Consumer News


Last Minute Car-Guy Christmas Gifts

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Got a gearhead on your Christmas list – but you’re not a gearhead and so have no idea what to get? Here are some last-minute suggestions for items to put under the tree (or in the garage) this year: * Five or six quarts of the finest synthetic motor oil available-  That would be Amesoil.…

When Should I Change My Car’s Oil?

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It’s a very common question – but it’s hard to get a straight answer. I’ll try to give you one. It depends. On your particular car. And how you drive it. First, let’s consider the car you’ve got. The older it is, the more often you’ll need to change the oil. Especially if it’s older than circa late…

Worst New Car “Safety” Features

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Some of you might remember the ’90s sci-fi flick, Demolition Man. It starred Sylvester Stallone and portrayed a future world obsessed with “safety.” That’s our reality, today. If you’ve seen the movie, you probably remember the scene where a car crashes and a gazillion air bags inflate. That was comedic back in ’93. It’s our…

The “Don’t Do” List

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Fixing cars can be fun – or at least, satisfying (and money saving). Breaking your car – or yourself – is not fun. Here’s how to avoid doing that: * Don’t “fix” a problem until you know what the problem is – A great mistake made by many is to guess that “x” is the problem when in fact…

Bugs…

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New cars aren’t necessarily problem-free cars. The 2015 Mini Cooper press car I’ve got this week has developed some hiccups. Not “it’s broke, let’s fix it” hardware issues. Intermittent software weirdness. Last night, the wife and I went to do some shopping and on the way home, stopped at Starbucks for coffee. We got back in the…

Working on Cars – Tips That Might Help

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Experience is a great teacher. Here are some things I’ve learned over the years working on cars that may help you avoid hassles when working on your car: * Remove the fill plug before you remove the drain plug – This applies mostly to manual transmissions and rear axles, which typically have a drain plug…

Making The Best Of “Climate Change”

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The globe refuses to warm. What happened, Al? The opposite is happening. The globe is cooling. Brutally so. Here in the “South” – where it’s supposed to be warm – it has been getting colder and colder with each passing year. Fall has transitioned from balmy to brutal. Two weeks shy of Thanksgiving and it’s going…

Things Cars Ought to Have… But Don’t

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I’ve ranted about stuff new cars come with that seem over-the-top, unnecessary – stupid, even. The obnoxious back-up buzzer in the Toyota Prius hybrid, for instance. Headlights that stay on all the time, even in bright July daylight  – and which you can’t turn off. But how about stuff cars ought to have – or…

Long Lived Car

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There are two pretty simple things almost anyone can do – no tools required! – to keep almost any vehicle running reliably for many years after the warranty expires. Don’t abuse it. And: Use it. Easy – right? Surely. Yet, many people inadvertently fail to practice one – or both. In part, because many people…

Event Horizon

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Here’s perhaps the single most important thing to know about any modern car (computer-controlled and fuel-injected; so mid ’80s and newer) no matter the make or the model: It will probably last a long time (15-20 years) before it needs major repairs. Far longer than pre-modern cars lasted before they needed work. But when major repairs do become…