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Reload this page Autos - Automobiles - Cars

Here are my notes on cars (automobiles).

Car door shut
"OK, man, start it up." by Cheech Marin
Car starting & idling
Ambient traffic road noise
VW & truck horn
Car squealing around corner
Zoom Away Race cars
Car peeling rubber
Car screeching to a stop


Topics this page:

  • Deals
  • Insurance
  • Auto Company Acronyms
  • Things Not to Say to a Cop
  • What Would Jesus Drive?
  • Car Buying Use Case
  • Your comments???

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    How to Buy Cars at a Good Deal

    • A new car looses about a third of its value the minute it leaves the new car lot and becomes "pre-owned". (That new car smell is toxic, anyway.)

      There is risk in buying a used car. Somebody with dumps a car when it's still relatively new probably doesn't respect the car. That person probably didn't change the engine after the first 1000 miles. That person progably gunned the engine off every stop light.

      Nevertheless, I think having the new car warranty makes it a viable risk.

      But don't believe dealers who say "this car passed our 165 point inspection." What dealers don't say is their standard of passing each item, which is lower than the owner.

      When I got a good mechanic to look at a car I wanted to buy, he found scheduled maintenance items were not performed (the transmission fluid was not changed at 30,000 miles). Plus new tires were needed. That's $1,000 worth of maintenance that should be reflected in the price.

    • It's cheaper to have others install dealer options like tinted glass and stereo equipment.

    • One way dealers boost their profits is last-second add-ons such as extended warranties, speakers, etc. So buyers are wise to add these items up front in the negotiation process.

    • Look at the book of dealer accessories BEFORE you buy the car. That way you can ask for free installation of free mud flaps during last-second negotiations.

      If you drive about 12,000 miles a year (the US average of 1,000 miles per month or 32 miles per day),
      driving a car that gets 20 MPG (miles per gallon) more is worth $2,400 per year

        12,000 / 20 = 600 gallons of gasoline per year.
        * $4 per gallon = $2,400 per year ($12,000 over 5 years)
        Is this worth the additional cost of a more complex hybrid car?

      The shortest distance between two points is under construction.

      The size of license plates were standardized in 1957, in USA, Canada and Mexico at 12 inches wide by 6 inches high.


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    Auto Insurance

      However cute a TV ad is for a company, before you buy an insurance policy, get the facts. How a company can legally treat its customers is buried in the dozens of pages of fine print legaleze.

      So I ask local auto repair and rental people who deal with a variety of insurance companies about how certain companies REALLY treat their customers when it really matters (when they try to collect on a claim).

      I was a raving fan of AIG and their adjuster Erica (until they bought up the rest of 21st Century Insurance January 24, 2007). In 2009 I am glad I switched to Amica after seeing that their customers were most satisfied according to surveys by JD Power and others.

    • Rental Car - Travelers simply gave me $25 per day for a limited time, which wasn't enough. Not only that, after my car was stolen, the insurance company made me wait a whole month to see if my car would show up. In that time I spent nearly $750 on car rentals that wasn't covered.

      AIG has an arrangement with Enterprise Rent-a-car where I didn't have to pay any money out of pocket.

      So ask rental car agents.

    • Glass coverage - For an extra $25 a year, Amica will repair or replace my windshield without a deductible. My previous insurance company, Travelers, had a $100 deductible, and counted it as an accident even though they said they won't. But I had to ask for the coverage.

      Check to see if the company will replace OEM parts from the car manufacturer or require you to use low quality glass from China that have specks in them.

    • Replacement Parts - After I had an accident, I asked the bodyshop which is the best insurance company. Almost all of the said "AIG". Unlike Farmers (which charges more for their policies), AIG does not require shops to buy scrap parts or parts from Mexico/Taiwan to put in your car.

    • Towing AAA memberships are great for discounts and free maps, plus a large network of towing companies.

      But I am glad that towing was included with the insurance policy even though I have a AAA membership, because after an accident, the company took care of everything.

      When I was with Farmers, I once waited 20 minutes just to speak with a towing dispatcher. Then the dispatcher can't find any record of me having a policy even though I was with them for almost 10 years.

    • Additions beyond the Estimate After an accident I had, I got an initial estimate. But after the bodyshop started work, they realized more parts were needed. AIG paid them without having to involve me. The shop told me that some other companies would have made me pay anything not on the initial estimate.

    • Price of Policy - The amazing thing about my policy with Amica is that they were the cheapest when compared against GEICO, 21st Century, Mercury, Progressive, Costco (Travelers) and other supposed lower-cost companies.

    • Retaliation for Accidents - AIG raised my premium 20% but didn't cancel me after an accident, which I've heard 21st Century would do.

      Has AIG's generosity rubbed off on 21st Century? Let me know.

    Explanations on Insurance Forms

      "The pedestrian had no idea what direction to go, so I ran over him."

      "To avoid hitting the bumper of the car in front, I struck the pedestrian."

      "The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him."

      "I thought the window was down but found it up when I put my head through it."

      "I was thrown from my car as I left the road. I was later found in a ditch by some stray cows."

      "I was unable to stop in time and my car crashed into the other vehicle. The driver and passengers then left immediately for a vacation with injuries."

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    Auto Acronyms Explained!

      AUDI Always Unsafe Designs Implemented Accelerates Under Demonic Influence
      BMW Big Money Works
      Bought My Wife
      Brutal Money Waster
      Bimbette Motor Weapon
      Break My Window
      Bad Motor Works
      BUICK Big Ugly Indestructible Car Killer
      CHEVROLET Can Hear Every Valve Rap On Long Extended Trips
      Cheap, Hardly Efficient, Virtually Runs On Luck Every Time
      DODGE D*mn Old Dirty Gas Eater
      Drips Oil, Drops Grease Everywhere
      FIAT Failure in Italian Automotive Technology
      Fix It All the Time
      Fix it again, Tony!
      Feeble Italian Attempt at Transportation
      FORD First On Recall Day
      First On Rust and Deterioration
      Fix Or Repair Daily
      Found On Road, Dead
      Fault Of R&D
      Fast Only Rolling Downhill
      Features O.J. and Ron's DNA
      Found On Russian Dump
      backward: Driver Returns On Foot
      FORD LTD Found On Road Disabled, Left To Die
      GM General Maintenance
      Great Mistake
      GMC Garage Man's Companion
      Got A Mechanic Coming?
      HONDA Had One Never Did Again
      HYUNDAI Hope You Understand Nothing's Driveable And Inexpensive...

      BTW, I haven't had any problems with my 2005 Santa Fe and 2006 Sonata. The sudden improvement in Hyundai's service record as reported by Consumer Reports is truely impressive. Hyundai is the only major car manufacturer to offer their service website to the public. A fan's walk-through of the site.

      MAZDA Most Always Zipping Dangerously Along
      MITSUBISHI Made In Taiwan, Subassembled Under British Influence, Shipped Here Incomplete
      OLDSMOBILE Old Ladies Driving Slowly Make Others Behind Infuriatingly Late Everywhere
      Overpriced, Leisurely Driven Sedan Made Of Buick's Irregular Leftover Equipment
      SAAB Send Another Automobile Back
      Swedish Automobiles Always Breakdown.
      TOYOTA Too Often Yankees Overprice This Auto
      VOLVO Very Odd Looking Vehicular Object
      VW Virtually Worthless
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    Things NOT to say to a cop

      1. I can't reach my license unless you hold my beer. (OK in Texas)
      2. Sorry, Officer, I didn't realize my radar detector wasn't plugged
      3. Aren't you the guy from the Village People?
      4. Hey, you must've been doin' about 125 mph to keep up with me!
      Good job!
      5. Excuse me. Is “stick up” hyphenated?
      9. You're not gonna check the trunk, are you?
      13. I pay your salary!
      14. So, uh, you on the take, or what?
      15. Gee, Officer! That's terrific. The last officer only gave me a
      warning, too!
      16. Do you know why you pulled me over? Okay, just so one of us does.
      17. I was trying to keep up with traffic. Yes, I know there is no
      other car around-that's how far ahead of me they are.
      18. What do you mean, “Have I been drinking?” You're the trained
      19. Well, when I reached down to pick up my bag of crack, my gun
      fell off my lap and got lodged between the brake pedal and the gas
      pedal, forcing me to speed out of control.
      20. Hey, is that a 9 mm? That's nothing compared to this .44 magnum.
      (Also OK in Texas).
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    What Would Jesus Drive?

      Most people assume WWJD is for "What would Jesus do?" But the initials really have been changed to stand for "What would Jesus drive?"

      One theory is that Jesus would tool around in Dad's old Plymouth because the Bible says, "God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden in a Fury."

      But in Psalm 83, the Almighty clearly owns a Pontiac and a Geo. The passage urges the Lord to "pursue your enemies with your Tempest and terrify them with your Storm."

      Perhaps God favors Dodge pickup trucks, because Moses' followers are warned not to go up a mountain "until the Ram's horn sounds a long blast."

      Meanwhile, Moses rode an old British motorcycle, as evidenced by a Bible passage declaring that "the roar of Moses' Triumph is heard in the hills."

      Joshua drove a Triumph sports car with a hole in its muffler: "Joshua's Triumph was heard throughout the land".

      Some scholars insist that Jesus drove a Honda but didn't like to talk about it. As proof, they cite a verse in St. John's gospel where Christ tells the crowd, "For I did not speak of my own Accord..."

      And, following Jesus' lead, the Apostles car pooled in a Honda..."The Apostles were in one Accord."


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    Use Case Diagram For Buying A Car

      This was prepared as during my Regis MSCIT OOAD class:

      download Download the Visio 2000 .vsd file containing this Use Case Diagram.

      Within Exchange Ownership, seller creates and signs an order with a witness.

      The Visio 2000 software used to create this diagram does not support the UML v2.0 <<include>> and <<extend>> stereotypes. Visio 2000 supports the UML v1.1 stereotype <<uses>> to refer to functionality to be constructed alongside its main scenario. <<extends>> refer to exception scenarios that are "nice to have" or optional functionality.

      Visio 2000 also has an annoying habit of breaking off (dangling?) individual characters from words and rearranging lines to make the diagram more difficult to follow.

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      Use Case Scenarios For Buying A Car

      This use case diagram is composed of three main scenarios listed below.

      1. Make Purchase Decision is my generalization. Conduct Test Drive is an optional part of it, even though to me is the most fun part of buying a car. I suppose there are people who buy a car without ever sitting in it (such as people buying over eBay or other website).

      2. Determine Financing optionally involves Evaluate Trade-in (which only the finance guy does). Obtain credit report is mandatory because no sane dealer would want to have someone drive off without one.

        There is a link back to Make Purchase Decision because financing is often a consideration in the the decision to buy a new car.

      3. Exchange Ownership I decomposed into mandatory "uses" scenarios Prepare Papers and Sign Papers because they are done by different parties and can occur at different times or even at different places.

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