Benefits of Learning Simple Car Repairs

Take your car to any automobile mechanic and be prepared to take a second mortgage out on your home. Car repairs are expensive. Once you have secured your finances and got yourself that car that you have been yearning for it is time to get to the next level of car ownership, the repairs. Unless you were lucky enough to score a brand-new car most likely somewhere down the road you are going to have a breakdown (car breakdown that is). You should probably consider doing some of your own car repairs? Regardless of your technical skill level, you can tackle many simple car repairs from changing the oil to even changing a fuel filter or alternator. If you can hold a wrench, the sky is the limit when it comes to car repair. According to an car repair article, cars are really resilient and can take a lot of abuse. Only thing that is required of you is to get rid of the fear and have the confidence in yourself to push forward. Truth is, it is very hard to actually mess it up. Your car fix might not work or not for that long but you are not going to set the car on fire just by hitting a part too hard. In another article it discussed that learning to diagnose and then fix your own vehicle is a task that is obtainable. Learning how to fix your own car can save you a lot of money on future repairs.

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A Wave of Airbag Thefts Hitting the Streets

Airbags:  The New Car Stereos?

In the old days, it seemed vehicle break-ins, if criminal and frustrating, were at least understandable.  The thieves were breaking into your vehicle to steal it, or perhaps the stereo or anything of value you left on the seat or in the glove box. But a new wave of thefts has been hitting the streets in Arlington, as reported by WJILA, as well as other parts of Virginia, Maryland, and DC:  airbag thefts.  Certain counties are now averaging nearly one theft a day, and law enforcement spokespeople have started calling airbags the new car stereos.

An airbag might sound like the last thing a thief would steal, but the NICB (National Insurance Crime Bureau) explains that unscrupulous collision repair centers can make a handsome profit by installing black-market airbags in customer vehicles. The shop can charge the vehicle owner $1000 for a new airbag, then install one bought for just $50 to $200 on the black market. That’s an additional profit of $800 to $950 for the shop owner. Not only is this insurance fraud, it’s a danger to the vehicle owner, as an accidental discharge could have disastrous–and fatal–results. Unfortunately, that hasn’t deterred thieves, who stole an estimated 50,000 airbags last year, equating to a loss of around $50 million for insurance companies and policy holders. 

How to Avoid Airbag Theft

If you have a relatively common car, such as a Honda Civic or Ford truck, you may be at a greater risk of theft.

  • If you don’t have a garage, park in a well-lit area, under a streetlight if possible. If you have a carport, consider keeping the light on at night.
  • Don’t leave valuables in plain sight, of course. Since thieves are already breaking into your vehicle, they are likely to take anything else of value they see.
  • Install a device like “The Club.” Although an inconvenience to install each night, it prevents access to your airbag.

How to Avoid Airbag Fraud

The NICB has offered some tips to help avoid airbag fraud and theft. These include the following:

  • Only going to a repair shop that employs ASE-certified technicians.
  • Ask to see the airbag in its original packaging prior to installation.
  • Make sure the steering column’s new trim cover matches the rest of the interior. Look for scratches or nicks that would indicate it’s not new.

For more of such tips, check out this NICB PDF that addresses the issue.

Study: Driving While Sick is Like Driving after 4 Whiskeys!

In an astonishing remark by police officer Steve Rounds, he warns that drivers getting behind the wheel while suffering from a heavy cold could be prosecuted. The reasoning behind this statement is actually substantiated by the work of Cardiff University Common Cold Unit. Their work has shown that people who are ailing from illness such as the common cold or flu are much more likely to cause an accident. In fact, studies with a telematics ‘black box’ by the insurance company Young Marmalade have shown that driving while you are sick affects your reaction time and is actually equivalent to drinking 4 double whiskeys. With results like this it’s no wonder police would prosecute for driving while ill. One side effect of the common cold, the sneeze, is even shown to be a perpetrator for erratic driving and it is suspected to even be a factor in accidents by many insurance companies. The article contains quotes and evidence to back up these claims and the information, however startling, could prove quite useful to drivers.

Read the full article here:

Limited Production Run For 261MPG Volkswagen XL1

Want to get behind the wheel of the new Volkswagen XL1? You’ll have to get in line. There are currently plans for a limited production run of only 250 units. This diesel-sipping car will net you a whopping 261 miles per gallon, but the price tag of $145,000 may deter the average consumer. For those with the extra cash available and the desire to have the newest internal combustion engine technology, this is a dream car. However, due to the demand for this vehicle, you may only be able to find one through an online auction site such as eBay. Expect to pay a hefty premium. Volkswagen is aware of the demand and is in the process of re-evaluating their current manufacturing goals. There may still be hope yet! So get out there, and get in line, or give your local dealership a call to let them know you are interested in this environmentally conscious vehicle.

Ford’s 2Q on Fire, Takes in $1.2B on the Back of Robust Sales in China, US

Ford Motor Co. beat second-quarter earning projections by earning $1.2 billion worldwide thanks to surging vehicles sales in China and Ram-tough pickup truck sales in America.

Industry-wide sales of pickups in the US rose by a staggering 22 percent in the first half of 2013. Ford, being the maker of the top-selling ride in America, the F-Series pickup truck, harvested great gobs of bounty from this rising tide. The company-that-Henry-built made a profit of $2.3 billion in North America during the just closed quarter, while in Asia it took in $177 million, which is its best performance ever in the Eastern continent. The strong numbers in the US and Asia more than made up for the decidedly European-style showing it had in Europe by losing $348 million in the second quarter. The loss was a $56 million improvement over what Ford lost in Europe in the second quarter of 2012.

Car Show 9/7/13: Shipyard Show ‘n Shine

If you live in the Norfolk area, you might want to check out the 5th Annual Shipyard Show ‘n Shine, put on by ship-repair employees of BAE Systems.  It’s the only car show in Shipyard, and it will play host to everything from sports and muscle cars to exotics, imports, and motorcycles. There is no fee for entry, and proceeds go to aid veterans. There is even rumored to be an appearance by a General George Patton imitator. Major sponsors include MF&B, Allied Research Technology, and Bradshaw’s Auto Service.  Here is the location and time:

Norfolk Ship Repair

750 West Berkley Avenue

Norfolk, Virginia 23523

9/7/13:  9:00 am to 3:00 pm

If you have questions, you can call 757-494-4000.

You can find out more on Facebook:

This should be a fun show for a great cause, so we hope all of our Norfolk clients will attend!

26% of Consumers in FTC Study Discover Credit Reporting Errors

A recent FTC study shows the relationship between errors on credit reports and potential consequences for consumers and businesses. Consumers may be charged higher rates for credit whereas businesses may make bad decisions on who to lend to.

Twenty six percent

of consumers have reported finding errors on their reports. Disputes resulted in about half being overturned. This article stresses the importance of accurate reporting on credit reports.  Otherwise, you could end up paying interest rates that are far too high on your auto or home loan.

Read the full article here:

Virginia Credit Union Auto Loans: 1.99% APR for 63 Months!

Currently, Virginia Credit Union is offering auto loans at rates as low as 1.99% APR for members with approved credit. These loans can be for a new or used vehicle, and the term of the loan can be up to 63 months. The vehicle model year must be between 2002 and 2013.  This is great for consumers who want a slightly higher-mileage vehicle, as many lenders will only finance vehicles up to 7 years old.  With excellent credit, 100% financing may be available. VACU is located in Richmond, but they serve members all across the state.

Read the full article here:

Auto Dealers Receive Warning about Discrimination

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently gave out a warning to auto lenders about illegal discrimination, due to the fact that black and Hispanic borrowers were illegally being charged more than whites for auto loans. While dealers are allowed to mark up rates by as much as 3%, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act does not allow factors such as race or sex to sway decisions regarding loans. The agency has recommended instituting a flat rate markup to avoid discrimination.

Read the full article here:

Virginians Oppose Hybrid Vehicle Tax.

Due to issues with bad traffic, the state of Virginia intends to impose a special tax on owners of Hybrid Vehicles. The tax would decrease the high tax on gasoline considerably, in favor of a flat sales tax. Despite this fact, residents of the area are outspoken against this tax.