Buying/Leasing a Vehicle

Spring Cleaning to Sell: How to Maximize Your Car’s Curb Appeal

Even though it might not quite feel like it, Spring is finally, officially here! With the winter we’ve had, you–and your car–are probably ready for more than a change in season. If you’re thinking about switching up your ride this Spring, you’ll need to do a little Spring cleaning to get rid of all the salt, snow and grime. Here are our top tips for maximizing your car’s curb appeal and getting your car spruced up and ready to sell.

Clean carSpruce up the Exterior

The last thing a prospective buyer wants to see is a dirty car, so make a strong first impression and keep the outside of your car sparkly clean. You can take a nice afternoon to scrub and wax it yourself or take it to a local detail shop to get it ready to sell. In addition to cleaning, make sure you have taken care of any scratches or dents to the body of your car. For smaller dings, this can be done cost-efficiently at home with a touch up kit and dent removal kit. If you have larger body damage, you want to have it taken care of by a professional.

Clean inside carClean the Interior

Think about how a potential buyer will feel when they slide into the driver’s seat. To ensure this is a good experience for them, make sure your car is free of any junk, dirt, or odors. Start off by removing any clutter from your car’s glove box, trunk, and other storage spaces. After removing any personal items, vacuum the carpet and seats, making sure they are all free of crumbs and other dirt. You’ll also want to wipe down the dash, center console and other hard surfaces. Once the car is cleaned, make sure there aren’t any odors that might be off-putting to the potential buyer. Removal of odors can be a real challenge, but spraying an odor eliminator throughout the car as well as into the vents can help. After you spray, run the air conditioning system to help air out the car.

Check the Tires

With your best outfit, you need the perfect shoes. The same logic is true for your car. Once you’ve shined up the interior and exterior of your car, you’ll want to make sure your tires match. Worn-out or half-deflated tires will not do. New tires don’t come cheap, so prospective buyers will be looking to make sure your car’s tires are in good shape so that they won’t need an extra purchase after buying your car.

Ensure All Lights are Working

Before showing your car, make sure that all of the headlights, brake lights, and turn signals are in proper working condition. If not, the potential car buyer could be easily turned off by thinking that a malfunctioning light is a small sign of more significant problems with the car. Lights are quick and cheap fix to avoid this pitfall, so make sure you check each and every one.

receiptsOrganize Service Paper Work

Any car buyer is going to want reassurance that the car has been properly maintained. Having your stack of receipts and paper work showing the essential car maintenance has been performed for the potential buyer to look at is exactly the assurance they need. These receipts should include services and equipment purchases such as tire rotation, oil changes, brake pads, and air filters, as well as any repairs made to fix any damages your car sustained during your ownership of the vehicle.

Perform Necessary Repairs

Used-car buyers want to spend as little as possible after purchasing your car, so make sure any necessary repairs are fixed  before you put your car up for sale. Minor repairs such as replacing missing items or fixing broken ones are simple and indicate that your car has been well-maintained. Be careful when making major repairs, though. You’ll want to make sure that you’ll be able to recoup the amount of money you spend when you sell.

Even if you are very good with keeping up your regular car maintenance, it is important to remember these tips to polish your offering when getting ready to sell your car. Good luck, and remember that even these little changes will make a big difference!

Used Cars

How to be an Eco-Friendly Driver

Being conscious of how our everyday lives affect the environment is an important step towards protecting it. One of the most significant things we do in our everyday life that has a direct impact on the environment is driving. Our cars have a major impact on the environment and there are many things we can do to make our cars more eco-friendly.

Driving a hybrid car is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint but using battery power instead of fuel. However, you do not necessarily have to drive a hybrid car to be a “green driver”. There are a lot of other simple things you can do to make any car more eco-friendly.


Plan Ahead

By sharing rides, you can help cut down the number of cars on the road decreasing overall emissions. It is easy to carpool with others and there are several websites that help you find other commuters in your area to share rides with. Check out this website to help you find carpools in your area.


If your work schedule allows, plan your commute to peak avoid rush hour traffic. If you stagger your hours, you can spend less time stuck in traffic and use less fuel.

On the weekends, combine your trips by making one long trip instead of several smaller trips in one day. If you can, go to shopping areas where you can park your car and walk in between your destinations.

Car Maintenance

Regular maintenance of your vehicle is critical for reducing your car’s impact on the environment. Routine oil changes can help boost your fuel efficiency up to thirty percent. Keeping your tires properly inflated will help to reduce drag along the road, and driving smoothly reduces the engine’s effort and overall carbon emissions.

Don’t forget to change your air filter and fuel filters at regular intervals. This is important for keeping your engine running cleanly and smoothly. The cleaner your engine runs, the less emissions your car produces.


Be an Eco-Conscious Driver

Fuel consumption can go up by forty percent with sudden breaking and acceleration so try not to start and stop too frequently. Stay focused on the road so that you can more easily adjusting to changing traffic conditions. The smoother your driving is, the less fuel you will use.

Keep Your Car Clean

It’s easy to accumulate junk in your car as we all go about our busy daily lives. But, keeping the clutter to a minimum can actually  reduce the weight of your car. When your car is lighter, you will have better fuel efficiency. This means you will save gas and reduce overall emissions. So clean out your trunk!

When your needs a good cleaning, consider visiting an eco-friendly car wash or doing it yourself using environmentally friendly cleaning products. You can even try some of these “green” car washing tips.

Consider Your Options

If you’re in the market for a new car, consider the benefits of a hybrid car. If hybrids aren’t for you, check out the DOE website and the ACEEE website to help you pick a fuel-efficient car that meets your needs and is good for the environment.







All of these tips can make you a more eco-friendly driver. You do not necessarily have to own a hybrid to be a “green driver”. These simple tips can help reduce any driver’s carbon footprint and help the environment by reducing emissions from your car.



New Car Buying Guide


Buying a new car can be a challenging process. Between figuring out the right car for you, determining (and sticking to!) your budget, and interacting with dealerships, many people can become overwhelmed. Keep these helpful tips in mind and you’ll have a smooth and quick car buying process that will reward you with a car that’s perfect for you!

Determine Your Budget

For most of us, the most important thing when purchasing a car is to know your budget. Are you going to get a loan, lease the car, or buy it with cash? If you are going to pay cash, determine what’s realistic for you to comfortably spend to not only purchase, but also maintain the vehicle. If you are going to finance or lease the car, want to figure out how much you can afford for your initial down payment as well as for your monthly payment. This will give you a jumping off point to start you search for cars in your price range.

Choose the Right Car for You

Choosing the right car for you is also key to a good buy. First, you need to figure out the size car that will fit your needs. Are you looking for a coupe, sedan, or truck or SUV? You also need to figure out which car qualities are most important to you. When you’re researching makes and models, think about reliability, fuel economy, and the safety ratings of the car you’re looking to purchase.

At the Dealership

You want to plan a few things before you head to the dealership to look at cars. If you’re interested in test-driving a car that day, call ahead and make sure that the make and model you want is in stock and available for a test drive. Make sure the car fits you – adjust the seats and the steering wheel, and check your visibility to make sure you’re comfortable in the car. Be aware of “car buying surprises” when looking at a vehicle. To avoid a few common surprises, ask yourself questions like: Does the car have a spare tire or car jack? Can the back seat comfortably fit three people? Does your child’s car seat fit in the car?

Negotiate the Deal

When you’re negotiating the price of your new car, don’t let the dealer rush you through the process. The trick to a great negotiation is to set some rules and hold your ground. When you’re in this step of the new car buying process, you should already know the make, model, and average prices of the car you want. You should let the dealer know that you have quoted prices from other dealers, but don’t disclose any information. You also want to keep the negotiations for your new car and your trade-in completely separate. When the two negotiations are combined, the dealer has more leverage to give you a great deal on one end and a not so great deal on the other. Be calm, confident, and patient and you will get the best deal for your new car.

Get the Most for Your Trade-in

Getting the most money for your used car can be a difficult task. There are a few ways to make sure that you can get the most for your money. First, you want to make sure the appearance of your used car is in excellent condition. Next, if there are any minor repairs or damages to your used car, get an estimate from a mechanic. This can help give you some bargaining power with the dealer.

You could also try selling your car to a used car dealer or a private party. Typically, these options can give you a higher price for your vehicle than a regular dealership.

Review New Car Pricing and Fees

Before you go ahead and make your new car purchase, be sure to understand all the extra fees that are involved with buying a new car. The most common costs associated with a new car are vehicle registration fees, sales taxes, documentation fees, dealer fees and advertising costs.

A young couple buying a new car

Closing the Deal

When closing the deal for your new car, check the numbers to make sure everything on paper is the way you discussed in person. You also want to be aware of the dealer extras that are going to be offered to you. Many dealers offer extended warranties and other services that can be purchased for a lower price from a third party company.

Inspect Your New Car

Before accepting the delivery of your new car, be sure to thoroughly inspect it for dents, scratches, and other visible malfunctions. Make sure the car comes included with floor mats and a full tank of gas.

After the Sale

After everything is said and done, there are a few more items to keep in to get the most out of of your new car. The most important thing on this list is car insurance. Shop around to find the best deal that works for you. You also want to make sure you maintain your new car to make it last as well as possible. Checking your oil, tire pressure, and washing your car frequently are small things you can do to help maintain your new car!

NHTSA to Provide Free VIN Searches for Auto Recall Information

Auto-Safety-Recall Ever worry that you are missing out on recall notices from your car’s manufacturer? What about when you’re shopping for a new car–how do you know if the one you have your eye on has any recalls associated with it?

Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is making it easier for consumers to search for auto recall information online with free VIN searches. For details on the new program, check out the official press release below.

NHTSA to Provide Free VIN Searches to Help Consumers Check Cars, Light Trucks and Motorcycles for Uncompleted Recalls

Free Vehicle Identification Number search will improve safety and inform purchasing decisions

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced last week its plans to require automakers and motorcycle manufacturers to provide consumers with a free online tool that will enable them to search recall information by Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) starting next year.

“Safety is our highest priority, and an informed consumer is one of our strongest allies in that effort,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Owners and potential buyers alike will soon be able to identify whether a safety recall for their specific vehicle is incomplete, using our free online search at”

In an ongoing effort to better provide consumers with specific vehicle safety information, NHTSA today issued a final rule that will require all major automakers and motorcycle manufacturers to provide consumers with online access to recall information on vehicles searchable by VIN. This information must be updated at least weekly.

Consumers will be able to instantly determine whether action is required to address an uncompleted safety recall that affects their personal vehicle, as identified by their unique VIN. While several automakers already offer this feature, those who do not, will have until next year (8/14/14) to comply with the final rule.

This new search feature will also be available on the nation’s only official automotive safety website Currently, consumers are limited to general searches by vehicle make and model year on the NHTSA website. With the new VIN search feature, consumers will be able to tell whether a specific vehicle is subject to a recall and whether the vehicle has received the remedy.

“Every day NHTSA is working for the American consumer to ensure that automakers and motorcycle manufacturers address safety defects and non-compliances, and that they also recall affected vehicles in a timely manner,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “By making individual VIN searches readily available, we’re providing another service to car, light truck and motorcycle owners and potential owners – the peace of mind knowing that the vehicle they own, or that they are thinking of buying, is safe.”

Today’s announcement builds on NHTSA’s current efforts to provide consumers with information to help them make informed decisions, including the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) 5-Star Ratings System, and the new SaferCar mobile app, which provides on-the-spot information on crash protection features, advanced safety features, and recalls on new vehicles and many older models.

This final rule requires large volume car, light truck and motorcycle manufacturers to provide search capability for uncompleted safety recalls on their websites. In addition, the rule will require manufacturers to inform NHTSA about exactly what type of propulsion system and crash avoidance technologies vehicles have. This new information will assist NHTSA’s efforts to spot defect trends related to those systems and technologies. Manufacturers also will be required to provide vehicle owners with direct notice of recalls within 60 days of notifying NHTSA that a recall is occurring.

The Final Rule to Amend 49 CFR Parts 573, 577, and 579, Early Warning, Foreign Defect Report Regulations, and Safety Recall Regulations will be posted on the Federal Register accessible here.

Gift Ideas for Dads and Grads: Car Lovers Edition

June is here again. That means Father’s Day is right around the corner and graduation festivities are happening all month long. Don’t know what to get the awesome dad or grad in your life? We’ve got a few ideas..

For Grads:
Your new graduate is going to need reliable transportation to and from that new job they just landed. Here are some stylish cars that are under $25,000 and above 30 mpg to save a little more coin.

Chevy Spark
chevy spark
The very cool Chevy Spark comes equipped with a 7-inch color touchscreen and full iPod integration with streaming audio and BringGo navigation app. Vibrant colors, 15-inch alloys and rear spoiler make is sporty and it achieves 32/38 mpg city/highway. Tickets start under $12,500, including a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Honda Civic
New or used, coupe or sedan, the Honda Civic is a great first-car choice. The 140-horsepower four-cylinder engine achieves 28/39 mpg city/highway. Navigation, USB, Bluetooth, moonroof and heated leather are available for slightly more than the sub-$18,000 base price.

Hyundai Elantra GT
The Hyundai Elantra GT features  a sport suspension, driver-selectable steering modes and 148-horsepower engine that achieves 27/37 mpg city/highway. The interior has heated leather, a cooled glovebox, and Bluetooth streaming audio. Blue Link adds voice-to-text messaging, Web searching and navigation. Prices start around $18,500 including Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

For Dads:
Your dad probably isn’t in need of a whole new car, so here are some gift ideas to help him spruce up the one he already has.

GPS Navigation System
The latest generations of GPS have tons of new features to help you get from point A to point B quickly and safely.  Some popular models include Garmin and TomTom. You could also try a GPS app like CoPilot Live or Google Maps.

Wax and Polish Detailing Kit
A great way to help make dad’s old car look like new is with a detailing kit. Find one that features a microfiber sponge,  a microfiber wash mitt, car wash, wax and polishes. This is a must for the do-it-yourself car detailing dad.

Remote Vehicle Starter System
An all-in-one remote-starter system is the perfect gift for dad. Check out these ones from Bulldog Security that come with an extended range remote, programmable cold start, keyless entry, and remote trunk release.

Whatever the occasion this month, these gifts are sure to surprise any dad or grad.

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