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 your belts.
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 freeway.
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 cave.
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
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
braking limit (carchip.com).
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 cliches 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 in person.
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 (cooperclassiccars.com).
95. Navigate the Actions
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 (Kruse.com).
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 whole-hearted displays of
American muscle (barrett-jackson.com).
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 (mecumauction.com).
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 (christies.com).
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 (rmauctions.com).
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.