Keeping It Clean

After a harsh winter with brutal temperatures and dealing with salt and grime, everyone is taking advantage of the great weather we have been having this week.  Now is the time to start thinking of your vehicle and how to get it ready for the warmer months to come. Here are a few tips to properly wash your vehicle.

The Proper Tools

When you think of washing your car, don’t reach for the dish detergent! This could harm your vehicle’s finish. Would you wash your dishes with shampoo? Different cleaners are formulated for different jobs. Stock up on the right tools for washing your vehicle:

  1. Bucket: get a good, sturdy bucket that will hold enough water and cleaner. You can also use it (when dried of course) to keep your sponges, rags and cleaners in.
  2. Microfiber towels, wool cloths or large sponges: be sure to clean them after using and make sure they are fully dried before storing away.
  3. Cleaners: there are many cleaners out there. Make sure that what ever you choose is formulated for washing a vehicle.

Find the Right Time

The best time to wash a vehicle is early in the morning or before sunset. You should avoid washing your car during the afternoon, when the sun is at its hottest. Washing your vehicle under the hot sun will dry the suds on your vehicle quicker and it will make it difficult to rinse as well as leave a layer of residue on the finish.

Rinse It Off

You’ll want to start by rinsing your vehicle off first to remove any loose dirt and debris. Begin at the roof and work your way down. Take your time, no need to rush through this step.

Wax On..Wax Off

Some cleaners have built in wax however for the first wash of the season as well as the last, use paste wax and buff it off. Not only will it provide a great finishing shine to your vehicle, it will provide added protection against the elements.

Inward Appearance

Don’t forget the interior! It’s been through the harsh weather as well!  Vacuum the rugs and clean the mats. Clean all surfaces to remove dust and debris, paying close attention to the center console.

Roll up your sleeves and enjoy the results of your work!

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How can I get the most for my trade?

So you are thinking of trading in your vehicle for another one and you are starting to stress over how much it may be worth.  This is probably one of the most stressful parts of getting rid of your old car and getting into a new or newer one.  Here is a simple road map to help you understand how the process works as well as to help you make the most of your vehicle.

The one thing to remember first is that there are several factors that come into play when a dealership considers your vehicle. When they try to figure out how much your vehicle is worth they will look at the year, make, model, mileage, over all condition as well as the options it has. First thing to keep in mind is that your vehicle is not worth what you owe to another bank. If you are still paying on your vehicle don’t expect to get the pay-off amount for it.

Here are a few steps to help you maximize your profit:

Step 1: Make a Great First Impression

When you get ready for a date or an interview, what do you do? You want to make a great first impression! Clean out the interior of personal items, food wrappers, empty cans and etc. Wipe down the dash and other surfaces, making sure there’s no grime or dust.  Give windows a good clean inside and out! Vacuum the carpet and seats and spray some air freshener to remove any odors. It also doesn’t hurt to take it through a car-wash. Just as you would expect a clean car when you test drive a vehicle, the same goes for a dealership.

Step 2: Bring Service Records

The more information the better! If you keep your vehicle well maintained, bring those documents with you.  Not all garages report oil changes and servicing. If your vehicle was in a minor accident, bring those documents with you as well. Dealerships can access the vehicle history report so providing them with information is better for you in the long run.

Step 3: Get an Appraisal

There are many ways to get your vehicle appraised.  Online sites such as Edmunds.com or Cars.com offer a trade-in tool to get an estimate. Be honest with the information you are providing! No vehicle is ever in excellent condition. Be fair to yourself and look at the Fair or Good evaluation amount. Many dealerships offer a free appraisal even if you are not buying a vehicle from them.

Step 4: Now You’re Ready!

Now you are well prepared to trade in your vehicle.

Are You Ready To Trade?

Congratulations! After searching for the perfect vehicle; you found one! This is an exciting time as it should be after all you are making a sizable investment.  Here is what you will need in order for the process not to become a headache:

Driver’s License

No joke. Many people often come to a dealership and they forget one of the basic items needed to test drive a vehicle. Not only do you need a license you need a valid one at that. If someone will be test driving the vehicle with you, make sure that they are prepared as well.  The dealership will most likely be making a copy of your license and this is for insurance purposes as well as saving time when you are ready to buy.

Insurance Cards

Like your driver’s license make sure you bring an up to date insurance card with you. Again the dealership may make a copy of this for their records in order to assist you with putting insurance on your vehicle.

Proof of Residence

A bank will require proof of residence such as a phone or utility bill. Make sure that what proof you bring it that it has your name on it.Bring a couple of items with you just in case.

Proof of Income

A couple of recent pay stubs from a current employer along with a recent bank statement will be required if you are applying for financing.

Payment

Most dealerships accept credit cards and checks however there may be restrictions on amounts that they accept. With a quick call before heading in can save you a few steps or bring in a few forms to make your down payment with. Of course cash always works!

Trade-In

If you are trading in a vehicle you will need a few more items.  First bring your vehicle title with you. If you do not have it, you may be charged to file for a duplicate title. The dealership can get a duplicate title on your behalf for a fee. The title to the vehicle proves that you are the owner and it will transfer ownership to the dealership. If you are hoping to drive home in your vehicle that day, this will be a time saver.

You will also need to have your current registration card with you to prove that your plates are valid especially if you are transferring them to your new vehicle.

Make sure you have all sets of keys with you and that all your personal items are removed in case you wish to drive your new vehicle home that day. Not having personal items in the car will save you time from transferring your things into your new vehicle.

If applicable bring in the Lien Release to your trade.

 

Being prepared will make your car buying experience smoother and more enjoyable as it should be!

 

 

To Tell You the Truth

You  may have been told a few things about vehicles, car shopping, dealerships and sales people but what is really the truth?  We are here to help!  Let’s break a few of these myths for you.

  1.  “Manual transmissions are more fuel efficient.”
    • This may have been true a few decades ago however with technology today it’s not the case. With the creation of continuous variable transmissions, automatics are pretty much in line with manuals.
  2. “The bigger the vehicle the safer you are.”
    • When it comes to safety bigger isn’t always better. Safety features have come a long way with side curtain airbags, side impact  door beams, front and rear crumple zones and much more. and most vehicles are equipped with multiple airbags and side impact beams. Smaller vehicles also have a lower center of gravity point unlike larger SUVs. As always research safety features of any vehicle you purchase.
  3. “Change your own oil to save money.”
    • DIY oil changes isn’t always the cheapest. Factor in the supplies and the time it will take and in some cases you are spending more! When you take a vehicle to your local dealership or quick lube station, they give your vehicle an inspection to make sure everything is running properly plus top off the fluids. Often dealerships and quick lube stations offer great savings and offers just check their websites or newspapers.
  4. “Red vehicles get more tickets than other colors!”
    • This myth has been going around probably since the first red vehicle hit the black top. Driving fast will get you a speeding ticket and not the color of your ride. Radar guns are colorblind so if you see a red vehicle that you really like, just remember to drive the speed limit.
  5. “Use the internet to get the best price on a car.”
    • While the internet is a great tool for locating the perfect vehicle it’s not necessarily the best tool for getting the best deal. Use the internet for research and getting estimates but when you are ready to get accurate numbers then plan to visit the dealership. Your presence is your best leverage when it comes to getting the best deal!
  6. “Pay cash to get the best price.”
    • They do say “Cash is King”but not when buying a car. The price of the vehicle is the price of the vehicle. You may save money not paying interest on a loan but don’t expect to get better discounts because you are paying cash. So think twice when you ask for best “cash price” and then apply for financing.
  7. “Wait until last minute to tell them you’re trading a car in.”
    • Dealerships are used to this trick that it’s been given the name, “parachuting the trade”.  By doing this, it could add considerable amount of time to your visit because the entire trade-in evaluation won’t start until after the entire deal is negotiated. Why would you want to possibly double your time?

Always remember, a little research will save you a lot of confusion!

What to bring when buying a car

Congratulations! After searching for the perfect vehicle; you found one! This is an exciting time as it should be after all you are making a sizable investment.  Here is what you will need in order for the process not to become a headache:

Driver’s License

No joke. Many people often come to a dealership and they forget one of the basic items needed to test drive a vehicle. Not only do you need a license you need a valid one at that. If someone will be test driving the vehicle with you, make sure that they are prepared as well.  The dealership will most likely be making a copy of your license and this is for insurance purposes as well as saving time when you are ready to buy.

Insurance Cards

Like your driver’s license make sure you bring an up to date insurance card with you. Again the dealership may make a copy of this for their records in order to assist you with putting insurance on your vehicle.

Proof of Residence

A bank will require proof of residence such as a phone or utility bill. Make sure that what proof you bring it that it has your name on it.Bring a couple of items with you just in case.

Proof of Income

A couple of recent pay stubs from a current employer along with a recent bank statement will be required if you are applying for financing.

Payment

Most dealerships accept credit cards and checks however there may be restrictions on amounts that they accept. With a quick call before heading in can save you a few steps or bring in a few forms to make your down payment with. Of course cash always works!

Trade-In

If you are trading in a vehicle you will need a few more items.  First bring your vehicle title with you. If you do not have it, you may be charged to file for a duplicate title. The dealership can get a duplicate title on your behalf for a fee. The title to the vehicle proves that you are the owner and it will transfer ownership to the dealership. If you are hoping to drive home in your vehicle that day, this will be a time saver.

You will also need to have your current registration card with you to prove that your plates are valid especially if you are transferring them to your new vehicle.

Make sure you have all sets of keys with you and that all your personal items are removed in case you wish to drive your new vehicle home that day. Not having personal items in the car will save you time from transferring your things into your new vehicle.

If applicable bring in the Lien Release to your trade.

 

Being prepared will make your car buying experience smoother and more enjoyable as it should be!