Spring Car Buying Season Tips

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April through August are consistently among the most popular months for purchasing new cars and trucks, according to a news release by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). With an average of 7.6 million new cars and trucks purchased during this time period each year,

When you consider maintenance, insurance, and gasoline, your vehicle-related expenses end up being one of the largest chunks of your budget — and many of those expenses change as the vehicle gets older, it’s vitally important to determine how much car  you can afford.:

  • Develop a monthly budget. If you haven’t done this already, now is the time to track the income you’re bringing in, and the expenses you have going out.
  • Examine your existing automobile expenses. From your budget, break out the following expenses:
    • Monthly payment
    • Insurance
    • Monthly gasoline expenses
    • Average maintenance expenses
    • Property taxes (if applicable)
  • Determine your down payment. If your goal is to lower your monthly payment, a good way to do this is to put more money down in the beginning.
  • Shop around for competitive financing. Research various financing options, including dealerships, banks, credit unions and financing companies. In this competitive market, you will be given a good opportunity to find an option that works well for you.
  • Estimate a monthly payment for your new car or truck.
  • Compare all expenses between your existing vehicle, and the one you’re considering.

Source: Road & Track

 

Gas Saving Tips

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We all want to save money and with gas prices rising and rising we need to find ways to keep our cars more efficient. Here are some tips for drive more efficiently.

1. Drive Sensibly

Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money.

2. Observe the speed limit

While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph.

You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is like paying an additional $0.26 per gallon for gas.

Observing the speed limit is also safer.

3. Remove excess weight

Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2 percent. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle’s weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.

4. Avoid excessive idling

Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner (AC) use. Turn off your engine when your vehicle is parked. It only takes a few seconds worth of fuel to restart your vehicle. Turning your engine on and off excessively, however, may increase starter wear.

5. Use cruise control

Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas.

4. Use overdrive Gears

When you use overdrive gearing, your car’s engine speed goes down. This saves gas and reduces engine wear.

 Source: Fueleconomy.gov

 

 

Emergency Car Tips

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Let’s face it. No one enjoys being stranded for 3 hours or even for 30 minutes. Here are essential items to have in your car in the case of an emergency.

Here are some tips to keep in mind and in your car:

  1. Jumper cables
  2. Water : Used to cool an overheated engine.
  3. Lug wrench: Use to remove lugs. If wheel have locks be sure to bring key.
  4. Reflective Triangle: Warns other motorist of accident.
  5. Umbrella: For unexpected rainy days.
  6. First aid kit: Can be used until medical assistance arrives.
  7. Spare tire: Your replacement during a flat or blowout.
  8. Car Jack: Used to lift vehicle to change flat tire. Use owners manual for proper location for the jack.
  9. Cell phone charger: Keeping your phone charged.
  10. Roadside flare: At night flare warns motorist of accident scene.
  11. Poncho: Stay dry during the rain while changing a flat tire.
  12. Owners manual: Great source for locating small car details.
  13. Fix a flat foam spray: Instant puncture repair spray for tires.
  14. A plastic mat: Something to kneel on when changing a flat tire.
  15. Towel: Use to dry your face or hands.
  16. Gloves: Protection for you hands during emergencies.
  17. Tire Gauge: measures air pressure for spare tire.

5 Car Tips to Prepare for Spring

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Winter can do a number on your car.

Slush, salt and cold temperatures take a toll on everything from the tires to the wiper blades. So, with spring finally here, it’s a good idea to give your car a thorough once-over to undo winter’s damage.

It won’t cost a lot. You can the work yourself or visit a car wash and a garage. Goodyear, Firestone and other car care centers will rotate your tires, change your oil and fluids and inspect your vehicle for winter damage for $35 or less.

Here are five things you can do to shake off winter and get your car in shape for spring:

1. Wash the underbody

Wintertime driving will coat the bottom of your car with salt, sand and other grime that can cause corrosion. Corrosion can lead to rust problems, which can make your car much harder to resell or even dangerous to drive.

Spend a few extra dollars for the undercarriage power wash at the local car wash or spray the car’s bottom with your own hose. If possible, use a car jack to raise the vehicle for a more thorough cleaning, advises Bill Kropelnicki, president and owner of Rambling River Repair in Farmington, Minn. There’s no need to use soap or any other cleaner.

While you’re at it, open the hood and wipe down the engine with a soft mitt and soapy water. And remove all the leaves and debris that can find their way into the car, says Cliff Weathers, deputy autos editor for Consumer Reports. And remove any crusty white residue off the battery with a toothbrush, baking soda and water. The residue — caused by corrosion — can eventually prevent your car from starting. The cleaning also helps prepare the battery for the stress of warmer temperatures.

2. Scrub inside and out

Salt and sand can damage the car’s paint. Give your car a thorough cleaning and wax it with a paste or liquid wax, Weathers said. He cautions that sprays don’t clean as well.

Scrub the bottoms of doors, which can get coated with grime, Kropelnicki says. He also urges car owners to clean the window channels, Also apply a silicone spray, which repels dirt and lubricates the surfaces so the windows will operate smoothly, he says.

Use a steam cleaner — you can rent one for $20 at Home Depot — or apply a rug-cleaning spray to remove all the salt from the car’s inside. Salt can break down some fabrics and cause rips or tears when feet grind against them.

And don’t forget to take bags of salt and ice scrapers out of the trunk.

3. Replace wiper blades

Wiper blades get a workout during the winter months. Weathers advises changing them each spring and fall. Amazon.com’s best-selling Bosch wiper blades go for $25 a pair.

4. Check tires

Some garages recommend a wheel alignment — which can cost around $80 — or a tire rotation as part of your spring maintenance. Weathers doesn’t think it’s necessary as long as you’re following the car’s regular maintenance schedule and doing normal winter driving.

Check your tire pressure. Cold weather can cause tires to be underinflated and the onset of warm weather can overinflate them. Also, visually inspect your tires to make sure they’re wearing evenly and have plenty of tread for the rainy spring weather ahead.

Driving on properly inflated tires can save you money. It can cost anywhere from $50 to $250 to replace a blown tire, depending on the kind of tire you need.

5. Check your fluids

Winter weather can deplete some fluids — especially windshield wiper fluid — more quickly, so top them off yourself if they’re too low. A service station will also do the job for $25 or so. You should change your oil around every 5,000 miles regardless of season, Weathers says. Brake and transmission fluids should be checked as well.
Source: Fox News