Interesting And Useful Car Articles

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    Young Drivers Insurance

    It has become almost a rite of passage in the UK that once our kids hit 17, they start taking driving lessons. However, as they will automatically fall into the riskiest category of driver, upon getting the keys to their own set of wheels, choosing an appropriate car insurance policy can be tough - not to mention expensive. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to fork out at the top rate just so your kids can get from A to B, but it does require some proper analysis of the car insurance for younger drivers policies that are available, so that you pick the one that works, both by cost and by cover, for you. There are a range of available options.

    The most obvious move for parents who are looking to license one of the family cars to a younger person is third party insurance. Third party insurance is the minimum legal requirement for a driver on British roads, and it covers damage not only to the car and the person driving it, but also to any other occupants of the car harmed by the accident, and, significantly, damage to another person’s property. For example, if the driver was to drive into a neighbour’s wall when pulling out of your driveway, the damage to their property would be covered by third party insurance. However, it is important to be aware that in situations where the accident is the fault of the driver, third party insurance will not cover either damage to the car or the person driving it. Essentially, third party insurance covers your liabilities for damage incurred by people or property external to the car. In the case of your car being stolen, damaged by fire or set upon by reckless vandals, third party insurance will not cover the damage incurred.

    These articles were submitted by Tom Carey.

    Average Joe’s Guide to Kicking The Tires

    By Tom Carey

    Most people do not know what to look for in a used car. That’s ok, you don’t have to be an expert to come across as one. With the following tips, you will feel like a regular pro and won’t feel disadvantaged when walking onto a car lot. Take this small checklist with you to remind you what to look for.

    Tires-Tire treads wear evenly. If the tread on one of the tires is worse than the others, it indicates that the car is out of alignment in some respect, or in need of adjustments or parts.

    Headlights- Do the headlights match? By this I mean is one of them yellow or pointing in the wrong direction? This could give you a clue that the car was hit on one side.

    Interior – Are there little holes in the cloth upholstery on the door or seat? They are most likely cigarette burns. In a leather interior car, look at the head liner, if the color is faded or stained, it was a smoker’s car.

    Inspection – When does the inspection expire? If it was just recently inspected, the car passed the states requirements for safety and emissions. A car with an expired inspection means it either failed last inspection or was never put through. It may cost an awful lot of money to make it pass.

    Oil – Check the oil level and color. It should be in the full range and the color should be a transparent golden brown..

    Power windows and Locks – Check to make sure they work

    Keys - Make sure master key fits in both the door lock and ignition. If they don’t work in both, it could mean the steering column was replaced.

    Windshield – Are there cracks or chips in it? If they are small, they could get bigger and you will need a new windshield.

    CarFax – It is an independent company that details the history of the owners, inspection records and accident reports on the car.

    Warranties – What does the warranty cover? More importantly, what doesn’t it cover?

    Test drive – Do you fit in it? Does the seat adjust to your comfort? Can you see over the hood?

    These are a few or the things to look at when you are looking for a used car. Do these things on a used car lot and the dealer will think you know exactly what is going on, even if you don’t. While you are at it, go ahead and kick a tire or two.

    Convenient Financing Options For Your Car Purchase

    By Tom Carey

    Not many people have sufficient on-hand resources to pay cash for a new/used car purchase. Most people HAVE to finance at least a major portion (about 80%) of any such acquisition. Most people just assume that financing through the car dealership is the simplest, easiest and most convenient way to go—and most people pay more than they need to because of that assumption!

    Car dealerships rarely provide direct financing; i.e., they “partner” with a lending institution which provides funding to “qualified” buyers who apply for loans at car dealership offices. The lending institution accepts all the involved risk, while in most cases the dealerships accept a flat fee commission, a percentage of the total loan, and/or a bonus for each loan placement from their lending “partner.” This cost is paid for by the buyer through a higher loan rate. It might be simpler and easier to file for a loan at the car dealership, but please don’t assume that it doesn’t cost you for that convenience. In a small number of case, like at, financing is provided, however the dealer does not receive any fee, percentage or bonus for placing the loan. The service is provided to make the car buying experience better and more convenient for the customer.

    Banks and credit unions offer direct financing to car buyers, usually at rates better than those they can offer through any “partner” car dealerships—this is because they have no fees to pay for a middleman. Deal directly with a lending institution and you can save money on your new/used car purchase. If you have a savings/checking account with a bank or credit union, they are much more likely to provide you with a car loan than any lending institution for which you are not already a customer, and you’re more likely to get a better rate or more convenient terms (or both) from them too. Most even offer lower rates if you agree to have payments automatically deducted from your account—no checks to write, no envelopes to address, and no stamps to send them in. Now that is a convenience which not only doesn’t cost you anything, it usually saves both time and money!

    Try to have your financing issues addressed before you even go to a car dealership. Banks and credit unions will help you determine how much you can afford to pay, which should provide more confidence and less anxiety for when you actually go to a dealership. With loan approval issues already addressed before you set foot on a lot, if you see one that just screams “That’s My New Car” to you, you’ll be in a position to close the deal right then and there, and to drive it home without further delay. Now that could be a convenience derived from adequate preparation and forethought!

    The First Time I Went To A Big Car Lot

    By Tom Carey

    The first time I went on a big car lot to buy a car, was with my girlfriend at the time (now my wife). The salesperson met us outside our car as if he was going to valet it. I asked him if I could park there, and he responded jokingly “only if I wanted to buy a car”. He immediately asked what kind of car I was looking for. My response was, “the car is for her, she is making the decision”. I mistakenly thought that was direct and sufficient enough, but apparently I was wrong. The next few questions were directed at me, as if he hadn’t heard my response to the first question. To which I answered “the car is for her, she is making the decision”, about six times I think. I thought maybe he was hard of hearing, but after hanging out for a few minutes with him, I found that wasn’t the case. She finally settled on a car in the price range she was looking for and he ran to get the keys, which of course he handed to me. I got in to drive, the salesman sat in the passenger seat and my girlfriend sat in the back. He was asking me about the power, the torque, and the handling. About a ½ mile down the road, I pulled over to let her drive. The salesman nearly had a heart attack when I got out. “I told you a number of times that the car was for her, I am letting the decision maker drive, so she can make her decision” I told him. I was expecting the same question about the power and torque directed to her, but they never came, just questions about the fabric interior and the color of the car. It was as if he took a sales course about generalizing what each gender wants in a car. When we got back to the car lot, we followed him inside to work out the numbers and financing. Then the games started. We were young, but not stupid. He was writing numbers all over the place on a sheet of paper that he folded in fours. He wanted to know a payment I was comfortable with. I just pointed at my girlfriend. She answered $200, to which he responded “$200 up to what”. “201” I remember her saying, I knew there was a reason I liked her. For the next 20 minutes, we were being manipulated into thinking that the car we drove may not be there tomorrow, and her payment of $223/mo. with what I thought was a sizable down payment, would get her the car tonight. Unlike most car buyers, she was not an emotional buyer. She decided the monthly payment was too much higher than her budget, and said “no thank you”. We got up to leave and the look on his face was as if we just punched him in the stomach. He had one last ditched effort to keep us as clients. When that was rebuked, he blocked the door and said, “When you come back to buy this car, ask for me, because I don’t do this for fun, I do this to feed my family”. I hope his family can start garden, because the whole experience made us want to go home and shower and not deal with people like that anymore. If you ask any woman who has gone on a lot herself, you will be amazed at the comments they get. This one took the cake: “Did your husband give you his wallet to shop for a car tonight?” The reason I am now a used car salesman, is because there is nobody else stepping up and treating people like they should be treated when buying a car. There is way to many games and manipulations going on and people are buying cars for way too much with financing that is burring them, because some unscrupulous car dealer tricked them into it.

    This article was submitted by Gina Goldenberg.

    20 Top Terms You’ll Hear On A Car Lot

    By Gina Goldenberg

    1. “BE BACK” (BB).
    A person who leaves the car lot without purchasing a car but whom the salesperson believes will come back (be back) to the lot soon.

    2. BURIED.
    A person who is in debt from a car that has little to no value.

    A person who was happy when they first purchased a vehicle but whom now regrets the purchase. This feeling of remorse usually happens in people who made an uneducated purchase or a snap decision.

    4. LOW BALL.
    An offer a salesperson will make that is well below asking price.

    5. CHAINED.
    When the salesperson has somehow added money to the ‘low ball’ offer he has made earlier. Many times a salesperson will increase the amount you pay for a car through its finance department or by adding extras to your vehicle.

    When the odometer of a vehicle has been rolled-back.

    7. CRÈME-PUFF.
    A trade-in vehicle that a dealership has underpaid for and that is in exceptionally good condition. The dealership will make a huge profit on this trade-in. Of course, they won’t tell you that the car is a crème-puff.

    8. CURBING.
    A person (private seller) who sells many cars a year. They do not have their dealers’ license or a dealer’s lot; instead they sell these cars from their home or by the ‘curb.’

    This is a vehicle that the dealership gives out to people for a test-drive. These vehicles have usually been driven hard by many different people.

    This is when the dealership loans you the money for your down payment until your loan goes through.

    This is the amount (or trade-in value) put down on a vehicle.

    The amount of money a dealership is investing in your trade-in. This investment is usually in the form of repairs and detailing.

    13. LEMON.
    A car with a lot of problems.

    14. LOOKY-LOU.
    A potential buyer that is not easy to sell a car to.

    15. OFF-LEASE.
    A vehicle that’s lease is up and is now on the used vehicle market.

    A vehicle that has been taken back by the loan company due to non-payments from the owner.

    An inflated amount the dealership is paying for your trade-in vehicle. The dealership will usually make this money back somewhere else in the deal.

    18. SPIFF.
    A selling competition a dealerships management has engaged its selling team in.

    19. UP.
    There is an order in which salespeople pick up their clients. Each salesperson takes a turn as each client walks through the door. Example, if you walk through the door and it’s Mike’s turn to have a client you will be referred to Mike’s up.

    20. UPSIDE DOWN. A situation where you owe more money on a vehicle than the vehicle itself is worth.

    By Gina Goldenberg – Personal Auto Brokers

        FREE Personal Auto Brokers Idea Pak, filled with tips and information articles to help you purchase/lease your next vehicle.

    Reproduction of this material is allowed only if accompanied by entire signature line at bottom. All rights reserved in all countries. Copyright Personal Auto Brokers 2006.

    These articles were submitted by Sue and Chuck DeFiore.

    The Last Of The 455 Pontiac Trans Ams

    Those of us lucky enough to be around in the 70s when this fantastic car came out drool every time we think of it. Imagine getting a car from the factory with a 455 cubic inch engine in it! This car kicked butt! Then if you did some work, like we did to ours, as in having the engine blue printed, balanced and a lot more, it did even better. Let's just say it was doing much better then one horsepower per cubic inch!

    This was the era of Smokey and the Bandit movies. Good ole boy Burt Reynolds drove a black Trans Am in the movie and everyone and his uncle all of a sudden wanted one. Of course, by that time the ones they were selling were watered down versions with no where near the power of the original ones.

    Since we're not sure of the statute of limitations, let's just say that any stories are assumed to start "Once Upon A Time".

    One of our favorite stories is when we were getting onto Sunrise Highway late one evening and a Camaro rolled up next to us and started revving his engine, well you can imagine the rest. Here was a poor soul who had not a clue of what was in store. Since we do not believe in street racing, it was a good thing we were both going onto the entrance ramp. Once we were satisfied that no one was on the parkway at that time of night, we let the Beast Out To Play. We never did see any more then his fading headlights.

    One of the funniest moments was when we lived in upstate NY and my husband went to the store to pick something up and this guy in a Mustang 2 pulled up next to him and my husband had some fun (hey, we are all entitled sometimes). As Chuck tells it: You see at that time a local car dealer was running a TV spot featuring a Mustang 2 just destroying a Trans Am. So this gentleman pulls up next to me, gunning his engine for all he's worth. The light changes, he chirps his tires and flashes me a big grin as he takes off. Well, I idle away from the light, give it just enough gas in first to pull even with him, then drop the hammer, lighting up both tires, throw second, light them up again and then ease off. Drive down the road to the store.

    When I come out of the store this guy has finally got there and is waiting for me and says,"but the commercial says Mustangs will beat the pants off the Trans Am." I very blithely replied, "Not this Trans Am!"

    They don't make them like this anymore. It's sad when you think about it! Those of us who lived and grew up in the era of the muscle cars, street rods, Saturday night cruise nights were very, very lucky. I feel sorry for the youth of today that they missed out on all of this.

    So what happened to that great 455 Trans Am, unfortunately the harsh upstate NY winters aren't kind to cars and rust took the Trans Am from us. However, we did replace it - with a customized 1973 Vette, which we drove cross country to California, but that's a whole nother story!

    DeFiore Enterprises, Copyright 2005

    Girls Like Them Fast And Furious Too!

    While today we have women racing in Indy, NASCAR and a variety of different racing venues, years ago this wasn't the case.

    In fact, during the era I grew up in women were looked upon in a very different light. If you deviated from the norm you were labeled as a "tomboy". However, there were many, like myself who loved to drive, work on cars and got a lot of satisfaction in doing so. Just because we did however, didn't mean we weren't women, girls, ladies, whatever you wish to be called.

    Many of us so called "tomboys" were the product of being first born girls with dads who wanted the prodigal son first, but got a daughter instead. My dad and I watched sports together, baseball, football, basketball. In fact, my dad was the neighborhood dad (those who grew up when I did will understand) and played with all the kids in the neighborhood. We would have touch football games, kickball, baseball, t-ball and even badminton and volleyball games.

    I developed an avid interest in cars, because my dad worked for Rolls Royce and was always bringing some great cars home. He brought home Joe Namath's Jaguar, a Silver Cloud Rolls Royce (owned by one of the builders in the area I grew up) . In fact I got to drive it, which was a thrill to say the least.

    Cars had character back then, you could tell them apart. While my dad for years drove a Ford Station wagon (for business), he also owned Dodge's and some Chevy's. My mother loved the Mustang and got one in 1965. I liked them bigger, so my first car was a 1962 Chevy Belair (2 door). I nicknamed her "The Black Beauty" she was a great car.

    My dad showed me how to change my oil and filter, and to take care of my car. We also worked on the brakes and much more together. I would spend a whole day, cleaning, washing and waxing that car. It was the perfect car for my "lead foot". I can't count the number of cars that would pull up next to me, and reeve up their engines thinking "It's a girl, she'll never beat me off the line"! Well, how wrong they were. I can count on one hand those that took me off the line!

    I hung around with a group of friends, mostly guys, but some girls also. The cars were varied, Mustangs, Vettes, Chargers, Chevelle's and a multitude of street cars. We all loved cars and driving them, and especially driving them to their limits. Which we did! Did us girls always beat the guys, nah, but it was sure fun when we did!

    So remember, next time you come up next to a lady driver, "Girls like them Fast and Furious Too!

    DeFiore Enterprises, Copyright 2005

    My First Car A 1962 Chevy Belair "The Black Beauty"

    My first car was an extraordinary black, 2 door 1962 Chevy Belair with blue vinyl seats, which I nicknamed "The Black Beauty"! I mean she shined beautifully when polished. There is nothing like a black car highly polished! It also didn't hurt to have those 8 cylinders and that great 283 workhorse engine that Chevy put in it! And all for the bargain price of $400! Five years later I sold it for the same price!

    Like many of my generation, we normally got cars for our graduation. I was lucky, as my dad worked for Rolls Royce and the head mechanic there, Johnny T was selling this fantastic car. Now this wasn't just any 1962 Chevy Belair. Since Johnny T was an avid fisherman and didn't want to ruin the upholstery he covered the cloth upholstery with a blue vinyl one. Johnny also put in all the instrumentation needed on the inside of the car, oil and temp gauge, and tach. He also installed a blinker system, so the blinkers were on the hood. The final coupe de grace was putting Rolls Royce seat belts in the car. Since Johnny was a great mechanic and of course, did all his own work, when he sold us the car he included extra tires and all the materials to keep the brakes up to par for many years to come.

    I can remember my first drive in the car. I pulled out of my drive way and drove over to the park a couple blocks away, too, of course, show it off to all my friends.

    I cleaned the Black Beauty every weekend from top to bottom. My Saturday morning ritual was cleaning the inside, and then washing it. I waxed it once a month. My dad went and got me a 8 track cassette for it (yes, I know I just dated myself; for those of you who don't know what an 8 track is, think CD player of today)! Unfortunately my poor baby was broken into a couple oftimes when they stole my 8 track and some very nasty person slit the front seat. Bad enough they took my 8 track and tapes, the least they could have done is left the seat alone. So, yes there were bad eggs around then too!

    Whenever we had to make a trip into the city (New York that is), my father made me drive while he sat in the back seat. It had a amazingly comfortable ride, even with all the pot holes on the Long Island Expressway! In addition to drives into the city, I had loads of fun in the Black Beauty with my friends.

    Unfortunately I had to sell the "Black Beauty" when my husband and I went off to graduate school. However, don't feel too bad, we had replaced it with a 1976 Pontiac Trans Am, yep, the last of the big 455's. Plus we had the engine blue printed, balanced and a whole lot more, so it really hauled a**!

    We sold the Black Beauty to a neighbor, who took out the vinyl seats and lo and behold the cloth ones were in excellent condition. He eventually sold it to his brother in Brooklyn, who while driving one day went to step on the brake pedal and his foot went through the floor. Unfortunately the harsh NY winters aren't kind to cars!

    I think many of us wax sentimental when we think of our first car, I know I do! Luckily , I still have my pictures and some very great memories of my "Black Beauty"!

    Drive On!

    DeFiore Enterprises, Copyright 2005

    9 Tips for Buying a Car l Get the Best Car Finance Deal

    Submitted by Sarah Smith

    So you’re ready to purchase a new or used car for your household, but you’re not quite sure how to get the best deal. Don’t worry. The following are 10 tips you can use to ensure that you get spectacular offers when you go to buy your next car:

    1. Improve Your Credit Profile

    Your credit score is important when it comes to getting the right financial deal on a car. Therefore, you want to make sure that your score is as high as possible before you visit a dealer. Order a copy of your credit report, and then dispute any accounts that do not appear to belong to you. Anything that the bureaus remove will boost your score significantly.

    2. Bring a Significant Down Payment

    The amount of down payment that you bring to the table will have a significant effect on the financing deal that you receive. A rule-of-thumb practice is to bring a down payment that is between $2,000 and $5,000. The down payment will lower your monthly payments. The lump sum can sweeten the asking price of the vehicle if you’re trying to buy it from the seller outright.

    3. Exercise Indifference

    Indifference is not a good emotion in most cases, but it is the perfect emotion for the car buying process. You never want to visit a dealership with an air of excitement written on your face. Salespersons may try to raise the prices if they know you are excited about taking the vehicle home. Always maintain a “poker face” when you negotiate, and be prepared to walk if the price is not right.

    4. Select a Vehicle With "Issues"

    You can get an amazing deal on a car if you pick one that has a huge issue. An example is a large dent on the side. Many buyers will overlook such a car because of its blemish, but you may be able to secure a gem that will last you many years.

    5. Conduct a Random Neighborhood Search

    You can find a good deal on a car by driving around your neighborhood and looking for “for sale” signs. You may be able to get hold of something for an awesome deal, especially if the owner has been trying to sell the vehicle for a long time.

    6. Use National Car brokers

    National car brokers are third-party people and organizations that shop on your behalf. One of the greatest benefits of hiring brokers is that they have your best interest at heart. They are looking for a deal that will suit you, and not a deal that will suit a specific seller or dealership.

    7. Use Car Finders Tools

    Car finder tools can save you time and money. Car finder tools are online resources that search for cars based on your specific criteria. A car finder tool will only look for cars within your price range if you set the boundary.

    8. Retain Car Buying Services

    You can consult with a car buying expert or pro who can help you find the right deal. A pro is similar to a broker but may or may not be part of an organization.

    9. Visit the Dealership During a Special Sale

    Lastly, you can find a great deal by visiting a dealership during a special sale. You can also look for clearance deals and holiday specials.

    The previously mentioned tips should help you to obtain the best deal available. You should end up with a car that can last you many years.