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Blog : Independent Motorcars

HID Xenon Upgrade Kit – What you need to know


There’s a ton of stuff on eBay that you can slam into your car and one of the best sellers out there are HID Xenon upgrades for earlier model cars, or for cars that did not originally come with Xenon style lighting.  These kits are actually pretty cool and very effective when properly used, and an absolute disaster when not applied properly.  So, before anyone gets crazy and starts clicking away on eBay, we need to make sure that you can actually benefit from one of these kits, and it’s all about the light housing and how your car was set up.  There are basically two types of light housings, and how they distribute light from the bulb.

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Costco Gas? Sure, why not!



Throughout my career I’ve seen countless cars come to me with various ‘Check Engine’ lights or ‘Service Engine Soon’ lights.  Roughly 1/3 of those cars suffered from bad gas.  The top two offenders?  Costco and military bases (we’re in San Diego, so it comes with the territory).  The first question out of my mouth to most of these customers was ‘Are you buying gas from Costco or the base?’  If they answered yes, I’d clear the light and prescribe a full tank of Chevron and all of a sudden things were back to normal.  Bad Gas.

Hell froze over last March when Costco re-vamped their fuel product by qualifying for ‘Top-Tier’ status. In all honesty, I didn’t discover Costco’s new found love for quality gasoline until my buddy Pat bought it to my attention (he’s a car guy and my go-to beer expert).  After 15 years of warning folks about getting gas from Costco, I can actually say that not only is it OK to get gas from Costco, but that they sell very high quality gas! Go ahead and fill ‘er up!  (I’m twitching a bit as I type that).

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San Diego Rainy Day Driving Safety


San Diego doesn’t see rain that often, which makes it all the more dangerous when trekking out in this sort of weather.  While many will claim ‘San Diegans don’t know how to drive in the rain’ that is only partially true.  Practice does make perfect, so we have a disadvantage there, but what most don’t realize is that rain naturally cleans roads and freeways and that doesn’t happen often for us.  Throughout the year there are a lot of oils and fluids that leak from under-maintained cars that will sit on our roads and freeways until the rain finally comes.  Once we do get rain, this leads to extremely slippery conditions.  Here are a few things you can do both before and during your rainy trip to keep you and your passengers at the good end of the safety bell curve.

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Making Friends away from home . . . in my home town.

If I look at my restoration career, I have, in some ways, felt very alone.  Like I was the only one who ever cared about the car.  It can be hard to explain to people what you actually do, and what it actually takes. Until, I stumbled upon Adam Cramer.

He owns and operates Liberty Vintage Motorcycles in Philadelphia, PA.  I first learned of Adam from an unlikely source.  My best friend sent me this video and simply said “Show your passion”  Honestly, there are two types of guys that restore old cars and bikes.  There are guys that rant and rave about how incredible they are (they really aren’t) and how great their work is (it really isn’t) and there are guys like Adam.

This is Adam, he kind of explains a lot of what I’ve encountered, as well as everyone who has spent late nights and early mornings trying to re-create the beauty of the past with half the resources and quadruple the effort.  Watch this video, it is worth the 4 minutes:

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‘Audi Care’ Dollars just doesn’t make Cents.

San Diego Audi Service Center

My hope is that as you read this, you are still holding on to the fancy brochure for ‘Audi Care’ or ‘Audi Care Plus’ and haven’t pulled the trigger to purchase it just yet.  Audi Care is your local dealership’s service or maintenance warranty package that covers your Audi service needs for up to 45,000 miles for the basic plan and 75,000 miles for the ‘Plus’ plan.

To be clear, You do not have to have your new Audi Serviced by the dealership to maintain your Audi’s manufacturer warranty, and don’t let them make you feel that way.

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Want a Used BMW?? – Interesting Article on the e39 540i

I get a lot of articles sent my way from friends and family members and last night my inbox didn’t disappoint.  This is an article recently published on the car mega-site jalopnik that outlines 4 reasons why you should buy a used e39 540i Right Now!

Jalopnik’s advice on buying an e39 Right Now!

I wholeheartedly agree, the 540i is a wonderful machine.  However, there are a few things to know if you are in the market for such a car. So allow me to give you 4 reasons to think before you do anything Right Now!

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Independent Motorcars Stocking Stuffer Give-away!

Independent Motorcars San Diego

With the holidays fast approaching, Independent Motorcars has come up with a StockingStuffer GiveAway for our BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz owners in San Diego. We will be giving away 2 Micro-start XP-1 PPS jumper packs. These things are incredible and have completely replaced the big yellow jumper packs we’ve used in the past. Details at the following link:

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BMW of the Week – Not just any old 2002!

1974 BMW 2002 turbo

When it comes to cars, my jaw doesn’t drop that often, but this 1974 2002 turbo will make the jaw drop and the drool flow.  I’ve seen a fair amount of turbos, but I’ve never worked on one nor driven one — I got to do both, thanks to this immaculate car that had been impressively restored by Casey Motorsports in Petaluma, CA.  The turbo rolled into the shop for the usual stuff 2002’s need – new spark plugs, a valve adjust, some fluid changes and you’re pretty square for another few years.  But when an example like this is in the service bay, the cameras come out and the car stays a bit longer.  This car has everything going for it.  Looks great, mechanicals are even better, and a few special touches in the right places.  I took over 300 pictures in super high resolution, so here’s a few shots:

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BMW Diesel and the Super Bowl – Super Idea

OK, so Volkswagen may have had the wittiest commercial during the Super Bowl as the pint-sized Darth Vadar brought the car to life with the use of the force, but my favorite commercial of the night was BMW’s promotion of their diesel 335d with David Bowie’s ‘changes’ in the background.  BMW has been making diesel cars for the non-USA market since the early 90’s but it has only been recently that they have been available in North America.  I’ve been pretty disappointed with their lack of promoting the diesel product as well as dealers’ aversion to keeping them in stock.  Hopefully, this commercial is a step in the right direction.

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SMG = ‘Serious Money Gone’ on your BMW.

The e46 M3 is actually one of the most reliable cars BMW has built in the last 10 years . . .  unless you have the SMG option on your transmission of course.  The first generation SMG (or Sequential Manual Gearbox) transmissions have not held up well over the long run and are starting to empty the pockets of their loyal owners.  So if you are in the market for an e46 M3, stay clear of the SMG.  If you currently have an SMG M3, this may be what you’re in for if you haven’t had the pleasure already.

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