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Americans now spend more than they have this century on new cars, with average prices sitting at $30,500. Of course, that’s not all Americans pay when interest rates, insurance, and taxes are factored in. In the third quarter of 2012, a new vehicle cost American households 23.1 weeks of income. With vehicles taking such a chunk out of family budgets, most drivers want to care for their cars and protect their investments. The sad truth is though, you might be destroying your car without even knowing it.
You’re Driving a Dirty Car
Studies show more than half of American car owners wash their cars less than once a month, and 15 percent never wash their cars at all. But failing to clean your car means more than a grimy finish. Everything from salt on the road to annoying bird droppings will eat away at your car’s paintwork.
Experts suggest hand-washing your vehicle every one or two weeks and treating it to a full detail at least every season. Don’t forget about the insides either. Wipe down the hoses and plastic coverings under the hood to keep the engine bay looking pristine.
You Miss the Scheduled Maintenance
Washing your car is just the start of the regular maintenance it needs. Missing oil changes, transmission services, and other scheduled procedures can take years off the life of your car.
“If you don’t maintain your car, you’re taking a vehicle that might have been driven for 200,000 miles over its life, and you’re knocking it down to maybe 150,000 miles,” suggests Edmunds.com blogger Philip Reed.
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Whether you’ve already started a family or are planning to have one, finding the right vehicle to suit your needs is essential. Although it’s upsetting to realize that you may no longer be able to drive a sports car or a full size truck, fear not. There are tons of reliable vehicles out there to give you the options you need without becoming a minivan driving soccer mom (or dad).
1. Ford Focus Hatchback
Although you may be vehemently opposed to the idea of driving a station wagon, the Ford Focus hatchback gives you plenty of space for a stroller and groceries, but in a more stylish version of the traditional wagon. Available in both a 6 speed automatic and 5 speed manual, you can pick the option that lets you either relax while driving, or kick it up into NASCAR mode when you’re by yourself. With that option, space, and the incredible 38 miles to the gallon, the Ford Focus Hatchback is perfect for the new parent.
2. Toyota Highlander Hybrid
While it may be almost double the price of the Focus, you will know where that extra money went. This is the quintessential vehicle for the “green” parents. It reduces carbon emissions and gets 28 miles per gallon – a substantial amount more than your regular SUV. The car is spacious, comfortable to drive, and provides a USB port and optional entertainment system so you can rock out to “The Wheels on the Bus”.
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As auto technology continues to improve, people no longer have to choose between gas efficiency and a sport utility vehicle. In 2014, you can find plenty of SUVs that offer competitive mileage along with automatic transitions, so you can keep mileage above the teens without any extra work. Check out this list of some of the best gas-efficient SUVs available.
7. Toyota Rav4
Commonly on SUV top 10 lists for a variety of reasons, the Rav4 also provides great mileage. It’s the self-proclaimed “original crossover SUV” and has all of Toyota’s best and latest technology and features. The style has greatly improved over the years to create a sleek, modern vehicle. The newest version of the car has an emphasis on gas-efficiency, adding improved aerodynamics and a 6-speed automatic gear-box to help trim fuel costs.
6. Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
An affordable and aesthetically pleasing choice, the Outlander Sport appeals to many. The newest version of this car starts at under $20,000; a shockingly low price considering what you’re getting. You’d never know how inexpensive the car is by looking at it, especially when staring straight on at the mean-looking grille. Its face distracts from its excellent mileage, getting 31 mpg on the highway.
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If it were possible, all parents would love to buy their new teen driver a brand new car. Of course it makes sense to start them off with a used car, but that incurs costs. In any case, there’s much to consider when buying your teen his or her first car. The following will hopefully help you in making this important decision.
1. The Costs Involved
First you must looks at your finances, and probably already have. Remember that not only are pre-owned cars more affordable they are also easier to insure. With that in mind, before strolling through any dealerships, look through the classifieds first and see what is available there. Do some research on “used” vehicles and find out how much they should cost and compare that with what you find.
You will also want to have a frank discussion with your teen about the expense of buying a car. Let him or her know what price range you can realistically afford.
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Once upon a time, status symbols were BMW’s, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus. In the new economy, style means getting more for less. Smart consumers abandon the notion that quality and value come with gigantic price tags. Instead, they make small investments that serve their needs better and longer. What are your affordable options when it comes to a dependable drive?
1. Chevrolet Spark
The Spark tops this list due to its total cost of ownership over five years of just $27,871. This subcompact is designed with the urban commuter in mind, available in astonishing colors like Techno Pink and lime green Salsa. The base model lists at $12,195, with a 5-year depreciation of $8,614. The average driver pays $996 per year in insurance, and gets 32 MPG in the city and an impressive 38 MPG highway. With just 84 horsepower, this car is peppy on city streets, but isn’t much of a hog on longer trips.
2. Kia Rio
The Rio comes in second on this list, with a total 5-year ownership price tag is just $28,516. The base model lists at just $14,400, very impressive for the modern styling and upscale look and feel of this vehicle. It gets 29 MPG city and 37 MPG highway, with an average cost of fuel over five years of just $8,115. Maintenance and repairs over this time are estimated at $3,276. The base model is available with AC, CD player, and USB jack, and an automatic transmission is available. The hatchback model is just $200 more.
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Finding a car for your teenager or a new driver in the family can be tiresome. There are many attributes to examine including gas mileage, reliability, safety, price, and making sure your high schooler looks somewhat cool in the eyes of his peers. However, with the rise in gas prices, finding an affordable car that meets or exceeds you needs should be less taxing. Here are a few cars that are great for new drivers.
Finding a Juke at an affordable price should be easy. Many have regarded this car as being one of the ugliest in recent years. Nevertheless, its one of those cars that’s just ugly enough to be cute. Aside from looks, the Juke offers 32 miles per gallon highway and above average safety ratings. Perhaps the only drawbacks are a small cabin and limited luggage space, but then again, having a new driver with limited passenger space is definitely a plus.
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When you get a chip in your windshield, it can quickly turn into a bigger problem. Small chips can expand and crack the window. There are several ways you can go about repairing a windshield with a chip. Whether you decide to get the entire window replaced or you simply fill the chip, you need to make sure that you take the right steps for the problem you’re dealing with.
Check the Size
One of the first things you need to do is measure the chip in the windshield. If it is smaller than a quarter, or if it is less than a foot long, you should be able to repair it without completely replacing the windshield.
Remember, if you’re unsure if it’s too large, you may want to have someone else take a look at the chip. In addition, the sizing is a rule of thumb, but depending on the placement of the crack or chip, you may need to do more than just repair the chip.
Consider a Repair Kit
If you’re dealing with a small chip or crack, you may be able to repair the problem yourself. There are repair kits that you can get either at a car parts shop or online. These kits generally give you everything you need to repair small chips.
Every year, car thieves prey on unsuspecting victims while they do their shopping, drop of their kids at school, or while their car sits parked in their driveway. Thieves can ruin a perfectly good day with their callous behavior and thoughtless actions. At the end of each year, Texas puts together a list of the most stolen vehicle brands. We recommend that you take a look at this list to see if your currently driving one of these oft-targeted vehicles.
If you are driving one of these brands – and want to make a switch, come see us at Taylor Auto Credit today. Don’t despair if you are driving one of the most stolen vehicle brands in Texas, there are plenty of ways to deter thieves. Most of these brands are common, so it makes it easy for thieves to find these cars and resell their parts.
Way back when, cars had to change their oil every 3,000 miles. Nowadays, late-model vehicles can go 5,000 or even 7,000 miles between regular oil changes. With that much time in between, it is necessary to take on the little maintenance tasks yourself. This includes checking your oil.
Checking your car’s oil levels is extremely important. If you let your vehicle go too long between oil changes, you could run into major engine problems in the future. Follow this step-by-step process and checking your oil will be no big deal in no time at all.
It’s been a long, hot summer… but with fall coming soon, now is the perfect time to get your car or truck ready for the upcoming driving season. Most seasonal car maintenance requires the help of a professional mechanic, but we’re going to give you five do-it-yourself tips to help get your vehicle ready for the fall (and save you the cost of getting them done by a professional).
1. Change your wiper blades
According to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, wiper blades should be replaced annually. Most people go several years without changing out their blades, so it’s likely that your blades are due for replacement. Wipers are used more often in the fall and winter, so it’s best to have a fresh set before the weather changes.