Showing posts with label car. Show all posts
Showing posts with label car. Show all posts

2019 3rd Qtr Mileage Report

Wow, its been a hot summer, and rainy too. Lots of rained out bike rides home from work this summer, but that didn't stop me. Unfortunately about two weeks ago, a white ghost bike was installed on my most dangerous corner off 56th and Harney. That means some poor soul didn't make it. I'm not surprised given that Tampa has nearly the highest number of cyclist and pedestrian deaths from cars in the Nation. My angels have protected me the past 15 years commuting to work, so I hope they don't fly off the last few before I retire. Today, as I was weaving around dump trucks in lanes of traffic and between cars, a dude driving a F350 come driving up along side me and rolls his window down to admonish me for biking. "What are you doing out here with all these kooky drivers, you're brave girl". I just said, "I know, I know". Anyway, gotta love it. The mornings are dipping below 70F, and its dark so I have on my extra safety gear, a lighted helmet and safety hi vis vest. 

We did get out the motorcycles for couple quick rides, both have needed their batteries replaced this quarter. The camry is our old reliable, unobtrusive vehicle that we drive when the chances of a door dinger are good - the grocery store, the bar, busch gardens. The van is super handy for tailgateing at concerts and where ever we tailgate. Actually, this weekend we're volunteering at the Tampa Tailgate Taste Fest in downtown, should be fun.

It was another typical quarter as far as mileage, around 3K miles combined for all our vehicles. The majority miles were the van and the bike.

DOA Campground bus at Howl O Scream, Busch Gardens

2nd Qtr 2019 Mileage Report

 I know the orangatan doesn't have anything to do with mileage, but thats the new rollercoaster Tigris in the background. Typical mileage this past quarter as we continue to use the motorcycles sparingly. The majority of our travel is in the new minivan at close to 70%. My biking to work is the other major part of the commuting with 20% of the miles traveled. We have not gone on any trips this past quarter as we are saving our leave time for our big transatlantic cruise in the fall.

What Possibly Could Go Wrong? Our Toyota Sienna Service Experience

It started when I noticed that small piece of plastic sticking out of the front windshield of the Sienna van. We took a picture of it. I said to DH we can just fix it with some sugru. He said no, I want Toyota to fix it. This shouldn’t happen to a new van. I didn’t want to deal with the drama of going to the car dealer for something so incidental. It’s not like you can just drive in and show them the defect and they say, oh we have that part, let me pop it in place. No, that would be too simple. It’s going to involve calling and not being able to reach anyone who can actually do anything.

So, DH calls to find out what to do. Courtesy Toyota tells us to bring in the van for a look see. He asks can I email you a picture to avoid that trip to the dealer? No, they reply – a certified technician needs to inspect it to determine if it’s a warranty defect. So, we make an appointment on Saturday afternoon when we were kind of in the area on our way to another event. We stop by at our appt time, and the service advisor who we had an appt with has already gone for the day. Strike 1. The nice guy Kevin, helped us anyway and just took a picture of the defect, filled out a service request form and we were on our way in 5 minutes. That met my expectations. Ball 1. The dude said he didn’t know if they had the part, but if they had to order it in, it could be there in two or three days.

It’s Monday morning and DH gets a call from the original Service Advisor, Angie. She can’t find our van key. DH is confused. We have the van, we’re waiting to hear when part is in. Oh, She says, we  have the part. Ball 2. DH is like okay, lets do this. Make it tomorrow Tuesday. He talks me into foregoing my biking to work, so I have to drive the van to work and drop it off at lunch at the dealer. Get a shuttle ride back to work, then uber back to dealer to pick up van at the end of workday. Quite the hassle if you ask me, when I could have fixed it with a pinch of sugru.

Tuesday I drive the van, for about the 5th time since we’ve had its since January 2018. I just don’t drive much. Actually, I prefer the old Camry – don’t have to worry about dinging it up, not that I do. But, I digress. I get to the dealer and drive into the service bay where its crowded with about ten other cars. I get out and nobody approaches me by the van.  So, I go into office and the cashier tells me the service advisor Angie is around but she doesn’t know where, and tells me to just wait by my vehicle and someone will help me. When I get out there again, more people have arrived behind me. The service advisors are buzzing around directing cars in and out, writing on their clipboards and greeting others, including the guy who drove up behind me. But there I stand solitary. Looking around helplessly. Finally, a dude comes up and puts a plastic number hat on the hood of the car. Number 2. Five more minutes go by, cars are leaving the service area. The dude switches out my number to number 1. Goodie, maybe I’m next. Nope, the dude behind me is walking back with a service advisor and is exchanging information and getting his form on his clipboard filled out. I’m starting to get upset now, its been over 10 minutes. I start my yoga breathing to calm down. Breathe deep. Now another advisor is walking up to me, asks how I am. I’m pissy now. I tell him this is pretty unorganized here. Strike 2. He apologizes. Asks how he can help me. I show him the defect and explain that Angie has the part ready to install today, I’m dropping off van for replacement and I need a shuttle ride back to work, and I’ll pick it up after four pm. He’s quick and efficient as he fills out his form on the clipboard, and I tell him to call DH when its ready since that’s the phone number they have already (I don’t want to confuse them with too many different numbers).

Now its been over a half hour since I left work and I’m hating this stupid errand. I tell the cashier I need a shuttle ride five miles back to my office. She says the two drivers are out and there are three people ahead of me. It might be a while. So, now I have to yoga breathe again. I’m not sure if I should just Uber back to work (it will only cost me $1.24 since I have a $10 credit on Uber), but then I have to get back here later to pick up the van. So, I call DH. Tell him I’m at the dealer and waiting for shuttle. He can tell I’m upset. He asked if I talked to Angie. No, I didn’t. But I can see her through the window, she’s at her desk now. DH tells me he wants to talk to her. So, I go in there to her, ask if she’s Angie, she says yes, and I identify my self as Ms. Andrews and the Sienna. She remembered the discussion with DH and then I said "he wants to talk to you", handing her my phone. DH says to Angie “What’s going on there? My wife is upset". Angie assures DH that she has the clipboard and the van will be ready later. Not really sure what else was said, but Angie says to me “Well, we'll just get you a loaner car”. I’m surprised by this, but totally cool with it. So, she hands me back the phone, I tell DH "I’m getting a loaner, gotta go". Grounder, First Base.

I go to the rental car window and wait behind the guy who pulled up behind me and was served first and now see him getting a comp loaner too! Is it because he has a tie on, he got served before me? He didn’t have any expensive car, it was a little one, maybe a Scion or something. Maybe he has a personal relationship with the service advisor and when he pulled up he knew to just his guy hook him up quick. Anyway, it didn’t sit well with me. You know how sometimes, some places a guy gets better service than a girl? I felt the female discrimination factor was slipping in here at this dealer. I dreaded coming back.

Its been at least an hour now, but I drive away in a shitty little Corolla. It was a new car with only a few thousand miles on it, but compared to the van, it was a shitty car. I call DH after getting back to the office and tell him I dread going back. He offers to come to my office after work and switch out the car, and drive the rental to the dealer to pick up the van. I readily agreed.

I’m so relieved to be home after a stressful day with the stupid dealer. DH is not home yet, so I call and he answers; he’s still at the dealer. I ask "What’s happening there?" He is in the middle of a pow wow with the service advisor Angie and two of her managers. The technician fucked up.  And the service advisor fucked up. DH had turned in the rental, got in the van and was about to drive out when he glanced over and noticed the defective piece of plastic was still sticking up on the passenger side. Strike 3. Out.

There were no moving parts, and the van didn’t need a lift or any service that would require a master, genius tech. No. I think they probably put their least experienced guy on the job. The tech replaced the piece on the wrong side of the van. He took off a perfectly good piece of cowling, and replaced it. The bad one – still there.

DH gets out and calls over Angie. He is mad. How did this happen? She looks at the work order to see who did the work. She tracks down the technician and starts talking to him like he screwed up. He glances over at DH and says “I don’t have to listen to this” and walks away. DH tells Angie he needs to speak to her supervisor. She goes into one of the offices and starts talking to two guys, while DH stands outside looking in. He hates when staff people try to explain away problems to their bosses instead of letting him speak directly to the boss. He is mad, but a calm mad. He decided he needed to be heard, so he joined the little trio whether they wanted him to or not. They were in spin control now.

DH says “In case you can’t tell gentlemen, I am livid.” They could tell. “This is not the first screw up at your dealer. This sort of stuff happens every time I come here for service. I learn from past situations, and try to clarify my expectations before bad things happen, but that didn’t help this time. I want you to fix the defect and have your best guy do it. I don’t want to see any damage on my new vehicle from repeated attempts at the repair.” The repair on the driver side was noticeable, there was glue visible. The discussion continued, and they determined they have the parts in stock to replace both sides of the cowl.

Now for the CYA, please give me a five star review show. The managers tried to be all friendly and started throwing perks at DH. We’ll wash the van. We'll detail it. And we'll fill it up with gas. Plus we’ll let you have the loaner overnight, and we’ll deliver the completed vehicle to your wife’s office so you don’t have to come back again. How bout that? Angie says, will that get me a five star review?

Wednesday the van should be ready. DH calls the dealer to confirm the deal – clean it up, fix the defect and deliver it to my office. Supposed to happen before noon, and it does. Pretty anti climatic ending, the driver manages to find the office and park the van. It sparkles in the sun, cleanest its been since we bought it. The molding looks good, both sides. We switch keys, I point to the loaner car. He opens it, but then decides to have a smoke and watch the horses in the pasture a minute, enjoying the beautiful day. Then he's off like a thief in the night, speeding through the parking lot. I hope that's the end of Toyota in my life. At least until the van gets to ten thousand miles. Next year.

2018 3rd Quarter Mileage Report

Welcome back to the regularly scheduled update, our mileage report for the 3rd Quarter this year. It was a typical summer of mileage, just over 3000 miles for our travels. We did do our first checkup with the new mini van and have loved having it for concerts and bike trips.  We got out a couple times on the motorcycles, and even drove the Camry for a few hundred miles. We're getting ready to go on a biking vacation in Canada so we've been participating in a few group bike rides.

Uber Virgin No More - How Rideshare Works

So last night we tried out Uber. I had a promo code for a free first ride (you can get a free first ride too by using my promo code uberFPLS when you sign up at so we wanted to try it out to see how it works. Its really simple, I signed up on the internet and provided my name, address, mobile phone # and a payment method and the promo code so my first ride would be free. I verified my email and phone number. Then on my cell phone I downloaded the free Uber app and signed in.

We decided to go out for chicken wings at BWW in Ybor City, a fairly close ride about ten miles from our home. When we had touched base with our friends I opened the Uber app and a map of my area showed with a marker for pickup area. I entered our exact home address and then down on the bottom part of the app I clicked UberX. There are three types of fares for Uber; UberX is regular 0.95/mile, and UberXL is for larger groups so you'll get a van or SUV to answer your request for a ride and this costs $1.35/mile. There is also UberSelect which is fancy cars like BMWs and this costs + $2/mile (not exactly sure of price). But for most people UberX will work just fine.

When I clicked the UberX I could see on the app that my request was picked up by a car less than a mile away from my home and it would be a Camry. It linked my pickup spot to the car and I could see it move on my map as it got closer. Within 4 minutes the dude was in our driveway. He was really nice and when we started our ride and he clicked his app on his phone to start the ride it showed our destination and gave him verbal and visual directions to Ybor City. We asked the driver a ton of questions being that we had never done a Uber ride before. We had an equally nice experience on the way home with another Uber driver.

It was an easy way to get around, and we'll definitely do it for the airport when we travel. The thing in Tampa is that Uber is not licensed to provide services at the airport so drivers take care to make sure a passenger is in the front seat to appear less like a taxi service; and to ask the passenger to not answer any questions from people who may question them upon disembarking from a vehicle about whether they just utilized Uber for their ride.

So, if you ever need a ride around town, I'd recommend you try Uber. And use my promo code uberFPLS to sign up for your free first time ride only. I am not being compensated for this blog post from Uber, I just like the service and think its a great alternative choice. The only benefit I get for sharing is if you use my promo code uberFPLS, I also get a free ride on Uber just like you do.

Save On Repairs with YouTube Instructional Videos

We have really old cars (1998 truck, and 2004 sedan) which both have about 80,000 miles so they have a lot of life in them yet. Unfortunately, with the constant Florida sunshine the plastic covers of the headlights gets yellow and cloudy. To improve visibility during driving, and to improve the aesthetic look of the vehicles we wanted to replace those old yellow lights with new ones. Additionally, the fifteen year old truck has badly worn out cruise control switches that were still operational, but the plastic had become tacky and essentially the on/off button disintegrated with age.

Since neither of these upgrades were needed for safety or operation, only our desire to be vain and have our vehicles look newer was the motivation. Therefore, it had to be frugal to undertake, and that meant we would do it ourselves. One of the things we've discovered over the past few years is that there is a YouTube video out there showing you how to do almost anything. And if there isn't a video, you can make one to help others. Which is what we did.

To undertake a task you are not familiar with, requires you to research and investigate - and the internet is a great place to do this. I do this a lot when I'm trying to figure out how to change a setting on my blog, or to clean an A/C unit, or repair a vehicle. If you need a part for your repair, google it along with the item's name that you need the part for i.e., truck, tractor, cd player, refrigerator. Once you determine that you can obtain the part you need to replace, you need to figure out how to replace it. This is where YouTube comes in handy. But YouTube is not very organized so you need to try a lot of different search terms and view a lot of videos that won't solve your problem. There are a lot of procedures that would work for your Ford truck, but they may be titled with Mercury truck (which is the same manufacturer). Hopefully, eventually you'll find one that suits your purpose.

One of the car repairs we did was replace the cruise control switch that disintegrated on our Ford truck. There was no video we could find on YouTube, so we created our own. Actually, we found instructions and then when we were ready to do the job, I videoed it on my phone. Its not a very pretty video, but if you don't have a clue where to begin, it is helpful. Its short and sweet and choppy, but its getting a lot of views.

So in the last month, thanks to YouTube we have saved a bunch of money by fixing things ourselves. We replaced the headlights on both vehicles for about 100 dollars each, plus about 40 minutes labor. We also replaced the cruise control switches in about 10 minutes for 77 dollars. And we cleaned out our A/C coils for about 15 dollars and a couple hours of labor, plus just last weekend we replaced the clutch cable on the lawn tractor for 11 dollars and about a half hour of labor.

How much have you saved using YouTube instructional videos?

How We Spent Our Money in 2012

One of my favorite websites, makes evaluating your expenses much simpler at the end of the year. They actually have a pretty good app for smartphones too which I check everyday to make sure no one stole my identity, or money. One of my other favorite websites, Mr Money Mustache has posted his yearly spending so I feel compelled to also drop our drawers and lay it all out there.
I thought it would be interesting to see where all our money went last year and what opportunities there are for improvement this coming year. You might not really care what we spend, but you're probably nosy and will continue to read and see how you compare to us, a couple of cheap asses who recycle plastic baggies (not really). I think this may be a useful exercise to see where our money goes and to try to manage it so that when we retire we'll be able to fully enjoy ourselves on a limited budget. We learned a long time ago how fun it is to not have a car payment. And we learned a few years ago how fun it is to not have a house payment. And we learned last year how fun it is to not have to pay for food, gas or household products. So, just there we have three categories of expenses that have just went poooffff! up the air, gone to heaven and hopefully, never be seen again.
As you recall, we did a pretty extensive remodel of our home including all three bedrooms, dining room, living room and office. This ended up being our largest expense of the year and its worth every dime. Now our home is totally renovated and modern, and we're on our way to a clean, uncluttered existence as we sort through the outcast stuff we still have in our "green" room or the stockpile room.
Anyway, listed here are our largest expense categories of the year.
1. Home (Insurance, taxes, remodel, furnishings, appliances) $13,291
This was by far our biggest expense even though we have no mortgage or loans. The taxes $1000 and insurance $2500 are pretty much out of our control so that is a fixed expense. The remodel and new furnishings were a one time expense we  don't anticipate this again, although there are other projects on the horizon in years to come such as a new roof, fenced yard and we expect a new A/C unit will be needed someday since ours is over fifteen years old. However, we paid for everything and expect next years home expenses to be less than a third of what they were. There are opportunities to repair rather than replace, and preserve what we have so it lasts longer. My goal for 2013 is to spend less than $5000 for the year on this category.
2. Utilities (mobile phones, internet, TV, electric, water, garbage) $6,056
We are generally frugal in our use of utilities such as water, electricity and try to recycle to minimize garbage. I've unplugged one dorm size refrigerator and hope to empty our small freezer so we can unplug that as well. That leaves two full size refrigerators and a kegerator sucking down electricity at a high rate. In the warm weather, I unplug and drain the hot tub since we use the pool. Likewise in the cool weather I run the pool filter pump less hours per day since we don't swim in it for half the year (although the dog does - every day!) I was hoping to decrease our TV/Internet expense when our contract was up, but that didn't turn out and I feel fortunate to pay the same rate for another two years. Maybe by then DH can be weaned off cable and we can subsist on online streaming of sports events and TV programs. I'm looking to cutting our cell phone costs in half this year as I combine my smartphone with DH's account at only $40 a line unlimited everything. We are both eligible to upgrade our phones, but the frugal thing is to just keep them both as is. So there is definitely opportunity to cut expenses in this category, so my goal this year is to spend less than $5000 in this category as well.
3. Allowances $6000
DH and I each get an allowance monthly to pay for stuff that is not a household expense.This category would also include going out to restaurants which we only do a couple times a year - except for the Firehouse where we go regularly for wings and beer. These optional expenses like beer, cigarettes, going out to eat, massages, extravagent unnecessary expenses (Ipad, extra computers, music) are paid for with cash from our allowance. We both save a significant portion of our allowance being the frugal spenders we are. DH used to spend a good portion of his allowance on driving a race car and I purchased computers and photography equipment. If we decide to do something extravagent that the house "can't afford" we both chip in from our allowance. This category will stay the same next year.
4. Auto & Motorcycle (insurance, maintenance, gasoline) $4,126
Our two old cars and two newer motorcycles are very expensive to insure in this state of Florida where almost half the drivers do not carry insurance, and I'm sure a good portion of them are driving on suspended licenses as well. It is dangerous and therefore we have probably excessive insurance compared to most people. But after DH was struck by an uninsured driver in 2010 and we received a nice settlement from our own insurance, we feel safer on the roads having sufficient insurance. But this is one area we can still cut back on insurance with the red truck since it sits in the driveway the majority of its life, and its the biggest boxiest safest vehicle we have. Of our auto expenses, over half is insurance $2470, $1657 was maintenance on all four vehicles. I've made a note to mention $1722 for gasoline even though this was paid for with gift cards we got at Publix from overage, and yard sale proceeds. So the opportunity here is to cut insurance a little and to ride my bike more this year, so this year we can spend less than $4000 in this category.
5. Travel $3,384
This category has suffered since we have been remodeling. Now that our home is updated, we plan to resume frequent travel. We already have booked a nice seven day cruise to the Virgin Islands this spring, and plan to book another for Fall 2013, in addition to our annual trip up North to visit our families. We have let all our season tickets to NASCAR races go unrenewed and we may attend these types of events at most once a year. I actually desire to travel to places I haven't been to before, or places I traveled to as a child. I would love to visit San Francisco, Hawaii, Yellowstone National Park, Colorado and Canada. We're actually in a holding pattern for extended long trips as long as we have our old dog. When she passes in a few years, we'll be able to take longer trips overseas without having to worry about finding a caretaker for her. So this year, I would expect this category to at least double, if not approach $10,000.
6. Shopping $2,793
Amazon is the death of me. It is way to easy to shop online and it shows up here in this category. We have way to many clothes and shoes and could easily go years without purchasing anything to wear. I see this category as an opportunity to cut in half to about $1400.
7. Health (Rx, copays, insurance) $1,722
This category just increased this year because of our Governor, for the first time in ten years we were required to pay health insurance premiums. I hope to just maintain the cost of this category in the future, not much hope of decreasing it until I hit menopause or quit having sex, and can quit going to the doctor for those little pills.
8. Entertainment (Busch Gardens, Concerts) $1,656
This category is actually not very much of our budget and I hope to be able to maintain that amount this year. We do go to a lot of free festivals and inexpensive concerts to keep this cost down. Actually, since we used to work concert events we have seen almost every performer we care to see and the cost is often not worth it if we've seen it. We did splurge and buy good tickets for an upcoming Lady Gaga concert this spring.
9. Pet $695
The love, companionship and protection we receive in exchange for vet bills and medications is worth the cost for our dog. Dog food and treats are paid for with overage at Publix so this is actually less than most pay for a pet. If we keep this expense under $1000, that would be good. In the future this expense will go away when the dog dies.
10. Personal Care $249
This category is probably low since DH pays for his haircuts with cash and takes out the money when he gets his allowance. So it really should be double, closed to $500 for hair cuts and perms. It helps being low maintenance people - no manicures, hair color, no pedicures or expensive massages. All that individual stuff comes out of allowance anyway, it is not considered a household expense.
The missing category -  Food & Beer
This category is one where we have eliminated the expense by using coupons and shopping the sales. We buy stuff we don't need, to use the overage to get what we need. We actually made $803 last year, spending $2951 in cash and gift cards to purchase $32,729 worth of products (including $3755 in gift cards and gas cards). The cash used in shops was proceeds from yard sales selling our stockpile from couponing. We also use the cash to pay for our beer kegs, and extra spending money when we travel.
So, in summary our goal for the upcoming year is to cut our spending by 10% overall.
How did you do?


Are Motorcycles More Frugal Than Cars?

Since the price of gasoline has been creeping up all summer, I thought I'd evaluate the costs of our motorcycles vs car/truck. Assume all vehicles are paid for and comprehensive insurance coverage is equal for all vehichles. The only variable is gasoline, collision insurance coverage and maintenance which will increase the cost per mile driven, but then again the more miles each vehicle is driven will help decrease the cost per mile.
We have four vehicles and they all have different functions. The fourteen year old truck is used for towing and hauling and toting the dog around. The eight year old car is for commuting and travel. The big motorcycle is for the guy and the little motorcycle for the girl. Mostly the motorcycles are used for shopping, and riding around on weekends, but occasionally for commuting based on the weather. All vehicles are paid for and all four vehicles have full insurance including a high level of uninsured motorist coverage.  Our total cost to own and operate these four vehicles each year is about $4500. But in actuality the $1000 gas costs are paid with coupons and gas cards at Publix, so that doesn't come out of our household budget. The remainder of the cost is mostly insurance. You may wonder why we pay so much for insurance, and I can assure you its not because we are risky drivers. Neither myself or DH has ever been the cause of an accident or collision. It is because we have 100/300 uninsured motorist coverage on all our vehicles. Since over 40% of people in Tampa do not have insurance, we need to buy insurance to protect ourselves from them. Another large percentage also drive without a valid license, so it is risky just to be on the road with all these people. Especially on a motorcycle. Especially when everyone seems to have a cell phone in at least one hand.
Anyway, here is the average cost breakdown calculated from our actual expenses over the last three years. As you can see the big motorcycle costs ($1311) almost as much to operate as the car ($1756). But the car was driven a lot more miles, so the cost per mile is the lowest for the car ($0.21/mile). And if we drove it exclusively and got rid of the motorcycle and its costs, the car would be even a better deal for the household. But, if the little motorcycle was the only vehicle needed, it actually costs very little to have around and use as desired for riding or commuting. The surprising finding here is that the truck is the most expensive vehicle to operate since it is used so little, just a few hundred more miles each year than my bicycle.
annual miles
annual cost
MC ST1300
MC Rebel
Car Camry
Truck Explorer
So, what is more frugal? The motorcycle or the car? The answer will vary for each of you, but if you keep the motorcycle insurance costs down by getting a smaller less risky model it will be more frugal. Your safety is worth something too, and small motorcycles are not as safe or easy to see in traffic. It depends on your route and if you stick to day time riding. But the cost difference is not very much. Personally, I think the risk of riding is too great to justify it with being more frugal. Don't get me wrong, riding a motorcycle is adventurous and fun and satisfies that "defying danger" excitement we all need. But unless you stick with a small motorcycle, it's generally not more frugal than a car, but would be more frugal than a gas guzzling truck.
But the best choice which has more benefits than all the above, is to just ride your bicycle.

How To Save Money On Costly Auto Repairs

Taking your car to the body shop for repairs is never fun. You first have to deal with losing your car for up to several days. You then have to worry about a repair that will cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. However, there are ways to save time and money when it comes to your car repair.
Do The Repairs Yourself
There are repairs that you can do yourself if you have the expertise. Instead of going to the dealer to replace a dented quarter panel, you can repair the dent yourself. Some brake jobs and engine repair work can be done on your own as well. Most repair shops charge you more for labor than they do for parts. Doing the work yourself saves you a significant amount of money.
Go To The Junk Yard
Junk yards are great places to find used parts for your older car. They are generally priced to move as well. If you are willing to find the part yourself, you can usually have it for close to nothing. Keep in mind that the junk yard may be the only place where you can find a gas tank for a 1991 Sonata.
Go To An Internet Auction Or Classified Site
The Internet is a great place to find auto parts that people want to part with. Finding a private seller means you won't be charged a ridiculous amount for whatever part you need. Dealing with a seller in your area also means you don't have to wait for the part to be shipped to your home. That will allow you to make the fix much sooner.
Find A Mechanic Looking For A Side Job
A local mechanic who is looking for some extra cash may be willing to do the repair for you at a reduced rate. Perhaps you have a friend or colleague who owes you a favor. Take advantage of the situation to get your repair work done for a reduced price. You may even get lucky and get the work done for no charge.
Auto repair work is a costly and time consuming process. Luckily, there are ways that you can reduce the cost of repairs that you need done. Ask a friend, do it yourself or find cheap parts online. These are three great ways to make sure you are not spending your entire savings on a new radiator.
Bio: Bernard writes in the automotive field. Currently he blogs for Auto Selling Solutions a company that pays cash for your cars in San Diego.

How To Buy New Tires For Your Car

As I spun my wheels at the intersection the other day, I realized that yes, it is time for new tires on the car. The Michelin HydroEdge tires we have on the Camry are great looking tires and performed well in all kinds of weather. But, it's time to get some new ones as they are weather checked and brittle. They just don't grip the road like they used to, and a couple times lately during quick stops they have slid forward.
We've been putting off the process because it is tough to spend hundreds of dollars for something like stupid tires. Actually, for me it is tough to spend hundreds of dollars on anything. I generally give myself one day of research for every $100 spent, so this one took about a week to get to the point of making a decision. And we have finally decided and found a vendor to purchase from and install them. But it took some effort.
First we looked through the car file and determined that last time we bought tires for the car, over 45,000 miles ago we spent $105 each and had them installed at Costco. The final price after shipping, disposal fees, balancing, valve stems, installation and taxes was $550. But then we had to spend another $60 at the dealer to get a tire alignment, since Costco doesn''t do that service. So about $600 became our target since we had done our research last time and found Costco the cheapest. But it was not the most convenient. The Costco was way on the other side of the bay and when I visited another service center for my job I dropped the car off, and rode my bike a mile to the office. Then at lunch I rode my bike back and brought the car back to the office. We also never took advantage of the free top-off or refill of nitrogen since the shop was across the bay from our house. So we wanted to try to investigate more convenient options. These days we both have bikes or motorcycles we use for transportation so being without a car for a day is not a problem - we can leave it at the shop all day.
We also decided we wanted the exact same tire as we got last time. They have this cool swirly pattern that drives away the water on the road, plus it looks sporty. They are expensive tires at over $100 each, but in our opinion they are top quality and worth it. At this point, we started letting our fingers do the walking - at Google. I googled "michelin hydroedge coupons" to see what discounts we could find. was the first site and lucky for us, there is a new $70 Michelin rebate on the purchase of 4 tires, and our tire model qualifies for the rebate. The one catch was it had to be done at certain dealers. The most convenient rebate qualified dealer was Olin Mott so we requested a quote. They emailed a quote the same day and their total install cost out the door was quoted at $674 which included an alignment, and the $70 rebate. The actual cost of each tire was $138, which was higher than anywhere else. We checked and the hydroedge is $104 each and they will ship the set for $60 to a local installer, but none of them qualify for the rebate. Sears had the tire for $122 each and the install out the door was $623, but was not eligible for the $70 rebate.
Now that we had some information, it was time to get on the phone and make a deal. DH called up Olin Mott and asked if they price matched or took competitor coupons. They said they would consider making a deal. DH said he would like to get 4 tires installed if they matched the Sears price and we still got the rebate. It didn't take long for the guy to go sharpen his pencil and come back with an out the door price of $582, plus we get the alignment included and the $70 rebate. They took off almost $100 from their price! So, the bottom line is we'll get our tires cheaper this time than when we bought them last time.
So we're getting new tires this week since we have a trip across the state planned in November. The shop is less than a mile away so we can drop off the car and walk home. The next day I can stop by after work on my bicycle and pick up the car. How darn convenient.
Even though we're spending a lot of money on tires, I feel like we've done a good job of doing our research and getting the best deal. It takes time, patience and persistance to be frugal and save money. So next time you're making a big purchase do yourself a favor and take your time, check out your options and don't be afraid to pick up the phone and ask for a discount. You just might get it.

How To Save Money On A Car

Purchasing a vehicle is one of the biggest investments you will be making besides a home. However, there are many tips on how to save money when you hit up a car dealership that will leave you with big bucks in your pocket. Below, you will find several tips on how to walk out of the dealership with the best deal possible.

One of the biggest problems that occurs when purchasing a vehicle is buying at sticker price. The price on the sticker is often overpriced with room for negotiation. By simply asking to lower the price, this will often get you savings of up to $2,000 without much hassle. Remember, you do not have to be pressured to purchase a vehicle at an unreasonable cost. If the dealer attempts to pressure you and does not want to reduce the cost, simply tell them that you will continue looking for a car at another dealership.

Another tip to saving money when purchasing a vehicle is to pay fully in cash. By doing this, you will save yourself thousands of dollars in interest. In addition, this decision will allow you to own the car outright without any possibility of repossession or high interest payments. Since this is not always possible, the next best step is to make a large down payment to reduce the principle amount that will be financed. A lower principle balance will reduce the amount of interest that will accumulate over the life of the car note. Ultimately, this will save you money as well by preventing excessive compound interest from robbing you of your hard earned dollars.

The last way to save money when purchasing a vehicle is to buy a pre-owned vehicle instead of a new one. Buying a new car may feel great but comes with a heavier sticker price. By purchasing a certified used vehicle, you are able to save up to $5,000 because of it having a previous owner. Also, rather than trading in your current vehicle, it is possible to get more money for it by selling it yourself. Many dealerships will low-ball the value of your vehicle during a trade-in to your disadvantage in order to reap a bigger profit. This can be avoided and will allow you to make more money for your down payment. Furthermore, having more available cash will give you more options when choosing your future vehicle.

Guest post:Sean is an expert when it comes to cars because he works for Cash for Junk Cars Company that pays cash for autos.

Window Shopping

A few weeks ago, the passenger window of the 04' Camry started failing us. The window started to lug and lurch when we tried lowering it or raising it, kind of like the motor was failing. We left it closed and decided we better get it fixed before our racing trip coming up in August. Well, today we're planning on giving blood after work and the location is near the car dealer. It would be an ideal time to both drive and then drop off a car, so I called the dealer to figure out whats involved.
Well to my surprise, it costs a bunch of money to make a car window go up and down. First there is the inspection fee to determine if its just the regulator or the motor, or both. And then of course they don't have parts for THAT in stock, so it takes a day to get it from somewhere else, another dealer or supplier. So essentially, it means two trips to the dealer - or leave the car for two days. For us its not that big a deal because we have other wheels to get to work, but for some people this would suck.
So I'm wondering what is the value of the having a window go up and down, and what is the urgency to do it. Personally, we do not like to own cars or anything for that matter, that is makeshift or only partially operable. I like everything to work as designed, so we usually fix anything that breaks right away, or we replace it. I hate broken crap, or using stuff that doesn't work. I hate that the back window windshield wiper on the SUV is wacky and only clears 1/2 the window, but I guess I can live with that. But can I live with a window that doesn't go down? Maybe. Is it worth $682 to have the window go down? Maybe.
But you know us - the frugal ones, we have to check out our options, call another dealer who might have parts, find a competitor coupon that they would match, or go to the local guy Elmer around the corner who's done good work for us before on the cars. I might even check out youtube to see if there's a video on how to do it myself. Who knows it might be really simple, just to pop out the door molding and pop in a quick connect regulator. Its possible. I could seek advice from my un-frugal brother who is a service manager at a dealer, but he would tell me to quit being so cheap and just bring it to the dealer.
We ultimately will get the window fixed because the car only has 64,000 miles on it and is intended to last forever for us. But for now all we'll be doing is some window shopping.

We Still Have Our Clunker

Well, it's done and over and the stats are in on the CARS program. We still have our clunker, an old 1998 Ford Explorer with 61K miles. Its been paid for since 2001 - so we've been free of car payments for 8 years. But our old clunker keeps clunking - towing that big boat, hauling firewood, furniture, towing trailers and moving appliances. But lots of Americans don't. Personally, I wonder how many of them will end up being repo'd when the person they brought along to co-sign the loan loses their job and says "I can't pay for your car now".
Number Rebates Submitted: 690,114
Dollar Value: $2.87 billion. That means about $100 million was not spent and up to 28,500 car buyers had the door shut prematurely, but they probably procrastinated, and besides that old clunker they ended up keeping doesn't have payments.

Top 10 New Vehicles Purchased

  • Toyota Corolla
  • Honda Civic
  • Toyota Camry
  • Ford Focus FWD
  • Hyundai Elantra
  • Nissan Versa
  • Toyota Prius
  • Honda Accord
  • Honda Fit
  • Ford Escape FWD
All car companies were suffering from poor sales, but I would have to say the real winners in Cash for Clunkers were Toyota and Honda. The Hyundai is a crappy car and it won't even last until the next CARS deal comes along. We have a Ford and it's been a great vehicle so its good to know there are going to be more Ford Focuses on the road.

Top 10 Trade-in Vehicles

  • Ford Explorer 4WD
  • Ford F150 Pickup 2WD
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee 4WD
  • Ford Explorer 2WD
  • Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan 2WD
  • Jeep Cherokee 4WD
  • Chevrolet Blazer 4WD
  • Chevrolet C1500 Pickup 2WD
  • Ford F150 Pickup 4WD
  • Ford Windstar FWD Van
All American down the line, which is too bad, because that is that fewer American cars on the road. Our Ford Explorer 2WD is the 4th highest vehicle traded it, but ours isn't a clunker. Our 1998 vehicle only has 61,800 miles and is going strong. I think there were plenty of foreign clunkers out there that could have been traded without the mileage restrictions.

Vehicles Purchased by Category

  • Passenger Cars: 404,046
  • Category 1 Truck: 231,651
  • Category 2 Truck: 46,836
  • Category 3 Truck: 2,408

Vehicle Trade-in by Category

  • Passenger Cars: 109,380
  • Category 1 Truck: 450,778
  • Category 2 Truck: 116,909
  • Category 3 Truck: 8,134
The government reports that 84% of trade-ins under the program are trucks, and 59% of new vehicles purchased are cars. I'll allow them this little bit of hyperbole because the facts seem to support it, "The program worked far better than anyone anticipated at moving consumers out of old, dirty trucks and SUVs and into new more fuel-efficient cars."

Average Fuel Economy

  • New vehicles Mileage: 24.9 MPG
  • Trade-in Mileage: 15.8 MPG
  • Overall increase: 9.2 MPG, or a 58% improvement
Cars purchased under the program are, on average, 19% above the average fuel economy of all new cars currently available, and 59% above the average fuel economy of cars that were traded in. This means the program raised the average fuel economy of the fleet, while getting the dirtiest and most polluting vehicles off the road, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported.

Requested Voucher Dollar Amount by State:

  • ALABAMA - $31,251,500
  • ALASKA - $4,868,500
  • ARIZONA - $39,542,500
  • ARKANSAS - $23,402,500
  • CALIFORNIA - $326,822,000
  • COLORADO - $37,676,500
  • CONNECTICUT - $40,114,000
  • DELAWARE - $11,235,000
  • FLORIDA - $146,565,000
  • GEORGIA - $70,496,000
  • GUAM - $675,000
  • HAWAII - $7,333,500
  • IDAHO - $11,655,000
  • ILLINOIS - $143,613,000
  • INDIANA - $65,797,000
  • IOWA - $37,728,000
  • KANSAS - $31,496,500
  • KENTUCKY - $40,246,500
  • LOUISIANA - $33,376,500
  • MAINE - $16,579,500
  • MARYLAND - $74,903,000
  • MASSACHUSETTS - $64,855,000
  • MICHIGAN - $132,407,500
  • MINNESOTA - $73,160,500
  • MISSISSIPPI - $12,463,500
  • MISSOURI - $61,271,500
  • MONTANA - $6,461,000
  • NEBRASKA - $21,784,500
  • NEVADA - $14,582,000
  • NEW HAMPSHIRE - $23,045,500
  • NEW JERSEY - $103,375,500
  • NEW MEXICO - $13,941,500
  • NEW YORK - $156,292,000
  • NORTH CAROLINA - $78,601,500
  • NORTH DAKOTA - $8,938,000
  • OHIO - $136,267,000
  • OKLAHOMA - $37,422,000
  • OREGON - $37,531,500
  • PENNSYLVANIA - $138,651,500
  • PUERTO RICO - $2,252,000
  • RHODE ISLAND - $10,690,500
  • SOUTH CAROLINA - $37,207,500
  • SOUTH DAKOTA - $10,367,500
  • TENNESSEE - $50,949,000
  • TEXAS - $183,776,500
  • UTAH - $24,102,500
  • VERMONT - $9,879,000
  • VIRGIN ISLANDS - $1,553,000
  • VIRGINIA - $98,523,500
  • WASHINGTON - $55,927,500
  • WEST VIRGINIA - $13,477,000
  • WISCONSIN - $70,165,000
  • WYOMING - $2,513,000
Who knew they even sold new cars on the Virgin Islands and Guam?
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