Jump to content
William Maley

Afterthoughts: Don't Ask Me For Car Buying Advice

Recommended Posts

Whenever someone finds out that I'm an automotive writer, sooner or later I will get asked "I'm looking for 'x' vehicle and I was wondering if you could help me out," or some other variation. These are the times where I wish I could make a smoke cloud appear, allowing me to make an escape. But alas, that is only a dream.

 

This is a common thing that a number of us - automotive writers - tend to get whether it is from family, friends, or some random stranger. We want to try and help, but most of the time the suggestions seem to go nowhere. It comes down to various reasons such as none of the ideas are appealing or the person going in a completely different direction (wanted a sedan, now interested in a crossover).

 

But I also believe that we as a group need to take some of the blame as we sometimes try to push someone into a vehicle they are not interested or vice versa. I learned this at an early age when I was trying to push my parents away from leasing a Ford Freestyle due to the poor reviews it got in the automotive press. They ended up with one and I ate my fair amount of crow as I grew to like the Freestyle.

 

Other times, it seems that the suggestions we give out are a bit ridiculous. For example, recommending someone getting a high-performance wagon when all they want is a crossover. I can't help but wonder if some of the suggestions I have heard are due to someone trying to live vicariously through another person.

 

Aside from wishing I could throw on an invisibility cloak whenever this question is asked, I have been trying figure out what could be the best way to help someone while giving myself some plausible deniability. It hit me recently when I was at friend’s birthday gathering. I was chatting with my friend’s dad and he asked me about what car should he recommend to a co-worker. She was looking at a BMW X3 and wanted to know if this was a good choice. Plus, was there any other vehicles she should consider?

 

To get my mind in the right place, I found myself asking a lot of questions.

  • Did she have kids?
  • What are her big considerations?
  • Are there types of vehicles or brands she doesn’t want to deal with?
  • How much does she want to spend?


So on and so forth. It was a version of twenty questions where there is no correct answer and somehow less fun. Once I had gotten enough information to get my mind working, I began to recommend a few vehicles that are worth a closer look such as the Audi Q5, Lincoln MKC, and Subaru Outback. I also said the new X3 is quite good and would possibly consider going with a certified pre-owned model for a slightly lower price and warranty.

 


After having this conversation, it hit me: I had figured out a possible fool proof way of offering car advice. It comes down to me taking on the role of a guide where I ask a person what they are and are not interested in, and build out a group of vehicles that I can show someone that possibly fits what they are looking.

 

I don't know what the co-worker ended up choosing and I hope to find out in the near future.

 

So if you want to ask me what car you want to buy, be prepared to answer a lot of questions and not be given a definitive answer. You might be annoyed by this, but the end result is hopefully you finding a car that works. Plus, we might be on speaking terms after this.


View full article

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So ya want to help me pick out a compact SUV? Joking.....lol....

 

Yep, tends to be true when you are the car guy-people want you to tell them what is "best"...and quite often they have no idea what they even want! I've been able to help some, but with others you can only shake your head....

 

Hear you on the crow part, kind eating a little myself! Wasn't thrilled about my parents getting a Town & Country. Figured it would be nothing but problems. So far, in four years it's been pretty flawless-and the few issues it did have FCA told care of it right away. Impressed so far....

 

I think even us can be a bit confused on what we want as well. When you know all the info about all of the cars, but make a different choice anyways. Here I am thinking the Nox' would be an easy choice-but with my son heavy into scouts and camping now- the Jeep Patriot has reentered the radar as a purchase. Believe it or not, because of the space I can put stuff.....amazing the things you consider as a parent! That, and the buyout is quite cheap (can dump it on the wife for something else)

 

Still tough either way.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So true, the best thing us auto people can do is to flip the questions back at the asker. After all, what we think is best, what we like and what works for us is very different for others and unless the asker knows what they want and can objectively come to the asking questions of based on reviews and reliability, what are my options for this class, this type of auto, it is a mess to give any advice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Had a few cars that I recommended need more than one service for issues while under warranty so I stop short of recommending anymore.

 

I also suggest they "check into" certain vehicles they might like, short of a recommendation, and make sure I sound uncertain about the reliability, telling them to make sure they do the research on that.




 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest car shopper

If you don't want people seeking your advice on what car to buy, then why did you choose to become an automotive writer? These people likely ask for your advice or opinion because they think you are an expert on the topic. Unfortunately, most auto writers are not. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you don't want people seeking your advice on what car to buy, then why did you choose to become an automotive writer? These people likely ask for your advice or opinion because they think you are an expert on the topic. Unfortunately, most auto writers are not. 

 

I'll direct you this comment

 

Most people asking for car buying advice don't actually want advice... they just want you to justify the decision they already made so they can say "Well a car guy told me this was the best choice"

It isn't I don't like giving advice, but it seems most people have their made up. Basically, I try to guide the process along with said vehicle along with a few other choices.

I'm willing to help out someone, but I can't be sure if it's because they need justification or actual help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you don't want people seeking your advice on what car to buy, then why did you choose to become an automotive writer? These people likely ask for your advice or opinion because they think you are an expert on the topic. Unfortunately, most auto writers are not. 

 

Because reviewing cars is different than giving advice as to which car a certain person should buy..... and as I also pointed out above, often those people already made a decision on what they are buying or have bought, and just hoping you'll justify their choice. 

 

My favorite question I get </s> is "What's the best car to buy?"..... that's it... no qualifying criteria, no budget, nothing.   I like to answer "The Bugatti Veyron, it'll run you a million dollars".... to which they answer "Oh, I have an Accord LX... is that a good car?".... to which I reply... "Sure, but it's not a Veyron".

 

If you don't want people seeking your advice on what car to buy, then why did you choose to become an automotive writer? These people likely ask for your advice or opinion because they think you are an expert on the topic. Unfortunately, most auto writers are not. 

 

I'll direct you this comment

 

Most people asking for car buying advice don't actually want advice... they just want you to justify the decision they already made so they can say "Well a car guy told me this was the best choice"

It isn't I don't like giving advice, but it seems most people have their made up. Basically, I try to guide the process along with said vehicle along with a few other choices.

I'm willing to help out someone, but I can't be sure if it's because they need justification or actual help.

 

 

I do the same thing.... I find out what they are most interested in and then also suggest viable alternatives they might not have thought about. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All I see when people ask car questions–whether it's car buying or car modding–is that they have tons of preconceived bias that they want you to confirm, and will actively defend their ignorance when you disagree.

 

A google search gives these people just enough information to be dangerous.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you don't want people seeking your advice on what car to buy, then why did you choose to become an automotive writer? These people likely ask for your advice or opinion because they think you are an expert on the topic. Unfortunately, most auto writers are not.

So the only reason why one should write about cars is so people can seek their advice and if they're not going to give said advice, then they shouldn't even bother writing? That's certainly news to me and makes zero sense.

Why don't you join C&G guest car shopper? Great discussions to be had here!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

0:00 - 0:35 is how to properly give automotive purchasing advice.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/9/2016 at 2:16 PM, Frisky Dingo said:

Try being a car salesman.

That must be an insane job...dealing with the moronic public on a daily basis...

On 5/9/2016 at 3:11 PM, cp-the-nerd said:

All I see when people ask car questions–whether it's car buying or car modding–is that they have tons of preconceived bias that they want you to confirm, and will actively defend their ignorance when you disagree.

 

A google search gives these people just enough information to be dangerous.

People are so unwilling to consider alternate ideas it is almost frightening....not just cars...everything from politics to restaurant choices also...

On 5/9/2016 at 2:41 PM, William Maley said:

 

I'll direct you this comment

 

It isn't I don't like giving advice, but it seems most people have their made up. Basically, I try to guide the process along with said vehicle along with a few other choices.

I'm willing to help out someone, but I can't be sure if it's because they need justification or actual help.

Given that our highways are filled with the most boring bland sedans and crossovers imaginable and every one of them is painted black, silver or ....black or silver....and I think they need creativity and willingness to take some risks in life more than they need advice.

It is a good thing people are more willing to take sexual risks than automotive ones....because if everyone lacked sexual imagination like the buying public lacks automotive imagination, our species would die out from lack of procreation.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, A Horse With No Name said:

That must be an insane job...dealing with the moronic public on a daily basis...

People are so unwilling to consider alternate ideas it is almost frightening....not just cars...everything from politics to restaurant choices also...

Given that our highways are filled with the most boring bland sedans and crossovers imaginable and every one of them is painted black, silver or ....black or silver....and I think they need creativity and willingness to take some risks in life more than they need advice.

It is a good thing people are more willing to take sexual risks than automotive ones....because if everyone lacked sexual imagination like the buying public lacks automotive imagination, our species would die out from lack of procreation.

 

I actually wish our kind WOULD stop taking those sexual risks. We'd all be a lot better off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Who's Online   0 Members, 0 Anonymous, 66 Guests (See full list)

    There are no registered users currently online



  • Social Stream

  • Similar Content

    • By William Maley
      This year was to be the final Detroit Auto Show to take place in January before the big move to an indoor/outdoor festival of sorts next June. Despite a number of manufacturers announcing they would not be at the show, there was some hope for there be to a surprise. Something that would allow the current incarnation of the show to go out with a bang.
      That did not happen.
      It was thought that Chevrolet would roll out the long-awaited and rumored mid-engined Corvette. But those hopes would be dashed as rumors came out that the project would be delayed up to six months due to a problem with the electrical system. It also gave Toyota a sigh of relief as the Supra wouldn’t be overshadowed by the Corvette - see the Ford GT eating up the attention from the Acura NSX a few years back.
      Even with the anticipation of the Supra coming to Detroit, there was nothing that could be described as being memorable. Most of the vehicles that were revealed seemed to be somewhat phoned in.
      We knew a lot about the Supra including how it would look and what would power it before it arrived on stage. CEO Akio Toyoda actually mentioned in the press conference that it was “one of the industry’s worst kept secrets.” The refreshed Volkswagen Passat was eclipsed by news that a second plant and 1,000 jobs would be added at Chattanooga, along with becoming a sponsor for U.S. Women’s, Men’s, and Youth National teams. Infiniti’s QX Inspiration concept didn’t actually appear at the presentation. It was stuck in the lobby of Cobo Hall due to some sort of malfunction.
        The announcement talking about Ford and Volkswagen’s new alliance? The stage appearance was canceled late on Monday. Instead, we got a conference call and press release providing the details. The big talking point at the show wasn’t about the show. Over the weekend, a water main broke which put most of Downtown Detroit under a boil water advisory. This caused a lot of headaches for visiting media and automotive executives as would have to use bottled water to brush their teeth or wash their hair (this was something I heard a few people mentioned on the show floor). Luckily, I saw this new before heading down to the show and brought a couple liters of water with me to use for tea and brushing my teeth.
      But the water main break serves as a good metaphor for this year’s Detroit Auto Show. It felt a bit discombobulated with a number of manufacturers being MIA and organizers trying to figure out what to do. There was also a noticeable lack of energy surrounding the show. Going into the media center at Cobo, I was expecting to be filled with various journalists and other media. To my surprise, it looked and felt the second day of the show where there was a surprising amount of open space to sit down and begin working. Being on the show floor was the same story. I was amazed at how easily I was able to get photos of cars that had been unveiled only 20 to 30 minutes without having to fight a number of people to get a decent shot.
      There is a lot riding on the move to June next year with organizers planning something like the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the U.K. There promises to be the ability to ride and drive various new vehicles, self-driving vehicles being demonstrated on public roads, “dynamic vehicle debuts,” and much more. A number of automakers and executives have praised this move.
      "I always thought it made sense for Detroit to showcase itself when the weather's nice. All the international press comes here in perhaps our worst weather month of the year. I don't know how many rodeos we can have coming down the street in January,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford earlier this week.
      I wished that shared the same enthusiasm as a number of people with the show moving to June. Call me skeptical or cynical, but I get the feeling that the move will not solve the issue that face a number of automakers; making the case to spend the money to attend another show. A recent piece in Wards Auto says it costs more than million dollars to hold a 25-minute press conference according to sources.
      “…due to exorbitant rates for sound and video production, lighting, drayage, special effects, food, drink and union labor to set up chairs, lay carpet and build ramps for drive-on vehicle unveilings.”
      The past few years have seen more and more automakers hold their own events off-site as they are not only cheaper but allows them to control the message.
      “We can go and create an atmosphere on Sunday night at the Garden Theater for less money and for what we think is an equal or better return on our investment,” said Terry Rhadigan, executive director of communications at General Motors to Wards Auto.
      I think back to a conversation I had last year on the show floor with a friend. I was mentioning how I was feeling somewhat bored and he asked how many Detroit Auto Shows I had attended.
      “I think this is my fourth or fifth,” I said.
      He paused for a moment before saying that was usually around the time someone begins to feel burnt out and wanting something exciting to happen. This popped into my head while walking around the show on Monday as nothing really grabbed my attention in terms of new debuts. There were some bright spots such as Kia Stinger GT police vehicle from Australia and the Toyota Yaris WRC on the show floor. But aside from these and few other vehicles, I felt a bit down. Maybe I had grown weary of the show itself and the noticeable departures of various automakers only compounded it. Or maybe this was the manifestation of a trend that the auto show I had come to know was coming to an end and was only beginning to realize it.
      2020 will be an interesting year to say in the least as organizers begin a new chapter in the auto show’s legacy. Whether it works out or not remains to be seen.
      Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears
    • By William Maley
      This year was to be the final Detroit Auto Show to take place in January before the big move to an indoor/outdoor festival of sorts next June. Despite a number of manufacturers announcing they would not be at the show, there was some hope for there be to a surprise. Something that would allow the current incarnation of the show to go out with a bang.
      That did not happen.
      It was thought that Chevrolet would roll out the long-awaited and rumored mid-engined Corvette. But those hopes would be dashed as rumors came out that the project would be delayed up to six months due to a problem with the electrical system. It also gave Toyota a sigh of relief as the Supra wouldn’t be overshadowed by the Corvette - see the Ford GT eating up the attention from the Acura NSX a few years back.
      Even with the anticipation of the Supra coming to Detroit, there was nothing that could be described as being memorable. Most of the vehicles that were revealed seemed to be somewhat phoned in.
      We knew a lot about the Supra including how it would look and what would power it before it arrived on stage. CEO Akio Toyoda actually mentioned in the press conference that it was “one of the industry’s worst kept secrets.” The refreshed Volkswagen Passat was eclipsed by news that a second plant and 1,000 jobs would be added at Chattanooga, along with becoming a sponsor for U.S. Women’s, Men’s, and Youth National teams. Infiniti’s QX Inspiration concept didn’t actually appear at the presentation. It was stuck in the lobby of Cobo Hall due to some sort of malfunction.
        The announcement talking about Ford and Volkswagen’s new alliance? The stage appearance was canceled late on Monday. Instead, we got a conference call and press release providing the details. The big talking point at the show wasn’t about the show. Over the weekend, a water main broke which put most of Downtown Detroit under a boil water advisory. This caused a lot of headaches for visiting media and automotive executives as would have to use bottled water to brush their teeth or wash their hair (this was something I heard a few people mentioned on the show floor). Luckily, I saw this new before heading down to the show and brought a couple liters of water with me to use for tea and brushing my teeth.
      But the water main break serves as a good metaphor for this year’s Detroit Auto Show. It felt a bit discombobulated with a number of manufacturers being MIA and organizers trying to figure out what to do. There was also a noticeable lack of energy surrounding the show. Going into the media center at Cobo, I was expecting to be filled with various journalists and other media. To my surprise, it looked and felt the second day of the show where there was a surprising amount of open space to sit down and begin working. Being on the show floor was the same story. I was amazed at how easily I was able to get photos of cars that had been unveiled only 20 to 30 minutes without having to fight a number of people to get a decent shot.
      There is a lot riding on the move to June next year with organizers planning something like the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the U.K. There promises to be the ability to ride and drive various new vehicles, self-driving vehicles being demonstrated on public roads, “dynamic vehicle debuts,” and much more. A number of automakers and executives have praised this move.
      "I always thought it made sense for Detroit to showcase itself when the weather's nice. All the international press comes here in perhaps our worst weather month of the year. I don't know how many rodeos we can have coming down the street in January,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford earlier this week.
      I wished that shared the same enthusiasm as a number of people with the show moving to June. Call me skeptical or cynical, but I get the feeling that the move will not solve the issue that face a number of automakers; making the case to spend the money to attend another show. A recent piece in Wards Auto says it costs more than million dollars to hold a 25-minute press conference according to sources.
      “…due to exorbitant rates for sound and video production, lighting, drayage, special effects, food, drink and union labor to set up chairs, lay carpet and build ramps for drive-on vehicle unveilings.”
      The past few years have seen more and more automakers hold their own events off-site as they are not only cheaper but allows them to control the message.
      “We can go and create an atmosphere on Sunday night at the Garden Theater for less money and for what we think is an equal or better return on our investment,” said Terry Rhadigan, executive director of communications at General Motors to Wards Auto.
      I think back to a conversation I had last year on the show floor with a friend. I was mentioning how I was feeling somewhat bored and he asked how many Detroit Auto Shows I had attended.
      “I think this is my fourth or fifth,” I said.
      He paused for a moment before saying that was usually around the time someone begins to feel burnt out and wanting something exciting to happen. This popped into my head while walking around the show on Monday as nothing really grabbed my attention in terms of new debuts. There were some bright spots such as Kia Stinger GT police vehicle from Australia and the Toyota Yaris WRC on the show floor. But aside from these and few other vehicles, I felt a bit down. Maybe I had grown weary of the show itself and the noticeable departures of various automakers only compounded it. Or maybe this was the manifestation of a trend that the auto show I had come to know was coming to an end and was only beginning to realize it.
      2020 will be an interesting year to say in the least as organizers begin a new chapter in the auto show’s legacy. Whether it works out or not remains to be seen.
      Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      I thought would be it easy. The front headlights on my new-to-me 2011 Ford Fusion were beginning to dim and I figured some new bulbs would solve it. Ordering the bulbs, I began to think this would be an easy process. Just locate the sockets for the bulbs, replace them, put the sockets back into place, and done.
      Little did I know this would be only a fantasy.
      Before fully diving into this, I opened up the owners manual to the vehicle to get an idea of what I was getting myself into. It turned out that changing the bulbs is a very involved process. For the driver’s side, you need to remove the air filter box and pipe to get enough room to access the bulbs. My vehicle has two bulbs for the low and high-beams and making sure to pluck out right one will save yourself a lot of pain and suffering. I didn’t realize at the time that rubber covers for the light sockets hint at which bulb is which - smaller one is the high-beam, the larger one is the low-beam. Had I known this, I wouldn’t have spent a good half hour trying to get the high-beam back into place with me a fair amount of swearing and my best impression of Jeremy Clarkson’s “COME ON!” The only thing missing was ‘Yakety Sax’ being played in the background. 
      After that goof, I would pull out the right socket and replace with the bulb with no issue. The same cannot be said for putting the air filter box into place as it took a bit of wrestling to get it back into place and hoping nothing broke. After accomplishing this, my attention turned towards the passenger side which would be even difficult. 

      Here is a photo showing off the passenger side of the engine bay. There are various mechanical parts littered about including the power steering pump and coolant reservoir. Unlike the driver’s side, there is not a part you can remove for easy access from the topside. In the owner’s manual, Ford tells you to take off the wheel well cover to access the bulbs. I would have done this, but I didn’t have the correct tool and was scared of breaking them off if I used something like a crowbar. This would have been the point of giving up, but I decided to see if there was another way. Turns out there was as a YouTube showed you could get some space by moving the coolant reservoir. That’s what I ended up doing and it did take a fair amount of time patience as I was mostly doing this by feel.
      After putting everything back in its place and checking to see if the lights were working, I felt like I had accomplished something major. Despite feeling sore throughout my body and being a fair bit annoyed at the process to do this, I had gotten the new lights in. It may seem ridiculous, but when you consider that most days I’m sitting in front of a computer, banging out words and editing photos, doing some work with a physical object feels unique.
      While I was replacing bulbs, the internet blew a gasket when a report came out concerning the upcoming Ford Ranger. Due to the design of the 2.3L EcoBoost four-cylinder and placement of the oil cooler, the oil filter was placed at an odd angle. The removal procedure involved removing the driver’s side wheel, undoing a number of fasteners and moving the wheel well cover, and then use an “end cap tool” to remove the filter. Since then, Ford has issued a tweet talking through the procedure (see below).
      Reading through this story after I had finished, I’ll admit I was a bit incensed. For anyone who wanted to do their own oil change, this procedure seemed like madness and would push the small number of those who do this away. But then I thought back to my Fusion with its cramped engine bay and it dawned on me, maybe this was the best option for Ford. Considering how much a new car houses in terms of equipment and parts, offering something akin to the list of steps may be have been the least terrible option. Sure, going through a number of steps just to remove an oil filter seems a bit much. But can you imagine the fallout if Ford just told everyone they needed to their dealer to have the oil change done? *Shudders*
      Seeing Ford’s response earlier in the week reinforces this thought of mine. I understand cars are only becoming more and more complicated and that shade tree mechanics are either having to go through more hoops to accomplish repairs or throw in the towel. But do I think there is some conspiracy to stop those from doing their own service to vehicles? Nope.
      I’ll admit that I’m not quite ready to tackle some of the issues that face my vehicle at the moment such as flushing the transmission fluid or replacing various bits of the front suspension. But this experience has made me slightly more confident in undertaking smaller repairs and improvements into the vehicle. It has also caused me to do a bit research into doing various projects so I know what I’m getting myself into so I don’t have as many frustrations.

      View full article
  • My Clubs

  • Recently Browsing

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Reader Rides

About us

CheersandGears.com - Founded 2001

We ♥ Cars

Get in touch

Follow us

Recent tweets

facebook

×