Sunday, September 30, 2012

Meguiar's Ultimate Wash & Wax

I ran out of my 10 gallon jug of Armor All Car Wash from Costco and they didn't have any new stuff over there so I went to Wal-Mart in search of some new stuff.  It's always fun to go roaming the car care aisle to see what new and interesting products are out there to keep the Optima in tip top shape.  I immediately gravitated towards this cool looking yellow stuff from Meguiar's.  It was also the most expensive at 19.99 so it has to be good right?

Along with the normal cleaning stuff it says it has a carnuba / polymer wax compound for extra protection and shine-ability.  It also says you only need one ounce per gallon of water so it would last quite a long time with 48 ounces per jug.

So I dumped an ounce or two into my bucket and set off to try out this funky yellow care cleaning product.  You can see how much I used because I took the above picture after I used it, wasn't much.  It soaped up good for the little bit I used and there was enough to do the whole car but just barely.  Next time I think I will use a little more, maybe 2 ounces.  It certainly got the car clean and it left a good shine.  I also noticed it made the water really bead up well when I was rinsing it off.  Is it worth $20..... I'm not really sure but it does work well and really put a nice shine on my rims.  Check out the end result!  DAMN THAT'S A FINE LOOKIN RIDE

Friday, September 28, 2012

Winter Tires - What's up with Canadian Tire???

So as a follow up to my post from yesterday I promised details about how similar winter tires from Canadian Tire could cost $460 more than Costco   Well today I found out that Costco was also going to be offering $70 off their Michelin X-Ice Xi3 tires so not only could I compare similar tires but I could directly price compare exact tires.  I tried calling Costco but after 7 attempts I figured I would get in the car and make the 5 minute drive.

It was worth the trip, I got a price of $970 for 4 Michelin Xi3's on winter rims installed and balanced, with the $70 discount taken into account.  This is compared to the $1,230 for the EXACT same package from Canadian Tire.  The guy said they don't have the rims in yet but they will be in next week and they sell fast (minor foreshadowing here).  Get this...... they will get 2,000 16" winter rims in stock.... and they sell fast.

So back to the issue at hand, how can Canadian Tire sell the exact same product as Costco but charge $260 more???  If you look at it the actual tires are close to the same price and they both charge about the same for installation...... BUT Costco charges $34 for winter rims while Canadian Tire charges $80!!!  With tax that is over $50 more per rim.  I asked a few questions and the rims seem to be very similar if not identical.  It's a total rip off if you buy winter rims at Canadian Tire.

So now I have to choose between $970 for the X-Ice or $770 for the Blizzaks.  I am definitely leaning towards the X-Ice now, considering the 60,000 km warranty and great reviews.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Winter Tires - Michelin vs Bridgestone

Michelin X-Ice® Xi2 Tires

It didn't take me long to figure out to go with either Bridgestone Blizzak WS-70 or Michelin X-Ice Xi3.   They are basically the top rated semi-affordable passenger tires on most sites.  The Xi3 are actually new this year, replacing the Xi2.  They have all kinds of funky technology built into them which you can read about here:

There are pros and cons to both tires.  The Blizzak's have a deeper tread which makes them better in deep snow but they also wear quicker than the Xi3 according to most reviews I read.  They wear especially quick if you drive them in above 0 temps, of course around here temperatures fluctuate quite a bit and we don't usually get the consistent deep cold snaps like in other parts of the country.  If the plan is to get Blizzaks you should wait to put them on and get them off as soon as winter is gone, but look like a great winter tire.

The Xi3 may not be as good in deep snow but they come with a 60,000 km warranty which is great for winter tires, most winter tires don't come with any treadwear warranty.  I'm sure there are some catches with that warranty but basically they are saying you will get 60,000 km before they need to be replaced.  That will probably cover 4 to 5 winters for most drivers.  These tires are supposed to be great for icy and packed down snow, which we get a lot of here.

So if both are equally priced I think the Xi3 are the way to go.  Unfortunately they are not equally priced.  Just for the heck of it I went to Crappy Tire to get a quote on 4 installed Xi3 tires on winter rims, they had a $70 rebate on a set of 4 tires.  The grand total came to $1,230...... that seemed like a lot.  I then went to Costco and got a quote on 4 installed Blizzaks on winter rims because they had $70 off a set of Blizzaks.  The grand total on those was $770.   WOW $460 difference, how can that be, the actual tire cost was $168 for the Xi3 vs $138 for the Blizzaks, that only accounts for about $150 of the difference once tax is taken into account.

Could it be that Crappy Tire is fleecing the unsuspecting consumer....... of course they are, detailed results to follow in a day or two!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

2013 Ford Fusion

Read about the First Drive: 2013 Ford Fusion

Here is a good article on the new 2013 Ford Fusion, it has a radical re-design that may scare away conservative types:

This will mean that pretty soon, the 2012 models will be increasingly difficult to sell, people will either be scared away from Fusions by the new look or love the new look and refuse to buy the older model.  Right now Ford are offering $7,000 off the 2012 Fusion SEL with AWD, and $7,500 off the Sport model (compared to $2,500 off the 2013 models).  Unfortunately they are charging an outrageous 5.79% interest which puts a dent in the savings for sure.  That's normal operating procedure for Ford of course, high discounts combined with high rates, it must work for their target market, they are the only company that consistently uses that approach.  The customer can walk away saying "I saved over $7,000 on the vehicle"...... yes and you paid almost $5,000 in interest charges as well.

I think the new model looks great, not Kia Optima EX Luxury great but better than most out there. I'd say better than all except the Optima right now for an affordable mid sized sedan.  The SE AWD looks especially appealing with an intercooled turbo 2.0L 237 HP engine.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Motorhomes - Hurricane Leslie Strikes

Tropical storm Leslie has begun lashing Newfoundland with heavy winds and rain. So there a couple weeks ago we had a tropical storm / hurricane Leslie and I quickly came to realize how unrealistic it would be for me to expect everyone to enjoy camping.  Once we lost our power it was like the world was going to end.  We did have a generator to get some things going but there wasn't a whole lot of interest in non-electronic activities.  It seemed like a good time for roughing it a little but I was the only one remotely interested.

I've snapped back to my senses and will put all motorhome related activities on hold for an indefinite number of years.  My youngest son is 10 so maybe 10 more years......

I've covered most of the motorhome basics and given some hopefully good info on trailers and campers.  The thing is now I need a new topic.  My oldest son will soon be getting his license but the outrageous cost of insurance rules out us getting him a fun car of his own.  It's almost $4,000 a year to insure anything, so even a piece of junk car would run him about $800 a month after gas and car payments.  Looking for a good used car would be good for some interesting posts though.

One of my kids wants a parrot so we could start a parrot blog...... have to think that one over.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dodge / Jeep / Chrysler / FIAT / TURF WARS Car Sale

 I couldn't resist going to the TURF WARS car sale that was going on at the local indoor soccer pitch today.  You can see the corny ad here:

They had a a bunch of mini-vans, pickup trucks, boring Chevy, Chrysler and Dodge products along with a few cool cars.

The Corvette Carbon Fibre Edition and Challenger SRT pictured to the left were the best of the lot.  Most vehicle were $2000 to $4000 off but the Vette was $30,000 off MSRP, I never bothered to ask what MSRP was for one of these suckers but I bet its a LOT, might drop back tomorrow to ask a few questions.

There was also a super cool Dodge Challenger SRT that comes with a HEMI V8 with 470 HP and 470 lb-ft of torque.  I love the retro look of these, this fully loaded beast comes in around $50,000 and they were offering $3,300 off..... no big savings there.  You can get a base SXT model for around $30,000 and that comes with a hefty 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque, none of these were at the "sale".

Other than that they had a couple of interesting Fiats, a Volt (very pricey electric vehicle) and a few nice Jeeps.

They had a registration desk set up you were supposed to sign up at so they could help you find what you were looking for.  I skipped that of course.  They had a little bouncy house and blow up slide there for kids, I might drop by with mine tomorrow afternoon to keep them occupied for an hour or so.

Friday, September 14, 2012


I have been delinquent in my posting duties..... still have lots to cover in the RV department, my apologies I will be back at it the weekend.

Also, I will soon need new winter tires for the Optima so that should be good for a few posts.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Car Deal Comparison - January to September 2012

I thought it would be good to revisit some of my car pricing data back in January to see how things have changed.  A lot of the 2012's are now coming to the end of their product cycle so there should be some good deals out there, it should be interesting to see how much the same car costs now as compared to 8 months ago.  The cars should cost less because they are almost a year old now.  If you buy a 2012 now, keep it for 5 years and then sell it it will be worth less than if you bought it 8 months ago, kept it for five years and then sold it.  So why the 2012 deals seem better now, you will probably lose the savings on the other end if you go to sell the car.  If you plan on keeping it until it dies then you actually have got yourself a good deal.

I'll show the payment on a 5 year purchase then vs now.

Hyundai Sonata GLS - Then ($530) Now ($484) due to $3,250 discount

Volkswagen Passat Comfort-line - Then ($624) Now ($581) due to interest rate drop to 0% from 3.9%

Ford Fusion SEL  - Then ($528) Now ($496) due to employee pricing discounts

Subaru Legacy Convenience package - Then ($597) Now ($555) due to rate drop

Honda Accord EX - Then ($607) Now ($567) due to rate drop

So, this kind of speaks volumes, obviously cars are cheaper in total cost at the end of their model years, by about $2,500 in total by saving about $40 per month over 60 months.  The trend is very consistent across all makes and models.  The downside is you are basically buying a year old car so you will lose this savings when you go to trade or sell the vehicle.  But if you plan to keep the vehicle for the long haul, this is definitely the way to go.