Buying/Leasing a Vehicle

Softening the Impact of an Accident

Liability insurance can be likened to a financial airbag, softening the impact of an accident on your wallet. Liability insurance is something that all drivers are legally required to have, but do they really understand what liability insurance does? This short video from our friends at Allstate explains what liability insurance is and what it covers.


Quick Tips for Buying a New Car

Does the warmer weather have you dreaming of hitting the road in a new ride? If you’re thinking about buying a new car this spring, you don’t want to miss these key steps!

Research

Research is the most crucial part of the process and it is multifaceted. There’s a lot of research that needs to happen before you even step onto the dealer’s lot.

Know what your budget is. Go to Edmunds.com to see what you should pay for a car. From there, figure out your budget, think about what types of makes and models you can afford. Don’t forget to take into account the sticker price vs. what you’ll end up paying over the years in interest if you finance your new vehicle.

Know your credit score. Don’t go in wondering what the number will be. You credit score could make a world of difference in the amount of interest you’ll pay over time.

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Research the kind of car you want and need. A sales person’s job is to get you to sign on the dotted line before you walk off the lot. They’re going to tell you that the car you’re looking at is the best car for you. But what you need to know is the facts about all the cars you’re interested in before you head to the dealership. This also means knowing the difference between what you want and what you need. Knowing which specs are would-likes and which are must-haves will make your position stronger during the entire experience. This will also make sure you come home with the car you want and not be victim to crafty upselling.

Make sure you’re going to a reputable dealership. Lots of dealers sell lots of cars and if you’re too focused on the lowest price, you could end up with a bad deal. Look at reviews from customers and the Better Business Bureau to make sure there isn’t a pattern of bad business practices.

Have a plan of attack with your buying partner (and don’t go alone). It helps to have a partner as you go into the car buying experience. It will make you feel more confident to have a teammate, which will help you stand your ground and negotiate a better price. While it isn’t exactly battle, it is similar to a game of chess. The better your strategy and preparation, the better negotiating you’ll do. Here is a list of things NOT to say when shopping for a car.

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Test Drive

Test drive the car more than once. The excitement of driving a new car will last through the first test drive, but you will own this car for years and it needs to be more than just exciting. If you’re going to be mostly commuting to work alone, then that’s how you should test drive it. But if you have children, commute in a group or go on trips with friends a lot, you’ll need to bring the whole crew to make sure they comfortably fit in the vehicle. They will notice things that you might not have seen from the driver’s seat. You also need to know you can drive the car as safely with no passengers as with a full group.

Have a list of things you want. And when you’re looking over the cars and test driving them, double check the car against your list. Some people have a tendency to plan well beforehand then get caught up in the emotion and excitement of the car buying process. However, with list in-hand, you’ll make sure you cherish your investment for years to come because you’ll get everything you know you wanted.

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Buy

Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. Now that you’ve done the research, driven the car a couple of times, have compared it to your other cars, you’re ready to sit down and talk about price. Like it says in the list of things not to say, don’t tell them you want to keep your payments low. Be firm about a reasonable price. If you have the time, go to a couple of dealers and see who has the lowest price. Remind them you have a lot of options and be ready to walk out if you feel you’re not getting a fair price.

Ask them how much the dealership paid. Pros say the dealer must provide the dealer’s price vs. the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) upon request. Start your negotiations at $500 above that price. They don’t need to sell it to you for that, but it’s a good place to start.

 

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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.

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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. https://www.erideshare.com/

 

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.

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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. http://www.organicgardening.com/living/easy-cheap-and-eco-friendly-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 www.fueleconomy.gov and the ACEEE website www.greenercars.com to help you pick a fuel-efficient car that meets your needs and is good for the environment.

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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

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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!


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