Posts Tagged ‘Cars’

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The Fancy Plans Guide to American Cars

January 12, 2010

With the recession hitting Americans in the pocketbook (and, occasionally, the groin), you need to arm yourself with as much information as possible before wandering into the nearest car dealership. Take advantage of this brief guide to familiarize yourself with some of the more popular vehicles available today, including some available yesterday.

Requires 18,000 "C" Batteries (not included)

Chevy Volt
The stillborn lovechild of GM’s on-again, off-again, frequently government-mandated love affair with electric vehicles, the near-mythical Chevy Volt boasts a 40-mph top speed and 40 miles between plug-ins.

While the American public has yet to embrace a slow-moving car that can’t go anywhere, GM (and our government) have their fingers crossed that they are only a feature-length slide show away from being converted.

Pros: Doesn’t run on pure evil fossil fuels.
Cons: Can be commandeered by any 10-year old with an RC controller.

The official Jonas Brothers' tour vehicle: guarantees virginity for life.

Pontiac Aztek
Sporting a design rejected by Hot Wheels manufacturer Mattel as “too ridiculous,” the Aztek’s odd angles and ugly-ass plastic accents appeal to the “classic gamer” type, who get all misty-eyed and nostalgic when presented with low-polygon count screenshots like this:

Featuring graphics you can cut yourself on!

Pros: Vehicle is its own anti-theft device.
Cons: Also appeals to Crocs aficionados.

Cute, impractical and surprisingly expensive. Then there's the mini-Escalade.

Cadillac Escalade
Vehicle of choice for multi-platinum rap stars and welfare recipients alike. (Note: these terms are not mutually exclusive.) The Escalade appeals to the inner showboating thug in all of us, meaning it is very popular with young, white males.

While not going through gas like Garfield through lasagna (gangbusters!), the Escalade also emits low-frequency bass mating calls that, when coupled with flashing lights and shiny spinners, often attract members of the opposite sex with low self-esteem and even lower standards.

Pros: Also available in bulletproof.
Cons: Gives police an unneccessary “head start” when racial profiling.

This Hummer shows off its patented "Fuck You" automatic parking assist.

Hummer
A symbol of American military prowess and conspicuous consumption, the Humvee is possibly the most patriotic vehicle you can buy. Although now owned by the Chinese, the new owners say they plan no major changes to the Hummer.

Unfortunately, its new heritage may adversely affect vehicle enjoyment according to J.D. Power and Associate’s latest study.

“…[n)ow when you clip a meandering mall-walker with the front bumper while jostling for a prime parking space, you may no longer feel the vicarious thrill of being knee-deep in the shit surge and running over IED-waving insurgents. This type of normally enjoyable event may instead find you empathizing with your average Tiananmen Square tank commander, as you are faced down by a solitary shopper.”

Pros: Still 1st in the “Vehicle Name with Oral Sex Connotations” division, slightly ahead of the Porsche Boxster and the Chevrolet Cocksucker LE.
Cons: Goes from 0-60 mph in 7.5 gallons.

Also available in Chartreuse, Boa and Cheetah.

1976 Cadillac Eldorado
Measuring in at slightly over 112 ft. long and made entirely out of Americans, the “instant classic” Eldorado is the vehicle of choice for septuagenarians and pimps alike. Whether meandering slowly to the nearest breakfast buffet or rounding up new “interns” at the Greyhound Bus depot, the 1977 Cadillac Eldorado defines luxury and style. (To see how the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines luxury and style, click here and here.)

Pros: 74 combined feet of front and rear crumple zones.
Cons: 35 mph top speed; blinker default setting – “Always On”

-CLT

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Fancy Plans Guide to Winter Driving

December 14, 2009

Nothing makes hazardous winter driving easier than snapping away with your camera.

Winter is here. The temperature has dropped and the roads are deadlier than ever (and I’m including Maximum Overdrive). Here’s a quick guide on the do’s and don’ts of winter driving. Remember, being prepared might mean the difference between life and a short period of inconvenience.

So, how can you tell whether roads are safe to travel? Well, there are many resources including local news, Department of Transportation web sites and the traffic chopper. However, these reports may be as accurate as advertised as weather conditions can change rapidly during the course of a winter storm (and only in one direction: from bad to worse).

Use this simple test to determine whether roads can be safely travelled:

Do you have to work today?

  • Yes (see A.)
  • No (see B.)

A. NO. Roads cannot be safely travelled. [Skip to the end of this post.]

B. YES. Roads are safe to travel. [Continue reading.]
(Note: the quickest way to make a road safely navigable is to call in to work. Once you are unable to make it in to work [A] you will automatically fall into category B.)

Here are some key areas to focus on:

Low visibility often results in exciting rounds of "Car Tetris."

Low Visibility
Heavy snow and high winds will often bring visibility to under 100 feet. Here’s what you can do to combat “whiteout.”

1. Be proactive. Make sure others can see you. Turn every vehicle light on. Headlights, fog lights, high beams, hazard lights, etc. If you think it might help, go ahead and fire up the hazards and dome light. The better lit you are, the better your chances of not being hit by Speedy Joe Jackass.

Those of you with aftermarket products may also consider turning on every neon light/LED attached to your Hyundai. [see below]

Of course, the trailer itself remains dangerously underlit...

2. That takes care of people seeing you. But what about you seeing them? We can never safely assume that the other drivers will light themselves responsibly, much less give two shits about anyone but themselves.

So, to get back on point, what can you do to improve your odds of seeing other vehicles? You’ve already got all YOUR lights on so you’re probably seeing the road as well as you ever will. Maybe you could squint a little or try “visualizing” the road ahead. (It works for world peace. Or so said that bumper sticker attached to that bumper you just collided with.)

These, of course, are for your nipples.

Emergency Road Kit
Should you happen to end up in the ditch, freezing river or 12-foot tall snowbank, you’ll want to be prepared in case you have to wait several hours for rescue vehicles. (Well, maybe not the river. We’re talking hypothermia in a matter of minutes once you get wet. In this case, make sure your will is updated and you’re Satisfied-Very Satisfied with your progress in life so far.)

An Emergency Road Kit should contain the following:

  • Flashlight
  • Flares
  • Matches
  • Blanket
  • Extra clothes
  • Food
  • Water
  • Booze*

*optional

(Notes on booze: While it may seem immediately beneficial to have some available alcohol to combat cold and boredom, there are several drawbacks:

1. Alcohol does not actually keep you warm. It only makes you feel warmer. However, with a good buzz, “feeling” warm may be enough. Try to refrain from removing your clothes or wasting precious battery life calling up your exes.

2. When the highway patrol finally rescues you, it is probably better if you don’t reek of booze. Sure, you’ll get a free ride to somewhere warm, but your personal belongings will be scattered to inconvenient locations several miles away from each other. (For example: you – jail, your house – right where you left it, your car – impound lot.)

3. The effect of alcohol on your decision-making skills may result in very ineffective actions, like sticking the flares in the exhaust pipe to see if you can “blast” your way out of the snow, shoving the blanket into the gas tank and lighting it for some “continuous” warmth or exposing yourself to the cold/other drivers. (Not to mention all the drunk-dialling you’ll be doing.)

No matter what the weather is, Jack Nicholson is always on the lookout for speeders.

Drive Slowly
Generally speaking, winter driving means road conditions will vary from “unfavorable” to “wrath of God.” As you travel across snow-packed and icy roads, you will notice there is a fundamental disconnect between where you think you’re steering and where your vehicle is actually heading. This often leads to accident reports containing ridiculous phrases such as “The car seemed to have a mind of its own. Like Herbie. Or Christine.”

This particular strain of black ice will also torch your vehicle, much like a drunken hockey fan.

Black Ice
A common winter death trap is the fiendish act of God known as “black ice.” Black ice is a hardy winter predator which mimics a clean, dry road surface and will attack passing vehicles, sending them into the nearest ditch, guard rail or oncoming vehicles.

Due to its invisibility, warning you to “look out for black ice” is much like asking you to plan your next accidental pregnancy. You won’t realized you’re fucked until after you’ve “hit” it.

-CLT

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Your Vehicle’s Warranty

December 10, 2009

Our faceless technicians will happily jam black lines into your featureless engine for $75-120/hr.

If there’s anything nobody really wants to do, it’s reading the fine print. You’d be amazed and possibly grief-stricken by the amount of responsibility waiving inserted into the average warranty coverage by most major auto companies.

Below lies the “fine print” of the average 5 Year/50,000 Mile vehicle warranty, all blown up into a slightly less fine print for easier consumption.

Thank you for your purchase of this [fine American vehicle of your choice]. Your vehicle comes standard with a 5 Year/50,000 Mile Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty, which covers all parts and labor* on any repairs** needed during the coverage period. Please view the details below for full terms of coverage.

* “Parts” excludes the following:

  • Shop use items
  • Third-party replacement parts
  • Replacement of parts in serviceable condition (“Serviceable” means usable or not totally broken parts that could conceivably last through the end of the warranty period.)
  • Expensive parts (“Expensive” means any parts whose cost is above $75. Additional note: all parts sold through our dealerships are over $75. Yes, that includes belts, hoses and valve stems.)
  • Routine wear-and-tear parts (Including but not limited to filters, belts, batteries, tires, rims, brake pads, transmissions, carburetors, fuel injection systems, etc. Safe rule of thumb: if it’s in motion when you’re driving, it will wear and tear.)
  • After-market products
  • Parts subject to recall
  • Replacements for recalled parts or any part requiring over four (4) hours to install
  • Wiper blades

Labor” excludes:

  • any labor charged at a rate higher than $15/hr.
  • any labor exceeding minimum labor charge (usually 0.5-1.0 hours)
  • any labor performed by non-certified technicians
  • any labor performed by your brother-in-law or uncle (with or without certification)
  • any labor performed by certified technicians if done on a/an a.) weekend, b.) evening or c.) Tuesday

Pending verification of eligibility, labor charges will be held in a “Disputed” status until such labor dispute is settled by appointed UAW official. Settlements will be delivered by a/an a.) threatening late-night phone call, b.) brick through your living room window or c.) slashing of said vehicle’s tires. (Note: Slashed tires are not covered by your warranty. See “Mob Violence and Street Riot Exemptions” for more information.)

Work performed by anthropomorphic funnels is NOT covered by your warranty.

** “Any repairs” does not cover:

  • Routine maintenance***
  • Body work
  • Windshield replacement
  • Any repair performed due to improper driving habits or vehicular abuse (See “Improper Driving/Vehicular Abuse” below.)

*** Uncovered “Routine Maintenance” includes any of the following:

  • Oil change
  • Tire rotation and balance
  • Engine fire
  • Lube job
  • Shock and strut replacement
  • Unexpected removal of catalytic converter
  • Major overhauls
  • Tuneups
  • Transmission problems
  • Catastrophic failure
  • Windshield replacement
  • Burning/burnt engine
  • Lights
  • Leaks
  • Recall-related repairs
  • Offset head-on collisions
  • Rapture

Another "certified" technician prepares to violate your vehicle, its warranty and your trust, roughly in that order.

Improper Driving/Vehicular Abuse” includes the following:

  • Speeding (including “going downhill” and “trying to make the light”)
  • Sharp turns
  • Emergency brake usage during non-emergencies
  • Sex in front or back seat (trunk and hood covered for total combined weight not exceeding 350 lbs.)
  • Leaving vehicle on while “running in for something”
  • More than 12 regular/bright headlight cycles
  • Signalling without turning
  • Generating more tha 150 foot-pounds of torque during acceleration
  • Backing vehicle into parking space
  • “Killing” engine due to improper shifting
  • Waving at oncoming drivers
  • Rolling down window to speak to driver/passengers of other vehicles
  • High-speed pursuits
  • Low-speed pursuits
  • On-foot pursuits
  • Using more than 10 foot-pounds of torque to close door/hood/trunk
  • “Ricing up” said vehicle through the addition of ground effects, spoilers and decals
  • Having vehicle urinated on by Calvin
  • Complaining about gas mileage
  • Failure to respect rules of engagement in Ford-Chevy rivalries

-CLT