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Tips to Refinish and Restore Your Classic Truck
Classic trucks are a beautiful thing--especially when the restoration is done exactly right! From new chrome to refinishing an older truck, these tips help your classic restoration take flight. They can make any truck look like a reincarnation of the original.

Classic Truck Finishes

You can get that same, sparkling, classic truck finish even from an old, rust-pitted shell, if you have the right know-how and capabilities.

Most older trucks, after decades of exposure to the elements will rust and rust hard. Even a mild exposure to water over long periods of time will cause rust. So, the odds are already stacked against your truck having a perfect underbody.

To repair any damage caused by rusting, use bondo and apply it liberally. This is not the time to conserve materials! Spread the bondo over the finish anywhere you see holes, gaps or large pits. Trying to sand down pitting it really useless, because you have to sand so much material away, you are weakening the metal. Spread bondo over pits, and you have a brand new surface.

Sand and prep your final work with care and use a high grain, 300 or more to get a really fine, smooth finish. Work up to the finer grains starting with a 100 or 150 grain paper first to speed up the process.

Parts and Upholstery

From chrome headers, to interior headers, you need the right parts. But most classic trucks are no longer on the road, and there are few junkyard spare parts laying around that are good enough for a reclamation project like yours.

So, be creative. Use upholstery from fabric stores, header material from car outlets and even fabric retailers. Learn to stitch and apply the upholstery yourself for a truly custom finish. You can also use modern interior car rugs sold by auto fabrication and restoration companies.

Professional Workmanship

Depending on the level of restoration you want to achieve you may require professional work. Some things like setting engine timing, or re-installing vital engine parts should be outsourced. Other issues like restoring chrome also require professional attention. Decide which jobs require the most expertise first. Then decide which ones a pro can have more impact on, before you make the final decision.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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The Smart Car Buyer
What to Bring With You When Car Shopping
If you are getting ready to buy your first car or to replace your current car, you have a lot of things to consider, including the make, model and color, and how much money you are willing to part with. Before you head on over the dealership, there are some items that you should bring with you to ensure that the transaction goes smoothly.

It almost goes without saying, but you need to remember to bring your valid driver’s license. This is something people forget sometimes, especially if they have been relying on other people to take them places. If you don’t have your license, you won’t be able to take any cars for a test drive or drive your new car home. You should also bring proof of insurance.

DO YOUR RESEARCH Unless you are fabulously wealthy and don’t care about losing money, you will need to do some research before going out car shopping. Looking up information online about the types of cars you are interested in will help you narrow your focus when you are out looking at available vehicles.

If you have a particular car in mind, research and print out the dealer’s invoice price and take it with you. This is invaluable information to have when you are negotiating with the salesperson. Put your printouts in a folder, along with the details of any incentives or rebates that you have discovered.

REVIEW THE REVIEWS Another useful thing to bring is a printout of trustworthy reviews of the cars you are most interested in. You can consult these pages while looking at particular cars, to refresh your memory about why you were interested in buying them.

If you don’t feel confident in your ability to properly evaluate a car, you should consider bringing a friend or family member who knows something about cars. If the dealer senses that you have no idea what you are looking at, there is a temptation to take advantage of you.

It’s also a good idea to bring the phone number of a trusted mechanic, in case you want to make an appointment to get a used car checked out. Your mechanic may even be willing to meet you at the location to do an inspection. This is particularly useful when you are considering buying a used car from a dealership you’ve never been to before or when you are evaluating a car being sold by a private party.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
Richmond
Driving in Richmond, VA 101!
Richmond is one of America's historic cities, nestled along the James River in Virginia and easy to drive to. It is very car friendly to navigate with a number of major roadways and plentiful roadside parking places (but watch for signs). The many diverse neighborhoods are fascinating to drive through and the grid street system is easy to figure out. The older parts of Richmond do have the narrow streets and one-way restrictions common in towns of this age.

Interstate 95 goes north-south right through it, and Interstate 64 runs east-west through the city. When you look at a map, you see that there are several highways and parkways looping around the area and it really makes driving easy. That's good, because there are a lot of places you'll want to drive!

Outside the city, the suburbs are rural and rolling. There's a lot of green space and many campgrounds even though it isn't a wilderness area. It's pretty, with the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains to the west and the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean to the east: easy day trips and lots to explore.

There's a lot to explore within Richmond, too. The James River Park System is a string of parks along the river (check their website about parking spaces) and you can see whitewater rafters quite often. The city was the capitol of the Confederacy during the Civil War and suffered a lot of damage but came back from the ashes with vigor. Drive through the Richmond National Battlefield Park and visit the Museum of the Confederacy. Visit Maymont, a 100-acre Victorian estate that is still the way it was planned to be.

Every neighborhood in Richmond has a distinct identity and you might feel like they are separate towns. Driving through the streets, you will see a lot of forged ironwork and unique homes. Be sure to visit Hollywood Cemetery, where over 18,000 Confederate soldiers are buried. There's a Civil War prison site on Belle Isle, the original Confederate White House, and St. John's Church, built in 1739 and the site of the Second Constitutional Convention in 1775. If it is summer, you can hear a re-enactment of Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death!" speech.

The variety of offerings in Richmond mean you can find what you are looking for, and the logical road system means it is going to be a good experience driving there. This is a good destination for a road trip!

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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Chrome Tips for Trucks
If you are looking for a statement finish on different parts of your truck, there really is nothing better than chrome. The brilliant way chrome reflects the sunlight and draws the attention of other motorists almost any time of the year is unlike any other material found on a truck.

Of course, whether this chrome is located on your exhaust, accent points or other areas of your vehicle, it is important to know how to keep and maintain your chrome. This way, if you are considering buying a new or used truck with chrome, you can guarantee the lifespan of the material.

Regularly Clean Your Chrome

Due to the bright, reflective nature of chrome, even the smallest amount of dirt and grime can reduce the appearance of the metal. Eventually, this might cause significant damage to the material even the strongest cleaner is not able to reverse. That is why you need to wipe down the chrome on your truck whenever possible. You should not wait until you notice dirt but instead clean it off with a soft cloth every few days or at last on the weekend. It doesn't take long and helps extend the life of your chrome.

You also want to wash the chrome several times a month as well. This is especially the case if you live in a cold environment and the truck is exposed to snow and, more importantly, salt. The salt can break down the chrome, so removing this residue is essential. While there are chrome cleaners available at your local auto parts store, a bucket of warm water and auto soap should due the trick. You just need to make sure to stay on top of the cleaning.

Break out a toothbrush to work in around the lug nuts and other hard to reach places. With the brush, you can ensure every inch of your chrome is looking its very best. You also need to rinse off the area as well, otherwise the soap is going to leave a thick residue.

Vinegar

Vinegar is able to clean just about anything. If the soap and chrome cleaner is not working, mix one part warm water and one part vinegar and use a rag to rub the cleaning liquid into the chrome. The acidity of the vinegar is strong enough to eat away the dirt. Just make sure to rinse off the excess when you are done.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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Dents and Scratches - An Auto Lover's Tip Guide
Car lovers are notorious for noting every flaw in a vehicle. Even tiny dents and miniscule scrapes and scratches can turn a buyer off from purchasing a used car. Smart car buyers, however, will take advantage of imperfections on a vehicle to get a reduced price and then look into inexpensive body repair to enhance the vehicle's appearance. The following tips offer some insight into fixing dents and scratches on your car at reasonable costs.

Scratch, Scrape and Gouge Repair

You may be able to cover up simple scratches with touch up paint and leave it at that. However, deep scratches that expose your car’s primer color may need to be filled with scratch filler and sanded down before painting. Fine sandpaper (400-grit) works best for initial sanding. Afterward, you can work your way up to 800-grit sandpaper to finish the job. After painting, add a coat of wax to bring out the shine.

Scrapes and gouges on plastic bumpers can be repaired in much the same way using fillers and touch up paints to recover your bumper’s attractive look.

Dents

Dents may be trickier to repair on your own, especially if you’ve never done this type of minor auto body repair work before. If you’re lucky, you may be able to pop the dent out from behind. Otherwise, you could try filling in the dent with body filler and repainting the entire surface. You may need to revise your work several times before getting it just right. Another option would be to do the body filling yourself and have an expert paint the area for a more professional touch.

Selecting Paint

Most auto part shops carry touch up paints in a wide selection of colors. By perusing through your vehicle owner’s manual, you should be able to find the code for the color of paint you need. For large touch up jobs, custom mixing your paint for a better match and spray painting the area may be more effective in getting the job done.

With the cost of new vehicles at an all-time high, purchasing a quality used car makes for a wise investment. Minor auto body repair can help restore the beauty of your used vehicle without overextending your budget.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
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Solid Car Service Center Options in Richmond, VA
Richmond, Virginia is a large metropolitan complex of cities and towns surrounding the city of Richmond itself. Like everywhere else, residents of the Richmond area want to keep their cars running a little longer, but they don't want to break the bank doing so. If you live in or near Richmond, you can take your car to a dealership and will normally have excellent repair work done, but you'll pay a premium for that "factory service" you'll receive. You can also obtain the same level of excellent auto care by taking your car to an independent neighborhood auto car center.

Axselle Auto Service is one of those independent shops that will give you fair prices and couple it with helpful and friendly service. They are a full-service auto repair facility that services most makes and models. They provide most auto repair and maintenance services such as brakes, suspension repairs and alignments, and tire sales, service, and repair, including tire inflation using nitrogen where called for by the manufacturer. Axselle Auto service has been in business since 1951, so you know they treat their customers well and give great prices.

Halls Tire & Auto Service is another local independent auto repair shop that has generated a great deal of customer loyalty over the years. Located at 2111 Dickens Road, they're pretty easy to find and you'll be glad you took the time. Customer reviews found on the Internet range from the simple "These guys are great!" to "These guys treated me like mine was the only car there."

Looking to upgrade the quality of the beats in your ride but not looking to spend an arm and a leg? Take your car to Car Toys, at 11525 Midlothian Trunpike and you'll get the best stereo system your budget can buy, without paying for extra bells and whistles you really don't need. Car Toys also does window tinting at great prices, great service and quality and a turnaround that will amaze you.

It's a traumatic and trying experience for many when they need to have body repair or paint work done to their car. There is no need to add to that trauma by having insensitive and uncaring people work on your car. This isn't going to happen when you take your car to family-owned Connor Brothers Collision Centers, located at 1008 North Sheppard Street. You'll get fast friendly service from very knowledgeable and skilled technicians. Many customers also get a nice little thank you note in the mail a couple weeks after picking their car up.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff

Reviews

01
2014 Ford Transit Connect Review
With the 2014 Ford Transit Connect, Ford has improved markedly upon dependability and toughness, including smart new load space features, enhanced fuel efficiency and a redesigned eye-catching style. The new and retooled Transit Connect sets a different standard for the compact work van, providing an ideal partner for a range of work-related uses. Business owners who require the form and function of a utility vehicle but don't have the need for a full-size van will be drawn to the more compact and affordable Ford Transit Connect. The design is Euro-derived from the cargo/passenger model and offers great functionality in a much more fuel-efficient and highly maneuverable package.

The Ford Transit Connect could be best described as a front-wheel-drive compact commercial van. Offering a scaled-down alternative to the traditional bulky American work van, Ford Transit Connect simplifies with a distinctive body style that's somewhat like a midsize wagon with a tall cargo area. Transit Connect is offered in two body styles: as a van (with optional side and rear glass) and as a wagon. The van configuration is strictly for cargo hauling, while the wagon offers a bench seat for passengers. Both have otional dual sliding doors. Trim levels are XL or XLT for the Van & XLT or XLT Premium offered for the Wagon.

All Transit models feature a 2.0 L in-line- 4 w/136 hp plus 128 pound/feet for torque with four-speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel economy is 21 mpg city and 27 mpg highway with 23 mpg combined. Since the Transit is powered by a four-cylinder engine, it's far more economical than most transport vans. Since it has the previous generation's Ford Focus-based unibody construction with 136 hp it's not the best for towing, but its 135 cubic feet of cargo space helps to compensate.

Van XL offers 180-degree-opening rear doors, A/C, stability control, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, height-adjustable driver seat and two-speaker stereo w/auxiliary audio jack. Van XLT adds full power accessories, body-color bumpers, cruise control, heated mirrors, cargo area, 12-volt power point plus CD player. Wagon XLT model has all of those features plus foglights and 60 / 40-split-folding 3-passenger second-row bench seat. Wagon XLT Premium also has flip-open rear side windows, rear door storage pockets and 4-speaker audio system.

Business owners can add a vehicle tracking system and in-dash computer w/navigation plus Internet access. The cargo vans can also add a tool tracking and inventory system plus customizable rear shelves. Other options include 255-degree-opening rear doors, rear parking sensors, remote start and Bluetooth capability.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff
03
2014 Volvo XC70 Review
The XC70 base model has an MSRP of $35,415. This vehicle is a five passenger wagon (it isn't really a sedan due to its body design) and features 240 bhp. It gets 18 city and 26 highway in gas mileage. It also features a 6-speed automatic engine. This inline-6 engine is strong enough to provide you with plenty of power for nearly any type of job you need to do.

The base model also features a high performance entertainment system including a 7-inch color display with Bluetooth integrated. This allows for Sirius satellite radio (and you get a six month subscription to it, too) with an HD radio. The car has a total of eight speakers.

Other key features include light tinted glass, variable intermittent wipers, chrome side windows trim and black front windshield trim, and clearcoat paint. The high-end XC70 T6 Platinum trim package upgrades to a 300 bhp vehicle with a 3 liter, inline-6 engine. Features on this model include a premium sound system with included navigation (and it gets real time traffic updates) plus 12 speakers and iPod function.

Depending on which model you decide to buy, the 2014 Volvo XC70 could be the ideal vehicle for your needs. It will impress you once you step into it, simply by its ample room and good styling. If you did not like the 2008 or 2010 models, do not overlook the 2014.

- Auto.com Editorial Staff

Richmond Car Dealers

Top 5 File000140806242 Tips to Refinish and Restore Your Classic Truck The Smart Car Buyer File000530964878 What to Bring With You When Car Shopping Local Richmond Driving in Richmond, VA 101! National File000697634036 Chrome Tips for Trucks Tip File000790994019 Dents and Scratches - An Auto Lover's Tip Guide