How to Buy a Used Vehicle Safely

The popularity of used cars has increased considerably in recent years. There are many advantages attached to purchasing a second hand vehicle over a new one, the most important one being the greatly reduced price. Whether you’re thinking of upgrading, looking for your first car or buying something bigger to accommodate additional family members, the second hand car market will have something suitable for you. Most people choose to buy used vehicles from trusted dealerships like Exchange and Mart, but if you’re looking at advertisements from private sellers, follow these simple steps to stay safe.

Before You See the Vehicle

There are certain checks that should be completed before you even go to view the car, van or motorbike in question. Ask the seller if they can provide you with the make and model, registration number, tax disc details and MOT test number for the car. Any honest seller will be more than happy to oblige. You can then use the DVLA’s online vehicle enquiry service to check if the details you’ve been sent match their records. You can also check that the MOT history matches and the MOT is up to date. You don’t have to leave anything to chance when checking out the history of a second hand car.

When Viewing a Second Hand Car

Always go to see the vehicle in daylight and avoid viewing in bad weather. Darkness and rain will make it more difficult to see scratches, chipped paintwork and other imperfections. Ask the seller if you can see the V5C vehicle registration certificate. It should have a DVL watermark and the details should match those you were given by the seller. It’s also a good idea to check the vehicle identification number and the engine number, and make sure that these match the details you received earlier.

Always Test Drive

It’s essential to take a vehicle that you’re considering buying for a test drive. Your trip should take around fifteen minutes and cover different types of road, fast and slow, and include corners and roundabouts. Check that the car’s features work and watch out for unexpected noises or vibrations as these could indicate a significant fault in the car’s inner workings. Once you’ve test driven and feel confident about the vehicle, don’t be afraid to haggle with the seller. You should set your budget and refuse to pay outside of that. If the seller won’t be flexible on price and is asking for an amount outside of your budget, remember that there are plenty more second hand cars on the market!

With Winter Comes Poor Gas Mileage

Have you been thinking that your car’s fuel economy has been lower over the last few weeks? If you have, it’s not your imagination it’s just the fact that, in winter, your fuel economy usually does go down, at least a little bit and in some cases quite a lot.

In fact, some cars can lose as much as a third of their fuel economy when the outside temperatures drops to 20°F, according to new research from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Not only that but on short trips during cold weather your fuel economy drops even further.

Bo Saulsbury, from Oak Ridge’s research group, said that “cold weather and winter driving conditions can reduce your fuel economy significantly,” adding that “fuel economy tests show that, in short-trip city driving, a conventional car’s gas mileage is about 12% lower.”

Oak Ridge compared to the fuel economy of over 600 conventional vehicles as well as 14 hybrids during weather that was 20° and compared that to their fuel economy during “normal” weather.

Interestingly enough, battery-based vehicles saw the biggest drop in fuel mileage, from between 31% and 34%. So, for example, a car that’s getting 45 MPG regularly will drop to only 30 mpg when the temperature outside  drops way down. Gas powered cars fared a little better but still didn’t do that well. For example, a car that normally gets 30 mpg will, when the temperature is 20°F or lower, drop down to 24 mpg during short trips.

The temperature alone isn’t the only reason that an automobile will be getting reduced fuel economy. Some other factors include;

  • Roads that are icy or snow-covered, something that can decrease traction and waste fuel as a car literally spins its wheels
  • Driving slower on ice, snow or slush covered roads. Most cars deliver their best mileage at higher speeds
  • Operating a vehicle for long periods of time in four wheel or all-wheel drive
  • Fluids like oil that have lower viscosity in the cold, increasing friction and the time it takes for a vehicle to reach optimal operating temperatures
  • Power blower fans, seat heaters and defrosters using more energy
  • Lower energy level gasoline blends made for the Winter
  • Warming a vehicle up for an inordinate amount of time

One of the biggest problems that battery and gas powered vehicles have is the battery. When it’s cold a car’s battery is less efficient and thus requires that the alternator run more frequently. In a hybrid vehicle, cold batteries hold less energy and thus limit range and energy efficiency.

There are a number of things that drivers can do to improve their mileage, according to Oak Ridge. These include parking the car where it will stay warmer, combining trips and using an oil recommended for winter driving. Limiting the amount of time that your vehicle warms up is also a good idea, especially when you consider the fact that it will heat up faster while you’re actually driving it.

Then of course there’s the old standby, tire pressure. As the temperature falls, your tires aren’t as energy-efficient and if they are already low on air they become even less efficient because they don’t get an adequate grip on the road.

Hopefully these tips will help you to increase your mileage but, frankly, if you’re really worried about increasing your mpg during the winter it might be just a matter of getting up and moving to a warmer state like Florida, Texas or Southern California. If not, be careful and be safe while driving this Winter.

Save on Gas, Don’t Drive

Listen, let’s be honest; the best way to save gas money is to not drive your car.  As silly as this may sound there are many people that make 2, 5 and even 10 small trips a day around their town that just aren’t necessary and waste a lot of gas.  You use much more gas driving around town, stopping and starting the entire time, than you do on the highway at a constant speed. So the 1st thing you can do if you want to save gas is use a bike, walk or plan your small trips and make one big trip to the grocery, school, hair salon, post office, doctors office or wherever.

Of course if you live in or close to a major city you can use public transportation, but if there’s no way to get around using a car then you’ll want to purchase one that gets the best mileage.  Below is a list of the Top 5 in that category with the only caveat that these comparisons are based on using gasoline 100% of the time.

The Toyota Prius is the #1 car on the road today for great gas mileage and delivers an average of 50 mils to the gallon.  That’s really good, no doubt, and you can get a late model Prius starting for under $27,000.00 also which makes it a great deal.

The #2 is a perennial favorite, the Honda Civic Hybrid, with an average 44 mpg.  This well-built and easy to maintain sport sedan is worth every penny of its relatively low price of under $25,000.00. The lower price really makes it almost equal to the Prius.

Honda makes the list again with the Insight with 42 mpg and that storied Honda value and reliability. It happens to tie with the Lexus CT 200h but, since the price is about $10,000.00 cheaper, we have to go with the Insight hands down. Of course the Lexus is a bit more luxurious so you’ll have to make up your mind if you want great gas mileage and are willing to pay a 10 grand more for cushy seats.

Toyota makes the list again with their Camry Hybrid and its 41 mpg average.  In our opinion it’s even better than the original Camry and, since it gets about 25% better mileage, it’s worth the price at just under $30,000.00

And there you have the Top 5 cars on the road today as far as gas mileage is concerned.  A great bunch of cars all they will save you many dollars at the pump during their life.

Tips to Get More for Your Gasoline Dollar

Buying gasoline has become quite the costly proposition over the years, and it doesn’t look like it’s getting any simpler any time soon. Because of that, it’s time to re-evaluate your fuel economy and figure out what some of the best ways are to use less gas, and in turn, save some precious money that can be used elsewhere!

 

Do Your Research

In the market for a new car? Do your research on fuel mileage. Many new cars nowadays have picked up on the trend of high gas prices, and there are models from all shapes and sizes to be fairly gas-friendly and fuel-efficient.

 

Figure out not only which style car you may be in the market for, but what might be a good fuel mileage for you to strive for when it comes time to buy. This can save a lot of money, time, and a headache at the pump.

 

Walk

Yeah, walk! Maybe not across town, but re-evaluate all of your trips and figure out exactly what and when you could be walking instead of driving. Heading to the post office a mile away from your home? Walking might be easier, and it will certainly save money on gasoline.

 

Go through all the daily trips you make, and your errand route, and figure out exactly how and where you might do best walking instead of driving your car.

 

Public Transportation

Public transportation can be a big hassle depending on which city you reside in, but if you take the time to figure out bus routes or subway stops, you can come away a winner. In many cities, public transportation has become seamlessly integrated into life, and everybody can gain some value from it.

 

So do research in your city, and figure out exactly where you can use public transportation. Even if it’s only once or twice a month for certain trips, those miles add up, and every time using public transportation is a time not spent on gasoline in your precious automobile.

 

Make Efficient Trips

Re-think how and where you make your trips, and start to plan on doubling up errands and more. Instead of making two trips here and there, or running inefficient errands on opposite sides of town, figure out where you might be able to piggyback these trips, and save some cash on gasoline. It may not be huge, but even a few dollars can make a huge difference!

 

All in all, it’s up to you and you alone to become more fuel-efficient and travel smarter. Gasoline prices will continue to rise. Instead of acting like they surprise you, be proactive and save some money in the process!

 

Easy Ways to Save on Gas Money: Part Three

This is part three in my Easy Ways to Save Gas Money series.  I feel this topic is so important that it deserved an entire series devoted to ways on saving money on gasoline.  If households were to check their monthly and annual cost consumption on gas they might be shocked to see just how much it is costing them.

Here is a simple tip that too few people follow, keep your tires filled up with the appropriate level of air.  Believe it or not this can go a long way to saving you money on gas.  Properly inflated tired actually increase the miles per gallon for a vehicle.  Most newer vehicles even have an electronic system that monitors your tire pressure at all times.

I’ve talked in the past about buying a smaller car, or a hybrid, but what about buying something other than a car altogether.  Motorcycles and mopeds are a very efficient means of transportation.  They have small tanks, tend to be lightweight, and they consume a fraction of the gasoline that cars do.  Of course this only makes sense if you live in a warm weather region, and you ignore the forgone safety with these types of vehicles.

Make sure you drive at a consistent speed.  There is nothing new about this type, though many people often ignore it.  Speeding up and slowing down are gas guzzling no-no’s.  Staying at a steady consistent speed with help you maximize the miles per gallon that your vehicle can achieve.  That means that you shouldn’t be tailgating the car in front on you which will only lead to constant braking and speeding up.  Likewise, you needn’t worry about others tailgating you either, let them just pass you by, meanwhile you can maintain your slow and steady speed.

Easy Ways to Save on Gas Money: Part Two

As promised in my previous article I’m back with some more gas saving tips to help you save money!  To me this is a more important topic than most since a majority of us spend a ton of money gasing up our vehicles each and every day.  Just consider that wars are started over oil, gas prices affect the tourism industry, and they especially effect the types of vehicles people purchase.  Think about how quickly the residual values dropped on SUV’s and how important small car manufacturing became after the economic crash in 2009.  So read below for additional ways to save on gas money.

Car maintenance may be one of the most important factors in achieving maximum miles per gallon for your vehicle.  It’s quite simple, keep up with your oil changes, tire rotation, and routine annual maintenance and you will be surprised at how much better and more efficiently your car will drive.  Also, if you live in a cold weather state you need to make sure you winterize your car each year as well.

Discounted gift cards! Yep, that’s what I said, discounted gift cards area a great idea for saving money on gasoline.  I have touted this idea for savings on Christmas shopping in the past, but it actually works quite well for saving on gas as well.  If you go on one of those discount gift card sites you can purchase a discounted card at a fraction of the full price.  Even if you save 5% – 10% off a $100 gift card, that amount can really add up over a year, and unlike most other gift cards, you are guaranteed to get your use out of these.

Eco-friendly vehicles are great, but sometimes a smaller car is just better! If don’t have a large family to cart around then buying a smaller car can not only be less expensive, but the gas to fill them up will cost less as well.  Smaller fuel efficient vehicles can produce huge savings when you tally it up over a year.  The Big 3 have made huge strides over the past three years when it comes to small fuel efficient vehicles, so now you don’t have to compromise style or safety either.

Easy Ways to Save on Gas Money

Saving money on gas isn’t always that easy since we can’t always change the amount of miles we have to drive.  Being a recently married man I’ve started to realize just how much money two people spend on gas each month, and it’s not a small amount.  In fact, it’s one of our large routine expenses, and probably outpaces our monthly food bill.  This is exactly why I want to provide you with some helpful tips on how to save money on gas.

First and foremost, consider the distance you are driving to and from work each day.  I understand that we can’t always change jobs or change homes based on a long commute, but sometimes we can.  There was a time I worked in the city and the drive was quite a pain from where I was living, when my lease ended I cut my commute (and gas bill) in half!  If you have the opportunity to move closer to your work it shouldn’t be an idea that is easily dismissed.

I’m not a big fan of credit cards, but if you can use one properly then they can be a gas savers best friend!  I have a Costco card that provides an additional cash back discount on all gasoline purchases each year. In fact, even though I’m a Costco member I signed on to this card for the gasoline incentive.  They provide 2% back on all of our gas purchases throughout the year.  With as much as spend this could be an added $100 back each year, combined with the other card incentives that isn’t half bad.

Hybrid eco-vehicles are too often dismissed as well.  They are becoming more mainstream and less expensive than they once were.  While I see the future being in battery/solar vehicles I don’t think the technology is quite there, and certainly not affordable enough for the everyday consumer.  However, we recently bought  Jeep that utilizes an eco-friendly engine and works sort of like a Hybrid.  This adds MPG which is a great thing!

Stay tuned for follow up articles with more gas saving tips!

Fuel Costs and Commute

I’ve been leasing cars my entire life, I’ve really never been a fan of buying a new car.  Obviously driving a new car every few years is ideal from a vanity standpoint, however, it can also be more economical than one might think.  I may never own my vehicles outright, but then again a vehicle is one of those depreciating assets that only loses value over time.  Fuel economy it one of the technological aspects that the government often mandates improvements, and the auto companies are forced to oblige.  To think of how many more miles I get to the gallon now versus 10 years ago simply boggles my mind.

Due to suburban sprawl, and partially because of a dominant auto industry, we have never really taken advantage of a healthy public transportation system.  This means citizens in my area are handcuffed to gasoline prices and fuel economy more than you will ever know.  I used to work in the downtown area, which was about a 40 mile drive for me, and a lot of stop and go traffic during the winter.  I loved working down there, but refused to live there.  This created quite the burden when it came to how much I spent on gasoline each month.

Fast forward several years later and I work about 10 miles from my house, and not only that, 9.5 miles my commute is all free way.  I also live close to my friends, my parents, and my wifes parents, which means less driving on a social level as well.  Gas prices tend to bounce up and down throughout the year, but they will never be back to the days of less than $3.00 a gallon, so we need to stop complaining and start solving the problem.  Remember the world’s economy revolves around the law of supply and demand.  Lessen the need and demand for oil, and you increase the supply, which in turn will actually lower the gas prices.

Hopefully this simple advice can help you save a few dollars, and perhaps hold off on bankruptcy a little longer ;)  In all seriousness, if you find yourself close to bankruptcy, look for other options such as Debt Free Direct bankruptcy advice, they have alternatives to help you avoid destroying your credit history as well available lines of credit.

 

Keep a Close Commute

I live in the Metro Detroit area, and while Detroit itself tends to get an unfairly bad rap, the views on the surrounding areas tend to go right along with it.  We actually have some of the nicest suburbs in the entire country, after all Oakland County is one of the wealthiest.  Don’t believe me, consider all of the auto executive money floating around, the number of Fortune 500 headquarters we have throughout the area, and even the sheer number of atheletes that live in the area.  Do an internet search of the country clubs in the metro area and that will highlight it even more.  My point being, because of the highly desirable areas to choose from we have created quite the suburban sprawl out here.  This has created numerous issues for all of us in metro Detroit.

The issues you ask, are wide ranging.  Due to suburban sprawl, and partially because of a dominant auto industry, we have never really taken advantage of a healthy public transportation system.  This means that we in the state of Michigan are handcuffed to gasoline prices and fuel economy more than you will ever know.  I used to work in Downtown Detroit, which was about a 40 mile drive for me, and a lot of stop and go traffic during the winter.  I loved working down there, but refused to live there.  This created quite the burden when it came to how much I spent on gasoline each month.

Fast forward several years later and I work about 10 miles from my house, and not only that, 9.5 miles my commute is all free way.  I also live close to my friends, my parents, and my wifes parents, which means less driving on a social level as well.  Gas prices tend to bounce up and down throughout the year, but they will never be back to the days of less than $3.00 a gallon, so we need to stop complaining and start solving the problem.  Remember the world’s economy revolves around the law of supply and demand.  Lessen the need and demand for oil, and you increase the supply, which in turn will actually lower the gas prices.

Hopefully this simple advice can help you save a few dollars, and perhaps hold off on bankruptcy a little longer ;)  In all seriousness, if you find yourself close to bankruptcy, look for other options such as Debt Free Direct bankruptcy advice, they have alternatives to help you avoid destroying your credit history as well available lines of credit.

How to Save Money on Petrol

How to Save Money on Petrol

The cost of petrol sets each driver back an average of £1300 each year according to a recent survey by the RAC. With the economy getting tougher and these petrol costs rising even higher, ways in which British drivers can save money are invaluable to us all. Fortunately there are a variety of ways in which this can be done. Â

Need for Speed?

If you want to avoid having to take out a payday loan to cover the cost of your petrol, you might want to start by fixing up on the speed of your driving. Unsurprisingly the speeds at which we drive at have an impact on our petrol usage.

However, saving petrol through controlling your driving speeds doesn’t necessarily entail driving slowly more of the time. There is little petrol difference between a driver of around 40mph with one of 30mph, or one at 50mph to one at 60mph. Instead the need for less speed becomes apparent when your car hits levels above 75mph. It is when this happens that your car really eats up its fuel.

The reason is simple; at very high speeds your engine will rev higher and as a result no longer be in the economical 2,000 to 2,500rpm band. It will thus be forced to work much harder to run and as a result drink way more petrol than normal.

Figures from our Department for Transport back this understanding with conclusions that driving at 70mph uses up to a significant 15 percent more than at 50mph. In addition, driving at 80mph can use as much as 25 percent more petrol than at 70mph.

Control your speeds to prevent yourself from going too fast.

Go Easy on the Revving

Never let the rev count go too high before changing gear. Letting your revs top 2,500 and 2,000 per minute on a petrol and diesel car respectively labours the engine in too high and therefore increases fuel consumption.

Handle Speed Bumps Correctly

One costly mistake constantly made by British drivers concerns speed bumps. Rather than driving along speed-humped roads at a steady 15-20mph, many of us brake hard, accelerate and then brake hard again for the next speed bump, drinking loads of petrol in the meantime.

Easy on the Air Con

While the effects are less noticeable at higher speeds, air conditioning can add between 5 percent and 7 percent in fuel costs when driving at low speeds. Crack the window open instead if you want to feel cooler but also save money on petrol.

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