Auto Undercoating

October 25th, 2011 admin Posted in Auto No Comments »

I recently took my car into have an oil change in southern California. The mechanic took the car in, raised the hood and took one look at the engine compartment and came quickly back out to see me with a very worried look on his face. He Said, “Sir, I think that someone has forgotten to tighten the oil filler cap on your engine, there is old oil all over the inside of the engine compartment“!

I had to explain to him that I was from Canada, eastern Canada were we put lot’s of salt on the roads in the winter time and this causes our cars to prematurely rust, sometimes as quickly as in 5 or 6 years. We spray the underside of the car and the engine compartment, but not the engine, with oil to protect the car from the salt and from rusting. He had never seen this before even though he had worked on many Canadian cars from western Canada. Apparently this process is not as popular in western Canada as it is in eastern Canada. ( If readers are familiar with this process in the US, please leave a comment in the comment section)

Anyway this conversation made me wonder if the $80 I spend every year getting my care coated with a special undercoat is really worth it or not.

Cars Driven in the South

Since we were in California, you get used to almost never seeing a car with rust damage on them. In fact you see many old cars on the roads, some of which are in pristine condition. Many cars require a new paint job because the direct sun has burned the paint or caused it to fade over the years, however the metal is still protected and not rusting at all. The only difference between our roads and southern California roads is that there is no salt spread on the roads in the winter time!

Where You Live

Where you live really seems to make a difference in the amount of salt on the roads. With temperatures that are just below freezing, salt spread on the roads will melt the snow quickly and keep the roads from icing. If the temperature is well below 20 degrees Celsius or  zero degrees Fahrenheit, salt does not work well. This may explain why the western part of Canada does not use as much salt as the eastern part of Canada and the north eastern portions of the US since their temperatures are cooler than us.

Salt on the Roads

The salt on the roads can be really heavy. If you have ever had to follow a salt truck you will know what we mean. It is just pouring out and it gets inside every nook and cranny of your car waiting to begin the process of rusting your cars steel frame. This is were auto undercoating can really help. If you spray your car thoroughly and get the oil into these small places, the salt cannot get in there and the oil will protect your car.  Spraying the car every year before the winter season begins will ensure that your car is well protected.

Waiting until after your car has been exposed to the salt may mean that it is not worth it to spray your car since the oil will lock in the salt mixture that is already on your car  in all of the wrong places. Get your undercoated every year in the fall before the first salt application on the roads.

How Long You Keep Your Car

It costs from $70 to $120 every year to have your car sprayed with under coating depending on were you go and the type of vehicle you drive. If you are only going to keep your car for 4 or 5 years then it may not be worth it to spend this money since most people buying a used car are more interested in whether the car is mechanically sound and how many miles are on it. Undercoating may make it more competitive in terms of pricing, however it is unlikely that you will get your money’s worth out of it.

On the other hand if you are one of these people who like to keep a car for 7 to10 years or even longer, then undercoating may be worth the money. Anything that keeps the salt away from the body of the car is definitely worth it. You just have to look at cars that have not been driven in winter conditions to see how well the body of the car stands up.

Stone chips are everyone’s menace, from cracked windshields to chipped paint. You can see the chips on the fenders and the hood of your car. You cannot see the stone chips on the underside and that is were the salt is going to get in and start the rust action on your vehicle as well. Undercoating every year will not only stop the entry of the salt, but will slow the rusting process down if does get started at these spots.

It is Messy

As my mechanic said to me, it looks as if the oil cap on the engine was off. There is no doubt that it is messy and every time you open the hood of your car you are going to get some on your hands. The point is that you should be careful especially if you are wearing good clothes, but it is there for a reason and that is to help you get the most out of your investment that you can. Some  people cannot stand their car being coated with oil and if you look at any show type car, there is not a spec of oil on them. However if you use your car every day during the winter you want all of the protection you can get, mess or no mess.


We talked about whether auto undercoating enhances the sales price of your car when you sell it. Most people think that it helps to sell the car, however you probably will not get much more money for the car, undercoated or not providing that there are no rust spots showing anywhere on the car.

Once rust begins to appear, then the value of the car drops very quickly. In this respect, if applying under coating prevents rust from appearing or at least delays it, then the increased price you can get for your car definitely pays for the cost over the years you will have had the car.

We have seen numerous comments on various web sites for and against auto undercoating.  We would appreciate yours as well on this post.

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Should You Purchase Snow Tires

September 13th, 2011 admin Posted in Auto No Comments »

We are writing this post in mid September knowing that winter is only a few months away and wondering if this year we should put snow tires on the car or just use the all season tires that we have been using for the past couple of years. There is no question that snow tires provide better traction on ice and snow, however with a front wheel drive car, purchasing four new snow tires is an expense we could do with out.

Should you purchase snow tires?

But let’s get back to the main issue of whether we should purchase snow tires or not. Many people will drive with all season tires on their car all year round. In most situations all season tires will do a great job, however there are times during the winter when you might be stuck at work late or at the mall and it is snowing hard making driving conditions very treacherous. All season tires are designed to do a good job in all driving conditions, while snow tires will do a great job in icy conditions.  Would you rather drive on all seasons through six or eight inches of snow or would you rather have snow tires on your car?

There is no question, your car will perform much better in the snow with snow tires and you and your family will be much safer as well. We all know people who say they will just not go out in their car when there is a lot of snow on the ground. For most of the time they may get away with this approach, however sometime during the winter they will get caught in a snow storm and then it is a really scary time on slippery roads.

Snow tires have tread patterns that will grip better on snow covered roads. They are also made of softer rubber which makes them more flexible even in cold weather so that they can actually place more surface area on the ice and snow to get a better grip. Since the rubber is soft, it is not a good idea to continue to use snow tires in warm weather. Soft rubber will wear off the tires more quickly in warm weather.

For the sake of a several hundred dollars why take the chance?

New Rims or Use the Existing Rims

A lot of people will purchase new steel rims to mount their snow tires on so that when it comes to changing tires, they can even do it themselves if they wish. The other main advantage is that you can have the auto shop mount and balance the tires well ahead of the rush that always happens when the first snow falls.

Many people will wait until the last moment so that they can avoid having to pay for the tires until the last minute.  When that first snow comes, they not only risk their vehicles on slippery streets, they also have to stand in line to purchase tires and have them installed.  Purchase them early and store them in your garage for when you need them and install the new rims with the tires already mounted and balanced yourself. Installing four snow tires already mounted on steel rims is no worse than changing a flat tire four times!

Another advantage of using steel rims is that they also protect the more expensive rims that came with the vehicle when it was first purchased  from the salt and slush of winter driving.  Also, every time a mechanic changes tires, there is always some damage to your rims due to scratches from the tools etc, so avoiding tire changes also preserves the shiny new look of your OEM rims.

Legal Requirement

There are some jurisdictions in North America that now require all cars of owners residing in that jurisdiction to have snow tires on their cars during the winter. The Province of Quebec has recently made this into law and a year ago there was a huge rush on by anyone living in Quebec to have snow tires installed on their cars. In fact there was a general shortage of snow tires for a short period since they were in such huge demand.

There are some states and provinces that require snow tires on mountain roads and in some cases chains on tires as well due to the slippery conditions. It is for your own safety, so put them on.

There may be other jurisdictions that have the same requirement for all vehicles however the writer is not aware of any with this requirement. If our readers are aware of any, perhaps you can leave a comment about any that have this requirement for snow tires. Readers should note that visitors are not required to have snow tires on their car.

The province made this significant decisions based on the fact that it would reduce accidents, damage to cars and reduce health costs significantly as well as potential deaths due to slippery roads. Much like the seat belt laws which have been proven to save lives, running snow tires on your car will also save lives and damage.

Snow Tires on all Four wheels?

Some people feel that all they need to do is place snow tires on the drive wheels of their car, even on front wheel drive cars. While it is true they will have better grip when accelerating with snow tires, stopping can be a problem. Application of the brakes on snowy or icy roads may cause the non drive wheels to spin out since they do not have as good a grip and you may find your car spinning in the middle of the road. All dealers today will recommend that you purchase snow tires for all wheels on your car to ensure that each wheel contributes to controlling your car equally on icy roads.

If you are still in doubt about snow tires, just watch a few news stores when there is a major snow storm. Reports of many accidents, with people hurt should be enough to convince you to spend the money on adding snow tires to your vehicle!

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Altima 2.5 SL

May 18th, 2010 Paul Posted in Auto No Comments »

We just purchased an Altima 2.5 SL from Nissan Canada. We are absolutely thrilled with the car and all of the features and capabilities of the car. We drove and Infinity G35 for four years and decided that we were not going to spend the kind of money that a G35 represents, opting for a car that was lower priced and also more economical when it comes to gas mileage. We did not expect to have all of the features that are standard with the infinity class, however we were pleasantly surprised.

One of the features we particularly liked on our previous car was the key less FOB. Basically the way this works is that you must have the FOB on your person or in a ladies purse that is within about 10 to 15 inches of the car. There is no need to take it out of your pocket. Instead all you need to do is push a button just under the door handle on the outside to unlock the doors. No need to fish for your keys while trying to balance packages held in your hands. The same feature applies to opening the trunk of the car as well. Of course you can use the FOB to open the doors and the trunk if you want by pressing the appropriate button on the key fob. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nissan Leaf In Calgary?

May 2nd, 2010 admin Posted in Auto No Comments »

So I’m getting itchy to buy a completely ZERO emission car like the new Chev Volt or the Nissan Leaf. I don’t like the fact that the Volt has a small combustion engine to generate power for the batteries during longer trips – I want to get away from any kind of petroleum product if I can.

The Leaf can only go 100 miles and only 90 miles an hour, which I have no problem with really, it’s just that we have to drive from Calgary to Saskatoon a few times each year, and now we have to drive to Courtney on Vancouver Island. We want to drive long distance, so I suppose we’ll have to settle for our 2006 Prius. Read the rest of this entry »

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Used 2006 Prius Great Condition (88,000 Kilometers)

November 14th, 2009 admin Posted in Auto 5 Comments »

So my wife and I just bought a used 2006 Prius this week and this video post is for my Mom and Dad (and whoever else comes along her to Zazbot shopping). I have added a few pics of this light blue Prius as well. Every time we drive this Prius the more we love it. We like everything about it. Smooth, quiet, extremely fuel efficient, and fairly done good lookin’ if you ask your humble narrator today. Ask me in another year and we’ll see if I don’t hate the Prius beyond belief. Once the novelty has worn off you never know.

As you can see in the video, we cart big Golden Retrievers around with us everywhere we go. Anyway, here are some picture of this used 2006 light blue Prius.

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2008 Porsche Cayenne – Dreaming of the Best SUV

February 14th, 2008 admin Posted in Auto No Comments »

Porsche Cayenne Interior

Well there is no doubt that I don’t personally have the budget to afford a Porsche Cayenne, but I have the vision of owning one. Now, in saying that, I fully understand that the cost of maintenance on any Porsche is high, and I will be in for some big bills whenever I need to remove and replace parts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Japanese Mini Truck Prices, Web Sites, and Manufacturers

January 15th, 2008 admin Posted in Auto No Comments »

As promised we’re writing this piece on Japanese mini truck manufacturers. There are several Japanese truck makers that mass-produce these handy utility vehicles. Below is a short list of manufacturers, and further below that, we detail some information on each Japanese mini truck.


Note: these lists are not in any particular order.

Japanese Mini Truck Manufacturers

Japanese Mini Truck Web Sites (sample)

  • America’s Mini Truck CenterExcerpt – “With our handy Japanese Mini Trucks you have the comfort of your truck for both the winter and the summer months, they are equipped with a full heating system and can have a great cooling system as well.”
  • Best Trade BlogExcerpt – “Mini Trucks are small trucks from Japan which are very popular for off-road use in the U.S. The Mini Truck also known as the Kei Truck originated in Japan in 1964. In Japan they are used for everything from work on the farm to deliveries to fire engines. in Japan these mini trucks can be seen everywhere from downtown Tokyo to remote villages in the mountains. The term Kei refers to a the Kei class of vehicle in Japan which is a sub-compact class with engine displacement limited to 660cc.”
  • MacTown Mini TrucksExcerpt – “In Japan, mini trucks are used for normal travel. However, the cost of owning an older model mini-truck increases significantly. The Japanese government imposes high taxes and fees on older models because the emissions increase considerably. There is little to no market for used or older mini-Trucks in Japan because of the high costs of owning one.
  • Buckeye Mini TrucksExcerpt – “these trucks have a thousand different uses like farm utility vehicles, off-road hunting vehicles, maintenance vehicles for schools, university campuses, golf courses, large factories, shipping yards, warehouse facilities, large ranches or dairies, horse stables, theme parks, camp grounds, airports, orchards, landscaping companies, nurseries, local municipalities, security companies, movie sets, cemeteries, the possibilities for these trucks are endless.”
  • Kei Cars – Excerpt – “Kei Cars are extremely popular in Japan for a few reasons. Firstly, substantial insurance and tax savings are given by the government as an incentive to owning these cars. Secondly, due to their compact nature, these cars are a perfect fit for driving in the city as they offer excellent maneuverability and handling. Thirdly, all Kei Cars are incredibly fuel efficient in both city and highway use. Typically 40-60 MPG is the norm.”

Our Japanese Mini Trucks Resources

We have started a new Japanese mini truck resource for visitors. The mini truck phenomenon is one we’re very interested in, and we will be commissioning auto industry writers to add their two cents worth. Our Kei truck (or Japanese mini truck) home page is here. We have separated our Japanese mini truck information into specific pages of interest. Below is a short list of just a few mini trucks.

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Japanese Mini Trucks

January 9th, 2008 admin Posted in Auto No Comments »

We will be doing an in-depth post on Japanese mini trucks before the end of the week. Looking forward to this as I’ve personally been fascinated with these incredibly durable, practical, and efficient. You can see them on farms, on golf courses, campuses, and resorts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Passion Cabriolet – Smart Car

November 12th, 2007 admin Posted in Auto No Comments »


 Passion Cabriolet

The Passion Cabriolet is one of the more popular Smart Cars and it has many exciting features for you to discover. The smart environmental policy follows strict DaimlerChrysler environmental guidelines, and is consistently implemented in all phases of the product life. Protecting the environment, energy efficiency and preservation of natural resources are hallmarks of this policy. It starts with smart development through to the production of the cars in smartville.

The Passion Cabriolet has all the features of the passion coupe plus an upgraded radio and sound system that includes an mp3 compatible in-dash 6 CD changer. The main difference lies in the soft top with a heated rear glass window that is fully automatic and can be infinitely adjusted to any position while driving at any speed. For the full cabriolet experience, simply remove the side roof bars – taken out in no time – and stow them in a special compartment in the tailgate.

To see the smart fortwo in every color, click here.

Standard Equipment

Engine/ Drivetrain
1.0 L, 71 HP, 3 cylinder engine
5 speed automated manual transmission
Paddle shifters

9-spokes alloy wheels (15″) with front tires: 155/60 R15; rear tires 175/55 R15
Tire pressure control system


Fully automatic convertible top with glass rear window
Projector beam halogen headlights
Side indicators in yellow
Exterior mirror cap in tridion color


3-spoke leather sports steering wheel with steering wheel shift paddles (incl. leather gear knob)
Basic seat with weight detection and seatbelt recognition
Flat folding passenger seat with backrest adjustment
Storage areas beside the steering wheel and in both doors
Coin holder
Dome light
Mirror in passenger sun visor


Lockable glove compartment


smart premium radio (AM/FM, mp3-compatible 6 disc CD changer; aux input jack for mp3 device [radio 10])
smart sound system (2 tweeters, 2 mid range, subwoofer)


Full-size driver and passenger airbags
Head/Neck side airbags
esp – electronic stability program with hill start assist
Anti-lock braking system (abs) with electronic brake force distribution
Hydraulic dual-circuit brake system
Integral safety seats
Seat belts with belt tensioner and belt-force limiter
Drive lock – auto-activation of the central locking when driving
Top Tether for child restraint system
Panic button on key
Tire repair kit

Functional/electrical equipment
Air conditioning with automatic temperature control (incl. dust, pollen filter)
Power windows with one-touch lowering function
Electronic and heated side mirrors
Central locking system with remote control
Instrument cluster with multifunctional display (fuel-level indicator, coolant-level indicator, residual fuel indicator, service interval indicator, trip mileage indicator, clock)
Outside temperature indicator
Indicators with lane changer function
Front windshield wiper with speed-dependent interval wiping and wiper-/wash function
Electric rear window defroster
Electric tailgate release
Locking gas cap
12-volt socket, with cover

Factory installed options:   

Single options  
Metallic paint $225
Silver metallic tridion safety cell $175
Alarm system $160
Power steering $450
Heated seats $220
Fog lamps $110
Additional instruments $120
Option packages:   

Comfort Package $850
– Power steering
– Leather seats
– Heated seats
– Rain and light sensor
– Auto-off headlamps with exit delay

The Passion Cabriolet by Smart starts at $17,000. You can test drive one any of the Smart car dealers in your country.

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