Q. Why are a few key things I
do when shopping for a car? — E.M., Des Moines, Iowa
A. Do homework about prices and features of cars you especially like—and can comfortably afford. Act confident with the salesperson. Remember that an auto dealer wants your money and won’t let you leave the showroom unless you make a ridiculous offer.
Q. How come entertainer Jay Leno never bought a Ferrari? He seems to own just about every other kind of interesting car. — P.S., San Francisco
A. A Leno friend told me that owners of Ferraris Leno may have wanted to buy through an intermediary found out that the real buyer was Leno and promptly upped the price. Lately, Leno was quoted as saying when asked about his lack of Ferraris that he never saw Enzo Ferrari—a stern, stubborn man—smile. I spent several days at the Indianapolis 500 track with Leno during Chevrolet-sponsored media events, but never asked him about his position on Ferraris.
Q. I bought Ford stock at a low price, but notice that the stock hasn’t gone anywhere for a long time. What gives? — D.F., Phoenix
A. Ford has serious overseas sales problems. It lately said that its 2012 second quarter will suffer international losses, and its stock consequently fell a bit. I don’t know if you bought the stock for a short- or long-term gain, but suspect you purchased it for a long-term gain. If so, hold on. .
Q. I heard that Toyota is developing a sports car with illustrious BMW. Can that be true? —T.H., Los Angeles
A. That’s correct. Both BMW and Toyota want to share their formidable technology. They also want to bring out a larger number of new models more quickly and less expensively.
Q. Some industry analysts say
sales aren’t climbing as fast as some analysts had predicted,
especially with the number of older cars on the road that should
replacement by now. Why so? — E.H., Chicago
A. Consumer confidence is still lagging, there is high unemployment and continual economic uncertainly. Also, younger people aren’t driving as much as they did in the past and many no longer feel any urgency to buy a car—as they once did. Moreover, the poor economy during the past few years has left lots of folks with lousy credit scores that don’t qualify them to get a car loan. And autos built within approximately the last ten years were built to last much longer than earlier models.
Q. What happens if you put too much oil in an engine when refilling it with oil? – F.K., Arlington Heights, Ill.
A. You can blow out your oil seals.
Q. I occasionally watch major classic car auctions on cable television and see that the really high car prices are bid by old guys in the front rows who are dressed like they’ve just left the farm. I’d like to see a few bidders dressed like slick millionaires, not a bunch of slobs. Also, the auctioneer makes so much noise that I can hardly hear comments made about the cars by the guys paid to describe them to the TV audience. — E.H., Chicago
A. I have the same impressions. But it’s all about ego, lots of money and most likely more than a few stiff drinks by bidders before the auction.
Q. What do you think of those cars with suspensions that let a driver make them bounce up and down a lot? — G.L., Los Angeles
A. They look comical, if not ridiculous, and many likely have dangerous handling qualities. But, hey, it’s a free country and owners of such cars are entitled to drive them if the vehicles are legal and no threat to others on roads.