Author Archive

Mark Holthoff

Before joining Klipnik, Mark spent eight years at Edmunds.com developing and running their Live Advice and Consumer Reviews programs. His first car was a 1974 Triumph TR6 in Sapphire Blue, which he bought with his life savings of $2000 and kept running with a combination of spare change, duct tape and dumb luck.

5 Ways to Make Your Old Car Feel Like New Again

Is your car feeling old, tired, and worn out? Maybe the paint has lost its luster. Or there’s a strange noise coming from somewhere. Or the radio’s kaput. Maybe all of the above. You probably loved it once, back when everything was fresh and new. But now, each time you slide behind the wheel, it’s a bit depressing.

If so, you’re probably thinking about swapping it for something newer. That seems like the logical thing to do. Newer cars are shiny and bright, and they have all of the latest features. But newer cars also come with a host of new expenses — among them, higher depreciation and costlier insurance.

How to Buy a Car the Klipnik Way and Save Thousands

Cars are expensive. In fact, the cost of the average new car topped $40,000 for the first time last year, according to CNET. Meanwhile, the average used car price — which recently spiked to $21,500, according to The Car Connection — still isn’t exactly cheap. And that’s just the price of admission. On top of that, you’ve also got fuel costs, insurance and repair bills, maintenance, and more. Add it all up, and it can knock a huge hole in your budget.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. At Klipnik, we’ve identified an approach you can use to reduce your car expenses by half or more. These aren’t strict austerity measures, like choosing to walk instead of drive. And we’re not talking about buying a clapped-out old Corolla. Indeed, you can apply our approach just as easily to buying high-end luxury cars as you can to cheap econoboxes.

How to Find a Good Auto Mechanic That You Can Trust

At Klipnik, we believe that buying a used car is one of the smartest — and easiest — ways to save money. It protects you from the #1 car ownership expense: depreciation. The trade off is that, in most cases, your used car purchase is no longer covered by a factory warranty. And that means you are stuck paying any repair bills out of your own pocket.

That may sound scary. But it doesn’t have to be. All you need is a knowledgeable mechanic that you can trust.

1995 Mercedes-Benz E300 Diesel with 98k Miles

For November 20, 2020, our used car find is this unusually clean 1995 Mercedes-Benz E300 Diesel sedan in handsome Midnight Blue factory paint and with just 98k miles from new. It’s offered on Autotrader by a private seller in the Washington D.C. area for $7900.

Here’s what makes this one special.

How to Negotiate the Price of a Used Car

Let’s say you’ve been shopping for a great used car. You’ve found a nice example of the model you want. You’ve checked out the car in person, and you really like it. All that’s left is to hand over the money and drive away — right?

Not so fast. Used car prices are almost always negotiable. With rare exceptions (such as buying from a “haggle-free” dealership), the price you see on the vehicle listing should *not* be the price you actually pay for it. In fact, most used car sellers pad their asking prices by at least a few hundred dollars in anticipation of this.

But how do you get from the asking price to the price that you actually should pay? That’s where the art of negotiation comes in.

Deep Blue 2008 Volkswagen R32 with 56k Miles

For December 23, 2020, our used car find is this unusually clean and original Volkswagen R32 hot hatch with just 56k miles. It’s offered on craigslist by a private seller in the Portland area for $18,500.

Here’s what makes this one special.

2009 Hyundai Genesis 4.6 V8 with 52k Miles

For December 6, 2020, our used car find is this low-mile, one-owner 2009 Hyundai Genesis sedan with the optional 368 hp 4.6 liter V8 engine. It’s offered on craigslist by a private seller in the Sacramento area for $12,800.

Here’s what makes this one special.

Life in the Slow Lane: a Mercedes 240D Ownership Story

In April of 2021, I purchased a 1977 Mercedes-Benz 240D from its original owner, who had special ordered it, picked it up at the factory, and then used it as a daily driver for some 45 years and 250,000 miles.

Here I’ll be chronicling my own adventures with the car, including how I came to buy it, what it’s like to live with, and how much it costs to run.

Welcome to Life in the Slow Lane.

What’s the Best Cheap Mercedes S-Class? Generations W126 vs. W140 vs. W220

They say there’s nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes. And if by “cheap” they mean run down, neglected, and worn out, they’re absolutely right. But the truth is, even though a Mercedes S-Class represents the very best in German engineering and can sell for well over $100,000 when new, you can find outstanding used examples for as little as $10,000. You just have to know how to look.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the most affordable S-Class generations from the last 40 years. Check it out to learn which one is right for you.

Buyer’s Guide: Toyota 4Runner 3rd Generation (1996-2002)

The Toyota 4Runner is a legendary rig. One of the last SUVs still made with rugged body-on-frame construction, it pairs off-road prowess with Toyota reliability and longevity. Indeed, iSeeCars ranked it as the longest-lasting midsize SUV in a recent study. As a result, it remains not only a top seller at dealerships, but used 4Runners also command significant demand and thus tend to retain their values surprisingly well.

Imola Red 2007 BMW Z4 M Coupe with 46k Miles

For November 29, 2020, our used car find is this low-mile 2007 BMW Z4 M Coupe in striking Imola Red with a matching interior. It’s offered on craigslist by a private seller in the Sacramento area for $34,950.

Here’s what makes this one special.

Low-mile NC Mazda MX-5 Miata with PRHT

For October 24, 2020, our used car find is this one-owner, 28k mile 2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata with the power-retractable hardtop (PRHT) and a 6-speed manual transmission. It’s listed on craigslist by a private seller in the Bay Area for $16,250.

Here’s what makes this car special.