Vehicle Maintenance: How It Helps Alleviate Financial Stress

A car that runs smoothly is truly a beautiful thing. But maintaining a vehicle can be a complicated undertaking. Obviously, in a perfect world, your car would never have any issues, and you could cruise around with ease. But, rust, weather, mice, and other potential disasters constantly bombard your vehicle and attempt to break it down. 

When that check engine light goes on–as it inevitably will–the hunt for the problem begins. Sometimes the car makes it easy for you to discover the problem quickly. Maybe it just needed an oil change, a relatively easy thing to accomplish. But other times, the problem can be elusive, and merely guessing could cause even more harm to your car. Before you start dismantling your vehicle to investigate, set yourself up for success with an OBD Scanner.

What is an OBD Scanner

OBD stands for On-Board Diagnostics and is a tool used to monitor the efficacy of your engine, gather emissions data, and help you identify any problems your car might have. This nifty tool is extremely helpful. Your vehicle runs tests consistently to help maintain the functioning of your car. Your car will record a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) and turn on the check engine light if it detects a problem. Before the invention of the OBD Scanner, you would have to take your car into a shop to figure out what was wrong. But because this scanner now exists, your life is simplified. Simply plug in this scanner, and it will interpret the DTC for you. Once you have looked up the DTC, you are equipped with the necessary knowledge of what is wrong with your car.

Types of OBD Scanners

Cars have been around since 1886, and they have gotten more efficient and complicated since then. In 1968, Volkswagen put the first computer in a vehicle for the average consumer. The addition of computers, while helpful, did add a whole new set of problems–and solutions.

There are two eras of OBD Scanners on the market right now. An OBD1 Scanner and an OBD2 Scanner. If your car was manufactured in 1996 or later, you will want to use an OBD2 Scanner. If your car is a bit more classic, you will want to look into an OBD1 Scanner.

OBD1 Scanner

This scanner revolutionized a car owner’s ability to maintain their vehicle. However, the codes were not standardized across manufacturers. This means that if your car was made between 1981 to 1985, you have to have a specific scanner for the make and model of your vehicle. If you tried to plug in an OBD1 Scanner designed for a Ford vehicle into a Toyota, you will likely get a different code. The dangers of this are many. If you don’t have the correct scanner, you are likely to get the wrong code, which will lead you to the wrong issue, and in turn, you could do more damage to your car! 

  • INNOVA 3145 FORD OBD1 Code Reader
  • INNOVA 3123 GM OBD1 Code Reader

These are two examples of OBD1 scanners. We will expand on how to know which version of the code reader you will need below.

OBD2 Scanner

In 1996, the diagnostic codes were standardized for vehicles across the United States. This means that any car manufactured after 1996 that is OBD2 equipped supports any OBD2 Scanner. OBD2 vehicles have the same port across make and model. This means you could potentially have one scanner for all your vehicles.

How to Know Which Type to Buy

There is a simple test for knowing which version of the scanner you should use. If your car was manufactured in 1996 and later, you will be looking for an OBD2 Scanner. But first, check the “Vehicle Emissions Control Information,” usually found under the hood of your car. There should be more information telling you if your vehicle is OBD2 compliant in the top right corner.

If your car was made between 1981-1995, you will likely want to purchase an OBD1 Scanner. If you have a classic car that you love, you may be looking at this type of scanner. Don’t forget to research which OBD1 Scanner will correctly read your car’s DTCs.

Code Reader VS OBD Scanner

An OBD2 code reader is a more primitive device (if you can call a computer that interprets problems in your vehicle primitive). A code reader plugs into your car, displays DTC information, and resets your check engine light. It is simple and will get the job done.

If you are looking for more detailed information, you will want to get an OBD2 Scanner. Because manufacturers can put codes unique to them, a code reader may not be able to pick these up. A scanner will be able to. Scanners are designed to deliver real-time data, analyze unique diagnostic issues, and even estimate repair costs! These professional-grade scanners will give you the most accurate information you would need about your car.

Because you love your car and want it to run smoothly and efficiently for as long as possible, you need to equip yourself with tools that will help keep you informed about what is happening under the hood. An OBD1 or OBD2 Scanner is a perfect tool in your arsenal. This tool will keep you up-to-date and in the know when your check engine light turns on, or even before that happens.

Vehicle Maintenance: How It Helps Alleviate Financial Stress

Vehicle Maintenance

When it comes to owning a vehicle, the costs can quickly add up when it comes time for pricey maintenance or repairs. But, the good news is that most vehicle issues don’t just pop up out of nowhere. They can be prevented or mitigated with regular maintenance, allowing you to save time, money, and stress by addressing potential concerns before they arise or turn into massive headaches. With a few expert tips, you can help alleviate financial stress and stay on top of your car’s maintenance.

Longevity of Your Car

As soon as you buy a new vehicle, it automatically depreciates in value pretty much from the moment you drive it off the lot. Cars are an expensive and significant purchase, and we all want them to last as long as possible. To get your money’s worth, staying on top of regular maintenance can help your car last longer and run more efficiently. Routine maintenance should include things like oil changes, fluid flushes, parts replacements, and tire rotations. By staying on top of these things, you’ll help alleviate long-term financial stress for yourself.

A well-maintained vehicle is less likely to need costly repairs that can be a significant source of financial stress. In addition, the longer you can prolong the life of your car, you won’t get stuck having to worry about having to come up with the money for a new one.

One other thing to consider is that regular maintenance can also help improve your car’s gas mileage, as well-serviced cars generally run smoother. This means you can save money on costly gas over time!

Regularly Shop around for Insurance

Vehicle maintenance goes well beyond repairs and mechanics. Shopping around regularly for auto insurance is an excellent idea to prevent financial stress before it hits. By saving money on your car insurance, you’ll have more money available in reserve for potential repairs or maintenance that may arise. Some people even change auto insurance carriers yearly to get a better deal and save some change.

Check out the best way to shop for auto insurance to learn more about how you can save on your auto insurance policy.

Keeping Your Car as Safe as Possible

Staying on top of regular car maintenance also helps ensure your car is always running smoothly and, most importantly, safely. Staying on top of maintenance helps keep your vehicle safe for you and your passengers and everybody else you share the road with. This peace-of-mind goes a long way when it comes to spending lots of time on the road; whether it’s a commute for work or a road trip, you can rest easy knowing your oil is fresh, your engine is running smoothly, and your battery is full.

Fewer Large, Costly Repairs

Rather than being blindsided when a big problem pops up seemingly from nowhere, staying on top of your car’s maintenance will make sure you can address issues before they become big hits to your pocketbook. You can perform a diagnostic assessment to determine the issue at the first sign of a problem, which means you can address it proactively. This means you can potentially avoid more serious, time-consuming, and costly repairs for your car down the road. Regular maintenance allows everything to be properly lubricated, so parts will not wear as fast or become dangerous.

Less Chance of Breaking Down

Breaking down at the side of the road can be both frustrating and costly. Not only does it kill your plans for the day, but it also amounts to additional dollar signs overall. This is especially true if you do not have a roadside plan or AAA program that assists when you break down. Should your car need to be towed, this can be pretty expensive, on top of the parts, labor, and fees to address the cause of your breakdown and repair it. Vehicle maintenance helps you lessen your chances of breaking down, which, in turn, can alleviate these potential costly concerns.

All in all, you might be tempted to put off regular vehicle maintenance to save time and money. However, this can potentially end up costing you much more in the long run. For the various reasons listed in this guide, vehicle maintenance can actually help you alleviate financial stress. This is true because you can help improve your gas mileage, limit expensive repairs, reduce your chances of breaking down, and limit your chances of costly collisions — plus give yourself the peace of mind of knowing you are driving a well-oiled machine!

What are you waiting for? Schedule your vehicle maintenance today!

Claims People Make When Selling a Classic Car (Part 1)

I have seen it all when it comes to claims owners make on their classic car. Sometimes they are erroneous claims that could be considered honest mistakes. Other times, a more nefarious plot is underway. As a prospective buyer it really pays to do the due diligence and verify each claim a seller makes about their car. Here are some of the claims I have heard over the years… along with the reality behind each claim.

CLAIM: “The car is completely original.”

REALITY: They didn’t know it had had a colour change, electronic ignition, later wheels from the same model etc. Their father’s mechanic always changed the components to modern ones when he serviced the car. Luckily their father kept all the original components in boxes in the garage. Even the original rear axle. This made a huge difference when it came to selling it.

CLAIM: “One owner since new”

REALITY: Their father never mentioned he bought it when it was 1yr old, it had always felt like new to the kids.

CLAIM: “The mileage is original”

REALITY: Their father never mentioned the broken speedometer cable that went unfixed for a couple of years, twenty years ago.

CLAIM: “Original paint”

REALITY: Many people can’t see that their car may have more than one colour paint or don’t notice the overspray on the lock mechanisms.

CLAIM: “Never winter driven”

REALITY: Their father drove the car to work all year round for the first three years before it was stored every winter.

CLAIM: “1956 Thunderbird with only 2500 miles on it”

REALITY: The car was originally raced by a Ford dealer in Florida. It was then disassembled and put in boxes. Later it was restored to better than new, the owner at this point had the mileage set to 1956, the year he got his license. Original mileage unknown!

As you can see, there are different ways that a classic car can turn out to have a story that is quite different than what is originally reported. Take your time to find out the verifiable facts when purchasing – or hire a professional to conduct a professional pre-purchase inspection. It can save you a fortune.

Stay tuned for Part 2.


Lipstick on a PigLIPSTICK ON A PIG
Avoiding Life’s Lemons

Lipstick on a Pig features excerpts from the vast library of Maurice Bramhall’s experiences.

What Do You Learn From A Pre-Purchase Inspection?

When buying a classic car, either modern or old, a pre-purchase inspection is an excellent foundation for long term enjoyment. Knowing what the vehicle needs today to operate safely and enjoyably, and knowing what it is going to need in the immediate future, helps you make a decision on whether to buy the car, and also what kind of offer is realistic. A pre-purchase inspection is an excellent tool with which to negotiate the purchase.

It’s not unusual that the seller does not know the current condition of the car and what it will cost to recondition it to safe and normal operating condition. This is especially true for vehicles that are being sold by an estate where it may have been sitting for several years. When the person selling the vehicle is a spouse or an inheritor, they often have no knowledge of the true condition of the vehicle and its value. It’s a common situation where the long time owner of the vehicle often tells his spouse and family members what great condition the car is in and how valuable it is, but, in the true light of day, after they have died or become infirm, the market does not support the owner’s opinion. A pre-purchase inspection along with research of the current market will help in educating both parties to the transaction.


Lipstick on a PigLIPSTICK ON A PIG
Avoiding Life’s Lemons

Lipstick on a Pig features excerpts from the vast library of Maurice Bramhall’s experiences.

What Does “Original” Mean?

I read the latest news and a company in the U.K. (Swindon Powertrains) is going to be selling a Crate electric engine starting at the end of next year. They are going to be building an electric motor and transmission that you will be able to install in a wide range of Classic vehicles, even in a Mini. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle drove away from their wedding reception in a Jaguar E-Type with an electric powertrain.

The whole originality concept is being stretched over a very wide range. Is a concours quality Jaguar E-Type with an electric powertrain original, custom, or modified? Will the selling prices for these vehicles match the original or be possibly higher? Is there going to be a special category now at concours events for electric powered Classic vehicles? If I certify that my Classic can be reverted to original by swapping out the new powertrain, is the car still original? Would you convert your Classic?


Lipstick on a PigLIPSTICK ON A PIG
Avoiding Life’s Lemons

Lipstick on a Pig features excerpts from the vast library of Maurice Bramhall’s experiences.

Why Use A Professional Automotive Trim Craftsman?

I see many restored vehicles. The ones that are done by the owner or the owner’s mechanic nearly always have poor quality trim work. The seat covers don’t fit properly, and the rebuilding of the internals is so poor as to not supply proper support.

Many owners of classic vehicles see no purpose in paying for quality workmanship when installing interior trim. This is extraordinary in that the area of the car that you see the most is where you sit.

I remember many years ago when I went to see a Corvette which the owner had paid a mechanic to restore, it had brand new seat covers installed but the internals of the seat were left with fill material as old as the car. The mechanic had been the only person to sit in the seat and the seat was only a couple of weeks old but the leather was already distorted. When I mentioned this to the mechanic, he told me that the owner of the car was fat and that it would make no difference. When I pointed this out to the owner, he was not amused.

When I was in the Rolls-Royce restoration business, I was lucky enough to have a European craftsman in trim work close to my shop. His interiors were built to last 30 years, and look good for the entire period. Fat or thin made no difference.


Lipstick on a PigLIPSTICK ON A PIG
Avoiding Life’s Lemons

Lipstick on a Pig features excerpts from the vast library of Maurice Bramhall’s experiences.

Should You Buy A Car With A Branded Ownership?

A number of people call our classic car appraisal service looking for help with an insurance dispute over the value of the vehicle that they have been offered by their insurance company. They start out by explaining how little the insurance company has offered. As I dig deeper with more questions, I discover that the vehicle they have has a rebuilt, branded ownership. In this situation, the insurance company normally reduces the average market value of the vehicle by 40%. 

This comes as a big shock because people grossly underestimate the value penalty for a branded ownership vehicle. The branded vehicle that they buy may look like new, and the salesperson may be very reassuring as to the quality of the vehicle, but of course they never mention its true value due to its branded status. It’s very common that the owner does not know who assembled the vehicle after it was written off, this can be important in assuring the integrity of the rebuild. 


Lipstick on a PigLIPSTICK ON A PIG
Avoiding Life’s Lemons

Lipstick on a Pig features excerpts from the vast library of Maurice Bramhall’s experiences.

Do you know what kind of coverage your Insurance policy offers your vehicle?

An enthusiast buys a special interest car to restore and put on the road. They pay $15,000.00 for the car and flatbed it to their mechanic.

They call their regular insurance company and obtain a policy for it, and when asked how much they paid for it, the owner says $15,000.00. The owner doesn’t think a thing about it until a total loss occurs.

They had $12,500.00 put into it before it went on the road (for a total investment of $27,500.00). Then, a total loss was caused when the car was parked in their driveway. The insurance company had put a “19 endorsement” on the policy which limits them from paying any more than the $15,000.00. Due to this limit, the car is a write-off.

The lesson in this story is that you have to read the fine print at least on the page where it lists your vehicles and their respective coverage.

A “19 endorsement” limits the amount covered, a “19A endorsement” covers an Agreed Amount for a specific period of time, usually five years.


Lipstick on a PigLIPSTICK ON A PIG
Avoiding Life’s Lemons

Lipstick on a Pig features excerpts from the vast library of Maurice Bramhall’s experiences.

Why Do Dogs Belonging To Rolls-Royce Owners Bite Me?

It started with a Rolls-Royce Corniche, I was demonstrating to the owner how to use lambswool over carpets and I did not notice their little terrier on the front passenger seat. Next thing I know, there’s a dog hanging off one of my fingers and me dancing around the front garden after it let go. The owner of the car and the dog said very little. The next day, he phoned me to apologize for his wife’s lack of compassion explaining that they had previously lived in Texas, and they were certain that I would immediately hire a lawyer to sue them like everybody in Dallas does.

A second Rolls-Royce dog was a rescue dog, I was getting on fine patting the animal while sitting in the living room taking a small libation when suddenly my left hand was on its way down the dog’s throat. Blood was coming from a wound on my hand, I dash to the sink to wash it, I’m telling the couple that own the dog about my experience, they tell me about the other people he has bitten with not a care in the world. Now to be fair to Rolls-Royce owners, I had a big black poodle (owned by a BMW 3.0 owner) have a go at my knee cap, my trousers saved me from damage.

My most recent experience was with a custom motorbike owner’s dog who inflicted enough damage for me to go to a walk-in clinic. That experience left me “dog shy” for a while.


Lipstick on a PigLIPSTICK ON A PIG
Avoiding Life’s Lemons

Lipstick on a Pig features excerpts from the vast library of Maurice Bramhall’s experiences.

Why Keep Records for your Car, Bike or Truck?

I was just going through my service records for my daily driver and my summer toy. I’m also involved in selling several classic vehicles at the moment that have undergone extensive restoration but no one kept records. One vehicle is a one owner unit, but the owner never told his family where the records were kept. Luckily, the two most recent service facilities he used are still in business and were able to print out the work orders. The original selling dealer threw all their records out 6 years ago when they moved location and started with a whole new software regime. When selling a special classic car at a normal price, prospective buyers know that they are buying the care and attention lavished on it by the previous owner(s). If no records are available, it’s natural that they will question the quality of the vehicle.

When going through the records for a car, look for long periods of inactivity. Inactive cars are like inactive people, they don’t fair well. Throw every bill and work order in a file folder, there’s a good chance they will be valuable one day.

Keep them in a safe place, not in the glove box!


Lipstick on a PigLIPSTICK ON A PIG
Avoiding Life’s Lemons

Lipstick on a Pig features excerpts from the vast library of Maurice Bramhall’s experiences.