Wednesday, November 28, 2012

LA Auto Show - 2014 Toyota Rav 4 Update

Just a quick post to remind everyone that the LA Auto Show opens tomorrow.  There will lots of cool new cars and technology to check out at their website:

One of the notable new items will be a new RAV-4 from Toyota long overdue... I am figuring it will look like all the rest of the compact suvs but we'll see.

I wish I could go!

Here is an article on  the new Rav-4:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Speeding - Or Not

Read a Globe and Mail article today on speeding and have an interesting story to share.  First of all read this article:

Now for my story:

In summer 2011, before I got my beautiful Kia Optima EX Luxury, I was driving my better half's Mazda 3 back on one of our main 70 km/hr speed limit roads, going admittedly slightly over the speed limit.  I was going about 82 to 84 which I always considered to be an acceptable amount over the speed limit and perfectly safe on a straight road with no cross traffic and two lanes.

Sure enough I got caught in the blinking lights of a police cruiser and pulled over figuring I was nabbed by one of the 18 year old girls they have patrolling our city these days with no respect for perfect drivers like myself.  To my surprise the guy that pulled me over seemed sensible enough.  He did the standard "do you know why I pulled you over"  and I said " I guess because I was going 83 in a 70 zone".  So he asked me how fast I said I was going and I repeated about 83 being perfectly honest with him.  He then told me that he clocked me doing 103..... This presented a problem in that I knew I was going 83, admitted to it and then was being told I was doing 20 km/hr over that.  He went back to his car, did whatever they do and then came back with a ticket for 10km/hr over the limit saying he was giving me a break.  I told him I can't fight that ticket because it was in fact true but I wasn't going 104.  He said maybe I just didn't realize how fast I was going..... I wasn't going to argue, just take my lumps and move on at that point, he was nice enough about it all.  I headed home, tail between my legs with my first moving violation in 20 years.........

Then my faith in the justice system was restored in one fail swoop.  After I was home about 20 minutes the same officer that pulled me over showed up at the door.  HE FOUND MY ADDRESS, CAME TO MY DOOR AND ADMITTED HE MADE A MISTAKE AND TORE UP MY TICKET RIGHT ON THE SPOT!!!

He had his radar set for the 50 zone so while he had me going 33 over, it was 33 over the 50 and not the 70 zone.  He said he would never have pulled me over for going 83 in a 70 so the only fair thing to do was tear up the ticket, even thought the ticket was valid since it was only for 10 over the limit.  Wow, this was all my good driving karma coming back to pay it's dividends.  Officer whoever you were, this post goes out to you.  You deserve to be Chief of Police one day.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Gas Wars - St. John's Style

Here in St. John's we have a gas pricing system where the Public Utilities Board sets the maximum gas price every Thursday.  For the longest while this was always the price that everyone charged... and then along came Costco.  About 6 months ago, Costco set up a gas bar with 12 pumps and they started charging $0.03 lower than the maximum.  Then some stations started trying to match Costco and Costco would subsequently drop their price to $0.03 less that that.

Sometimes it gets more complicated.  Gas stations close to Costco will drop their prices to try and match while those farther away will not.  At some times the summer Costco gas was $0.08 a litre less than some other stations in the city, most notably those on Kenmount Road where I was working at the time.  Then in the middle of the week Costco will drop and raise prices so the price can change from day to day as opposed to the weekly change we are used to.

The downside to buying gas at Costco is that you are guaranteed to have to line up unless you go after the store closes.... which is what I normally do.  The gas bar stays open for an hour or so after store closing, normally there is not much of a wait at that time.  I've seen some huge gas line ups at Costco, for me it's not worth it to save $2 on a fill up.  I also find that a lot of people have trouble figuring out the card swipe system at the pumps which can be frustrating.  I've gotten a fill up in the time it takes some people to figure out how to pay for their gas.

Ultramar has taken some steps to combat Costco, you can get a free Ultramar Card that gives you $0.02 off every litre of gas you buy at Ultramar Cornerstore Gas Stations and you get $0.035 off on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Normally gas is $0.03 more at Ultramar so worst case scenario you pay $0.01 per litre more with the Ultramar Gas Card.  It`s not like a credit card or anything, I guess they use it to track what you buy with your gas.  Even if you buy a bag of chips they make back the money you save on the gas.  Of course if you go to Costco you probably spent $300 while you save $2 on gas.

If you go to the website above you can see the latest gas prices in Newfoundland  a useful tool if you want to squeeze the most out of your fossil fuel dollar.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

1995 Ford Mustang - For Sale???

ford mustan

Sometimes I come across cars for sale ads that I just need to share.... this has to be the worst I have ever seen.... both the car and the spelling!

Here is the entire ad if the link doesn't work:

ford mustan

Price: $750.00
City/Town: Bishops Falls
Area: Central/Interior
Seller: Douglas
Phone: 709.258.5308
Email: Contact Poster
Posted on: Saturday November 17, 2012
never in snow 1995 156km no rust need some work hit a mose 3.8 v 6
ford mustan
ford mustan
ford mustan

Old Town Florida - Classic Cars Part 2

Sorry for the delay, here are the rest of the car pics from Old Town, you have got to love that Shelby Cobra!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Old Town Florida - Classic Cars

While I was on vacation last week we went to Old Town in Orlando which has a classic car show on Friday and Saturday evenings.  Along with the car shows there are a bunch of touristy shops and eateries there as well with some carnie games and rides for the kids.  One especially unappealing looking ride was called the Vomitron, it was a giant Ferris wheel with one seat on each end, extending out about 200 feet.  It twirled you around in a huge circle, spinning while you rotated around...... it looked horrible.  They also had a giant slingshot bungee cord type ride that shot you up in the air a couple hundred feet..... also horrible.

Anyway here are some shots of the cars, they would parade around in the night time which is cool.  I will probably spread them over two posts:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Product Review - Meguiar's Wash & Wax

I was recently reading about waterless car wash products and it seemed like something that would be useful here in Newfoundland where the cold makes it quite annoying (and sometimes impossible) to wash your car from November to March.  When I was down in Florida I went looking at Pep Boys for waterless car wash and the only thing they had was Meguiar's which I figured I could just as easily get home at Crappy Tire.  The price was $16 in the US and when I got home sure enough they had it at Crappy Tire for $19.  This product looked especially good because it also had wax which means I could both wash and wax in one application.

Side note on the purchase:  Crappy Tire had a 10% - 100% off your purchase promotion on today. I went to the cash with my product and was not offered any discount, I enquired and was told you had to pay wither with cash or debit to get the discount.  I told the cashier I would gladly pay with debit and she scratched off a card saying I had 10% off.  She then said that I would get $1.90 back in Canadian Tire money, there was actually no discount off this purchase it would be off my next purchase.  Now nowhere on the promotion sign did it say you could win CT money, it clearly said you would get 10% to 100% off your purchase.  This is just one of the many reasons why CT annoys people (their automotive department being number one of course).

Anyway, when I got home it was freezing so the perfect time to wash my beautiful Optima with waterless car wash after being left alone to accumulate dirt for the past two weeks.  The instructions were quite good, shake well, spray to cover one section at a time, use one microfibre cloth towel folded in quarters to apply, use another to remove access and then turn over the second one to buff.  It says you may need four cloths to do the entire car depending on how dirty it is to begin with, mine wasn't super dirty but it was dirty enough.  Luckily we have about 50 microfibre towels from Costco on hand.

So I started out with the hood and it seemed to be working quite well, I gave the hood about 8 sprays, wiped it in good, wiped off access and then buffed.  The finish felt really nice when I was done.  I continued around the car and only needed two cloths to do the entire car.  Although the bottle says it will do 3 or 4 cars you can see from the picture above how much product I had to use, not very much.  Now my car is coated with several layers of paint sealant and wax so dirt does not settle onto my paint very well and it is easy to remove.  I figure I could get about 10 applications from one bottle at this rate.  The very second I finished the last panel, it started to rain / sleet.  I will need to go over the car with my detailer spray tomorrow to remove the water spots.

Overall this product works as advertised, I am quite pleased with it and will continue to use it throughout the winter whenever possible.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Go Karting - Orlando GP

We just got back from our wonderful Florida vacation.  I have several posts lined up including about 100 pictures I took at the Old Town car show which I need to go through and edit.  One of the more fun outings we had was to the Orlando GP, here is the website:

I was pretty sceptical going there, electric go-karts, how fun can that be??  Apparently a LOT OF FUN.  My two older sons wanted to go so we set out on our 20 mile journey to the track.  If you have ever driven Florida highways you know how well the traffic moves there, there is hardly a bonehead driver to be found.  Unlike good old Newfoundland where boneheads are in the majority.  Only took us about 20 minutes to get there thanks to the handy dandy GPS.  The set up is really nice there, they have a big reception area where you first have to register which costs $5 and they give you a plastic "license" which tracks all your results.  We got there lunch time and they have a rate of $12 for a 12 lap race.  I signed the three of us up for two races and off we went.  When you go to the track area they a have a race start pit area that shows what race you will be in and what time it starts.

I watched one of the races and it didn't look too bad, the cars were fast for the winding track but I figured it would be no trouble.  We signed up for a race, got our helmets and got behind the wheel. They tell you that they can adjust the car speeds based on how well you drive, I think the starting top speed is 50km/hr, quite fast for a small indoor track. I started out for lap one and at the starting speed you can pretty much navigate all the turns without any brake but you do have to let up on the gas every now and then.  Once you do a couple good laps they bump up your speed and you REALLY feel the difference.  It is actually really difficult to navigate at the higher speed, you need to use quite a bit of brake so that you don't spin out in the sharper turns.

I managed to best my two sons in race one and race two, it was so fun we signed up for one more race.  At the end of each race they give you a print out like the picture above which gives you your best lap times and average times as well as placing throughout the race for your group.  My best time was about 30.2 seconds a lap, some guys there were in the mid 28's.  In the third race my oldest son beat my best time with a 29.8, not only that he actually passed me, I got blue flagged and had to move over!  With fire in my eyes I could not catch him, I started pushing too hard and just kept going into the turns too fast.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with this operation, it was really well put together and not overwhelmingly expensive.  The three races for three of us was about $125, but it was well worth it.  I would strongly recommend this if you are in Florida on a family vacation.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Vacation Car Rental

I am currently down in the sunny south on vacation, without much time to go car browsing unfortunately.  We have the Chrysler Town and Country for our rental vehicle... but lets back up a bit.

Originally we had two mid sized cars books at a reasonable rate of $140 a week but due to our flight being cancelled due to fog we had to push everything ahead 2 days.  All they had left for a reasonable price were two "premium" cars, they turned out to be Ford Crown Victoria's and the rates were about $185 a week.  Personally I wouldn't mind driving one but I didn't think my better half would enjoy driving a 50 foot long gas guzzling beast beast around all week.  The car rental people said we could "upgrade" to a minivan for $22 a day, after some thinking I figured we could get by with one minivan and rent a second car for a couple of days somewhere for dirt cheap if we needed it.  My wife hates minivans but I figured driving the Crown Vic around the streets of Florida wouldn't be a treat for her either.

We could just pick whatever minivan we wanted from the lot, they had about a dozen or so there.  Mainly Dodge Grand Caravans, a couple Kia Sedonas and two Town and Countries.  I figured if we went with the most expensive that would be our best bet.  It had automatic doors, cruise, AC, etc...

Right off the bat the thing rides like a lazy boy sofa with wheels, very squishy and doesn't take turns  very well, maybe I am just spoiled with my beautiful Optima..... I miss it.  As it shifts to second and third it is very rough, almost clunky.  There is a noticeable shake in the steering at 60 MPH but it goes away as you get over 65.  Since the interstate speed limit is 65 the shake doesn't give you a great deal of confidence in the vehicle.  The in service date was only Oct 2010 so it is probably a 2011 model but has 50,000 miles already so lots of rental car abuse has been inflicted upon this vehicle   Due to the lazy boy feel it is a nice highway cruiser as long as you are going straight and not over 60!  The automatic sliding and rear doors are kind of fun but other than that there is not much to write home about.

Anyway we are once again reminded why we hate minivans.  However, it is doing a good job of getting the six of us from home to theme parks and back again, with a bunch of cargo, something no car would be able to accomplish.  We are into our 5th day of vacation and have not required the second car yet.

I visited a place called Old Town yesterday where they have antique car cruises every Saturday night, I'll post a few pics from that over the next couple of days.