technician will use the scan tool to identify the trouble.

4: Doing the Jerk

No, we're not talking about that cool dance where your knees kind of open and close and you move from side to side, and you can get all low and funky with it. We're talking about a car doing the jerk, which is much less cool.

Driving should be free of jerking, surging, or stalling. It should be smooth and easy, more like ballet than Beyonce. What's cool in the club is not cool in an engine.

But if your car is popping and locking, that's a pretty strong sign of engine trouble. It could be due to fouled spark plugs, clogged fuel lines or fuel filter, the main computer reading the driving situation wrong, or many, many other issues.

The last thing you want is for your vehicle to take its own sweet time accelerating, or to give out entirely, as you're merging onto a busy highway with other vehicles barreling down behind you. Likewise, high revving at idle or acceleration that's out of your control are situations you should have a qualified technician investigate and repair as soon as possible.

Preventive maintenance, including regular oil changes and belt replacements at recommended intervals help to keep you out of the danger zone.

3: Rude Noises

A little bit of noise from under the hood is normal.

A little bit of noise from under the hood is normal.

You know how your uncle Barney makes all those sounds at Thanksgiving, and he thinks they're hilarious? Well, if your car ever sounds like Uncle Barney, you've got serious problems.

A tapping or popping that sounds like Barney doing deep knee bends (which never happens), for instance, could indicate detonation taking place within the engine's cylinders. This happens when gasoline ignites prematurely in the combustion chamber of the cylinders and can potentially result in expensive piston damage.

If you hear a grinding noise when you attempt to start your car, your starter motor might need to be adjusted or replaced. If you hear grinding when shifting between gears, it could be transmission replacement time! It's not as fun as it sounds. And if you're driving a manual transmission, do not listen to Uncle Barney when he says, "Grind it 'til you find it."

In most cases, a little bit of noise from either your car or Uncle Barney -- like a mild ticking or clicking -- might be normal. Cars with roller rockers in their valve trains, for instance, emit some ticking noise; and fuel-injected vehicles also produce slightly audible clicks from the injectors [source: 2CarPros.com].

If in doubt, listen intently, try to track down the general area of the noise as best you can and then attempt to explain it in as much detail as you can to a qualified service professional.

2: Foul Smells

Cars rarely smell delightful. They're burning gasoline or diesel fuel, there's hot metal under the hood, and your brother ate a burrito just before he got in the passenger seat. There's not much you can do about your brother besides open all the windows and monitor his lunch intake, but any other automotive smells that make it into the passenger compartment spell trouble.

The scent may signal oil or coolant leaking from their normally closed-loop systems, or it may indicate dangerous exhaust gases invading your car's interior. Car and truck exhaust contains toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, so if the inside of your car smells as if you were standing behind your car, get out and get it fixed. Fight the urge to take a little nap first. So sleepy. That's the carbon monoxide talking, friends. At least open a window on your way to the shop.

The smell of burning rubber could mean you just did an awesome smoky burnout, or it could be telling you that drive belts or accessory belts beneath the hood are damaged, loose, or worn out. It could also mean that a rubber hose carrying important fluids is touching something that it shouldn't -- something that's too hot and is melting the rubber.

In any case, it's a good idea to act sooner rather than later, as these nasty smells could be linked to a much more crucial and expensive component.

1: Smoke Signals

Exhaust smoke can give you clues about what's going on inside of your engine.

Exhaust smoke can give you clues about what's going on inside of your engine.

Smoke can come from the front or back of the car, and it's not good in either case. But the tailpipe will send-up colored smoke in attempt to tell you what the problem is. Here is your secret decoder ring:

Blue smoke: Oil is escaping from its intended passageways within the engine and is being burned along with fuel. Of course, you could always keep adding engine oil to the crankcase to prevent it from being all burned up (and risking serious engine damage), but the smart thing to do would be to take the car in to have any worn or damaged seals repaired [source: Torbjornsen].

White smoke: Water condensation or antifreeze has mixed with the fuel supply. Again, adding coolant or antifreeze to your car's cooling system will keep your car from overheating for as long as you remember to keep feeding the reservoir, but the wise move is to have it checked out as soon as possible.

If the smoke is coming from under your hood, that probably means you ignored white smoke coming out of the tailpipe, and now your engine is overheating. Or maybe you completely forgot to add coolant at all, and the engine overheated. Not that anyone would ever do that. That's ridiculous.

Author's Note: Top 5 Signs of Engine Trouble

I mentioned in that last tip that no one could possibly be so ignorant as to let their car run out of coolant. No one but me, that is. My first car (when I was 17) was a Chevy Chevette. I knew nothing about car maintenance, having only a vague idea about oil changes being somehow necessary. I certainly didn't know about checking fluids, or paying attention to the temperature gauge in the dashboard, or what to do when any warning lights came on. When hot, white smoke billowed from under my cheap hood, I learned very quickly about the price of coolant ignorance. It's expensive to replace an engine, even in a crappy car from the 80s.

Sources

  • com. "Why Is My Engine Making Noise?" (Oct. 13, 2009) http://www.2carpros.com/first_things/why_is_my_engine_making_noise.htm
  • org. "What To Do if the 'Check Engine' Light Goes On." March 2009. (Oct. 12, 2009) http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/news/2005/ what-to-do-if-the-check-engine-light-goes-on/overview/index.htm
  • com. "How To Speak Mechanic." (Oct. 12, 2009) http://www.goodwrench.com/Tips/DiagnosingTheProblem.jsp
  • Torbjornsen, Tom. "Smoke From Your Tailpipe? Know the Difference Between White Smoke and Blue Smoke." July 8, 2009. (Oct. 9, 2009) http://autos.aol.com/article/car-smoke
  • Turbo Magazine. "Engine Diagnostics Part Two - Crank, Ignite, Charge." (Oct. 9, 2009) http://blogs.turbomagazine.com/index.html
  • S. Environmental Protection Agency. "On-Board Diagnostics." (Oct. 10, 2009) http://www.epa.gov/otaq/regs/im/obd/index.htm