Browse Month

November 2018

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

When Buying a New Car Follow These Simple Guidelines

Buying a car is a major investment and sometimes a stressful process. It can be exhilarating when you find the perfect car at a reasonable price. Though there is great value in purchasing a used vehicle, buying one “fresh off the lot” is a personal aspiration of many.

A new car has state-of-the-art engineering, the latest style, better fuel efficiency, and newest innovations. It will also have the latest safety devices. Then there’s that new car smell!  It’s thrilling to own a car that is truly yours, one that’s never been driven by anyone else!

With a new car comes peace of mind. You need not worry about the car’s history or question its accident history. Dealerships will offer you attractive incentives for buying a new car. It can be anything from a cash rebate to 0% financing. Manufacturers also offer incentives for new car sales.

There are several ways to search for a new car. Dealerships typically advertise in local newspapers and television.  There are many websites that offer new cars for sale and others who provide detailed reviews of new vehicles. Safety reports are available on the Internet from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Consider the resale value of the car. Every car loses its value once you drive away from the dealership. Some vehicles maintain their value very well. You will want that virtue when you are ready to replace your vehicle. Refer to the Kelley Blue Book website to get an idea of the vehicle’s resale value.

Once you go to a dealership, don’t pick the first car you like. Visit other dealerships and look at more vehicles. Take your time. Once you know that you have found your perfect car, begin negotiating the price. The “sticker price” is always higher than the actual worth because the dealer will then have room to negotiate down in price.

Buying a car is not a one-time expense. You should think of its cost as the total cash outflow over its lifetime. You will have also have registration, insurance, maintenance costs. So do not spend all your money on the purchase of the vehicle itself.

Hybrid Cars: A Brief History – How They Work – Advantages

The Toyota Prius Hybrid, introduced in Japan in 1997, was the first mass-produced hybrid car.  Honda’s Insight Hybrid came out in the United States and Japan in 1999.

A hybrid car is an automobile that combines an internal combustion engine and electric propulsion drive train.  Most hybrids employ a conventional 4-cylinder gasoline engine and electric generator.  This combination is a more efficient system in delivering power to the drive wheels.  The electric motor is superior at supplying torque,  that is, getting the car moving quickly.  The gasoline engine is best suited for maintaining the car’s momentum at higher speeds.  The combination of the two propulsion systems yields better fuel economy and cleaner emissions.  This “hybrid” system “switches” the two motors at optimum speeds to maximize fuel efficiency and performance.

Initially, hybrid cars were not that popular because they were priced considerably higher than conventional gasoline-powered cars and production capability was limited.  Toyota and Honda had very few factories dedicated to producing hybrids.

I sold the Toyota Prius between 2000 and 2007 and the typical buyer was a high-income customer who liked the idea of using less gas and expelling lower emissions.  The Prius was usually three to six thousand dollars more than comparably equipped, 4- cylinder gasoline Toyota Corollas.

But, the hybrid cars gained popularity as gasoline prices went up and down.  The hybrid cars became more comfortable to drive and came better equipped;  The idea of much better fuel mileage “caught on” in the eyes of the consumer.  The hybrid batteries are more compact in size and more powerful and, prices have moderated in that they are more “inline”  with non-hybrid cars.

Today, every manufacturer, including Toyota, Honda, Ford, GM, Fiat/Chrysler, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda and all the luxury brands offer sophisticated hybrid models.

An example of the efficiency of a hybrid automobile vs. a conventional 4-cylinder gasoline equipped car:

  • A 2018 Toyota Corolla LE
    • City:  28 mpg
    • Hwy: 36 mpg
    • Overall 32 mpg
  • A 2018 Toyota Prius (base model)
    • City: 54 mpg
    • Hwy: 50 mpg
    • Overall: 52 mpg
  • Hybrid cars are here to stay because:

(A)  They get far superior gas mileage.

(B) They give off far fewer emissions.

(C) Their batteries are smaller in size and more powerful.

(D) They are very well equipped.

(E) They have state-of-the-art interiors and beautiful exterior styling.

(F) Their pricing is more “in-line” with conventional powered cars.

Do yourself a favor;  Before you buy your next car, check out the new 2018/2019 hybrid models.  I think you will be quite happy in what you’ll find.

Happy Motoring!

 

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

Thank you.

Kreativecars.com

2019 Toyota Rav4: Review and Commentary

The new 2019 Toyota Rav 4 is the best Rav 4 since its introduction in 1995.  It has state-of-the art technology, a better quality interior, an array of safety features and the most comfort and convenience features ever in a Rav 4.

The new Rav 4 is slightly shorter, a bit wider and has a longer wheelbase.  It is available in front-wheel drive or all wheel drive.  Its standard engine is a 2.5 liter 4-cylinder, and, a new hybrid model will be arriving soon.  The new Rav 4 is slightly lower than last year’s model.  An 8-speed automatic is standard on all models.  The hybrid version will have a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

  • New Exterior Styling

Exterior Styling is more aggressive and edgy – more truck like.  There is a strong resemblance to the 4 Runner and Tacoma pickup.  Because of its longer wheelbase, it has a shorter front and rear overhang.  It has more “rugged” styled roof-rails.  The new Rav 4 has higher ground clearance.  Some models have a contrasting roof color.

 

  • All New Interior

*  The Rav 4 interior has higher quality materials, and it too has more “edgy” styling

*  7″ touchscreen is positioned on top of the dashboard

*  8″ touchscreen is included in an upgrade package.  The 8″ screen has an infotainment system with built in navigation

*   A digital display rear view mirror switches from a conventional mirror to a rear view monitor

*   Other upgrades include a panoramic roof, ventilated seats and hands-free power lift gate

  • Technology

*   Rear camera with a wide angle picture in the rear view mirror

*   7.0″ touchscreen is standard and comes with:

  • Apple Car Play
  • Amazon Alexa connectivity
  • Wi-Fi antenna

*   8.0″ touchscreen (optional and/or as part of upper trim levels) has

  • JBL audio system
  • Up to 5 USB ports and charging pad for Qi compatible devices
  • Higher trim levels have a 7.0 inch TFT display in the instrument cluster (driver’s line of sight)
  • Climate and comfort controls are located below infotainment screen
  • A control knob for different off-road drive modes is positioned next to the transmission lever.  This is a standard feature on all Rav 4 trim levels

*  Engine

  • Engine has been revised to produce 15% more horsepower than last year
  • The hybrid model will be more powerful than the standard 4-cylinder models
  • Expect considerably higher MPG than 4-cylinder models

*  Transmission

  • 8 – speed automatic on all 2.5 liter 4-cylinder models
  • Continuous variable transmission (CVT) on hybrid models

Note:  As of this writing, there are no specifics as to the different trim levels, and, there are no specifics as to which features go with each trim level.

*  Safety

All new Rav 4’s come with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 that has a bevy of safety features including:

  • Forward collision warning and mitigation with pedestrian detection
  • Advanced adaptive cruise control
  • Lane keeping assist with lane-trace assist
  • Lane departure warning
  • Auto high-beam headlights
  • Traffic sign reader
  • Optional blind-spot monitors, surround-view camera and rear cross-traffic braking

*  All-Wheel Drive System

  • New, all-wheel drive system features a rear drive train disconnect that deactivates the rear wheels when demand is low

– Benefit:  Improved highway MPG

Note:  Available on upper trim levels

  • The Hybrid All Wheel Drive model will feature its own all wheel drive system that sends more power to the wheels than the 4-cylinder (gasoline) models.

What Do We Like?

  • The new technology and safety features
  • The overall smoothness of the engine, transmission and ride quality
  • The terrific hybrid model’s MPG
  • The better quality interior materials and improved interior layout
  • The new multi-terrain control knob select system
  • The more rugged styling
  • The outstanding quality, fit and finish and reliability
  • The new all wheel drive system
  • More luxury features
  • One of the largest interior volumes in its class

Overall, the new 2019 Rav 4 is improved in every aspect.  It has a myriad of safety and comfort features.  It has more power and increased MPG.  It offers a new, top-of-the line hybrid model that incorporates all the new features and the highest MPG.  Above all, it is a Toyota:  highest reliability, high MPG, high resale value and equipped with an assortment of comfort, convenience and safety features.

Bottom line – You cannot go wrong with a Toyota.  Check out the new Toyota Rav 4.  They should be in Toyota showrooms now.

Happy Motoring!

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

Thank you.

Kreativecars.com