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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.




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.



Freedom vs Mobility

Ask yourself do you need a vehicle for a heightened sense of freedom or for mobility?


What a question, you might say, but ask yourself which one freedom or mobility?

Look around you, and arrive at your own conclusions wether most folks have a vehicle for freedom or mobility?

We agree "utility" rhymes with "mobility".

When you are considering replacing your current vehicle, will freedom have the upper hand, or will it be utility, or perhaps a blend of both.

By now you surely know that here at Strada we still place a high priority on the freedom aspect.





Collapsing Steering Column

We constantly hear safety here, and there, seat belts, air bags, ABS brakes, and so on.

Lets go back for a moment to when cars were huge, had a body on frame, everything was rigid, and no seat belts. As an aside most Boomers learned how to drive with such cars. At the time size mattered, perhaps like today with pick ups.

In the case of a frontal collision, everything above the frame pushed back appreciably, while everything in the car wanted to continue moving forward.

An absolute recipe for grievous injuries, especially for the driver as the steering column quickly made its way into the driver's side of the car.

Heavily accidented cars always presented a horrific scene especially on the driver's side when it was a frontal collision.

A walk through any scrap yard at the time, always presented several of these scenes where the steering column had made its way into the driver's side compartment. With varying degrees of intrusion, and one could speculate as to the gravity of the injuries.

The advent of the collapsing and/or energy absorbing steering column was a huge safety improvement in cars...HUGE.

Most folks look at  the newer safety features powered by technology, often if not always forgetting that the collapsing steering column started the safety momentum almost 50 years ago.




Spring Cleaning Plan

This year we have warmer than usual weather in the GTA, with most of the snow gone. Agreed its still mid March, and winter is not over yet. But it feels as if Spring is almost in the air.

Its a good time to start assessing the condition of your vehicle or vehicles, and initiate your lets call it "Spring Cleaning Plan".

Hand Wash

If you have an opportunity hand wash you vehicle with a hose and bucket. A few years back we talked about the Zen of Washing. Be observant as you wash and go over all the body panels. Do we really have to tell you that you will need a bucket, warm water, car soap (not dish soap), 2 mits one for the body, the other for the wheeel

Wash and Inspect

As you wash and rinse with the hose, you might just notice a few additional stone chips, perhaps a door ding, and whatever else winter brought along. In our case The Colonel is a magnet for stone chips, on the body and windshield.

Whar looked like a minute speck of rust is probably bigger now.

You want to develop your plan and budget to deal with the issues that you have uncovered. Agreed, if you have 2 vehicles its double the fun.


Although its a little early, inspect the interior to see what will need attention. Usually the floor mats, door sills are the first to get additional wear and tear in winter. The driver seat probably has an additonal layer of "winter" usage too.

You will quickly conclude that the interior needs to be refreshed. You can do it yourself, you can have a detailer do it for you. Ideally stay away from the "shiny stuff", find a good lether treatment if you have a leather interior (who doesn't these days).

Wether you have an old school agenda, or a modern digital one, make a note to deal with the interior of your vehicle.

Open the Hood

You thought there was no salt of the roads in winter.

Nothing like rubber gloves (not to mess up your hands), WD 40, and blue wipes to refresh the appearance of the various plastic covers under the hood of your vehicle.

You can do it yourself, its probably grimier than you thought, and the harder you look the more you will find.

In case you did not know...don't even think of using a pressure washer.

Open the Trunk

It needs to be freshened up too.

Whatever is in the trunk, do you really need it? What is not in the trunk that you might need?

You might need an umbrella, a small flashlight, gloves, to name a few.

You know what you need to do, its in your agenda, you know which products you need to get in case you don't have them.

We an age of technology, manual work is very relaxing, and gratifying on a Saturday morning.




Do You Have Equity or Cash or Both?

We constantly hear all sorts of comments from a myriad of experts, pundits, analysts on how to buy a vehicle.

As much as Canada is a country of natural resources, we have lately morphed into a nation of borrowers. Agreed...serious borrowers.

The comments always focus on the programs, incentives, are they stackable. It always looks as if somebody is almost giving away cars for free.

Even with a ton of financial services that are available you still need money/cash/equity to close an advantageous deal when acquiring any vehicle. You know the saying "Money talks and everything else walks".

Let's take a look...


Expects the dealer to be in a position to have money to pay for the trade in.

The dealer expects the buyer to have equity in the trade in.


Expects the buyer to be in a financial position to close a deal.

The customer expects the dealer to provide financial services to close a deal.

We can conclude that it takes cash, equity, financial services in any combination to close any deal.

Imagine a dealer that would say "Come back in a few days, don't have any money today to buy your trade in".

Imagine a customer that would say "Oops did not expect to have that level of negative equity in the trade in".

Good Idea:

To know precisely what your equity or cash position is prior to initiating any transaction. The financial incentives offered by manufacturers do not replace equity or cash. As well the incentives predicate an equity or cash position.

When the equity or cash position is precarious, the deal migrates to "high finance" and suddenly its not such a good deal anymore, or simply not "doable".

Reflect on the following...

There were 1.9 M new vehicle sold in Canada in 2015 of which 57% were financed in round numbers 1 Million vehicles were financed with 70% / 700,000 financed for a term of 72 months or greater.

How much negative equity from the trade in was rolled over?

While the auto business functions best on a 36 month cycle.




Tip Of The Day


Its 2016 we have a new section in our publication..... "Tip Of The Day".

What is it?

A collection of tips, advice, strategies on timely "automotive" issues that will assist you in being more competitive, achieving better results, saving money, or getting more money.

Will it be daily?

Perhaps not daily, but often enough to uphold momentum.

Why are we doing this?

Its our 10th anniversary of publishing Strada, we want to offer advice, assistance, guidance, as a form of giving back.

Do we expect something in return?

Yes...join in the conversation, and tell your friends.

When does it start?