Written by a Guest Blogger

We all know that buying a used car can be stressful. After all, you don’t know how it has been treated, whether that flawless bumper will drop off when you hit the first pothole in the road, or whether the purring engine is due to regular maintenance or an engine additive that will wear off by the time the gas tank hits E.

However, buying used can be a great deal. Not only does it allow you to bypass the almost instant depreciation of a new vehicle, but when you buy used, you can often afford a much nicer vehicle than if you’d chosen to buy new. To make sure that you’re getting the best used car for your money, always be sure to have the car checked out by your favorite mechanic and follow these simple tips:

Keep your options open

Look for your target vehicle, but also explore cars within the same class of vehicle – and don’t be afraid to look at cars that are in the class above. You might just be surprised at how much car you can afford when you buy used.

Research each specific vehicle

In addition to having your mechanic give it a once-over, run a CARFAX report and review the car’s history.

Take it for a spin

During your test drive, evaluate things like: Acceleration from a stop, blind spots and general visibility, engine noise, how smoothly the car shifts, general power and ability to climb hills, how the car breaks and corners, how it rides (suspension), and any rattles or squeaks.

Check the body of the vehicle for any suspicious dents, dings or scratches.

See what it’s worth

Determine the value of the vehicle before entering into any negotiations. Edmunds, and Kelley Blue Book both have helpful guidelines and calculators that can help you understand the vehicle’s true value.

Consider an extended warranty

If you’re buying a used car from a dealer, you’ll often have the option to purchase an extended warranty. While they can add a few dollars to your monthly bill, they can also give you added peace of mind – so if that’s important to you be sure to discuss the option with your salesperson.

Certify it

If you’re shopping at a dealership, look for a “Certified, Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicle” – which generally has less than 50,000 miles and has been given a multipoint inspection, as well as any necessary service. They usually include a no-cost extended warranty and are typically considered to be the used car world’s “cream of the crop.”

Finally, before you even begin looking at vehicles, determine your budget and get pre-qualified for an auto loan. That way, you know exactly how much you have to spend and can (hopefully) negotiate to a point that’s a bit below your max.


Rose Fox – Rose is a guest author who just loves to write. She occupies her time word smithing about everything from useful tips to used cars, from farming to pharmaceuticals.

Categories : Car Buying
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Written by a Guest Blogger

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the aesthetic features of a car make no exception. Since beauty is highly subjective and transient, automotive enthusiasts appreciate differently the exterior designs of a certain automobile. Nevertheless, there are at least ten classic models bestowed with iconic and sleek looks that have stood the test of time throughout the history of the automotive industry. Below are top 10 best-looking automobiles of all time, listed chronologically. All these automobiles were developed within a twenty-year period and they mark the graceful evolution of exterior design in this industry, while maintaining a classic allure and timeless elegance.

1. 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL

This all-time classic and slick 1954 model with a minimalist appearance produced by the renowned German automotive manufacturer is touted as the first-ever non-racing car equipped with fuel injection as well as the fastest consumer-oriented top-speed car in the world. Its impressive aesthetics, with easily recognizable gull-wing doors are highly appreciated to this day by car collectors worldwide. This two-seat sports car model was later produced as an open roadster version and it is the precursor of the modern 2012 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.

2. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California

This classic and aesthetically appealing model developed by the famous Italian sports car manufacturer is not only the ultimate symbol of luxury and speed, but also of supreme beauty. Touted by many automobile connoisseurs as the most beautiful to have ever been manufactured, thanks to its enthralling exterior design, this 1961 edition is a rare and highly prized car. Famous owners of this automobile include James Coburn and Jay Leno. Car collectors consider this short-wheelbase model among the highly valuable automobiles in the world. This sleek car auctioned in 2007 for $4.9 million and in 2008 Chris Evans set a world record for the highest price ever paid for a car when he paid almost $11 million for this vehicle. This model is the precursor of the 2012 Ferrari California.

3. 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray Coupe

This vintage 1963 model was the first Chevy independent rear suspension and the first American car equipped with hidden quad headlamps. The stunning Sting Ray design of this 2-door coupe, the first ever in the Corvette history, features a “divided window” rear glass, which is deemed as part of the highly distinctive styling elements in the entire automotive industry. This 1963 futuristic fastback with amazing aerodynamics of its exterior design, marking the debut of the second-generation Corvette is highly valued to this day by car enthusiasts across the globe. This model is the recipient of the award for Engineering Excellence, presented by “Car Life” magazine and it is the precursor of the modern 2013 Chevrolet Corvette.

4. 1964 Aston Martin DB 5

Hollywood has made this luxury grand tourer very famous, through its strong connection with the James Bond series. This iconic and exquisite model is easily recognized, being the first cinematic James Bond car. It featured for the first time in the 1964 film “Goldfinger”, the third movie of the James Bond series, starring Sean Connery. This movie used the original Aston Martin DB5 prototype and the Oscar-winning James Stears certainly helped rise this car to fame, when it created using special effects the lethal silver birch DB 5 for James Bond. This classic and elegant model also appeared in other movies of the series, including “GoldenEye”, “Casino Royale”, “Tomorrow Never Dies” and even in the latest James Bond film, the 2012 “Skyfall”, starring Daniel Craig. Its successor is the modern 2012 Aston Martin V8 Vantage.

5. 1965 Jaguar E-Type

The famous Italian motor racing driver and businessman Enzo Ferrari, nicknamed “il Drake”, praised this 1965 model as the most aesthetically appealing cars ever created. Combining exceptional aesthetics, competitive pricing, top performance and in-board rear brakes as an innovation, this British sports car is an icon of the 1960s motoring. This lightweight model ranked at number one in the Daily Telegraph s list of “100 most good-looking cars of all time “. More than 70,000 cars of this model have been sold in the world. It is the precursor of the 2012 Jaguar XK.

6. 1966 Ford GT40

Considered by specialists as being among the automobiles with a very low ground clearance, reaching only 40 inches tall, this timeless 1966 racing model was originally manufactured to win long-distances car races against the Ferrari sports cars. It was the first car designed and build in the US to win all the prizes at Le Mans, being the only automobile to have won the 1967 endurance racing circuit known as Le Mans in all three places. The contemporary Ford GT model pays tribute to the classic 1966 Ford GT 40.

7. 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB /4

This Italian model was a premiere at that time, being the first of its type to incorporate the transaxle innovation, where both the transmission and rear axle are integrated for optimum balance on the road. The first Ferrari without wire wheels, this slick 1967 model was an updated car in the late 1960s, incorporating new bodywork, a four-cam engine and a more compact head. This sleek coupe ranked at number seven on the “Top Sports Cars of the 1960s” list, being able to hit 165 mph (266 km/hour) and it is considered the greatest of all time. This classic beauty with distinguishable design is the precursor of Ferrari F12 Berlinetta.

8. 1970 Dodge Challenger R /T

This timeless American model was the first created for “E-Body” and according to specialists, 1970 was a “great year” for E-body models. This legendary and top-performance convertible was equipped with a 426 Hemi engine, a backup light right in the middle of the rear and as a first, it came in vibrant and flamboyant colors such as “sublime green”, “go-mango orange”, “plum crazy purple” and “panther pink”. Jay Leno owns this 1970 model. This 1970 model appeared in the existentialist movie “Vanishing Point” ( a white version) and its successor is 2012 Dodge Challenger.

9. 1971 Lamborghini Miura SV

Dubbed as the first-ever exotic car, the aesthetically appealing aspect of this luxury automobile has made it highly prized among car collectors worldwide. This two-door coupe has also pioneered the trend of high-performance, mid-engined (V12), two-seater sports car and it was at that time the fastest production road car available on the market. The revolutionary design and slick styling of this model has made it the flagship car of Lamborghini. The modern day successor of this 1971 model is the Lamborgini Aventador roadster.

10. 1973 Porsche Carrera RS

This all-time classic model is the precursor of the modern day Porsche 911. It displays timeless elegance and a graceful allure and it is equipped with wider rear fenders, larger brakes, fuel injection and rear tires. This 1973 version is very powerful albeit lightweight and its exceptional beauty and has stood the test of time, making it highly appreciated and valued by car enthusiasts and collectors all across the globe, who consider it the greatest Porsche classic of all time. This model is also very popular with Hollywood celebrities, including actor Jerry Seinfeld.

Author Bio: Bradley Taylor is an automotive blogger, journalist and enthusiast. He also contributes to other and on behalf of other motoring publications such as Premium Cars Direct, BMW, Nissan, Audi and Ford. Connect with Bradley on Google Plus.

Categories : Car Buying
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Automobiles are expensive to own and operate. But if you are thinking of skipping the step of insuring your vehicle so you can put gas in it, think again. You risk getting fined, your license suspended, vehicle impounded, or even jail time if you don’t comply with your state’s law. Minimum insurance coverage levels vary by state, so you’ll need to find out what the minimum requirements are in your area and purchase at LEAST that coverage.

How to Read Liability Insurance Numbers

Insurance numbers are listed in a series. For example, one policy might be listed as 20/40/10. What do these mean? The first number in a liability policy indicates the bodily injury coverage level. In this example, the policy would cover up to $20,000 per person. The second number identifies the total limit of bodily injury for the accident for all the occupants in the vehicle combined. In this example, the policy would cover up to a total of $40,000. The last number indicates the property damage limit. In this example, the policy would cover a total of $10,000 in property damage per accident.


Liability Insurance Numbers

How Much Auto Insurance is Enough?

The amount of insurance that you purchase is totally up to you, as long as you meet the minimum state coverage. If your budget is tight and you need to get by month to month with the lowest premium possible, then purchasing the minimum coverage may be right for you. But remember, if you get into an accident and you are found at-fault, you will be held responsible for any amount that exceeds your minimum policy. To find out the minimum required in your state, complete an internet search with the keywords “minimum motor vehicle insurance coverage in _______” – and insert your state’s name in the search. Be sure to look for the official Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) state site to get the most up-to-date info. Or call you local DMV office to find what the minimum requirements are.


Accident with Injuries

Are You a High Risk Driver?

Insurance policy costs can vary dramatically between low risk drivers and high risk drivers. What constitutes whether or not you are a “high risk driver”? Understandably, having a DUI/DWI on your record can increase your policy. Another risk factor is your age. While this may seem unfair, if you are a teen or elderly driver you may be put into a high risk category. The key is to keep your driving record clean, don’t get traffic violations, stay out of accidents, and keep at least the minimum motor vehicle coverage.

OK, I am High Risk…Now What Do I Do?

If you are classified as a high risk driver and have a limited budget, you should research auto insurance companies that specialize in providing minimum car insurance costs at a discounted rate. Some auto insurance companies specialize in providing coverage in specific states. For example, Good2Go Auto Insurance offers policies in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

Get Insured!

Look at your finances and develop a budget. If you don’t want a fine or possibly jail time, then you need the minimum state coverage. Increase your liability insurance numbers as your budget allows if you want even less risk. Some insurance companies allow you to pay either monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, or annually to meet your specific budget. Insurance is just as important as motor vehicle registration, gas in the tank, and oil in the engine.

Categories : Insurance
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School’s out! Guess what this means? Road trips! But before you jump in the car and hit the road, check your tires thoroughly. An improperly inflated tire can lead to a blowout. Insufficient tread on your tire can make you hydroplane. And if your tire is reaching its useful age limit, you might have a sleeping hazard awaiting you. Whether you are in a part of the world that spells car tires with an “i” or car tyres with a “y”, tires (tyres) are your only link to a rural road, interstate highway, expressway, or autobahn.

Check Your Tire Pressure

Follow these steps from the Auto Upkeep text and any specific procedures in your owner’s manual to properly inflate your tires. Important: Always check tires when they are cold and when you have access to an air compressor.

Tire Pressure Check

Measure the Tread Depth

If your tires are properly inflated, but don’t have sufficient tread on them, you are putting you and your family in danger. Go to an auto parts store or online and purchase an inexpensive tread depth gauge. Tread depth is measured in 32nds of an inch or in millimeters (mm), depending what part of the world you live. If you have anywhere close to (or less than) 2/32nds of an inch or 1.6 mm, you need to purchase new tires. New tires commonly come with 11/32nds (or 8.73 mm) of tread. You may have read about methods of using a US penny to measure tire tread. This may be OK in a pinch, but it is best to purchase a quality tire pressure gauge and tread depth gauge and put them in your glove box so you always have them. As a last resort, tires also have “wear indicator bars” manufactured into and that run perpendicular to the tread. When the tread reaches these indicator bars, it is essential that you replace the tires.

Find Out When Your Tires Were Manufactured

Checking your tires’ birthday is another critical (but often overlooked) important check before you get on the road for vacation. As a tire ages, they begin to degrade. ABC 20/20 did an outstanding investigative piece on the dangers of old tires. It is your job as the car owner and driver to check this date code. Look on your tire’s sidewall for the DOT code (see picture). If your tires are older than 6 years but still have significant tread on them, you should still consider replacing them. And remember, when you purchase new tires check the code too! A tire reseller may be selling you a new “old” tire!


Categories : Tech Tips
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Written by a Guest Blogger

I’m often asked how it’s possible to pro-form high quality SMART repairs where others often fail, giving the industry a bad name. Experience helps, being 40 something and having been in the trade since leaving school is a benefit.

However, the truth to success is very simple and applicable all walks of life. Attention to detail!

When I access any repair I always ask myself whether I would pro-form this on my car or use a bodyshop? Recently I sent my partner’s car to Furrows bodyshop due to damage being beyond my abilities when done outside.

Knowing your limitations will serve you well.

So, I’ve accessed the damage and confident the repair will be good. Next, I find the paint code on the car and check the paint manufacturers paint swatch to determine the correct variant.

In this example, the car had a large dent in the rear quarter. I removed the paint and welded 6 pins to the bare metal and carefully lifted the dent using a slide hammer. Once I was happy with the basic shape I sanded the surrounding area down with 80 grit sand paper, blow away any debris and degreased with panel wipe and a clean tissue. Body filler was carefully applied and allowed to dry thoroughly before being sanded back into shape using 80 grit and a 30cm ‘Dura’ block to ensure the shape was correct. Again, the area was cleaned and finishing glaze was applied over the repair. This time I used 240 grit, followed by 320 grit and a light dusting of black aerosol paint so expose any defects such as high/low points, pin holes or scratch marks.

Next step was to ‘scotch’ the repair area and thoroughly degrease the area requiring paint and mask off the car. Primer was applied and allowed to cure before guide coating was applied. The repair was then 600 grit wet and dry blocked before again cleaning, drying and degreasing and finally tack clothed.

Paint was applied, using an Iwata LPH 50 1.0ml E4 gun in the usual way. Warmed to c 20 degrees, gripper coat followed by several slightly heavier coats, dried and tacked in between applications until the repair was properly covered. A drift coat was then applied over and beyond the repair area to ensure the repair is well hidden and no colour issues could be noticed. I’m now happy with the repair and all that sands in my way of a excellent repair is the clear coating.

Clear coat and panel should be warmed to c 20 degrees before application, gripper to half coat with 5 minute interval before applying the final wet coat. Allow to ‘flow out’ for a further 10 minutes before adding infra red red heat at 70 degrees for required time, allow to cool and de nib with 2000 grit wet and dry before a light compound and final polish. De mask, job done.

Paint Medic provides mobile car repairs and scratch repairs in and around Shrewsbury, UK

Categories : Tech Tips
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Written by a Guest Blogger

You’ve gotten your car detailed and placed ads to sell it. What happens when you actually get a buyer? This guide will get you ready to make the handoff to the new owner.

Before the Sale

Credit: janetmck w/CC License

First of all, completely cleanout your car. Buyers don’t want to sit on your old burger wrappers when they’re test driving, nor do they want to see your ratty old sweatshirt or child seat in the back. They want to envision themselves owning it, and this means no garbage or random personal items lying around your vehicle.

Do your best to make your car pretty – or, as you may have heard in home buying, give it curb appeal. Wash and wax it, buff out scratches, and get rid of stickers and personalization.

Get your ducks in a row to ensure that your car is ready to be sold. Have your title on hand and check that it’s in your name. If you have service records, prepare them. Some dealers have these on file, so if you had all maintenance and repairs done at the dealer, you may ask for that history.

Make Sure Your Care is Free

If you have any liens on your vehicle, you will need to clear these before you can sell it.  Liens may be held by your bank or another creditor, such as a mechanic or the IRS. You must satisfy the lien-holder’s claim — generally with a payment — before you can sell your car.

An Inspection Report

If you have a trusted mechanic, you may ask for an inspection report so that you have it handy for prospective buyers. When buying a used car, it is only natural to ask whether it is mechanically sound.  Several dealersalso offer pre-purchase inspections. But even with the report on hand, some buyers may want to have their own mechanic inspect it. Allow them to do this at their expense, but go along with them.

A few states, such as Maryland, require a safety and/or smog inspection prior to registration. In states such as Washington, it varies by county. Generally, this is up to the new owner, who has to register it and pay those fees.

During the Sale

Credit: Joelk75 w/CC License

To legitimize the sale, there are some papers that both you and the seller will need to fill out and sign. Some states require you to pass the license plates on to the new owner, while other states have you keep your license plates. Check with your local DMV or Department of Licensing before you sell your car to find out.

Bill of Sale

Your bill of sale should have the year, make, and model of your car, as well as the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and mileage. Include the statement “sold as-is” and to whom you sold it (you might want to get their full name and address). While some states consider signing over the title the same as a bill of sale, it doesn’t hurt to have both. Visit your state’s DMV or DOL for more information.

The Title

On the title, record the reading of your odometer (how many miles the car has been driven), and sign it over to the new buyer. Again, some states use this as the bill of sale, so keep a copy of it for yourself.

After the Sale

Credit: edkohler w/CC License

It’s not time to relax just yet; there is still some paperwork you must file to finalize the sale and ensure that you are not liable for it, now that it is no longer in your possession. Again, please check with your state, as there may be some extra steps.


Be sure to notify your insurance company that you no longer own the car. Either cancel it or transfer coverage to your new vehicle.  21st Century Auto Insurance has some helpful tips to assist you with whatever issues you may run into.

Check with Your State

Credit: StickBus w/CC License

This is a general guide and does not cover all laws in all states. Please be sure to check with the DMV or DOL in your state to ensure you comply with your state’s specific laws. Good luck with your sale!










Photo Credits

Pic 1 – Credit: janetmck w/CCLicense

Pic 2 – Credit: Joelk75 w/CCLicense

Pic 3 – Credit: edkohlerw/CCLicense

Pic 4 – Credit: StickBus w/CCLicense


Categories : Car Buying
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Michael and Linda Gray, authors of Auto Upkeep, were interviewed for the Advance Auto Parts DIY Garage. You can read the full article HERE.

Categories : Auto Upkeep News, News
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Written by a Guest Blogger

Whether you want to save money or you can’t afford to purchase a new auto parts form a retailer, it’s often possible to find a quality car part at a low price. In some instances, this may mean purchasing used car parts or from an individual dealers, but buyers should have caution when shopping to ensure they’re getting the parts that best suit to their cars. In order to avoid troubles when shopping, consider the following guidelines.

Online Comparison

Although in most cases the difference isn’t great, rates for some auto parts usually vary from one dealer to another. Generally, there are a lot of regional or national chain parts dealers in most areas. Before purchasing a car part, you should contact each dealer in the area to know the price offered. Most car part stores usually ship parts to your home address, so you can shop from those stores that don’t have a retail presence in your area.

Online Part Dealers

In addition to the car parts dealers with brick-and-mortar stores, there are also a lot of dealers that trade online. Try to check these online stores for a price quote. However, you must have caution when dealing with these online stores as there are a lot of online scams and con artists nowadays. When dealing with unknown retailers, you could verify their reputation with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Junk and Salvage Yards

The most common source for cheap car parts is the local salvage or junk yards. In addition, you can check the directory of yards nationwide with the use of online database or part finder websites. Always have caution when buying electronic parts, such as fuel pumps, ignition modules, etc., as the retailer may accidentally sell a part that doesn’t work from a junk car. It may be a hassle for you to return the product for a refund.

Other Sources

Similar to a large newspaper classified, most areas have also a publication where people can list car items for sale. For most common vehicles and parts, these listings can be a good source of cheap auto parts. However, auto parts from these listings may be used, so you should have caution when buying. Moreover, Ebay, Craigslist, or online listings like the parts section of ISeeCars are potential sources of cheap auto parts. These online stores list both new and used parts from dealers as well as individuals. Although not perfect, these stores provide tools that help consumers make sure they’re buying the right car part.

Categories : Auto Parts
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Written by a Guest Blogger

When you’re ready to upgrade to a different model car or simply no longer need the vehicle you are currently driving, there are several steps you can take that will make it easier for you to sell it and sell it at the right price.

Check out ads online and in local newspapers in your area to see what similar makes and models of cars are selling for, both by private parties as well as automobile dealers to get a sense of the marketplace. Doing this research will help you determine the best asking price for your car to help it to sell as quickly as possible. It’s a good idea to price your car anywhere between $1,000 and $1500 more than you actually want for it to give the buyer some wiggle room for negotiating.

Just as you would get a home in spic and span condition prior to selling it, the same psychology applies to selling a car. Get it washed and waxed and thoroughly clean out the interior from debris and litter, making sure that the windows and mirrors are all spotless. Have your local garage mechanic check it out to ensure that there are no major defects unless you plan to sell the car on an “as-is” basis. You can even go a step further and purchase a vehicle history report to be able to prove to any prospective buyer that the mileage shown is accurate and that the vehicle’s title is clear for you to sell it.

Tell friends and family members your car is for sale and you might already get a nibble. Otherwise take the next step and advertise on online car websites and in newspaper classified ads for the biggest reach among potential buyers. Put a “for sale” sign on the interior side window of the vehicle as well when you are driving around town because you never know who might see it.

Screen the buyers who express interest in purchasing your car and don’t show the car at odd hours, at night or to anyone who you feel may have suspicious motives. It’s often a good idea to ask your neighborhood garage or mechanic if you can meet at their location for a test ride as a neutral place so you don’t have strangers coming to your home. Be ready to negotiate to get your best price for the car and check with the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state on how to finalize the sale legally. Only accept a certified check or cash and be sure to fill out a release of liability form available from the DMV to prevent future problems.

This has been a guest post from Are You Selling, whose motto is “we buy cars“. So, if you’re looking for an easy way to sell your car, it might be worth contacting them through their website.

Categories : Car Buying
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Written by a Guest Blogger

Four wheel drive vehicles are designed differently to 2 wheel drive vehicles. This design difference is intentional as some vehicles are used for purposes in which having a 4 wheel drive vehicle is ideal. In fact, 4 wheel drive vehicles can operate over rough terrain that 2 wheel drive vehicles simply cannot, due to traction deficiencies or perhaps clearance issues.

Generally, 4 wheel drive vehicles are designed to handle well off road. They have much better traction than a two wheel drive vehicle. This traction is not only ideal for off road driving but also for inclement weather such as snow. Four wheel drive vehicles are also designed to have a great amount of clearance. Clearance refers to the distance from the driving surface to the bottom of the vehicle. Having a great clearance also facilitates off road driving. When the terrain is uneven, rocky or perhaps sloped, drivers of four wheel drive vehicles do not have to worry that they will damage the undercarriage.

Gravel roads are handled better with 4 wheel drive vehicles. They are also designed to keep the body level, but to allow for movement by the chassis and suspension.

While there may be some disadvantages to owning a four wheel drive vehicle (such as a compromise in fuel economy), these generally are because the person really doesn’t need a four wheel drive vehicle. A two wheel drive vehicle would better suit their needs. Before purchasing a vehicle, whether it is 4 wheel drive or 2 wheel drive, it is important to consider what kind of driving conditions you will be using it for. When you know what kind of vehicle you need, check the listings at

Categories : Car Buying
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Written by a Guest Blogger

The coming year’s roster of green cars is an anticipated one. New cars are ready to roll out and they aren’t necessarily hybrids. Fuel efficiency is already a focal point but words like torque and turbo are back on the axle. Here are six new green cars that let drivers keep it lean and still drive mean when it comes to burning up the road in 2013.

1. Toyota Avalon

Despite criticisms for design blandness, the 2013 Toyota Avalon looks sleeker than its predecessors. The double-tier grille gives the Avalon an edge over other midsize luxury sedans, lookswise. It still has two-wheel drive and a V6 engine lurks under the hood, but the driver gets a trifecta of programming options: Normal, Eco Drive, and Sport. The price will also be slightly higher, but the improvements to the body, interior and overall driving experience will encourage prospective buyers.

Starting price: +/- $34,995

Release date: Winter 2013

2. Dodge Dart

Dodge’s new Dart comes with a larger 2.0 liter engine or a smaller 1.4 liter engine. Here’s the catch: get the smaller one and enjoy the benefits of turbocharging. Turbo is the magic word for green cars in 2013. The 1.4 liter engine happens to be Fiat’s MultiAir engine, too. It’s an unexpected collaboration that affects the Dart’s performance positively. With a maximum attainability of 39MPG on the highway and a low MSRP, the Dart practically endorses revving.

Starting price: $15,995

Release date: Available

3. Ford Escape SUV

Go ahead, call the new Ford Escape by its birth name: Torquenstein. Ford’s Ecoboost turbocharger gives the Escape enough muscle and torque to haul a 2-ton load. The 1.6 liter engine can be upgraded to 2.0 for even more power. Cruising at 33MPG on the highway and 23 MPG in the city, the Escape has four tires up on the competition’s SUV.

Starting price: $22,470

Release date: Available

4. Chevrolet Sonic 1.4 Liter Turbo

Chevrolet has a younger demographic in mind with their new Sonic 1.4-liter turbo sedan. Like the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris, the Sonic is available as a sedan or hatchback. The hatchback is 14 inches shorter from front to back. Both come with four doors and with or without the turbo option. The new Sonic reprises the 2012 model’s arched roof for plenty of headroom. The Sonic gets 29MPG in the city and 33MPG on the highway, so don’t look for it at the rear of the pack.

Starting price: $14,995

Release date: Winter 2012

5. Ford Fusion

It seemed like an odd move at first but Ford installed a smaller 1.6 liter engine in its new Fusion. The reason is clear: the car benefits from direct injection and turbocharging thanks to Ford’s Ecoboost. The engine is rated for 180 HP which is plenty inside city limits. With its rounded edges and slightly downsized shell, the Fusion remains a winner.

Starting price: +/- $25,995

Release date: January 2013

6. Fiat 500 Turbo

Fiat is the butt of many acronym-based jokes, but it’s time to throw the auto maker a bone. The 500 features the same MultiAir turbo that’s leased out to the Dodge Dart. It’s a little smaller than the Dart, and so is its MSRP. There aren’t many turbocharged vehicles in the 500’s size and price class, either. A combined 31MPG rating isn’t a revelation, but a few more miles-per-gallon are doable on the highway. The 500’s appearance is patently European but it doesn’t look any worse than a Mini Cooper — and arguably better.

Starting price: $14,995

Release date: Winter 2012

Categories : Car Buying, Car Reviews
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Written by a Guest Blogger

Competing with many better-established cars in the same class, the Hyundai i45 brings a formidable cocktail of looks and luxury to the mid-size sedan class. Challenging carmakers like Toyota, Ford, Mazda, and Subaru (to name a few) isn’t for the faint of heart, but in the i45 Hyundai has put a formidable package of features together for a very competitive price.

The Looks

Let’s talk about looks. Undeniably, this sedan has a swept-back appearance with a high, coupe-like roof and smart curves that lend the car an elegant yet racy look. It punches above its weight in terms of looks for a mid-size, family sedan.

The Inside

Hop inside. Add a passenger or two. Add the kids, the luggage, the kitchen sink! With excellent legroom and a 523-litre boot, there’s plenty of space in addition to the comfort and convenience afforded by the leather seats and integrated centre console (with CD, MP3, aux-in, and iPod and USB connectivity).

The Stunning Standard Features

Hyundai makes standard several things that are generally considered extras on other cars: keyless entry, push-button start, automatic door locks, dusk-sensing headlights, rain-sensing wipers, and speed sensing, to name a few. The real intelligence, however, comes from the Smart Drive features related to the six-speed transmission (automatic is standard on Premium and Elite models, while Active has a manual option). The transmission, for manual or automatic, can overrule some downshifts and will skip a gear for the driver on an over revved upshift to protect the engine and maintain its integrity.

The Power Under the Hood

Under the hood, things get more interesting. A 2.4-litre, 4-cylinder in-line engine produces 148kW of power and 250Nm of torque to deliver fuel efficiency of 7.9 litres per 100km. All this plus a compact drivetrain and front-wheel drive make the i45 easy to steer and generous to drive, with a surprisingly tight turning radius.


What else can be said about the Hyundai i45? On the safety front it has six airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), stability and traction control, and has earned the maximum five-star ANCAP rating. The cherry on the top is the five-year warranty.

What are you waiting for? Try the Hyundai i45 on for size. It feels comfortably luxurious for its price.

Categories : Car Buying, Car Reviews
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Written by a Guest Blogger

Mercedes-Benz has long been renowned for their luxury and longevity, but when investing in a luxury car you want to make sure you’re getting the best for your money. Comparing sticker prices is a good place to start, but this basic comparison doesn’t give you a true idea of what you’ll pay to own and maintain the vehicle. For that, we need to look at cost of ownership data.

Here are the 3 most affordable Mercedes-Benz based on the total cash price and the five year cost of ownership.

What is the 5 Year Cost of Ownership?

True cost of ownership is made of six costs you won’t see listed in the sticker price: depreciation, fuel, financing, insurance, maintenance/repairs and tax.

According to Kelley Blue Book, depreciation makes up about 48% of the five year cost of ownership for the average vehicle in 2012, making it one of the most important factors in determining a specific vehicle’s true cost of ownership.

After depreciation, the next most important cost to consider is fuel. Assuming 15,000 miles traveled per year, fuel costs represent about 24% of the total 5 year ownership cost.

Finally, interest fees (11%), insurance costs (10%), maintenance/repairs (8%) and taxes  (also 8%) account for the remainder of the total cost of ownership over 5 years.

Using Kelly Blue Book’s five year ownership data, here are the three least costly Mercedes-Benz models of 2012:

1. 2012 Mercedes C250 Sport Sedan — Price + 5 Year Cost of Ownership: $86,166
The meticulously engineered and constructed 2012 Mercedes C250 Sport offers a refined ride and holds the status as one of the best luxury sedans. The base model starts at $34,800, but we’re assuming you can drive home for about $33,400.

According to, the estimated five-year total cost of ownership for the 2012 C250 Sport is $52,742, the bulk of which is depreciation (about $22k).

2. 2012 Mercedes C250 Luxury Sedan — Price + 5 Year Cost of Ownership: $86,535
While the differences between the C250 Sport and Luxury models may seem cosmetic, the true difference is in the ride. Luxury models prioritize ride comfort with shocks designed to allow free suspension movement over smoother surfaces and firm up on rougher roads. We’re assuming a cash price of $33,800 plus an estimated $52,725 ownership cost to arrive at the total.

3. 2012 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 — Price + 5 Year Cost of Ownership: $87,343
Mercedes compact crossover GLK350 provides impressive ride and handling with robust structure, impressively crafted cabin, and layers of technology. Assuming a total cash price of $32,495 (that’s the standard rear-wheel drive model), you’ll be close to the number given above.

Interestingly enough, the GLK shines with a low depreciation cost (just $21k) but suffers from a high fuel cost. The GLK’s 18PMG combined EPA rating means you’ll likely spend $16,000+ in fuel over five-years. If this vehicle got just 1 more MPG, it would be the least expensive Mercedes-Benz model available.

Other relatively affordable Mercedes-Benz models (based on total five year cost to own):

•    The rest of the C-class (excluding the C63 sedan or coupe) runs from $90-$100k
•    The 4Matic GLK350 at $92k
•    The E350 sedans run from $112k to $115k, while the wagon E350 hits $124k

While these numbers might not make you feel great, keep in mind that they’re based on a series of assumptions. If you a) minimize your fuel costs, b) pay cash, and c) keep your vehicle for 10-12 years, the relative cost of a new Mercedes-Benz is much more comparable to non-premium car.

Additionally, remember that vehicles lose the most value to depreciation within the first year. You can save a lot of money buying a late model version of your favorite Mercedes-Benz.

Author Elizabeth Bailey writes about all things cars for, Melbourne, Australia’s finest Mercedes-Benz dealership.


Categories : Car Buying
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Written by a Guest Blogger – James Burrow

Sustainability enthusiasts and techies alike will enjoy Nissan’s newest concept SUV, rolling out at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. The 2013 Nissan Terra SUV concept reshapes traditionally concrete features to provide an all-new driving experience. Utilizing successful computing technology, the Terra replaces a conventional dashboard with a removable tablet. Hydrogen fuel-cell technology powers three electric motors to provide a fully sustainable journey. Although it’s purely a concept, Nissan’s investment in new technology thinking demonstrates a commitment to innovation.

Hydrogen Powered

Nissan’s newest concept has positioned itself ahead of the curve in the electronic vehicle (EV) market, housing a hydrogen fuel stack to power three electric motors. Although Nissan has been developing fuel cells since 1996, the latest series represents perhaps the most significant step forward yet — it’s made for one-sixth the cost of its 2005 predecessor, according to Nissan.

It’s easy to spot the product of consumer and environmental pressure for alternative-energy vehicles. Hybrid sales rose 11.4 percent in January 2012, and 55.4 percent in February, according to Autoweek. Toyota’s hybrid Prius led the way as the world’s third-best selling car in the first quarter of 2012. The 100 percent electric Nissan Leaf, which will soon be available at Phoenix Nissan dealerships, is currently the Japanese automaker’s most popular electric vehicle, but big things could be on the horizon.


In order to for hydrogen-powered vehicles to catch the Prius and other popular hybrids, the chemical’s value will have to drop significantly. But some experts believe we could see a spike in hydrogen fuel-cell-powered vehicles in the not-so-distant future.

“I’ll cite the CARB estimate of 500,000 zero-emission cars by 2025, with maybe a third being fuel-cell vehicles,” energy expert Peter Hoffmann told The New York Times.

Expect Nissan to be on the front lines of fuel-cell technology. The Japanese automaker’s investment in EV technology, along with French-based Renault, already exceeded $5.6 billion as of September 2011.

Tablet Dashboard

Nissan’s tablet dashboard is perhaps Terra’s most eye-catching new feature. Angled appropriately just beyond the steering wheel, this “intelligent key” has all the functions of a regular dashboard and then some. Along with general speed and rpm performance indicators, drivers can toggle to navigation, entertainment and communication functions with the touch-screen tablet.

Additionally, the removable device must be locked into place in order for the vehicle to start, providing an unprecedented level of security.

Nissan’s technological creativity stokes the imagination with ideas for further automobile-technology integration and validates tablet computing as more than just a shiny fad.

“Modern Toughness”

True to concept-car culture, the Terra’s forward-thinking design elicits visions of chrome tunnels and cool cities. The sleek, slim body is the first of many unique features. Thick pillars and a metal frame stabilize this SUV, while an aerodynamically flat-body pan contributes to the energy-efficient experience.

Inside, a more centered driver’s seat uproots traditional seating layouts. Instead of two parallel rows, the Terra’s seating staggers passengers in a hexagonal motif, meaning everyone has a clear view of the road ahead. Blond wood trim contrasts colored acrylic for a warm interior.

It won’t turn any heads, but a completely flat cabin promotes convenience while transporting bikes, furniture, groceries or anything else.

Every detail combines to create an image of what Nissan calls “modern toughness“. The technology may be mind blowing, but this concept appears ready to handle the rigors of everyday life in style.

Categories : Car Buying
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Snow and ice are just around the corner. Whether you like it or not, winter weather will be here before you know it. How can you get better traction in the snow and ice? The folks at McGee Company has a solution for you. Instead of putting heavy and cumbersome chains on your tires, just put on the easy to install AutoSock.


The AutoSock

The AutoSock is a textile cover that is installed over tires when snow and ice are encountered. It increases traction and installation is a breeze. This alternative traction device even works on vehicles with very little space around the wheel well.

Environmental Impacts

Since the AutoSock is soft, it does not damage road surfaces. And unlike chains, it emits virtually no noise when driving. Another significant benefit is that the AutoSock weighs significantly less than chains, resulting in lower fuel consumption and less carbon dioxide emissions. If you do ever wear them out, they are also recyclable.

How to Use the AutoSock
  • Before purchasing the AutoSock, you will need to know your tire size. Tire dimensions are on the sidewall of the tire. An example tire size is P205/55R16.
  • When using the AutoSock, don’t put the “pedal to the metal”. Use a light foot so the tire doesn’t spin and avoid using excessive speeds.
  • Once you get out of the snow or ice, remove the AutoSock to increase its longevity.
  • Before parking your vehicle at night, remove the AutoSock so it doesn’t freeze.


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