FIRST TIME CAR BUYERS | BE PREPARED

When your customer asks the question, how do I decide what to buy? It’s go time, this is kind of what we car dealers love! Recently I had the opportunity to share my insight with a first time buyer. One of the perks of being in this business for over 16 years is experience, so I jumped at the opportunity. For first time buyers this is a huge event and can be stressful. The more equipped they are today, the better! 

 

THE BUYER

 

At 27 they had driven their current car, new in 2015, to 4 years of instate college, used it for work across the entire eastern seaboard, to their new home over 1500 miles away, and now shared it with their spouse. It was a gift so they had not made payments nor established credit through an auto loan. A couple things were clear to me. Their car had been maintained relatively well to keep up with their pace and they’re decision to begin looking was most likely a good one 🙂 

First, I told them that their car appeared to have been a good one so… I had a few questions for them before offering my expert opinion. Establishing if they “need” a new car is a good place to start and gives me some idea of what their next car should be. 

 

How many miles does your current car have on it? 

Have you properly maintained it? 

Is it failing in some way? 

 

The answer to whether they needed to begin their search for an upgrade became clear. They had driven it 150 ‘000 miles. Their maintenance was “so-so” and several parts had started to fail, all expensive ones! 

 

THE DEALER

The “need or want” process is an important part of being a successful and reputable car dealer, don’t sell them what they don’t need. Next, if it’s a need, provide the best options possible. There are some basic guidelines for establishing where to begin the search and why it could be time.  I knew from experience that their car was not known for performing well with high mileage so they were flirting with disaster. Poor maintenance means anything could fail from this point on. After further discussion it appeared they were not equipped to afford expensive repairs or the cost of a NEW car payment. 

 

GENERAL GUIDELINES: THE MAP TO “WHAT TO BUY”

How far is your daily commute?

Do you have cargo or just yourselves? 

Will you be towing? 

Are you a “point A to point B” or a “enjoy driving” person?

Fuel type? (Diesel, Gas, Electric)

Space costs extra, really need more? 

Plan to improve your maintenance practices or not? 

Cost of insurance?

What is your budget? Be honest

 

Where To Buy Options 

Within the first year of owning a new car, it could be worth 20% less than what you paid the dealership. Within 5-6 years it may be worth just 60% of its original value. So used cars have an obvious appeal to value / cost conscious customers. There are a couple of options. 

 

Buy from a dealership ~ Safer 

Buy from a private seller ~ Cheaper 

 

Why the dealer option is better for first time buyers. The main reason is that dealerships are responsible for disclosing problems the vehicle might have or repairing those issues before selling it. By providing a Carfax the buyer gets the facts. 

Buying from a private seller can be a little cheaper but no disclosure is required, buyer beware. Find the most reputable dealer who is willing to work with you on financing and you’re off to a good start. 

 

THE LOAN

 

Cash down always helps negotiate a better interest rate which will provide a better monthly payment for a shorter time. Buyers may even negotiate on a longer term loan option with lower rates. By making regular monthly payments on time, credit is established for next time! If the dealer can’t provide a suitable load scenario, your neighborhood bank may be able to help. This is another way of building a credit history and a strong credit relationship. 

 

Don’t Be Scared, Be Educated 

When it comes to making a first time purchase of any kind it’s a little scary, it’s perfectly normal for a first time buyer to be apprehensive about purchasing their first car. The smart shopper does homework first and reaps the benefits. 

Have questions? I have answers, give TM Auto a call and let’s get you driving!

Call or text (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love, let me show you how easy a car buying experience can be. 

 

 Sources:

Joe D’ Allegro “Thinking about buying a car? Here’s what auto experts say you need to know” www.cnbc.com PUBLISHED: APR 9, 2022 Web. Retrieved from: https://www.cnbc.com/2022/04/09/thinking-about-buying-a-car-heres-what-experts-say-you-need-to-know.html 

“First time car buyer’s guide: What to know before you buy” www.pnc.com PUBLISHED: APR 27, 2022 Web. Retrieved from: https://www.pnc.com/insights/personal-finance/spend/first-time-car-buyer-guide.html

Electric Cars – Friend or Foe

The question of electric cars pops up a few times a week with my customers nowadays. Though TM Auto deals in used cars and most EV’s are new, they’ve been on the road plenty long enough to be considered a used car option. Do they have the same horsepower? Will it really save me money? Are they really better for the environment? How about charging stations? There are lots of questions and as many doubts about electric cars as with any emerging tech. Honestly, I love my truck’s raw power and still get a charge from that familiar chug of a V8 engine. I also understand that change is sometimes a good thing so let’s take a look. 

 

FACTS & STATS

The first electric car was manufactured in 1891. The rise in demand and popularity led to Baker Motor Company in Cleveland, OH becoming the largest electric car maker in the world (Jay Leno owns a “1909 Baker Electric”).

Jay Leno in his 1909 Baker Electric

The Baker Electric could travel 50 miles on a charge, had reusable batteries compliments of Thomas Edison, had a top speed of 23 mph, a key start unlike the Model T’s somewhat dangerous crank start, and filled the NYC streets. At an estimated cost of $1000 to $2500 there were about 15000 in the city at the time. Then as now the charging station became one of the centers of debate and by 1916 they were ousted as oil became increasingly available.

 

The electric car flourished early on but eventually fell prey to our beloved combustion autos, soon EV’s were pretty much forgotten. Well over 100 years ago the need for lowering noise and air pollutants was strong and today it’s still a heavily discussed topic. The kicker now is that oil isn’t the perfect forever source of energy as it appeared to be then and then there’s the environmental impact argument, so what do we know to be true and almost true 🙂 

 

The EPA’s “Truths” about EVs

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) takes a pro EV view, providing the following facts as proof. 

 

Electric vehicles typically have a smaller carbon footprint than gasoline cars, even when accounting for the electricity used for charging. “The amount varies widely based on how local power is generated, e.g., using coal or natural gas, which emit carbon pollution, versus renewable resources like wind or solar, which do not. Even accounting for these electricity emissions, research shows that an EV is typically responsible for lower levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) than an average new gasoline car.” 

 

The greenhouse gas emissions associated with an electric vehicle over its lifetime are typically lower than those from an average gasoline-powered vehicle, even when accounting for manufacturing. “Some studies have shown that making a typical electric vehicle (EV) can create more carbon pollution than making a gasoline car. This is because of the additional energy required to manufacture an EV’s battery. Still, over the lifetime of the vehicle, total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with manufacturing, charging, and driving an EV are typically lower than the total GHGs associated with a gasoline car. Recycling EV batteries can reduce the emissions associated with making an EV by reducing the need for new materials.” 

 

Electric vehicles can be plugged into the same type of outlet as your toaster! When you need to charge while on the road, you’ll find over 45,000 stations in the U.S. available to the public. “Many people can meet their driving needs by plugging in only at home. Most electric vehicles (EVs) can be charged with a standard 120 V (Level 1) outlet. To charge the vehicle more quickly, you can install a dedicated 240 V (Level 2) outlet or charging system.”

 

Electric vehicle range is more than enough for typical daily use in the U.S. “Most EV models go above 200 miles on a fully-charged battery. EVs have sufficient range to cover a typical household’s daily travel, which is approximately 50 miles on average per day”

 

Electric vehicles must meet the same safety standards as conventional vehicles. “All light duty cars and trucks sold in the United States must meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. To meet these standards, vehicles must undergo an extensive, long-established testing process, regardless of whether the vehicle operates on gasoline or electricity.”

 

THE EV vs GAS PERFORMANCE STATS

 

Electric vehicles tend to have lower maintenance costs, as electric motors and batteries require less routine care than gasoline engines do. They don’t require regular oil changes, for instance but are typically more expensive upfront

 

The EPA estimates that the electric Kia EV6 would cost $550 to fuel over the course of a year, while the gas-powered Kia K5 would cost $1950 to fuel. However, if all charging is done at public fast chargers, the annual costs to power our EV rises to $1850 per year, nearly equal to gas. 

 

EV’s provide max torque at 0 mph, feels something like instant acceleration so are generally a bit quicker at 30-50 mph, but EVs fall short at top speed where gas power still rules. Torque is delivered right away, one of the benefits of electric cars.

 

This year the transportation department has approved electric vehicle charging station plans for all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico covering roughly 75,000 miles of highways, indicating one every 50 miles. 500,000 EV charging stations by 2030 is a far leap from the 47,000 we have today. 

 

Finally, gasoline cars win in the vehicle selection department with hundreds of options. There are currently only about 30 Purely electric car options available. 

 

THE CROSSROADS

There are loads of pros and cons regarding EV’s and our understanding of them grows everyday. Knowing that General Motors has already publicly committed to putting 30 new electric vehicles on the market by 2025 and we’ve set a goal for EVs to make up 50% of total US car sales by 2030 tells us that change is on the way. The drive to build an emissions-free future is a long one, yet it does appear that the transportation sector is a giant when it comes to our US carbon footprint. 

It’s being called “The Great Comeback” but we have a ways to go before announcing a new champ, only time will tell if EV’s deliver the knockout punch to end our combustion engine’s extraordinary reign. 

Call or text (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love, let me show you how easy a car buying experience can be. 

 

 Sources:

Bradshaw Nicole “Are Electric Vehicles Really Better for the Environment” Entergynewsroom.com Posted September 20, 2022 Web. Retrieved from: https://www.entergynewsroom.com/article/are-electric-vehicles-really-better-for-environment/ 

“1906 Baker Electric Car” Akronlife.com Web. Retrieved from: https://www.akronlife.com/arts-and-entertainment/1906-baker-electric-car/ Epa.gov “Electric Vehicle Myths”Epa.gov Post updated October 18, 2022 Web. Retrieved from: https://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/electric-vehicle-myths

Newburger Emma “All 50 states get green light to build EV charging stations covering 75,000 miles of highways” CNBC.com PUBLISHED TUE, SEP 27 202212:40 PM EDT UPDATED TUE, SEP 27 20222:26 PM EDT Web. Retrieved from: https://www.cnbc.com/2022/09/27/ev-charging-stations-on-highways-dot-approves-50-states-plans.html

Capparella Joey “Electric Cars vs. Gas Cars: Everything You Need to Know” www.caranddriver.com PUBLISHED: AUG 8, 2022 Web. Retrieved from:  https://www.caranddriver.com/research/a32781943/electric-cars-vs-gas-cars/

COLLGE CARS / Maintenance & Repair UPDATE!

Used Cars & College

Click Image for Mazda 6 Inventory

 

Before you know it they’ll be on their way! Not to worry, there’s still time to hunt for the perfect car since most first year students won’t begin driving until second semester. Returning students however need to start their search today!

Check these essential points you’ll need to consider when making your choice. Whether campus is up the street or across the state, finding the right ride, staying on your budget, and maintaining peace of mind are job #1. 

What’s your budget?

School is expensive, particularly if you have more than one scholar heading to college. The first thing to consider when looking for a back-to-school vehicle is what a reasonable budget might be. How much you can afford for a down payment and monthly loan installments will determine your options.

Buying a used back-to-school car is a smart choice, especially with new car prices today. Many new cars will lose over half their value in the first five years. This can be quite a pill to swallow if you’re planning to upgrade anytime soon. Buying used means that someone else takes the hit for you!

 

How far are you driving?

Is school just down the road, a few hours across the state, will it be driven to and from daily? This one is critical, your car’s health can depend on your travel distance. Driving shorter distances can actually harm your engine by not allowing the engine to reach an efficient operating temperature. This lower temperature may stop oil from rising to it’s optimal temperature and viscosity. It’s thicker with a slower rate of flow especially in cold weather. This can increase friction between the moving parts of a vehicle’s engine and transmission during cold weather. I suggest the five minute rule when warming up the engine. This warms up the oil so it’s less viscous and flows better.  A newer vehicle with better over all efficiency may also be a consideration for short distances. When driving longer distances, one with impressive miles-to-the-gallon may be the best choice, especially today! 

 

How easy will it be to maintain?

The cost of repairs should be a strong consideration when choosing a back to school car. Unless you’re student is majoring in state-of-the-art auto mechanics they’ll appreciate easy maintenance and your pocket will too! The factors below can determine easy vs hard when it comes to repairs and regular maintenance. Included are some common examples of cars that meet these requirements!

 

Highly regarded as reliable

Subaru Outback

7th to 9th generation Honda Civic, manufactured from 2001 to 2016

Toyota Camry

Honda Civic

 

Room to work and access parts

2007 to 2013 Chevrolet Silverado

Ford Crown Victoria

Honda Civic

Subaru Outback

Toyota Camry

Nissan Titan

Ford Edge (Also has great fuel economy)

 

Simple Technology

Chevrolet Silverado

Ford Crown Victoria

Subaru Outback particularly models from 2010 to 2014

Toyota Camry

Toyota Corolla

 

Easy access to replacement parts

Toyota Corolla

Honda Civic 7th to 9th generation manufactured from 2001 to 2016

 

Have you done your research?

Practice what you preach: always do your homework! Once you establish your budget and the appropriate vehicle, it’s time to narrow down your selection to a list of ideal cars.

When creating this list, be sure to focus on practical options and vehicles that will suit yours and your young driver’s needs for the next few years without breaking the bank. Avoid big, luxury, or sporty cars, as costs are notably higher when it comes to maintenance, major repairs, insurance, and fueling.

Be sure to compare your picks with Consumer Reports. This publication collects data from over a million cars per year and presents reliability information that covers the past decade. You should also look into online reviews of the vehicles you’re considering, weighing the pros and cons of each. Ensuring that you’ve picked a reliable vehicle could save your loved one down the road.

 

Do you know what you’re buying?

Once you’ve narrowed your options, it’s time to check it out in person. When buying a used car, it’s important to inspect for flaws or damages. Look over the vehicle inside and out during the day when flaws and potential repairs are more easily seen. Getting it checked out thoroughly by your trusted mechanic is always a good idea too. A professional inspection won’t cost too much, and it’ll buy you both peace of mind for future maintenance and repair costs.

 

For price details click on these smart back-to-school options from TM Auto’s inventory  

 

Need help deciding or just want to take a closer look? 

Call or text (757) 560-4252 and ask Mike Love  

 

 

 

 

Sources:

The Carzing Team, “7 Cars that are easiest to maintain and fix” carzing.com March 8, 20219 Web. Retrieved from: https://www.carzing.com/blog/car-reviews/7-cars-easiest-maintain-fix/

TM Auto Wholesalers, ” Inventory” tmutova.com June 29, 2022 Web. Retrieved from: https://www.tmautova.com/

FUEL PRICES 2022… WHAT TO EXPECT

THE CURRENT FUEL SITUATION 

You and the other 228 million drivers in the US are by now wondering how long before gas prices drop. So here are the facts and a few helpful chasers to choke them down.

Remember when we had a backup plan for high gas prices? From 2009 – 2015 diesel fuel averaged 32 cents less than gas. Drivers in the 80’s and 90’s saw similar price comparisons.

 

Owning a diesel vehicle became a no brainer for saving on fuel costs. Not the case anymore as we see diesel prices creep up even higher than already crazy gas prices! In fact all fuel costs are susceptible to the current cause and effect.

We saw temporary relief when president Biden announced the release of federal reserve oil at the end of March, but that was it. Gas prices are on the rise again with no visible signs of stabilizing. Here’s what’s going on and what we can do to deal with it.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

First, don’t expect those $2.89 per gallon prices of 2021 back anytime soon. From what analysts are saying, and this includes the Texas Oil and Gas Association, a steady decline isn’t expected while the war continues in the Ukraine. Personally, I would add that with transportation at a premium we should expect trucking, rail, and shipping to second that emotion and to promote high fuel prices even after the war has ended. It might be a good idea to settle in and begin formulating a strategy for saving on fuel costs.

 

WAYS TO SAVE 

Stay close to full: I like to keep my tank relatively close to full, when I notice a dip in prices I top off the tank. Never let it go below a half tank.

 

Use gas apps & points: GasBuddy and Waze are two popular options. Harris Teeter offers shopping points to save at the pump (We use this a lot). Costco and Kroger have similar programs.

 

Pay with cash instead of a card: Some stations offer a discount for your cash because it saves them on processing fees. Stations are dropping their price 5 cents per gallon on average. That’s significant on a full tank!

 

Drive at or below speed limits: Ever notice the difference in fuel mileage when you’re keeping it at 55? It’s pretty fantastic, try it. Also, try accelerating to speed less quickly to help.  A car’s gas mileage typically decreases at speeds over 50 mph. And for every 5 mph over that 50 mph speed limit that you drive, it’s like paying an additional $.20 per gallon. Frequent bursts of acceleration and braking reduced average vehicles mileage by 2 to 3 mpg.

 

Skip the premium: Save money and skip premium gas unless it is required. If there is only mid-grade, or premium fuel available, this will work fine in a car that is rated for regular gasoline.

 

Check tire pressure: Having tires with lower pressure than what is recommended on your door jamb sticker can affect performance, tire longevity, and fuel economy.

 

Station rewards program: Check at your local gas stops to see what discounts they offer with their rewards program.

 

“With transportation at a premium we should expect trucking, rail, and shipping to promote high fuel prices even after the war has ended.”

 

 

BOTTOM LINE

Settle in and pony up folks, it could be a long ride. We’ve all had to tighten our belts from time to time and this is one of those times. Looking for something with better gas mileage?

Call or text (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love, I have answers. 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Kellerman, Austin “Are gas prices going up again, yes and here’s why” Newsnationnow.com Posted: APR 29, 2022 / 09:38 AM CDT | Updated: APR 29, 2022 / 09:38 AM CDT Web. Retrieved from: https://www.newsnationnow.com/us-news/are-gas-prices-going-up-again-yes-and-heres-why/

Johncox, Cassidy “Gas prices: How the price per gallon has changed throughout US history” clickondetroit.com March 18, 2022 Web. Retrieved from: https://www.clickondetroit.com/money/2022/03/17/gas-prices-how-the-cost-per-gallon-has-changed-throughout-us-history/

Gillman, Steve/Dow, Nicole “How to save money on gas: 20 simple ways to save” thepennyhoarder.com March 25, 2022 Web. Retrieved from: https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/save-money/how-to-save-on-gas/ 

LIFT YOUR 4X4? OPTIONS PART 2

LEVELING KIT VS BODY LIFT 

In part one, Your 4×4 Lift or No Lift, I reviewed reasons for adding a suspension lift to your truck, jeep, or SUV. If you’re reading this you’re still on the fence so check out these pros, cons, costs, and alternatives of installing a body lift or leveling kit on your 4×4.

 

LEVELING KIT

A leveling kit raises the front of your truck, jeep, or SUV to even out the overall stance of the vehicle. If you rarely load your truck or haul a heavy trailer, adding a leveling kit will let you fit larger wheels and tires under your 4×4 and level out the factory rake for a minimal investment. Most of us agree that a suspension lift looks awesome on about any truck, but if its primary purpose is for looks, consider the leveling kit option. This upgrade looks great and offers some of the same advantages.

 

PROS

A leveling kit will give you approximately 1-3 inches of additional front end ground clearance.

The ability to install larger tires without worrying whether they will scrub when making turns.

Will help offset the weight of a front winch. 

Increases front end height 1-3 inches for an improved aesthetic, balanced appearance. 

It can eliminate the visible gap between the chassis and the body.

Less expensive than a body lift. 

Reduces the stress on the front suspension and brakes, making it easier to emergency brake.

 

A properly installed high quality leveling kit actually provides all these benefits. So what’s the catch? Here are some disadvantages to adding a leveling kit.

 

CONS

Installing a front-end leveling kit equalizes the suspension, which results in increased wind resistance. The increased resistance and drag decreases fuel economy. These days that’s a consideration for some. The difference in gas mileage will most likely be slight so not a major disadvantage. 

The weight of the vehicle rests on the suspension. If a front-end leveling kit is installed incorrectly, it can cause increased wear and tear on the suspension system. Have a professional do your install to avoid this one.  

Only affects the front of your vehicle. 

In most cases, it doesn’t offer enough lift to make a pronounced visual difference overall.

Warranties are most often impacted by this type of modification.

 

It’s clear to see the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to the leveling kit. However, you still have options to consider.

 

BODY LIFT

Body lifts are ideal for creating space between the body and the frame of your vehicle, not your vehicle suspension and the ground. Making room for larger tires is its primary purpose. If that’s your reason, you’re climbing the right hill but it has limitations compared to the suspension lift. Check out the pros and cons below.

PROS

A Body Lift is a relatively simple kit to install, takes about 1-3 hours. 

DIY project using basic tools if you’re mechanically inclined and confident in your ability. 

Still more affordable than a suspension lift, even when professionally installed.

The ability to install larger tires without worrying whether they will scrub when making turns.

This lift shouldn’t affect your ride quality or handling. 

Won’t affect your suspension geometry.

 

CONS

Body lifts are only available in 2 and 5 inch kits. 

The only ground clearance you’ll gain is from your tires so know your limits. 

May expose your frame and/or create a gap between bumper and body (Not Ideal).

Will likely void your warranty if over 2 inches. 

Stretches factory components such as wiring harnesses (especially new trucks).

May negatively affect the steering column and require additional work to correct. 

Cost more on average than a leveling kit.

 

NO LIFT OPTION

Maybe this lift idea is simply stemming from a need for change or just a general upgrade? Consider a set of new aftermarket wheels over the more expensive lift option. The Jeep below has a 4″ suspension lift and new aftermarket wheels. The Chevy has only upgraded aftermarket wheels yet they both offer a vast improvement. The difference in cash output could change your mind… 🙂

 

BOTTOM LINE

So what costs are involved in going forward with a leveling lift? Buying and installing yourself, expect $200- $1000 for basic up to advanced kits. You can roughly estimate the installation cost from a pro to be the same as the kit so you may pay them $400-$2000 for kit and install, the more extensive the kits, the higher the cost. Body lift kits and installation are slightly higher, seriously consider why you’d want this option over a leveling kit. They’re going to run you more like $400 to $1500 for basic to advanced and a chunk for install. My advice is to call around for quotes, get expert practical advice from a professional installer that you or your friends trust before taking the next step. 

Have more lift questions, I’m here to help!

Call or text (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love, I have answers. 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Super Lift Our Blog “Body Lift vs. Suspension Lift: Which Is Best for Your Ride?” superlift.com Retrieved April 2, 2022 from: https://superlift.com/our-blog/4/post/79/body-lift-vs-suspension-lift 

Staff Writer Diesel Power “Lifting vs. Leveling – which is right for you?” motortrend.com May 1, 2013 Web. Retrieved from:  https://www.motortrend.com/how-to/1305dp-lifitng-vs-leveling-which-is-right-for-you/

Hawley, Dustin “How Much Does It Cost To Lift A Truck?” jdpower.com January 21, 2021 Web. Retrieved from: https://www.jdpower.com/cars/shopping-guides/how-much-does-it-cost-to-lift-a-truck 

Harper, Jeffrey “Body Lift Vs Suspension Lift: Here’s How To Decide Which Is Right For You” hotcars.com October 6, 2020 Web. Retrieved from: https://www.hotcars.com/body-lift-vs-suspension-life-which-is-right-for-you/ 

YOUR 4X4… Lift or No Lift?

LIFT KITS, YES OR NO? 

Spring is closer than you think, fun is too! Each year 4×4 truck, jeep, and SUV owners start itching for upgrades in preparation for Summer, especially lift kits. Even those who don’t go off road start jacking up their ride. Why? Dude, big trucks are cool! There are lots of other good reasons to add some distance between your truck and the road too. In “Lift or No Lift”, we’ll look at the pros, cons, costs, and alternatives of installing a suspension lift, body lift or leveling kit on your vehicle, beginning with the real deal. 

 

SUSPENSION LIFT

Sure, a suspension lift looks awesome on most any truck, but what other benefits does it provide? A suspension lift raises the ride height (distance between chassis and ground) and improves the off-road performance of SUVs or trucks and other off-road vehicles. It’s the best choice for increasing off-road performance significantly and adding much larger tires to tackle the otherwise impassible, less traveled path. The sky’s the limit, she’ll go practically anywhere, and it’s cosmetic appeal is pretty obvious, it’s fierce. Here are some suspension lift benefits.

 

PROS

Improves off-road suspension performance.

Enables higher ground clearance (than a body lift), often between two to twelve inches.

It can eliminate the visible gap between the chassis and the body.

Superior tire clearance.

Increase in fender clearance.

Variety of options and pricing available.

 

A properly installed high quality suspension lift actually does provide all these benefits, what’s the catch? Well, the drawbacks are worth considering before breaking out your debit card. Here are some disadvantages to moving up in the world.

 

CONS

Dramatically affects handling and ride quality.

A change of suspension geometry requires a wheel alignment.

The risk of rollover increases with a higher center of gravity.

Sometimes requires re-gearing.

Reduces on-road ride comfort.

Reduces gas mileage.

May require augmenting other vehicle systems such as the brakes.

Time-consuming and difficult to install.

More expensive than body lifts.

Virtually pointless without adding larger (more expensive) tires.

 

This is where some people become disillusioned and stick safely to what they have. However, it’s important to continue researching, there are lots of options. First consider your reasons for lifting and how you can satisfy them practically without breaking the bank.

 

REASONS TO LIFT

  • Suspension lifts are ideal for going off-road. That’s its primary purpose. If that’s your reason, you’re right to consider a suspension lift. Whether it’s through rocks, mud, or in deep snow, having larger tires, more suspension travel, and better ground clearance are very large pros for adding a suspension lift.
  • Many newer trucks are built with low-to-the-ground features that make them more car-like. Low bumpers, exhaust, and running boards can all be damaged by rocks and debris-and even just smashed up on rough roads. A lift kit keeps all these mechanical and body parts from being mangled when the road gets rough. Caution, make sure you understand the possible downsides to lifting a new truck, warranties are most often impacted by this type of modification. Check with your dealer first. 

 

  • If your lifting for cosmetic reasons this option may be a bit over the top in regards to cost and risk. That can be achieved in many cases with a body lift or leveling kit. In some cases a new set of tires on new or larger rims may be just the thing to get the job done for way less money!

New Rims & Tires VS. Installing a Lift Kit

 

BOTTOM LINE

So what costs are involved in following up with a suspension lift? Kits range from $1000.00 – $10’000.00 and even more for the most aggressive kits. You can roughly estimate the installation cost by matching the price of the kit itself, sometimes a bit more. For example, installing a $500.00 – $2000 suspension lift kit will cost you around the same in labor, the more extensive the kits, the higher the implied cost. The lift kit and installation costs are significant, seriously consider what and why you need a suspension lift. My advice is to call around for quotes, get expert practical advice from a professional installer that you or your friends trust before lifting. Have questions, Call (757) 560-4552 and ask for Mike Love.

Next week… Leveling Kits, Body Lifts, and More!

 

Having a hard time making your decision? I’ll be happy to answer your questions and guide you through your decision making process. 

Call or text (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love, I have answers. 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Staff Writer Diesel Power “Lifting vs. Leveling – which is right for you?” motortrend.com May 1, 2013 Web. Retrieved from:  https://www.motortrend.com/how-to/1305dp-lifitng-vs-leveling-which-is-right-for-you/

Hawley, Dustin “How Much Does It Cost To Lift A Truck?” jdpower.com January 21, 2021 Web. Retrieved from: https://www.jdpower.com/cars/shopping-guides/how-much-does-it-cost-to-lift-a-truck 

Harper, Jeffrey “Body Lift Vs Suspension Lift: Here’s How To Decide Which Is Right For You” hotcars.com October 6, 2020 Web. Retrieved from: https://www.hotcars.com/body-lift-vs-suspension-life-which-is-right-for-you/ 

Tax Refund… Car Buying Strategy

YOUR TAX REFUND WILL MAKE A GREAT DOWN PAYMENT! 

The extra cash to help lower your monthly car payment is on the way and for those looking to buy a car, truck, or SUV, it’s pretty good timing. 2022 looks like a promising year to make your move, also a good time to make a plan. In order to get the most mileage from your tax refund/down payment you’ll need to put a buying strategy together. First step, look at your budget realistically, particularly your monthly used car allowance.

IT STARTS WITH A LIST

Down payment amount?

Monthly payment?

Preferred term of your loan?

Insurance?

Maintenance?

It’s best to include all of your monthly expenses when developing your plan, not just for your automobile costs. Paying off debt should be considered, home maintenance, and even using your extra cash to repair your current automobile instead. You’re more likely to be happy with your next car purchase if it fits into your long term financial plan. 

 

MOVING FORWARD WITH YOUR PURCHASE

When you’re ready to move forward, a quick pit stop at “How much can I actually afford” will motivate you to drill down those numbers and negotiate a better car deal when it’s time.

When is the best time? After a seemingly endless rise in prices it looks like 2022 will bring relief, as much as 30% according to Marketwatch.com. KPMG analysts predict demand will taper and supply will increase by as early as October 2022. That means deals are coming back and you’ll want to take advantage of them. Keeping an eye on the market is also a good plan, be patient, don’t jump at the first deal you see. It’s most likely going to get better.

 

YOUR CAR AS A TRADE-IN

In addition to your “Tax Cash”, a good trade-in will increase your chances of getting the best deal. Use KBB.com to get a reasonable idea what your car is worth. The Edmunds appraisal tool is another resource for estimates on your car’s worth as a trade-in, or privately selling it on your own. If you plan to use your car as a trade-in, it’s time for some prep work.

 

PREPPIING YOUR CAR 

  • Clean the thing, inside and out. For the exterior, give it a thorough wash and a fresh coat of wax. On this inside, get rid of your personal items and vacuum out the whole thing. Don’t want to do it yourself? Have it detailed. But even though dealers have told us they can see through dirt to find a car’s actual value, making a good impression only raises your chances of a better offer.
  • Fix small issues yourself. Check all the car’s lights, including interior dome lights, and replace them if needed. Also, check all fluid levels (washer fluid, coolant, brake fluid, etc.) and ensure they’re topped off. If your car needs more serious work, leave that for the dealer. Any major issues will lower the value of the trade-in, but the dealer can perform the repairs for less than it would cost you.
  • Gather all important documents. Of course this includes the car’s title, but it should also include service records, registration and anything else a prospective buyer might want to see. Cars that have been maintained with scheduled maintenance retain more of their value. Don’t feel the need to get a vehicle history report; dealers will pull one themselves.
  • Grab any extras. Bring extra sets of keys or other accessories along with the vehicle. If the navigation system has a DVD or SD card associated with it, be sure to bring those items, as well. Dealers tell us that if these accessories are missing, they won’t give you credit for those features because they aren’t complete.

Conduct your own inspection. Note any exterior dents and dings that can’t be buffed out with a little elbow grease. Take your current car out for a test drive and pay close attention to anything that just doesn’t seem right. If there are any issues with the car, whether electrical or even a need for new tires, note them.

 

Having a hard time making your decision? Call (757) 560-4552 and ask for Mike Love. I’ll be happy to answer your questions and guide you through your decision making process. By sticking to your budget, crunching numbers, and negotiating, you’ll be purchasing a little peace of mind along with your new wheels 🙂 

Call or text (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love, I have answers. 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Ganz, Andrew “Here’s when you can look forward to used car prices finally going down

“ marketwatch.com January 10, 2022 Web. Retrieved from: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-when-you-can-look-forward-to-used-car-prices-finally-going-down-11641501118 

Wong, Brian “How Should I Prep My Car for Sale to a Dealer?” cars.com May 1, 2015 Web. Retrieved from: https://www.cars.com/articles/how-should-i-prep-my-car-for-sale-to-a-dealer-1420680466320/ 

DeLorenzo, Matt “How Should I Use a Tax Refund to Buy a New Car?” kbb.com July 6, 2020 Web. Retrieved from: https://www.kbb.com/car-news/tax-time-car-buying-putting-your-refund-to-work-for-you/

UPDATE – The $7000 Used Car… Gone for Good?

Ask Mike Blog 7k Used Car Gone

SEARCHING FOR THE ELUSIVE $7K USED CAR

I remember when $7,000 used cars were a thing… six months ago! They were for sale in front yards and used car dealerships everywhere and it seemed they would be around forever! Hey, for $10,000.00 – $15,000 you could drive away in something amazing! People, I never thought I’d say this but they may be gone for good. The average transaction price for a used car was $25,410 in the second quarter of 2021, up from $22,977 in the first quarter and 21% year-over-year, according to data from online automotive resource Edmunds. That figure marks the highest average price over a quarter for a used car that Edmunds has ever tracked. In June of this year the average used car price leaped $7,583. The new average cost of a used car is over 33% higher than a year ago, it’s time to reevaluate our expectations. Read more about THE CAR BUBBLE

The average cost of a new car in 1990 was about $9,500. This means after the first year’s depreciation (20-30%) and subsequent year’s (16-18% annually) we might buy her used in 1995 for around $2,000.00 – $3,500.00. The average price of a new car in 2020… $37,000. Over the next 5 years that car loses around 60% of its value. If you don’t have a calculator handy that puts the price at around $14,500.00 used. Today we can add about $7,000.00 to that number bringing our estimated cost for the five year old car to $21,500. Expect that number to be higher depending on condition and mileage. Chip shortages, labor problems, and general industry chaos can be held responsible for the blight on our $7,000.00 used cars. 

 

There Is A Bright Side

Quality: New car quality has increased and is still rising, they simply last longer. They’re still kicking like a mule at eleven plus years. This means that a five year old car has a long life ahead of it and the owner knows it. It’s price will reflect its longer life.

Supply and demand: Used cars are practically non existent these days compared to just a year ago. Increased SUV, truck, and crossover sales in recent years has led to less small, inexpensive vehicles on the used market and less means more for private sellers. With less inventory on the market, there is less competition and this is powerful leverage for sellers so if you have an extra, consider selling at a profit.

 

Not As Bright

Larger more expensive vehicles: The COVID collateral damage? Higher end cars with more options are being produced for solvent buyers, shrinking the affordable used car supply. Since you’re not likely to find many of them for sale, they come at a premium. If you do find an inexpensive used car in great shape, move fast, it won’t be available long!

 

Are there any cheap used cars out there worth buying?

2016 Subaru Outback

Of course there are, just increasingly harder to find. Best bet is to purchase from family or close friends that can guarantee the car’s history. 150,000 plus miles is fine as long as the car has been properly maintained and loved. Otherwise it’s anyone’s guess how long the car will last. Dealers can’t sell what they don’t have and there are so few of these rare birds available that dealers can’t find them either. The discerning used car dealer has a reputation to protect and must have a reasonable amount of confidence in each used car they sell. Oftentimes cheap is just cheap and that doesn’t meet inventory standards.

The New Standard

What should you expect to pay for a reliable, well maintained used car today? For the features that most of us want with 60-80k miles you can expect to pay on average around $19,000-$23,000 for your 4 to 5 year old used vehicle. Yes, there are exceptions both higher and lower depending on the car and condition specifics but buyer beware, if it’s cheap it’s a heap! Have questions? Call or text (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love, I have answers. Happy hunting folks!

 

TM Auto Wholesalers, Chesapeake Va

 

 

 

Sources:

Frio, Dan “Cheapest Used Cars” EDMONDS.COM December 10th, 2019 Web. Retrieved from: https://www.edmunds.com/vehicles/cheapest-new-cars/

Edgerton, Jerry “Cars Now Last Longer Than Ever.. Will Yours” CBSNews.com August 7, 2015 Web. Retrieved from: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cars-now-last-longer-than-ever-will-yours/

Mattone, James “Used Car Prices at Highest Levels in Three Years” media.thinknum.com August, 2019 Web. Retrieved from: Mahttps://media.thinknum.com/articles/used-car-prices-are-at-highest-levels/

THE CAR BUBBLE…TM AUTO UPDATE

IT’S BEEN A WILD RIDE FOLKS, LIKE NOTHING I’VE SEEN IN THIS INDUSTRY

I hesitate to use the phrase “New Normal” as it’s become the new normal to say that now. Instead, let’s take another look at the car bubble facts. In my last article, Should You Buy A New Car Or Fix Yours Up, we discovered that in fact there is a real problem that is affecting new and used car prices. Here’s the current situation and what’s being done to change it for the better. 

WILL CAR PRICES FALL? THE GOOD NEWS

It looks like there’s a ray of light at the end of that dark price tunnel after all! Cars.com reported that after a leap in prices, 33.4% since December 2020, the climb has begun to stall. Just 2.2% increase in prices from June 2021 to July and a crawl of 1.3% from July to August. This is an encouraging event and one that signals relief for most if not all car buyers. 

An analysis of used prices for individual models shows the same trend, and some vehicles are even seeing median prices decline.

  • America’s best selling SUV, the Toyota RAV4, saw its median price for used cars at Cars.com dealers increase 7.3% between May and June but only 3.8% from June to August.
  • An even more telling story is the Ford Explorer. The SUV’s median used price catapulted 12.1% from May to June, then ebbed 0.5% from June to August.
  • The price plateaus of several popular pickup trucks offer the most dramatic example. The median price of used Ford F-150s jumped 14.3% between May and June, but only 2.8% between June and August.
  • After a 10.6% increase from May to June, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500’s median used price fell to 0.5% between June and August. The trend is similar for the Ram 1500, whose median used price rose 5.1% between May and June, yet declined 1.8% in the ensuing two months.

 

A WAYS TO GO BEFORE THE BUBBLE BURSTS

The outlook is better but we’re still at the edge of the woods so to speak. Yes, price increases are slowing but new & used car prices for the most part will remain higher than pre-pandemic numbers for now. It’s not likely we will see those old school prices, “Until full production can be reached, manufacturers will focus on more expensive and more profitable models and trim levels,” according to Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions, a firm that’s been monitoring the microchip shortage. That pesky microchip shortage is still wreaking havoc on almost every manufacturer. According To Automotive News, GM and Ford announced more production cuts in September, while Honda, Toyota and Hyundai had previously avoided major production disruptions but are now experiencing delays. “This will keep the average buyer in the used-car market, which will just continue to prop up prices,” Fiorani said.

In addition, owners with underused cars have sold them to reap the benefits of higher prices and those with aging used cars will soon have to replace them, the demand is still great for used cars. This means that prices may have leveled off, but don’t expect them to fall anytime soon. 

 

THE CAR BUBBLE BOTTOM LINE

Used cars are more reliable today than they’ve ever been in history. Yes the price may have increased but the car’s value after 100’000 miles, practically speaking, is higher than ever. Whether consumers decide to ride out the balloon in their current car or swallow that bitter price pill created from the chips being down, the future looks brighter. Consumers have a much higher trade equity than in 2019, as much as 48% higher. That when teamed up with favorable interest rates, lessens the price blow considerably. You may be surprised at what your current car is worth and what you can expect as a payment on your next one. 

Bottom line, it may not be the new normal but things have changed and we’ll need to adjust our expectations accordingly 🙂 

 

Whether or not to move forward with your new car purchase in today’s market. The truth is, the answer is different for everyone depending on your circumstances and the type of car you’re looking for. Have questions? Ask Mike, I’ll be happy to answer your questions and guide you through your decision making process. 

Call or text (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love, I have answers. 

TM Auto Wholesalers, Chesapeake Va

 

 

 

Sources:

Ulitskaya, Jane “Have Used Car Prices Finally Plateaued” CARS.COM September 13th, 2021 Web. Retrieved from: https://www.cars.com/https://www.cars.com/articles/have-used-car-prices-finally-reached-their-plateau-441202/2021-9

Should you buy a new car or fix yours up? Ask Mike what to do in this crazy market!

THE USED CAR MARKET HAS NEVER BEEN SO HOT! 

Rest assured we can always save money by purchasing a used car instead of a new one, right? While it’s still cheaper to buy used in today’s market, you can figure on a 40% increase from 2020 according to data from JPMorgan. That means the nine year old car you have your eye on will cost you $3’000 more than a year ago. A five year old car may cost you as much as $6’000 more.

 

WHY?

So what in the world caused used cars to go viral? Supply and demand is and always will be what governs prices and it’s simply the used car market’s turn. Skyrocketing new car prices are the result of a global shortage of microchips. Semiconductor chips are needed for virtually everything today including the vital safety and luxury technology of our cars , manufacturers are stuck without them. With dealer stock dwindling, down 54% this June, new car prices have launched as well. This domino effect has forced new car shoppers into the used car market all but depleting it. Supply and demand has dramatically changed new and used car availability within the last year, fanning price fires higher and higher. Analysts say this “chip” shortage could drag on a couple of years. 

 

“Skyrocketing new car prices are the result of a global shortage of microchips”. 

 

MAY BE A GOOD TIME TO FIX UP YOUR CURRENT CAR 

Today’s hot used car market has many drivers wondering if it’s time to fix up their current vehicle instead. There are bunches of simple internal, mechanical fixes that can get your car running noticeably smoother and feel more comfortable. Check these major areas and see if they need upgrading:

  • Headlights. Cars and trucks built over the past few decades typically have plastic headlamps that fog up over time. Headlight restoration is usually less than $30 and instantly makes a difference. A full headlight replacement can add a sporty look to your ride and will cost between $50.00 and $100.00 to do it right. 

 

  • AC. All cars’ AC systems can get mold, mildew, and bacteria build ups if not cleaned often enough. Make sure the air passageways into the vehicle aren’t covered by leaves, dust or grime before changing or cleaning any filters. Adding an air-conditioning deodorizer to the vents or your rearview mirror can bring back that new car smell, too.

 

  • Rubberizing. As your car ages, the rubber trim on doors begins to wear and tear, letting your hot and cold air out and wind noise and rain in. The adhesive strips take a little patience to apply, but are incredibly cheap and can instantly make the interior of your car quieter while driving.

 

  • Windshield Wipers. Old wipers break down and lose their effectiveness over time, making driving in the rain and snow dangerous. Upgraded windshield wipers make the cold, rainy seasons a little safer.

 

  • Brakes & Suspension. Old cars start getting stiffer as the years pass, and brakes get squeakier and squeakier with every red light. Getting your shocks, springs, dampers, struts, brake rotors, and brake pads checked and possibly replaced can completely change how your car drives. **New springs can lower your car and improve handling if you’re a car enthusiast!**

 

 

Whether or not to move forward with your new car purchase is tricky in today’s market. The truth is, the answer is different for everyone depending on your circumstances and the type of car you’re looking for. Have questions? I’ll be happy to answer your questions and guide you through your decision making process. 

Call or text (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love, I have answers. 

TM Auto Wholesalers, Chesapeake Va

 

 

 

Sources:

Levin, Tim “Why used cars are so expensive now — and when prices may drop” BUSINESSINSIDER.COM July 12th, 2021 Web. Retrieved from: https://www.businessinsider.com/why-are-used-cars-so-expensive-now-shortages-pandemic-rentals-2021-7

Reuter, Dominick “The chip shortage that’s wreaking havoc on supplies of cars, computers, and more could last another 2 years, experts say” BUSINESSINSIDER.COM May 14th, 2021 Web. Retrieved from: https://www.businessinsider.com/global-chip-shortage-could-last-another-2-years-experts-say-2021-5