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Your 7-Step Guide For Shopping For A Used Car

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Shopping for a car can be stressful, and not everyone knows what to look for. This gets even more complicated when shopping for a used car, especially when buying “as seen, as is” or from a private seller.

If you’re heading out to kick some tires and check out used vehicles, take a few minutes to go over this list of things you should keep an eye out for. Remember these rules of thumb on the lot, and you can feel confident that you’ll be making a wiser, better-thought-out investment.

Fix deep car scratch

1. Look Out For Body Imperfections

Chances are, unless the vehicle you’re considering is lightly used or has been taken perfect care of, there may be a few scratches, dings, or small dents. This is okay. What you really want to look out for is anything that might such as significant body damage or sections of the body not matching up perfectly, which is likely the result of subpar repairs. Look at body panels from an angle instead of head on, as this will make imperfections more pronounced.

Car Power Doors and Locks

2. Make Sure All Power Accessories Work

If the vehicle you’re looking at has power locks, windows, and/or mirrors, check to make sure they all work. Power mirrors and locks can be moved manually if they don’t work (although this will be inconvenient) but power windows that don’t work can be a huge problem. In many states, windows that can’t be rolled down, particularly the driver’s window, can be grounds for a vehicle to fail inspection.

2011 Ford Shelby GT500

3. Check The Tires For Wear And Tear

Be sure to check out the tires for wear. For starters, it’s good to see whether or not the tires will still pass inspection. If they look like they’re too worn down, and new ones will be needed for the car to be road-worthy, you can use it as a bargaining chip to negotiate a lower price.

Another important thing to consider is how even the wear is. If tires have worn down unevenly and seem to be barer in some spots than others, this could indicate that the vehicle is in need of an alignment.

Cracked Windshield car

4. Inspect Windshield For Cracks

Carefully inspect the windshield and windows for cracks and chips. These can be very small, and may not seem like a big deal, but our sources with tell us that they can become bigger over time. Particularly in extreme temperatures, glass may expand or contract, and this can cause a tiny crack to spread across your entire windshield.

Considering that windshields are usually designed to withstands during a rollover accident, it leaves all occupants at risk of harm if weak or compromised in any way, shape or form.

5. Check Oil Quality And Level

Bring along a clean white rag or roll of paper towels, and check the oil. Pay attention not only to the oil level (if it’s low, that could be a sign of a leak) but also the color and smell of the fluid. Dark or dirty looking oil, or oil that has a burnt smell, shows that the vehicle may not have been maintained as well as it should have been, or that it’s been burning the oil.

Used Car Interior

6. Assess Condition Of Interior Materials

Check out the interior for stains, rips or other blemishes. Discolored and even slightly ripped upholstery can always be covered up (if that’s something you want to commit to) but keep a lookout for burn marks on the seats, near the windows, and on the cloth ceiling. If someone has smoked in the car, the smell can be very difficult to remove, and even if it’s been covered up by an air freshener, you may never be able to get a truly clean smell back into the vehicle.

car key on documents

7. When In Doubt, Get The CarFax

If you follow these guidelines, you should have a good shot at getting a vehicle that you can count on. If you’re still unsure, though, if a price seems to be too good to be true, or if you’re investing in a used vehicle that’s still fairly expensive (like a used luxury model), you can always get a . In a private sale, you’ll have to pay for it yourself, but some dealers will cover the cost.

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Accidents Happen: 6 DOs And DON’Ts After A Car Crash

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Car Accident, man calling police

Being a good driver also means doing the right thing when involved in a car crash.

What months see the highest number of fatalities from vehicular accidents? December and January would be good guesses; in addition to the inclement weather in much of the country, all that holiday merriment surely leads to more impaired driving, and by extension, to more .

It might come as a surprise, however, that it’s actually the — June through September — that are the deadliest for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Between the increased traffic from family road trips, beach jaunts, concerts and festivals, and other fun-in-the-sun summertime events, and the copious amounts of adult beverages consumed at ball games and backyard BBQs, is it a wonder that there are more accidents?

If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a crash, no matter what time of year, it’s important that you keep a cool head. Keep reading to learn what you should and should not do in the immediate wake of an accident.

1. DON’T Leave the Scene

No matter whose actions caused the accident or even what those actions were, it is never advisable to . Legality aside, it’s also morally irresponsible.

Stick around until the authorities arrive, get all the information they need, and tell you it’s OK to head home.

2. DO Make a Quick Check of the Scene

The police will need to come and make an accident report, so you have to call 911 anyway. But take a moment to ascertain what kind of condition everyone is in. If there are injuries, tell the dispatcher to send an ambulance.

If possible, make certain that all vehicles involved in the accident are out of the flow of traffic. And in the event that a vehicle is damaged so badly that it can’t be driven, or if participants’ injuries preclude moving the car, set up emergency flares to alert other motorists. The last thing you want is for more cars to be involved.

3. DON’T Blame, Accuse, or Point Fingers

This advice is easier said than done, but when it comes to engaging with the other driver(s) and/or passengers, it is crucial that you clam up. Do not yell or swear at them, ask what cereal box they got their driver’s license out of, accuse them of being blind, or let them goad you into an argument about who or what caused the accident.

Equally imperative? Do not apologize for your own actions. Saying that you’re sorry can be tantamount to an admission of guilt — it can be used against you in legal proceedings down the line.

Instead, call 911 if you haven’t already, and wait for the police to arrive. You can exchange insurance and information with the other parties if you can keep things civil. If you don’t trust yourself to keep calm, or if they are trying to engage you, sit in your car until the cops get there.

4. DON’T Forget To Collect Evidence

If there are witnesses to the accident, take down their info. This is especially smart if they can’t stay on the site and give police their account of what happened.

Another smart move in the wake of a collision is to document the scene by taking snapshots or video. Get pictures of each vehicle and any damage done to it, as well as some shots of the roadway and surroundings. If there are any weather conditions or other factors — a broken guardrail or debris on the pavement, for example — that might have impacted safety or played a part in the crash, shoot a short video.

“Now that everyone has a cell phone on them, it’s easier than ever to document the conditions that caused the accident and the damage done to your vehicle,” explain attorneys at . “Having photographic evidence is just a good way to protect yourself if there are any legal proceedings in the future.”

5. DO Seek Medical Attention

Even if you walk away from the crash without so much as a bruise or a scratch, you still should get yourself checked out by a doctor. See your primary care physician or visit urgent care either the same day or the next day.

There are some injuries and physical issues that can crop up hours, days, or even weeks after the accident. Therefore, it’s best to be on the safe side. Ask your provider what kind of symptoms to be on the lookout for.

6. DON’T Hesitate to Call an Attorney

A lawsuit might be the furthest thing from your mind in the aftermath of a crash, but consider consulting with an attorney anyway.

The payout offered by insurance might not be sufficient to cover the potential expenses incurred. You could develop a debilitating medical condition down the line, or the other party might decide to bring a suit against you. When the latter happens, you’ll need a qualified personal injury attorney on your side to fight back.

Besides, the consultation will be complimentary and will only take an hour or so of your time. Why not cross all the Ts and dot all the Is just in case?

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5 Ways To Maximize Your Car’s Performance

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Car Speedometer

There are a number of things you can do to keep your car in tip-top shape.

Owning a car is not as big of a big deal today as it was, say, 50 year ago — for many people, it has like food, clothing and shelter. However, buying a car remains one of biggest financial investments you will make in your lifetime.

As a car owner, it is crucial that you carry out routine maintenance and performance checks to reduce the risk of functional problems so that you get the highest ROI possible from your hefty investment. Here are fives things you can do to maximize your car’s performance.

1. Change the Engine Oil Regularly

Your car’s engine has moving parts that need proper lubrication to work efficiently and prevent damage, and this necessitates engine oil.

Its easy for engine oil to become contaminated with dust and loses some of its lubrication power over time, which is why it is important to change it regularly to make sure the heart of your car is operating optimally.

Changing the engine oil as recommended by your car’s manufacture will also extend the engine’s life, improve its fuel efficiency, and help prevent costly engine repair work.

2. Maintain Optimum Pressure in Your Car’s Tyres

Under-inflated tyres make it more difficult to handle a car on the road. Moreover, they make your engine work harder than it normally would, potentially causing overheating.

Higher rolling resistance caused by under-inflation, together with an over-stressed engine, means your car will require more fuel to maintain optimal driving speeds, effectively reducing its fuel efficiency.

To avoid any of this, take proper care of your car’s tyres. Make sure to check and maintain their pressure every few days.

3. Get Your Car’s Ignition System Checked and Maintained

Ignition system failure is one of the most common causes of a vehicle breakdown. Advanced ignition systems in modern cars have made life easier, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get yours checked on the regular to avoid unwanted surprises.

Your car maintenance schedule should include an inspection of the ignition system. If there are any defective components, make sure they are replaced in a timely manner with the best quality coils, ignition spark plugs, wires, etc.

4. Keep Your Car’s Suspension System in Good Condition

The suspension is important for keeping a car under the driver’s control and ensuring a smooth ride. It is responsible for providing the required steering ability and limiting the impact of road imperfections.

In general, worn suspension components destabilize a vehicle and affect driver control. Ideally, getting the worn, inadequate shocks and struts replaced in a timely manner helps to maintain better ride control and overall vehicle performance.

5. Protect Your Car with Car Insurance

Regular car maintenance tune-ups do impact the car’s performance. Still, you can’t predict and avoid unexpected events that can cause damage to your car. To be on the safe side, buy a comprehensive .

There are many reasons why buying motor insurance is a must for all car owners in India and elsewhere around the world, most notable of which is the peace of mind you get from the financial coverage provided for physical damage to your car resulting from a collision or natural calamities .

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Find Out How Well Your Vehicle Will Retain Its Value

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Man sitting on old deprecated car

Car buyers often overlook depreciation and the impact it has on their car’s resale value. Don’t make that mistake!

Depreciation stands as the largest expense that comes with owning a vehicle, topping servicing, gas, and insurance. In Canada, the average vehicle loses 34% of its value within just a year. Five years down the line, you’re looking at an average of a 67% drop in value.

Given that around 50% of vehicles in Canada are financed over eight years or more, depreciation is becoming an increasingly important factor. A recent survey by J.D. Power found that the trade-in value of a vehicle is lower than that of the remaining balance on the loan in 33% of cases.

Furthermore, it was found that outstanding payments on a $35,000 vehicle totaled a painful average of $7,000. You’ve probably heard about the fact that the value of a new car declines by up to 10% the minute you , but not all vehicles depreciate equally.

Let’s take a look at the main causes of vehicle depreciation, how you can slow it down, and how to avoid it by buying the right car.

New, 2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

Family cars made by Toyota and Honda generally have the lowest deprecation and the highest resale value.

Causes of Vehicle Depreciation

Manufacturer: Who made your car plays a major role in determining its future value. . You’ll quickly notice that Japanese brands, such as Toyota and Lexus, are particularly sought-after, giving them some of the best value-retention rates around.

Vehicle Type: Midsize and compact vehicles depreciate slower than SUVs and luxury sedans due to their lower upkeep and maintenance costs.

Safety Ratings: Safer cars are going to retain their value better than those with low safety ratings. Reliability can also be included in the equation, which would explain why Toyota and Lexus vehicles retain their value so well.

Mileage: Fuel-efficient vehicles generally depreciate slower, which is another reason why small-engined Japanese cars retain the most value. The Toyota Prius is a good example versus, let’s say, an older Mercedes with a gas-guzzling V6 or V8 engine.

Wear and Tear: Naturally, cars that are more dented, scratched and worn away will lose their value faster. If you park yours outside, consider finding an indoor space where your car’s paint and interior won’t be damaged by sunlight.

Vehicle Age: This is an inescapable factor of depreciation. Older cars are heavier on fuel, lower on features, and often less safe, making them less enticing to prospective buyers.

Routine maintenance reduces car depreciation

Driving safely and doing routine maintenance will reduce the depreciation of your car.

How To Slow Down Vehicle Depreciation

Driving safely will help you avoid the biggest blow to your vehicle’s value. Avoid putting on unnecessary mileage and to reduce wear and tear.

Regular maintenance is also important. Frequent oil changes, tune-ups, and new tires can go a long way in reducing the depreciation of your vehicle.

Of course, the most effective way to fight depreciation is to buy a car that retains its value better than others. Use the above-listed factors to make an informed decision. Focus on manufacturer, reliability, safety, fuel efficiency and features.

Conclusion

With this knowledge, you can make a better decision next time you buy a new vehicle. This can help you save yourself from thousands of dollars in potential depreciation losses.

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