Monthly Archives: February 2018

Car Buying Tips

1) Push, Pull, or Drag Sale

A piece of junk on Wednesday is still a piece of junk on Saturday. There are ads that claim that no matter what condition you trade is in, they’ll give you $1500, $2000, or even $3000 for it in trade.

Foolish people flock in. Some even drive off with a new or used car. They were given $3,000 for their 1983 Chevette and they feel like they just ripped somebody off. The truth is that they probably just got ripped off.

Most car dealers have around $2000 to $2500 worth of markup built into the price of their lower end vehicles and more (sometimes much more) built into their higher priced ones. When they put on their Push, Pull, or Drag sale, all they do is mark up their vehicles an additional amount equal to their “minimum trade allowance.” By doing this, they can give you a ton for your Chevette and still make thousands.

2) $10,000 Best Price Guarantee

This is a great one for traffic. Many dealers claim that if they can’t beat a deal, they’ll give you $10,000. They might as well say they’ll give you $10,000,000, because it isn’t going to happen either way.

When it comes to new vehicles, the market is impossibly competitive. 95% of new car dealers will match the price than any other dealer gives on an exact same vehicle. But not all of them guarantee the claim with money, simply because they don’t want to insult the intelligence of the consumer. The bad part is, not all consumers are intelligent enough to recognize that unless another dealer is willing to lose more than $10,000 on a vehicle, they’ll NEVER pay the money.

3) Buy a Car, get a “Free” _______(fill in the blank)

Big screens. Camcorders. Computers. Whatever the item is, it isn’t free. The price is simply built into the cost of the vehicles. A car deal that would normally bring $3000 profit may “only” bring $2200 after they give you the $800 gift certificate to Circuit City or Best Buy.

4) “When we make a deal, we’ll pay off your trade no matter how much you owe!”

They might as well say, “When we buy groceries, we’ll pay at the register no matter how much we owe.”

The key phrase in this sentence is “When we make a deal…” Paying off the trade is part of making the deal. If they cannot pay off the trade because the consumer owes too much, they won’t make a deal. It’s the kind of doubletalk that gives car dealers a bad name.

5) Half Price Program Car Sale

Many cars, especially domestic mid-sized sedans, depreciate quickly from their original MSRP. A Lincoln Town Car, for example, may have an MSRP around $50,000. After the deep rebates and discounts, it’s possible to buy one a few month before the next model year in the low $30’s.

After a year and 20,000 miles, they can be purchased at the Lincoln dealer auction for the low $20’s. Dealers can then mark them up modestly and still sell them for half the price of the original MSRP.

While this isn’t exactly a scam, it can be misleading and is a perfect example of how the domestic market needs to reduce prices instead of keeping the prices high and offering huge rebates.

To see if the vehicle is really a good deal, find similar ones on some of the automotive classified sites like Autotrader, Used Car Search, or Cars.

6) The Good Old Fashion Loss Leader

This is by far the most common dealer scam out there. No, there is nothing outwardly dishonest about it, but it can be misleading nonetheless. A loss leader is where the dealership advertises a vehicle at a greatly discounted rate. While they may have 50 Honda Civics to choose from, they only have one or two that can be sold at the advertised price.

The loss leader is usually stripped down with no options, manual transmission, and sometimes even with no air conditioner. Consumers come in to buy it, but usually get switched to one that has more of what they want.

7) Internet Price Discounts

This one is not always a scam, but usually it is. You have to read the fine print.

For automotive websites, the number one data capture tool is the pop-up or some variation. They may come up as soon as you enter the homepage, after you close it, in front, behind the browser, or any of the clever new ways to lock customers into filling out the information form. Normally, they offer a few hundred dollars in discount for printing and bringing in the coupon, “check”, or voucher.

In the fine print, most will say that the discount voucher must be presented before negotiations start. In other words, “Show me the voucher so I can include that value in our discount.”

Most dealerships have some measure of room in their prices to allow for discounts. These vouchers normally will not help get any larger discount than if the customer never brought them in, but hey, the voucher did its part to get you in, didn’t it?

Not all new and used car dealer websites offer these frivolous discount vouchers. Some of the more respected ones from coast to coast use good website strategies to show their cars, offer their services, and help consumers make a deal.

Automotive Websites like Atlantic City Chevrolet Dealers and Los Angeles Honda Dealers use honest and quality methods to not only have a great dealership, but also great websites.

8) $88 Down, $88 per Month

For anyone who doesn’t think this may be a scam, please do the math. Better yet, check a payment calculator. A $10,000 car at $88 down, $88 per month at 6.9% would take 181 payments to pay off.

That’s a month longer than a 15 year mortgage.

In the fine print, you’ll find that the $88 per month is introductory and the real payments kick in on the fourth payment.

9) $199 Month SUV

Similiar to the previous, but different. Again, read the fine print.

It is either a long lease with a large down payment or it’s a purchase with 25% down and a 96 month term. That’s eight years for anyone who is counting.

This is one of the best scams because it usually results in switching the customer from a new to a used one that will allow higher profits. Dirty, dirty, dirty.

10) Buy One, Get One Free

This is the granddaddy. Buy a car, and get a second one for no additional cost. WOW!

Just make sure you get a good driver to go with you to bring the 1989 Nissan Sentra with flood damage home with you after you overpay for your other vehicle.

Car Buying Tips

Conventional thinking is that it is easier to buy a vehicle off of an individual than it is from a dealership. Fewer hoops, fewer lies, cheaper and less hassle — or is it?

Many car dealers are slowly, surely, and finally starting to become more truthful in their dealings with customers. It isn’t because they ever really wanted to. The information on the Internet in this highly competitive market have forced auto dealerships to “come clean” in many aspects of their dealings.

Car sellers, on the other hand, are still as up and down as ever. There are many people who are honest and straightforward with selling their vehicle, just by nature. Still, there are those who are taking advantage of the Internet and the wealth of resources available to make great money selling as an individual.

Many “individual” sellers actually have a dealer’s license because they are selling more than the limit of cars that an individual can sell in a year. These licenses are not cheap.

With that said, please erase any ideas that car dealers all lie and most individuals do not. Honesty must be judged on a case by case basis, so that is no longer part of the general equation.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Selection: There is no competition. It is easier to find a vehicle by searching dealership inventories than it is from individuals.

Price: Normally, it is less expensive to buy from a individual. With no commission, no “dealer pack”, and no advertising costs, an individual can sell their car for less (but be careful, as “can” does not mean “will”).

Condition: Most reputable car dealers will inspect their vehicles before selling them. Many smaller dealers and some individuals will “bandaid” fix items such as adding Freon to the a/c, adding “No-Smoke” to the engine, etc.

Trading: Few individuals are willing to give money or value for a traded vehicle. In other words, if you have a car, you can trade it at the dealership when you buy. Buying a car from an individual adds the extra step of selling your old car.

Buying Experience: Very few people look forward to dealing with a car dealership, regardless of how good they are at customer service. It is an ordeal almost without exception. Individuals are normally a handshake, count the money, sign the title, and another handshake.

Post Buying Experience: There are many horror stories on both sides for this one. Dealers can be reluctant to fix a car that was sold “As-Is”, while individuals are often hard to track down, plus getting them to fix something, either through asking or through the legal system, is almost impossible.

Conclusion

It seems like a pretty even comparison. In the end, it all comes down to time and patience. If you have the time to sift through the bad, check vehicles out thoroughly, and wait for that perfect deal, buying from an individual may be the best bet. If you need a car this week, don’t dismiss individuals, but be wary. A car dealer may be your only real option.

Cheap Car Insurance Tips

With car insurance costs becoming higher every year, there are more and more people looking to purchase cheap car insurance. And even though it’s possible to buy low-cost automotive coverage, the big question is whether it’s worth buying.

We all know that automotive insurance firms can differ greatly. Finding cheap auto insurance is great when you are paying the monthly premium, but by making a mistake regarding the company you decide to do business with can lead to many problems in the future, especially when you are trying to file a claim.

Therefore it’s imperative when you are researching different automotive insurance brokers to not only look at the cheapest quotes you can find. It is important to check out the firm carefully which offers these inexpensive rates. Additionally, there are other ways for consumers to cut the cost of their car insurance coverage regardless of which company you are a policyholder.

Here are a few tips that will help you in this matter.

1. Always carefully calculate the deductible. Remember, the amount of the policy will relate to how much you set as the deductible. This is something that very few people take into consideration, however the fact is if you have a good record and do not mind a bigger deductible, you can save on the monthly premium.

2. Make your car safer and less at risk regarding theft. By installing anti-theft devices, you will decrease your risk profile. This relates to having a vehicle that is less expensive to insure. Additionally, driving a vehicle with the latest safety devices can also affect your premiums.

3. Consider consolidating all your insurance policies with one company. There are many firms who will give existing clients discounts if they carry all their insurance needs with them. Inquire if your home or life insurance carrier also has an automotive policy available.

4. Research online diligently. There are many websites around today that allow consumers to do an extensive comparison of different car insurance rates. It’s usually a matter of keying in your zip code, the type of vehicle you drive along with your past driving history including traffic violations.

Protect Against Moisture in Your Exhaust System

Here’s a simple car repair tip that’s easy to implement – keep moisture out of your exhaust system and thereby reduce its corrosive effects. By its very nature, exhaust fumes contain moisture. Some systems contain a drip hole to vacate puddles of water that would otherwise accumulate in mufflers, resonators, cross-overs and other parts of the system. Other systems rely on heat to drive out moisture.

Moisture accumulation in automotive exhaust used to be a big problem with older cars, but improvements in materials have reduced the problem considerably. Even so, it still presents a potential for unnecessary repair if you’re not careful and allow moisture to accumulate.

The most simple way to reduce moisture accumulation in the exhaust system is to minimize brief operation of the vehicle and use it only when you know you’ll be running it sufficiently to heat up the exhaust system and drive out moisture. A good rule is 10 miles of travel. That generally is enough to warm up the car completely.

The idea is to minimize the number of times you start the car up just to move it around in the drive or on the street, and start the car up primarily when you’re really going to use it. It can save on unnecessary moisture accumulation in the exhaust, and it’s one way to save on fuel as well.