Cars & Your Finances: 5 Things You Need To Know

Anyone who has ever considered purchasing a car will know that doing so requires a substantial financial commitment. In fact, aside from their home, a car is arguably the most expensive purchase anyone will make – and then there are the ongoing costs for gas, maintenance, and repairs to keep in mind.

Unfortunately, understanding exactly how your car can impact your personal budget – or even if you can buy a car at all – can be challenging, as there are more than a few myths and misconceptions swirling around the process. Below, we’ve looked to cut through to the basics of buying, maintaining, and repairing a vehicle; the facts you should always keep in mind when considering how you can integrate all elements of car ownership into your finances.

#1 – Cars are compatible with most budgets

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The fact that purchasing and running a car is expensive is well-known; so well-known, indeed, that many people living on a tighter budget presume that a car is outside of their reach. However, it may not necessarily always be the case, because buying and maintaining a vehicle can be completely flexible.

While there are costs you will inevitably incur, these costs can be entirely customized to suit your budget. There’s no average amount that a car costs; every individual creates their own usage pattern and chooses a particular model that suits their needs. If you’re short on funds, you could opt for a smaller vehicle to keep gas costs down, or shop around to find the cheapest possible repair service – there are tweaks that can be made at every point.

Finally, if you do not currently have a car and are concerned about the impact on your budget, remember to factor in the fact that you won’t sustain car costs on top of your existing budget. The car will actually replace expenses in your budget; sections you usually reserve for other forms of transport, such as taxi fares or bus passes, so always ensure you remove these from your outgoings when buying a car.

#2 – Be cautious of hybrid-related cost claims

While we have tried to keep these points general and applicable to all, there is one finer detail we need to highlight when discussing cars and personal finances: beware the hybrid.

Hybrid cars have long been marketed as a cost-effective solution to standard petrol or diesel, but this claim has been thrown into doubt over recent years, as experts point out gas alone is not the only cost involved in car ownership – and that, all in, hybrid cars are not necessarily the most affordable choice. Hybrid cars are still an excellent choice for environmental reasons, but the commonly discussed cost benefits are highly contested. As a result, if you’re considering moving to a hybrid for cost concerns alone, be cautious and ensure the math checks out before you commit.

#3 – You can obtain financing for a new car even with bad credit

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For most people, financing is the only way to buy a car – saving the entire cost is extremely time-consuming, not to mention that it’s next to impossible if you need a car in a relatively short period of time.

Financing is, therefore, the most sensible solution for most car buyers, but obtaining that financing is often a cause of concern. It is often thought that you can only access car financing if your credit score is high and your credit record clean – but this isn’t actually the case. There are plenty of dealerships which ensure that buying a car with bad credit is more than possible, so if you need financing for a new car, you should be able to access it regardless of your credit history. The reason financing is generally more flexible with cars is because a vehicle is an asset with an intrinsic value, which means lenders are more willing to accept applications than they would be for a loan used for non-specific purposes.

#4 – There are ways and means of managing repair costs

If there is one ongoing cost concern that deters people from buying a car more than any other, it’s the fear of repair costs. In truth, it’s impossible to completely assuage this concern; repairs can be incredibly expensive, which can place a significant strain on personal finances.

However, repair costs are not just something you have to accept – they can be managed. For example, proper maintenance can help to prevent the need for repairs, or you can look into insurance plans that will cover the cost of standard repairs rather than repairs related to an accident only. Furthermore, many cars – both new and used – can be bought with guarantees intact, which covers the cost of repairs for a set period of time; you can then use this time to build a fund that can cover the cost of repairs when the guarantee has expired.

#5 – DIY repairs and maintenance can end up costing you more

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If your car develops an issue, it’s incredibly tempting to head to YouTube or Google the problem in the hopes of finding a way of fixing the problem yourself rather than consulting a professional. Similarly, you may want to consider conducting routine maintenance yourself also, again turning to the internet rather than a qualified mechanic. There are plenty of guides that will help you in this effort, too – but it’s crucial to be extremely cautious.

While a DIY maintenance job or repair can be more affordable in the moment, the simple truth is that cars are incredibly complex, and it can be next to impossible to know all is well unless you are a qualified mechanic. By working on your car yourself, there’s a real chance that you’ll still experience breakdowns or poor performance in future, so you’ll need to consult a professional anyway. As a result, you could find yourself spending twice: firstly on the materials you’ll need for your DIY effort, and then paying a professional for the same work at a later date. It’s therefore preferable to leave the auto shop work to the experts; it may be more expensive in the moment, but is the far more cost-effective choice in the long run.

In conclusion

It is undeniable that buying and owning a car can be expensive, but by keeping the above points in mind, you should be able to enjoy the delights of car ownership without any unnecessary financial strain.

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Combating Car Depreciation: 13 Things That You Can Do

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A car is a major investment. In fact, for most of us, it’s one of the biggest we make throughout our entire lives. However, unlike most other investments, vehicles don’t hold their value over time. Instead, they, unfortunately, start to depreciate from the moment you drive them off the dealership’s lot. This means that, when it comes time to sell your vehicle, you’ll lose a significant sum of money in the process. Depreciation is one of the biggest costs of car ownership, but, thankfully, it is one that you can combat. With that in mind, here are thirteen things you can do.

  1. Choose The Right Make

When it comes time to buy a car, there are lots of options for you to consider. To get the most back for your vehicle, you should opt for makes and models known for their quality and reliability. MINIs and BMWs are popular choices as of late. It will also benefit you to choose a car that has a good warranty. This will make maintenance cheaper for you, but also makes your vehicle more attractive to future owners. Steer clear of big, expensive cars, as they tend to depreciate more.

  1. Stick To Neutral Colors

Bright and unusual colors may reflect your personality and style, but like selling a house, this can also have a negative impact on the resale value. It can also make it much harder to sell your vehicle at all. For this reason, you may want to stick to neutral colors and avoid airbrushing and decals at all costs. If you can’t hold back from pimping your ride, you should at least get a light-colored paint job before you put it up for sale. The more “standard” you make it look, the better.

  1. Buy A Used Vehicle

New cars depreciate a lot faster than most used ones do. Because of this, you should go used car shopping, rather than hunting for a brand new vehicle. This allows you to avoid a huge chunk of the car’s depreciation right away, potentially saving you a lot of money. That being said, this will only work if you choose the right vehicle. The older or less cared for the car, the higher the chance there is that it will have problems, which cancels out the benefit of slower depreciation.

  1. Start Shopping In January

If you plan to buy new anyway, you should start shopping at the very beginning of the year. A car’s year of purchase is one of the key factors establishing its book value. This means that, if you bought a vehicle towards the end of a year, you’d see a much smaller resale value than you would have done buying a car just a few months later. This is because your car will appear a whole year older, rather than only a handful of weeks, making it seem a lot less reliable.

  1. Hold Onto Your Manual

Your owner’s manual and service book are, of course, incredibly important, but what most people don’t realize is that losing or throwing away these documents can actually cost you money. A car without these papers, after all, is going to immediately arouse suspicion, meaning that fewer people will be willing to buy yours for a fair price. A car with both of the documents up to date, on the other hand, is a lot more attractive and should sell for its true value.

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  1. Follow The Maintenance Schedule

The best way to boost your car’s resale value is by taking proper care of it. This means following the maintenance schedule usually documented in your owner’s manual. This will tell you when your car should be serviced, as well as when to change the liquids, oils, filters, and other essentials. By following this timetable, you should be able to keep your vehicle in a good working condition, reducing the chance of costly mechanical or electrical faults any time soon.

  1. Watch How You Drive

Cars that have been driven poorly tend to reveal themselves during a test drive. The performance of a vehicle while braking, accelerating and cornering can all give potential buyers an idea of whether or not you have driven your car with care. With that in mind, you should ensure you pay attention to how you drive and make an effort to do so better, avoiding speeding or harsh braking. This will reduce the chance of your car becoming damaged while you drive.

  1. Keep The Mileage Low

Unfortunately, it’s not just how you drive, but how far you drive that plays a part in determining the value of your vehicle. In fact, mileage is one of the main factors that most buyers consider. For this reason, it’s crucial that you keep the mileage of your car as low as you can. The easiest way to do this is by not using your car for any long distance journeys. Instead, stick to city driving only, and rent a car if and when you want to take a road trip across the country.

  1. Ensure It Stays Clean

Persistently dirty cars lead to body corrosion, permanent stains, and faded carpets, all of which can negatively impact the value of your vehicle. If your car is also dirty upon viewing, it makes it less attractive to potential buyers, suggesting your lack of care could also have contributed to unseen issues. Because of this, you should make sure that you clean or have your car cleaned regularly. You should also take precautions by investing in seat covers and floor mats.

  1. Store Inside Your Garage

These days, garages are typically used as dumping grounds for old furniture, sports equipment, Christmas decorations, and other unwanted junk. However, you should give your storage space a good clear out and instead use it for what it was intended – Protecting your car. This is especially important if you live somewhere with a particularly harsh climate. After all, extreme weather, whether it be hot or cold, can physically damage your vehicle and harm the engine.

  1. Leave Unpleasant Odors Outside

We all love and expect a new car smell, even when purchasing a car that isn’t actually new. Because of this, you should avoid giving your car any unpleasant odors. Whether it is cigarette smoke, wet dog, or greasy food, any unwanted smells can really put off a potential buyer, so it’s best to keep them out of your car. It also helps to have an air freshener hidden somewhere in your vehicle for when buyers do come a have a look.

  1. Pick Your Modifications Carefully

Modifications may seem like the best way to increase the value of your vehicle, but, although they sometimes can be, they definitely aren’t always. This is especially true when purchasing a brand new car. From expensive sound systems to larger wheels, there are a number of add-ons that simply won’t carry their value when it comes time to sell your car. Typically boy racer type modifications can be particularly off-putting and should be avoided where possible.

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  1. Know When To Sell

When it’s possible, you should time the sale of your car in a way that maximizes its value. This means avoiding selling your vehicle when the manufacturer has just released a new model. You should also ensure you sell in the right season. A convertible, for example, is best sold throughout the spring and summer, when most drivers will want to take advantage of having the top down. Of course, it isn’t always possible to do so, but when you can, it is beneficial.

Depreciation is a cost no car owner can avoid, but, with these helpful tips, you can combat and minimize it.

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Handy Driving Test Tips

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Taking your driving test can be the most stressful thing you do this year and you will likely have spent hours and hours trying to learn the ropes and become the best driver you can possibly be on the road. Driving is a skill which a lot of us want to gain in adulthood and today we are going to look at some of the top driving test tips you need to know.

Practice like there’s no tomorrow

Obviously before you take your driving test you will want to make sure that you have lots of practice and make sure that you are ready for the test. In the run up to your test it can be a good idea for you to try and book a driving lesson every day or two and make sure that on the day of the test, you book a driving lesson directly before your test. Doing this will help you to be more comfortable on the day and ready to tackle your test.

Get advice

If you are becoming a little worried in the run up to your test, make sure that you take the time to ask for help, services such as this https://dmvconnect.com/pa-pennsylvania/ can help you to prepare for a test and they may be able to give you some extra resources and guidance to help you pass your test the first time you take it.

Don’t freeze

This sounds like a stupid thing to say, but it is super important that you don’t freeze up when you go for your driving test. Stop and think about what you are doing and the fact that you are on the road in the real world. Because of this you need to make sure that you don’t freeze up when you take your test because it dangerous for other road users. Just take your time making decisions and movements as it is better to be slow than to panic.

Trust yourself

You are a good driver. You’ve got this. You know what you are doing. When you are preparing to go to the test these are the things you will want to say to yourself because it is these things which will help you to conquer your fear in the day and drive well. Act confident and no one will question you, and if you can trust your own ability you won’t even question yourself and you are much more likely to succeed.

Know your car

The car you drive on the test is super important to think about and you need to make sure you know the car inside and out. This is why it is a great idea for you to use your instructors car on the test day rather than any random car supplied by the test organisers. Being able to do the test in a car you are familiar with will help you massively and this can make all the difference to you when you sit behind the wheel.

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DIY Car Maintenance Tips

The auto industry continues to find new ways to improve its products. Whether through high-efficiency engines, advanced connectivity or computerized control systems, it seems that cars and trucks are always becoming easier and safer to use. However, all of these high-tech advancements also intimidate a large number of drivers when it comes to popping the hood. They may be afraid of tinkering with technology they don’t understand. They may believe that their vehicles are so sophisticated that they don’t need to do anything. Either way, those people might be in for a surprise the next time they bring their cars into the mechanic. Their neglect could end up costing them a lot of money.

Although there are some elements of modern automobiles that most of us don’t have the expertise to maintain, there are a lot that we can take care of ourselves. In fact, knowing how to perform these simple DIY tasks can end up saving hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the life span of your car.

 

DIY Car Maintenance Tips created by Truckfitters.

 

 

 

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The Off-Road Road Trip: 4 Things That Can Easily Go Wrong

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When you picture a road trip, nothing negative comes to mind. You’re on the open road with the wind blowing through your hair and the tunes blasting out through the speaker. Road trip, baby! Thinking about everything which can go wrong is fruitless. What’s the point in fretting over something which might or might not happen further down the road?

The thing is, it’s not rare for things to pop-up and ruin the experience. All of a sudden, your dream turns into a nightmare as you’re up a proverbial creek without a paddle. While meticulous planning is not an option – you want some freedom – it is wise to consider the pitfalls which will put the brakes on the entire trip.

At least that way you can avoid any nasty and unnecessary surprises. With that in mind, here are four things that aren’t uncommon and how to fix them.

A Driving Record

Let’s face facts – every motorist has done things they aren’t proud of. For the most part, you try and put them behind you and attempt to be a better person. Of course, there are a few black marks on your file which don’t go away. Driving under the influence is one of them because it’s a criminal offense.

If you got a DUI, the last thing on your mind at the time would be a rental. The potential fine and jail time were more pressing matters. Unfortunately, even a slap on the wrists might bring a halt to the journey before you’ve started. Although it’s not impossible to lease a vehicle with a DUI, it’s a lot tougher than in the past.

The rental company might perform a background check of your license and make a judgment call. They don’t want to lose out due to your indiscretions. Your options are to be upfront and to sign a disclaimer form if they demand one. A tip: Enterprise doesn’t check the DMV database and only require a valid license.

The Gas Tank

It’s empty and needs filling up. Worse, you’ve been to the gas station and now it’s making a funny noise. Wait a minute – did you use petrol or diesel? Whoops. Sometimes, the car company won’t tell you what type of gas it uses and that’s a problem. You can make a gut choice, but get it wrong and you’ll have to pay up.

Although it’s an obvious fix, be sure to ask about the tank before leaving. Another important factor is the return policy. Lots of rentals have a full-to-full rule where they provide a full tank of gas and you have to return it in the same condition. This is more serious than it sounds as thriftier road trippers like to calculate the costs to stay on budget.

One option is to pick a car with a full-to-empty plan.

Collisions

Crashes are pretty common around the world with over six million of them in the US per year on average. Usually, you’re not bothered about an accident as you feel in control behind the wheel. However, this trip, you’re jacked up on adrenaline. Plus, it’s a different model than you drive back home and need to get used to the controls.

The thing you can control is yourself, so stick to the basics. Drive to the speed limit and never lose focus. If you get tired, pull over and switch. That’s one of the perks of having a car full of designated drivers.

Also, always make sure the navigator does their job properly. Because you’re not used to the roads, they should give you detailed instructions. Even if it’s a simple “take the next left,” it lets you concentrate on the most important thing: driving.

No Cell Reception

The point of the trip is to get away from life for a while. You don’t need cell phone reception – it needs you! Except, you need it in case something goes wrong. It’s always nice to have a backup should you get lost or run out of gas in the middle of nowhere.

Speaking of directions, your satellite navigation system might use the internet. Lots of tech-savvy road trippers use a phone and Google Maps combo because it’s easy. Therefore, you’re going to need cell reception to stay on the right track.

You might not think you can mess with Mother Nature, but a signal booster does just that. Alternatively, bring a retro sat nav like a Tom-Tom to pick up the slack if your cell fails.

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Knowing What to Do In an Emergency Situation on the Roads

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New drivers tend to be a little hesitant when it comes to taking to the open road without professional supervision. This isn’t all too surprising. Public roads can be scary places! You have to pay so much attention to various different things at once – not only for your own sake, but for the sake of other drivers, pedestrians, and wildlife too! You have to know how to handle your car correctly. You need to keep an eye on what other vehicle users are doing. You need to accommodate your driving to adverse weather conditions. You need to slow your speed and take further control when road surfaces alter. No matter how experienced you may be on the roads, this is a lot of information to take in and you never know when you might have to face problematic driving conditions. There’s always a chance that things could take a turn for the worse. So, whether you’ve just passed your test, or whether you’ve been driving for years, it’s extremely important that you know what to do if you do find yourself in an emergency situation on the roads. Here’s a little information that should help you along the way!

Stop

As we are all well aware, you should stop as soon as is safely possible when you have been involved in a road collision. Failing to stop could see you face serious fines and even jail time – not to mention the fact that you’ll have to carry the weight of leaving an emergency situation on your shoulders for the rest of your life. So, pull over and turn your engine off.

Call for Medical Assistance

If you are in a fit state, you should then survey the scenario. Determine whether anyone has been injured or otherwise harmed in the accident. If anyone has come to physical harm, or if anyone is suffering from shock, you need to call for professional medical help. The emergency services are generally your best bet. Call operators will be able to let you know what to do until emergency crews arrive. Then the pros can take over once they arrive.

Collect Details

If there are no physical injuries, you may need to turn your attention to damage to your property or others’ property. It is generally best to collect various details from all parties involved. They may also ask for your details, so make sure that you have them and are capable of providing them. Details to exchange should include full names, the make and model of vehicles involved in the incident, the registration numbers of vehicles involved in the incident, insurance details, and contact numbers for future negotiations. You can then use all of these details to file an insurance claim.

Take Photographs

If you intend to get in touch with a car crash law firm to seek compensation for any damages, you should take photos of the scene if it is appropriate and if you have an opportunity to take them safely. This could provide evidence for any legal case that you may intend to build.

Take Further Lessons or Courses

If you feel that you were at fault in the accident, or if you have simply had your confidence knocked by the incident, you may want to take further driving lessons or further driving courses. These can help to build your confidence back up and improve your driving skills.

While any emergency situation on the roads is bound to be scary, it’s best to be prepared at all times. Hopefully, the above information will be able to set you at ease!

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4 Things You Need In Case Your Car Breaks Down

When your car breaks down, it can be one of the most stressful moments you’ll encounter. Not only do you rely upon your car for a lot of the things that you do in your day-to-day life, but you may also be in a really inconvenient place when the breakdown occurs, and there is little that you can do about it. Whilst it may be an irritating and perhaps upsetting experience, there are some things that you can do – and some things that you need – if your car breaks down, and we’ve listed them here.

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  1. A torch

Whilst it sounds like an unnecessary thing to carry in your car, you’ll be glad that you have a torch if you break down during the night, especially if you’re on a road that isn’t very well-lit. You may also have to walk somewhere to get some assistance, which can be daunting in the dark, so make sure that you always have a torch in the car just in case an emergency situation arises.

  1. Good contacts for repairs

When your car breaks down, you just want it to get fixed as soon as is humanly possible, as there is nothing worse than being without it when you have to commute to work, and to your other commitments and hobbies. All car owners need to have the right contacts, so that you can get your car fixed without spending ages looking around for the right people to do it. Be smart, and have some phone numbers at the ready.

  1. A way to get the car parts you need

If you need to get your car fixed, you can save yourself a bit of cash by being switched on when it comes to car parts. Whether you’ve experienced a breakdown or not, make sure you’re aware of a website like https://www.breakeryard.com/car-parts/bmw so that you can order in the parts as soon as you need them. This will save you the expense of buying them directly from the auto shop, and you’ll be able to ensure that the prices you’re being charged are reasonable compared to the average.

  1. Blankets

Another small thing that you should always carry in your car is blankets, as you never know when you’re going to need them, particularly in the winter months. If you have to stand outside of your car whilst somebody comes to tow you, you could live to regret not bringing any along, as the wait can be quite a long one sometimes. Be clever here, and think about how many you’d need if a breakdown occurred. Your family will thank you if anything happens!

So, if your car breaks down, you need to make sure that you have a multitude of things on hand, from torches and blankets, to good contacts for repairs and car parts, so that you can get back on the road in no time. If you have all of these things sorted, you’ll be glad that you did if anything happens to you, so stock up and be prepared!

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