Avoid expensive bills from the mechanic : 100 Best Car Tips for Men - Part 2

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. (See highlights at drivecam.com.) 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 degrees Farenheit, 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 (as well as sites like bankrate.com) 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 discontinued models.

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 buy.

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