Category Archives: Car shopping

Why Kicking The Tire Is A Good Thing!

Todd: Hi, I’m Todd.

Thad: I’m Thad.

Todd: And we’re the Watters boys.

Thad: What we’re about to tell you will sound stupid on the surface

Todd: Unlike other things we tell you that will sound stupid way down deep.

Thad: Like, The Colts are a sure bet to win the Superbowl. 

Todd: It sounded smart at the time.

Thad: How much money did you lose on that bet?

Todd: Let’s just say I need to sell a LOT of cars in February.

Kicking the tire can tell you a lot

Thad: So here’s the stupid sounding thing; kicking the tires on your car is actually a very smart thing to do.

Todd: Wow – that does sound stupid.

Thad: I tried to warn you.

Todd: No one is exactly sure when or how this “myth” started.

Thad: Some believe that back when tires were made of solid rubber, people used to kick them to see if they would crack or break, which they sometimes did.

Todd: Pneumatic, or air-filled tires, eventually replaced the solid rubber variety.

Thad: Which didn’t prevent people from continuing to kick tires.

Todd: Maybe human beings were just bored back then – this was after all before cable.

Thad: I think Mediacom now offers The Tire Kicking Channel as part of their basic package

Todd: Kicking tires eventually developed a bad reputation.

Thad: The assumption was that the person who did it really didn’t know why they were doing it, or much about cars in general.

Todd: But there are some very good reasons to kick the tire of a vehicle.

Thad: A rattling sound can mean issues with the springs, suspension, shock absorber, wheel bearing or caliper.  

Todd: Plus, kicking the tire can alert you to loose lug nuts.

Thad: Believe it or not, tires can and do come loose.

Todd: Also, when you kick the tire – or better yet, put your foot on the top of it and step down, you can feel if the tire is underinflated.

Thad: Of course, kicking the tire can’t tell you about a gazillion other things that could be wrong with your car.

Todd: If your friendly grease monkey uses this as a diagnostic method, you may want to consider taking your car somewhere more reputable.

Thad: Like, to a witch doctor.

Todd: Which witch doctor?

Thad: Don’t go there.  

Todd: Meantime, we hope sharing the truth about the myth brings tire-kicking back into vogue.

Thad: Much like we’re hoping that us wearing leisure suits around the dealership will bring them back as a fashion statement. 

Todd: Although so far, the results have been disappointing.

Thad: Just like the Colts.

Todd: Don’t make me kick you.


Todd and Thad Watters own and manage Watters Autoland in Indianola, Iowa. To find out more, visit them at: 


Leave a comment

Filed under Car repair, Car shopping

Getting The Most For Your Trade-in

 Thad: Hi I’m Thad.

 Todd: I’m Todd. 

Thad: And we’re the Watters Boys. 

Todd: So you want to get the most you can for your trade-in? 

Thad: Thanks but that’s okay, I already own a dealership. 

Todd: Not you – I was addressing our readers. 

Thad: Which is also just me. 

Todd: I think mom finally started reading it. 

Thad: She wants to make sure we don’t sound stupid. 

Todd: Too late, Mom!  

Thad: When people ask us how they can maximize their car’s trade-in value, we tell ’em it’s all about common sense. 

Todd: Car dealers are people, too. 

Thad: Insert joke here. 

Todd: And so we are moved by first impressions, just like anyone. 

Thad: Most dealers don’t have time to go over your trade-in with a fine tooth comb. 

Todd: What they are really focused on is getting you into your new vehicle. 

Thad: And so our best advice is to think like a seller, because you are. 

Todd: You are “selling” us your car and we are selling you ours. 

Thad: Make sure you put your best foot forward. 

1. First and foremost, wash your car, inside and out 

A clean trade-in is worth more

Thad: You’d be shocked at how many people bring us a dirty vehicle. 

Todd: You’d be even more shocked at how dirty Thad’s car is. 

Thad: Which is why I park in the back. 

Todd: We react the same way to a dirty, smelly car the same way you would. 

Thad: It suggests that the owner has neglected it. 

Todd: And that’s going to almost certainly reduce the amount we’re willing to pay for it. 

Thad: So our advice – take it through the car wash, remove all the debris from the inside, vacuum all the surfaces, shampoo the carpet and floor mats and Windex the windows, inside and out. 

Todd: Also remove contents from glove compartment and trunk and, if possible, shampoo the trunk area. 

Thad: You may even want to consider detailing the vehicle. 

Todd: It’s an expense, but it can really pay off at trade-in time. 

Thad: Remember, that first impression is the most important! 

2. Have a maintenence record to give to the dealer. 

Keep good service records

Thad: Whether you’ve kept one for the life of your car or if you have to write one out from memory, this will show that you’ve been a thoughtful owner and will likely increase the value of your vehicle’s trade-in. 

Todd: The record doesn’t have to include every oil change or tune-up (although this should be included if possible) but it should have a list of any major work done on the vehicle, including engine and body work. 

Thad: It’s also a good idea to do small maintenance before you take it to the dealership. 

Todd: Replace wiper blades, top off fluids, get a tune-up – the dealer will notice these things and they will have a positive impact. 

3. Be honest about the car’s issues. 

Honesty will pay off

Todd: Vehicles get driven and used. 

Thad: Unless you’re my great great aunt whose AMC Gremlin hasn’t left the garage since 1992. 

Todd: Didn’t we sneak it out when we were 13 to see how fast it would go? 

Thad: Shhh! You want to get us busted? 

Todd: Hey, you drove – I just sat in the back and hid my eyes. 

Thad: If the car has a light out, or scratches, or a dent, or a hole in the seat, tell the dealer. 

Todd: He’s going to find out anyway – remember, we’ve seen literally thousands of vehicles brought in for trade-in over the years. 

Thad: Yep – if it’s there we’ll probably find it. 

Todd: Which is nothing to feel guilty about – like we said, cars get driven, that’s what we’re supposed to do. 

Thad: Auntie notwithstanding. 

Todd: Being honest about your vehicle’s blemishes will create a level of trust with the dealer. 

Thad: As will bringing in a clean, well-maintained car with good records. 

Todd: Follow these steps and you’ll be a happy seller… 

Thad: …and a happy buyer, come trade-in time! 


Todd and Thad Watters own and manage Watters Autoland in Indianola, Iowa. To find out more, visit them at: 


Next time: Why kicking the tire is a good thing  

Leave a comment

Filed under Car shopping, Trade-in value, Uncategorized

Dispelling The Biggest Myths About Cars

Todd: I’m Todd.

Thad: I’m Thad.

Todd: And we’re the Watters Boys.

Thad: There is a lot of great information out there about buying, selling and

operating a car.

Todd: You’ll find some good advice in books, newspaper articles and

automotive web sites and blogs.

Thad: Like this one – at least that’s the idea of Talkin Cars.

Todd: However you do have to take some of my brother’s ideas with a grain

of salt – like when he thought that stopping a car by sticking your foot out of

the door and sliding it on the ground would prolong the life of the brake


Thad: I was nine years old – and I still think that idea could work.

Todd: Except you’d lose money with all the emergency room bills.  

Thad: But for every good idea, there are others floating around out there…

Todd: Like Thad’s “brake with your foot” concept.

Thad: …that are not so good.

Todd: In this blog we’ll focus on myths about buying a car. Here are the

most common ones that we’ve heard over the years:

Myth #1: I have three days to return the car

Todd: The idea is that whether you’re buying new or used, you have three

days to change your mind and return the car.

Thad: The term is called “rescission,” or “to rescind.”

Todd: The dictionary definition-

Thad: I lent him mine.

Todd: -is: “The right of an individual involved within a contract to return to

the identical state as before they entered into the agreement, due to courts

not recognizing the contract as legally binding.”

Thad: This is one of those myths that’s kind of true but sort of not.

Todd: You can bring the car back only if a dealer has deliveried it to you,  or

made the deal at your home. 

Thad: If you come to your dealership and buy the car, you own it –

otherwise, the three days is to protect you for when a salesperson

comes to your home and strong-arms you into buying a car.

Todd: Otherwise, Caveat Emptor.

Thad: My brother is going crazy with that dictionary!

Todd: At Watters Autoland that’s exactly why we go over our pre-owned

vehicles with a fine tooth comb, before a customer drives it or buys it.

Thad: We want to make sure that the car you buy from us runs right, and is

right for you.

Myth #2: The best car deals are at the end of the month.

Thad: This myth probably started as a marketing tool.

Todd: Leave it up to those wacky advertising guys!

Thad: Hey, we’re wacky advertising guys.

Todd: Yeah but we’re not that wacky. Remember when some ad guy 

suggested we do a “We’re strippin down prices” TV ad campaign,

with all of us walking around without any clothes on?

Thad: I think that would have worked better on radio.

Todd: While it’s true that we do have monthly sales quotas we try 

to meet…

Thad: It’s also true that we pay the same price for our vehicles, whether it’s

at the beginning, middle or end of the month. And the same goes for our


Todd: Our bottom line at Watters Autoland is that we try to charge a fair

price, make a fair profit and pay our employees fair wages.

Thad: So they can all afford to buy clothes.

Myth #3: Extended Warranties Are Just Overpriced Scams

Todd: Wow. If I had a nickel for every time I heard a consumer say this.

Thad: How many nickels would you have?

Todd: Can I borrow your calculator?

Thad: Only if I can have my dictionary back.

Todd: Cars are built incredibly strong, to withstand all the years of driving

abuse we dish out.

Thad: But the more we drive a car, the better the chance for


Thad: That’s just a fact of life, with anything we buy and use.

Todd: So we always always always recommend customers get

extended warranty insurance, especially on a used car.

Thad: The price is reasonable, especially for what it covers, which is a lot.

Todd: Road Hazard Insurance can also really pay off because it covers

tires and rims.

Thad: Especially with this Iowa weather and the effect it has on our roads.

Todd: All it takes is driving one time into a pothole the size of my brother’s

swimming pool, and the insurance has paid for itself and then some.

Thad: There are a lot more car myths, misconceptions and out and

out horse hooey that we’ll address in future blogs.

Todd: If you’ve got a myth you’d like us to talk about, just post it in a

comment on our blog!

Thad: Meantime, drive safe and remember – only six weeks till spring!

Todd: Yea! Then we can start running around without clothes!

Thad: Remind me to be sick that day.

Todd and Thad Watters own and operate Watters Autoland in Indianola, Iowa. To find out more, visit


Next time: Getting the most for your trade-in

Leave a comment

Filed under Car shopping, Trade-in value

How To Really Save $5,000 On Your Next Car

Todd: Hi I’m Todd.

Thad: I’m Thad.

Todd: We’re the Watters boys.

Thad: Some consumers are putting off buying a new vehicle right now even

though they really need one, because they’re hanging onto their money.

Todd: That’s understandable. My brother has put off buying new

clothes for ten years for that same reason.

Thad: I won’t mention that you recently borrowed one of my suit jackets.

Todd: And I won’t mention that it was waaay too big.

Thad: But eventually, people are going to decide to go car shopping.

Todd: Yep. You can only bum rides from your parents for so long.

Thad: Or bum clothes from your bro for so long.

Todd: So Thad and I sat down and came up with what we think is a great list

of four ways for you to save money on your next vehicle.

Thad: Some of these may seem really simple, but the truth is that they also


Todd: Take it from two guys who have spent their lives buying and selling

cars – these tips will work, if you follow them.

1. Do your homework before you ever set foot in a dealership.
Todd: With all the resources available on the internet, there’s just no
excuse not to know at least something about what you want.
Thad: Know what options you want. Investigate makes and models on the
manufacturer’s web site.
Todd: Plus there are a ton of social networking sites where car owners talk
about their own experience with specific models and features.
Thad: Which is something we’ll be setting up on our own blog, so
keep your eyes open!
Todd: The most important thing – get smart about what you want so you can
negotiate from a position of strength.
2. Know what your trade is worth.
Todd: We have consumers who come in all the time and don’t have a clue
what their car is worth as a trade-in.
Thad: That really puts them at a disadvantage.
Todd: For example, we can tell someone their ’83 Vega is worth $11.95 and a
couple free tickets to see Leap Year.
Thad: I’ve seen it – we need to at least toss in a small popcorn.
Todd: Of course we wouldn’t do that.
Thad: No one should ever be encouraged to see Leap Year.
Todd: Even for free.
Thad: Car shoppers planning on trading in their current vehicle should go to,  Kelly Blue Book’s site, or to find
out what their trade is worth before they visit the dealership.
Todd: also has a cool “TMV” True Market Value section on
their home page.
Thad: You can put in the car/truck you want and pick options and it will
show MSRP/ invoice and what you should expect to pay in your market. 
Todd: This is a very good tool – it lets you know about where the dealer will
end up on the sale price for you. 
Thad: It has tallied up all the sales in area and put them together to get a
uniform price.
Todd:  All of the books are not buyers for your used car but are a guide to get
you close. 
Thad: Which is closer than we’re going to get to your Vega.
3.  Bigger Inventory + older products = lower prices
Todd: Inventory plays a big role in the price of a car. 
Thad: The harder it is to get, the higher the price. 
Todd: If  it is a new model and not many around then you will not get a big
Thad: The rebate will also be lower on new products just out. 
Todd: But if there is a big supply, dealers will be willing to discount in order
to move cars.
Thad: And manufacturers will also be offering bigger rebates.
Todd: Bottom line – bigger inventory and older models mean bigger savings
for you.
4.  Take advantage of loyalty rebates.
Thad: The GM factory is giving up to a $2000 loyalty rebate for being loyal
to the GM brand. 
Todd: There is also a Conquest rebate,  if you drive a non GM brand, for up to
Thad: There you go – four tips that can save you a lot of money on your next
vehicle purchase.
Todd: And we even have a few more ways to save you money that we’d love
to share with you.
Thad: But that means seeing Todd and I in person, and some of you may
be unwilling to accept the health risks.
Todd: Your wardrobe alone can cause blindness.
Thad: Tomorrow I’m going with plaid polyester – just for you.
(For more savings tips, visit us at
Next time: Dispelling The Biggest Myths About The Car Business

Leave a comment

Filed under Car shopping

Why We’re In To Cars

Todd: Hi, I’m Todd.

Thad: And I’m Thad.

Both: We’re the Watters boys.

Todd: The best way to tell us apart is that I’m the attractive one – just look at our picture, above.

Thad: I think my coat has a much healthier sheen.

Todd: Thad and I grew up around cars, which is why we now are the third generation owners of Watters Autoland in Indianola.

Thad: Plus, Dad “strongly suggested” that we continue in the business.

Todd: I think he threatened to disown us.

Thad: He threatened you.

Todd: That’s because you weren’t around – like, ever.

Thad: I was always working on cars.

Todd: Or chasing girls.

Thad: Or chasing girls.

Todd: And so my brother and I want to share whatever car knowledge we’ve picked up over the past thirty years, with you.

Thad: We’ll give you tips on what really matters during a test drive.

Todd: The most important questions to ask before you sign the deal.

Thad: Why kicking the tire is actually a good thing.

Todd: Except when the car is moving.

Thad: And other advice that can help you buy your next vehicle.

Todd: Or help you repair the one you have now.

Thad: Todd and I have a passion for cars and we want to share it with you.

Todd: So thanks for reading our blog and if you like it, let your friends know about it.

Thad: Because we’re certainly telling our friends.

Todd: Most of whom are frankly shocked that we can actually write.

Thad: And read. And walk upright.

Todd: They’re so smart – let ’em get their own blog.

Next time: Five secret ways to save $5,000 on your next vehicle

(visit for more)

Leave a comment

Filed under Car shopping