Weekly auto rail, with tailgating tips for your vehicle, Car Q&A with Junior Damato and more.

Tip of the Week


Whether you're planning to tailgate at your daughter's soccer game, in the parking lot of your college alma mater or favorite professional football stadium, your vehicle is the center of the tailgating experience. So why not make it tailgate-proof and add some style?


- Repair tiny nicks, chips and scratches. We all know that car and truck doors can easily be scratched by runaway shopping carts or other car doors. But it's never been easier to repair small dings and scratches with products you can find in your local automotive store.


- Roll up to the game in style. Now, you can customize your wheels without the custom price tag. For less than $30, you can make your existing wheels look brand new with paint like wheel spray paint. Try a color like graphite to enhance the color of your current plastic hubcaps and aluminum or steel wheels. Or use black or steel to give them the appearance of their expensive custom aftermarket counterparts. Check out videos on YouTube to learn how to complete this project step by step.


- Revive your truck bed. It's just not classic tailgating unless you're sitting on the back of a truck. But after years of hauling everything from lumber to your neighbor's old sofa to your tailgate barbecue grill, your truck bed's finish may be rusting, peeling or just look worn. You can revive it and make it look brand new by applying a truck bed coating.


- Don't forget the barbecue grill. If you're like most people, you've probably put a little mileage on your tailgate barbecue grill. But don't be tempted to replace it just because its finish is worn or rusted. It's easy to give it a facelift with one coat of paint.


- ARA


The List


Not all vehicles that are named Car of the Year are successful. Here are the biggest flops among the winners, according to CNNMoney:


- 1960 Chevrolet Corvair/1971 Chevrolet Vega


- 1974 Ford Mustang II


- 1976 Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volare


- 1977 Chevrolet Caprice/1991 Caprice Classic


- 1980 Chevrolet Citation


- 1983 Renault Alliance1995 Chrysler Cirrus/Dodge Stratus


- 1999 Volkswagen New Beetle


- 2001 Plymouth PT Cruiser


- 2002 Ford Thunderbird


- 2007 Saturn Aura


Did You Know


The very first Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was auctioned off recently for $250,000. The muscle car will hit showrooms in 2012 at about $50,000.


Car Q&A


Q: My daughter is interested in a car called the Juke. I thought she was joking until we went to the Nissan dealer and there it was, a Juke. The design and color combination is not for the old at heart. What can you tell me, since I am the one paying for it?


A: I spent a week in the car, and my wife a couple of days. Our test car was the all-wheel drive version. The engine is a 1.6-liter turbo-charged 188-horsepower four-cylinder mated to a CVT automatic transmission six-speed that can be manually shifted. Everyone that looked at the car had positive comments. My wife’s friends’ daughters loved everything about the car, and one went out the next day and purchased a red one. Gas mileage averaged 25 mpg plus. If you are going to buy one, expect the retail price around $25,000 for the top of the line and well worth the price.


- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist


GateHouse News Service