The Best Cars for Saving Money 2013

Cars are among the most expensive necessities in our modern world. With the high cost of insurance, pricey repairs and steep car payments, owning a car is a privilege that takes work, dedication and lots of money. Over the last decade, Americans saw the average price of gas in the United States rise over $2 a gallon, from $1.75 to over $4.00 in many places, making the cost of driving even more expensive than ever. New car sales have fallen in favor of used cars, driving the price of used cars over the Kelly Blue Book value. For those with the resources to purchase a new car, however, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Many cars are now hybrids or electric, reducing the cost of gas dramatically and car companies are reducing prices in order to draw in shoppers. Here are some of the top money saving cars for 2013.

2013 Toyota Prius

Toyota is known for making reputable, long-lasting cars but few cars have received the hype the Prius can boast. Debuting as a mid-size sedan in 2003 as the first major hybrid vehicle on the road, the Prius has been a smashing success for a decade. With an EPA designation as one of the cleanest cars on the road, an average MPG of 48 city and 51 highway and a starting price tag of $24,200, the Prius is one of the best money saving cars in existence. Additionally, the Prius also qualifies for the governments fuel efficiency incentives programs.

2013 Honda Civic

Same with Toyota, Honda is known for producing long-lasting vehicles and the Civic is one of the best loved compact cars on the road with over 20 million models sold. With an initial price tag of only $18,165 and a combined MPG of 35, Honda offers a safe, inexpensive and money saving car in the Civic.

2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid

Although Ford has had a tenuous reputation over the years, the 2013 Fusion Hybrid has found extraordinary success in the first half of the year. The Fusion Hybrid boasts a combined 47 MPG and provides a smooth, high tech ride to its drivers. Like the Prius, the Fusion qualifies for government incentives for its willing buyers.

2013 Toyota Rav4 EV

For drivers seeking a fuel efficient SUV that can save money, the Rav4 EV is the clear choice. The first all electric SUV on the market, the Rav4 uses no gas in its operations, allowing drivers to save hundreds each month on fuel costs alone. With a steep starting price tag of close to $50,000 the Rav4 EV requires an initial investment that will easily pay out down the road.

When looking to save money on the purchase of a car, drivers must remember the contributing factors to auto costs, such as gas mileage, repair costs and insurance rates. For example, newer, more reliable cars are cheaper to insure while luxury cars and gas guzzlers can be more costly. There are many secrets to lowering insurance costs, something you can discuss with an agent or representative. Regardless of your personal car preferences, some cars are less expensive to insure, less likely to break down and far more fuel efficient than others. Purchasing a Honda Civic, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Toyota Prius, or Toyota Rav4 EV will allow you to keep your costs down while enjoying the ownership of one of the best and most high tech vehicles on the road today.



Fuel Saving Tips to beat the Gas Crunch Part 2 of 4

Hello and welcome back for Part 2 of our 4-Part fuel saving tips to beat the gas crunch blog series. We’ve got an absolute ton of tips and advice for saving gas that were going to give to you today so, without further ado, let’s get started. Enjoy.

Filter out of kilter. A dirty air filter can actually decrease your mileage by 1 to 2 miles per gallon. Cleaning your air filter or replacing it will thus save you money on gas almost immediately. In most cars that have a replaceable air filter you can also do this yourself quite easily and save the cost to have it done by a professional.

Red light district. When driving through a neighborhood with many lights it would be best to time them so that, rather than having to stop at many red lights, you can cruise through green lights and not have to accelerate and decelerate as often. In most cases this entails driving a little bit slower and looking ahead to the lights as they’re coming so that you know what they’re going to be (red or green), more or less, once you get there.

Turn on your gas savings. Many people have the habit of slowing down completely, almost to a stop, in order to go through a turn. While we’re not saying that you should speed dangerously through turns, you can definitely roll through a turn at a little bit higher speed so that you’re not forced to use more gas to accelerate back up to speed once you’ve gone through the turn. Remember that the more you brake, the more gas you will use to speed back up afterwards.

Beat the heat. In winter the first thing that most people do is turn on their cars heat and defroster. While this may seemingly warm up the car faster it actually causes the engine to take longer to heat up to its most fuel efficient temperature. Better to use your cars heated seats (if it has them, of course) and, after about 10 minutes of driving, then turn on the heat and the defroster. If the windshield is heavily frosted you should use an ice scraper first to make sure that you have a clear view of the road.

You can drive 55. At 55 mph most cars are running at their maximum efficiency. Between 55 and 65 you might still be okay but anything over 65 will definitely cost you more gas per mile so, unless you’re really pressed for time, keep your speed and 55 and save money on gas.

Is it drafty in here. Drafting, or following behind a larger vehicle and taking advantage of the aerodynamic wind tunnel that they create, is a great way to save fuel if you do it correctly and safely. If you can use cruise control and stay within a distance that will allow you to brake safely if needed, drafting behind a large truck on the highway can actually save you up to 5% of your fuel. This is best done on long, straight and flat stretches of highway.

It’s bad at the top. Although filling up your tank might save you a little extra time because you won’t have to go back to the gas station as often, the extra weight can actually decrease your gas mileage. Not only that but many people overfill their tanks and actually lose gas from spillage. Better to fill your tank about two thirds full and make an extra trip or two to the gas station. You’ll use less gas and waste less gas.

Sneaky AC. In many new cars when you activate the defrost or ‘defroster + feet’ setting on your heater the air-conditioning will also be activated so that the defrosting or defogging of your windshield will be quicker. What won’t happen is that the AC indicator light won’t go on and, while you’re not aware of it, you’ll be using your AC and wasting gas. Of course, having your windshield completely defrosted is an important and safe thing to do but, knowing that the AC is being used, make sure you turn the defroster off as soon as you can.

Up to speed. Many people make the mistake of waiting until they are almost on the highway before accelerating up to highway speeds. Frankly, the ‘on ramp’ is made specifically for this purpose and so should be used to accelerate, if not completely up to highway speeds, somewhere close so that you don’t have to accelerate much faster to avoid cars that are already at speed on the highway.

Over the hill. If you just climbed a hill and you’re going slower than regular speed (and you don’t have people in a rush behind you) use that hill to cruise back up to speed rather than accelerating to do the same. You’ll save gas and give your engine a little bit of a break.

Patience young padawan. Unless you’re in a complete rush to be somewhere on time (and if you are it’s probably because you left too late) (be honest) being patient and taking your time to get where you need to go is definitely going to save you on gas and also be less stressful. If you’re in stop and go traffic led to the car ahead of you get even further ahead of you so that you can simply cruise rather than having to keep using your break every two minutes.

Well dear readers that it for Part 2. We hope that you’ve learned a few things today and that you can start using some of these tips right away to start saving gas. Will be back soon with part three and more excellent tips and advice for beating the oil companies at their own game. See you then.

Care and Maintenance Tips #8

Welcome back for the 8th and Final Part in our 8 Part series.  We’re so glad you’ve been able to join us and we hope that the Tips we’ve already shared have been helping you and enlightening you to what you can do to keep your car running well, looking good and using as little fuel as possible. Today’s Tips are the last but are just as important so let’s get started!

When you fill your car’s washer fluid tank never use water as this can freeze in winter and damage the entire system. Also, if you’re near the end of the fluid try not to use it until you can fill the reservoir again so that you don’t damage the empty system. If your washer tank is cracked you should replace it or, if you can’t right now due to financial reasons, use a heavy-duty plastic freezer bag in its place until you can.

Cars are tools and meant to carry us, and our stuff, to wherever we wish to go.  That being said you still want to make sure that you don’t overload the car, especially the roof-rack.  If you have to purchase something very heavy like sheet-rock, plywood, or anything else thatyou might first want to consider having it delivered, especially if the cost is reasonable.  It’s safer, it’s insured if they deliver and it won’t stress out your car’s suspension system or engine.

This is the same for towing as a load that is too heavy for your car or truck’s system could very well do some major damage to the drive train and over-tax the engine very heavily.  Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when towing or carrying anything with your vehicle.

Keeping an old blanket or, better still, a moving blanket in the car for when you need to put something on the roof is an excellent idea and will protect the paint from whatever you put up there.

Finally, securing anything that you put on the roof is vitally important for safety and to protect your car. If you’re going to do this regularly you should probably invest in a high-quality roof-rack, trailer hitch-rack or whatever you need for the types of loads that you’ll be taking.

And there you have it.  A multitude of excellent Tips and great advice for maintaining your automobile(s), lowering your maintenance costs, saving fuel and increasing your car’s resale value at trade-in time.  We truly hope that you’ve enjoyed all 8 Parts and wish you the best of luck with all your vehicles. Also we’d like to wish all of our reader’s a Happy New Year and a very prosperous 2013!


Care and Maintenance Tips #7

We’ve explored many ways to keep your car running well and looking good and today’s Tips are more of the same.  Just to reiterate, keeping your car well-maintained will not only reduce your repair costs over the life of the car but will reduce your fuel consumption and thus save you money every time you fill up.  With gas at nearly $4.00 a gallon in most parts of the country using less gas is one of the best ways we know to save money.

Wheel-well splashguards are a very important safety device for your car’s engine and other parts because they keep water, salt, slush, dirt and other damaging gunk away from these vital parts.  They are also quite flimsy so check them regularly and, if they get torn off or damaged, replace them right away.  If you don’t have them on your car and it’s still in good shape you should consider getting them.

Many people skip cleaning their cars in winter because, well, it’s pretty darn cold out there to be fooling around with water. The problem with this is that during the winter, especially if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and ice, the salt and/or sand that the road crews use to make the roads safer can be very damaging to your car.  Getting this off of your car as soon as you can and on a regular basis is vital to your car’s performance and looks. A well-done, thorough cleaning is important to do at least once a week but, if you can’t afford that and doing it yourself is out of the question, running it through even a cheap car-wash once a week is still better than nothing.

Waxing your car is also vital to its long-term looks and finish. Yes it’s a lot of work but, in the long run, it will keep the resale value higher and also give you a sense of satisfaction and pride that can’t be overrated. If you can afford it you can have this done professionally and experts recommend once a month in winter and once every 6 weeks in summer. If you need to do it yourself get a good brand of wax and follow the instructions.

Washing and cleaning the interior is just as vital and should be done often to make sure that stains don’t form and that dirt and debris don’t accumulate to the point that your car starts to smell unpleasant.

The time and energy that you out into maintaining your car well will most certainly pay off when you go to trade it in or resell it. Yes it’s sometimes a time-consuming pain but it really is worth the trouble.  Also worth the trouble is to come back for the 8th and Final Part of our 8 Part series.  See you soon!


Care and Maintenance Tips #6

Part 6 of our 8 Part Series is all about your car’s tires.  One of the most important parts of your car they should be maintained well and, if done, this maintenance will save you a good deal of money during the life of your car in terms of lowered fuel costs and repair costs as well.

Maintaining your car tire’s proper inflation is vital. Experts recommend checking tire pressure at least once a month and more if you live where it’s always very hot.  Checking tires when they are cold or in the morning is the best time of day to get an accurate reading of the psi.

If you use an air pump at your local gas station check to see that there’s no moisture coming from the pump itself by putting your thumb over it and seeing if it gets wet.  If it does you may want to inform the attendant and then go to another station until the problem is fixed as even a little bit of water inside the tires can cause the rims to corrode and pressure variations that could damage the tires.

If you keep the tire pressure checked but still find that your tires are wearing unevenly you may consider going to get the alignment checked. Uneven wear may also be a sign of bad brakes, shocks or a bent wheel as well as worn bushings or other tire damage.

Driving on bad treads is not only bad for the car but is also quite dangerous.  Most tires these days have ‘wear bars’ that will tell you when it’s time to get them replaced.  A great way to check and see if your tires are still good is to grab a quarter (American, .25 cents) and put it so that President Washington’s head is inserted between the treads.  If part of his head is inside the tread you’re still good but if not the tires should be replaced ASAP.

Rotating the tires regularly is an excellent idea to make sure that they wear evenly and you get the most out of every set.  Experts will tell you that the first rotation is the most important so check your manual or ask the dealer to make sure that you don’t miss it.

If you live in an area of the country where the temperatures go to extremes on a daily basis check your tire pressure more often.  Also, make sure that you always have caps on all 4 of the inflation valves as they can leak if not capped and cause under-inflation problems.

How about those great Tips! Not bad right?!  We hope you like them and use them and, when you’re ready for more, come join us for Part 7!


Care and Maintenance Tips #5

Welcome back!  Part 5 of our 8 Part Car Care and Maintenance series is all about protecting the interior and exterior of your car.  Doing this will not only keep it looking good but, when it’s time to finally trade-in or sell, will increase greatly the amount of money that you can on it and put towards the purchase of your next new car.

If you have leather upholstery you probably paid a lot extra for it so you’ll want to take care of it well.  This means cleaning it regularly and using a leather protectant made for cars to help it resist stains and keep it from cracking and fading later.

Cleaners that you use in your home can be used on regular car upholstery material but be sure to use them sparingly and don’t saturate the fabric. Scotch-guarding the fabric can also be a great idea to help it, like the leather, resist stains and stay better-looking longer and also keep its original texture.

If you have a baby and are using a baby seat in the car you should put a towel under it to ensure that you don’t permanently damage or stain the upholstery. A heavy piece of plastic can do the same thing and both will protect from the inevitable stains that baby will make.

All cars will eventually get nicks, scratches and gouges no matter how well you drive.  These should always be repaired as soon as possible to prevent moisture from seeping in under the paint and causing rust to start forming. Even a small, inconspicuous scratch can be the start of major rust damage so check the car often for these and have a bottle of touch-up paint handy at all times to make the necessary repairs quickly.

If you have a cracked turn-signal cover or a tail-light cover you could be risking major damage to your car’s electrical system. If water were to seep into the light assembly the electrical system could short-out and cost a lot to repair. If you can’t get to a parts store right away use colored duct tape that matches the light cover until you can get a new cover to replace the old, cracked one.

If you find that you have to replace a light bulb do so with care and caution. Clean the corroded socket well and brush it with a metal brush before putting in the new bulb. When you’re done seal the gasket with some rubber protectant also.

Use these Tips all the time and you’ll find that when you go to resell your car the price you’ll get will make you very pleased.  And of course come back and see us for Part 6!


Care and Maintenance Tips #4

Welcome back for Part 4!  We know you’re itching for more great Car Care Tips to extend the life of your auto and maintain its resale value so without much fuss we’ll jump right into it!

Keeping your car clean is one of the best ways to maintain its resale value, and that includes cleaning the dash and gauges carefully so that you don’t scratch the clear plastic over them. This can lead to problems reading them in the future and a lower price when you eventually sell it.

If your car didn’t come with floor mats you need to work on your negotiation skills and you need to purchase a set of mats.  These will take the beating that sand, mud, water and other stuff will cause to your car’s carpeting and can be replaced when you go to sell it.  A few bucks now for some car matts can mean big bucks later when you go to resell it.

When you clean your car, especially in summer when it’s hot outside, thoroughly clean your mats with the hose and get all the dirt out of them, then let them dry thoroughly in the sun. You can also use a foam rug cleaner to get out stubborn stains just like you use it in the house, vacuuming when dry.

Maintain all of the rubber weather-stripping on your car with a rubber protectant like Armor-All that is made specifically for this task. Never use a product that is oil-based as this can damage the rubber more than protect it. Treating it with rubber protectant will also decrease the likelihood that it will stick to the metal parts in cold weather and get damaged.

While we’re on the weather-stripping if yours is so bad that its letting water seep into your car its already past time to replace it or at the very least repair it. If it needs repairs go to a car parts store and ask advice from an expert.  If it need to be replaced you should really let the pros do it at you garage or at the dealership. Water seepage into any area of your car that’s not meant to have water on it can be very damaging and lower the resale value of your car substantially. If this occurs within the first months you should go back to the dealer for repairs as it should be covered by the warranty.

We hope you’re not only enjoying this 8 Part series but that the Tips and advice we’re giving are helping you and possibly opening your eyes to some things that you should be doing.  We’ll be back soon with Part 5.  Have a great day!




Care and Maintenance Tips #3

We’re back for Part 3 and we’re glad you’ve decided to join us.  Just as before we’re going to give you some great Tips for maintaining your car and making sure that you keep repair costs and maintenances costs down and keep the car as long as you can, all of which will save you money in the short and long run.

A great way to do this is to keep an Auto Log.  If you keep track of the mileage that you’re getting and you see that it suddenly starts to fall off this may be a sign that something is wrong and that you need to get it checked out.

Storing your car for long periods of time means that you need to do a few things to make sure that it runs well when you return and that nothing gets damaged while it’s not being run.

  • To take care of the gas fill up the tank and use a fuel stabilizer that you can get at any car parts store.
  • If it will be outside wash and wax it well to protect the finish.  If you can purchase a car-cover that would be very helpful.
  • If it’s going to be in your house’s garage or in a storage garage you should put a vapor barrier on the floor.
  • Don’t use the parking brake unless absolutely necessary.
  • If it’s going to be more than a few weeks jack the car up and put it on stands to reduce the wear on the wheels, tires, struts and shocks.
  • Disconnect the battery to keep it from draining.
  • Place a rag in the tailpipe to make sure that moisture doesn’t form.

Whenever possible park your car in the shade.  If this isn’t possible and it’s parked in a safe area use a car cover if the sun is always blazing. If neither is possible at least use a car-shade inside to protect the dash and the gauges.  This will also give you a bit cooler car to get into at the end of a long, hot day.

Cleaning the inside of your car is also a vital task. Dirt, sand and other stuff can be very abrasive and ruin your matts, rug and other interior car parts.  Vacuum your car regularly, making sure to use the vacuum carefully and not scratch plastic parts, leather or other parts. The fact is, when reselling your car the interior is one of the most important, and most looked at, parts and a nice interior will get you more money.

To save even more money join us back here soon for Part 4 of our Car Care and Maintenance 8 Part series.  See you soon!


Care and Maintenance Tips #2

Welcome back for Part 2 of out 8 Part Car Maintenance Tips series. Part 1 had some great Tips for what to do (and not to do) when you first purchase your car.Part 2 has many more so if you’re ready let’s get started!

The gasoline that you put in your car is extremely important.  Not the grade, which most experts say can be ‘regular’ for almost all cars, but more importantly where and when you buy it.  Finding a reputable station and using the same one all the time, if you can do that, is a great idea.

If you see the fuel tanker in the parking lot when you go to get gas turn around and leave to find another. When the underground tanks that hold the gas are filled it causes the sediment in the bottom to become stirred up and this sediment can go right into your engine and cause problems for the fuel injectors and filters.

Filling up in the morning, especially in summer, is a good idea because the gas will be less expanded from the heat and you’ll actually get about 5% more for your money.

If your car gets stuck in the mud, snow or wherever don’t try to get it unstuck too forcefully. The fact is, if it’s really badly stuck it will probably cost less to get it towed out than the damage you will likely cause racing the engine and spinning the tires trying to get it free. The reason is that repeatedly trying to ‘rock’ the car free can generate a tremendous amount of heat and this heat can damage the transmission, the differentials and the clutch.  If you use your car or truck in situations where this can occur frequently carry a bag of sand or gravel to help with traction when it happens.

Get rid of all the junk on your keychain.  This might sound silly but a heavy key chain can cause wear on the tumblers of the ignition and cause it to fail.  Experts say that you should only put the ignition key in the ignition and nothing more for the best results so maybe it’s time to get rid of all those silly tchotchkes you have and lighten up the load.

One of the most important things you can do for your car is to make sure that it is insured correctly and by a reputable company that will, in the case of an accident, replace all parts with original manufacturers parts, guarantee the repairs and let you take it to the dealer for all repairs.

And of course the very best thing you can do is come back and join us for Part 3.  See you back here soon!


Care and Maintenance Tips #1

One of the biggest investments that you have is your car which means that taking care of it is vitally important. The better you maintain it the longer it will last, the less it will cost to repair, the less fuel it will use and the more you will make when you go to trade it in.  With that in mind we’d like to present an 8 Part Series on Auto Maintenance Tips that will Save you Money.  We hope you enjoy it and, without further ado, let’s get stated with Part 1.

One of the most important time periods in a car’s life is the break-in period. Take care of it well during these important first few weeks and it will pay you back with a lot less problems down the road.

  • Drive less than 55 mph for the 1st 1000 miles, typically considered the break-in period for most cars.
  • Don’t pull heavy loads that strain the drive train or load the roof racks, trunk or bed with heavy loads either.
  • Letting a car idle for long periods is never a good idea because the oil pressures that this can cause when it is new can prevent oil from getting to every part of the engine.
  • During the first few days do your best to keep the rpm’s below 3000 and use light to medium acceleration from a stop.

After the break-in period is over you’ll still want to baby your car and drive it well every single day.

  • Whenever you first begin your day accelerate slowly for the first 15 to 20 minutes. Experts say that this is when the most damage can be done to your engine and drive train.
  • In the morning never race your car’s engine to ’warm it up’.  This is actually very damaging to many of your car’s parts.
  • At long stop-lights switching your car to neutral is an excellent idea to give the engine a small break.
  • Letting your car warm up in idle is actually a very bad idea. The reason is that the engine doesn’t run as well, fuel combustion is impaired and soot, oil contamination and damaged parts are the result.  Most cars’ these days can be started and driven right away with no problem at all.
  • Accelerating very quickly or driving at very high speeds, especially in temperature extremes, can lower the life of your car’s engine considerably.
  • When turning the steering wheel do your best to not turn it all the way right or left for more than a few seconds because this can damage the power-steering pump.
  • Take care of your tires by avoiding obstacles like pot-holes, driving at normal speeds, avoiding fast stops and starts and of course never ‘burning rubber’.

Those great Tips should get you started.  Come on back for Part 2 soon and more excellent Tips on how to keep your car running well longer and saving you money.

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