Altering the Car’s Interior

What can be altered about a car’s interior? Is it even worth it?

People do want their to personalize their car and to express their creativity but there are consequences if you go too far.

1st Reselling

Obviously if they car’s interior is in bad shape then there is nowhere to go but up, however it depends on how you intend to sell your car—should you be thinking of eventually doing so. In the second-hand market, yes, a consumer who looks at a nicely redone interior will prefer it to seeing an original interior with scuffs or holes, even if it’s not a factory color. You would need to do some research to find out what’s desirable based on your make and model.

If you try and sell the car in a mainstream way you may have difficulty selling the vehicle. A car lot will be able to spot customized interiors no matter how well it is done.

Other Factors

The layout of some interiors could mean that the comfort of passengers have been compromised and some changes may even be illegal – please don’t overdo your alterations!

It could make your insurance invalid depending on the changes made. You call it custom, your insurance calls it vandalism. That’s assuming you’ve done it well, which frankly a lot of people don’t. It is hard to do well and highly difficult to change back.

Ways to Customize.

Carpets

One place to start is the car’s carpets as most of them have a dull black or gray pattern and a bit of pattern might make a change.

An alternative is to buy some mats, the more expensive the better value it will give the car. If you bought your car used you might start by having the carpets shampooed. Don’t replace them if they’re simply dulled by soil.

PS grime ads wear to carpets so keeping them clean radically extends their life.

Seats

Moving on to the seats, you can buy what are known as aftermarket seats for instance bucket seats as replacement for the originals. As hinted to above, it is vital that you do this properly which means getting a professional in. You’ll need to inform your insurer in any case.

Alternately you can have the old seats reupholstered in leather or leatherette or just buy some seat covers. Look to see which fabrics you like. Maybe looking at massage seats, especially if you have back problems.

Steering Wheel & Dash

Back in the day one could unbolt a steering wheel from the column and replace it for a unique look that fit the owner…now there are air bags…

When it comes to altering the steering wheel and the dashboard the prices will escalate very quickly. But there are ways to do it without breaking the bank and also not damaging your insurance.

A simple way of improving the dashboard region is to look at under dash lighting using LED lights or to add vinyl to the steering wheel or dashboard or perhaps a colorful steering wheel cover. A dash kit will change the finish and is relatively easy to install.

Perhaps the most common car customization involves the dash and is the exception to the rules we’ve been talking about. You radio is virtually built to be replaced if you have the right tools and training. Many stereo stores offer instillation services, and you are wise to take advantage of them. An improved stereo won’t get you much in trade in value, but can make a big difference in the second-hand market, depending on the kind of car you are selling.

Other Changes

Another popular upgrade for young people are racing pedals instead of the regular sort. Maybe a trunk liner to make the most of this region of the car? Again, these are pretty inexpensive ways to improve your vehicle. 

For the music lover you might look into upgrading your speakers. There are car owners who alter the entire trunk by filling it with gigantic speakers, but it does render it unusable.

While you are making all these improvements you may as well add some video screens or a video game console. Depends on the amount of pressure from your children, really.

If your driving is a bit under par you may decide to invest in a collision avoidance kit, particularly if you drive at night. Even if you do drive well, it’s good for your piece of mind and helps your insurance premiums.

Your car is likely the second most costly thing you own after your house. Don’t take chances on totalling your car in the name of self-expression. Or do, the choice is yours.

Changing Luxury Cars

2022 Bentley Continental

The definition of a luxury car is not set in stone. We all know what a convertible is, for example, but a luxury car is constantly evolving. A luxury car is about an increased level of comfort, performance and a mix of popular-right-now attributes which increase your well-being or status.

For a long time, then needed to be large, but these days not so much. There is a whole sub-category of luxury sports brands for instance. Increasingly luxury is coming into the world of SUVs, coupes as well as compact luxury and mid-size luxury.

Luxury Brands:

Lincoln MKX

What often leaps to mind is the brands that make exclusively luxury cars, but we do get luxury models from makers who are better known for their everyday cars. Ford, as an example is best known for their trucks, but they make Lincoln and a few other pricey lines. (To be fair, most of their luxury cars are concept cars or collaborations with other automakers.)

One challenge for Luxury only automakers is that they may face a takeover from another company, Bentley is now owned by VW and BMW now owns Rolls Royce.

New Class of Luxury SUVs: (Yes its Oxymoronic)

Rolls Cullinan SUV

There’s even a Rolls Royce SUV which is due to enter the market. Why do we call it an Oxymoron? Well the idea of a luxury vehicle and a “go off road” vehicle just clashes in the mind. If it doesn’t in your mind, please comment on this post and let us know we got it wrong.

The SUV is designed to deal with any terrain in a bold new look. They don’t like the term “SUV” preferring to call it a full-bodied car. It was rumored to be based on a BMW X7 platform.

When Luxury Just Doesn’t Say Enough:

There are also ultra-luxury cars. Many potential customers are young and do not like the old style. Even Rolls Royce are shifting the focus from 60 year old’s to 40 year old’s and looking at an improved interior.

The Rolls Royce Wraith is an ultimate grand tourer not to be confused with the 1938 model with the same name. It has the hardtop design, which is more expensive than the sedan, and all the side windows can roll down.

Rolls Royce Wraith

The Rolls Royce Ghost, named in honor of the Silver Ghost, has the Ghost Extended Wheelbase. It’s designed to be more “realistic” – so more defined than the Phantom at a lower price.

The 2022 Bentley Continental is all about power and handling having air suspension by three-chamber all-wheel drive. It has a series of modes: Bentley, Comfort, Sport and Dynamic. Another selling point is the carbon ceramic brakes. It also has a darkened grille on its hood.

A Luxury Hybrid or EV?

The Mercedes C is defined as a “mild hybrid” having 48V of power as well as having four cylinders. It can rely on a battery pack or plug in as it’s a hybrid. It’s power reaches 25.4kwH, one of the most powerful plug-ins on the market. The interior has been recently updated, now the focus is the touchscreen on the central console.

Merc C

Jaguar is looking at becoming an electric vehicle only brand, but only after 2025. They also have plans to become net zero in 2039 but this may be somewhat optimistic.

Having to wait four years for an electric model might be considered a strange business dynamic but on the plus side there will be six different variants to choose from.

Apart from being electric it remains to see the features of these Jaguar cars. As this is slightly in the future it’s a waiting game.

Ultimately What is a Luxury Car?

It seems that even ultra-luxury cars have to move with the times as luxury needn’t be looking back to a golden age. Sometimes it’s just about getting a modern appearance but with noticeable extras—sometimes it’s just about price.

Passenger and Commuter Cars

Op-Ed By P. Wimsett

Does it matter if you commute in a passenger car or drive your family in a commuter car? Probably not, but we still have these distinctions.

Do commuter cars just exist for lonely single people who desire an extra mile per gallon in exchange for not being reminded that you don’t have a family to fill the rest of your vehicle. What happens if you neither commute nor have a family?

To complicate matters…

…All cars may have the description “passenger cars,” since all commercially produced cars these days can carry passengers. By that token, all cars are commuter cars since they are transportation after all. An alternative to the commuter car and the passenger car is the pleasure car, one used purely for weekends but it’s yet to catch on with the general public.

There are other ways to define cars – a minicompact, a compact and midsize, though a midsize vehicle can also describe pickups and vans.

The truth is it’s hard to market anything that’s all things to all people so it’s practical to put a primary use forward when describing your car to the marketplace—even if consumers don’t always use a certain car for that purpose.

Then the question is, is there a design difference between Commuter and Passenger Cars? Yes! But not a huge one. Passenger cars make a priority of seating capacity, with legroom, smoothness of ride and gas milage a bit behind in the design priority list.

So, what is a Good Commuter Car?

Dacia Duster

Now to commuter cars, you need a way of dealing with excess amount of traffic such as the infotainment system. The greater the size the greater fuel bills. Commuter cars tend to be vehicles such as a subcompact or coupe. There’s no reason to have a big car if you only use it to commute.

SEAT Terraco

Dacia Duster and Toyota Corolla are two examples of regular commuter cars. Electrical alternatives include the SEAT Terraco and the Audi 35 TFSH. If you have an especially long commute you need to look at air conditioning and possibly heated seats for your own sanity and maybe health. Look for a car noted for comfort, cruise control, wifi and hotspots, look at the Vauxhall Insignia or the Ford Focus which has eight engines and a strong EcoBlue color.

The Toyota Hybrid may not have the best hood, because it is a crossover, not a regular SUV.

Another Toyota, the Camry makes the most of not being a hybrid in terms of its four cylinders.

Can you do Both?

Sure, the Vauxhall Passat for example, has features you don’t automatically expect – those being the spacious seat area and the trunk. It’s a good all-rounder rather than purely a commuter car? Who said sorting out these cars was easy?

VW Jetta

The VW Jetta is a small sedan which offers a smooth ride with its supportive and stylish seats. Its selling point is that some people don’t like a hatchback. (The VW Golf has cornered the VW hatchback niche). According to Volkwagen’s own figures it has sold about 14 million units of this model since it was introduced in 1980.

The passenger and the commuter car owner want different things from their car. True there are more convenient ways of dividing the drivers; no one can convincingly say there are two types of driver.

In the end, it’s nice to have a primary function a car was designed around as a handy starting point when you start searching for a car.

Best Practise for Second-hand Cars

You can do everything right with a car sale, going to see the vehicle with a specialist, not paying by PayPal or credit card and so on, and still have problems with the car itself. If it turns out you have purchased a bad car (whatever a bad car means to you) you may need to speak to an attorney, there are automobile fraud lawyers who specialize in it.

It may be possible to return your car and get your money back or get the dealer to pay for any repairs for the car’s defects. The problem is the defects that happen just after a sale.

They can also assist if you have to pay more than what was advertised, or if they don’t reveal that the car has been in an accident.

The seller may justify it by saying that’s the way things are and that is the way sellers who advertise on Craigslist, EBay or Facebook practice especially in troubled times. All the more reason to attempt to obtain legal help.

Look out for sellers using the words “as is.” It’s similar to the words “as found” when used on other products. It’s important to be wary about these turns of phrase because you may well be disappointed when you see the vehicle for the first time. By the same token, vehicles that come with a warranty often exclude the parts you’re most likely to have fail on you. You might consider them selectively “as is.”

There may be difficulty if you sign up for finance and the contract or other paperwork changes. On the other hand paying the full price on the spot may also prove difficult for you, not only in the case of forking out too much money at once. Things could possibly go wrong later.

Other things to watch out for is odometer fraud, also known as “busting the miles.” It’s a legal offense as you are falsely representing the mileage of your vehicle. A report in 2002 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claimed that 450,000 vehicles had false odometer readings.

Odometer fraud may include resetting the odometer, disconnecting or otherwise altering the device. Signs to watch out for are numbers that look loose or crooked or even have gaps in it. If it has less than 20,000 miles stated, the car should have its original tires so it is best to check. Another thing you can do is to check the number stated with the number on the title document. Sometimes the title will look like a bad copy. Beware of fake paperwork.

If you wish to check yourself if the numbers are correct it is best to contact the DMV in your state. You could also look at how much wear the pedals or the floor mats have or you may wish to ask former owners for further details on the vehicle. There’s an amount of detective work involved.

If you think there is a problem with a potential vehicle, please remember that you can always walk away. If things look too good to be true that it is possible it is. And its always a best practice to get a prepurchase inspection by a trusted inspector who works for you like Tire Kickers. (https://tirekickers.biz/)

Driver’s Costs and Expenses

Many new drivers underestimate the various car costs they have to shell out for, whether they be fixed (standing charges at certain points of the year) or ones that may be altered. We often put ourselves in debt by buying a car but sometimes expenses get out of hand—we get “car poor.”

It’s worth shopping around on comparison sites to obtain the best value for items like insurance or other costs which vary from vendor to vendor.

Most people are aware of the running costs – fuel, maintenance, parking and fines, as well as insurance but there are other payments to consider. The car itself may not be paid off in one lump sum but you need to be fairly soluble finance-wise in order to afford it.

Let’s face it, the individual costs are a headache, so it is well worth creating a check-list so you make sure you don’t miss anything and don’t receive any nasty surprises.

Every vehicle in the US needs its own certificate of ownership. It shows the owner’s name and address, the registration number and various other details.

The applications need to be made to the state office, which may be the Department of Motor Vehicles. When selling the vehicle, the seller should endorse the certificate of title. Another thing the seller should do is notify the office which issued the certificate that a sale has been made.

As well as this (hopefully endorsed) certificate of title you also need…

  • Proof of ownership, which may be the certificate of sale
  • Proof of your identity including your date of birth
  • Proof of insurance
  • Sales tax clearance
  • An emission inspection certificate if needed
  • The completed registration form and the fee itself. This may be a flat fee or could be based on such variables as age, value or even weight of the car. (If you wish a personalised plate you will need to pay more.)

If you are wishing to move to another state, you will need to re-register your vehicle pretty soonish. You may need to apply for a visitor’s permit if you have to drive in an unregistered car while waiting for registration to take place.

There are special municipalities in the US which charge a particular tax rate. Trucks or buses in contrast have to pay a heavy use tax, though vans and pick-up trucks pay the normal amount. If you travel more than 5,000 miles by the truck you don’t have to pay this tax.

In addition to these taxes New York has a Highway Use Tax which is similar to the congestion charge found in several foreign cities.

There are numerous other costs to consider, items such as car seats if you happen to have young children, a sat nav if your car doesn’t have one in-built, and various products to help with day-to-day running such as a de-icer or car polish.

But there’s so much pleasure in the open road, it must be worth all the expense? Right?

The Confusions Over Utility Vehicles

In one sense every car is a passenger car, although many are also created with another purpose in mind, so when we use the term “passenger vehicle” we’re referring to a car whose primary purpose is to carry groups of people. Many passenger cars have features that ignore things like rough roads, so there is a need for something that carries people and is a bit more rugged, whether this is more one type of vehicle or the other is open to debate.

Utility Vehicles

Utility vehicles are designed for a specific purpose; it isn’t a passenger car alone. Many utility vehicles like SUVs were designed for off-road usage and for towing other vehicles in a way similar to a jeep.

Small utility vehicles are likely to be electric/zero emission. They aren’t as good as jeeps for towing due to their compactness. To add to the confusion, a jeep is called a light utility vehicle, even if there are many utility vehicles which are lighter.

A coupe utility or tray utility vehicle has a cargo “bed” at the back. These are known as ‘utes in the back.’

Sports Cars

Because of the link with sports utility vehicles, it is worthwhile to identify just what a sports car is – one which is designed for on-road driving. As with the SUV both designs are prioritizing handling, power, and acceleration.

The Tesla Cybertruck, which is new for 2021, may be thought of as a cross between a coupe utility vehicle and a sports car; the large storage area of a coupe utility vehicle but with the performance of a sports car. Its appearance is futuristic, note the stainless-steel facade. It also has the 0-60 rate of 2.9 seconds. It has been built for such functions as moving, carrying and towing.

Regular SUVs

A regular SUV has been also referred to as a tall SUV due to its increased height. The purpose of the height is ground clearance so you vehicle can climb over obstacles. Many are 4-wheel drive and may be referred to as 4×4, but technically these can be any car with off-road functionality, so it might be a jeep.

There is a feeling of chunkiness in the design and a long jump to the ground. It has the ability to drive through dirt, mud and some rocky surfaces, though there are limits to how far it can go. Always check it over when you have finished for the day.

Crossovers:

Crossovers are a type of sports utility vehicle crossed with a passenger car; they’re not designed for off-road use as much as a regular SUV. 50% of all SUV purchases are crossovers. There are sub-compact, compact, mid-size and full size crossovers available. In the UK they may be thought of being hatchbacks with some extra styling.

Why buy a crossover? The plus points include a large cargo space, a large passenger area and a nippy engine.

SSVs

An SSV is a small vehicle designed for recreational use. The number of passengers can be from 2 to 6 and the seating is “side by side”. Some SSVs have enclosed cabs, some do not. They are made by manufacturers such as Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki.

Essentially all SUVs, jeeps, coupe utility vehicles and crossovers are multi-functioning vehicles and they all come down to being of utility or usefulness; whatever your needs.

Too Many Cars or Too Few?

Op-Ed by P. Wimsett and A.R. Bunch

Obviously, there is political pressure discouraging everyone from driving their cars, but is it really going to work? Has it already worked? Or is the answer to simply make cars more environmentally friendly? Do the powers that be want us to buy more cars or less? These are some of the questions we’ll look at today.

Carbon emission problems are discouraging folks from driving yet the need for domestic manufacturing jobs means it shouldn’t affect people’s car buying habits. The answer could be electric cars—that seems to be what car manufacturers are planning to do in response to the situation. The environment seems to be leading car production decisions.

Gridlock & Congestion

One issue with simply reducing vehicle carbon emissions is that it doesn’t eliminate gridlock. Unlike traffic jams, which result from accidents or construction, gridlock is that annoying traffic slowdown created by having too many commuters on the road at the same time. Gridlock is named for the grid pattern of city streets where efforts to coordinate traffic flow breaks down when capacity is reached. Clearly, your city doesn’t need a good grid-like layout in order to have gridlock—London and Rome manage to lockup pretty well and their streets meander about in every direction, seemingly at random.

People dislike gridlock but it doesn’t seem to detour them from going out at the prime times of the day when everyone else wants to go out–commuters for instance. Most people start and end work about same time as each other, which creates high demand. The laws of fluid dynamics come into play and suddenly congestion slows you down.

We reference fluid dynamics because that’s truly what governs traffic flow. It’s worth noting that gridlock and congestion don’t occur when traffic stops, they’re already happening when traffic goes under the posted speed. The simple act of having too much traffic causes the roadways to reduce capacity for throughput. Think of it in terms of supply and demand. Since supply can’t increase to meet demand, the price goes up. What are we paying the price with? Not dollars but time. Time is more precious than gold because when it’s spent, it’s gone forever.

Avoiding Gridlock

If you avoid the busy periods like rush hours you can avoid some of the gridlock.

Another way is to use public transport, although it cannot go exactly where the commuter wants to go and runs on it’s own schedule, and let’s face it, services are often delayed or interrupted. Even a gridlocked road may get you to your place of work quicker than public transport. So if you have a problem paying a lot of time to gridlock you may pay just as much for mass transit.

Peak Car

Traffic seems to be shrinking since 2007, also known as “peak car.” (Peak Car is a term that came from Peak Oil, or the theory that oil will become too hard to pull out of the ground, and at some point, no longer be cost effective.)

We know empirically that there are fewer cars on the roads because traffic cameras count the number of cars on high volume roads. But why? The population as a whole has continued to grow.

One possibility is demand reduction people are moving out of cities to rural places that don’t suffer congestion. We’ll return to demand in a minute. Another possible reason would be people using mass transit, but we also know the ridership levels and while they’re on the rise it’s not enough to account for reduced traffic.

Car Prices

The key way to tell if we’re truly diving less or if it just people not using high traffic roads (where they’d get counted), is if people are buying fewer cars. If we really had a peak car situation then you’d see people avoiding new cars in favor of cheap and plentiful used cars. And that has been a trend since 2016.

But as with everything in this article, Peak Car isn’t the only explanation for people buying used over new. As cars become too expensive, drivers are opting to share a vehicle or find an alternate way to get to work. It especially affects the supercar market but even names like General Motors are decreasing in new car sales.

Automakers are trying to respond to car prices by including high class extras, but the customer still needs to be able to afford these extras. Another possible way to counter the “too expensive” issue some auto makers are trying is to make cars less luxurious, cutting corners but not compromising safety.

This may be linked to the bad economy and people using public transit; however, affordability might not be the reason new car sales are down.

Demand Issues

There are demand issues. The baby-boomers are starting to not be able to drive. More people are working from home and the unemployed don’t need to commute to work. The digital age means people don’t need to drive to go shopping.

A big reason both road use and car buying are down is that millennials just don’t seem to want to buy cars, or even get a licence. In 2008 less than half of eligible drivers had a license when in 1998 two thirds of the population used did.

Is the car no longer a status symbol? It seems to be the case with young people and the trend continues: 26% of US 16 years old had a license in 2017. However, many Americans love having a car, even millennials. Vehicle registrations did go up in 2018.

There are a number of factors which affect car buying, not just finances. Some people think the reduction of cars is cyclical; others think it may be more permanent. This is why e-scooters, e-bikes and mini-motos are trying to gain a foothold.

“Research and forecast firms Cox Automotive, Edmunds and J.D. Power/LMC Automotive expect sales declined about 1% last year to roughly 17 million vehicles compared with 2018. Such results are considered healthy but would mark the lowest sales since 16.5 million vehicles in 2014.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/02/americans-bought-fewer-new-vehicles-in-2019-but-spending-to-hit-record.html

Despite research into this field, no one exactly knows what the future holds regarding the car economy.

The Future of Commuting Based on Current Trends:

The way things are going seems to be moving towards self-driving technology and electronic technology and we are moving into SUV, crossovers, and trucks. The kind of car to get away from the crowd, not the urban dweller.

What about taxis and Ubers? 95% of all trips will be made by taxis by 2030. This could be a piece of the answer, if not the whole, no matter what forces are driving the problem. It resolves the gridlock issue and affordability issue, and even the environmental issue. People are using Uber and Lyft – $20,000 a year and many people feel they won’t go back to a private car. Didi, a Chinese version of this kind of service took 10 million.

When we combine the trend toward larger off road vehicle purchases with the increase in rideshare usage the trend is easy to predict—people in cities will increasingly avoid owning a car and people in rural areas will insist on having them so they can “get away.”

An Alternative Look At Mercedes

Do we still pray for a Mercedes-Benz and if so, which ones? Though people associate Mercedes-Benz with passenger cars, there are many other vehicles out there, both light commercial and more heavy ones, even buses as far as the German branch of the company is concerned. It depends on whether you want something for you personally or one for your business.

Emil Jellinek raced in an event in 1899 under the name Monsieur Mercedes as a way of an alias, actually Mercedes was the name of his young daughter. Nor would it stay an alias for very long as he registered it as a trademark as early as 1901. A merger between Jellinek with Karl Benz and Gottleib Daimler and the Mercedes-Benz factory was created.

In 1999 the company Mercedes-AMG became the largest division of the company. There are so many individual classes it’s hard to keep track; A class is a subcompact luxury hatchback or sedan and B class is a subcompact MPV and so on.

Let’s say you require a Mercedes van for your brood; Metris is marketed as the ultimate in van building, it can seat between 5 to 8 passengers; so ideal for your family and friends at the same time. They were built in Germany and so unfortunately are subject to tax.

The eVito can be charged for 92 miles or 103 miles for the “extra urban range”, taking approximately 6 hours. It has cargo space for up to 905Kg. In order to be used away from home there’s a special recouping mode. The charge point is free. The vehicle monitoring software can assist you.

The PRO connect monitors the vehicles in “real time,” especially useful if you are running a business. The GPS tracking will make sure that you know where you are. The upgrade includes air conditioning and parking assist (which can also help with reversing).

The Sprinter is a large sized van while the Vito is medium sized. The Citan is the most compact. There is a eSprinter and eVito panel van, a panel van – also known as a sedan delivery van – being one which is based on the chassis of a passenger car but lacking in side windows at the rear of the vehicles.

You can ask for a video demonstration to see what the van feels like to drive. Essential for some businesses, there are chiller vans available. Alternately if you are requiring a van with extra capacity you may like to try the Vita or Citan.

The Mercedes pickup resembles a Misubishi or VW pickup though it hasn’t been all that popular unfortunately so buy it while you can before it is discontinued. It has a dual cab design and acts as either a 6 speed manual or 7 speed automatic.

Maybe this article doesn’t name the more usual suspects, but then again, most people know about the coupes and the sedans, the vehicles you may call “roadsters.” The normal passenger cars may have sealed their reputation but there are hundreds of different types which come under the Mercedes brand.

Tesla Cars – Their Success Continues

Tesla seems to have a different way of selling than its rivals. They speak of being mission-focused, consumer-focused and giving a consistent experience, but how does it stack up?

There is certainly expansion occuring, not only in the US but also they are building factories in China and Germany. But why have they reached such lofty heights?

Despite various models, such as the Roadster, Model S and Model X they seem more than a car company. With (according to CNN) revenue valued at 24.6 billion, they are also a hardware and software company.

There are other authorities which speak well of Tesla – the Owner Satisfaction Survey in 2017, run by Consumer Reports, placed them highest. The survey looked into such variables as the driving experience, comfort and value amongst other items.

These cars are in majority sold online, selling cars directly to the customers instead of using dealerships. Their showrooms are in malls and places with high footfall instead of the regular out of town places. There is remote diagnosis and even remote repair so no need to visit the customer. Relying on mobile technology they don’t make a profit on service.

The prototypes of the Tesla were revealed in July 2006 in Santa Monica to 350 invited guests. It was certainly about quality, not quantity.

A loan from the US Department of Energy in January 2010 of a massive 465 million dollars was certainly good for business. It was repaid in 2013 in full. Tesla has been developing its technology in an environmentally friendly way ever since.

Surprisingly, the patents aren’t heavily protected but can be used by other companies. As a sidenote, the number of patents registered is certainly a sign that it’s a technology company with a emphasis on the internet; most car companies have only the odd patent. While they are flexible with their patents, there are several trade secrets of Tesla which do remain private.

If you wish to let Tesla self-drive, there is an autopilot program available. If you wish to drive it yourself reviews of the cars talk about a “feeling of acceleration” in addition to “ride quality.”

There is some controversy as to whether it is actually “self-driving,” the car still needs to be supervised. The Tesla can handle various automatic tasks such as lane centering, lane changes, self-parking and summoning cars from a parking space or a garage. It all sounds pretty cool.

20% of all electric cars were produced by Tesla, which given the strong Japanese and German electric car market this is quite an achievement. So in the grand scheme of all cars made in the world, Tesla has a tiny piece, however in an apples to apple comparison to similar cars produced they are a big fish in their tiny pond.

So, are you self-driving or are you supervising the driving? In September 2020 someone was charged with driving over 90mph, it appears both “passengers” where asleep. According to the authorities these support systems are meant to be complementary, the human behind the wheel is ultimately responsible.

Despite this differentiation from how other car makers sell their cars, there is a huge amount of choice with a Tesla. The sky is the limit—did you know they were developing a space program as well?

Trying a Test Drive

There’s a number of things you can’t determine from a test drive, such as safety features and reliability. Many people feel guilty about taking a car on an overnight test drive, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

If you require a test drive, it may be tougher to do a private sale–dealerships are set up for a test drive. Ironically, if you want the car inspected, you may have more luck getting a private seller to let your mechanic or pre-purchase inspector look at the vehicle. We recommend prepurchase inspection and not just because one of our sponsors (tirekickers.biz) is a leading provider of car inspections. One of the largest used car dealers in the US absolutely forbids you from getting a prepurchase inspection…makes you wonder why, doesn’t it?

The challenging thing about test driving a car is trying to evaluate the value and safety of the car while also determining if it’s a good car for you. Pulling double duty here is the primary reason you should get a prepurchase inspection so you don’t have to think about anything except if the car is a good fit for you.

Before you drive the car:

Before you go on test drive you might like to check around the car for dents, rust and cracks. Check the windshield for little nicks. Kick the tires—take a close look at them. Take a flashlight with you and shine it on the brake pads. It’s your  responsibility to verify working brakes before you drive a vehicle.

After walking around the car, look under the hood. Check for obvious problems and check too, that the engine is cold. Sometimes when a seller knows the car has trouble starting cold, they’ll make sure to run the engine a bit before your scheduled to drive the car.

The engine should be quiet when it runs. Leave the hood up, start the car and get back out to close the hood. Listen for clicks and knocks that you can’t hear inside the cabin.

How easy do you find getting in and out? It’s these little things that determine a sale.

Are the instruments clear to you? Can you reach the controls? How easy is it to reverse? Look at the handling-can you drive it without the need of adjustment?

It helps to find out how your children find it, if they require child seats do they fit as well as the previous one? Is there enough space for their feet? And so forth.

During the Drive:

Changing gears shouldn’t be clunky and cause a crunching sound, doing so may be sign of wear.

While driving slowly down a neighborhood road let the steering wheel go and see if the car is pulling in one direction or the other. A little probably okay since most roads aren’t level, but a lot could mean you need an alignment. Slow to 10 miles an hour and jam on the brakes. The steering should be responsive, and the brakes should only stop in a straight line.

The test drive looks at the drivability or roadworthiness of the vehicle. How simple is it to operate? How are the signals and the brakes?

Car sellers seem to get nervous when you take the car down a hill, but it’s one of those things new drivers have to check. How does the car steer while feathering the brakes.

You do need to look at how the car handles in a town road, country road and on highways, just so that aren’t any surprises. Ideally, you could see how the car handles different weather conditions, but since you only have a weekend to test drive this would be asking too much.

You should also look at low speed maneuverability and parking as this can be a problem with new cars. Does it work as well as other cars you have driven?

There is technology to help you park these days, but some cars are harder to park than others. Definitely try to park the vehicle to see how hard it is. If you know you struggle with things like parallel parking, consider eliminating cars from your list that don’t have that tech, before you ask for a test drive.

An electric car especially needs to be taken for a test drive, you may not be familiarwith how to charge it for instance. You either need to be able to drive to work on a single charge or find somewhere to charge it when you’re at work. Some employers have become used to supplying a charge station at their place of work, it depends on the demand.

In the end, the question is–does the car feel right?