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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.

- Editorial Staff
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.

- Editorial Staff
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!

- Editorial Staff
Advances in GPS Technology
GPS is best known for its ability to help a driver find his or her way around town. This system can automatically locate any given address and then tell you how to reach your desired destination.

However, advances in the industry have made it possible for GPS to do more than simply give you directions. Advanced GPS units can track vehicle mileage, speed and distance traveled. They can keep a record of which places you have visited, how long you have stayed in any given location and even permit car owners to monitor a friend or relative who may be borrowing the car.

BEYOND JUST DIRECTIONS Some GPS systems will warn you if you drive over the speed limit, help you recover your vehicle if it is stolen and even unlock the vehicle and start the engine if you forget your keys in the car. GPS can also be used to make sure the car is in good working order at all times, as the system automatically issues a warning when the battery is low or the oil needs to be changed.

WHAT'S NEXT These advances help the average driver by making driving a safer, more relaxed experience. At the same time, the auto industry has continued to tweak vehicular GPS systems to make them even better than they are today. Ford, for instance, is developing a new GPS that will automatically call emergency services if an airbag is deployed for any reason. This system has already been installed in the Ford Focus and chances are it will be installed in other new Ford models as well.

A VARIETY OF OPTIONS GPS manufacturing companies have also created new features and amenities that make vehicular GPS units easier and more convenient to use. The Magellan SmartGPS, for instance, can not only connect to the internet but also has a smartphone app and dedicated cloud service. This unit allows a driver to download Yelp and Foursquare destinations and provides up to date traffic and fuel price information. The Parrot Asteroid Smart Navigation System provides top notch navigation, mobile apps, music and video playback, hand free calling and an easy to use touch screen interface.

GPS technology has benefited the auto industry a great deal. It enables you to find your way easily, makes it possible to recover a stolen car in short order, monitors that state of the car and traffic conditions and much more. Furthermore, as the GPS industry continues to advance, we can expect more helpful features that will make GPS units even more efficient and convenient than they presently are.

- Editorial Staff
Oil Changing Tips for the Novice
Oil plays an important role in the performance of your vehicle and should be changed on a regular basis. Changing the oil in a car is not as difficult as it may seem. However, you will need the proper tools to include a ratchet, oil filter wrench, container for catching old oil, funnel, new oil filter, new oil and a clean rag.

Mind The Heat

Before you begin, make sure the oil is not too hot. If you have recently driven the vehicle, you should wait at least 15-20 minutes for the oil to cool slightly before starting your oil change. Your oil should be warm for easier removal but not so hot that you may get burned.

Safety First

It is best to work on a level surface so the oil can drain easily. By working on a level surface, you will also be able to accurately check the level of your oil once you are done. On most vehicle models, it is possible to change the oil without jacking the car up. However, if you must elevate your vehicle to reach your oil pan, be sure to use two jack stands and a floor jack for extra safety. Also, always apply your emergency brake for protection.

First, remove the drain plug from your oil pan and let the old oil drain out into a container. Give your old oil time to drain out completely; this may take anywhere from 15-20 minutes. Once done, replace the drain plug. Next, remove your old filter using your filter wrench and replace it with a new oil filter.

Ready To Roll

Now you are ready to add new oil into your engine. Open the car hood, remove the oil filter cap and pour oil inside using your funnel. Take care not to overflow your oil pan. Replace the oil cap and run your engine for a few minutes, checking to ensure no oil is leaking from the bottom. Finally, check the level of oil to make sure it is where it should be.

You can clean up any messes with old, throwaway rags. You should also ensure the old oil is disposed of properly, either by taking it to a nearby garage or dropping it off at a recycle center.

- Editorial Staff
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.

- Editorial Staff


2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Review
Previous versions of the Cherokee were criticized for a lack of refinement and excessive fuel consumption. Newer Grand Cherokees now have significant improvements to fuel economy, ride quality and interior features. The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee boasts a number of notable changes, including a new 3.0 L V-6 diesel engine, updated exterior and interior styling, new 8-speed automatic transmission and newly added technology features.

The two biggest changes are its 8-speed automatic transmission and a new, very economical diesel V-6 engine. Jeep fits the 8-speed transmission to every Grand Cherokee model, offering smooth, refined shifting that replaces its previous, more bumpy offering. There's also better fuel economy with this transmission.

The 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a midsize five-passenger SUV with five available trim levels: Laredo, Limited, Overland, Summit and SRT. All have rear-drive availability or 4WD except for the high-performance SRT, which is only available in 4WD.

Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloys, automatic headlights, foglamps, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone air-conditioning, full power accessories, tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth, six-speaker sound system w/5-inch touchscreen, CD player, USB port and auxiliary audio jack. There's an optional Security and Convenience Group with power liftgate, remote engine start, heated front seats and steering wheel, and a 115-volt household-style power outlet. Also optional are 18-inch wheels, 8-way power driver's seat, satellite radio and 8.4-inch touchscreen display + voice command.

Limited includes the Laredo's equipment plus the Security / Convenience Group, 18-inch wheels, driver memory settings, power front seats, heated rear seats and 9-speaker premium audio system. The Luxury II Group and Advanced Technology Group are also available, adding panoramic sunroof, bi-xenon headlights, rain-sensing wipers, leather upholstery, power tilt-and-telescoping steering and ventilated front seats. Available Technology includes rear cross path detection, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring plus adaptive cruise control. An 8.4-inch touchscreen is optional and can be fitted with a navigation system for the Limited.

Overland has all the standard equipment from the Limited, plus 20-inch wheels, an 8.4-inch touchscreen w/navigation and the Luxury Group II package features. Summit has the most equipment with the Advanced Technology Group features along with polished 20-inch wheels and a 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.

SRT is equipped like the Summit, but panoramic sunroof is optional. There's an exclusive V-8 engine, LED running lights, 20-inch forged wheels, adaptive suspension, Brembo brakes, performance-tuned steering, limited-slip rear differential, carbon-fiber cabin accents and leather/suede sport seats. Blu-ray-capable back seat entertainment system w/HDMI and RCA inputs and twin seat-mounted displays are optional for the Limited, Overland, the Summit and SRT trim levels.

Except for SRT, the 2014 Grand Cherokee has a standard 3.6 L V-6 with 290 hp and 260 pound/feet of torque. Two other engines are available on Limited, Overland and Summit: a turbocharged 3.0 L diesel V-6 with 240 hp and 420 lb./ft. of torque, or a 5.7 L V-8 with 360 hp, 390 lb./ft. of torque. The SRT model comes exclusively with a 6.4 L V-8 producing 470 hp + 465 lb./ft. of torque. All 2014 Grand Cherokees have an 8-speed automatic transmission, with the SRT using a heavier-duty version to handle its more powerful engine.

- Editorial Staff
2013 Scion xD Review
Toyota has aimed its Scion line at young and first-time car buyers, but the cars have become popular with older drivers as well. The 2013 Scion xD is one of these models that are both practical and fun. As a hatchback, it has more cargo space than a sedan of equal size. It also offers many features that make driving it something to look forward to.

The xD has a surprisingly large variety of trims for such an affordable car. Six trims, three with manual transmissions and three with automatics, await those who take a look at this model. MSRPs range from $15,745 to $16,545. Fuel economy is good, with all trims getting about 27 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. The engines have four cylinders.

Inside, you'll have access to features that used to be unavailable in compact economy cars. Air conditioning, a CD player, MP3 player, intermittent wipers, satellite radio and a premium sound system are all there. A security system and cruise control are other options you may be pleased to discover.

Eight paint colors are available for the 2013 Scion xD. Along with black, gray, silver and white, you can choose red or two different shades of blue. One of the blues is a two-tone, with black being the other color. The interior, on the other hand, isn't nearly as varied. You get dark charcoal.

The car's safety package is fairly standard. Driver and passenger air bags protect the front row from the front and sides, while the back row has head air bags. Stability and traction control help prevent skidding on the road. Brake assist is also present. Child-safe locks keep everyone in the car until it's time to get out.

All in all, the Scion xD is a good car for anyone who wants to save on gas. Its features and colors make it surprisingly fun and comfortable for such a small car. Drivers of all ages should enjoy zipping around the city in this wagon.

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 Gps Advances in GPS Technology Tip File000402248177 Oil Changing Tips for the Novice