Some best SUVs to buy in 2020

Do you want to choose one of the best SUVs? Here is a list of some best SUVs to buy in 2020.

Nissan Kicks

Attractive aggressive design, automative emergency braking and 125 horsepower inside. This model reaches 60 mph for 9.7 seconds. It is not so fast and powerful but it will save a decent amount of your fuel. The cabin is spacious enough for cargo and people.

BMW X1

Definitely the smallest BMW SUV with 228 horsepower, 6.3 sec time to reach 60 mph. Upscale materials inside the cabin and as large space for cargo as in other X-series bigger models.

Volvo XC40

It offers a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with two variations: 184 hp and 248 hp. It has many well-thought details like a small removable garbage bin near the center console.
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Auto Subscription Services

Up until now, there were three ways to purchase a new or used car. One, an outright cash purchase; two, financing through a bank or credit union, and three, leasing. There is now a fourth option: auto subscription services.

Subscription services are similar to leasing in that you don’t own the car but you have the use of the car for a specified period of time. Most subscription services have an all-inclusive monthly fee, that includes insurance, roadside assistance, and maintenance.

Some subscription services offer the use of different models of cars. The service requires a short notice from the client in order to reserve another model car of that car brand. In many instances, the car is delivered to you by a concierge.

Book by Cadillac was the first auto subscription service. In 2018, when it was first introduced to the market, it cost $1800 per month, and the customer had the use of five models, including the XT5.

Subscription services are available in a limited number of locations, but there is a steady flow of new subscription services cropping up. Among the new services are:

  • BMW: Access by BMW, introduced in April, 2019, in the Nashville market area.
  • Mercedes-Benz is test marketing its subscription service in the Nashville and Philadelphia area.
  • Audi, Audi Select, introduced in September of 2018, in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area.
  • Ford, Canvas, introduced a used car subscription service, operating in the San Francisco/Los Angeles market.
  • Lincoln recently entered the auto subscription market using the Canvas service. The service employs 2015 and 2017 used Lincolns in the San Francisco/Los Angeles metropolitan area.
  • Porsch’s car subscription service, called Passport subscription service, is only offered in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Volvo’s “Care by Volvo” is available nationwide. Customers can choose the 2019 Volvo XC40 Luxury SUV and the newly designed 2019 S60 sedan. Volvo is also panning on offering the all new 2019 Volvo V60 wagon in its subscription program. In addition, Volvo’s new electric car brand Polestar, will offer a subscription pan for its 2020 Polestar 1 and Polestar 2 electric cars.
  • Lexus will offer the all-new 2019 UX subcompact in a subscription plan.
  • In 2019, Jeep will introduce its own subscription plan called Jeep Wave.

New auto companies and dealer groups are also offering subscription services.

  • Fair, based in Los Angeles
  • Flexdrive
  • Clutch Technologies: Clutch, Atlanta
  • Drive Flow in North Carolina
  • Wyler Fast Lane in Cincinatti

 

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Should You Buy Or Lease Your Next New Car?

The subject of buying or leasing a new car is a very interesting one and something that I, as an automobile salesman for over seventeen years, encountered almost every day. Through my experience, many customers have a preconceived idea of leasing as not desirable, which is based, I feel, on numerous past transactions and the influence of family and friends.

Buying a car for cash or financing a car was the only way to go until Zollie Frank and Armund Schoen established Four Wheels, a long term fleet leasing company in 1941. Leasing was a novelty through the 40s and 50s and wasn’t really a factor until the late 60s and 70s. People were “conditioned” to buying a car, either for cash or financing, because there was no real alternative. Leasing became popular during the 1990s when auto manufacturers offered very low lease payments so that the manufacturers and dealers could move inventory. Over the past twenty to twenty-five years, leasing has become very popular and now accounts for approximately 25% of all new car transactions. But, it is not for everybody. The following is a comprehensive list of the pros and cons of purchasing versus leasing a new car.

Be aware that when I mention purchasing, I am referring primarily to financing through a bank, credit union or manufacturer’s bank.

  1. Ownership of Car

When you buy a new car you retain ownership a long as you want. When you lease a new car, you don’t own it. You, in essence, are renting the car for a specified period of time, usually twenty-four to thirty-six months. At end of lease, you must turn the car in, unless you decide to buy it.

2. Up-Front Charges

  • When purchasing a new car, your up-front costs are the down payment, dealer fees, motor vehicles registration fees and sales tax.
  • When leasing, the up-front costs include: first months payment, a down payment ( although not required, a down payment lowers monthly payment), acquisition fees, a refundable security deposit, motor vehicle fees and taxes.

3. Monthly Payments

  • When purchasing, your monthly payment is based on the purchase price (less down payment if any). interest, other finance charges, dealer fees, motor vehicle fees and taxes.
  • When leasing, your monthly payment is based on the pre-determined depreciation of the vehicle during the lease term, rent charges(similar to interest), dealer fees, motor vehicle fees, and taxes.

4. Early Termination

  • When purchasing a new car, you can trade the car in or sell the car at any time. Any positive equity can be used to pay off the car or used toward a down payment towards another car.
  • When leasing, you may not(according to the lease agreement) terminate the lease early. Only exception is if lessee passes away or dealer decides to buy out lease – as a trade – towards the next new car purchased or leased.

5. Returning Car

  • If you have purchased your car, you can trade it in or sell it at any time.
  • If you have leased the car, you typically must turn the car in at end of lease. You sometimes pay a lease termination fee and any other end of lease charges(if they are in contract). You then walk away from the lease.

6. Car’s Future Value

  • With a purchase, the car will depreciate in value every year. But, depending upon when you decide to sell or trade it, the car does have a trade value.
  • When leasing, the car has no future value because you do not own the car, and, there is no equity in the car. *Exception: If car is traded in and the trade in amount is higher than the lease’s pre-determined buy-out price.(This is not a common scenario)

7. Mileage Factor

  • When financing, you can put as many miles as you want on the vehicle. But, the more miles you put on, the less the car is worth in resale value. This is an important factor when trading or selling the car.
  • When leasing, the lease ha a pre-determined mileage limit, ranging from 10,000 to 12,000, to 15,000 miles per year. The lessee has the option at lease inception to buy extra miles up front. Each lease contract has a pre-determined excess mileage charge, usually from fifteen cents to twenty-five cents per mile. However, if your over mileage is excessive at end of lease, you do have the option to buy the car at that point.

8. Wear and Tear

  • When purchasing, you don’t have to be overly concerned with excessive wear and tear except that, when trading or selling car, excessive wear and tear will lower vehicle’s value.
  • When leasing, the lessee is responsible(in most cases) for excessive wear and tear and lease company will bill you for the amount owed. Note: Normal wear and tear is normal wear on tires, minor scratches to exterior and dirt in(and on) interior surfaces. Excessive wear and tear is bald tires, major scratches or dents and rips or cuts in upholstery, door panels, dash board and carpeting.

9. Contract Termination

  • When buying, end of loan (after all payments have been made) equates to no additional payments and equity in the vehicle.
  • When leasing, at end of lease (which is anywhere from twenty-four to thirty-six months), you can walk away from car, buy or lease another car, or finance the leased car at the pre-determined buy-out price.

10. Vehicle Add-ons

  • When financing, you can add on or customize car as long as you are aware that you may void your warranty. I advise not to alter vehicle, in any way, while it is under warranty.
  • When leasing, any added on parts must be removed prior to turning car in. Any damage to car caused by the removal of parts will be charged to lessee or lessee must repair the car before turning it in.

In conclusion, purchasing or leasing a car is a very personalized decision based on an individual’s mindset, circumstances and financial considerations.

A good rule of thumb, based on my experience as an auto salesperson, is that if you think you will be driving in excess of 20,000 miles/year, it is usually a good idea to purchase the car. Why? Because, at that amount of miles, the lease prices go up considerably (lower residuals) such that there is a smaller difference between the lease monthly payment and the finance (loan) monthly payment. It does depend on lease residuals and money down and can vary, depending upon lease company and bank rates. Also at 20,000 miles a year, in two years you are out of many bumper-to-bumper warranty periods (based on 36 months or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first). It’s something to think about.

If you follow the above guidelines you will have a clearer understanding of the pros and cons of buying (purchasing) versus leasing. I hope that you find the information helpful in the purchase or lease of your next car.

Enjoy your new car!

Happy Motoring!

Remember for your auto parts, please shop online from Amazon.com, Tirerack.com, and Vividracing.com.

A Brief History Of Muscle Cars From 1949 – 1973

What are muscle cars?  Originally, muscle cars were defined as two door coupes that had a high performance engine, modified suspension and transmission and were considerably faster than their “stock” or factory versions.  Essentially, muscle cars are high horsepower lightweight automobiles.

The unofficial beginning of the muscle car era was in the late forties and fifties coinciding with the return of GIs after World War II.  There was a pent up demand for fast cars and, in 1949, GM introduced the Oldsmobile Rocket 88.  The Rocket 88 had a high compression overhead valve V-8 engine in a relatively light body.  GM used the same platform as the Oldsmobile 76 that had a smaller displacement V-6 motor.  This combination of light weight body married to a high performance engine defined the beginning of the Muscle Car Era.

 

The muscle cars were a by-product of the moonshiners and bootleggers of the 1920s, whose cars were modified to outrun the police.  Their cars were designed for speed, handling and cargo capacity.  By the 1940s, the moon shining business declined due to the repeal of Prohibition on December 5, 1933.  Moon shiners began to use their cars for racing and were the dominant force in street racing throughout the forties.  Their influence and the demand for faster cars directly influenced the development of the Oldsmobile Rocket 88.

 

So, the Muscle Car Era blossomed in the 1950s to fill a marketing niche for inexpensive fast cars.  In addition to the Rocket 88, Chrysler brought to market the Hemi V-8 and Chevrolet countered with their small block V-8.  The Hemi design produced more power than ever before, and the Chrysler 300 C, introduced in 1955, was the first Chrysler product with the Hemi engine.  It had 300 HP and was the most powerful car on the road.  GM introduced the small block V-8 in 1955, and employed the engine for the next fifty years.  The small block V-8 was an important factor in the evolution of muscle cars.

Lightweight cars with big, powerful engines were very fast in a straight line but had poor handling, and as a result, drag racing developed into a popular sport in the 1950s.  In 1954, Ford designed a new overhead valve V-8 engine, called the Y-block, that powered high end Ford and Mercury cars for the next ten years.

During the 1950s, the most popular cars for drag racing were Fords, Chevys, Pontiacs, Dodge and Chryslers.  It was during this period that “gassers” were introduced – it was a style of drag racing in the late 50s and 60s that used gasoline as fuel.  Drag racing accelerated in popularity in the 1960s and cars became more powerful each year.


Because manufacturers were pitted against each other in the quest to build faster cars, GM, Ford and Chrysler dropped all larger cars for drag racing and concentrated on building smaller, lighter weight vehicles.  The 1963 Pontiac Super Duty had a “swiss cheese” type frame with large, “stampel out” holes in its chassis rails, resulting in a much lighter car.

In 1964, Pontiac introduced the Pontiac Tempest GTO.  The GTO looked like a plain Tempest but had a large displacement, 389 cubic inch V-8 under the hood.  The GTO was fast and affordable at around $3200.  In its first year the company sold six times as many GTOs as projected for that year.  Ford introduced the 427 cubic inch V-8 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt that was made in limited quantity and was so fast that it was considered dangerous to drive.

In 1964, the Ford Mustang arrived and technically it was not considered a muscle car because it did not have a big displacement engine.  It wasn’t until 1967, when Ford upsized the Mustang V-8 to a big block 390 cubic inch V-8, that the Mustang was considered a true muscle car.  During this time period, GM introduced the Camaro and Pontiac Firebird and, in 1966, Plymouth introduced the Roadrunner and GTX with 426 Hemi engines.  Dodge came out  with the Dodge Charger 426 Hemi in 1966.  Also, in 1964, Chevrolet introduced the Chevelle SS 2 door coupe.  The Chevelle was very popular   in the 1960s and 1970s for street and drag racing.

The year 1968 brought stringent federal safety and emissions rules and standards.  Around this time, there was a new safety lobby led by Ralph Nader.  The new rules and standards didn’t affect the muscle car market as the Camaro, Firebird and Mustang were significantly upgraded.  GM cut the price of the Pontiac GTO and it was completely restyled.  The GTO came with floor shifting manual transmission and special GTO trim and tires.  Many people consider the GTO as the first true muscle car.

The “Golden Age” of muscle cars was the 1960s and early 1970s.  During this time, the “big three” auto manufacturers were in competition to produce fast and mean looking cars.  Muscle cars were affordable and were intended for street use and drag racing.  There was no concern for gas prices as premium gas was thirty five cents a gallon.  Muscle cars flourished and they were at their peak from 1964 – 1973.  Some of the other “hot” muscle cars were the:

1) 1967 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake

2) 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

3) 1969 Ford Mustang 428 Cobra Jet with RAM air induction and functional hood scoops

4) 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS 454 cubic inch V8

5) 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda

6) 1970 and 1971 Dodge Challenger

7) 1968 to 1971 Chevrolet Nova SS coupe

Being a baby boomer, I owned an original 1971 Dodge Challenger with a 383 cubic inch, 300 HP engine, 4-speed close ratio transmission with “pistol grip” shifter and dual exhausts.  I have always loved cars and the Challenger was a once in a lifetime automobile!

 

In conclusion, muscle cars flourished during their Golden Era.  Cheap gas and affordable horsepower and a tremendous demand for faster and faster cars fueled an “explosion” of different muscle cars marketed by Chevy, Ford and Chrysler.  By 1974, the Golden Age of muscle cars was over because of the gas shortage in 1973 leading to much higher gas prices, rigid safety and emissions regulations and high insurance rates.  Consumers purchased small, gas efficient cars, and the high horsepower cars became a product of high priced sports cars, top of the line Camaros, Mustangs and Challengers and luxury cars.  Gone are the days with the $3000 and $4000 muscle cars.  But they were a blast to drive and they have left their legacy on car enthusiasts!

Happy Motoring!

Remember for your auto parts, please shop online from Amazon.com, Tirerack.com and Vividracing.com.

A Guide To Selecting The Best Used Cars Under $10,000

In my preceding article, ” A Guide To Selecting The Best Used Car”, I listed my personal criteria for finding the best used car in the $10,000 and up price range. My criteria is based on over forty five years of buying and selling cars and over 17 years of selling new and used cars for a dealer. I do hope that you found the article interesting and informative. This article focuses on the buying of a used car less than $10,000, and, as you will see, most of the same criteria apply.

Because of my background in selling Toyotas, Hondas, and Nissans, I firmly believe that these brands offer the consumer the “best reliability factor.” Also, very respected magazines such as Consumer Reports gives the highest reliability ratings to Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Subaru, Hyundai and Kia. I mention this because when purchasing a used car under $10,000, reliability in the long run is extremely important. Many buyers prefer GM, Ford and Chrysler and that’s fine. The criteria that I list in this article applies to all brands and all models. As an example, if you are looking at a 2007 Jeep Wrangler, it is very important to research the car. Does the Jeep have the right mileage for a 2007 Jeep Wrangler? Are you able to get a Car Fax on the vehicle? Check the interior and exterior condition and of course have a trusted mechanic thoroughly inspect the car.

If you are looking for a $2000 to $4000 car, the first advise I have is to be very careful. A car that sells in this price range is usually 8 – 15 years old and most likely has accumulated many miles. The most important thing is to have a trusted, qualified mechanic inspect the car to make sure it is in good running order. No one wants to buy a car only to find it needs $500 or more in repairs to get it back on the road.

I realize that purchasing any car is, to some people, an emotional decision, and that reliability may not play as important a role in the buyer’s purchasing decision. I experienced this as a salesman. People are spending a lot of money for a car and they want the car that excites them. My main point here is to keep in mind that I am guiding you to buying the best used car under $10,000.

So, when purchasing a used car or truck for $10,000 or less, these are the most important factors to consider:

1.  Road test the car

Road testing a used car, in any price range, is vitally important. Even more so for a car that is in this price range. It is a tricky thing to know how the car was maintained unless the buyer obtains a Car Fax. One of the negatives of purchasing an older car from a private party is that the seller may not have service records of previous owners of the car. Have a mechanic road test the car to listen for pings and noises that might indicate mechanical problems.

2.  ESC – Electronic Stability Control

3.  ABS – Anti-lock braking system

4.  Appropriate mileage for the model year

For example, a 2010 car should have around 96,000 miles on it. The formula is 12,000 miles per year.

5.  A thorough mechanical inspection by a trusted, reliable and  qualified mechanic.

6.  A car fax (if purchasing from a dealer)

7.  Reliable Dealer


I prefer purchasing a used car from a dealer because the car (depending on age) will have a dealer and state warranty. Also, the dealer has serviced the car to make sure it is mechanically sound. The dealer has reconditioned the car, checked the engine and transmission, inspected the suspension, brakes, steering and cooling system and checked that the tires have good tread. A good used car dealer will only sell a car if it is in the best operating condition because of reputation and cost management. If you do intend to buy a car from a private party, be extremely cautious. Remember you are buying the car “as is.”

Listed below are the 10 most reliable used cars under $10,000, as determined by U.S. News and World Report.

Model Reliability Average Price Score
2009 Hyundai Genesis 5/5 $8051 9.5/10
2008 Mercedes Benz E-Class 4/5 $9368 9.5/10
2010 Ford Fusion 5/5 $7548 9.3/10
2008 Acura RL 5/5 $8410 8.9/10
2009 Audi A3 5/5 $7747 9.2/10
2010 Lexus ES 5/5 $8781 9.3/10
2007 Honda Accord 4.5/5 $5002 9.3/10
2010 Mazda Miata 5/5 $9794 9.1/10
2009 Saturn Outlook 5/5 $7329 9.2/10
2009 Toyota Sienna 5/5 $9432 9.2/10

Listed below are the 10 most reliable used cars under $10,000, as determined by Consumer Reports.

Compact Cars

Pontiac Vibe 2008 – 2010
Toyota Matrix 2008 – 2010
Kia Soul 2010 – 2012
Mazda 3 2009 – 2012
Toyota Corolla 2008 – 2011
Toyota Prius 2008 – 2009

Sedan Cars:

Mazda 6 2009 – 2011
Honda Accord 2008 – 2009
Toyota Camry 2008 – 2009

Summary:

In my opinion, for all car buyers searching for a used car $10,000 or less, the following are the most important things to do:

  1. Road test the car
  2. If possible, buy a car with ESC – Electronic Stability Control
  3. Buy a car with ABS – Antilock Braking System
  4. Buy a car with the appropriate mileage
  5. Have the car thoroughly inspected by a qualified mechanic
  6. If purchasing from dealer, obtain a Car Fax
  7. Purchase from a reliable dealer
  8. Remember that reliability is just as important as affordability
  9. Check with Kelley Blue Book for used car pricing
  10.  

By following the guidelines above, you are insuring that you purchase the best car possible within your budget.

Happy Motoring!

Remember for your auto parts, please shop online from Amazon.com, Tirerack.com, and Vividracing.com.

A Guide to Selecting The Best Used Car Over $10,000

What are the best used cars? This is a “loaded” question because what’s best for one person is not necessarily the best for someone else. A person on a very limited budget may only afford a $2000 car as compared to someone who has $2000 to put down as a down payment. For purposes of this article, I am referring to the “best” used cars as those that are considered the most reliable by Consumer Reports and have purchase prices of $10,000 (retail price) or more.

Since 2003, I have purchased only used Japanese cars. I am a firm believer that the most reliable cars present the best overall “value” to the consumer. What do I mean by “value?” It equates to those cars that offer the most quality and product for the money. I admit to having a bias for Japanese car brands, but that bias is based upon research and many years of experience buying and selling cars.

Consumer Reports, which is my “bible” for rating the reliability of automobiles, has consistently rated Honda, Subaru, Mazda, Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia as the top rated new and used cars. For luxury brands, they rate Infiniti, Lexus and Acura as the most reliable, although it varies by each model year. Toyota has a popular advertising slogan: “The best new cars make the best used cars” which directly reflects the findings of Consumer Reports.

So, reliability is the most important factor in selecting the brand and model of a used car. Once you have chosen a brand, here are the most important things to look for when purchasing a used car:

1.  Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

ESC is computerized technology that improves a car’s stability by detecting and reducing loss of traction. In essence, ESC regulates the degree of traction and helps prevent skidding in inclement weather. I recommend that the used car that you purchase have ESC. (most cars after 2012 have ESC standard.

2. Anti-Lock Braking Systems (ABS)

ABS is a safety anti-skid system that operates to prevent wheels to lock up during braking. This is a “must-have” feature and is standard in many used cars from 2012 on.

3.  Thorough Examination

Have a “trusted” mechanic, or technician, check out the used car before you buy it. The mechanic will check all operating systems to make sure that they are in good running order. The most important things are: to check the engine and transmission for cracks and leaks; check transmission to make sure it is not slipping; check brake pads and rotors for wear; check axle and suspension for wear – look for cracked ball joints and leaking wheel bearings; check all belts and hoses for wear; check to make sure heating and air conditioning are in proper working order; check tires for wear; check flasher and lights; and, check exterior and interior for wear. This is a vitally important check on the overall condition of the car to make sure it was well maintained by the previous owner(s).

4.  Certified Cars

Certified cars are the most recent model year offerings that have had 120 to 160 point dealer mechanical inspections. They have the best exterior and interior condition and offer certified limited power train warranties that extend the standard manufacturer’s power train warranty to 7 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first (from date of original ownership when new). There is, in addition, a 12 month or 12,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty with most certified warranties. I recommend certified cars because they offer security to the buyer in that the car has been thoroughly inspected and serviced, and, as such, protects the buyer from mechanical problems for a specified time and mileage.

5.  Reliable Dealer

Buy from a reliable dealer rather than a private owner. Why? Because when buying the car from a dealer you are protected by the manufacturer’s, dealer’s and state’s warranty. You get no warranty when purchasing a used vehicle from a private party. You buy the car “as is.”

6.  Mileage

A good tip is to always purchase a used car with low mileage. 12,000 to 15,000 miles per year is the normally accepted benchmark for a used car.

7.  Ask for a Car Fax

A Car Fax gives the service history, lists the owner(s) and any recorded accidents. All Certified Cars come with Car Faxes.

In conclusion, I thoroughly agree with the year-by-year findings of Consumer Reports that the best used cars are those manufactured by Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Subaru, Hyundai, Kia, Lexus, Infiniti and Acura. The “best” means the best value and the most reliable. After you have decided on make and model, make sure the used car you are purchasing has: ESC, ABS, a thorough mechanical inspection by a trusted technician, a manufacturer’s certification and, has low, or normal mileage. It is also very important to buy from a reliable dealer rather than from a private party. The above facts are based on my many years of car ownership and over 17 years of experience as an automobile salesman. If you utilize the information above to serve as a guide to purchase a used car, you are insuring yourself a quality car and trouble free driving for many years to come.

Happy Motoring!

Remember for your auto parts, please shop online from Amazon.com,  Tirerack.com and Vividracing.com.

Why Today’s Cars Are Better Than Cars Manufactured 50 Years Ago

Today’s cars are superior to the cars of 50 years ago for many reasons. I grew up during the era of 1950’s and 1960’s automobiles. Back then, cars were not expected to last more than 100,000 miles and, quite frankly, you were quite lucky if your car had 50,000 or 60,000 miles and didn’t have engine and/or transmission problems.

The gas shortage of 1973 changed everything. The Japanese started exporting inexpensive “econo boxes” – compact sedans and hatchbacks- cars that were cheap to buy and maintain. The Toyotas, Hondas and Datsuns (later Nissans) didn’t break and they got excellent gas mileage from their small 4-cylinder engines. Within a few years, the American “big three” auto companies, in order to compete with the Japanese, introduced completely new cars that were smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient. So, taking the lead of the Japanese companies, American auto manufacturers designed more efficient and higher quality cars.

Today’s cars, which includes the American, Japanese, German and South Korean brands, have evolved into the highest quality automobiles ever produced. Many of today’s cars run virtually trouble free in excess of 200,000 miles, especially true of the Japanese models. The following are the reasons that make today’s cars better than cars manufactured 50 years ago.

1.  Quality Control

Pioneered by Toyota, today’s cars are manufactured in factories that place the emphasis on quality control The principal objective is quality : sales are very important but do not sacrifice quality for sales goals. A direct result of this focus on quality is reflected in the better “fit and finish” of today’s automobiles versus cars produced 50 years ago.

2.  Superior Tires

Many tire brands have a 30,000 to 50,000 mile lifetime and, because of their better quality, have virtually eliminated “blow outs.”

3.  Better Quality Dashboards

The cars of 50 years ago had dashboards made out of metal. Today’s dashboards are contoured, padded and made from softer vinyls that are considerably safer than their predecessors.

4. Fuel Mileage

Most older cars were gas guzzlers. Their big 6 cylinder and V-8 engines rarely got more than 15 to 18 mpg, and, muscle cars got 8 to 12 mpg. Today’s engines are refined and sophisticated and many cars get upwards of 30 mpg.

5. Seats

The cars of years ago had seats constructed of plastic and vinyl and were hard and uncomfortable. They were stiff bench seats with few contours. Today’s seats have come a long way. They are contoured and made of durable and dirt resistant fabric and/or leather trimmed material that is washable and very durable.

6. Motors and Transmissions

Today’s cars have refined and technologically advanced motors and transmissions capable of lasting 200,000 miles or more. In addition to much longer lifetimes, today’s engines are more fuel efficient. In addition to the conventional gasoline powered engines, hybrid, all-electric and fuel cell powered motors are ultra high mpg alternatives. The introduction of fuel injection is an example of advanced gasoline engine technology. Fuel injection made carburetors obsolete. Fuel injection atomises the fuel through a small nozzle under high pressure where the carburetor uses a suction method. Fuel injection provides a smoother delivery of fuel and increases fuel efficiency.

7.  Synthetic Oil

Today’s synthetic oils are so good that oil changes are recommended at 5000 mile intervals. Mobil 1 Extended Performance Synthetic Oil is recommended for oil change intervals up to 15,000 miles or one year, whichever comes first.

8. Windows

Many cars of 50 years ago had clear glass and were hand cranked. Today’s cars have tinted glass that keep the car cooler in the summer and help to deflect sunlight. Also, power-operated (electric) windows are far superior to manual cranked windows.

9. Infotainment

Cars of 50 years ago were basic AM or AM/FM radios. Today’s car radios are highly sophisticated. They have AM/FM, satellite, GPS, internet access and CD and Video players. The radios produce state-of-the-art sound due to the advances in audio technology.

10.  Rust Resistance

Older cars were “rust buckets.” Today’s cars are dipped in rust inhibitor chemicals and are virtually rustproof.

11.  Safety

The difference in safety between cars of 50 years ago and today’s cars is like “night and day.” Today’s cars have crumple zones, are constructed of higher strength and lighter weight steel, have advanced air bags, superior seat belts, reinforced bumpers, safety cage passenger compartment, ABS (anti-lock braking systems) and state- of -the-art active and passive safety systems, such as adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warning with lane keeping assist. Another advanced safety feature of today’s cars is that they feature brighter halogen and xenon headlights compared to the dimmer electric headlights of cars from 50 years ago.

In conclusion, due to many years of advanced engineering and technological improvements, today’s cars are vastly superior to models produced in the 50s and 60s. Specifically, better quality control, superior tires, more durable and efficient engines and transmissions, high fuel efficiency (high mpg), synthetic oils and state-of-the-art safety systems all contribute to make today’s cars far superior. And, they will continue to get better due to continued advances in technology.

Happy Motoring!

Remember for your auto pars, please shop online from Amazon.com,  Tirerack.com, and Vividracing.com.

What Is A “Good” Car Dealership?

Being in the retail automobile business for over 17 years, I worked for a number of dealers  Some were good and some not so good.  The following article will spell out, in detail, what makes a car dealership a “good” dealer.  These are the dealers you should go to when buying your next car.

(1) Reputation

The most important factor in determining a “good” car dealer is their reputation.  The best car dealers are those that have been operating for many years.  Longevity is a sure-fire sign that the dealer is doing many things correctly, such as customer service, fair pricing, and well-trained dealer personnel.

(2) Good Service Department and Good After-Sale Service

A good service department has well trained service writers.  The service writers are very important because they are the first people that you see when entering the service department.  They must be “good with people.”  If you are a repeat customer they, inevitably, know your name and your vehicle.  They listen to their customers and write down what their customers ask them to do.  They recommend services that will keep your car running properly.  They do not try to force people into buying services that are not necessary or can be postponed.  A good portion of a dealer’s service business is “after-sale” service, which is the servicing of a new car recently purchased at the dealership or elsewhere.

Good service departments have factory trained and certified technicians.

How a service department treats their customers and how they service your car is a very important element in the dealer’s success.  A successful dealership must have a good service department.

(3) A Well-Trained Sales Staff

A successful dealer usually has a majority of its sales people long tenured.  These sales people are a vital “cog-in-the-wheel” of a good, established dealership.  The mere fact that they have been there for a long time means that they are “customer friendly.”  They are knowledgeable about the product and they help guide customers to purchase cars.  A good sales staff is instrumental in the success of the dealership.  Because they sell a high volume of cars and treat their customers well, many of these sales people have many customers coming back to buy cars after the initial purchase.  These customers recommend their family and friends who, in turn, continue to make recommendations.  A good sales staff is invaluable in building customer loyalty.

(4) All Used Vehicles Are Checked Before Being Put Out On The Lot For Sale

A service department that comprehensively checks out all used vehicles using a thorough inspection plan.  Many dealers have a 120 point to 160 point inspection program.

(5) Used Cars That Have Service History and Car Faxes

(6) Certified Used Car Program

A certified car is a low mileage, one, two, or three year old model that has a “certified” warranty, usually 7 years or 100,000 miles.

*Limited Powertrain warranties from the date sold when new

(7) Have Many Low-Mileage And Certified Cars To Choose From

(8) Have A Large Stock of New Cars and Trucks To Choose From

(9) Added Value Offers:

A.  Offer an exchange policy on used cars

B. Offer free oil changes for a defined period of time.

C. Offer free car washes for a defined period of time.

D. Offer free loaner cars and shuttle service.

(10) Accomodating Hours of Operation

Sales:     7 days a week, 4 nights per week, Sundays

Service: 6 days per week and 4 nights per week

(11) Competitive Pricing Of New And Used Cars

A dealer must be competitive with their prices as an automobile is a large expenditure that is not made every day, but usually every 4 to 6 years.

A large internet sales department.  Internet purchasing represents a sizable chunk of dealer sales.

(12) A High Better Business Bureau Rating

(13) Positive Dealer Reviews On The Internet

In this article I have laid out the most important factors that constitute a “good” car dealership.  So, in summary, a “good” car dealership is:

(1) A dealer that has an excellent reputation and has been in business for many years

(2) A dealer that has an excellent sales and service department

(3) A dealer that has a large inventory of cars

(4) A dealer that offers “competitive” prices on all their vehicles

(5) A dealer that has many “added value offers” such as free loaner cars and free oil changes.

So, do your homework.  Be prepared and study the guidelines above.  Go to a “good” car dealership when buying your next car or truck.

Happy Motoring!

Remember for your auto parts, please shop online from Amazon.com, Tirerack.com and Vividracing.com.

How to Maintain Your Car’s Resale Value

I have seen a lot of cars and trucks in my lifetime.  It was part of my job as a car salesman to observe and evaluate the condition of customer’s cars.  Through experience, I got a “feel” for the trade-in value of cars.  Cars that had been well maintained, mechanically and cosmetically, were valued hundreds, even thousands of dollars more than the same make, model and year of cars that had been neglected.

This article will tell you how to maintain your car so that when it is time to sell or trade it you will receive the maximum value.

Guideline#1:  Clean the exterior of your  car – wash, clean and wax.

Keeping the finish of your car clean from bird droppings, dirt, chemicals and acid rain, cleaning the exterior at least twice a month will minimize any damage to its finish.

Guideline #2:  Buy and use auto protective sprays to protect and preserve the exterior vinyl (plastic) trim.

Armor  All Outlast is an excellent product for this purpose.  Use Turtle Wax Bug and Tar Remover to remove tar and bugs from body panels and bumpers.

Guideline #3:  Keep interior clean and shiny.

Try to avoid getting scratches in the dash, doors and instrument panel.  Here are some examples of protective interior sprays:

Armor All(tm): Interior Detailer Spray and Armor All(tm): Outlast Interior Restorer Cream.

Vacuum upholstery, carpeting and mats.  Use Turtle Wax: Power Out Upholstery Cleaner to remove stains and dirt from fabric and leather seats.  After vacuuming, wash and dry floor mats.  Use car carpet cleaners to remove dirt from carpeted mats.

Another very important consideration when maintaining your interior is to keep it smelling clean.  There are numerous auto deoderants available to keep the interior smelling clean and pleasant.  Avoid smoking inside the car as cigarette smoke is a major deterrent to potential car buyers.


Guideline #4:  Dings and Dents

Have exterior dings and dents repaired by an auto professional before selling or trading-in car.

Guideline #5:  Keep the car in good “running” condition.

Have the oil and filter changed every 3000 to 4000 miles.  Keep fluids at the proper level.  Periodically check all belts and hoses for wear and replace when necessary.  Replace spark plugs at 105,000 miles or check in owner’s manual for your car’s time table to change spark plugs.  Any unusual noises or vibrations should be investigated.  Of primary concern are noises emanating from the engine, transmission and suspension system.

Guideline #6:  Have minor issues resolved before they turn into major problems.

Major problems equal major expenditures.  By keeping up with small issues you will avoid spending a lot of money on repairs “down the road.”  I know some people prefer to fix their own cars in order to save money.  I advocate this if you have the time available to do the work and if you know how to professionally repair your car.  But, most people realize that many mechanical problems require the use of diagnostic computers that pin-point the problem, and this can only be done at the car dealership.  Minor problems can be repaired by a trusted and reputable repair shop.

Guideline #7:  Keep your alloy wheels clean and shiny.

Before selling your car, have scratches and dings removed by professional alloy wheel re-conditioners.

Guideline #8:  Keep your lights clean.

There are special cleaners such as Turtle Wax Headlight Lens Restorer, that give your lights that “new car look.”  For “very clouded” lights you can go to repair shops that can recondition the light bezels (covers).


Guideline #9:  Maintain records.

Keep all repair bills, oil changes, parts bills, emission reports, history of ownership and title documents.

Summarizing:

These are simple guidelines to keep your car properly maintained.  A well-maintained car runs smoothly and looks great, which equates to a car that, when ready to sell or trade, will command a considerably higher resale value than a similar model that has been neglected.  If you follow the nine guidelines laid out in this article, you are virtually guaranteed the highest resale value for your car.

Happy Motoring!

Remember for your auto parts, please shop online from Amazon.com, Tirerack.com, and Vividracing.com.

Thank you.

Kreativecars.com

All Electric (Plug-In) Cars (EVs): A Brief History And Overview

What is an all-electric car (EV)?

An electric car is a car that is propelled by an electric motor, or motors, that run on batteries that have “stored” electric energy.  The batteries use energy according to the types of driving and the driver’s input (via acceleration and braking).

Electric cars are not a new idea.  Crude electric vehicles originated in the 1830s, and the first successful electric vehicle in the United States was introduced around 1890.  It was, essentially, a six-seat electric wagon.  By the early 1900s, electric vehicles accounted for approximately one third of the vehicles on the road.

But, because of advances in gasoline powered cars, demand for electric vehicles fizzled after the early 1900s.  Electric cars were, for a long time, more expensive to produce and they had a limited range.  Ford’s gasoline powered model T, introduced in 1908, was a break-through in the mass production of automobiles, selling for around $650 compared to an electric car selling for $1750.

There were few advancements in electric cars until the late 1960s to early 1970s.  Gasoline powered cars were dominant because of advances in engine technology and because gasoline was cheap.  And, the limited range of electric cars along with their much higher prices, suppressed demand for the vehicles.

Gas shortages, and escalating oil prices, in the late 1960s and 1970s, resulted in manufacturers and consumers to look for alternative sources of energy to power automobiles.   In 1976, Congress passed the Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Research Development and Demonstration Act.  This bill authorized the Department of Energy to support research and development of electric and hybrid cars.

There were modest advances in electric cars from the 1970s to the early 1990s.  The biggest obstacle was the limited range and top speed of the electric cars.  Conventional gasoline engine technology produced much more efficient and cleaner engines, so electric cars drew little interest during the time period.

In 1990, with the passage of the Clean Air Act Amendment and the 1992 Energy Policy Act, coupled with stricter California and Federal Government transportation emissions regulations, manufacturers started modifying existing cars and improving electric cars.  Electric cars now had better performance and many had extended their driving range to 60 miles, and, they were now better able to compete with the conventional gasoline powered cars.

The introduction of the Toyota Prius Hybrid in 1997 was the major breakthrough of mass production of electric cars in the United States.  In 2006, Tesla Motors announced plans to manufacture an all-electric luxury sports car that would go more than 200 miles on a single charge.  In 2010, Tesla received a $465 million loan from the Department of Energy toward establishing a manufacturing plant in California for the sole purpose of producing all-electric cars.  In the same year, Chevrolet introduced the Chevy Volt and Nissan introduced the Nissan Leaf.  The Volt was the first mass produced plug-in hybrid and the Nissan Leaf is an all-electric vehicle, or EV, meaning that it has an electric only propulsion system.

With the Recovery Act of 2009, The Energy Department invested over $115 million to help build a nation wide system of more than 18,000 charging stations in the United States.  The major auto companies, and other private businesses, installed public electric chargers at more than 8,000 separate locations with over 20,000 charging outlets.

The Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office supported new battery technology that improved plug-in electric battery range.  Their research helped develop the lithium-ion battery used in the Chevy Volt.  Over the past four years, The Department of Energy’s Investment in battery research has directly contributed to 50% savings in the battery costs of all electric vehicles which in turn has lowered the cost of producing all-electric cars (EVs).  This has resulted in making the all-electric cars more affordable to the average consumer.

 

There have never been as many choices of electric cars as there are today: 23 plug-in cars and 36 hybrid models available in all shapes and sizes.  Examples are the 2-seater Smart Ed, the mid-sized Ford C-max energy and the luxurious BMWi3 SUV.

With gasoline prices soaring, and the cost of EVs dropping, the demand for all-electric plug-in cars has escalated  There are now more than 234,000 plug-in electric cars, along with 3.3 million hybrid cars   on the road.

In summary,  the all-electric cars are here to stay because:

  1. There is a nation-wide system of charging stations with many more locations and chargers planned in the near future
  2. The ability to charge your car, in the the convenience of your own home, using the same 13 amp power supply as your vacuum cleaner or TV.
  3. They are more affordable.
  4. They have much longer battery range.
  5. They are virtually maintenance free.
  6. They are environmentally superior to gasoline powered vehicles because of their zero emissions.                                                                                                 * The future of  automobiles is here, now. *

Happy Motoring!

Remember for your auto parts, please shop online from Amazon.com, Tirerack.com, and Vividracing.com.  

Thank you,

Kreativecars.com