The Counter-Intuitive Appreciation of Used Cars

New cars are expected to lose a significant amount of value the second they are driven off the lot. Used cars are not supposed to be investments. Even vintage or classic cars aren’t really appreciating in value so much as regaining value. Meaning they went through a time of massive value loss, then because there are fewer of them left and after lots of money and work spent in restoring them to immaculate condition, well, they still aren’t a good investment. But they technically have ‘gained value.’

But there is a curious bubble building right now that should at least grab your attention, if not make you consider some major decisions. The value of many used cars–not classic, nor vintage, nor extremely rare–regular used cars that were a dime a dozen just two years ago when they were new, has increased at nearly the same rate as the popular bitcoin NFTs and exceeding many increases in the stock market.

To be clear, this is not expected to continue for much longer. With that, there are decisions that warrant some consideration as the vehicle sitting in your driveway or garage right now might offer one of the best returns on investment you will have.

The Why…

There are two main reasons this jump or surge might be happening. Both are certainly “negatives” in the realm of commerce, but neither is showing many indications of recovery anytime soon.

Inventory

The past few years have placed an immense strain on everyone and everything. While we might be (hopefully) nearing the end, some effects have yet to reach their peak, and recovery may still take a few long years away. Perhaps one of the largest of those is the supply chain issues that you almost assuredly have already experienced.

Couple the shortage of inventory of imported automobiles over the last few years, as well as the chip shortage that has dramatically slowed the production of new vehicles, there simply is less supply for the same demand.

The best way to think about it is that a car doesn’t run unless it has all its parts. So a shortage in a couple types of parts can sideline a lot of cars.

While both issues are showing signs of a turnaround, it may take a bit of time yet for a full recovery from these.

Inflation

Inflation is a fickle economic indicator. In general, things cost more during times of inflation, but the cost of particular goods is not necessarily an indicator of inflation. In looking specifically at car values, the average price of both new and used cars has gone up drastically. This would seem like decent evidence for inflation.

However, the average value of used cars around two years old has jumped by 50%, with new car values seeing half that. Time will tell whether this trend continues or if the cost of vehicles begins to drop.

The Market

Not unlike many housing markets, the used car market is a seller’s paradise. If you have been considering selling your car, either to upgrade to a newer model or to downsize your family’s fleet, now might be your best time. As always, take some time to research to see how much your used car is worth. It won’t take long to see how the value has grown over the past two years.

Buying a Car

If you are looking to upgrade to a newer model, now might not be the best time, especially if you are committed to a used vehicle. Depending on your circumstances or why you are needing a different vehicle (growing family, perhaps), you might not have a choice. In this case, there are a few things to consider. First, if you can wait and “ride out” this wave, it might prove less of a financial blow if prices come down. Second, if you can’t wait, consider buying a new car. Yes, the average cost of new cars has also increased, but nothing compared to used vehicles.

What would cause the Bubble to Stay Longer?

Well, Governors like Jay Insley of Washington state keep announcing that new vehicles will be all electric (EVs) or Hybrids. In Washington’s case, the goal is to make this shift by 2035. They infrastructure can’t handle that now, and is unlikely to in 2035.

The effect of banning sales of new, non-EV cars in a state will drive the price up on used ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) cars.

How Big Will the Bubble Get?

Or, how long will it take for prices to go down? No one knows. This is unlike any other time where the market is “simply” based on the ebbs and flows of the economy itself. With the external influences at play, we may see recovery within a few months, or it may take a few years. In both cases, there can be a very steep slope in both directions. We may not have seen the peak of the value of used cars. On the other hand, if the bubble bursts, we may see such a drastic drop in prices that they will fall beyond where they started.

RV Parks: International RVing

Part 3

A Bunch

We’ve discussed RV’s and trailers in the US quite a bit. Let’s check around the world and see how it’s handled internationally. Is there reputation better, worse, or just different.

The UK

You probably knew that trailers are called Caravans in the UK, but did you know they call trailer parks “halting sites?” They call a manufactured home a “static caravan.” In the UK and most of Europe, the issue is illegal halting sites. We’ve mentioned Romani and Irish Travelers before, but since the 1970’s there has been steady growth of “free spirited” individuals who take to the open road, often stopping where they’re not really licenced to be. 

As in the US, “caravan parks” are used for senior living. Unlike the US, there are quite a number of “resorts” that employ static caravans for folks on holiday.

To find a great place to RV in the UK the nonprofit Camping and Caravanning Club has been around for 100 years with more than 100 campsites. 

Europe 

In the Netherlands and Germany (as well as many other countries) there are places where you can set up a “permanent” or very extended stay situation for your trailer or manufactured house. In France, however, the legal limit on living in an RV is three months–even on your own property. The work around is that they are pretty loose when determining what constitutes a house (a shed with electricity might work). 

Careful when you search Camp in Germany.

Unofficial, or less-than-legal campsites are a problem in Germany as well. Their term for an illegal halting site is “wagon fort” (Wagenburg).

Obviously anything European is either really old or completely modernized. A new built RV park will be up to the latest environment standards. One resource for finding just the right place to take your RV in Europe is  Caravan Club with over 2,500 CL’s (certified sites). Germany and France have been trying to catch up to the US in stopover campsite networks, called Reisemobil-Stellplatz in German or Aire de Camping-car in French, these are comparable to the US KOA type facilities. 

Australia & New Zealand

Australia like the UK, has traditionally used Caravans in their “holiday parks.” This fact is changing as the popularity of cabins increases. In New Zealand they might refer to them as a motor camp, which rarely exists without also allowing tent camping. Most camps allow you to stay overnight or long term. 

What are the Different Types of Electric Car Plugs? 

The previously rare electric vehicle is now just as commonly seen as almost all other car types. Nearly every major car manufacturer offers an all-electric version of their most popular models, with some even offering all-electric trucks. This should give you a sense of where the future is headed. But there is likely one thing that might cause you hesitation from taking the plunge, how to charge the batteries.

Gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles are easy. You open the fuel cap and insert the nozzle from the dispenser and your local station. It’s extremely rare to find one that doesn’t work with your vehicle (although some evaporation recovery devices are quite finicky).

Charging an electric car is not all that much more difficult, and can even be easier if you have the right plug.

Power Ratings

The power ratings and the specific type of electric current are vitally important in ensuring not only the correct plug but for protecting the life of the batteries. The rate of charging simply determines approximately how far the car can travel after a certain period of charging. The more power that is supplied to charge the battery, the less time it takes to charge to a certain percentage of battery capacity. However, the amount of power used to charge the batteries can also affect their longevity. Generally, the lower the charging power, the less strain is placed on the batteries, extending their life.

Current Type

Given the designs of the plugs, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to use an A/C system with a D/C charging current. Generally, when the car is at home and simply a top-off is needed, A/C is the better choice with D/C charging better reserved for quick on-the-road needs. D/C does take a lot less time to bring the batteries to the same level of charge, as a consequence, however, of much higher temperatures that can greatly degrade the life of the batteries.

Type 1

As the name implies, this was one of the first plugs developed to charge the batteries in electric vehicles. This plug uses five pins and is a standard for most electric vehicles in the United States. The plug does allow for slow and fast charging at 3.7 kW and 7 kW, respectively. You should exercise caution, as this plug has no locking mechanism and can be dislodged.

Type 2

The Type 2 charging plug is an improvement on Type 1 and adds two more connection pins, as well as a built-in locking mechanism. This plug also adds to the charging rate with the capability of 22 kW (using three-phase charging) if your vehicle allows it.

CHAdeMO

One of the first rapid charging systems has a name to fit its use on the road. The “Charge de Move” or CHAdeMO, is a favorite of many Asian automakers such as Honda, Nissan, and Toyota. This is a rather large plug and tends to require a much larger charging area/flap on the vehicle and is not very common beyond certain carmakers. Charging power for the CHAdeMO can reach 400 kW with plans for up to 900 kW.

Combined Charging System

Perhaps the most convenient of all is the Combined Charging System or CCS allows for a single cord/plug system to be used for slower charging at home as well as rapid charging on the road. The top of the plug looks nearly identical to a Type 2 plug, with two of the five connection pins being located on the D/C section of the plug. This will likely become the standard for D/C charging.

10 Ways to Save on Auto Insurance 

The laundry list of expenses when it comes to vehicle ownership can seem never-ending. One expense that is a legal requirement to drive, but is something you hope to never need is car insurance.

You might have insurance through the same company you used since you started driving. And, you might be paying ever-increasing premiums. That doesn’t have to be the case. There are many ways to save money and keep great coverage.

One–Don’t Let Your Coverage Lapse

Letting your coverage lapse can have a significant impact on your premium. Not unlike how employers look at gaps in your employment history, insurance companies are leery of any gaps in coverage, especially the longer they are. On average, premiums increased by 8% with gaps shorter than 30 days. Longer than that, the average shoots up to a 35% increase.

Two–Bundling

Most major auto insurance companies also have branches or subsidiaries that handle homeowners, renters and/or other types of insurance. With nearly all of these, savings of between 5% and 25% can be found.

Three–Coverage

Take a close look at your specific policy coverages and see if it is at a level that makes sense to you. For example, if you are living in a dry area where lots of rocks or sand is thrown up by trucks, you might want to have more comprehensive coverage as you might be replacing windshields frequently. If you live in a wetter climate where that doesn’t happen as much, it might be worth it to save by not having so much coverage.

Four–Mileage

Many of the top insurance companies provide a discount of up to 10% for simply driving less. To get this discount might take a bit more work on your end, as some require either periodic reporting of mileages or signing up to have a beacon/sensor sent to you. Once you enroll in these programs, they are extremely easy and can save quite a bit of money.

Five–Accidents

Accidents happen. But in being extra diligent in trying to avoid them, your insurance rates will not increase because one and many companies will reward you for remaining accident-free for certain periods. Since nearly every policy requires  prompt reporting of accidents, the severity of the accident and who is at fault can have serious effects on your premium. 

Six–Defensive Driving

Another way to save that requires a bit more of an active role is to complete a Defensive Driving course. Nearly every insurance company offers a discount with proof of completion. Best of all, you can complete this online (be sure to check with your carrier to make sure they accept the program you find). Not only will this save you money, but the knowledge gained from the course might also keep you accident-free.

Seven–Your Car

This is something to consider when you are looking for a new car, but can also affect the one(s) you currently own. Request a few quotes based on the ages, makes, and models. Generally, the older the car, the lower the premium. If you have an existing policy, contact your agent to see if the premium can be “refreshed” with the current age of your vehicle.

Eight – Credit

Just like your ability to get a lower interest rate on lines of credit, the higher your credit score is, the more likely you are to find a lower premium. If you are working to restore or build your credit up, be sure to stay in contact with your agent as your score increases. (Beware the inquiry use may affect your score. Ask if it is a hard or soft (preferred) credit pull.)

Nine – Pay-In-Full

When shopping around, or researching within an existing policy, many companies offer discounts when a policy is paid in full for the coverage periods. Typically, this is six months or a year.

Ten – Your Age

If you are in your college years or around retirement, there might be a discount that you qualify for. Generally, younger drivers can qualify for discounts based on their grades. Older drivers (usually 55+) can qualify for up to 10% in savings.

Can You Tow with a Hybrid or Electric Vehicle?

Electric and hybrid vehicles are incredibly popular these days. And looking at recent gas prices, it’s for good reason. Looking at the number of models available in plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and all-electric (EV) versions, it’s sometimes hard to tell them apart from their gasoline-powered brethren. With these types of vehicles being more and more accessible, switching to a PHEV or full-EV is as easy as choosing a paint color.

While PHEVs and EVs may help save money and cut emissions with their fuel efficiency or not needing fuel at all, we also don’t want to cut into how we can use these vehicles for recreation. The evolution of electric vehicle technology is now at a point where we no longer need to trade all capabilities for fuel efficiency. 

Getting Started

In some ways, towing with one of these types of vehicles will be a more pleasant experience than using their gasoline-powered counterparts. Somewhat surprisingly, the electric motors in EV and the electric assist in PHEV can provide the most important power factor for getting the payload moving from a stop–torque. Even the short time electricity generates the power in the PHEV, the high amount of instant torque is enough to get the full payload in motion. Be sure to check to see the payload capacity of the vehicle. 

Towing with an EV

While towing is possible, with an EV capable of such, there are significant hurdles that technology has not quite caught up to.

Range

There is no way around it. The more you tow, the shorter distance you will be able to travel. With some testing, towing near the payload capacity for a particular car can cut the range in half. Consider that most of your towing might be done for recreation to places that likely do not have EV charging stations, this may rule out EVs overall.

Weight

The torque of the electric motor easily gets the vehicle and payload in motion. However, stopping the weight can prove problematic. Looking at the weight of the EV itself, it does not take a lot more in the way of payload to exceed some vehicle weight limits. Some EVs can weigh almost a ton more than their gasoline kin. This is a lot to stop, not even considering what is being towed.

Charging Supply from Braking

One of the ways EVs maintain their charge to extend their range is by using the braking action of the vehicle to provide a slight amount of regenerative power back into the system. When the force needed to stop the EV and the payload exceeds what this system can safely handle, many EVs will turn their regenerative braking systems off. Without this source of charging on the go, the range is decreased even more. 

Towing With a PHEV

Using a PHEV over an EV to tow, seems to solve most of these issues and keeps the benefits of an electric motor. The PHEV uses the electric motor to get things started before the gasoline engine takes over. Once at speed, the hybrid system keeps the fuel efficiency quite high. There still are some downsides to using a PHEV to tow. The added weight and strain on the electric motor and hybrid system can have significant effects on the longevity of the batteries. This is much less than what is seen with EVs but is still worth considering. 

Conclusions

There are many EVs and PHEVs that offer significant towing capacity. However, this comes at a significant penalty by reliance on denser networks of charging stations and potential more frequent replacement of battery systems. And if your goal is to get off grid you are likely not heading to places with lots of charging stations.

The Five Best Car Shows 

Barrett-Jackson Auction

For many people, the release of a new model from a favorite carmaker is exciting. For others, seeing perfectly restored vintage cars brings them back to memories of their early years. In both cases, any travel or extra work needed is well worth it.

The incredible variety of car shows around the United States, as well as the world that provides nearly any kind of experience you might be looking for. These can range from seeing cars that are over forty years old but look as new as the day they rolled out of the factory, to cars that look like they are from forty years in the future.

If you are looking for just such an experience, here are five car shows that may be just what you are looking for. Being able to see the evolution of the automobile first-hand is well worth the time. 

Classic Cars–Woodward Dream Cruise

It is fitting that one of the largest car shows in the world is just miles from the American City known for auto productions. The Woodward Dream Cruise is hosted each August just outside of Detroit, in Pontiac, Michigan. Expect to see over 40,000 classic cars on display or driving down the famed Woodward Drive.

Luxury Cars–Monterey Car Week

What is often described as “the most important car show in America”, this week-long luxury event takes place among the incredible scenery of Monterey Bay in California. Not only are you able to see mint-condition vintage models from famed makers such as Ferrari and Bugatti, but this event also serves as a “test” for many concepts, years away from production. The weekends with the “Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance” that has a dress-code expectation to match the elegant name.

New Releases/Concepts – Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA)

Held in late October in Las Vegas, Nevada since 1967, it was not until recent decades that SEMA had transformed into what it is today. Automobile manufacturers realize, and attendees expect this to be the premier event for incredibly advanced concept cars, “one-offs” and custom builds. Although many of these will never make it to full production, it is the ability to see what each carmaker is capable of that draws the interest. The advancements in auto technology shown here may just be used as part of a full production model shortly. 

International–Paris Motor Show

When the Paris Motor Show is held this October, it will mark the 124th Anniversary of one of the first international auto shows. There is no ignoring the travel and cost associated with attending this event. However, if you are looking to see what is on the near horizon from automakers, this is the event to attend, and the event provides great instructions and help for international attendees. With certain trade regulations affecting what is exported/imported to various countries, many automakers have models specific to certain regions, the Paris Motor Show brings them all together. There is a definitive shift as automakers have showcased new green technologies and car-driver connectivity never seen before.

Auctions – Barrett-Jackson

Taking classic car restorations to another level, entrants into a Barrett-Jackson auction take time to perfect every detail on their car, in hopes of getting a higher bid. These auctions are held periodically throughout the year in various cities. While this is not a traditional car show, there will certainly be one-of-a-kind cars rolling across the auction block. Plus, there is the bonus of watching the exciting action that an auto auction brings.

Honda Confirms Small Electric and Hybrid Compact SUVs for 2023

Looking at the prices shown on nearly all gas stations has undoubtedly made you think about the fuel efficiency of your vehicle (s). Especially if you are in the market for a new vehicle, there is an increasing number of options that will not only help you save money by burning less fuel but will still provide you with the capabilities you need.

One of the most popular names in smaller automobiles has just announced two great options for fuel-efficient or electric SUVs for 2023. The all-new Honda e:Ny1 and the next-generation CR-V look to provide you a range that rivals other all-electric vehicles, while keeping the familiar capabilities and space of the long-standing CR-V.

The e:Ny1

At this point, there is not a lot we know about this all-electric prototype. What we do know is extremely promising and is worth looking at. From initial looks, this small crossover looks remarkably similar to the HR-V.

The Looks

There are a few differences that set the e:Ny1 apart from its relatives. The front-end is shaped more like the CR-V with the grille-less form seen on most electric vehicles. The rear carries forward the sporty styling of the HR-V. The body sits atop Honda’s e:N Architecture F chassis, which is specifically designed for electric front-wheel drive vehicles.

What’s Inside

Under the hood is a new battery pack that is estimated to give a range of just over 300 miles while supplying a potent 201-horsepower. This is a significant improvement to the “e:” family that started off 2020 with a limited 137 miles.

Next Generation CR:V

Honda’s stalwart in the small-SUV category, the CR-V, will receive a near-total make-over with the addition of a few proven components from other models. The all-new CR-V still has ample size and capabilities. It is also expected to be available with seating for 5 or 7.

The Looks

Outside, the CR-V seemed to trade in more of its utilitarian and purpose-built looks for some class and refinement. The front grille is opened up and is bordered by contrastingly thinner LED headlights. Looking at the profile, it is clear the design has spent a lot of time in the wind tunnel with previously sharp corners being smoothed into gentle curves. The hood is blended into the teardrop shape of the body.

Under the Hood

The 2023 CR-V will borrow several newer, but proven power-train components that come from the recent update to the Civic family of cars. The non-hybrid version is powered with a 1.5-liter turbocharged, inline 4-cylinder motor with a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated I-4 in the hybrid. Both of these motors have been well tested were given a few minor tweaks to make them fit in CR-V’s hood, and improve reliability.

Plug-In vs. Hybrid only

To bridge the gap between hybrid gasoline and all-electric vehicles, many automakers have come out with “Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles” (PHEV) and Honda is no exception. As there is more and more pressure for all-electric vehicles, it might be worth considering this move sooner than later.

While it remains to be seen just how available the PHEV version of the new CR-V will be in the American market, it certainly has a lot to offer and may help take the plunge into driving an electric vehicle, while maintaining the familiarity of a gasoline-powered engine. Actual fuel efficiency numbers have yet to be released, but some other PHEVs from other makers have reported in the triple-digits for miles per gallon. Plus, there is the added “safety-net” of being able to drive up to 50 miles on solely electric power.

April Fools & Cars

Andy Bunch

We take cars very seriously around here, but the rest of life we take with a grain of salt if at all possible. 

So on April Fools Day we need to dig deep and find some ways you can prank each other without wrecking someone’s pride and joy…and if possible avoiding any bodily harm is also a bonus.

Invisible Box

This first one comes to us from Moterist.com and requires a touch of acting ability. It’s called the invisible box.

Creepy Rear View

Valley Honda has something at least as new as back up cameras. You get a creepy photo and tape it over the back up camera. Not directly on, you need enough space for light to get in and get a little of the image into view. The picture below is Harry from Harry and the Hendersons. 

Selling their Car

For this next one we go back to the crazy’s at Morterist.com. Lets watch them put for sale signs on someone else’s car. 

You Got Wrapped

There are a dozen variations of this next prank, it’s not too original but sometimes the best pranks are when you take an original and make it your own. Here are some fun pics of people’s cars that were wrapped or covered in various materials (because these days who’s going to use TP, right?). Brought to you by Instructables.com

Overflow 

Wrench.com brings you another classic, especially if you’ve seen Jimmy Kimmel. It’s called overflowing objects, and the idea is to fill your friends car with gold balls, ping pong balls, or packing peanuts. Whatever you can get your hands on that won’t stain or break anything. The goal is to put your friend in a position to have to open the door and let it all flow out. 

Here’s your Sign

Another Classic Category is to write something on the car, or create a bumper sticker (preferably magnetic) that says something clever. If you take on one of these that’s been done a lot, put your own spin on it. Make it new or don’t waste your time. Here’s a few examples.

Forgotten Coffee

This prank is a little newer foam cup of coffee (empty obviously) to the roof of your car, and go for a ride. The trick is finding a way to glue it on without making it permanent. 

The Prize for Best Harmless Car Prank 

But the prize for best new harmless prank in a long time goes to Rayme Sciaroni

on pinterest for this rainbow view. The trick here is to get access to the inside of the car long enough to turn on the window wipers. Then you can simply unwrap some old crayons on a warmish day and watch for the fun when your friend turns on their car. 

As a Bonus

Here’s one you probably need some technical know-how to pull off, but it’s harmless and clever. 

One Last harmless one

Fill some balloons with helium and put them in your friend’s trunk, so that when they open them it all comes flying out. 

What NOT to Do!!!

From Love to Know, here are some great suggestions about what not to do. 

To keep things safe, stay away from the following pranks:

  • Never mess around with a car’s exhaust pipe. The exhaust system is sensitive, and plugging the exhaust pipe can lead to equipment problems or dangerous gas exposure.
  • Don’t put anything but gas in the car’s fuel tank. Foreign substances will damage the vehicle.
  • When pulling pranks on the outside of a vehicle, be careful what you put on the paint. Sticky substances and acids can damage a car’s paint job.
  • If you do anything with the car’s interior, be sure it won’t cause permanent damage or stains.

Okay One Last Bonus

If you have extreme technical knowledge…