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Old 4th October 2012, 21:35   #1321
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

Oh ok, seems like you have the premium sound package like mine except that mine does not have USB support.
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Old 4th October 2012, 23:34   #1322
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

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Originally Posted by amitoj View Post
Guys, what does one need to do here to get drive your car on a track?
From what I have been able to gather so far, it seems you need to be a member of some club and the club will then host track events. So far, SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) and SCDA (Sporta Car Driving Association) seem to fit that bill. But are their memberships worth it?
Amitoj;

A track day could be quite grueling on the car. So please be prepared for the what you might be getting into. Depending on how far you're willing to fling the car, your suspension and brakes will take a beating. I never recommend track days for a daily driver may be, because I've a tendency to over do it. If there is even the slightest issue that you've ignored regarding the engine, electrics, tires, suspension etc., you can bet it'll show up on the track.

Please be prepared to accept the fact that there are costs and a price to pay for being on the track, in terms of monetary costs and wear and tear. If you're prepared mentally and fiscally, it's an amazing experience.

Good luck.
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Old 4th October 2012, 23:50   #1323
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

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Actually you don't need a membership for SCCA events. They give you a guest membership for the track day alone.

What i would do to get my car on track would be
-look at the calendar of the local track
Quote:
Originally Posted by aah78 View Post
Yes, as Jomz said keep checking the track websites for event schedules.
Yes but non members have to pay more too. For example, Sports Car Club of NH has an autocross day at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway on 27th Oct. For members, the fee is 40$ whereas for non members it is 50$. Their membership is 25$. 3 such events in a year and the membership fee would be paid off.


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Amitoj;

A track day could be quite grueling on the car.
Thanks for the warning. I do have an idea that a track day is not the same as say, a day on the beach
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Old 5th October 2012, 16:02   #1324
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

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Originally Posted by VLOCT View Post
Amitoj;

A track day could be quite grueling on the car. So please be prepared for the what you might be getting into. Depending on how far you're willing to fling the car, your suspension and brakes will take a beating. I never recommend track days for a daily driver may be, because I've a tendency to over do it. If there is even the slightest issue that you've ignored regarding the engine, electrics, tires, suspension etc., you can bet it'll show up on the track.

Please be prepared to accept the fact that there are costs and a price to pay for being on the track, in terms of monetary costs and wear and tear. If you're prepared mentally and fiscally, it's an amazing experience.

Good luck.
It depends on how you drive on the track.

Anyway there is a tech inspection by the event organizers, before you go on track. They will check whether your car will hold together on track. (wheels won't come off, battery won't come loose etc). They will not check what condition your engine is in and whether it will take the High rpm operation.

For HPDE events (most probably what you want to try) , you will be running in a novice class and will not be allowed to overtake anyone. You will be assigned an instructor and you will have to follow his instructions to a dot. If not will be kicked out of track.Even if you want to overdo it, the instructor won't let you. Expect gas mileage of 4-5 mpg on the track. Expected costs for one day for HPDE is $115-$250 depending on track. Sometimes your insurance maybe valid on the track because it is a High Perf Driver Education, not a timed event. Check with your agent.

My collegue is an instructor for 10/10 motorsports.

The cheaper event is the Autocross, which I frequently participate. A track is made with cones on a big parking lot. You get around 5 runs through the cones, each run around a min .THe track is real twisty and emphasizes on car handling rather than outright speed. This costs $35-40 and the abuse to the car is just 5 mins of high rpm operation.

But the event takes one entire day. waiting, working the cones and all.
There are a few pics in my gallery for the s2000 in autoX.

After a few track days and few auto X's, the only damage to the car was , brake pads worn out faster. I think newer sports cars are made to withstand the track abuse.

If you are interested in outright speed, I think you can take it to a dragstrip and get a timing slip.

Last edited by Jomz : 5th October 2012 at 16:03.
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Old 6th October 2012, 02:56   #1325
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Well, why do we go to the track? It's at some point to challenge yourself and the car. No one goes to the track to remain as a novice unless, it's just to improve your driving skill. As you progress, your skill and speeds improve. As your speed increases, so does the wear and tear on the vehicle, no matter what car.

You better have very good insurance and be prepared for much higher maintenance. The better the sports car, higher the cost. These are facts of taking your car to track. The components most susceptible to wear and tear on track days;

Brakes
Tires
Suspension
Steering

Depending on the number of events you participate in a year, there will be substantial wear. If you do just one or two events a year, this may not be much of an issue. But like I said, if you're going to the track to just improve your driving skill, just go and have fun. But track events have a tendency to hook you and you'll be back for more. And soon, you'll see your hard earned moolah saying goodbye for better brakes, suspension etc. etc. This is the price you pay for all the fun. Just be prepared.

If it's your only car, please think seriously about making your car a track vehicle. Please get a cheapo car for track, that you can trash around.
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Old 6th October 2012, 04:02   #1326
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

^^ Agreed.

Unless you have a Time trial license (TT) you won't be allowed to be timed on track.
I'm still working on my TT license.

Till then you will be in novice or advanced class. Which is not timed, but for insurance that is an education event.

VLOCT, I'm surprised at your car wear On track. What have you replaced on your car because track wear??

My instructor (who is my collegue too), who teaches novices and advanced guys on the track has only aftermarket clutch, suspension, Nitto R888 track tires and upgraded turbo on his car. (Evo 8 -400 Whp, dynoed). He is still running stock brakes with Hawk pads. stock rotors and stock all other parts.

He swears his only consumable is the brakes & tires.With more than 15+ track days a year.

Harbir & M_Power would know more about trackdays. I'm still a novice. M_power even has a dedicated shifter cart for use on track. My experiance is lot of guys speak about track days, but once they see the $250/day pricetag , they just run away from it.
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Old 6th October 2012, 13:57   #1327
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

The items I listed have been the usual wear and tear suspects in my case. Some tracks are more punishing than others, of course. Your colleague has upgraded 3 of the 4 items I listed. Evo probably has a beefed up Steering rack. Once I started taking the Duc to the track, I essentially stopped taking track days for cars. No way I could find time to do both. Now that the Duc is gone, my track days are probably done except, for the very very occasional one.

For most working people, track days should only be considered with money that is saved after everything including retirement savings especially, if you have a family to take care of. Even for enthusiast benefits on regular roads are questionable at best since, when making a mistake on a track, yours' or others', you're dealing with higher skilled drivers while on the regular road, you're dealing with half numbed zombies most of the time. In fact, studies have repeatedly shown that racers are more prone to accidents on regular roads than regular drivers. Track days are mostly pure pleasure since, very few will ever develop the skill or the mental edge to become a professional racer.
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Old 7th October 2012, 11:59   #1328
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

How frequently do I need to check the air pressure in all 4 tires? I've heard people filling the air once only 3-4 months. I used to fill-up air in my car tires back in India once a month at least.

On a different topic, here's a discussion about why gas prices are going record high - http://www.latimes.com/business/mone...,3160717.story
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Old 8th October 2012, 17:33   #1329
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

Quote:
Anyway there is a tech inspection by the event organizers, before you go on track. They will check whether your car will hold together on track. (wheels won't come off, battery won't come loose etc). They will not check what condition your engine is in and whether it will take the High rpm operation
That's a safety inspection. They dont worry so much about the tech part.
$250 is on the high side. Depends on the club, the track and # people on track and whether or not you have an instructor made available.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jomz View Post
He swears his only consumable is the brakes & tires.With more than 15+ track days a year.
Good, but does he know why?

The information cannot be extrapolated to every car in the market.

The amount of wear/damage you put on the car depends on how suited the car is to sporty/track driving.

On the one extreme, lets say you take a Camry to the track. It has excessive body roll, gross understeer and runs high profile, M+S all season tires temp rating A. This means the fronts will get chewed up within 15 laps.
Probably uses slider type single piston calipers with organic compound pads and insufficient ducting. All this means high levels of fade, glazing and coning. Not to mention, the seats have no lateral support and steering has no feel, so you will be sliding around not have any fun. Possible oil starvation because oil system is not designed for high g cornering/body roll. A car like this will need extensive mods to run on the track and have fun.

At the other end, lets say you take an M3 or a Boxter, you have stiff suspension with neutral handling and low profile summer tires. Brakes tend to be dual or quad piston with metallic pads and good cooling. Seats have great lateral support and steering has good feel. Oil system is designed for high G cornering which means either baffling or a secondary scavenge pump. Probably a diff cooler too. Many of these cars are already tested extensively in places like the Nurburgring so you will see little or no damage to the car. Maybe higher rate of wear.... lets say 10 track miles = 50 street miles.

Doesn't mean you need cars like this to have fun. In between there are many affordable cars that do well on the track. Mini Cooper, Miata, Mazda3, Focus RS are my favorites. Scion FRS is a hot new entrant

Last edited by Mpower : 8th October 2012 at 21:12.
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Old 8th October 2012, 21:25   #1330
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandhi View Post
How frequently do I need to check the air pressure in all 4 tires? I've heard people filling the air once only 3-4 months. I used to fill-up air in my car tires back in India once a month at least.

On a different topic, here's a discussion about why gas prices are going record high - http://www.latimes.com/business/mone...,3160717.story
I usually get the air pressure checked during the oil change service which happens every 3750 miles or around 2-3 months depending on usage. Also this is the time when tires are rotated.

I also have a pen to check air pressure so may be once in a month occasionally i check the pressure. But this is not something i follow religiously.

Apart from this, when going on long distance drive, i do check it for proper inflation and perform other basic checks.

Hope this helps.
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Old 11th October 2012, 19:38   #1331
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

Finally I am here in CT. Rented a few cars in the last few weeks. Right now I have a Ford Mustang with just 3200 miles on it! This was the only car Hertz had and I did not complain, obviously. Enjoying the revving at traffic lights so far :(

Meanwhile I have also started looking at buying a car as mentioned in my earlier posts. Tried out the usual suspects Mazda 6, Camry, Accord and Nissan Altima so far. Not going back. Next up are the Acuras and Infinitis.
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Old 20th October 2012, 06:51   #1332
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

Hi!!

At last moved to the mid west from Pune last week after waiting for almost a year . Last year the 65k visa cap reached early.

I want to have 2 cars actually, one for the wife and one for me. Since I need to do a lot of expenses for settling in right now, I would prefer to lease a small car first which will later be the second car.

Can you all please suggest an compact.
The Honda Fit, Dodge dart, Toyota corolla are few of the cars which seem appealing.
Please guide me with the above choices and something more if any. The key is that I would not like the lease to be high. sub 200 $.

Please advice ,

Naj
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Old 20th October 2012, 06:58   #1333
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

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Originally Posted by VLOCT View Post
@Torro,

You can find a lot of reliable american vehicles for $5000 and with miles well below 100k.
HI Vloct,Chevelle,Jomz,Infotech - Been car hunting for the past one month and I didnt find a single car that i like.

The Japs have a minimum of 120K+ miles and the asking rate is much higher.
Now, my criteria has slightly altered, me and my wife, we plan to do a lot of country seeing and really dont want to rent a car each time we have to go out of state.

I am stretching my budget to near abouts of 8K (gulp)...

While on that subject- Is leasing a car for 2 years a good idea? (Lack of credit history and driving history can be a pain, but my company HR will agree to co-sign on the Loan)

So guys - need your help again - which cars should i be looking at in the 6-8K which would give me decent reliability and one that gives me good driving dynamics.

- I am sold on the Focus and Fusion , If i get one in a decent nick I would pick it up instantly (I am a sucker for Ford cars )

Unfortunately Craiglist for Louisville dont have a lot of good deals. I will have to check on Cincinatti as well..

Thanks a ton guys for the advice
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Old 20th October 2012, 08:30   #1334
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

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Originally Posted by ToroRosso View Post
- Been car hunting for the past one month and I didnt find a single car that i like.

The Japs have a minimum of 120K+ miles and the asking rate is much higher.
I'll say it again - cash for clunkers destroyed a lot of good used cars.
If you are confident buying domestic - go for it. They should be cheaper to repair too than the imports.
BTW - I bought my jap car at 131K miles @ 3500++ and am still driving it at 151k miles after almost 2 years. Initially I thought I would only be there for 6 months - thus the clunker. But it is serving me well - touch wood - nothing major till now.
If you are definite that you are going to stay for 2+ years - why not stretch your budget and buy a new car or barely used company certified one?
Leasing a car is a bad idea of you want to tour the country extensively as there are mileage caps on leased cars and you pay a meaningless amount on any overage on that cap.
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Old 22nd October 2012, 10:56   #1335
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Default Re: Buying, Owning, Driving and Maintaining a car in North America

Quote:
Originally Posted by naj View Post
Hi!!

At last moved to the mid west from Pune last week after waiting for almost a year . Last year the 65k visa cap reached early.

I want to have 2 cars actually, one for the wife and one for me. Since I need to do a lot of expenses for settling in right now, I would prefer to lease a small car first which will later be the second car.

Can you all please suggest an compact.
The Honda Fit, Dodge dart, Toyota corolla are few of the cars which seem appealing.
Please guide me with the above choices and something more if any. The key is that I would not like the lease to be high. sub 200 $.

Please advice ,

Naj
If you intend to keep the leased car, I wouldn't recommend leasing it in the first place. I think I've said this enough times here. Your first car should probably be a good used car, preferably sub $6,000 and preferably cash. After having settled down in a year for two, look at a new car. By that time you'll see that your interest have changed on the type of car you want.

Last things you want are two (2)car payments on depreciating assets within the first two years of being here. You'll be paying a higher interest to boot, due to the lack of credit history.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ToroRosso View Post
HI Vloct,Chevelle,Jomz,Infotech - Been car hunting for the past one month and I didnt find a single car that i like.

The Japs have a minimum of 120K+ miles and the asking rate is much higher.
Now, my criteria has slightly altered, me and my wife, we plan to do a lot of country seeing and really dont want to rent a car each time we have to go out of state.

I am stretching my budget to near abouts of 8K (gulp)...

While on that subject- Is leasing a car for 2 years a good idea? (Lack of credit history and driving history can be a pain, but my company HR will agree to co-sign on the Loan)

So guys - need your help again - which cars should i be looking at in the 6-8K which would give me decent reliability and one that gives me good driving dynamics.

- I am sold on the Focus and Fusion , If i get one in a decent nick I would pick it up instantly (I am a sucker for Ford cars )

Unfortunately Craiglist for Louisville dont have a lot of good deals. I will have to check on Cincinatti as well..

Thanks a ton guys for the advice
You gotta hang in there, man. I know it's frustrating but, nothing is worth losing money, finding out that you lost a bunch of money 'cause you didn't have patience.

Are you also looking at all the avenues possible including Autotrader, local car listings in newspapers, on stands at grocery stores etc? Also, widen your search to cities within 500 miles. Plane tickets are cheap nowadays.

I did a search on autotrader for cars less than $5000 with less than 100,000 miles and I got 392 cars within a 500 mile range from Lousville. Take a look. See if any of these cars interest you.

http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-s...d=608506&Log=0

You can modify your search to suite you.

Good Luck
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