Thank you for thinking of me again. I'm buying a car from a private party. It's a 96 Toyota Corolla DX with 5000 miles on it. The owner passed away and his brother is selling it. I'm getting it for quite a bit under book value, so I'm real happy about that. It doesn't have an alarm, or any etching on the windows. I will look into the costs of both of those. I will get the oil changed. I don't have a garage and am wondering if I should buy a fabric car cover. Do you know if they will protect the car? I don't know how much work it will be to put one of those on at night. If it's too hard I don't suppose I'll do it. I've never heard about warranty gold. How does that work, what does it cover and where can I find out about it? I guess you must be an auto mechanic. Do you have your own shop? How did Gary recruit you for the dollar stretcher? An auto column is a great idea. Everyone has a car and since it's a major expense we all want to make the best and most economical use of it that we can.
Your letter this week asks more questions at one time than any other that I have received to date, but that's okay. This might not be in the same order as you asked but here we go:
In so far as your car cover, really look into this one. You get what you pay for, REALLY! You want the cover to be able to breathe, but not let dust through. You want it to be a tight fit, so the wind will not blow underneath, but not too tight as to scratch the finish. Let me ask you, do you live in a house or an apartment? Do you have your own driveway? The reason that I am asking, is that you have several options for auto shelters if you have a place to put it. For about $200-$300 you can get an autoshelter. It kinda looks like a tent and you just drive underneath it and there you go. It keeps most of the rain and snow and SUN off of it. I have also seen people use these as covers for their patios. The other option is a completely portable garage. Again same tent theory, but this time it is completely enclosed and you drive into what might look like a giant bag. This is a little more expensive, but complete protection from the weather.
In regards to warranty gold, they are on the internet, their address is http://www.warrantygold.com Contact them and they will tell you what is covered and what the cost is. In my opinion, it covers everything that the factory warranty would.
Now you start asking some personal type questions, but that is okay. I guess every now and then I have to divulge my resume... Actually, I am NOT a mechanic. Actually, I am an Electronic Engineer. The reason that I know so much about cars is that I run an EPA recognized auto emissions test center in Linden NJ. I test cars all day long. I mostly deal with emissions issues, but from my grease monkey days as a youth, I can pretty much handle most things. The way Gary recruited me, was actually quite simple. I subscribed to his newsletter, and in the "can you help this reader" section, I answered a few. Gary, having a background in cars, liked my answers and asked if I would do this. So here we are today. And I agree with you, but I actually thought that I would be getting more letters than I actually do. But that is okay. It leaves me more time to help the people that ask for it. I hope my advice helps you all, and remember before undertaking ANY repair, read the bible. I refer to the repair manual for your specific car as the BIBLE. I apologize if I offend any religious people out there, but sometimes, you need a little divine intervention with these things.
Also remember that not all of the advice that I give is complete. What I mean by that is you might have to do some preliminary things to get to the steps that I mention. Again, I apologize for the legal mumbo jumbo, but they say you must cover yourself.
Bob, The Auto Answer Man
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