5 Tips for Buying a Used Car

 

Tips for Buying a Used Car

Every year around this time, people start taking advantage of the nice weather, new inventory, and subsequent sales, and shop for a great price on a used vehicle.  And why not?  Used cars are an amazing deal, and the weather makes for pleasant test drives!  But when you’re searching for a used car, how do you make sure you’re getting a reliable car, instead of a lemon?  Follow these 5 tips for buying a used car to make sure you get the deal without the hassle.  This post is brought to you by CueroDodgeChryslerJeepRam.com.

  • –  Check reviews, both online and word of mouth.  Ask your friends and family where they buy their vehicles and how they enjoyed the experience.  Then look online for reviews of the dealerships you are considering buying from.  If reviews are split, you can’t be sure you’ll get a good experience.  If you are able to find someplace consistently well reviewed, or where your friends all had great help and a smooth process, you’re bound to have success as well.  A reputable location won’t lose their good reputation just to make a quick buck off you!
  • –  Too good to be true? Probably.  You’ve heard this one before: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  If a car is priced significantly lower than others with similar features, age, and mileage, some red flags should be popping up.  Or maybe the car is listed at an average price, but lists “new tires, new radiator, new alternator, new AC, new starter…”  Practically a whole new engine!  Something happened.  Maybe it was an accident, or perhaps it was just someone restoring the car, only to move on to a different project.  Don’t run away from these red flags, but do approach them with caution.  Ask a lot of questions to learn the whole story behind the car.  If you aren’t completely comfortable with the situation, back out and keep looking.
  • –  Test cars out.  If you find a car you like, test another one similar to it.  It could be another used one in the area, or if it’s a recent model year you can test a new model.  This will give you an idea of how the car should drive as you notice little differences between them.  A seller won’t be able to tell you “oh that’s how this model year is… they all idle a little rough,” because you’ve already tested them out yourself.  Then test the car you want in multiple scenarios; drive slowly and test the brakes on an empty street, then through town for stop-and-go traffic, and make sure it doesn’t wobble or have trouble at high speeds by driving on the highway.
  • –  Check it out.  Talk to a trusted mechanic before you start looking at cars and ask if they’ll take a look at some used vehicles for you as you test them out.  When you decide on a car, bring it to the mechanic and have it checked out.  Many will do this for free, and it will give you peace of mind about a vehicle before buying.  Make sure to ask the seller if you can take their vehicle to your mechanic to have it checked out first – it’s their car, after all.  But if they refuse, it’s likely they have something they don’t want you to find.  Keep the list the mechanic gives you, so if you do purchase the car you know exactly what needs done.
  • –  Negotiate.  Most sellers, both dealerships and private, list at a higher price in hopes that you’ll pay it.  They expect some amount of negotiation, and that’s worked into the price.  Don’t be afraid to point out a similar vehicle at a lower price somewhere else, or to mention items your mechanic found as a reason to lower the price.  They have a price in mind that they’ll sell for, and it’s almost always lower than they initially listed.

Spring Maintenance Tips for Your Vehicle

This post is brought to you by TexanDodgeChryslerJeepRam.com.

Tips for Spring Car Maintenance

Spring Maintenance Tips for Your Vehicle

Winter can be so brutal on your car. Some parts of the country you are faced with snow storms, below-zero temperatures and more. When they put the ice melt down on the streets that can be really harsh on your car, it can cause rust and more.

When spring arrives it is a great time to wash away the winter and freshen up your car! Below you will find some great spring maintenance tips for your car. If you are not able to do any of these car maintenance jobs yourself, take your car to a local mechanic shop and they will do it all for you!

Tips for Spring Maintenance on Your Vehicle

  • – A Good Wash: If you live where you get snow, it is very important to wash your car really well. When they put salt down on the streets it melts the ice but as you drive it gets all over your vehicle. It can cause a lot of damage to your car, so make sure to wash it really well. This includes the undercarriages where that salt if left over time could rust the metal.
  • – Oil and Fluid Check: It is recommended to change your car’s oil every 3,000-5,000 miles. So if you are close to needing an oil change do that and make sure to check your fluids. Sometimes we can forget to check power steering fluid, transmission fluid and so on. If you don’t know how to do this, stop in and let a mechanic do this for you.
    – Check Tires: Make sure to rotate your tires, check the pressure and make sure you have good tire thread. Your car’s tires are so important, it affects how your car rides, handles, and of course safety. It is recommended to rotate your tires every 5,000 miles to keep tread wear even!
    – Brakes: Make sure to have your brakes inspected. Sometimes the pads and rotors can get worn and go out. You need to make sure that you can stop safely and easily in case you need to when driving.
    – Alignment and Suspension: If you ever have been driving and notice that your car pulls to one side or the steering wheel vibrates, you might have a problem. Just driving alone can cause your alignment and suspension to get off, and it is important to make sure it is all where it needs to be. If you live where you have rough roads or pot holes that can be to blame for your car going out of alignment. This check is normally $20-$50 depending on where you live.

Spring Car Maintenance DIY Guide

Used Car Tips

It’s that time of year again.  Flowers, pollen, rain, rain, and more rain.  Spring is a great time to be outdoors and enjoy life (with allergy medicine!) but it’s also a great time to do a check-up on your car.  That’s right car maintenance.  This Spring Car Maintenance DIY Guide is brought to you by AppleValleyHyundai.com.

While you could go to the auto shop and pay someone to look over your car, you could do a couple of things yourself for a fraction of the cost.

Check Your Spark Plugs

From what I’ve read most spark plugs require that they be replaced after driving about 30,000 miles and changing them isn’t a complicated process once you understand it.  You could read online about replacing your own or go to the ever popular YouTube and find a mechanic who knows his stuff.

Get an Oil Change

Or maybe I should say, give yourself an oil change.  Car experts vary with their recommendations but most say that you should change your oil somewhere between 3,000-5,000 miles.  This seems like common sense but because I don’t always think things through myself I’ll say it anyway, when changing your oil make sure not to do it when the engine is still hot.  You don’t want to get scalded.  A trip to the ER will not help you save money.

Check Your Battery

Get a battery tester or take it to an auto place where they can quickly check it for free.  It’s important for a battery to be clean and free of rust and dust to avoid unnecessary problems.

Check Your Tire Pressure

This is easy to do at home and you can go to most gas stations if you need to inflate them with air.

There you have it!  There are some simple ways to give your car a spring maintenance check up.

8 Car Care Items from the Dollar Tree

This post is brought to you by Warsawchryslerdodgejeepram.com and contains affiliate links.

Car Care Items from The Dollar Store

I love the Dollar Tree for party supplies, craft supplies, gardening tools, and the occasional odds and ends I don’t realize I need till I see it.  Did you know that the Dollar Tree is also a great place to save on car care items?  Taking care of your car can add up quickly, but before you head to the nearest auto store to buy your supplies, check out these common needs that you can have filled for a dollar at your nearest Dollar Tree.

Here are 8 Car Care Items from the Dollar Tree:

Utility Rope

Utility Ropes
In case of emergency, keeping ropes in your vehicle is a great idea.

Auto Protectant

Auto Protectant
You can really save some dollars here. This solution is for vinyl surfaces to protect and restore shine.

Flashlights

Flashlights
In case of emergency or if you need to do some repair, the flashlights will suit your needs well. Who cares if it gets lost or dirty?

Windshield Washer Fuild

Windshield Washer Fluid
You can save a pretty penny by refilling your own windshield washer fluid… for a dollar. This fluid acts as antifreeze and de-icer, making your car safer.

Steering Wheel Cover

Steering Wheel Cover
Snazz up your car, avoid a dirty steering wheel, and protect your hands with the steering wheel cover.

Funnels

Funnels
Although you’ll find this in the kitchen section, it’s perfect for guiding fluids during routine checks.  Plus, they come in packs of three so you could divide them between your kitchen needs and car needs….just don’t use one for both. 😉

Snow Scraper

Snow Brush with Scrapers
Scraping your windshields is an important step of winter car safety.  Save your credit cards and buy a cheap scraper that can get the job done even quicker.  Keep your car’s paint job safe too with the brush feature.

Brake Fuild

Brake Fluid
If you’re your own mechanic, this deal is sure to impress. Refill your brake fluid for a buck.

Do you have any ways to save on car maintenance?  If so, please share in the comments.

Car Related New Year’s Resolutions

Car Related New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s is a great time to evaluate your life and replace your bad habits with new ones.  Keep in better contact with family, live in the moment, prioritize your health, and the list goes on and on.  There are hundreds of ways that you can improve your life but what about the life of your car?  If you would like to see your car live a good long and healthy life read on for some New Year’s Resolution ideas.

This post is brought to you by Thompson Toyota.

Car Related New Year’s Resolutions for Drivers

  • -Get your oil changed regularly (mark it on your calendar)
  • -Research how to be fuel-efficient (click here for a good place to start your research)
  • -Save money on gas by using apps to find the cheapest gas (see my full list of gas apps here)
  • -Use the Waze app to carpool with others (see my full list of map apps here)
  • -Be more patient with other drivers
  • -Practice being a courteous driver more
  • -Check your tire pressure monthly
  • -Change your wiper blades before they’re unusable (this is a good one for me)
  • -Keep your car’s interior clean (you might want to check out our list of 7 ways to remove car odors)
  • -Get a monthly plan for the car wash (we started that this year and love it!)
  • -Stop leaving your vehicle idling
  • -Start locking your car when you leave it
  • -Stop speeding
  • -Take your car in for regular maintenance (see how to winterize your vehicle here)
  • -Start saving for upcoming repairs/service and for your next vehicle!

What car related New Year’s resolution could you add to the list?  Personally, I want to add write down which CDs are in the CD changer.  Yes, we have an old van but I love it dearly.  …but for the life of me I can’t keep which CD is in which spot straight.  It’s always the last one I check.  Always.  Happy New Year’s, everyone!!

Fall Car Maintenance

These fall car maintenance tips are brought to you by Phil Smith Kia.

Car Maintenance

Car Maintenance Checklist

 

 

Remove Car Odors

(See our 7 Ways to Remove Car Odors)

 

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Pin this on Pinterest so you’ll always have it close by.

Fall Car Maintenance

Why You Shouldn’t Top Off Your Gas Tank

This post on why you shouldn’t top off your gas tank is brought to you by Fred Martin Superstore.

Top Off Your Gas

I just heard that you shouldn’t top off your gas tank.  Did you know that?  I’ve never heard of that before so I did some digging on the internet and it turns out they were right!  To think that I was the one who converted my husband into my topping off the gas tank ways.  Oops!  I just love seeing $40.00 even or $23.45.  It always gave me a little high to hit the number right on the mark.  Well, it turns our that it’s not only bad for your wallet and your vehicle but also for the environment!  Oh boy!

It’s Bad for Your Wallet

 

BP’s website says, “Gas nozzles automatically click off when your gas tank is full, so topping off the gas tank can cause you to pay for gasoline that’s fed back into the station’s tanks. In some areas, gas station pumps are required to recover gas vapors to prevent them from contributing to air pollution. In these cases, any additional gas you try to pump after the first click may be drawn into the vapor recovery line. Source: www.epa.gov.”

It’s Bad for Your Vehicle

 

Freep.com says, “Joel Carruso, owner of Caruso’s Auto Repair in Schenectady, N.Y., adds that these systems manage fuel vapor.

Overfilling the gas tank can cause liquid gas to enter the charcoal canister, or carbon filter, which is designed only for vapor. Gas in the system can affect your car’s performance by causing it to run poorly, and damage the engine, he says.

“When we overfill the tank, it sends all of the excessive fuel to the evaporation/charcoal canister and kills the life of that canister,” Carruso says.

Huddleston adds replacing a charcoal canister can cost anywhere from $200 up to $1,500.”

It’s Bad for the Environment

 

EPA.Ohio.gov says, “Gasoline that spills, as well as fumes that escape, react with nitrogen oxides and sunlight and create smog.”

DriveCleanTexas.org says, “This will help keep fumes from escaping and absorbing into the air. Tighten your vehicle’s gas cap all the way to prevent gasoline and pollutants from evaporating and damaging the air.”

Yosimite.epa.gov has an article (you can find it by clicking here) that was written by Catherine Magliocchetti, who at the time the article was published, was a chemical engineer of the federal agency.  She says, “Topping off is a loser three ways.

First, you lose money when you top off because you pay for gasoline that you don’t get. When the gas pump automatically shuts off, a vapor lock blocks more gas from entering your car. After the tank is full, the gas you pump gets sucked back through an outer “vapor-return” hose into the station’s underground storage tank. The meter may be running, but your not getting the gas.

Secondly, you personally pollute the air because topping off clogs the vapor-return hose with liquid gasoline, so it can no longer return excess vapors. It works on the same principle as the water-filled trap on your kitchen sink, except at the pump, you want gasoline vapors to float back down the hose, not get stopped by a liquid-filled trap that you created by topping off.

Even worse, once you plug up the vapor-return hose, it stays plugged up until someone clears it by lifting it overhead to drain all the liquid back into the underground storage tank.

And thirdly, a gasoline-filled vapor-return pretty much guarantees that you and everyone after you will be breathing in a cloud of volatile gasoline molecules — invisible but harmful — while you pump gas. Excess molecules under pressure can’t float back down the return hose, so they get forced out around the nozzle and into the air. That’s when you smell gas.”

Yikes!  Know better, do better, right?  It looks like some good reasons not to top off your gas but even if it’s wrong, I’d rather err on the side of caution.  I guess from now on I’ll try and resist the urge to get an even dollar amount!  In the past, did you top off your gas tank?

How to Find Good Deals on Tires

This post is brought to you by Len Stoler Lexus.

Cooper Tires

Having good tires is a must when you own a vehicle. They keep you safe while traveling and tires can affect your gas mileage. It is no lie tires can cost a good amount of money, but I am here to help give you ideas on how to find good deals on tires.

I hope that some of these options might help you in to finding a good deal on tires. Tires truly do play such an important role in driving safety. It is never fun when your tire blows out driving down the road. So make sure your tires are in tip top shape.

Steps to Finding Good Deals on Tires:

Online Deal Sites: If you find a deal site, like Groupons you might be able to score some good savings on tires. They from time to time offer discounted prices on tires, anywhere from 50%-80% off. Sometimes you will have to buy the tires online and others you can get a discounted price for some tires at a local store in your area. It is worth looking at to see if you can find any deals on the tires you need.

Coupons: Every now and again you might find a deal on tires, buy 3 get 1 free, or $10 off a tire. You can search online for deals on tires to see if you can find any. You can search the stores name and coupons on tires, or just search coupons on tires if you don’t mind purchasing tires online. Just make sure if you buy online you watch out for shipping costs. If you have a store near you, you might be able to ship it to the store and pick it up for free.

Buy Used: Buying used tires is a way to save a little money. You can find buy, sale, trade groups on Facebook for your local area where someone might be selling a set. Also make sure to check with your tire dealers around you to see if they have any used tires they are selling. Just make sure they are reputable and you look over the tires when you buy used. Make sure there are no cuts or really worn tread on the tires. Buying used you do take a risk of them not lasting as long as new. But if you don’t have the money for a brand new set this can be an option.

Buy More Tires: I know buying more tires might sound crazy but sometimes buying one tire can be expensive. When you buy say two or more tires you might get a price cut. Check with your local tire dealers to see if they are offering a deal when you buy more than one tire, if the cost per tire will go down.

Buy Locally: Sometimes your local tire dealers can be cheaper then bigger stores online. You don’t have to pay for shipping and handling if you order online. Another note is some stores will put the tires on for free or at a discounted price when you buy the tires through them. So even if the tires are a little more in price, you factor in getting them put on for free, it can be less or equal to what you find online.

Car Maintenance Checklist

This helpful post is sponsored by Hiley Mazda of Arlington.com.

Used Car Tips

How well do you know your car? Perhaps you need reacquainted and to spend some one-on-one time with each other. Setting some “dates” with your car could continue the relationship a bit longer!

Every month you should check your:

  • – Oil level – Add oil if it’s low, and take it in if it’s very low as there may be a leak.
  • – Hoses – Replace them if they’re brittle.
  • – Belts – Replace them if they’re worn or frayed.
  • – Tire pressure – Check the pressure and add air if it’s too low.
  • – Coolant/antifreeze – Add more if it’s low.
  • – Air filter – Replace if it’s dirty.
  • – Tires – Looks for damage or uneven wear.

Every 3 months you should check your:

  • – Oil and oil filter – Change every 3,000 miles or as is recommended by manufacturer.
  • – Windshield washer fluid – Add fluid if it’s low.
  • – Power steering fluid – Add fluid if it’s low.
  • – Transmission fluid – Add fluid if it’s low.
  • – Battery terminals and cables – Clean if corroded.
  • – Lights – Check to make sure all lights and turn signals work. Easy one!

Every 6 months you should check your:

  • – Wiper blades – Replace them if they’re worn out and brittle.
  • – Horn – Beep, beep!
  • – Brakes – Have them inspected for unusual the wear and tear.
  • – Spare tire – Make sure it’s fully inflated and accessible.
  • – Exhaust system – Inspect for damage or loose parts.Shocks – Inspect for wear.

Winter Auto Maintenance

Winter Auto Maintenance

This helpful post is sponsored by Hiley Mazda of Hurst

With winter fast approaching, your first thought might be to go out and buy a new coat and hat. Dig out your gloves and double check the pipes are wrapped on your house. While these are all important, don’t forget your winter auto maintenance.

Cold weather is hard on your car and winter driving can take a toll on your auto. Some basic preventive maintenance will ensure that you have a stress free driving experience and make it safely home each trip rather than frantically checking if you have enough gas to keep the heat on until the tow truck arrives.

1. Get Your Oil Changed
Never underestimate the value of this one simple maintenance task. Don’t procrastinate it and wait for the check engine light to come on. Keeping your engine lubricated with clean oil will help ensure that it fires up every time you jump in. Most professional oil changes come with complimentary fluid checks.

2. Check and Replace Windshield Wipers
Driving in tumultuous weather on dark cold days is challenging enough without trying to see through a 6 inch smear on your windshield. Check and replace your wipers early to allow for the extra precipitation that falls during the cold winter months. If you need new wipers, refer to your owner’s manual as to correct size to ensure a clear driving experience.

3. Check Tires
Have your tires checked to ensure that you have sufficient tread left to grip slippery roads. Replace them as needed. If they are still in good shape, inquire if they are due to be rotated and balanced for optimum performance.

4. Get a Break Check
While they are checking your tires, have them do a break check. Most tire dealerships will check automatically with a rotation and balance, but if not ensure that your breaks are checked and any needed replacements are completed before the weather turns icy.

5. Stock a Blanket and Water in the Trunk
Even if you don’t live in northern parts of the U.S. a break down can often lead to a lengthy cold delay until the tow truck arrives. Ensure that you and your family don’t suffer if you are left waiting for a period. Small children especially are susceptible to the cold.

With a little pre-planning, you can ensure that you and your family arrive safely to all of your winter travel destinations.