Car Buying Hints & Tips
Buying a new car can be an exciting experience, especially if it’s your first car. Everyone has a dream car they’ve always wanted since they were a kid and getting to have it is a great experience. A new car however relatively expensive it might be is a great feeling.
Factors to Consider When Buying a New Car
There are a few factors to consider when buying a new car. This guide will take you through these considerations as you make the choice on whether it’s a good idea to purchase a new brandy car.
- Resale Value: Also called residual value, the resale value is the value of the car as it depreciates over time. The resale value is affected by a couple of factors such as buying a car on sale and the brand of the vehicle. If a buyer purchases a car on sale or with special dealer rebates. These rebates however cause the car’s value to depreciate faster. Also, purchasing a car is already too saturated in the market causes quick depreciation so avoid it would be best. It is always advisable to research on the cars with the strong resale values to be on the safe side.
- Trade-ins: In the case where a buyer is looking to offload their old car, they can choose to trade it in at a dealership. This saves the buyer money since all they need to do is add a certain amount and get a new car in exchange.
- Incentives: The best time to buy a car is when the dealership is looking to offload their cars to make way for new models. This is usually done at the end of the year in most dealerships and it’s the perfect time to purchase a car since dealers place discounts on these vehicles. Prospective buyers should keep an eye out for these deals at the end of a model year.
- Features and Technology: Cars today have lots of features. They’re getting more computerized and incorporate lots of tech. All these additional features add useful although not all are necessary. Prospective buyers should choose vehicles that meet their needs but avoid extra unnecessary features. Such features include automatic parking, and adaptive headlights. These features make the overall car cost higher. Instead, the buyer should check for paramount features such as comfort, legroom, storage space and seating configuration.
- Ownership and Maintenance Cost: When buying a new car, the prospective buyer should consider maintenance and ownership costs. These costs include insurance costs and fuel consumption. A buyer should research on these costs as they are not supposed to exceed 20% of the total monthly budget. Before making the purchase, a buyer should inquire with their insurance company on the premium rates. Also, research on the car’s fuel consumption since fuel-efficient cars save significant money in the long-term. Doing both of these will reduce the cost of ownership. Also, consider the price and availability of spare parts.
- Price: This might be the most obvious factor to consider as well as the most important. To get the best deal. Prospective buyers should do their research on price and show up at the shop with a precise idea of what their looking for as this will give them negotiating power. A buyer should also check their credit score if they’re not buying in cash.
Factors to consider when buying a used car
These are some of the factors to keep in mind when you’re buying a new car. However for people not looking to buy a brandy car with that new car smell, a second hand car is the other option. People will buy a used car for a very obvious reason: they’re cheaper than a new one. A used car doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a poor quality vehicle. It only means that you’re not the first to drive it.
Before buying a used car, there are a few factors to consider.
- Cost: Ensure you get the best deal out of the used car. This is because, there will always be a better deal for the same car elsewhere. Research on the range of cost of the car you want and ensure you get it at a price that’s fair to you. Also, remember to include incidentals such as extra parts or inspection costs in the range of cost.
- Vehicle History Report: A vehicle history report is a documented history of the car’s accidents. It reveals the extent of damage suffered and the procedures taken to repair it. Most used cars have a vehicle history report and a dealership should always provide it when you asked for it. If a dealer is hesitant to provide it, this should be a red flag since they might be trying to hide something.
- Research the vehicle: In this age of internet, researching on the best choice to buy is easy and convenient. This will allow you an opportunity to find out more about the model, the fuel consumption, and more.
- Consider your user needs: You might want a sporty car, with a sporty look and a roaring engine. However, this might not be ideal for someone with a family. Always consider what you need rather than what you want.
- Do an inspection: This is one of the most important factors since the condition of used cars can never be guaranteed to be good. Hire a trained mechanic to take a look at the car before making the purchase. This does not necessarily mean that the seller is trying to dupe you. Sometimes, even the seller might not know about some of the problems and that’s why it’s important to do your own inspection. An inspection should be done under the hood, under the car and a test drive.
- Validate Ownership: This mostly applies if you’re buying from an individual. Ensure that the seller is the real owner of the car before buying, you don’t want to buy a stolen car.
How to check the health of car engine
Checking the health of a car engine can be tough because there are so many constituents to an engine. Even when the car seems to be running smoothly, the engine might still have a problem. Sometimes the help of a professional might be needed to reveal the problems but most times, all you need to look out for is a few signs and symptoms of engine damage. The following are some of the symptoms:
- The engine light turns on
- The car uses more gas than it used it
- Loss of engine power
- A lot of smoke from the exhaust/dark smoke from the exhaust
- Strange noises coming from the engine
When buying a used car, it is important that you carefully inspect the engine. This is because engines are costly to repair. It's also hard to assess the condition of the engine with a test drive. There are however ways to identify a bad engine.
- Check service records: If you’re buying a used car, it is important that you buy from a dealer with service records. Although service records aren’t always readily available, they are important in the evaluation of a car engine. Service records provide mainly oil change history. To check if the engine is in good health, ensure that the recommended oil change intervals are done.
- Start the car and listen to the engine: As obvious as it might sound, this method might reveal all you need to know about the engine. To spot a bad engine, listen for any cracking, popping, tapping and knocking noises from the under the hood. The presence of smoke should also indicate an unhealthy engine. Also, watch the exhaust and check to see if there is an unusual amount of emissions gas being emitted. Emission gases should be clear and unnoticeable and any other color should be cause for alarm.
- Check out for leaks: Leaks are a bad sign that there’s something wrong with the car, specifically, the engine. You’ll be able to see leaks by parking the car overnight on a clean concrete slab. In the morning, check for any leaked fluid on the ground because the fluid will have sucked in by on the concrete under the leak. Alternatively, look from underneath. Take a video to assess better
- Burnt oil smell in the hood: If after a test drive there is a noticeable oil smell coming from the hood of the car, this might indicate a problem with the engine. At higher mileage, the pistons and cylinders wear out which causes more gas to enter the crankcase. This pushes the oil through the crankcase ventilation causing it to burn and smell. As much as it occurs mainly in turbo engines, this problem can occur in regular engines. This issue should be quickly dealt with as waiting too long can be quite expensive.
- Check Oil level using dipstick: To do this, ensure the engine is off. Open the oil lid (use a cloth as it might be hot) and dip the dipstick inside. If the level is low, it would mean that the engine has expended oil you’re late for oil change. For a car in great condition, the oil level should be near the full mark (of the dipstick). If there is no oil at all, the best choice would be to avoid the car. If the oil has mixed with coolant, commonly known as dirty oil, avoid purchasing the car too.
- Test Drive: A simple test drive can go a long way to reveal a faulty engine. When the car is started, all warning lights on the dashboard should come flash (come on then off). If the engine light stays on, this means there’s a problem in the engine. There is no way of knowing whether it’s a trivial problem or a serious one. A proper diagnosis should therefore be done by a qualified mechanic.
How to fix a blown engine
An engine does not have to literally blow up. Smoke and steam can suggest a blown engine and in rare cases, fire.
There are many issues that might cause an engine to be considered blown. A cracked block, busted exhaust valves and destroyed pistons are all severe engine damage. Sometimes a valve breaks and punches through the top of a piston. The broken valve will become incredibly hot and caused pressurized oil and smoke to shoot out of the top of the engine. Many times this requires a complete engine replacement.
Should you fix a blown engine?
The answer to this question depends on a couple of factors. For instance the extent of damage should guide you on whether to repair the engine or just buy a new car. The engine can be quite a costly affair to repair and if the amount is almost as much as the value of a new car, you would rather buy a new car.
For old vehicles, a car owner should consider buying a new car because the cost fixing an old blown engine will surpass the cost of the whole car. It would be wiser to let go of the old thing before it puts a dent in your bank account.
Steps to diagnose a blown engine
A blown engine can be an effect of anything whether mild or critical. This is why it is important to first know what the problem is before deciding on what to do next.
- Teardown the engine carefully. Troubleshoot the engine by tearing it down part by part in an organized manner. Check for fragments and any broken things floating around in the oil. Inspect the pistons and chamber for oil leaks, water leaks or any melted parts.
- Look for fissures in the heads. This should be an initial check, and even if you do not find anything wrong, take the car to a qualified mechanic to examine for any cracks that can’t be seen by the naked eye. This especially applies to engines blown from overheating.
- Eject the rods, pistons and crankshafts and check for signs of gouging.
Using these steps, you will be able to fix a blown engine or determine whether or not it’s a good idea to fix it.
How to tell if car engine is blown
Blown engines aren’t a rare occurrence. They are common because of the following causes:
- Running an engine without oil
- Running an engine at high speeds and excessive RPM for a long periods causes engine failure
- Overheating causes it to blow
- A heavy coolant leak causes engine to blow
Some of these cannot be avoided or controlled by the owner, however, for the part that the owner can avoid, they should avoid through regular servicing of the vehicle.
Can I get a refund for my car's extended warranty?
Car owners might be pressured into buying extended warranties. This happens because an extended warranty covers repairs after new car warranty expires. What they don’t realize when buying is that extended warranties are never often fully utilized and end up being a liability in the long run. This is when they discover they need to cancel it and get their money back.
Reasons to Cancel Warranty
A 2013 survey revealed that fifty five percent of owners who had bought an extended warranty did not use it. Those who used, spent more on the car’s coverage and maintenance than they were able to save in costs of repair. This goes to show how much of an expensive gamble this warranty can be. There are other reasons that might lead an owner to cancel such as:
- Exclusions: Extended warranties come with exclusions (issues the warranty won’t cover) meaning they don’t cover everything that could go wrong. A car owner realizing this will opt to cancel since the cove does not justify the cost.
- Cost: Car owners sometimes realize that the total cost they would pay for the warranty is much more expensive than they were made to believe.
- Non-agreement: You should ensure that the extended warranty is not slipped into your car without attention.
- Postponement: When you buy a new car the extended warranty ‘activates’ after three years. Some buyers would rather save that money rather than gamble with a warranty.
Steps to cancellation of an extended warranty
There are a few guidelines to make the cancellation process go well and smooth:
- Locate the original warranty documents. Find the paperwork for your warranty to see who you should contact and whether there is a cancellation fee. For 3rd party enterprises, you might need to call them or write them a letter to the company.
- Don’t feel obligated to agree. When calling the company to request for cancellation, chances are they will pressure you into staying with them. Don’t feel obligated to justify why you are doing so, just say ‘no’.
- Get in writing. After the request is accepted, you will need to complete the cancellation form. Ensure to get a signed copy by a dealership rep to keep for yourself.
- Follow up. If you don’t follow up after cancellation has begun, chances are the company isn’t going to call you since they’re losing money. Constantly check on the progress of the process to the end.
Best places to buy a used car in USA
Buying a used car in America can be stressful task if you don’t know where to look. There are several places to buy a used car in USA. There are a number of ways to buy a used car. They include:
- Buying used cars from a dealer: If you know the model you wantF, directly going to a dealer might be a wonderful idea. You can find a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicle there. These cars are young and in excellent condition thanks to the intensive inspection process they undergo. They come with a warranty. Because of all these, they are sold at a higher price than cars that aren’t certified. Some, however, sell non certified cars from other manufacturers
- Buying a used car from independent dealerships: Independent dealerships are not associated with any auto manufacturer.
- Buying used car from a private party: There are many cars being sold privately in the USA. Majority of them are online on websites such as AutoTrader, Craigslist and Ebay Motors. The advantage of buying from a private party is that the price is lower than dealerships and often the price is negotiable. The disadvantage to it is that the car may not be in good condition. It is advisable to have the car inspected to check potential problems in the car’s history.
Best Cities to buy used cars in the U.S include:
- Miami, Florida
- Stamford, Connecticut
- New York
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Orlando, Florida
- Tampa, Florida
- Sarasota, Florida
- Providence, Rhode Island
- Detroit, Michigan
- Springfield, Massachusetts
What are the best brands of used cars to buy?
Buying a used car is somewhat more complicated than buying a new one. Factors such as maintenance cost and reliability go a long way when considering a used car. Smart buyers consider the brand’s reputation for long term quality and the presence of a dealer to provide support.
With plenty of inventory to choose from, buyers can select a low-mileage, well-maintained vehicle while still getting the best price.
This list of the 10 best brands for used cars is based on the values that make a smart purchase which include availability, reliability, and serviceability.
Toyota’s reputation for quality and reliability is well known. The Toyota Camry, for example, is the best-selling passenger car in America together with the infamous Toyota Corolla. Toyota also leads in green vehicles (hybrids) with their Prius line. Toyota’s trucks and SUVs are also extremely popular, including the Tundra full-size and Tacoma mid-size pickups in both two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations.
Toyota’s durability and longevity makes it one of the best used car brands to buy.
Whether you’re looking for an SUV, a subcompact car, or a sports car, Chevy has got you covered. Chevrolet has vehicles to meet any set of needs. From 2013 to 2015, Chevy SUVs have received the ‘Most Dependable’ awards from J.D Power. This goes to show its long term reliability. Chevy also has over 4000 dealers all over America, with support in every state.
Although this brand is not as popular as the previous ones, Fiat makes the list based on price and quality. The company previously known for their frequent repairs have reinvented themselves to make this list. On average, a used FIAT 500 hatchback at three to four years old sells for about $8,500, against a new price of $16,995. The 500X is just now old enough to be found in numbers on the used market, and even the sporty 124 Spider roadster is now available used.
This large automaker has a reputation for superior quality. The Honda Civic for example has been among the best-selling compact cars in America for over four decades. That means there are always plenty of Civics and Accords available on the pre-owned market, both at Honda dealerships and everywhere else. Used Hondas are affordable and durable.
For the past five years, Kia has produced some truly fantastic quality vehicles. Whether you’re looking for a tiny Kia Rio or the very functional Forte, Optima, Cadenza, or K900 sedans, there’s a Kia that’s right-sized for you. For SUVs, you can choose from the popular FWD Soul or the capable Sportage.
Kia products are still one of the most affordable in the used market and their quality rating for three to five years are excellent. Kia is definitely one of the best choices for a used car.
There are more used Ford trucks available than any other brand. Ford offers a variety selection of cars that ranges from the tiny Fiesta to the sporty Mustang and the mid-size Fusion, which is also available as a hybrid. Quality ratings have always been high for Ford, ranking 4th among all brands in J.D Power’s quality ratings, beating quality giants Toyota, Honda and Mercedes.
Mitsubishi unlike previous brands does not have the extensive dealer network of other brands. Mitsubishis between three to five years old are the best to go for. The Mitsubishi Outlander for example, trades at about $12000, while the Lancer is even less expensive.
Nissan is one of the leading car makers in the world. It has been in the lead of the crossover SUV revolution with cars like Nissan Rogue. SUV buyers can also choose from the luxurious Murano, the sporty Juke subcompact, the capable mid-size Pathfinder, and the full-size Armada on the pre-owned market.
Subarus hold their value well which can work both ways in the used vehicle market. On one hand, prices are high when buying a pre-owned Subaru. But on the other hand, prices stay high when it’s time to sell it. This unique feature makes it ‘hot cake’ in the used car market.
If performance is your goal, a pre-owned Impreza WRX or WRX STI will fit the bill. A Crosstrek, Forester, or Outback SUV makes sense if you live in winter weather.
Mazda is an excellent choice for pre-owned cars. It offers a full line of crossovers from the CX-3 to the CX-5. The EPA has certified Mazda as the automaker with the best average fuel economy. It is also known for its sporty handling.
Mazda was voted best brand 2017 by the US News & World Report.
How to find a car owner’s manual online
Car manuals don’t seem important at first. But as soon as you get an engine warning light and you need to figure out what kind of oil you put in, a car manual comes in very handy.
Owner manuals provide basic knowledge and safety information of the car. Unfortunately, a large number of car owners don’t have their cars’ manuals, especially people with used cars. Previous owners who have lost the manuals are to thank for this.
What is a Car Owner’s Manual?
Car manuals, also called user guide or instruction manual, is a physical or online booklet that provides detailed information about the car, maintenance details and troubleshooting details. It provides engine details and information on how certain problems can be fixed. Owner manuals mainly cover three main areas: description of all control operations, description of maintenance required both by the owner and mechanic, engine and oil specifications and fuel capacity.
Owner manuals have been growing bigger and bigger over time as cars are getting more complex and more techie.
This document is not to be confused with a factory service manual. A factory service manual is also provided by the manufacturer. It was not initially offered to owners as they were made for dealerships so that their mechanics were able to fix their own product. Today they are given freely to the public.
Do new cars come with Owner’s manual?
Yes. Most new and brandy vehicles sold by their dealerships or in showrooms come with an original manufacturer manual. It is mainly used cars that do not come with manuals as previous car owners or dealerships have lost them. However, even if a car does not come with it, manufacturers provide online manuals in their websites through downloadable PDFs. These online versions are free while their paper versions (which can be sent directly to the owner) costs anywhere between $25 and $40 depending on the manufacturer.
How to find manual for a Used Car
If you have a used car, there are high chances that it didn’t come with an owner’s manual. Luckily, there is no reason to worry since there are many different ways to find a manual for your second hand car. Here are a number of ways to find it.
- Find a manual online: Every car manual can be found online. Sites such as Vehicle History and Owner’s Manuals for Cars offer free PDF versions of owner’s manuals. Using these two sites and a google search, you’re guaranteed to find a manual for your car.
- Visit Manufacturer Websites: This may require the owner to log in or to enter the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to access the manuals. Always ensure to print out online manuals and put them in the glove compartment since you might not be able to access it while you’re on the road.
- Request a manual from Dealership: If you want a physical copy of a manual, start by contacting your local dealership. It your used car is still relatively new, then the dealership might have some manuals in stock. And if the vehicle is a little old, the dealership might have to order from the manufacturer.
- Request from the manufacturer: If you’re unlucky contacting the dealership try reaching out to the manufacturer through a customer service rep and ask them to send a copy of the owner’s manual.
- Buy a physical copy online: In case you’re having trouble finding a manual for your car, this might mean it’s an old model car or a rare car. The solution for finding such a manual would be to visit sites such as Ebay and Books4Cars where people are selling them.
Why is an Owner’s Manual Important?
The importance of an owner’s manual cannot be underestimated. It is the answer to almost all the questions about your vehicle. This information is meant to make you a better driver and car owner. Since car manuals can be too detailed and boring to read through and understand, there are a few important things that stand out and every driver should know.
- Initial Setup of the Car: Every year, cars add on more technological features. While some of these features are easy to setup and understand, they might require guidance on first time setup. These features include: keyless entry, voice recognition, fingerprint reader and Bluetooth connections. A manual will make it easy to setup with confidence before driving a new car.
- How to check fluids: To know where the coolant, motor oil and wiper fluid is located, check the manual. This especially applies to first time owners or owners who have no idea of how the chassis is set up. The manual indicates important tips such as what fluids to check while hot and while cold. For example, transmission fluid is checked when the car is on while oil level is checked when car is off.
- Gizmo Instructions: Gizmos are the little tech features that might be understood easily. Avoid the frustration that comes with gizmos by referring to the manual. Also avoid a ‘what does this button do’ mentality by pressing buttons and flipping switches without knowing what they do as you might regret this in the long run.
- Maintenance Schedule: Many people waste time and money by following a mechanic’s advice on when to change the oil or other vehicle fluids. You can also use this manual to budget for maintenance and repair expenses.
- How to decipher warning lights: The warning lights on the dashboard can be quite a mystery if you don’t understand them. Sure some are self-explanatory such as the oil icon but some need a manual to decipher. The manual will show you what each light means and eventually save you from expensive repairs in the future.
Owning a new car is an exciting experience that everyone should enjoy at a point in life. Always consider these factors before buying to ensure you don’t regret in the future. Purchasing a new or used car is a meticulous process that if you do not have the requisite experience, you can make a bad choice. Ask your mechanic, car dealer or relative to help you in purchase and registration.
How much money do I need to buy a car?
If you are going to be financing a car loan then the first thing you need to determine is how much is your household budget. The car you purchase should exceed 30 percent of your annual gross income. The lower the ratios the better; you also need to realize that a car is a depreciating asset and its value keeps going down with years. You can either finance the car purchase from your savings or take a loan.
What is the smartest way to buy a car?
If you are going to get a car loan ensure it is approved by the credit institution before you even step into the car dealer office. This prevents you from making impulsive purchases as you can step into a dealer and find a car model that is so cool and you did not have any intention of purchasing it. Read in between your credit details and master the interest rates.