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Matte Paint

Have you noticed the slow but perhaps inexorable proliferation of matte paint on certain model of vehicles? As well as munfacturers showing matte versions of their more exclusive models.

1949 Mercury Lead Sled in Flat Black

If you are considering a matte finish for that special unique look. A few points for your consideration.

  • Historically a flat (matte) finish was the indicator of an unfinished car.
  • Over 99% of folks still want a "shiny" vehicle.
  • Although a lead sled looks cool in flat black the look quickly dissipates on other vehicles.

You still want a matte paint and its your money.

  • Agreed...your money spend it as you wish.
  • There is a premium for a matte paint from the factory (if available).
  • Matte paint requires special care.
  • It will cost a "premium" when reselling the vehicle.
  • It will cost you money going in and getting out of a matte finish.

You still really, badly want a matte paint from the factory.

  • the vehicle.

Or you still want a matte paint, but want more options for yourself.

  • Get a matte wrap for the vehicle.




Do Your Thing

Have you noticed with the Internet empowering everybody, and social media providing a constant flow of sound bites. Everyone has an opinion, can provide advice, suggestions, and more sound bites to anyone that will read, listen, pay passing attention.

Obvious that the "autosphere" is rampant with all sorts of stuff, from all sorts of experts, generating all sorts of comments.

You often read / hear "I was considering this, after visiting forums, reading opinions, watching videos, I changed my mind and acquired that".

Or you see a comparison here, another there, and again you know the outcome, one scored half point less than the other, and so on.

When it comes to vehicles...

"There is nothing that money can't fix".

"You need gas to make horsepower" and in 2016 its usually premium.

"The metal must resonate with you" if it does not resonate you will not be satisfied.

"Its your money, you are free to spend it as you wish"

"We are all individuals, with our own preferences."

You go off and spend money on a vehicle, or embark on a multi month commitment of payments. Of course you will read about vehicles, your preferences, but do your thing.

Its you money and/or you commitment spend it in a fashion that provides satisfaction for you and your stakeholders... your thing.

A simple example...

The Colonel prefers a sedan, rear wheel drive, with a V8. It might be all wrong for someone else, completely off the wall for another, or just plain crazy.

Who needs a rear wheel drive sedan with a V8, when everyone is converging towards utilities, with turbos, and AWD?

You want to be informed, empowered, your thing.

After you have done your not play Monday morning quarterback on yourself.





The Disconnect

Have you ever noticed the disconnect between various popular opinions and what folks really do, the decisions they make?


In the autoblogosphere, and the entire auto business bubble there is the 10 best here, the top 5 there, the top 3 somewhere else. It works, it attracts eyeballs for a few seconds. But does it really work?

While at Strada we are always advising folks to be their own editors.

Here is the deal when it comes to vehicles

The metal must resonate with you, styling sells, the metal must tug at your heart strings. That a bunch of automotive scribes describes the virtues of a vehicle that does not resonate with you...big deal the metal must resonate.

Agreed with utility vehicles the styling is boxy from the outset, but it must still resonate.

The brand makes a difference. A Chevrolet with all the features of a Cadillac is still a Chevrolet. "You can save thousands by choosing this brand and model"...the brand is meaningless to you, the features are good, but the brand....but its a good vehicle, its one of the top 10...and so on.

How often do you see the virtues of a brand, and a specific model extolled or derided in the media. While the sales numbers provide an opposite story.

Autotainment is another contributor to a miryad of opinions and comments from a gazillion folks. Its entertaining, its fun, it provides different perspectives. Will you base your decision on autotainment? We don't think so...

We could keep on goimg, we are certain you understand that there is a disconnect, between popular opinions and what most folks do, and decide.

We always urge you to be your own editor especially in the autoblogosphere.




Road Position

You have certainly noticed that the quality of the driving seems to deteriorate almost of a daily basis. Perhaps its understandable with most folks being preoccupied with other pressing issues. What can be more pressing whe you are driving?

Another point is an increasing lack of lets call it lane discipline on major highways. Not so much the ones used to commute and usually shorter distances. In those instances the left lane is usually "fast enough" in relation to the overall speed of the traffic.

On highways that are used to cover longer distances, and usually have 2 lanes, the road discipline is increasingly lacking by a bunch of folks.

Its not a question of how fast you can go, but more of how uniform can you hold your speed.

Here is the deal

  • Trucks travel at 105 KPH nd if one truck wants to pass another its a lengthy process.
  • The car traffic travels faster than trucks. From incrementally faster to appreciably faster.
  • Upholding your set speed on a regular cruise control, is a game of braking and resume.
  • Or scrubbing of speed with an adaptive cruise control, and at some point reacquiring the set speed.
  • It turn into a ying / yand...concertina effect which raise the level of stress.

Road Position

At one point we concluded that optimising your road position is beneficial to uphold the set speed, and not raise the stress levels.

At the same time its almost shocking how many folks have no clue of how to optimise their road position.

Similar to a race where the track position is a crucial component, and scheduling pit stops to alter the track position is an intrinsic part of the strategy.

If you are covering longer distances on a highway you should idealise your road position. Reflect on this for a moment. Agreed it sounds strange.

A few points regarding road position.

  • Ideally you want space between the vehicle you are driving, and other vehicles.
  • You want to pass trucks in the right hand lane in and efficient, and timely fashion.
  • Lingering next to a truck especially in their "blind spot" is not advisable.
  • Lingering next to a car is also not advisable.
  • Spotting a better road position for yourself, and safely reaching that position is part of driving longer distances on a highway.
  • For some reason there is no clearer road position, pull into a service center sooner. Similar to a race with a strategically placed pit stop to alter the track position.

Sounds complicated...not really.

Once you get used to driving long stretches in you own "road position" you will quickly seek your road position at all times.

Its relaxing, less stressful, and safer.




Used Vehicle Values

We were just reading an informative article, that Canadians lack information when it come to knowing what the value of their vehicle. Its a bit of a wow moment. Since most folks we talk to all mention that CMS (Citizen Main Street) is well informed on to the value of their vehicle.

Just in case you missed some entries in our "Tip of the Day"

What is My Car Worth this was the first entry in our tip of the day series. We provided a concise process to arrive at what your car is worth.

You Have a Trade In we described the trade in process.

Do You Have Equity or Cash or Both as you know with longer finance terms having equity in a vehicle can be challenging.

Is CMS really so far behind the 8 ball. We don't think so. Perhaps its a simple point that if you are not considering, buying, trading, selling a vehicle. Who cares what they are worth, or selling for.

We are all under time constraints and there are surely better things to do than exploring vehicle values that change weekly just for the fun of it.

When you do need information, you scramble to remember where to find it, the URL, the search takes  you somewhere else, and so on.

If you are a regular reader of our publication you are not in the dark, and perhaps you should tell your friends that Strada will keep them informed.

Here is Brian Murphy of Canadian Black Book describing the results of the survey.



Waxing Your Car

If you remember the days of car wax in a tin, and literally becoming a project to wax your vehicle. You are also aware of the evolution in waxes, and being easier and less time consuming to apply.

Not much fun back in the day applying, and removing a coat of wax from any vehicle. 

Lets start on the premise that the paint is in good condition, and requires additional shine for the brighter, sunnier days of late spring and the summer. Obvious that if the paint on your vehicle has a layer of "fall out" on it it will require additional cleaning prior to waxing. 

Especially if you abide by the "Zen of Washing" you surely want bright paintwork that shines.

Stoner Visible Shine is in an unassuming container, you might pass it up in you quest for a quick to apply wax.

Don't pass it up, it does an awsome job, quick to apply and remove. You will be surprised as to how fast and effortless it is to apply, and remove.

The shine...impressive.





Cleaning The Glass

We probably all have our routines and personal preferences on how to best clean the glass of any vehicle.

In our case, Stoner Invisible Glass has been part of the process for countless years. It does a great job, no streaks, literally cleans on the first wipe.

We all know that the side glass of a sedan is easy to do, just open the doors, on a coupe its not much more challenging. The windshield is usually a 2 side affair, do the driver side, then the passenger side.

The back glass...usually gets skipped, its not that easy to do...simple skip the back glass.

Often while cleaning glass, the wishful thinking is that if your arm would be a little longer, it would be easier and simpler.

The Stoner Reach & Clean Tool immediately solves all the glass cleaning challenges, especially for the rear glass. Agreed it might look like some other "gizmo" on the shelf where all the cleaning supplies are located, you might look at it, and perhaps pass it over.

You should really get one. We often need a longer arm, or skinnier fingers to do all the tuff to access areas of any glass on a vehicle.

Its what the Reach & Clean Tool enables you to do quickly and efficiently.



The Black Plastic Trim and Mouldings.

There is always talk about black plastic trim on any vehicle, usually referring to the interior, and referencing a cost saving measure by the manufacturer.

No snow, its sort of milder, and as you are thinking of freshening up your vehicle for the warmer weather, and doing perhaps a spring cleaning. What perhaps? You need to do a spring cleaning.

Here is The Colonel, bright and early on a brisk Saturday morning, he decides to attack the black plastic of his car. On the premise of lets start the spring cleaning, even if its brisk outside.

There are a gazillion products to clean the various areas of a vehicle. This morning The Colonel has a container of Stoner Trim Shine Wipes. Yes the same Stoner that makes Invisible Glass which is a staple at Costco, and you should not be cleaning glass with anything else but Stoner.

First blush, looks like moist baby wipes, raising the skepticism meter "Does this stuff really work?" The Colonel tried one wipe a few days earlier and concluded that it worked, actually was impressed at how well it worked. These Trim Shine Wipes work surprisingly well.

How do you use it? a door and use the wipe on the weather stripping, and all sorts of other black plastic that you will see on your vehicle. Obvious do all the door trims (not the interior), then open the trunk or tailgate there is more black plastic and weather stripping there too.

When you think you are done, go on a hunt for more black plastic, mouldings, weather strips, fillers, you might be surprised as to how much you will find, and how pervasive it is on a vehicle.

You will be pleasantly surprised as to how well these Stoner Trim Wipes restore a subtle shine, while removing dirt and grime, for literally the new vehicle look.



Ever Wonder How Motor Oil Lubricates An Engine?

Its nostalgia from several decades ago...some things never change even decades later.

Why an engine needs lubrication, how an oil pump works, the metal line from the oil pump to the engine block has a special place in The Colonel's memory bank.

There are no longer "dippers" at the bottom of connecting rods.

Enjoy some nostagia, and what motor oil does.




What You Need to Know About Premium Economy

Are you considering a "Premium Economy" model?



We coined Premium Economy last year. Revisited again here.

This year we had a conversation with The Colonel on Downsizing of Luxury.