How to prosper during the coming Depression, transportation

 

Most Americans own some form of automobile, however only a small percentage know how to maintain them. If you are looking to keep your ride on the road and save some money along the way I highly suggest buying a Chilton auto repair manual for the year, make, and model of the vehicle you own. There are two schools of thought when it comes to not doing your car repairs, it’s too complicated or let the professionals handle it.

I bought a 2006 Toyota Corolla back in 2008 and I have only taken it to the dealership one time after it was purchased. This was for the “free” oil change that came with the vehicle. There are several reasons why I will never take it back there, for anything. The Corolla came with a 250 point inspection that insured it was in like new condition when I drove it off the lots but when I took it there for the oil change three months later the mechanics continued to pile on a list of things it needed besides the oil change. At one point a woman carried the air filter into the waiting room and said it needed to be replaced. The filter was still white except for a maple tree seed, one of those annoying helicopter like blades that fall to the ground every spring, and told me it was clogged. I took the tree seed out of the filter and told her to put it back in. once they started to add things to the oil change, I was done with that place. Either they never did the inspection before selling the vehicle or they were trying to rip me off. I’m not saying that every place is like that but I have heard other horror stories about $90-120 oil changes at those quick lube places from unsuspecting customers who didn’t know better. It has never cost me more than $30 to do my own oil change at home and it takes less than 15 minutes. Sure, it’s dirty and you have to crawl under the car but at least you know the job is done, what it cost, and that it was done right.

Granted there are things you can not do on your own. Changing tires needs to be done by a professional. The exhaust system, unless you know how to weld, should be done by a professional. Things like, replacing a headlight, changing the air filter, replacing the battery, checking tire pressure, topping off coolant, even replacing your own brake pads can be done at home if you know how to do it. That is where the Chilton’s manual comes in, showing you step by step how to work on your own car so that you aren’t paying somebody $50 an hour to do it for you and charging you extra for the parts that you can get from your local Auto Zone.

Don’t have tools? Instead of buying what you will need brand new for a premium look for these things at garage sales and estate sales in your area. There was a time when people worked on there own cars and it was a common practice. Many of those tools have a life span that will outlive us and can be handed down for several generations. Craftsman, Mac, and Milwaukee tools are top of the line and come at a high cost brand new. To find these at a discount is a steal when they come along.

Junk yards are a gamble and you have to be careful of what you are buying if your try to buy used parts for your vehicle. There will be times when you don’t have an option, especially if you have an older car, but often there are new parts still sitting in a warehouse somewhere waiting to have the dust brushed off them.

Spend a little extra to increase the life of your vehicle. When I change my oil I put full synthetic in instead of the cheaper generic brand options on the shelf. I find that the engine runs smoother and studies have shown that it increases the life span of the motor. You can decide to do this if you want but I don’t plan to have another car payment for a long time to come.

Protecting your investment is important. There are a few, simple ways to make sure your vehicle is never broken into. The common sense approach is to make sure there is nothing valuable left in the car that can be seen from people walking past. Keep your car clean and boring and nobody will think to smash a window to steal that phone, GPS map, or change in the cup holder. What they can’t see they won’t know about. Add an NRA sticker to the back of the car regardless if you are a member or not. Thieves will think you are a gun owner and will be less likely to brake into it. Of course, the next step to freak people out is to leave old copies of magazines like Guns and Ammo in the back seat to make thieves think you are a gun nut. At the end of the day always make sure your car is locked. At the first apartment complex I lived in it was common to walk outside at 6am and find most of the cars with their doors open and everything removed from the glove box and cupholders. Some thieves will simply check the door handle to see if it is unlocked and then go to work removing everything and throwing it into a bag.

So, you don’t own a car. If you are one of those people who use public transportation you can save money by ride a bike or walking to work. I know this is frowned upon by a good portion of our society but think of the benefits that come from these practices. You don’t have to fit in working out because you are doing it twice everyday going to work. The cost of good shoes or a bike is a fraction of what you will pay in a year for bus or train fare. Don’t talk to me about Uber, it is the Keurig of public transportation. It will cost you more per trip than just transporting yourself from point A to point B.

If you own a bike take the time to learn how to do your own maintenance. Purchase a flat tire kit for a few dollars. Wear a helmet. Unlike the rest of the body the brain does not heal when it is damaged. For the sake of your own sanity buy a kryptonite lock. I have seen too many bikes stolen in my home town because people either ran inside a place for a split second only to find their bike gone when they walked out. Even chains and padlocks don’t work. spend the money on the one time purchase of a lock that bolt cutters can not remove.

Overall, not having a car will save you more money in the long run, that is true. Freedom of mobility comes at a cost and if you want the option of getting out of a bad situation quickly it will pay to own a car. Owning a car also helps if you were to lose your job and future employment is only available at a farther distance than you are accustomed to. When you increase your availability, you become more employable. A common question asked at job interviews is “do you have reliable transportation?”

 

 

 

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The rumble in the jungle

I got into the habit of paintballing cars that drove by my house with loud stereo systems blaring. If my windows shook, you got a new paintjob. It wasn’t difficult to time the shots with the bass and nobody ever noticed as they sat at the stop sign trying to figure out where to cruise next.
Spring was here again and the cars were out loosening the foundation of every house they drove past and I sat on the porch with a pump action paintball gun waiting for my next victim. A 1980s Chevy Oldsmobile drove past and sat at the stop sign for a few minutes. The back of the car was covered in green paint that stood out with the beige color of the car. Once I was out of paintballs the stereo was turned off and I wondered if they had heard the thuds of the paintballs. The car turned the corner and stopped on the intersecting street in full view of my house. I sat and waited. Was I finally caught? Was this going to turn into a street fight?
The guy stepped out of the car and went to a house where he was greeted on the porch and hung out for thirty minutes. When he went back to his car, he walked around the back admiring his vehicle until he saw the new green paint that had been added.
“What the fuck!” he yelled as he tried to wipe off the dry paint that had sat there too long. “Oh hell no, some motherfucker paintballed my car. Motherfucker! I know who did this. I’m going to get that motherfucker.” The man jumped in his car and sped off down the street. I grabbed more paintballs from inside the house and waited for the next car.
A few days later there were sirens and flashing lights reflecting through the neighborhood. One street over smoke ascended into the air as a fire raged at 6 am. I learned later from some neighbors that a car had been firebombed and the whole thing was a loss. It looked like something you would see in Somalia or after a riot. The next week things became even more crazy.
The beige car was back with new chrome rims and the green paint was gone. It parked in the same spot as before and I sat on the porch reading a book. An hour later all hell broke loose. A different man, tall and skinny wearing a black wife beater, walked over to the car screaming all kinds of incoherent gibberish, and proceeded to smash out the windows, headlights, tail lights, he kicked in the doors and jumped on the hood. The grill was ripped out by his bare hands. When the police finally arrived, he was trying to tear the rims off the car.
The police stepped out and walked towards the man. “having a bad day?” and officer asked.
“bad day? Am I having a motherfuckin bad day? Ya I’m having a bad day.”
“Is this your car?”
“Hell no, it ain’t my car.”
“Whose car is it?”
“This motherfucker shoots up my momma’s house. So, I shoot up his fuckin house. Then he comes over and sets my motherfuckin car on fire. He burned my fucking car so I’m fucking his shit up.”
“where is he at?”
“he went out with some other guys to buy beer.”
“You think he’s going to be pissed when he gets back?”
“Fuck ya!”
They talk for a few more minutes. I have to give the cops credit, they just talked to the guy. He committed some felonies; the other guys committed some felonies. I guess the question was, who do you arrest in a situation like this. The cops left. They didn’t arrest the guy. They had to wait and see if the other guy wanted to press charges. Odds were he wasn’t going to call. The guy in the wife beater left and I continued to sit on the porch and wait for the next chapter of the story to unfold. This was like watch Days of our lives on crack.
A hour later, with the car sitting on the side of the street in pieces the group of guys came back to the party with their drinks.
“What the FUCK!” and the rumble in the jungle continued.

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