Some solid car buying advise

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Yes, I know in posts past I’ve harped on the perils of buy a replacement vehicle.  I’ve driven home the absurd costs associated with purchasing a vehicle, the possibility of buying something that could possibly cost you more to fix than what you already have among the other many many reasons that it’s usually more economical and just plain easier to keep your current car on the road.  HOWEVER, there comes a time in every car’s life, unless it’s some sort of immortal collector car, that it’s no longer cost effective to keep it safely and reliably on the road.  That’s what we are gonna talk about here.

I get asked almost daily “what kind of car should I get?”  “What’s the best car out there?” “Does car brand X have major problems?”  Lets get this out there in the open now.  EVERY brand, EVERY model, EVERY year of vehicle will have some sort of weakness.  EVERY vehicle on the road will have an issue sooner or later.  Unless you plan to buy a brand spanking new vehicle and trade it off on another brand spanking new vehicle before the current warranty expires, you will have to do repairs and maintenance.  Plain and simple.  There are no vehicles out there that don’t ever break down.  Are some seemingly better built than others?  Perhaps.  A lot of that is in the eye of the beholder.  Here’s the advise I give to people when they are in the market for a replacement vehicle.  Find one that you like, one that you feel comfortable in.  One that makes you happy to be sitting in the driver seat.  Then take it to your trusted auto shop and have it inspected.

When you purchase a vehicle that you actually want, that you like and enjoy driving, one important thing has a much better chance of happening:  You will likely take better care of it because you LIKE IT!!  Maybe you had to pay a few more dollars for it, maybe you had to look around a little harder for it.  But if you like it, you’ll take better care of it and it will likely last longer as a result.  I often see people buying cars they don’t even like because it was a good deal, or any number of other reasons.  If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.  People don’t just give away cars for no reason.  Usually when this happens, those cars don’t last long.  It’s almost as if you end up abusing it so you can get rid of it earlier.

The second most important thing if you are looking at a used vehicle is have the vehicle checked out at your trusted auto shop.  When we talk about a pre-purchase inspection, we are talking about more than just trying to find out what’s wrong.  We are talking about what it’s gonna take to keep this thing on the road for a good long time.  What are the maintenance costs? You can go HERE for a really cool cost to own calculator that will give a good idea of ownership costs by vehicle year, make and model. Are there any open recalls on this vehicle that you can have done for free?  And of course we want to know what if anything is currently in need of repair.  There is nothing like buying a used car just to find out that it needs $3000 worth of work just to pass a safety inspection to get license plates!  Don’t skip this step.  There are a lot of vehicles out there that look great on the outside but once you get to the inside, things aren’t so great.  Often we find some work that needs to be done and if you haven’t done the deed yet this info can often be used to negotiate a lower price with the seller.  It’s very difficult to go back after the fact and try to get money out of the seller for needed repairs.

Armed with this information, you should be able to make an informed decision to buy a vehicle that you will love driving for many many years to come.  And of course Auto Go Automotive is always standing by ready to help you keep that vehicle going strong and to answer any questions you might have about car buying.

 

Car Maintenance.. Throwing Cash Out The Window???

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That’s right, you might as well just open your wallet and while you are driving down the road in your poorly maintained car, let it hang out the window at about 60 mph so everything inside just blows away in the wind.  That’s basically what you are doing when spending that money to maintain your car, right?  I mean, it runs fine now, and still runs fine after the maintenance is done, hard pill to swallow that maintenance stuff is.

Yea, it is.  If that’s the way you wanna look at it.  Anything can be strewn into a bad thing if you try hard enough.  But making an investment in what is quite possibly the most expensive thing you will ever buy to help it last as long as possible so you don’t have to make that huge purchase any more than absolutely necessary make perfect sense to me.  Lets break that last statement down.  I know, it was a mouthful.

Purchasing a new or even a lower mileage used vehicle is going to cost you anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 or more.  I’d venture to say that most of us don’t have that kinda cash laying around waiting for a rainy day.  So that means that when it’s time for a new car, you’re gonna have to get a loan.  That loan may last anywhere from 3-6 years or longer!  Your payment may be anywhere from $200-$500 per month or more not including the full coverage expensive insurance required when a vehicle has a lien on it.  Keep this info in the back of your mind as we progress.

I don’t wanna get too much into the math here, I mean seriously, lets keep it simple.  We all need to be able to understand this.  So you got this car, maybe it has 150,000 miles on it.  Some good mileage, not too much, but she’s certainly broke in.  You take your car to a new shop, a shop that actually cares about you and your vehicle.  You are there for a simple oil change.  And while you are waiting, the service advisor comes over to you and starts talking about maintenance.  And I don’t mean your every 3-5000 mile oil change (you DO change your oil every 3-5000 miles, don’t you??).  He asks you about your vehicle, how you use it and what your plans for this car are.  He asks you what you depend on this car for?  Do you just drive it every couple weeks to take the trash cans to the end of the driveway? Or do you depend on this thing? Armed with that info, he begins to recommend maintenance to keep this car on the road as long as possible.

“YOU WANT $1500.00 TO DO SOME MAINTENANCE ON MY CAR??????”  Yep.  And here’s why.  During the customer “interview” you said that this vehicle is primarily used to keep your life going.  You take the kids to school and ball practice, you drive it to work every day and it’s used to take your elderly parents to the doctor every week or so, and it’s your only vehicle.  If this one goes down, you don’t have a back up.

Lets look at that $1500 and what it’s going to do for you.  Several systems need maintaining just like the engine oil.  Transmission fluid wears out and needs replaced.  Power steering fluid, spark plugs, and that’s just to name a few.  So you decide to not fix this car and look for something with lower mileage.  You find a decent deal, a car with about 80,000 on it and it only cost $18,000!  nice!  So you go ahead and make your payments, for arguments sake we will say they are about $300 a month and lets say it take 4 years to pay it off.  At an average of 12,000 miles a year, that puts your car at roughly 140,000 miles.  Keep in mind you’ve been making that payment EVERY MONTH and hopefully nothing went wrong with that car during those last 4 years because it’s gonna be tough to foot a repair bill AND make the car payment at the same time… And guess what, now you are right back where you started with your old car.  Except instead of paying that $1500 for the maintenance and repairs needed 4 years ago to keep that car going until now and then some, you paid likely over $25,000 with interest and higher cost insurance!!  Ok, so maybe something went wrong with your old car during that time, and it cost a whopping $3000 to fix, still, only at $4500.  FAAAAAR cry from $25 grand!  And I bet that car would still have some life left in it!

Now I get it, I do, vehicles wear out.  No one likes to drive an old ratty worn out rig.  And there comes a time in every vehicles life that it’s just time to retire it.  It seems to me that people pull that trigger way too soon way too often.  So I urge you to consider making an investment in your current, medium mileage vehicle to keep it going.  It’s almost always more economical to do that than replace it.  And of course we at Auto Go Automotive would love to be the shop that helps you stay on the road safely, reliably, and economically!