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Top 10 Ways to Beat a Car Dealer | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
Here are the updated top 10 tips for beating a car dealer and buying a cheap new car without getting ripped off. It's how you can fight back, and organise a much better deal on basically any new car. Buying a car is not fun. Everyone on the other team is match fit, and systematically incentivised to rip you off - if you let them. But it doesn't have to be this way. Here's how to recognise the car dealer's tricks and sidestep the traps. Let's focus on the car you want. It might not look like a commodity, but that's exactly what it is. There's no qualitative difference between the car you want at Dealership A and the same car at Dealership B. They came out of the same factory. Their mothers can't tell them apart. The dealership doesn't change them in any way, or add intrinsic value. The dealership is actually just a fancy vending machine. When you're buying a commodity, the only factor that matters is the price. Lowest price wins. That's what you need to deliver. For more advice, fill in the contact form on the right at www.autoexpert.com.au - I'll help you see just how low the price on your new car really goes. I'll also show you how to put your trade-in out to tender and arrive at the highest possible price, if you lack the time or the inclination to sell your old car privately. Buying a car is not an uplifting experience. It should be, but it's not. It's challenging, stressful and generally fairly unpleasant. But it doesn't have to be a rip-off. You absolutely can drive away in a cheap new car without being absolutely violated by a car dealer. Especially now.
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Novated Lease Basics, Tricks and Traps | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
Here’s how to avoid GST on a new car - without breaking the law. It's one of the most cost-effective and tax-effective ways for an ordinary mortal on a salary to own a new car. http://autoexpert.com.au/buying-a-car/salary-sacrifice-car Novated leasing - also called ‘salary sacrifice’ - makes real sense for a lot of employees. It’s often the best way to own a new car. You can even do it on late-model used cars. I’m John Cadogan - the founder of AutoExpert.com.au - the place where Australian new car buyers save thousands on their next new cars … when they’re not roasting on Bondi Beach watching European tourists working on their sun tans. I handle a lot of novated leasing enquiries every month. A novated lease is a simple three-way agreement between you, your employer and a finance company. Basically, you agree to the payments. They come out of your pre-tax salary. The Federal Government gives you a big, fat 80 per cent free kick on the fringe benefits tax (even if the vehicle never gets used for work). Your employer makes the payments as a payroll deduction, from your pre-tax salary. So some of the money you would otherwise have paid in tax helps get you the car. That’s where the term ‘salary sacrifice’ comes from. That also reduces your taxable income. And the finance company does the administrative heavy lifting. They also technically own the car, and they lease it to you - which is why it’s a novated LEASE. The LEASE part is a huge benefit to you, too. The finance company buys the car as part of their operational expenditure. And that means they get to claim the GST as an input tax credit. So, effectively, they get the GST back, and they pass this saving on to you. Bottom line - you pay the ex-GST price for the car. On a $40,000 car, that’s an up-front saving of $3600 - a walk-up start, with no negotiation required. On a fifty grand car it’s four-and-a-half thousand off. No questions asked. Show me the other way a normal employee gets the GST off a new car... More employers should agree to novated leases for their key staff - and for purely selfish reasons. Think about it - if you’re an employer, you want to motivate and incentivise your key employees, right? Because they’re the ones making you the big bucks. You want to keep them pumping up the productivity. Here’s a small problem: Most incentives cost money. But a novated lease is essentially a zero cost incentive for you. Like, here’s that several thousand dollar saving up front. Here’s your free kick on the tax front that effectively gets your employee either a better car for the same take-home spend, or the same car for a lower take-home spend. And if the employee leaves the business, the lease is theirs - it departs with them - it’s not a residual burden for you. It’s a virtual zero-cost option for an employer, with huge benefits on the table for the employee, and it’s a super-effective incentive for those employees who are critical to the success of your business. Do not get railroaded by a lazy, locked-in novated lease provider amping up the fees and charges. Do the sums - because there are other ways to get cheap car finance, and it’s philosophically reprehensible to see an arsehole financier profit from your hard work. If you want help with a new car, the finance, novated lease, whatever - hit me up via the website. And remember: Always be yourself. Unless you can be a Jedi Knight. In that case, always be a Jedi. It’s the secret to happiness, and you heard it here first. I’m John Cadogan. I hope this helps. Thanks for watching.
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2018 Subaru WRX Review | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
I just stepped out of the STi and into this base-model manual WRX - and frankly I expected to be disappointed at being punted back to economy from business class. Happily enough, I wasn’t. Far from being underwhelmed at my ersatz demotion to economy class - I actually kinda like it. In some ways it’s better than the STI. Purists will be pounding the keyboard indignantly, but I can think of 12,000 really good reasons up front why I like it a whole lot more than an STI. One of the unfortunate consequences of separating WRX from Impreza is that the new Impreza (released a year ago in November 2016) does not herald a platform-up re-jig of this 2018 WRX. A new model is not due until 2019 - so this version is more of a comprehensive primp of the hair and makeup. This is sticky and firm - there’s a joke there, I’m sure. But let’s keep it classy, for a change. To me, this car is kinda the Goldilocks tuning for a performance car that you could drive every day. WRX sits seemingly dead flat in the corners, the steering is precise and the ride’s firm but not brutal like the STI. And it’s so neutral - meaning you can tweak its attitude easily with the throttle. Steering is maybe a frag light - but it’s very precise, and the ride is firm but not brutal. I could drive this car every day and be pretty happy - this is in the context of owning a performance car. It’s not the epitome of comfort. It’s the epitome of great value and chuckableness. That’s not a word. But it should be. In many ways it doesn’t choose to highlight all your driving deficiencies the way an STI does. WRX proves to me you really don’t need 100 different driver-selectable modes and settings. This thing just works, out of the box - tha Apple Mac of performance cars. Wet, dry, sealed, unsealed, it’s a blast. And despite the firm ride, it’s not skittish on rough surfaces. It’s like: This is a performance car. Here’s your firm suspension - no ‘comfort’, ‘sport’ and ‘track’ modes. Here’s your direct steering. Here’s your 245/40s on 18s. Here’s your symmetrical AWD. Wet, dry, sealed, unsealed, it’s a blast. And despite the firm ride, it’s not skittish on rough surfaces. It’s also very forgiving in the way a BRZ is not. I’d be getting the interplay between steering and throttle dead right in the wet in a BRZ, unless you want the rear to overtake the front. WRX will give you more rope - and more warning that the limit is imminent. But it will ultimately let you hang yourself if you drive like a Muppet. A couple of criticisms: The six-speed manual is pretty notchy. I’d describe it as adequate rather than a delight. There’s no sat-nav on the base model, and it’s about $800 a year for servicing at six-month intervals - in a market where the competition is on 12. And I get that turbos are hard on oil, so maybe the more frequent servicing is ultimately a decent investment in longevity. We’ve had WRXs for a quarter of a century now - and there’s no question this is the best one ever. That’s on objective criteria - you’re allowed to be infatuated with the past. There can absolutely be a special place in your heart for the WRC Blue bug-eye hatch. Just be aware you’re looking at history through rose-coloured glasses. It’s also pretty clear the WRX recently has lost its place in the drug-dealing, ram-raiding hall of fame. And, as nostalgic as those glory days were, I’m sure senior management at Subaru Central is patting itself on the back for that. Today’s WRX is a car that a fat middle-aged white man could own without feeling like a paid-up member of the Neddy Smith fan club. WRX is six seconds to 100 kays an hour for $40-odd grand. And in the wet it’s one of the fastest, most confidence inspiring cars on the road. Always super-rewarding to drive. It’s 0.8 seconds slower than an STI to 100 - a saving of about $15,000 a second, when you calculate it out. On that basis alone, I’ll take one.
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How to Beat a Car Dealer at the End of the Month | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
People get this wrong all the time. And then a car salesman bends them over. My number one tip to new car buyers is to shop at the end of the month. It’s strategically important to go to battle when the enemy is weak, right? That’s the end of the month. Unfortunately, though, a lot of potential car buyers go in at the end of the month, but get the approach monumentally wrong. They blow the deal, and it costs them thousands. I’ve worn hidden cameras into car dealerships on top-rating tabloid TV in Australia, to expose car dealers’ grubby little secrets. And I’ve built my business off the back of deploying countermeasures on the showroom floor on behalf of car buyers. So let me tell you how the end of the month really works. When you look at all the shiny new cars there in the dealership, realise one thing: The carmaker has already sold them. The dealer has purchased them. They’re his problem now. He bought them on credit and the interest hurts him in the wallet. It’s payable at the end of the month. He needs to clear that stock. It’s imperative. The importer who sold him those cars is under pressure, too. They need to account to the mother ship overseas - the factory - every month - because when you own a factory there’s a real simple equation: production equals sales, otherwise you go tits up. Importers therefore incentivise dealers. They say: Your quota this month is X. There is a massive carrot dangled out the front of this quota, and the message is simple: Make your quota, we’ll pay you a huge bonus. Don’t make your quota: no fat bonus for you. The end of the month is a strategically significant time to buy a car, because it’s good to go into battle when the enemy is most likely to be vulnerable. So what you need to find is a dealer who has the car you want in stock, and who is also just short of making that all-important sales target. That’s a plan, right? It’s the 29th of the month right now, as I’m getting this report package together. For the past several days I’ve been deluged with end-of-the-month enquiries from punters. It happens every month. And a lot of those people are making a critical error. This happens every month, too. The error is: Some people seem to think that simply turning up at the end of the month in some way guarantees a great deal, as if the rest of the process will just unfold automatically in their favour. This is the wrong way to think about the end of the month. At its core, I think this presumption exists because a lot of people really don’t want the confrontation that buying a new car entails. And trust me, it’s intrinsically confrontational - even if the wolf is wearing Armani and a Rolex. Some people hate confrontation so much that they imagine some magic time when confrontation in dealerships just evaporates. Like, they’re gunna walk into the dealership, sing kum-bah-yah, braid each other’s hair for some suitable interval, and drive out with a great deal - all because they got the date right. Frankly this is nuts. It’s a bit like going into battle at exactly the right time, breaching the door with that glint of malevolence in your eye … but forgetting to draw your weapon. Result: you get shot in the face. And this is exactly what will happen at a dealership if you forget to draw and fire. Even if the date is right.
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Top 20 Ways to Beat a Car Dealer | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
Full report: http://autoexpert.com.au/buying-a-car/top-20-ways-to-beat-a-car-dealer The Top 20 ways to beat a car dealer Buying a new car from a car dealership is awful. Getting that new car should be a pleasant experience, but it’s not. The deck is stacked against you, and your opponent (the car salesman) is match fit. That car salesman is not on your side. The dealership is not ‘helping you’. The dealership's mission is to extract your cash - as much of it as possible. Car salesmen have a playbook full of tricks and traps. They do it every day. This video - and these 20 tips for beating the dealer - is the cure. 1. Shop at the end of the month 2. Buy a car in stock 3. Pitch a low offer 4. Abrogate the limit 5. Walk away 6. Sell your used car & get independent finance 7. The dealership is a vending machine 8. Any time a car dealer talks, it’s probably bullshit 9. Time pressure is definitely bullshit 10. There’s plenty of profit in the deal 11. Normal conversational rules and etiquette don’t apply 12. Don’t answer questions - ask them 13. Don’t cave in to emotional pressure 14. Dealer delivery is a scam 15. Don’t queue up 16. Scare tactics (protection) 17. Accessories 18. Extended warranties 19. Branded insurance 20. Use a broker - that’s where I come in. My strong advice is: use all of these tips at the dealership. Negotiate the best deal you can on your next new car. Don’t pay a deposit. Don’t sign a contract. Don’t succumb to any of the car dealer's BS about the deal evaporating when you walk out the door (it won’t). Then contact me online at AutoExpert.com.au - I’ll get my brokerage onto this purchase, and they’ll use their inside knowledge and bulk-buying power to cut even more cash out of the car you want. There’s no obligation. It’s easy, quick and painless, and it’s not a scam. We’re currently saving new car buyers a total of more than $100,000 off the recommended drive-away price of new cars - every month. You can save too.
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2018 Subaru XV Review (A.K.A. Subaru Crosstrek) | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
What strikes me more than anything is: XV is what Forester used to be - a substantively pumped-up Impreza. Same footprint - but a bit over five inches higher. It’s compact and affordable. Just right for active lifestyle adventuring - but not proper blue-singlet off-roading. It’s typically Subaru - well built, good ergonomics, and an easy to understand range - four variants with one powertrain. New Global platform - that’s the fundamental architecture. A two-litre Boxer four and a CVT with Symmetrical AWD. The EyeSight safety system is brilliant. If you care about your loved ones - you really do want EyeSight. Don’t scrimp on this - it’s only $2400 more, and you get a bigger touch screen and dual-zone climate air thrown in. It’s a no-brainer. EyeSight also adds adaptive cruise, which is just awesome. So good on the freeway - the car automatically adapts to congestion, slows down and maintains a safe following distance, then speeds back up. You’d never go back. The weight is within 100kg of Impreza. It’s the same powertrain. Therefore: Very similar performance. Basically line-ball with other strong two-litre petrol SUVs - the 2.0-litre Sportage and Tucson, and the 2.0-litre CX-5. XV keeps up in traffic and on the highway. It’s reasonably quiet and it goes where you tell it to go. Perversely the boot space is smaller even than Impreza (310L versus 345 on Impreza) and just to get the volume in perspective (a lot of people think SUVs are bigger because … SUV) the new i30 is 345 litres. Subaru only provides a space-saver spare, which is kinda at odds with the wild adventuring this vehicle is otherwise so well set up to accommodate. And I don’t know why they do that - the other SUVs (Forester and Outback) see fit to run full-sized spares). It seems an odd choice. This begs an obvious question: All things considered, then why not just buy an Impreza hatch? Same powertrain. Same parking lot footprint. Impreza even holds more luggage. But it’s a close thing. One reason might be ground clearance. The other might be your mobility. The extra height - 135mm or 5 inches adds both. So if you want to traverse rough roads, XV is going to be a better option, and if you have a bad back or a bung knee - ditto. Getting in and out is just going to be easier. Subaru added X-Mode to extend the all-terrain envelope. It chills out the throttle response at low speed to minimise the chance of you provoking traction-sapping wheelspin. Hardens up the limited-slip diff and also sharpens up brake response. This is all for the slippery stuff, under 40km/h. Under 20: HDC - you take your feet off and let the computer manage that, and just steer. It’s a real plus when traction is low - if you want to avoid becoming a toboggan - which - trust me, you do.
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Is it OK to lubricate wheel studs and lug nuts? | Auto Expert John Cadogan
Should you lubricate wheel nuts? Lubricating wheel nuts: so hotly debated by armchair experts. The owners manual says: clean threads and no lube (in many cases). I say: definitely use lubricant on wheel nuts (actually on the studs). But up front I am not telling you to do this. My default advice on everything related to your car is: don’t deviate from the owner’s manual. What manufacturers are trying to avoid with their ‘no lube’ proclamation is a worst-case scenario - where someone lubricates the threads, and then some knucklehead uses an over-enthusiastic rattle gun on those same threads, over-tightening the nuts well beyond the boundaries of reason and common sense. The lube increases the stretch of the thread for any given amount of applied torque. That makes sense, right? And there’s a limit to how far you can stretch those studs safely. Worst-case scenario: the stud over-torques, it yields (which is a point of no return separating the elastic deformation (temporary stretch) you want from plastic deformation (which is permanent distortion you definitely don’t want). If a stud yields it no longer provides effective clamping force. This is bad - no doubt about it. Manufacturers acknowledge this risk by over-designing the studs. Massively over-designing them. Just doing a quick thought experiment here - I actually crunched the numbers a few minutes ago, roughly. A common wheel stud size for cars is 12 millimetres. And I suspect they’re Grade 8.8 fasteners (that’s a common high-tensile category - not to brittle, reasonably tolerant of abuse, but no good for NASA, probably). This is an educated guess about grade 8.8 because most carmakers specify about 100 Newton-metres assembly torque. And most bolt manufacturers specify 98 Newton-metres for M12 8.8 threads. QED, right? Carmakers have just rounded up for the spec in the manual. So five of these M12 8.8 studs will deliver 35.7 tonnes of clamping force between the wheel and the brake disc - absolute maximum, with all of the studs at the yield point. And you don’t want to go there, but that’s the limit before bad shit starts to happen. 100 Newton-metres on M12 8.8 gives you about 4.2 tonnes of clamping force per stud. Which is about 20.8 tonnes for the five, holding the wheel on. That’s only 58 per cent of the way to the yield point. In other words, you’d have to stretch each stud 72 per cent more to get it to yield. A bit of anti-seize is simply not going to achieve that. It’s just not. There’s a massive safety margin in play. The case for lubricating the studs is: You get a flat tyre in the boonies and you can’t undo the damn lug nuts using the standard wrench that comes with the car... ...because A) - it’s repulsively inadequate, bordering on being a joke, and B) that over-enthusiastic rattle gun that may have been used to secure them? It’s no match for that. For starters, I wouldn’t be letting anyone near my car for servicing or to replace the tyres, service the brakes, rotate the tyres - whatever - if they use a rattle gun. Forget it. If that’s your business’s wheel-installation protocol, take someone else’s money, because you’re not getting mine. There’s a wheel nut torque specification in the owner’s manual. In every owner’s manual. I’d be referring to that, and I’d be ensuring anyone who puts their hands on my car uses a torque wrench. For lube, you can use whatever you want, but the best stuff is probably that copper-based anti-seize compound. Which looks like grease with powdered coppery stuff in it. Principally because it’s made of grease with powdered coppery stuff in it. I’m sure it’s highly technical. A little smear is all you need. Get a torque wrench and some anti-seize. Every man needs a torque wrench. I’ve got three. A torque wrench and anti-seize is not a hot tub full of cheerleaders, but it’s somewhat close. Good for all kinds of things that you might have to undo one day. Like dancing nude on the boardroom table and waving your reproductive organs in the chairman’s wife’s face. A ‘command-Z’ button for life’s unfortunate slip-ups. Another ace hedge against being stranded where the extras from Deliverance are all domiciled, with a flat tyre you cannot remove is: Get one of these and carry it in the car - a proper half-inch-drive breaker-bar with a four-inch extension and the right sized socket for your car. Finally - take heart. There’s no road-going epidemic of wheels falling off in service, out there, in reality. This is purely because those studs are massively over-designed. On every car. Massively. They will certainly tolerate a little anti-seize - as long as you don’t also go nuts on them with the rattle gun from hell.
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How to Test Drive a New Car
Most people test driving their next new car at a dealership get it horribly wrong. Here’s how to get it right. I’ve driven thousands of different new cars over more than 20 years. I love it. It’s one of the best bits of the job: getting in new cars and figuring out what they’re good at - and not so good at. Like everything else, a test-drive is a game with rules. It’s an essential step in choosing the right new car. There’s a lot at stake, too. So this video shows you everything you need to know. Before you start - make sure the car is insured. If it’s not, and if you crash, and if it’s your fault, you could be in for monumental financial pain. Make sure you know exactly what the insurance excess is, too. Dealers often ramp the excess right up to keep the premiums low. So a mistake you make out there on the road might still cost you five grand - even though the car is - technically - insured. This video shows you the top 10 tips for test driving a new car at a dealership. More at www.autoexpert.com.au
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How to choose the right car in 2017 | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
Buying the wrong new car is one hell of an expensive mistake. So here’s how to get it right. In most markets in the developed world there’s an overload of choice. Here in Australia, there are (let’s call it) 300 vehicles from 60 brands - and each one of those brands can give you several dozen typically bullshit reasons why each of their vehicles are the best. It’s so easy to stall on the grid - confounded by choice - especially if you’re that typical mainstream car buyer who doesn’t think about new cars when you’re not actually in the market to buy one. I’m John Cadogan, the founder of AutoExpert.com.au - the place where Australian new car buyers save thousands on their next new cars, and I see this a lot - because new cars are hard to buy. If you need a new TV or a new refrigerator, you can go to a retailer and see the competitors side-by-side. If you get a good sales consultant they can give you some insight on which brand has the best deal right now, and which brands see the fewest returns and warranty claims. You can’t do that with cars - there are about 30 different Toyota Corolla-sized cars available, and you just cannot see them side-by-side. It’s a disgracefully dickensian anti-consumer arrangement. A car dealer wants to sell you his brand. He doesn’t really care if you buy a Yaris, a Corolla, a Camry, a Hilux or a Landcruiser. He doesn’t really care which one of those is right for you. But he sure as shit doesn’t want you walking out the door so that you can see if there’s a better option from Mazda, Hyundai or Kia. So that’s tip number one: Never ask a car dealer for advice - you won’t get it. All you’ll get is propaganda. Six more steps to choosing the right new car in 2017 in the video
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Is a dual-clutch transmission right for you? (10,000km test - part 1) | Auto Expert John Cadogan
In this series: Everything I learned about dual-clutch transmissions from driving more than 10,000km in one - what they are, how they work, three key positives, three key negatives and four critical conclusions, which you need to know if you want to buy the right new car. This video covers DCT basics - what they are and the long-term test I performed. Dual-clutch transmissions look just like automatics from the cockpit. Same kind of shift lever. Maybe, but not always, some shifting paddles behind the wheel. But [LOOK DOWN] down there, it’s all very different. There’s essentially a manual gearbox doing the work, with two different parallel gear trains and two different clutches - the clutches are concentric, so they look like one clutch from the outside. Trust me, there are two. One clutch engages one gear train, and the other clutch controls the other - hence the name. All the clutch operation and gear shifting is automated - there’s a computer making the decisions and high-speed servo motors moving the parts, engaging the clutches and shifting the gears. The control is very precise. The i30 uses a dry clutch setup. The alternative is the so-called ‘wet’ clutch - an engineering euphemism for a clutch sitting in an oil bath. I’ve driven dozens of test cars with dual-clutch transmissions. But I’ve never lived with one. So I approached Hyundai about it and they got on board with the project. But just to be clear - Hyundai supplied the 1.6 turbo petrol i30SR Premium for evaluation but they have no say in what I report, and no money changed hands. Just a note on the way I drove the car: I’m not an abuser of vehicles. I’ve been driving media evaluation vehicles for two decades. It’s hardly a novelty - at least, not any more. But I hate abusing vehicles. I guess what you need to know there is that these kinds of evaluation vehicles generally live harder lives than vehicles driven by actual owner. Very few people buy a new car and drive it this hard, this often. No point wrapping a car in cotton wool, to evaluate it. It’s fair to say that my 10,000 kilometres in this car would be harder than most owners’ 20 or 30,000 kilometres. Plus I drove in a lot of Sydney traffic, which is hell on earth for engine oil and hard on clutches in particular. This car has been to boot camp on Parris Island for 10,000 kilometres. After all that, I can’t feel any obvious signs of wear and tear - no rattles and squeaks, no shudder on clutch engagement. I had it up on the hoist the other day while they serviced it - even the brakes showed minimal wear. It seems pretty durable to me. The i30 SR uses a seven-speed transmission called the D7UF1 manufactured in-house by Hyundai Dymos. It’s rated to 340 Newton-metres. It’s the big brother of the other seven-speeder, which is rated to 220. They’re both kinda modular - same basic design. Beefier clutches and geartrain on the high-rated one, but the same control architecture on both. It’s only seven kilos heavier for the bigger torque capacity. This is actually the second generation of Hyundai dual-clutch transmissions. The first was a six speed DCT in the Veloster, which debuted in 2011. These seven-speeders rolled out in the Sonata and Veloster Turbo in 2015, and made their way into i30 and Tucson in 2016. They’re compact and reasonably light - seven forward gears plus reverse in a package that’s 385 millimetres long and weighs just under 80 kilos.
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Car Loan Calculator - Easy Car Loan Comparison
How do you choose the best car loan? This easy car loan comparison shows you how to cut through the BS and choose the best and cheapest car loan. Doing this makes car finance easy, and allows you to identify the truly cheap car loans from the more expensive ones. The best car loan rates are often not the best way to choose a loan - because fees and charges add substantially to the real cost of car finance. Choosing the lowest car loan repayments is a flawed strategy too. This review is a simple 'how to' guide to deciding - simply and logically - which car loan is the best car loan for you. Don't decide on the spot at the dealership - take your time and look hard at any finance that is offered to you. For more information on the different types of car finance, go here: http://autoexpert.com.au/buying-a-car/car-finance/what-are-the-best-car-finance-options If you need help getting a bunch of solid car finance options in front of you - all from reputable Australian lenders - contact me here: http://autoexpert.com.au/contact You can be sorted in under 48 hours. And don't stress if you have a bad credit history - reputable lenders have tailor-made products for you, subject to meeting some sensible credit criteria. Don't be put off by the names - 'bad credit loans' or 'bad credit car loans' - these are reputable commercial car finance products.
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2WD versus AWD SUV: Which is best? | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
2WD versus AWD is the classic SUV dichotomy - and the default presumption is: AWD is better. But the truth is, a lot of this depends upon you and how you’ll actually be using the vehicle. Mary’s question about this is pretty typical: “I’m looking for a good SUV. I’ve been told AWD is a better safety choice as there is more control in braking. I am doing a lot of driving between Ulladulla and Sydney and often have the grandchildren with me, so this is obviously a concern. Can you help?” Some simple advice up front: If you want to go off-road adventuring exploring, on fire trails, whatever: get the AWD. You do not want to be in a position where you drive down some fire trail to an idyllic campsite, where you can burn the dinner and commune with nature, listen to the kids bitch about not having WiFi all night and then it rains in the morning and you can’t get home because … 2WD + muddy ascent equals fail. Regular trips to the snow, launching a boat on a ramp, rural property with driveway from Hell - all excellent reasons to own the AWD. But if you want an SUV really only to act in the capacity of a defacto family station wagon - and that’s all you want it to do - you probably don’t need AWD. In fact, if you’ve had a car all these years, and you’re getting an SUV, and you don’t plan on driving any differently, 2WD will be fine. The first thing to remember is that plenty of SUVs are only 2WD. Nissan’s Qashqai and Honda’s HR-V, for example, are 2WD only. And the base models of plenty of other SUVs - like the Mazda CX-5, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson - the base models are all front drivers. At this point, let’s put Subaru in a box on its own - that company only does AWD. And it’s a unique-ish selling proposition. In fact, Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD is an excellent system and (together with their involvement in rally) it rocketed them from obscurity in the 1990s to where they are today in the mainstream. In Subaru’s case - all-wheel-drive really does mean all the wheels are driving, all the time. But in the majority of the rest of the market … not so much. We’ll get to that now. Most AWD systems are ‘on-demand’: meaning they are predominately, overwhelmingly, 2WD for the vast majority of their operational lives. AWD is only invoked when there is front wheel spin. When the front wheels lose it, that’s the demand for all-wheel drive. So let’s be perfectly clear - your common, and notionally AWD SUV, just driving down the street normally, is doing so under the tractive effort of just the front wheels. It they’re not threatening to spin, the rear wheels aren’t threatening to drive. Sure - you can lock AWD in, manually. Locking in AWD is a really good idea in that ‘rain overnight/camping’ scenario we discussed earlier. But it’s a really bad idea at other times - especially on high-traction surfaces, where driving in AWD will start scrubbing out the tyres and (potentially) break the transmission. Good safety tip there. Leave it in auto. You have to remember that the front end of the car and the rear end follow slightly different paths when you drive around curves. Therefore they travel different distances. Therefore they need to turn at different rates. If you lock them together by pressing the button, and traction levels are high, there’s an excellent chance you’ll break something. Subaru gets around this problem with a viscous coupling just behind the gearbox. It’s a bunch of precise hardware swimming in very thick silicone fluid, and the upshot is that it allows the front and rear prop shafts to turn at different rates without blowing up. Apart from additional traction in slippery conditions - the purported advantages of all-wheel-drive for ordinary drivers pretty much just fluff. AWD used to be a huge contributor to overall dynamic stability. But then, when the dinosaurs all died and Twitter was invented, cars came with a bunch of other stability-enhancing systems (like electronic stability control) that have levelled the playing field by making 2WD vehicles just as stable in most driving scenarios. People say AWD gives you more grip, but this is unmitigated bullshit. Grip is a function of rubber on the road - it’s not a function of which wheels are driving. What AWD does, however, is reduce the tractive effort at each wheel for any given throttle input. In other words - AWD makes it more likely you’ll be able to maintain traction in slippery conditions where equivalent 2WD system would be spinning their tits off like a pole dancer on crack.
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FAQ | The Truth About Dealer Delivery Charges | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
The dealer delivery charge on new cars is a grubbly little scam that pumps up the car dealer's profit out of all proportion to the work that is actually done. I get questions about this all the time like this one from David, who says: "One question I have is in regards to the dealer delivery. You mention dealer delivery consists of only a few basics tasks, but I've asked a few dealers (nissan and subaru) what is dealer delivery and they tell me its the costs to ship the car from overseas to Australia, I said doesn't nissan australia pay for that and they said they pass the costs onto us dealers. Is this true? If so it's perfectly justified for dealers to be charging $2000+ for delivery or are they just pulling my leg?" I go into some detail in the video, but basically, dealer delivery is a basic car preparation fee for detailing the car, putting in a full tank of fuel, giving it a mechanical once-over, the labour cost of registering it for you (legwork). It absolutely does not include the cost of international shipping. That's absurd.
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Best Steering Wheel Hand Position | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
Best Steering Wheel Hand Position The web is drowning in car reviews and automotive technology deconstruction - but hardly anyone ever talks about arguably the most important part of the car - you - and becoming a better driver. So let’s do that. Here’s a new segment - Pro Tips. Every Tuesday I thought you and I might sneak off for a quickie, in the most hetero possible way, aimed at upgrading your software. Could be pretty useful if you’re teaching someone to drive, too. Here we go. How you hold the wheel is vital - and there really is no alternative to getting this right if you want to exert control over the driving process. Put your thumbs at nine and three - not coincidentally where the thumb-rests are, and leave them there. Here’s why. * Upright and symmetrical - vital for perceiving the world * Indexed for straight ahead - vital in a crisis * So you won’t spoil the deployment of the airbag If your shoulder needs to leave the seat back to move the wheel around, you’re sitting too far away. Get the hand placement right, everything flows from there. After a few weeks, it feels like the most natural possible way to drive (because - newsflash - it is). Once you get used to it, it’s actually more relaxing to drive with your hands at nine and three than any other way. Make sure you like this video, and subscribe for regular updates - including more of these pro tips. I’m John Cadogan. I hope this helps. Thanks for watching.
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Nut-fest Friday #27 - Flying Car Takes Out Bus on Freeway & Holden Axes 30 Dealers
Coming up on another fake news Friday: Holden marhes one dealer in 10 down the hall for a Zyclon B shower. 30 Holden dealers in total are being boned. Full details of Volkswagen’s shock re-branding announcement. Brilliant. Bold. (But might not be actual news...) Plus, we identify (literally) the world’s hottest Ming mole, and a horrific glimpse of what flying cars in the future might really look like when a flying car takes out a bus on a Japanese freeway. (You'll have to wait for the Hollywood adaptation 'Crouching Mazda, Hidden Greyhound' due for release next year...) Some of it’s even true this week. Like this story about Holden: Holden will - literally - decimate its dealer network. The company, of course, misses no opportunity to talk up the future of its operations, after the factory closes later this year, but the facts are inconveniently at loggerheads with the corporate spin. Reports are emerging that 30 Holden dealers are for the chop - slightly more than one in 10. In a statement, those disingenuous arseholes said: “Taking into account a number of factors, the difficult decision has been reached that the size of the dealer network must be reduced. This will be a challenging period for those dealers impacted and their staff. Just as throughout the wind-down of our manufacturing operations, we are trying to put our people first and help them wherever we can.” Let me translate: [Clears throat] After a rolling series of eff-ups with the product and also unethically siphoning money from the taxpayer under entirely false pretenses, Holden’s poor decisions have finally bitten it on the arse. Sales are in freefall and they’ve had to take the unpalatable - not to mention unprecedented - step of unceremoniously boning their dealers. But, hey, have you seen their new Commodore V8 Supercar concept? It’s awesome! Let the good times roll.
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DCTs for Dummies. (How dual clutch transmissions really work.)
Ever wondered how a dual-clutch transmission works? Her it is: DCTs for Dummies - the 'even a politician would get it' explanation for the underlying functionality of the dual-clutch transmission. I’m John Cadogan from AutoExpert.com.au, the place where Aussie new car buyers save thousands off their next new cars. Hit me up on the website for that. This episode is rated ‘Triple-C’ because that’s what dual-clutch transmissions are. Compact, complex and (increasingly) commonplace in the new car mix. Carmakers are including them for three main reasons: Fuel efficiency, performance and lightning-fast shifts. You can expect 6-10 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency compared with a standard auto, and maybe a six per cent improvement in 0-100 kilometres per hour (that’s 0-60 im ‘Murica). And the shifts take place in less than one tenth of a second. Both Volkswagen and Ford have tried as hard as they could to trash the global reputation of DCTs - Volkswagen with it’s botched DSG recall fiasco, and Ford with its infamous PowerShit, a living nightmare that many a Ford owners experience daily. But not all DCTs are disasters - the important thing is to know if you are buying one, and drive appropriately. I’ll cover that off in a separate report. They look just like autos from the cockpit - there’s a lever you move from P through R and N on the way to D - and then, the shifts are automated. This report explains exactly how they work. Over the next week or so, I’ll be releasing a three-part series on DCTs - everything I learned from just driving 10,000 kilometres in one. The good, the bad and the ugly. You’ll see my three key positives, three key negatives and four critical conclusions that’ll help you decide if a DCT is the right transmission for your next new car. What an excellent reason to subscribe. Smash that subscribe button now - with great anger and furious vengeance if you must - but (while you’re down there) show the bell icon thingy a little love, and it will be reciprocated in the form of a notification whenever I inflict a new version of myself on the YouTube universe. You know you want to. 10,000 kays in a DCT - did it make me or break me? That’s coming up in the week ahead.
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Top 3 Test Driving Mistakes New Car Buyers Make | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
So: You’re test driving a new car. Don’t make these classic mistakes. Welcome to another episode of What the FAQ - the segment where I oxygenate your most common questions. This episode is inspired by the dissertations - the boxed sets, with director’s commentaries - I get, twice, sometimes thrice, each week, in which someone, perhaps you, sends me a highly detailed brain fart dressed up as a road test report. Their road test report. Detailed driving impressions. And I mean ‘detailed’. 3000 words, and no punctuation. The education system leaves too many people behind… And often they’re painted on a sweeping Technicolor backdrop of ‘Yaris versus LandCruiser - please help me decide.’ So that’s interesting. There’s really three mistakes for the test-drive obsessed new car buyer. Let us exorcise them and cast these demons back into the pit of hell. People overstate the importance of test-driving impressions. Grossly. Look, if you’re a complete car nut (something I can certainly relate to) then driving impressions are important to you. I get that. But if you are a mainstream car buyer, it’s the 21st Century. If you take the most popular segments - the small cars, the medium SUVs, the 4X4 utes … they all drive very similar (within the segment - obviously utes don’t feel the same as small cars - but all the top utes feel very similar, and so do all of the best small cars). You can call bullshit on this if you want - and I can already hear car enthusiast nuts doing this all over town - but all carmakers benchmark every new car against the leading competitors. The entire aim is to get close, or a little bit ahead on each key criteria. The present these analyses at press conferences during the launch. This is why, dollar for dollar, cars in the same category are increasingly trending towards becoming clones of one another. And yeah, there are driving differences, but they’re generally not critical differences in the context of ordinary owners and what they should buy. Certainly the differences in the driving experience of common leading competitors is not as important to the purchasing decision, overall, as other factors. I’m talking here about factors like the equipment levels, the value, the safety credentials, and the parent company’s ethical compass - should you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having a real problem and needing considerable support. In this situation it makes a helluva difference if you’re dealing with a Subaru, Mazda, Hyundai, Kia or BMW (all pretty good) as opposed to a Jeep, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Holden or Ford (all pretty reprehensible). People blow the importance of the drive experience completely out of the water - and typically this is a male Achilles heel. The reality is: Among the leaders in every mainstream segment, there’s just not enough difference in the drive experience to swing the decision one way or the other. You have to put the drive in perspective, or you’ll end up buying the wrong car.
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Nut-fest Friday #29 | Shock: Holden's marketing Manager tells truth + Porsche: Still bitchin'
In this week's show: World’s worst airbag manufacturer collapses under the weight of the biggest ever automotive recall. Plus: the Texas mother who killed her kids to teach them a lesson while spliffed senseless. Holden’s marketing manager tells the truth - a shocking development. (I’m pretty sure that’s a breach of the marketing manager’s code of ethics.) And the coldest, hardest cock of the week ever. And so young... The world’s worst airbag manufacturer, Takata has gone out, not with a bang, but with a whimper. The company, whose 100 million potentially defective airbags globally have so far killed 16 people and injured 180, sparking the biggest recall in automotive history, has entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Takata’s assets will be sold to US auto parts supplier Key Safety Systems for $1.6 billion US dollars. If you’re affected, the recall process will continue, over the next several years. And, no - you should not disconnect your airbags. That is far more likely to kill you in a crash. Holden’s marketing director Mark Harland has seemingly had a rare attack of honesty. GoAuto - a boring industry online rag that nobody ever reads, statistically, reports Mr Harland admitting the Holden brand is (quote) at an “all-time low”. Mr Harland also admitted, allegedly, the vast majority of the population is indifferent to Holden, and that loyalty rates had plummeted. He also said the brand was bombing with younger buyers, and women (irrespective of age). I think he’s being optimistic. Sales are in the sewer. So far in the sewer that they make the distant memory of the S-Bend look like a suite at the Palazzo Versace. 24-year lows. This is because Holden betrayed you, the Australian taxpayer. Holden took your hard-earned tax dollars under entirely false pretences for many years. And they foisted some of the worst cars on unsuspecting people like you, and offered atrociously bad customer support. The Cruze and the Captiva - utter shitboxes. Holden deserves every bit of public shaming it gets. Because you simply cannot burn people without consequences. Clever marketing does not overcome unconscionable conduct in the boardroom. And the current marketing is shit - let us not forget that. This gay-appeasing, ethnically homogenised, dumbed-down, cult-like, intelligence insulting, bland quasi-marketing communications shit has to stop. Be honest and lift your game instead.
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Advanced Driving Techniques - Tweak Your Vision
What day is it? That’s right. Pro Tip Tuesday. Time to get more proficient behind the wheel - because, contrary to popular belief, it is not OK to be a crap driver. I’m John Cadogan from AutoExpert.com.au - the place where Aussie new car buyers save thousands off their next new cars. Hit me up on the website for that. There is no more fundamental driving interaction than the interplay between vision and car control. And so many people get this wrong. So let’s be perfectly clear: if you only ever learn one so-called advanced driving skill it’s this: Look where you want the damn car to go. And if you want to learn two things, the second thing is: Don’t forget to look where you want the car to go. So: This plays out in a few different ways. Most obvious is that people don’t look far enough ahead. They’re typically either fixated on the car in front or somewhere in the middle distance. And that kinda sucks because if you look as far ahead as you can possibly see, you don’t lose track of that car in front, nor everything in the mid range. But the big plus is that you buy yourself valuable time to take action earlier. Distance equals time - and if you can see further, you get more time to react. It’s that simple. Second way this plays out is in tight bends - two-thirds of the driving population just stops looking when they get to the A-pillar. If the road really snakes hard to the side - keep tracking it by looking past the pillar, through the side glass. Third, and in some ways most important, is target fixation. You’re driving along, and suddenly there’s an obstacle you don’t want to hit, dead ahead. A pothole, a kid, a truck, some animal, the Empire State Building - whatever. If you look at the obstacle, you will hit it. Look instead for the escape route. Most people instinctively steer where they look. Therefore, don’t look at things you don’t want to hit. Especially in highly stressful situations. Lastly there are skids and slides - what most people would think of as loss of control events. That’s a big subject on its own, but the hot tip there is: Drive conservatively, and don’t get in situations like that, because you need hours on a skid pan to be any good at recovery, and it’s a perishable skill. But if you are skidding or sliding, and here, it doesn’t matter if this is a planned or unscripted event - a complete surprise - look where you want the car to go. Like, you just swerved past the Empire State Building - such a near miss - but now, problematically, you’re sliding sideways and it would be awfully nice if you could regain the road as opposed to option two: hitting that hundred-year-old tree at the roadside… In this situation, don’t look at the tree. Look where you want the car t o go. And of course it would be awfully nice in this situation to have your hands at nine and three … like we discussed in the last Pro Tip. So - that’s vision. Like I said earlier - if there’s only one advanced driving skill you ever master, make it this one. And make sure you like this video, plus: subscribe for regular updates - including more of these pro tips. I’m John Cadogan. I hope this helps. Thanks for watching.
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How to negotiate a new car deal & avoid the 'false urgency" scam | Auto Expert John Cadogan
So I get this e-mail last week. I’m inferring it’s from an elderly couple - ‘his & hers’ unified e-mail address - that’s usually a dead giveaway. The victims in this saga have gone to the dealership to browse - not buy. They’re doing research. They just want to have a look around. Next thing you know, there’s a deposit paid and a signature on a contract. They’ve taken a bath on the trade-in, and even signed up for the paint protection, which you should never do. I’d suggest, when the Sons of Anarchy pull up, get off their Harleys and advance towards you with that telltale vengeful gleam in their eyes, it’s easy to know you’re in a deeply adversarial situation. When you’re at a dealership, it’s not like that. There’s handshaking and smiling, and you’ve probably been handed an espresso during an outbreak of polite conversation. But the situation you’re in is just as conflicted, and the stakes are pretty high. It can cost you thousands if you fail to be an effective advocate for your own interests. You and the salesman do not want the same thing. You might want to browse - check out this particular car and maybe two or three others from different manufacturers. Make a fair and balanced decision based on some comparative observations and after you’ve had time to consider the purchase carefully. This is the last thing the sales guy wants you to do. He does not want you walking out the door and visiting his competitors. He knows that if he lets you walking out, the chance of you and your money walking back in, in the days to weeks ahead, are greatly diminished. He hates that. So, if you were negotiating with the Sons of Anarchy here, it would be easier to see what’s going on. They’d probably shoot you in the knee and thus see if you could be prevailed upon to alter your plan. And oddly enough, metaphorically, philosophically, this is pretty much what happens in a dealership. The salesman needs to present you with a compelling, imperative reason for you willingly to upend your plan and do the deal now. And I just want to take a moment to explain the ethical dimension you stepped into when you walked through the door. If you’re a person with a functional moral compass, it’s a mistake to imprint these values into how you see this process working. I’m not saying all car salesmen are snakes who’d sell their mothers into slavery if there was a deposit in it for them - but there are enough ethically ambivalent car salesman out there for it to be insane for you not to acknowledge this risk and deploy appropriate countermeasures. I always think of it in terms of the time. I imagine being face to face with a car salesman, and casually looking down at my watch. [LOOK] What do you know? It’s ‘bullshit o’clock’. Agin. It’s always ‘bullshit o’clock’ in a car dealership. He’s going to present you with a set of compelling alleged reasons to drop your plan and buy right now, which serves his agenda. The most common bullshit gambit here is: False urgency. There has to be a good reason for you to go now. To inject urgency. To up-end your plan. To get a signature and a deposit out of you. Now. And the most expedient falsely urgent gambit is the allegedly unbeatable deal, allegedly expiring when the doors close this evening. I mean, when you think about it, this is unbelievably lucky, right? (Key word: unbelievably.) You just happen to have darkened his door in the closing stages of the very last day of an unbeatable deal, which will never be repeated, which would represent a missed opportunity of epic proportion, bordering on a financial tragedy, should you not embrace it right now by signing on the dotted, and paying a deposit. We all want to believe we’ve been unbelievably lucky, but ask yourself: Why would this deal not be available tomorrow, or next week? If this is actually a genuine carmaker incentive, it would be on the website. It would have a stated closing date. It would be available from all other dealers of the same brand. If it’s just a special the dealer has cooked up, flying solo, there is no commercial reason why he could not do the same deal on this car tomorrow, or next week. If it’s in stock, he’s already purchased it from the manufacturer. There’s no economic reason for that special to end tonight. If you front up tomorrow, or next Tuesday, and offer that exact sum, do you really expect to be shown the door. “You had your chance mate: get out. I don’t think so. You might have to dig pretty deep here, to cast a net of skeptical disbelief capable of containing this expertly coiffed bullshit. Just remember: It’s an adversarial situation. The path of least resistance is just to say yes, and watch your finances bleed out, all over the floor. My advice: Man up (even if you’re a chick). Start saying ‘no’. Be properly skeptical of everything that is said. And do not underestimate how convincingly it comes across in the moment.
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The 2014 Top 10 Motoring Myths
Have you been sucked in by one of the top 10 motoring myths of 2014? - Is it better to fill your tyres with nitrogen? - Are solid, old cars actually safer? - Does your car actually run better on premium fuel? - Can mobile phones cause fuel station fires? - Is petrol that expensive in Australia? - True of false: Speed kills... - Will a fuel saver actually save you money? - Are you on your own with the manufacturer when the warranty is over? - European cars: Are they just built better? Find out here - and let me know if you agree. TRANSCRIPT: Visit www.AutoExpert.com.au and search 'top 10 motoring myths'
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Top 6 ways to beat a car dealer before the end of financial year | Auto Expert John Cadogan
Car dealers transact every day. You don’t. They’re match fit. You’re not. Don’t fall for any of their crap. It’s all part of the dodgiest script on earth. This deal is only available today. Let’s get the sales manager to approve this low price - it’s completely outside my approval authority, but he’s a good bloke. How do you expect me to feed my family if I sell it to you for this unrealistically low price? (Correct answer there: Who cares?) It’s all crap. It’s a veneer of politeness over the real objective, which is: to greet you and gut you before you walk off the lot. Do not play this game. Car dealers are ambush predators. They need you to stand on their ‘X’ - this is how ambushes work. Don’t stand on the ‘X’. Remember the ‘golden rules’. You’re the one with the gold. Therefore: You get to make the rules. One per cent finance is a con. It’s not a real interest rate. What really happens is: They don’t discount the car as low as they’d otherwise go, and they pay the financier a real interest rate under the table, undisclosed - it’s called subvented finance. Usually you get locked in for half the amount of the sale for a maximum of 36 months, and you have to find the balloon payment - some five-figure sum, inconveniently - in three years’ time. So that means either refinancing at a substantially high interest rate, or they’ll use it as a trigger for you to trade and go again - which might not otherwise suit you. Get real finance, and screw them down harder on price. That’s usually the best overall outcome. People generally don’t appreciate that there are often two or three transactions on the table at a dealership. You buy a new car, sure, but you often trade in your old one, and you arrange the finance. So, the car dealer can bend over, hard, on the price of the new car - if you unwittingly allow him to bend you over on the finance and the trade-in. And he’s better at this than you, on the balance of probabilities. The best way to avoid this is to separate the transactions. Know how much your trade-in is worth. Investigate the best independent finance deal available for you. And only then, attend the dealership. Tell the salesman there’s no trade in (maybe you’re considering selling the old car to a relative - whatever) and tell him you’ve got the finance sorted. Nail the price of the new car in absolute isolation. And only then you can introduce the possibility of the other transactions. This is probably the most important tip of all. Pitch a low offer, and then walk if they don’t go for it. Whatever the offered price is, take about 20 per cent off, offer that as the limit that you can afford to spend. If they don’t go for it, walk away politely. Let’s say it’s a $30,000 car - that’s the price they’re offering. $29,990 drive-away, kind of thing. You say: My wife, boyfriend - whomever - is going to separate my reproductive organs from me if I spend more than $25 grand. If they decline to accept, just say: Sorry we can’t do business. I’ll keep shopping. I like this car though - gimme a call if you can nudge the price down to $25 grand and I’ll come back - provided I haven’t purchased elsewhere. They hate that - but it’s a very effective lever. The person who’s prepared to walk away has the most power in a negotiation. You can do this at half a dozen dealerships in one day - one of them is going to be under pressure. Just wait for the phone to ring and the clock ticks closer to end of financial year. You might be amazed how malleable the price becomes. Finally - and this is a biggie: never pay a deposit until you’re absolutely sure. I have lost count of the number of people who have e-mailed me in a flap because they’ve signed on the dotted, paid $2k as a deposit, only to discover subsequently a far better deal. Research first. Purchase second, once you’re absolutely sure. That’s the only sane way to do this. Do not leave anything blank in the contract. Do not leave more than $1000 as a deposit.
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Should I let my car warm up before driving off? | Auto Expert John Cadogan
Warming up your car up before driving it: Good idea or bad idea? Short answer: No. You don’t need to warm up the car. If you’ve got a reasonably modern car - say less than about 15 years old - just turn it on and drive it. The whole concept of warming a car up is a waste - a throwback from the 1970s and ‘80s. But there’s a catch, and we’ll get to that. But first, why does this myth persists today? Basically, in the olden days, cars had carburettors. Remember those? With a carbie, mate, managing the air-fuel ratio on cold starts was a bitch. It was accomplished with a manual choke - remember those? The term ‘compromise’ springs to mind. Engines ran quite badly until they warmed up. There was a cable that literally choked the air inlet, and manually throttled the engine up. The air-fuel ratio went through the roof. You could get high from the fumes - not recommended, but it did smell pretty good while it damaged your DNA. Chokes got better, eventually. They became automatic. They used diaphragms and other mechanical voodoo to remove from the driver the burden of pushing the choke back in. Still imperfect, but better. Still a good idea to warm the car up until the auto choke turned itself off. Then we got fuel injection, in the 1990s, and the management of the mixture improved across the whole range of operating conditions. And there’s been a continuum of improvement ever since. Modern throttles are ‘by wire’ and there’s a lot of measurement of the inlet air, the metering of the fuel, and measurement of the exhaust, leading to better control. There are mass airflow sensors - MAF sensors - telling the computer the weight of air going into the engine. There are oxygen sensors in the exhaust - telling the computer how complete the combustion is in the engine, essentially, in real time, knock sensors for microprocessor ignition advance control, and a bunch of other feedback and control mechanisms that were unthinkable in the 1970s and 1980s. So: your modern car today - just start it up and drive. For most people that means getting in, starting, putting a seatbelt on, checking the kids are secure, backing out of a driveway or backing and filling out of a parking spot, or crawling out of an underground car park - whatever. It’s not very demanding driving (in the context of the load on the engine) in the seconds following a cold cold start, for most of us. People also say you need to give the oil time to circulate. Trust me: It is circulating - within seconds. Modern oil is very thin. The whole system is pressurised within a few seconds at the most, even in cold conditions. Engines are also designed to warm up quickly, so basically, by the time you’re at the end of your driveway, your engine is warm. The only catch is: Don’t thrash the engine until it’s at its full, normal operating temperature. Metals expand a little with temperature. It’s about 22 microns per metre per degree for aluminium and about 12 for steel. (Two of the most common metals in engines.) That doesn’t sound like much, and it’s not, but thermal expansion is designed-in, in R&D. The precision parts are designed to be exactly the right size at their normal operating temperatures. That means some of the clearances are off, just a little, in a cold engine. So, for this reason alone, I wouldn’t be pumping in the big stresses until normal operating temperature is achieved. Obviously, if you’re in a critical driving situation and you need to floor it to get out of the path of some truck aimed right at you - whatever - don’t die trying to preserve your cold engine. Priorities are important. What I’m saying is that thrashing a cold engine is, over time, quite a bad idea if you want that engine to last. Aside from that, I guess the only other case for warming up the car is so the heater and the demister have sufficient time to take any condensation away so you can see enough to drive safely. There’s a good case for taking a couple of minutes to get that right, because contrary to to old adage, what you can’t see will hurt you. But if you are warming up your modern car just because grandpappy implied non-specifically that not doing so would usher in the four horsemen of the automotive apocalypse, you’re on the wrong track. It’s a complete waste of time.
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Nut-fest Friday 35 | Turbochargers, Hydrogen and Ford Fires Making News
Nut-fest Friday is back - only a bit leaner. And, definitely, meaner. I’m John Cadogan from AutoExpert.com.au - the place where Aussie new car buyers save thousands off their next new cars. Hit me up on the website for that. Now - sorry about the Nut-fest hiatus. Had to recharge the batteries - and figure out how to do this so it doesn’t kill me. So time-consuming. Anyway … we’re here now. And now - to the nuts. First up let’s talk etiquette, diplomacy and the black art of comporting one’s self in a gentlemanly fashion at all times. Now, here’s R Down using his sweeping breadth of thermodynamic knowledge the better to help us all understand turbocharging and combustion. LOL. "Energy that would have been wasted" used to drive the exhaust side of the turbo. You're sounding a bit like those nuts with the hydrogen generator. You don't get something for nothing. The exhaust side of the turbo takes energy from the moving exhaust gases which take energy from the moving piston that pushes them out of the cylinder. (Yes, depending on valve timing, the exhaust gases do somewhat push themselves out of the cylinder but even so - Newton's 3rd law - they rely on the upward moving piston to do so.) A few points on the facts here: One: There is no ‘something for nothing’ first law of thermodynamics violation, as Down, Jnr, alleges. There is in fact lots of otherwise waste energy in exhaust gas - especially at medium to high revs, and big throttle inputs. It’s one of the major ‘loss’ areas of internal combustion. Two: Differential diagnosis. Turbochargers actually work. That’s proven beyond reasonable doubt. They only work because they use some energy that would be lost in the exhaust to energise the induction side of the engine’s inlet airstream. If they were only lunching off energy provided by the upwards motion of the piston (acting like a pump) they would not, in fact, work. Three: When the exhaust valve opens, the main mechanism for the ejection of the combustion gasses is pressure from their own expansion. The engine does incur some pumping losses, but engines are not pumps. The main thing ejecting the gas is its inherent greater pressure, with respect to the exhaust manifold, by virtue of the combustion process and vast energy release. Four: Please do comment again, young Mr Down, and fuck you very much for your contribution to date. And now, my favourite nut: Roj C Sir, I am compelled to make contact with you to inform you of a grave misleading claim that you have publicised on your YouTube channel. The episode is on ''The truth about HHO. With all due respect to your expertise in the auto industry I'm qualified to say the decomposition of the water molecule is NOT a chemical reaction. You DO know Einstein's famous equation- E=MC2 ? FACT - there is a mathematical equation that expresses a loss of mass within a closed loop 'water-HHO' system. (E=MC2) FACT - in recent months, scientists have detected Helium after the recombination of the water molecule. Helum is the second element in the periodic table,and can ONLY be created when two Hydrogen atoms 'fuse'. (Cold Fussion) So John, please please remove that episode as you do not fully comprehend the disassociation between Classical Pysics and Quantum Mechanics. Simply stunning. Here on Earth, there is no such thing as cold fusion. Real fusion of hydrogen into helium has to be quite hot. Come to mention it, there’s an operating fusion reactor above your head most days. It’s called the friggin’ sun. Surface temperature: about 6000 degrees absolute. But who’s counting? Tragically enough there is no magical nuclear reaction component to the electrolytic decomposition of water. It is an entirely electrochemical process so simple that even school kids do it in science class, for kicks. And hardly anyone ever dies doing it. Nuclear fusion: Not so much. Hydrogen produced by electrolysis has tremendous potential as a viable transport fuel to replace hydrocarbons. But making it yourself under the bonnet with a so-called HHO generator and believing it helps boost efficiency makes you dumber than our ace correspondent Roj here. Holy conflagration, Batman. An ACT family travelling on the Bega Highway recently were the latest shitheap Ford owners to go up in flames - according to the internationally renowned Bega District News. Up in smoke. Just like that. Knock me down with a feather. Thankfully, nobody was injured. But the reputational damage to Ford and its crap engineering is ongoing, and they are in my view worthy recipients of the fowl-est award in automotive journalism this week.
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Adblue diesel additive explained | AutoExpert John Cadogan | Australia
AdBlue goes into your diesel engine’s exhaust, and fewer toxic emissions come out - that’s what it does. But on the consumer front, can the carmaker compel you to use their own brand of AdBlue in your car? That’s next. This report is inspired by a damn fine recent question from Robert W - and I’m tipping he is not alone: I went for a service at my MB Dealer. I told him I fill up with AdBlue at the BP truck pump. He said I should not use it because it crystallises. He told me I should only use MB Adblue, but of course it is a lot dearer. At the fuel pump it is only 90 cents a litre. So, is Adblue that different between the petrol station and what MB sells? Robert is the owner of a Mercedes-Benz ML 250 diesel - so I know you’ll join with me in extending my sincere sympathies to Robert on this. An ML 250. Nobody deserves that. Frankly, what Robert was told sounds like illegal, shady advice from a pretty dodgy and/or ignorant dealer to me. It reinforces my belief that a car dealership is not the kind of place one should attend to procure advice. The ACCC is very clear that Mercedes-Benz (or any other carmaker) cannot mandate the use of genuine parts or consumables used to service or repair the vehicle. That would be illegal. There is, however, an obligation that the parts you do use be fit for purpose. A simple example is: The oil filter on your car. It does not have to be the carmaker’s filter, but you must use a filter designed for that engine. Same for the oil used to service the vehicle, or a replacement radiator used in crash repair - whatever. My understanding is that AdBlue is trademarked by the German Association of the Automobile Industry - meaning that anything marketed as AdBlue is just a 32.5 per cent solution of urea in de-ionised water. It’s also called AUS32 - for aqueous urea solution, 32.5 per cent. As chemicals go, AdBlue is not rocket science. Not even close. It’s not 224 trimethly pentane, is it? (Look it up.) AdBlue is clear, non-toxic and safe to handle, easy to make and store, and it’s classified under the ‘minimum risk’ category for transportable fluids. Anyhoo … AdBlue goes to war against oxides of nitrogen in your exhaust. Oxides of nitrogen are toxic chemicals that are respiratory tract irritants. Very bad for you. AdBlue decomposes them to harmless nitrogen gas and oxygen gas. You use up to five litres of AdBlue for every 100 litres of diesel. And the car will not run if you run out of AdBlue - so, don’t leave it too long with the warning light on. It seems to me that anything legitimately called AdBlue would be compatible with any Merc that requires AdBlue - if it has the AdBlue trademark it complies with the ISO 22241 quality standard - regardless of whether you pick it up at a filling station or the Mercedes-Benz dealership. To see what the mothership said on this, I scoured Mercedes-Benz’s Australian website. They do have a page on AdBlue, which is currently required on S-Class, G-Class and ML-Class. Basically, any Benz with the BlueTEC badge needs glorified piss to run. Happily enough, nothing on the Merc AdBlue reference page says you must use the genuine Mercedes-Benz AdBlue solution - presumably because requiring that would be illegal. They do suggest it. (That’s allowed.) So, Robert, it seems to me that you may legitimately power ahead with non-genuine glorified pee in your glorified luxury German SUV. So that’s nice. Of course, this is unlikely to make your local dealer very happy, in respect of his unjustified billion per cent AdBlue markup. (Actual ACCC determination of average dealer profit margin in the servicing business across all brands: 64 per cent. Service is the most profitable part of a new car dealership. And they do so pump up the price of the consumables.)
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New Cars Cheap: Why Price Ain't Everything | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
In this FAQ report, Neal asks about Subaru Outback 2.5 Premium, Mitsubishi Outlander Diesel LS Safety Pack, Hyundai Santa Fe Elite He says: "Hi John and Auto Expert team. I'm just wondering what prices are you able to obtain for the vehicles mentioned above, given we're nearing the end of June and EOFY. I'm trying to gauge affordability and financing." I'd suggest pricing is not the biggest determinant of which vehicle to buy here - certainly discounting is not the right way to choose the right final vehicle. Tangible differences between the vehicles are much more relevant to ultimate satisfaction (or not) as an owner. Hyundai & Subaru deliver excellent customer support. (Mitsubishi is OK) Hyundai has the best diesel powertrain performance with Santa Fe. Subaru has EyeSight and Symmetrical AWD (huge advantages) but offers the least standard warranty & most expensive servicing Outback has 5 seats only, while Santa Fe has seven across the board, and Outlander has a foot in each camp with some 5- and some 7-seat SUV models. These differences are probably a lot more important in the long run to ultimate satisfaction (especially as price variation across the board is likely to be only slight.)
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EOFY Car Sales: How to win big & what to avoid | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
The good old steam-powered car industry and their sales promotions: still at it, slapping icing sugar all over a dog turds, and hell bent convincing you it’s a birthday cake. We’ll get to that. In this report: Why end of financial year sales (and most other sales) are often bullshit on new cars, plus how to exploit a car dealer’s fundamental commercial vulnerability and get a red hot deal anyway. End of financial year car sales offers are bullshit. Let us thrust a pike through the breast of said bullshit and exsanguinate it all over the battlefield. As I stand here in no pants and present this report, commando, it’s about two weeks until the end of the financial year, and the entire car industry is dry-humping our collective leg with an armada of bullshit offers and inducements to get off that lay-z-boy and stride into your local dealer in Ugg boots and no pants - thereby to dock their three-phase Dyson with your bank account. Sadly, the most heavily promoted vehicles at these times are inevitably the dogs - vehicles no rational person would own, if it weren’t gyrating in front of them on a chrome pole in a darkened nightclub after ten $20 buck beers. Because in that situation, everything seems like a good idea. Exhibit A: The Nissan Qashqai. A ridiculous name for a retarded SUV from the world’s most mediocre Japanese carmaker. Nissan (or knee-saan if you’re American and foresook the Queen’s English) anyway, knee-san went into a coma for strategic reasons during the Global Financial Crisis in 2007 - and showed some signs of re-awakening when sales grew to almost 80,000 units (from mid-60s) in 2012. (In Australia.) Today? Back to mid-60s. Such losers. And the Qashqai is a prime example of why. A poster boy for ‘near enough/good enough’ - Nissan’s engineering ethos. Qashqai is the dumb kid who tried hard, but failed anyway. Second-rate engines with a third rate transmission designed by Jatco - 75 per cent Nissan owned transmission specialist - the company that almost managed single-handedly to destroy the reputation of CVT transmissions by being so breathtakingly shit at designing and building them. Nissan Australia has a great End of Financial Year deal for you, on this almost-good-enoug SUV, which only a crazy person, consumed by ‘nightclub pole dancing lust’ would ever own: The mighty Qashqai ST: 2.9 per cent finance; just $99 bucks a week. Awesome! Where do I sign? This is a vehicle that - for some reason - just does not sell as well as a Mazda CX-3 or a CX-5, or a Mitsubishi ASX, or a Hyundai Tucson, or a Subaru Forester or a Toyota RAV4. It also can’t keep up with them on engine power, oddly enough. Qashqai ST: a vehicle with a space saver spare tyre, and a tiny five-inch centre display. Unencumbered by GPS, and featuring no Apple Car Play, no Android Auto, four speakers (four! - Who knew you could even cram that many speakers into a motor vehicle?) No leather, no driver’s lumbar support, no parking sensors, no fog lights, and no roof rails. But a glove box is standard. I’m pretty sure. But $99 bucks a week. 2.9 per cent! And this is, of course, why such offers are bullshit. The most heavily promoted cars are the dogs. And the offers are not that good. They’re just shiny shit designed to distract you from the details. This distraction is important: 2.9 per cent is of course up in lights. It’s the hook for car dealer ambush predation. Like: ‘Just stand there, gagging for the 2.9, on that big, red X, would you? We’d really like to gut you now…’
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2018 Kia Stinger Review: Should you buy one? Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
The first burning issue is: Who is a Stinger right for? I’d suggest if you’ve previously been into that rear-drive muscle thing, and you’ve been gutted by the demise of Holden and Ford, then Stinger is the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve seen some reviews quite keenly out of touch with the facts on this, and I’d suggest these are A) looking in the rear view mirror with rose-coloured glasses, and B) written by people still grieving the loss of the local bent eights and blown sixes. And if you need a ‘C’, then, C) two-thirds of car reviews online are bullshit. So there’s that. Me? I’d say hyper-criticality here is undignified and also that these things are machines - so they’re overwhelmingly better assessed in an objective and not emotional way. The fact is: the limits of performance on a V6 twin-turbo Stinger are very high… ...so high that you’d need to be a crazy-brave individual indeed, with breathtakingly poor impulse control, to drive one of these babies at the limit on a public road. Because if you did, and it all went wrong, your clothes would be out of fashion before the scenery stops. I guess that leads to the key question: Should you buy the turbo 2.0-litre four cylinder or the twin turbo V6? It’s a $3000 upgrade, which in my view is trivial in the context of a $50,000-ish purchase that’s going to be a one-off for three-to-five years. You get 50 per cent more peak power and 50 per cent more peak torque with the V6. And it’s 4.9 to 100 (kays an hour) versus 6.0. So it’s pretty hard to make the case for the four. I spent a week in each - the four-cylinder first - and the four was OK. But the V6 is like going to business class for the first time. Economy seems even more shit, next time you fly, right? I guess, if you make all your own clothes and you’ve always wanted to be a hairdresser, and you’re a tightarse, the four could be just right for you. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. There weren’t too many things I hated about the Stinger. The transmission logic could be better. It does play some … interesting tunes in the cabin on entry and departure… the point is you need not suffer some South Korean software engineer’s idea of auditory foreplay and post-coital cigarette every time you drive your Stinger. Just get the appalling chimes turned off. That’s do-able, I’m told. Speaking of customisation, this car is very customisable. You really can select a range of modes and settings as your ‘Goldilocks’ Stinger settings preference. So if you buy a Stinger I’d highly recommend you take the time to wade through the menus and do this, because it’s certainly not a one-size-fits-all deal. There’s some very nice touches, too, from a user-interface point of view. You get message centre confirmation when you alter, for example, the lights. That’s quite neat. However, I’m not sure it’s not just a little claustrophobic in the back for extended trips, given the somewhat high sills and the low roofline. But at least people do definitely fit back there, even full-sized ones - unlike in a lot of sports coupes. Finally, there’s the safety rating - five stars for all but the entry-level models, which get three. I’m not going to dwell on this here - I’ve already done a full report on this, which I’ll link to a the end of this report. Suffice to say, it’s not a cynical exercise on Kia’s part, like it was for Ford with the two-star Mustang. All Kia Stinger models crash the same, in the ANCAP tests - and the crash performance is worthy of five stars. Kia’s meeting a price-point on the entry-level models, and they don’t come with enough safety-assistance technology to earn five stars under the new ANCAP test regime. If you want five, it’s pretty simple: spend more money. Stinger is a true grand tourer - it’s quite a bit harder-edged than a luxury car, but very rewarding to drive at eight out of 10 from A to B in the country. It’ll get you to the office and back Monday to Friday as well, plus it’s a bit of a head turner. In my two weeks in Stinger I drove it in all kinds of conditions - freeways, backroads, urban cut and thrust. I really enjoyed it. I wondered for the millionth time what the obsession with SUVs was all about. I could live with a Stinger V6 for three-to-five years without once feeling like I’d sentenced myself to a kind of automotive Guantanamo Bay. Quite the opposite. It’s got a couple of minor quirks, but you can live with those. And the straight line performance is sensational. Serendipitous timing for Kia in ‘Straya - turning the demise of Ford and Holden into a solid commercial opportunity.
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2015 Subaru Liberty Review
The latest Subaru Liberty 2015 from Subaru Australis is a real step forward from previous Subaru Libertys. But, tragically, the new Liberty 2015 is looking for love in a world infatuated with SUVs. A family car doesn’t have to be an SUV. Most SUV buyers would be happier in the new Subaru Liberty. Prices on this new 2015 Liberty have been slashed. They’re three to four grand less for the four-cylinder, and $14,000 has been dissected from the six-cylinder Subaru Liberty. Where, exactly, did they find $14,000 in savings on the Subaru Liberty 2015? This is the cheapest six-cylinder Liberty ever. And pricing on the four-cylinder Subaru Liberty just woke up back in 2002. So what’s behind this massive Subaru Liberty 2015 pricing slash-fest? Subaru Australia says the currency has moved, it’s manufacturing more efficiently and the free-trade agreement between Australia and Japan has kicked in. They even euphemise ‘increased competition’ in the market. This price reduction is the proof that the stiffest competition produces the best deal for consumers, and also the best vehicles. If you’re looking for premium family transport, the new Liberty is a great car. This Liberty is the Safest Subaru ever. And the standard features across the range make this 2015 Liberty more attractive than many notional competitors. It’s fascinating to see Japan dusting it up on price, in the ring with contemporaneously with Europe and South Korea. Subaru Australia (and Subaru the brand, globally) sticks to its guns and it knows exactly what it is. They do boxer engines. In fact, they’ve done 15 million boxer engines, over the past 49 years. Subaru has also managed to make 14 million symmetrical all-wheel drive systems since 1972. That's the Subaru DNA. That Subaru Liberty Symmetrical AWD driveline - all four wheels driving all the time - is a huge advantage every time traction is marginal. None of these notional competitors offers you that. It’s a huge fundamental plus. The Symmetrical AWD system even has torque vectoring now, which delivers outstanding neutrality in corners. For several years now, the Liberty has been a very ugly car. You could set your clock by it. Until this one - it actually looks as good as it is. Finally. Even if they did have to clone Hyundai’s grille to do it. The biggest problem with the new 2015 Liberty is this national affair everyone is having with SUVs. It’s completely irrational. Only 150 people are going to buy a Subaru Liberty every month in Australia, which is a shame. If one of them is you, don’t be afraid to buck the SUV trend: you’re doing the right thing. If you want to save some cash buying your new Liberty, contact me via the website: http://AutoExpert.com.au.
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Mail Sack 7 - your car questions answered
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Volkswagen announces five year warranty | Auto Expert John Cadogan
VW 5yr warranty kicks off in Australia (Still lousy at customer support, however.) Volkswagen Shitsville: a South Korean carmaker, trapped within the body of a German importer. Now, one step closer to the big, identity-changing surgery. Volkswagen Shitsville - or ‘Monkey Spankers down under’ as they are known colloquially in the Wolfsburg boardroom (may not be a real fact) - has taken another step closer to admitting publicly that, deep-down, they’ve always wanted to be Hyundai. That’s right - just 19 years after Hyundai up-ended the Shitsvillian automotive apple cart the Volkswegian World War II losers have capitulated and will offer a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty. Closing the gap on Hyundai, little by little, every day. Officially the Volkswagen warranty Wonderbra is just from now until the end of the year, and then there are conflicting reports. Some say the warranty will revert to the same shitty three-year warranty they’ve always offered. Others say the extra two years will be offered at an additional cost. And yet other reports claim the five-year deal will simply continue. Michael Bartsch - one of my favourite glorified import clerks, who runs VW's operation … has an interesting take on the five-year warranty jackboot in the water exercise: “If you have a look at what’s putting us on the consideration list, nobody is walking in saying” ‘I need a five-year warranty’. We don’t lose sales at the moment.” That’s what he’s quoted as saying in The New Daily. Deliciously contradictory, an oxymoronical validation, apparently: “We’re offering something none of our customers want, the absence of which poses no commercial downside, just to see how it goes.” Anyhoo - the three-year stinge-fest warranty club continues to battle bulimia. Only Nissan, which suffered that terrible brain injury in the GFC and never fully recovered, together with Subaru, plus the four-ringed monkey-spankers, the Bavarian money wasters, the three-point Swastika and of course, ‘oh what a feeling’ continue to hold onto the courage of their inadequate three-year warranty convictions here in ‘Straya. Elon Musk - the real life Phony Stark - should be most pleased. Tesla offers eight years and 160,000 kilometres. Kia offers seven and unlimited. Holden has no idea what it’s doing. It’s three, five or seven years, depending how the wind blows that day. Currently five, I think, but there could be another change mid-afternoon. Most of the other carmakers are at five and unlimited. Mitsubishi is at five and 100,000. Rumours are rife that Kia will jump to 10 years in Shitsville - they already do this in Retardistan, of course. I never thought I would live to see the day that the Monkey-gassers went 100 per cent Gangnam style.
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How to Buy a Car: Top 6 Tips to Buy New Cars
How to Buy a Car: Top 6 Tips to Buy New Cars details the top six things new car buyers don’t investigate, but should: NEW CARS: BUILD DATE A listener of mine on Radio 2UE in Sydney put a deposit down to buy a new car in January 2015. It turns out the new car - a Suzuki S-Cross - was actually built in 2013. The compliance plate went on in 2014, and the new car was set for delivery in 2015. Disaster. Get a discount on your next new car if you’re actually buying old stock - last year’s model - because you are certainly going to pay for it at trade-in time. NEW CARS: SPARE TYRE When you buy a car, check the spare tyre. Space saver spare tyres are one of the car industry’s great, enduring frauds. They are of absolutely no benefit to you on a new car. They’re limited to 80km/h, and they don’t grip the road very well. Always investigate your intended new car’s spare tyre, at the dealership, before paying a deposit - and sometimes you can negotiate to fit a full-sized spare when you buy the new car. If it’s critical to the new car sale, the car dealer might even throw it in for free. If you only ever drive 15 or 20km from home in suburbia, space-savers are probably OK. But if you get out on the highway, even occasionally, don’t risk your life by buying a car with a space-saver. They’re a joke. NEW CARS: LIGHTS You don’t normally test drive new cars at night, right? But there are two things you really should check here: outside the new car, you need to know whether the headlights - and in particular the high beams - are adequate. Some new cars are just anorexic in the high beam department. Again, not so important if you only ever drive in the city, or suburbia. But very important in the country. Inside the new car, the reverse applies. Dimmers on instruments are great for driving in isolated areas at night - you dim the instrument lights down to maximise night vision out there on the road ahead. Very important. But the big, fat centre LCD display often doesn’t dim sufficiently (or at all) for night driving. NEW CARS: DEPRECIATION There are two ways to lose money on a car. You can pay too much for it up front, or the depreciation can burn you at the back end of the deal. OK - all cars depreciate, but some depreciate like Dresden on the ides of February, 1945. A classic example here was in last month’s Ford Territory review - which Ford fans hated, principally because it’s such a lemon. Mechanically as well as on the depreciation front. It pays to do your homework on depreciation - and here, past performances are excellent indicators of the future. NEW CARS: UPDATE TIMING You don't want to buy a nice new whatever, and see the manufacturer upgrade it four weeks later. Even a mid-life upgrade is a bit of a disaster because a) it usually comes with more standard equipment at the same price and b) the one you bought - the suddenly ‘old’ model - becomes instantly obsolete and its value takes an immediate hit. You need to let your keyboard do the walking here: google the car you want and keywords like update, upgrade, plus the current year and the next year. Find out what’s going on in the near future. NEW CARS: FIRE SALES Here's what the car industry does with its marketplace dogs. When all else fails, and sales have flatlined, the manufacturer bends over and drops its pants. Every time. They fire-sale the price in an attempt to prop up or stimulate sales. Generally unsuccessfully. Holden dropped its pants on the latest Cruze and Commodore, and Ford has just played the same undignified card with the Territory. Although none of them put it like that in the press releases... So I guess that's good news if you desperately want a Cruze, a Commodore or a Territory… Of course, if you actually bought one of these marketplace lemons a few months earlier, guess what happens to the value of your car? It just evaporates. Desperation discounting by manufacturers slashes the same amount from the value of the lemon you own - because used car prices vary directly in line with replacement cost. So there you go: Six things you probably weren’t considering while you’re poring over the specs and the pretty pix of your possible next new vehicle.
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Mail Sack 4 (Q&A) - Your Car Questions Answered
Mail Sack 4 TIME CODES IF YOU WANT TO SKIP AHEAD 0:51 - "I’ve watched some of your videos. You’re not a real journalist. You’re just a shill for Hyundai" - Terry 4:08 "What’s a dual-clutch transmission - and what’s with the horror stories I hear about them?" - Enrico 9:58 - "I just got a new job, and I can finally afford an Audi Q3 TFSI - just under $60k drive-away in NSW. You don’t have a review - how come?" - Angela 13:24 - "Just like to say your shirt collar and Tie look ridiculous did your taylor run out of collar material LOL" - Forex 14:19 - "I work at a dealership - just a yard worker there. When talking to one of the dealers there he said a customer wanted a car for $6000 instead of the listed price of $7000. He invented another customer willing to pay $6500, even though this second customer does not exist. Clearly it’s just a way to get a higher price for the vehicle. Does this seem wrong or is it just me? They want me to get into the sales area over the few coming months, but I don't think I can say that to someone's face. Curious what you think about this" - Matt 16:05 - "Got new tyres the other day. The tyre shop wanted to sell me nitrogen to fill them up, for an extra $40. They said the tyres would last longer and the ride would be smoother. I went with air, because at the time it felt like a con. Now I’m second-guessing myself. Should I have gone with nitrogen?" - Judy 18:00 - "Is Toyota’s ‘legendary’ reliability a crock?" - Mitch 19:23 - "Safety seems to be your biggest concern when buying a new car. I’ve got three kids, and I agree with you. I'm looking at an Volvo XC60 - what do you think?" - Anita NUT 1 22:30 - "You're a journalist? And know about the car business? You’re an idiot. I googled the words ‘dumb shithead’ and your name popped up" - Rango Millaway NUT 2 23:00 - "You’re arrogant and not nearly as funny as you think. Your analogies are draining. I had to watch first to see how shit it really was, before I could comment ... but don’t stress, overweight Gollum, I wont make that mistake twice. I’m not trying to be anything or anyone. In fact this is just throwaway account I use to tell ass hats like yourself what they need to hear. What does it feel like to sink so much effort into these vids only to produce steaming piles of shit filled with misinformation, your ego and that puckered asshole face of yours?" - oiboiii
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2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Review & Road Test
The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT: you'll drive away in one for eighty-something thousand bucks. So it's unbeatable value compared with the German SUVs. And it's a real man's SUV. The sort of vehicle the Marlborough Man would drive if he hadn't croaked prematurely thanks to emphysema. The base model Mercedes-Benz ML is more expensive than one of these babies, and you just about need a nice pair of Jimmy Choo pumps and a Prada tote to drive the Benz. The Lexus RX 350 is line-ball on price with the SRT, and three times as girly. On a good day. The Grand Cherokee SRT sits right up the other end of the hormonal spectrum. It got all the testosterone. Jeep calls it the ultimate performance SUV. But in reality, it's the ultimate PMT soccer Mom's don't-mess-with-me PMT conveyance. Very few SUVs will manage to keep up, and the ones that can are insanely expensive. The Porsche Cayenne Turbo is a whopping $222,000. And a BMW X6 M or Mercedes-Benz ML 63 AMG Benz will cost you almost $200,000 -- that's equivalent to two Grand Cherokee SRTs and a decent old holiday in Europe. To be fair, these three Euros are all slightly more powerful. But -- trust me -- the Jeep is anything but anorexic -- even in a relative sense. The Grand Cherokee SRT occupies a place where glorious irrelevance, affordability and insane point-to-point capability intersect. So, move over BMW X5, and Audi Q7 - and it's not even like these notionally more premium vehicles are even made in Germany. Joke's on you if you think that. Like the Mercedes-Benz, the BMW X5 and X6 hail from the USA, and the big, fat Audi is built in Bratislava. Perversely, the Grand Cherokee is the closest of all four to being authentically German: it's made in Austria. More at www.AutoExpert.com.au
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Cheap Car Loans: Is 0% Car Finance a Good Deal?
Cheap Car Loans: Is 0% Car Finance a Good Deal? Is the truth about zero per cent car finance - and you're not going to like it. It's not a good way to get cheap car finance. Find out why car companies feel compelled to offer you an apparently unbeatable low interest car finance deal - even though if it's true, somebody's losing money by the truckload. Are there better deals around? You bet. Find out why zero per cent car financing is a con - designed to help a car dealer greet you, hook you and gut you ... in the shortest possible time. And find out where the profit really comes from. There are better cheap car finance options. There are better ways to get a great deal on cheap car finance - whether you need a cheap car lease, a low interest car loan, whether you have good credit, or whether you need a bad credit car loan.
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Nut-fest Friday #3 | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
My tolerance for idiots is extremely low this week. Previously, I had some immunity built up, but obviously there’s a new strain in play, infecting the world. So, let’s lubricate an otherwise high-friction Friday, which should make it easier for us all to slip our way to the weekend, by highlighting my top 10 interactive YouTube nuts and Cock of the Week. I’m John Cadogan, the founder of AutoExpert.com.au - the politically incorrect place where Australian new car buyers save thousands. And you can feel my nuts in mere moments. But first: a rare interjection of sincerity. I’ve had a huge blip in YouTube views in the past month. Big spike in subscribers, too, and overwhelming positivity from you on Nut-fest Friday. Thank you so much for enjoying the reports, and for supporting my ongoing jihad on automotive bullshit, and bullshit more broadly. Laughter - or at least humour - really is the best weapon against bullshit, especially for anyone in a bleak place right now. A viewer named Redlock - not a nut - summed it up for me with perfect clarity. Here’s what he said, last week: "I'm sitting alone in a hotel room and I'm here for a family member's funeral tomorrow. Thanks John, this video actually got me to crack a smile at a time when taking it all too seriously is natural. Keep giving the lazy thinkers and spoiled brats the grilling they so deserve. Maybe you can wake up their minds, before it's too late." Thanks Redlock - been there, done that. I hope things are less confronting a week on. That’s a pretty confronting weekend. I’m Nut-fest Friday helped in a small way. The point is - humour is the primary defence of the mind against shit situations. If you can laugh, suddenly you’re not terrified, not angry, not upset, not caving in to whatever confronts you. It really is magic. Maybe that’s why soldiers, paramedics - people like that - generally have the wickedest senses of black humour. Anyway, comedy’s a great way to pull bullshit’s pants down, and pop a cap in its grille. The best bullshit-buster. With that in mind, let’s bust all kind of nuts in this video.
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SUV versus people mover: Which should you buy? (Warning: contains nuts) | AutoExpert John CAdogan
Coming up: The truth about SUVs versus people movers. Plus nut-flavoured power and torque, and oil dilution. “We have three older kids. CX9, Sorento, Santa Fe, Outlander, Skoda, Pathfinder, Kluger - all of these have a middle seat that is extremely uncomfortable, leaving the kid in the middle to complain. It seems like the only option is the Citroen Grand Picasso with its three individual rear seats. What’s your view on the support these days? I've read that they have a new distributor. Any other options for three grown kids that aren't a Kia Carnival?” - Adam My ‘tough love’ speech on this includes the suggestion that child comfort is grossly over-inflated in the minds of modern parents. Sitting in the middle seat of row 2 does not constitute child abuse. Frankly, parents are doing their kids a disservice in obsessing over such considerations. The acid test here is: ‘Jump in or walk home, kid - whichever you prefer.’ If they jump in, it’s really not that bad. Furthermore, as an engineer, I’d humbly suggest that unless you want to make your chosen conveyance 6.5 metres long and 2.4 metres wide then some interior spatial compromises are inevitable. To look at this in perspective, a Kia Cerato hatch is about 1.8 metres wide and about 4.4 metres long. It’s notionally a ‘small’ car (the official industry segment description). Sorento is perceived as a large seven seater, but it is in fact only 11cm wider and only 45cm longer. Cramming an extra seating row into that extra 45 centimetres of additional real estate is a neat trick - but it’s not spacious for the five people sitting in rows 2 & 3 when all seats are occupied. This is the seven-seat SUV paradox. They’re all like that, and Sorento is one of the better ones. CX-9 is slightly bigger, but has a space-saver spare tyre. Kluger’s OK - if you want a big, thirsty V6 petrol, but Toyota remains locked into three-year warranties, short service intervals, and no Apple or Android phone integrations. Outlander is OK, but row 3 is a joke - for occasional use only. Pathfinder is a dog whose fleas have rabies - Nissan has a lot to answer for. But not as much as Skoda - and all other Volkswagen brands. Taking the bankrupt ethics to one side, Volkswagen brands are unreliable and the customer support is administered by the call centre in Hell. Skoda is the option for the masochist who thinks he knows better. For me it’s Santa Fe, Sorento or CX-9. Yet people movers are a lot better at moving people. They’re bigger and they generally have better (sliding door) access. People movers are about as erotic as a barbed-wire enema, but they do far better at the job most people want their SUV to do. The Grand Picasso is a sensational design exercise, but unfortunately Citroen is a basket case in Australia. It just does not have critical mass. Anorexic sales, terrible resale, poor support and tragic reliability. Perhaps the latest Shitsville distributor can turn this around - I’d be disinclined to breath-hold between now and when that occurs. The best people mover you can buy here in Shitsville is the Kia Carnival - it’s 30-odd centimetres longer than Sorento and and about 10 centimetres wider, and a lot more versatile at moving people (as well as safer in Row 3, by virtue of having full-length head protecting side curtain airbags). Four adults can sit in the rear of a Carnival comfortably and safely. I did a full report detailing these specific advantages. Click the link on your screen now for my latest review. I know you said don’t recommend Carnival, but that’s just nuts. It’s like not taking the best gun to a shootout. Carnival is a an eight seater but it works better when configured as a seven-seater (it’s designed to do this - you can remove the middle seat in row 2 at the pull of a lever - very clever). Then you can walk through to row 3. Carnival was recently updated to. New eight-speed transmission, stiffer body, new suspension tune - so it’s even better now. Seven-year warranty; excellent support. We’re getting solid discounts on new Carnival, too.
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Mazda 3 Review: Mazda 3 SP25
This is John Cadogan's Mazda 3 review. It covers the Mazda 3 SP25, Mazda 3 SP25 GT and Mazda 3 SP25 Astina models. It's the new Mazda 3 reviewed in 2014 but still current in 2015. If you want a notionally small car that’s big on performance and loaded with equipment, that's also a solid value proposition, the Mazda 3 SP25 is the car to have on your short list. On objective criteria, the Mazda 3 SP25 model variants are the best conventional small cars on sale in Australia. There’s no doubt Mazda has done a sensational job on the new Mazda 3 SP25, Mazda 3 SP25 GT and Mazda 3 SP25 Astina - you might get turned off by comparatively minor inconveniences like i-stop, and the instrument cluster could be a hurdle, but everything else about the Mazda3 SP25 is very impressive. Claims you might have heard on the internet about road noise are completely over-blown. It’s refined. Even the app-based centre information display is clever and cool at the same time - and you can’t always say that about carmakers’ proprietary menu-driven systems. Mazda 3 price: From just under $30,000 to just under $40,000 plus on-road costs, for the SP25 Mazda 3 model variants there’s a lot to like. It’s got me stuffed why anyone would buy an entry-level German car when you get so much more with a fully loaded Mazda 3 SP25 Astina. Read the full report at John Cadogan's website: www.AutoExpert.com.au - which is also the place to enquire if you want to pick up a new Mazda 3 SP25 (or any other car) at the cheapest possible price.
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The top 8 ways to beat road rage (before road rage beats you) | Auto Expert John Cadogan
If you’re going to enter any hazardous environment, it makes sense to equip yourself - not only with the right tools - but also a plan. This is just as true, in my view, for driving, as it is for going door-to-door in Fallujah, or welding some pipes in an oil refinery. Here are the top eight ways to throw a spanner in the works, when you’re face-to-face with a poster boy for poor impulse control, out there, on the road. RIGHT & WRONG DON’T MATTER Forget about right and wrong. The only thing that matters on the road is personal safety. Traffic is an imperfect environment - people make mistakes. Some behave like outright malicious tools. That’s just a given. Your principal job as a driver is to roll with the punches here, and keep everyone safe. The thing to avoid is a chain reaction of escalating aggression, and the inevitable consequences. LOSE THE CHIP ON YOUR SHOULDER There’s something about getting into that big, metal exoskeleton. Makes some people think they’re entitled to this bit of road or that. Makes some people think they can behave in a manner that would get them punched in the head in the supermarket, or fired, in the workplace. Just drive like everyone is potentially out to get you. Then it won’t be an disappointment when they are. VICTIM ENTITLEMENT In 2014 a former banker and scumbag of the year Ian Bouch, then 48 years old started tailgating the vehicle ahead, flashing his lights and blowing his horn. Generally driving like a prick. The vehicle ahead contained mum, driving, three school kids on the way home from school, plus the baby. Perhaps Mr Bouch felt they had impinged his moral entitlement in some way. Perhaps he was - is - just a self-entitled cock. Entitled to revenge. Can’t you see how important I am? So he overtakes the vehicle with the family aboard, and immediately jams on the brakes for no reason. Both vehicles stop, just … but the truck behind the family, it can’t stop in time, and following the crash, one of the children, a 10-year-old boy, dies from massive head injuries after five days in intensive care. Imagine that. Mr Bouch was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in jail, and thankfully he lost his appeal last year. SCUMBAGS R US If you’re one of those people who always plays by the rules, it might surprise you to learn that society’s scumbags use the roads too. Scumbags like Clinton Brimson, 35. Father of five, driving a 4WD with a trailer, Mr Brimson became enraged when a car cut him off. So, at the next traffic lights, he jumps out, yells obscenities at the 59-year-old driver and then assaults him. As you do at the supermarket or in the office. At the time, Brimson was six months into a suspended sentence, which meant he also had to be re-sentenced for assaults he’d committed against a former partner and a family member. At least he’s consistent. DON’T ENGAGE So, what do you do? Confronted by someone you’ve angered? Do not engage them - not at all. No eye contact, no rude gestures. Don’t brake test them. Throw water on the fire, not gasoline. DON’T ESCALATE Last year, two scumbag drivers in South Australia were found guilty of causing the death of a 63-year-old pedestrian. Colin Munn, 32, and Damien White, 43, had some long-running dispute going on. There was some verbal abuse between them in traffic, Munn in one car; White in the other. High-speed road rage ensued - real-life fast and furious, only with consequences. 120 in a 60 zone. Damien White killed Stuart Oates while Mr Oates was crossing the road outside a shopping centre. After the crash, Damien White’s antagonist, Colin Munn, laughed and clapped his hands, telling White: “Sucked in. Look at what you’ve done. You’ve killed a man.” Munn’s eight-year-old son is sitting in the back of the car, presumably watching. Nice. What a role model. NEVER GET OUT Whatever you do: if you are confronted by road rage, never get out of the car. Slow down, drive conservatively, windows up, check the locks. The car is a fortress - do not step out of it. The situation is not going to improve, face to face. Balance of probabilities: All outcomes get substantially worse, up close and personal. NEVER HEAD HOME IF FOLLOWED Finally, if you are being followed by some outraged scumbag - if pulling over, attempting to let them past, etc., if the disengagement strategies have not worked: Don’t head home. Stay somewhere public. A petrol station is a great idea, because A) they’re everywhere, and B) they have kick-arse CCTV. Park near the console operator. Call the cops. Keep the car in drive, foot on the brake. Finally, the best way to prepare for emergencies is: Before you get in one. That’s how pilots and soldiers do it. It’s all very Baden Powell.
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The truth about sulphur levels in automotive fuels | Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
Sulphur is an impurity in fuel - petrol and diesel. Currently our regulations here in Ass-trailer (‘Straya) have a deplorably excessive sulphur limit for 91 RON gasolina at 150 parts per million (PPM) while 95 and 98 premium unleaded are 50 at parts per million. Among developed nations in the OECD only Mexico is worse. Well done, ‘Straya. Yesss! Australia is always somewhat spasticated on fuel quality and emissions regulations. But things here are not as bad as they seem. Despite our stratospheric limits on sulphur, in practice, the bowsers here in Shitsville average 28 parts per million for 91 RON and 16 parts per million for premium. I don’t think we should be high-fiving ourselves, however, because global best practice is a mandated maximum 10 parts per million. We are thus ‘only’ double-to-triple where we should be. Sulphur content matters because the stuff passes through the combustion chamber and impacts the effectiveness of catalytic converters. One of the key jobs the cat does is to magic away gasses called oxides of nitrogen in exhaust. These are also known as NOx - the twisted freaks of the stoichiometric combustion process at the centre of the Volkswagen monkey-spanking dieselgate scandal. NOx are a respiratory tract irritant and generally burden on human health. Pollution kills a lot of people - and NOx is a big part of the problem, which is why it’s so heavily regulated. Drilling right down into this - the catalytic converter grabs NOx on the way through and reconfigures it with mad chemical voodoo to become plain old nitrogen gas and oxygen gas - the two major components of the air you’re breathing right now. So that’s nice. Sulphur gums up the works and stops that from happening. And NOx is emitted, the better to kill people prematurely. Which is exactly what it does. That’s bad. The fuel industry bitches and moans about how expensive it would be to comply with 10 parts per million and the car industry bitches and moans about not being able to meet emissions regulations without it. They deploy their arsehole lobbyists to Canberra armed with A-grade, export quality bullshit. Our politicians - useless lawyers, overwhelmingly - technical spastics - are the referees of this bitching and moaning world championship. They drive around in government cars with their heads up their corpulant arses, calling the shots. Which is, of course, why nothing ever gets done. If you’re a combustion propeller-head in some super-secret engineering skunkworks, it’s like this: The leaner you run the fuel-air mixture, up to a point, the more torque you get at the crank. You know you’ve been over-enthusiastic on this if the engine misfires. But running leaner than the ideal stoichiometric air-fuel ratio is good because you’re getting more work done with less fuel. Temperatures increase somewhat, so you have to make sure (using robust R&D) that you don’t over-temp critical engine components, because owners often hate it when their engine melts the pistons or the valves. But, basically, a lean-burning engine does more with less. Meaning manufacturers can get away with smaller capacity lean-burn engines doing the same work as larger, richer-burning engines - so there’s a compounding fuel economy benefit there. (Less weight from a smaller engine and intrinsically less fuel used into the bargain.) Unfortunately, the rate of NOx production increases as you make the mixture leaner. There’s too much oxygen, and not all of it gets laid with its first-preference partner on tinder (gasoline). Frustrated and alone, remaining oxygen does what any of us would do - it gets drunk and goes home with nitrogen, and wakes up humiliated. We’ve all been there. There’s no shame. This of course means designers need to do even more mad catalytic converter voodoo to ensure the NOx limits in the emissions regulations are met, with a lean-burn engine - and that’s precisely what the monkey spankers intentionally failed to to in the dieselgate scandal. So, to Jason I’d say it’s probably OK to use 91 or e10 on the highway, but better to switch to premium around the city - because the city is where the impacts of NOx are really felt. It’s not an environment thing in the sense of climate change. It’s an environment thing mainly in the human health domain.
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Can carmakers set parts pricing? (Warning - contains nuts.) Auto Expert John Cadogan | Australia
I’m John Cadogan from AutoExpert.com.au - the place where Aussie new car buyers save thousands off their next new cars. Hit me up on the website for that. And thanks for spending the next few minutes with me, hopefully not in a Broke Back Mountain kind of way. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that - as long as you’re not doing it in Yemen.) There’s nothing I like more than oxygenating some interesting feedback from you. Davo C says: "Fitting non genuine dpf to the vehicle can void the warranty if it found to have failed and damaged the engine. Also the price is set by the manufacturer, NOT THE DEALERSHIP. The list goes on and on. I think you need to get all of your facts correct before uploading." Not to be unduly confrontational, Davo, but non-genuine parts specifically do not void the warranty, you recreational molester of inbred rodents. If a non-genuine DPF were to fail and it damages the engine, you have a valid consumer claim against the DPF manufacturer. Also, Big D, I think you slipped and fell into the boss’s secretary when you said manufacturers set the pricing of parts. In point of fact there, is illegal for manufacturers to fix prices under Australian law. This is true for all consumer goods and services. Importers, manufacturers and wholesalers are breaking the law if they attempt to fix the price of anything. Predictably enough, though, Davo got back to me: "The only reason why people have to insult and name call are people like you who DON’T have facts and need to justify something that isn’t entirely true. IF YOU FIT A PRODUCT TO YOUR VEHICLE THAT DOES NOT MEAT ADR THERE IS NO WARRANTY AND NO CLAIM CASE IN AUSTRALIA AGAINST THAT MANUFACTURE IN AUSTRALIA PERIOD." Keep shovelling, Davo - you are producing unintelligible A-Grade bullshit. I can smell it from here. It’s what we do. ‘Straya! Yessss! I particularly enjoyed ‘meat ADR’. That protein. I love the smell of meat ADR in the morning. Smells like uneducated arsehole. And of course, Davo got back to me. "AutoExpertTV wow still no facts, you must be a Guinness." Yes, Davo, I am a Guinness … or is that geeeny-ous? I cannot decide. I hope one day to be enough of a geeeny-ous to join Black Lager Mensa. Perhaps the Munich chapter … Satzenbrau Mensa. Sounds like something I’d enjoy.
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