Should I Buy a Modified Car? Tips to Avoid Buyer’s Remorse

modified car buyer beware

 

Hello, fellow car enthusiasts! Today, I would like to go over some key points for purchasing a lightly modified to heavily modified car. Relieving some of the stresses of these purchases can make for a more entertaining car hunt. This post will be geared towards a turnkey purchase, requiring little work when first purchased. We will also cover purchasing basics.

Take Your Time

When purchasing a modified car, it is key to take the process seriously. When dealing with modified cars of any sort, whether it be a show or a track car, you need to understand what you are buying and what risks may come along with it. Many times, first, second, or third-time purchases can end in disaster. It is very easy to find a car you want, but be aware that it may have flaws. When searching locally, it’s best to be cautious. Letting your desire get the best of you can result in a bad purchase.

Research and Know the Car

Going into a purchase blind is not a good idea and a common mistake. When you do find a car you want, approach it with every question you can think of—really cover everything. A little internet researching can return great results for problems with a certain car, mod, or part. When dealing with a car producing large horse power numbers on a stock rotating assembly and valve train, you should always know what it is capable of. Forums and even performance shop pages and websites list all sorts of reliable information about builds.

Understand the Vehicle’s Current Modifications

People can hide poor work. Wiring nests can be hidden behind dashes, poor engine tuning can wreak havoc, and a bad suspension setup can be dangerous. Have a clear understanding of the modifications done to the car. Sometimes internet listings can stretch the truth or exclude work done. Car enthusiasts do a lot of work at home. This is not a bad thing, some of us are more talented than others and can produce amazing work. When you meet the owner, ask who, where, and when these things were done. These cars can change owners frequently and by the time the current owner has it, sometimes there’s little known information left about the car.

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Why You Should Rotate Your Tires

What is tire rotation?

To start, tire rotation is when you change the location of each tire.  You keep the same tires and just move them around.  This helps extend the life of each tire.

Why should I rotate my tires?

The short answer is that your tires wear at different rates.  Relocating tires that experience more wear to spots where they’ll experience less wear (and vice versa) can give you the maximum life out of each tire.  That’s better than letting an individual tire wear out quickly, requiring you to replace it more often.

Why do tires wear at different rates?

You might think they would wear out at the same rate, since they go the same distance over the same roads.  Well, actually, they don’t necessarily all go the same distance.  In a turn, the outside wheel covers more distance.  Since we drive on the right hand side in the United States, left hand turns take longer.  That means our left tires cover more distance than the right ones, so they wear faster.  If you live somewhere where driving on the left side is the norm, your right wheels will wear faster.

The other factor affecting tire wear is the weight on top of the tires.  The engine is the heaviest thing in your car, and in the vast majority of cars, it’s located at the front.  That means the front tires get pushed harder against the road than the rear tires.  That also wears them faster.

The front wheels also have the duty of steering.  When steering, the tires turn across the ground, which scrapes off some of the rubber surface.  That also speeds up the wear on the front tires.

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Why Hasn’t Civic Mileage Improved in 20 Years?

If you look at the Environmental Protection Agency’s fuel mileage estimates for the 1994 Honda Civic and the 2014 Civic, you’ll see very little improvement.  To make sure we’re comparing apples to apples, let’s look at base-level sedans with a four-speed automatic.  You’ll see that when the 1994 was released, it tested at 29 miles per gallon in city driving, 36 mpg in highway driving, and 32 mpg combined.  The 2014 tested at 29 mpg city, 38 mpg highway, and 33 mpg combined.  With 20 years of technological innovation and rising gas prices, the Civic only gets one more mile per gallon of gas.  How can that be?

Certainly the car has gotten heavier over the years, and more technology has been added which can mean more drain on the fuel.  But actually, if we dig in a bit deeper, we’ll discover that the Civic has made a bigger improvement than you might think at first.  The problem is that in the above comparison, we weren’t really comparing apples to apples, because in 2008, the EPA changed the way fuel mileage is calculated.  The Civic has gotten better, but the test has gotten harder.

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The Road to a 750HP Home Built 2V Mustang

Hello all you Mustang fans and 2V enthusiasts, I am proud to share a quick breakdown and story of my good friend Daryn’s current 665 horsepower, built, 2V 4.6 Mustang! There is a lot to this build and I would like to cover some of the finer details on what makes this a rock solid build compared to others.

Daryn’s mustang started out, like many relatable projects, relatively stock, and horsepower-by-horsepower reached the end of the factory rotating assembly’s capabilities, hitting failures around the 400-500hp mark. He did not stop there, though, doing an entire rebuild complete with an Eagle 4340 crank, Manley rods, and Wiseco pistons, topped with a set of Trick Flow Twisted Wedge heads. Daryn constructed the engine itself in his own personal garage, sourcing his machine work from Bernie Thayer of Thayer’s Automotive in Hermon, ME. The whole project consumed about 1.5 years. The most difficult part of building this fire-breathing 2V was fitting the 8 rib pulley for the Vortech V7 supercharger.

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Why Is My Power Steering Making Noise This Winter?

Whining or squealing noises from your power steering system are common problems in cold weather.  What causes this?  Is your power steering simply fed up with the bad weather?  I know I do a lot of whining and squealing through January and February.  Actually, though, these noises can indicate problems with your power steering.  Fortunately, these problems are usually pretty easy to fix.

First of all, how do you know if the problem is with your power steering?  Well, simply put, you’ll notice the sound gets worse when you’re turning.  The sound could be coming either from your belt slipping on the power steering pulley, or from the power steering pump itself.

Your serpentine belt or accessory belt is made of rubber, which becomes less pliable when it’s cold.  The stiffer belt has a harder time getting a good grip on the pulleys, and the belt might slip over the pulley a bit.  That will cause a squealing noise.  Now, that’s somewhat typical in cold weather, and will be worse the colder it is.  It may not represent a huge problem, but you might want to check your belt anyway.  Belts get stiffer with age anyway, so a newer belt might keep its pliability better in the cold.  If your belt looks stiff or cracked, you should probably replace it with a new one.

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Beginner Car Tips You Need to Know

Starting your first car project can be a tall order, even for the smallest of tasks. Here are some tips you’ll wish you knew before you started.

1. Start Small, Take It Slow, and Go One Step at a Time

Project cars take time you don’t have and money you aren’t comfortable spending. If the day comes when you decide to build a purpose built race car or restore a ‘55 Chevy, the budget and time frame you have in mind won’t cut it. It all takes time, patience, and an understanding of your goals.

We’ve all seen ads online of projects being sold by the dozen—“Lost interest;” “No time, could use the money;” “My loss, your gain… need garage space.” The ever-so-common broken dream project that you thought would take one year is now going on its third, and it cost you a small fortune and at least one relationship.

My best advice for a first time project is start small, especially if you have a perfectly good car you want to tear apart. Nothing is worse than partially building a car that ran and drove until you touched it and are now selling it for a fraction of what you purchased it for. Instead, do small bolts-ons or visual modifications, and slowly move towards more time consuming projects. Complete your initial work before deciding to take on a “while I’m in here, might as well” type attitude. When you go down that rabbit hole, you will not come back.

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Can an O2 Sensor Cause a Misfire?

oxygen sensor engine misfire

My most recent automotive repair started where most do, the dreaded check engine light. In this specific case, my 2004 Nissan Titan was running a little rough and, to be completely honest, when the light came on, it wasn’t a huge surprise. What was a surprise was the number of fault codes the ECM (engine control module) threw. In total, my OBD reader found five fault codes.

The identified fault codes were:

  • P0300 – Cylinder Misfire Detected Random Cylinders
  • P1288 – Air Fuel Ratio Sensor 1 Circuit Slow Response Bank 2
  • P1289 – Cylinder Head Temperature Sensor
  • P1168 – Closed Loop Control Function Bank 2
  • P0430 – Catalyst System Efficiency below Threshold Bank 2

At this point I was a little overwhelmed. Typically if you have 1 or 2 faults codes show up, it can be easy to identify your issue but this was something different.  I had to make a decision: was I going to drop it off at the shop and spend hundreds of dollars just to have them tell me what’s wrong or dive in and try to figure it out myself? Seeing as it was winter here in new England and I didn’t have a garage to work in, sending it to the shop was very appealing, but I just couldn’t justify spending that kind of money on something I more than likely could do myself.

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