Negotiating for a Vehicle with Diminished Value

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You’re in the market for a new ride, and negotiating is nearly a requirement. When you first check out a car, make sure you get the full vehicle report. If the vehicle was in an accident—even if it was “just” a fender bender—there’s diminished value. That means that the car isn’t worth the blue book price, even if it was completely repaired.

Let’s say that the vehicle was in a small parking lot accident. The bumper was dented but has been replaced. That’s good news for you. It still has diminished value, even if the entire part that was damaged has been replaced.

The reason for this is simple, repair shops do what makes the insurance company happy and not the car owner. They may very well have repaired the vehicle to its pre-loss condition, but that’s the exception, not the rule. So, value standards companies discount value based on the standard practices.

Quick Plug for Independent Car Inspection

A good inspection service like our sponsor, Tire Kickers, will help establish a car’s true value along with verifying it’s safety. By examining the cars history for you, along with what similar cars have sold for nearby, and the actual condition of the vehicle they can give you a true value to use as a club during negotiations.

Your Opening Argument

headlamp-2940_1920You might not know about diminished value claims, and the seller might not either. Many insurance policies actually have a diminished value claim as an option, but they don’t advertise it. When you’re in an accident, you can file this claim in order to make up for the loss of value. There’s usually no time limit for filing this claim.

You might have to educate the seller a little. They can still file that claim, even when they’re about to sell. This way, you can pay less for the car and the seller still gets the money. It’s a win-win situation for both of you, but this isn’t always a possibility since their policy might not have the option.

crash-test-1620600_1920Get the Facts

You should have the full vehicle report and a 150-point inspection before purchasing a car. If you’re considering a classic or collector car, a specialty inspection is in order. You need to consider the dollar value loss that an accident caused. Whether or not the car was repaired doesn’t matter.

You’ll be the one dealing with the diminished value when and if you sell the car. You weren’t the one in the accident. It’s not fair that you’ll be taking the loss down the road. The seller might not think it’s fair, but nobody can argue with an inspector’s bottom line.

Is it a Smart Move?

You need to decide if it’s a good decision to purchase a vehicle that’s been in an accident. The car will always have a diminished value. However, you also have to consider safety. It’s generally accepted that cars that have been in a collision might not be as safe.

Consider the accident, where the car was impacted and decide wisely. Remember that it’s not just your money that’s on the line, but also the safety of yourself and your passengers. You might be able to score a great deal on a car with diminished value. However, just make sure that it’s still up to snuff in the safety department.

Best of the Web

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(Editors Note: Tomorrow is Juneteenth in many States. The Kicker would like to honor everyone who’s free at last. Let us never take our liberty for granted and may we all march forward toward peace and a bright, unified future.)

Here’s a just-for-fun post we found at a site called Brittish Car Terminology.

British term American term
accumulator battery
actuator switch or servo
Artic ‘artic’ulated lorry=semi tractor-trailer
baulk ring synchro ring (transmission synchromesh)
bonnet hood
boot trunk
bulkhead firewall
choke tube venturi (carb)
core plug freeze plug
crocodile clip alligator clip
crosshead screw Phillips head screw
crown wheel ring gear(gear in differential)
cubby box glove box or glove compartment
damper shock absorber
drive shaft half shaft or axle shaft to wheel
drop-head coupe convertible (version of 2 door coupe, see roadster)
dumpy screwdriver short screwdriver
dynamo generator
earth ground
estate station wagon
fascia dashboard
fixed-head coupe 2 door coupe
frogeye bugeye
Gallon (Imperial) 4.5 US Quarts
gearbox transmission
gudgeon pin wrist pin
hood convertible top
jointing compound gasket sealant
lorry truck
mole wrench Vice grips
monocoque unibody
Ministry of Transport Department of Transportation
MOT (see above) DOT (see above)
nave plate hubcap
near side left side.
nose front of car
off side right side.
paraffin kerosene
pinking knocking or pinging
prop shaft drive shaft
petrol gasoline
prise pry(apply force with a lever, pry-bar, crow-bar, screwdriver)
proud raised, stands above surrounding surface.
quarterlight vent window – small, usually ‘triangular’ side window
rev counter tachometer
reversing lights back-up lights
ring gear flywheel gear, or starter gear (shrink fit onto the flywheel)
roadster convertible (car that comes only with a soft-top, usually a minimalist, manual, Erector-Set top*
roundabout rotary, traffic circle
RoStyle type of steel wheel (as opposed to wire)
saloon ‘sedan’,2 or 4 door
scuttle cowl
side curtains removable side windows, usually flexible plastic.
silencer muffler
sill rocker panel
shooting brake station wagon
spanner wrench
split pin cotter pin
spring washer split lock washer (as opposed to star washer)
squab part of seat
suction advance vacuum advance
sump oil pan
thrust bearing throwout bearing
tick over idle
top gear high gear
torch flashlight
trunnion sliding or rotating joint (suspension) (pin in bore)
tyre tire
wanker someone who hacks on their car — usually clueless
wheel nut lug nut
Whitworth British thread standard (size denotes hex head size)
windscreen windshield
wing fender

4 Checkpoints When Buying a Classic Car

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Classic car restoration can be a beast, even for DIY mechanics with plenty of experience. Depending on the needs of your classic ride, there’s bound to be at least a few areas where you’re not skilled—working out dents, re-upholstering or simply having connections to the right dealers who have original parts. For many people, owning a restored classic car is a major item on their bucket list. However, it’s easy to get stuck with a lemon.

It’s also easy to spend several thousand dollars on restoration, ultimately getting you a car that (albeit close to perfect) you’ve dumped way too much money into. When shopping for a classic car project, there are a few checkpoints to carefully consider. Simultaneously, you should also have a restoration shop in your corner who provides quality results that work with your budget.

  1. Rust=no go

jaguar-3366957_1920.jpgRust is fairly common, and when it’s minimal and just on the surface, you might be able to power wash it off. However, if the chassis has been destroyed or if you’ll need to totally replace steel panels, it’s not worth it. It’s not unusual to strip the chassis, sandblast it, remove sections and weld brand new pieces together. This isn’t just expensive, but ultimately means it’s not an original car. Only the lucky few can find replacement panels, but most need to create makeshift panels themselves. Rust buckets should be reserved for only the very skilled (or the very wealthy).

  1. Focus on value

auto-3351802_1920There are tons of old cars out there, but age alone doesn’t make a car a classic. While there will always be niche markets for pretty much every car, you deserve one that retains its value. Never let impulses control your purchase, and spend some time researching the most reliable classic cars that won’t lose their value. Bonus points if you snag a car that appreciates—and remember that upfront costs are only a small portion of what you’ll be spending.

  1. Check for replacement parts

auto-3352982_1920Assuming the worst case scenario happens and you have to replace a lot of parts, how easy are they to find? How affordable are they? Purchasing a really rare car is a thrill, but if they don’t make it anymore (or the manufacturer no longer exists), it’s going to be tough to find aftermarket parts. Pretend like you’re searching for parts well before making the purchase, and experience first-hand what might be in store.

  1. Power up

abandoned-3401168_1920At the very least, you need a car that easily starts and runs. If it overheats during the test drive, is cranky to start or the current owner promises “all it needs is a new battery,” be wary. If the battery story is true, most owners would spring for that cheap part in order to sell their car. A more likely scenario is a seized or otherwise destroyed engine that needs replacing.

Ideally, you have an expert on hand who can run diagnostics on the car before you make an offer. If the seller is on the up and up, they’ll be happy to let a pro take a look. If they resist, they’re probably hiding something and you’re better off continuing your hunt elsewhere.

Locating a Car

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There are four reasons why the police may want to “locate a car;”

  1. To recover a stolen car
  2. To establish that a certain car was at the specific location at a certain time
  3. To stop and arrest someone with a warrant
  4. Retrieve an abductee

Obviously, the best way to identify a car is through the license plate. But plates can be stolen which can muddy the waters. A better identification is the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) which is engraved on a plate in the dashboard, visible through the windshield. This makes personal, visual confirmation the primary way to locate a vehicle.

So police might canvas a neighborhood looking for a suspect vehicle or for a resident who knows where the vehicle is. However, what happens if you don’t see the car? Well, there are still other ways.

The Sat-Nav (Satellite Navigation) system can track a car’s movement in real time. This may take a warrant, or not, depending on your jurisdiction. Why spend all that time tracking down a car when there is a programme following where the car is going all the time? Many people don’t think about their onboard navigation. Professional car thieves do. Unsurprisingly, when people steal a car the Sat-Nav is the first thing to go.

Although many people don’t have records of their tire tracks, certain tire marks at a crime scene may be checked against a car to see if they are the same sort. In fact, there is a national database for tire tracks and composition so that a tire can be quickly identified from the residue it leaves. This would suggest that a car was at a certain place, but you may need additional clues to work out when the car was at the location.

If the car was involved in a collision it may leave debris at the scene. There may be entire panels but usually, it’s just bits of paint. It may be part of the hood, some glass from the window or anything else. Most national law enforcement agencies maintain a database of the characteristics and composites of every aspect of vehicles commonly driven in their jurisdictions.

car-1531277_1920Even if nothing is physically left at the location, it might help to think deductively. If a car’s gas is being paid through a certain account knowing where that card was recently used provides indications of where it might be going. Once the search area is established, police could search for security cameras or closed-circuit cameras to establish a visual identification. The person’s account is a brilliant source of information, especially in these days when people pay by credit card.

Then there are cars used for professional purposes. A car used as a taxi may have the markings of the business which runs it, making it visually easier to spot. Of course, the fastest way to establish location might be to ask the cab’s control office. Dispatchers should generally know where a vehicle is.

The placard on rideshare vehicles are less noticeable and blend in with thousands of other rideshare vehicles. Clearly Uber tracks everywhere a cell phone associated with the driver’s account goes, which the company will turn over to law enforcement if requested. It’s not proof positive that a car was at a particular place at a particular time, but it’s quite likely.

Kicker Blog hack: Some pay as you go cell phone plans are cheap enough that you can leave an old cell phone charged up in your glove compartment so that if you’re separated from your vehicle authorities could locate the phone and with it the car.

What happens if a car has been stolen, how do you recover it? Well, it’s essential to act quickly. Don’t assume the stolen car is still being driven around. With an older car the parts may be more valuable than the car itself, so it may be quickly chopped up. Even with newer cars, many thieves essentially launder the car by selling it in parts. It’s hard to scrub the VIN number off all the places its engraved unless you take the car apart anyway.

The criminal may give themselves away with the rareness of these parts though, and the lack of a “paper trail” to who owned them. It becomes clear after a little digging, so it comes down to the honesty of the auto parts intermediary or dealer.

So how do you know if you’re at risk of losing your car to a thief? If you have a rare, or collectible vehicle you’re more of a target. Also, expensive or luxury brands are more often stolen for obvious reasons—the reward better justifies the risk of getting caught. However, there’re a couple factors that might not come quickly to mind.

  1. The risk goes down in areas that don’t enforce the car theft laws.
  2. The risk goes down if the chopped parts being sold are common.

So watch out for areas on borders between countries or states. The Oregon/Washington border, for example, Border cities Vancouver and Portland charge each other extradition when a car thief is jailed before trial, so car thieves steal their cars in one state and chop it across the state line so that if they’re caught they’ll be released before trial. In these areas, more common vehicles lower the risk of getting caught further and nearly any vehicle in good condition is a target for theft.

The only remaining device left to police is to target thieves instead of the vehicles threw bait cars. By allowing car thieves to attempt to steal a car that won’t actually start but is equipped with cameras, the arrest is quick and the case against them is sure.

Although not all cars are located, there are many techniques out there to make sure that cars are recovered and returned to the owners. And now you know.

Fun Local Finds

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When you start looking around at cool vehicles you run into a many fun, unexpected things.

2018-06-02 14.11.20Take this couple, who’ve modified their trike to accommodate the special needs of their best friend.

 

Or this surprise, free classic car show that happens every first Thursday all summer at Lisa’s (a local diner).

 

2018-06-07 16.03.17I came before a lot of the cars had arrived. I look forward to going back and interviewing some of the owners.

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So get out and think cars folks. It’s a fun hobby and a great group of creative people who believe in the romance of the road.

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Dangers of a Flood Car

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After the flood waters of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy retreated, a flood of another kind began–the flood of brand new vehicles that were totaled by insurance as a result of flood damage hitting the car auctions.

“Flood cars” flood the market (literally) following most natural disasters. Unfortunately, it can be pretty tough to spot a flood car without a trained eye. It takes not only inspection but a bit of detective work. After collecting an insurance payout, or sometimes while waiting months for insurance to do the right thing, dealerships can accept a settlement for a totaled vehicle and “buy” it back from the insurance company. The title will have a salvaged title, aka rebuilt title. Sometimes it won’t and we’ll come back to that.

Local Disasters

First, let’s address localized flood incidents. As a general rule of thumb, avoid vehicles which are being sold close to recent disaster sites and always trace the origin back to the previous owner’s address. Chances are if you buy a car that was recently registered near a massive flood, it sustained some damage that’s invisible to the naked eye.

After Big Disasters

Disasters on the scale of Katrina leave entire lots full of brand new vehicles totaled. Insurance companies are overwhelmed and slow to respond. These are cars with hardly a scratch and less than ten miles on the odometer. The temptation is to dry them out and clean them up, then sell them at auction and write off the loss. Unprincipled middlemen will snap them up and transport them to a part of the country far from the flood where they auction them again for large profit.

It’s important to note that auctions allow almost no pre-bid inspection. Most large dealerships that accidentally buy a “bad” car simply re-auction them. It keeps there name clean but creates a glut of cheap cars that go to other dealerships that don’t care about reputation.

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The Good News

The good news is that flood damage isn’t always invisible, but you might need to check some otherwise strange locations. The upholstery is going to be the first place water damage is noticeable, with rot, mold or mildew being present. You may have to lift some of the upholstery to get a peek, but remember that a good cleaning (from a shoddy dealership) can temporarily keep visible signs of water damage at bay.

Here’s how to avoid a flood car and why you should never take a gamble.

 

Only Use Honest Dealers (Trust but Verify)

 If you buy a car from an owner, they can stretch the truth as much as they like with no real repercussions. However, a car doesn’t need to be in a disaster zone in order to get flood damage. If you’re considering a car from an owner in an area you’re unfamiliar with, do a brief search of recent floods in the area to see what the odds are of ending up with a flood car. If the car has been auctioned repeatedly in a short period of time that’s a warning sign. If the asking price is too good to be true, it’s for a reason.rolls-royce-3366960_1920

Otherwise, research dealerships, check testimonials and trust your gut. If there are high-pressure sales, a sudden influx of cars or other red flags, it’s best to stay clear.

No matter what, rely on a third party such as a lemon busting company to do a full inspection. When you’re paying the inspector, their allegiance is to you. You’re mechanic is often to busy to do an inspection at the drop of a hat when you find the right car for you and they may not do the online legwork to get a good picture of the cars history.

Bottom line, don’t depend on a dealership to provide comprehensive information; they should welcome a third party unless they have something to hide.

Flood car dangers

 When talking about device failures it’s important to note three things:

  1. What’s likely to fail?
  2. How catastrophic the results of the failure?
  3. How expensive it is to fix (to prevent or repair damage)?

The full impact of flood damage might not come to light until weeks, months, or even a couple of years later. However, the internal damage can be severe and not noticeable even to a skilled mechanic.

One of the most common dangers is brakes that suddenly go out months after flood damage from rust. Obviously, a vehicle is made up largely of metal parts which are prone to rust. Brakes can fail with no sign if they were submerged in water.

Other common flood car problems are electrical issues (and resulting fire hazards) as well as black mold which hides in hard to reach spaces and can be fatal to humans.

So the issue here is less about what could fail, it’s about how bad the results are when they do. There’s no point in risking the purchase of a flood car. They’re simply unsafe and unpredictable.

Slow Down There, Speed Racer

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Make Sure Truck Insurance is Protecting Precious Cargo

            You might be souping up rides for weekend warrior activities, or to show off at the upcoming auto show, but either way, protection is crucial. Make sure your car insurance is as solid as your ride. You can save cash by taking a defensive driver course that is state approved. This is a relatively easy way to lower costs and can help prevent an accident during those winter months when roads are icy. Drivers can also get a discount by combining policies and having house, vehicle, and even ATV coverage handled all in one place.

Disaster Isn’t Just on the Speedway

A lot of people grew up watching high-speed races on television, and it seems like that has extended to daily commutes, too. Almost 20 percent of all accidents are speed related and some people mistakenly assume things are safe in a heavy truck. Bigger vehicles might offer more protection, but there is still plenty of room for injuries and extensive damages. That custom ride deserves custom coverage to make sure that all of the bells and whistles are safeguarded should an accident happen.

pickup-truck-1700954_1920Weekends are often spent giving that prized possession the attention she deserves with tune-ups, modifications, and careful detailing. Make sure the same care is paid to protecting her on the road, whether it is a simple weekend trip or en route to the auto show. Low riders and big rigs alike need special defenses that only an expert truck insurance agent can provide.

Keep in mind that not all insurance packages are created equal, and some do not offer enhanced towing and labor which means the truck might be stranded on the side of the road. Towing fees are expensive, but adding this option on is a nominal fee. Situations are already stressful enough when a vehicle breaks down or is in an accident without worrying over how to get it to the shop.

Trouble does not end when vehicles are parked at home because there is always criminal mischief around. Grand theft auto is a serious threat and modified automobiles are even more at risk. Some thieves just cannot resist all of that custom work or high tech stereo equipment that is so easily accessible.

Who’s Checking Out Your Ride?

truck-956246_1920Sure, drivers expect some admiring glances after putting in all that elbow grease to modify the vehicle. However, remember that thieves are also taking a look at the goods and might be planning to ride off into the sunset in the lifted Jeep or restored Chevy. Take some precautions to make things more difficult for aspiring thieves.

People might remember “the club” from the 1990’s and fortunately, there have been some major improvements in terms of safeguarding automobiles. Installing a noise or motion sensor alarm is a good way to deter thieves. Simple stickers warning of an alarm might be enough to make criminals move on.

Families work hard to make a living, and investing some of that dough into high horse-powered machines is a rewarding hobby. Think about all of the time and money spent on the rig and how easily it can all be taken away. As you gear up for summer car shows, make sure you keep your ride and yourself well protected.