Tuesday, January 28, 2014

How To Perform A Service Check

Performing regular maintenance on your car is very important to ensure the longevity and economy of your vehicle. However, most people don't know how or what they need to check in order to make sure the car stays in tip-top shape. Although you could go to a dealer or service shop for regular maintenance, there is no reason to spend the money if you can learn how to check things on your own. Therefore, I've assembled a guide to teach you how to look and what to look for when you perform a car service check.
The first thing you need to look at is the exterior of the vehicle, both around and underneath. If you see cracked or peeling tires, then obviously you need to replace them, but it is also important to check for leaks. A good sign of a leak of any type will be a small amount of liquid underneath the car. If you see black, then it is probably oil, if it is green than you most likely have a leak in your cooling system.

You also want to check the fluid levels under the hood to make sure they are all at proper levels. Check the engine oil (usually very easy to find), coolant levels, brake fluid, power steering fluid, transmission or transaxle fluid, and window washer fluid. All of these are important to top off as required to prevent your car from breaking down. Also, when you check your oil, if you see that it is very dark black, then you probably need to change it. Keeping your motor oil fresh is one of the easiest ways to keep a car's engine in top shape.

Once you've checked fluids, you need to look at the hoses, wiring, and sparkplugs. Check to make sure that everything is tight, that the insulation is intact, and that there are no cracks or holes in any of the wires or tubes. A vacuum leak, electrical short or loose sparkplug can all sideline your car, so take the time to look through every part of the engine compartment.
Once you've been under the hood, you have finished most of the car service check. Still, as a final check make sure that your lights, front and back, right and left, all work and that your break and emergency lights work as well. Test your horn, wipe off your lights, and make sure your wipers are still good to go. Once you've done all of these things, then you've done 90% more than most vehicle owners will do and as a result your car will run smooth and you'll know when something is wrong.
When it comes time to do a large repair, such as something inside the engine or underneath the body, or check something you don't understand, then I agree that you should take it in to get serviced, but there is no reason why you can't do the little things on your own and save a ton of cash in the process.

How To Purchase A Used Car

Purchasing a used car can be a risky proposition for a variety of reasons. For starters, unless you buy a certified used car, then you really have no idea how well of a condition the car is in and even if you buy a used car from a dealer, you can't be sure that the car won't die the minute you sign the contract. Another issue is false mileage readings and previous accident history. Although there are services that can help you address this problem, you need to make sure you are aware of them and use them. To help you, I'd like to tell you step by step how you can decrease your chances of getting ripped off and increase your chances of finding the used car of your dreams.
The two most common places to buy a used car are at car dealerships and in newspapers, although eBay is becoming very popular as well. If you are dealing with a private owner, you should always ask for a CARFAX vehicle history report, which will tell you the vehicle's mileage and accident history. If the owner is unwilling to show this to you, then the chances are very high that they have something to hide, at which point you should walk away. Most car dealerships will offer this without any hassle, but again if they refuse, then you need to walk away.

The second thing that you need to do is to try and trace the owner history as far back as possible. Knowing how many owners have owned the car will be great help in making your decision. If there have been a lot of owners, then it will be difficult to know the overall condition of the car or could signify the car has had a history of problems. If a vehicle has had very few owners then it is much more likely to have been treated well and sold in good condition.
If you are buying from a private owner, you will definitely have a hard time getting a warranty from them, but you can always purchase an aftermarket warranty from another company. However, at a minimum you want to make sure they have kept and maintained vehicle service records. Car dealerships often provide a minimum of a 1 year warranty, although often you can find one up to 3 years. Try to find a car with the longest warranty possible in the event that there is a hidden problem.
Lastly, make sure you check the used vehicle's value in the Kelly Blue Book, which should offer both private and dealer values. You are much more likely to get a fair price if you know what the car is worth beforehand.
Buying a used car can definitely be a very risky proposition if you don't know what you are doing, but if you are armed with the tools necessary to do it right, then you are much more likely to end up with a steal rather than a dud.

Get Super Cheap Car Insurance for Teenagers in Under 12 Minutes

If you have a teenager that you need to get car insurance for, you are probably worried that it is going to cost you a lot of money, and you are going to have to deal with increased rates on your car insurance. While it is true that teenagers can be more expensive to insure, and that your rates will likely increase once they are on your plan, you can still find ways to save more money and faster than you think, you can be scanning through insurance quotes online.
All you have to do is invest a few minutes of your time, go online and enter in a little information about the kind of plan you need, the current car insurance that you have, and the teenagers that are going to be on the plan. You can then receive multiple car insurance quotes from different companies delivered to you in less than 12 minutes. Online companies provide you with quotes on car insurance for teenagers that you can compare with your current insurance plan.
If you thought that you should always stay with your current insurance company to get the best rates, you may be able to save more money and get the coverage that you need by shopping around. While you sometimes can save money staying with your current company and adding on another policy, the rates for teenagers are often still very high, and most people begin to look other places to find the best coverage at the best prices.
Car insurance is not always as expensive or difficult to obtain as you may have thought. A lot of online companies will work hard to bring you the best rates and coverage for your teenager. Once you see the quotes from the different companies that you receive, you can take a few minutes and search through them to see what is available to you, and what you can choose that is going to get you the best deal.
Instead of assuming that your current insurance company is always going to give you the best rates, you should try to see what else is available that can not only meet your needs for coverage, but also save you money on your plans. Car insurance for teenagers is easy to look for online, and in under 12 minutes you can be searching through the results of quotes and choose the company that fits your needs for coverage and prices. Take a few minutes and go online to see how much money you could save on your insurance needs, and see how easy it is.

Is Your Car Insurance Company Going to Be There For You?

It happened to me on Christmas Day. It was a little after noon and we were on our way to visit my parents and deliver a car load of Christmas presents. That morning we had already had a memorable Christmas morning complete with gifts under the tree, kids joyfully ripping apart festive wrapping paper, and hot orange rolls for breakfast. As we were driving, we were looking forward to an equally enjoyable Christmas evening.
The roads were a little wet, but nothing compared to the previous day's snow storms. As we came up to a busy intersection, the car waiting to turn left across our lane was still inching forward with anticipation. When the car in front of us passed the car waiting to turn, it became apparent that the turning car was not even aware of our presence. We hit the brakes as soon as it became obvious that the turning was making their move, but it was too late. They hit us square on the driver's side front tire.
No one was hurt, but our car was completely disabled. The tire tilted at a near 45 degree angle and we were lucky there was enough momentum to help us reach the safety of the shoulder. A tow truck driver witnessed the accident and was ready to move our vehicle within minutes. The police arrived in short time, the paperwork was sorted out. We called a family member for a ride and when they arrived, we loading their car with the presents from the trunk and proceeded on to our original destination.
From there the rest of the process from making a claim to getting our car back was uneventful, exactly the way it should be. Making the claim with our local insurance agent was quick and painless. The car was towed to a local repair shop that worked with our car insurance company to conduct estimates and, after collecting our deductible, begin the repair process. They arranged to tow the car to a specialized mechanic to fix the internal damage and then brought it back to the shop to make the needed cosmetic repairs. Given the amount of damage, I was surprised to see the car again, but a little over three weeks later, my car was ready for the trip home as good as ever. Then, a short time after that, we received a check reimbursing us for the deductible since the accident was not our fault.
And as for those three weeks, they were pretty good too. The selection of rental cars during the holidays was very slim so we ended up getting upgraded to a brand new Chrysler 300 at no charge.
Having the right insurance company made what could have been a terrible way to end the holidays and start the new year into at worst, a minor inconvenience. There was no bickering over coverage amounts, our deductible was promptly refunded, our rental car was fully comped, and at the end of it all, our car drove as well as ever and with the new body work, looked that much better.
Automobile accidents are unavoidable. At some point in our lives, almost all of us will have to file an insurance claim. Make sure when the time comes for you, you have a car insurance company you can trust to make the process as painless as possible.

Protecting Yourself When Selling Your Own Car

You are ready to sell your car and selling it yourself will often bring you the most money. But it also can mean bringing a lot of strangers to you. So what are some things you can do to protect yourself when selling your car to an individual?
To start, you have to know your car's selling value. Use online car guides including the Kelly Blue Book to establish a base price for your vehicle. Before determining your car's price through these types of software you will need to know the make and model of your car, mileage and a general idea of its current condition.
Next, when selling your car yourself, you will want to protect yourself against thieves. It can be a pretty scary proposition to allow a total stranger to take your valuable car out for a test drive. So here are some tips when allowing another to test drive your car:
1. Trust your instincts. If any aspect of the potential buyer makes you uncomfortable, don't turn over the keys. As a private seller, you are not compelled to let somebody drive your car.
2. Does your insurance policy allow others to drive your car, call and find out. This could also give you a reason to prohibit solo test drives.
3. Make sure the driver has a valid driver's license, as well as any passengers if the car is going to be taken without you in it. It's too easy for one person to show up, claim to be the buyer, and then hand off the keys to an unlicensed driver.
4. The best thing to do is photocopy any information. If you don't have a copier at home, drive to a convenience store and make a photocopy. Only when this information is safely stored at home should you allow somebody to drive your car.
5. Did you car come with a valet key? If so, this is the one to hand over.
6. If you feel comfortable enough, accompany the potential buyer on the test drive. This will also help you inform the potential buyer about your car. You can point out the car's strengths and maybe distract the buyer from potential weaknesses. If you are afraid to go alone, ask a friend to join you. Sometimes it's always better to err on the side of caution.
7. Meet people in a public place. If your employer doesn't mind, a public place allows you a layer of anonymity from casual buyers.
8. Remove anything of value from your car. Things have a way of disappearing when you're not paying attention.
9. Always have your cell phone with you, even if meeting somebody in your driveway. It is a great insurance policy if anything goes wrong.
10. Tell the potential buyer upfront how much time they can have for the test drive. Upwards of 30 minutes is reasonable, if you accompany them. I would say only 15 minutes if they insist on driving alone. There is too much that can wrong in more than 15 minutes, such as stripping the car of valuable parts.
Once a decision has been made by the buyer to purchase your car, now you must choose how you will be paid. Cash should be your primary choice. It is also the most disconcerting because it offers no protection if stolen.
Another option is to have the buyer meet you at the bank where he or she has an account. Here they can have their check turned into a cashier's check made out to you. Offer to pay the buyer's fees for the check. After all, it is being done for your convenience. You can also meet at your bank. Anybody who can get a personal check or cashier's check can get cash. Deposit the cash and hand over the paperwork right there. Your bank might even offer you a spot to complete the transaction privately.
When selling online, many like to use escrow services. Escrow reduces the potential risk of fraud by acting as a trusted third party that collects, holds and disburses funds according to Buyer and Seller instructions. Find an escrow services that is licensed and regulated. The company should be able to accept various forms of payment. With escrow, you don't ship the used car until the escrow company tells you the funds have cleared. The funds are released to you when the buyer accepts delivery.
Now that the car has sold, you have the cash in your account or hand, it is time to inform your local motor vehicle department of the transaction. In the UK, when you sell your vehicle privately or through a motor trader you'll need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). If you fail to tell DVLA you could be held responsible for any future motoring offences committed in the vehicle. You should always keep a separate note of the buyer's name and address just in case they fail to make the transfer on their end.
This law is the same in the United States. The one with the name on the title is held liable for any fines or fees until the transfer of ownership is made. Because you can't count on your new buyer remembering to make the change on their part, it is best to accompany them to the local Department of Motor Vehicle Office and oversee the process.
Once the party that purchased the vehicle makes the transfer of title, you are free and clear and have safely and securely sold your vehicle on your very own.

Ten Things to Avoid When Purchasing a Used Vehicle

Purchasing a used vehicle can be full of uncertainties unless you take some precautions and make a well-thought out decision based on an intelligent assessment of the risks. Sometimes, a little luck and good fortune will find you a vehicle that suits your needs and your budget from someone you already know and trust. Most often though, people purchasing used vehicles have a limited budget, can't afford to pay some of the higher monthly loan premiums and are thumbing through sales ads, newspapers and automotive publications to search for their used wheels. This isn't necessarily the end of the world; many solid deals can be found for the right price with some astute advice and skilful bargaining practises.
Here are a few pearls of wisdom to help you discriminate between a fast-talking sales pitch and genuine gently used vehicle:
- don't take the seller's word for the condition of the vehicle; test drive it, take it to your trusted mechanic or ask a friend with mechanical expertise to evaluate it
- check the year, make and condition of the vehicle with the Kelly's black book value (or equivalent for your country) and make sure you are not paying more than what it is worth
- don't use your current vehicle to reduce the price of the used one; you won't get the full value for it unless you sell it in as an independent transaction
- don't let the seller know that you like the vehicle; they will play on your emotions and use it to sell you the vehicle for the highest price, often overlooking some of its faults
- don't go shopping alone if you are not mechanically savvy; the seller will pick up on this and use it to their advantage
- don't use the financing offered to you by the used car dealership; their interest rates are triple what a line of credit at a bank would be
- do your research; check online resources and the government website for licensing; they will have links you can follow to expand your knowledge of common pitfalls of certain vehicles and tips for finding a reliable product
- check to make sure that the vehicle identification numbers from the engine casing, transmission, frame and dashboard match; if they don't or if they are missing, it could mean the vehicle has been stolen
- check for automotive or bodywork filling compounds around the wheel wells, sill plates windows, bumpers and fenders; it could mean that much of the rough shape has been hastily and cosmetically covered up by a backyard mechanic or that the vehicle has been in an accident; rarely does a car or truck continue to be reliable after an accident
- do take the car through a car wash; if a lot of water finds its way into the vehicle, don't buy it
- do avoid really cheap vehicles; if they aren't worth that much money to sell, they probably aren't worth fixing
Finally, follow the old adage, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Keep the money you have and move on to a better vehicle.

Choosing Your Personalised Number Plate Style

Creating the image you want to reflect on your number plate is an extension of your personality, preferences and professional image. Your personalised number plate can serve as a business card or be a simple slogan you wish to send out as a message to the rest of the world.
Balancing Creativity with Sensibility
The decision to personalise your number plate shifts your anonymity in the vast sea of vehicles to the distinction that accompanies having your own label. Before you display your outstanding personal number plate, you need to make sure that this kind of attention will be something you will enjoy. Once you determine that this will be a good move, you will need to balance cleverness with socially acceptable statements. You don't want to end up covered in egg shells and making daily trips to the car wash.
Investing your Slogan
Some people are motivated to design a personalised plate by the possibility of an increased after sale value. Others are inspired by the challenge of waiting for a plate auction or owning a rare plate. The demand for the low number units is high; they are usually reserved for royalty making this option out of the league for modest incomes.
Writing Witty Words
Coming up with a creative and unique plate on your own is not easy; many clever combinations have already been assigned. Jot down words, phrases, slogans and symbols that you connect with; try to define you and your vehicle. Using fewer numbers and letters will place you within a more exclusive area of design, but they will also restrict your options for combinations. If your name is a popular one, take "Ann" as an example, ANN 799 is not going to be something on which you can plan your retirement.
You may want personalise the make, year and model of your car or motorcycle especially if it is a unique edition, rather than making the number plate an extension of yourself. Finding an unusual description to express the character of the vehicle requires a lot of mental agility; there is a limit the number of vehicles of the world. There is no limit to the uniqueness of each person, so combining the character of your vehicle with your own could result in a creative, show-stopping number plate.
Checking on-line resources will help to give you ideas if you feel stumped. Arriving at the personalised plate that you will be using for many years of your life is not usually an overnight decision; it requires careful thought, many scraps of paper and lots of late night thinking. Once you arrive at your inspiration, search for it on-line to see if it has been taken. Some plate owners are willing to auction the plate to the highest bidder. Another option is to register onto a waiting list for it.
Finishing your Product
Once you have claimed ownership of your personalised plate, peruse the different ways you can polish it. Dress it up with various fonts, backgrounds, external borders or colours. For an outstanding look, co-ordinate the colour of your bike or car with the colour of your number plate. Embellish your slogan with a 3-dimensional effect. If you want to add finesse, take the time to co-ordinate the style of the border, the colour of the font and background and then seal it with a badge or symbol that exemplifies your model.
Great ideas are contagious. Once you are struck with the inspiration, don't dither; make it a reality.