The ABC’s of Buying a Used Car

Used car shopping? It’s as simple as ABC with a good plan and the right tools!

Let’s break used car shopping into three parts; finding the right automobile for your needs, researching it, and making the deal!

First, narrow the field with these three questions:

How am I planning to use this automobile?

a. Daily transportation to and from work
b. Hauling the family to sports events, school, trips
c. Work vehicle with room for tools
d. Adventure vehicle for off road
e. Heavy duty vehicle for towing a boat or toy trailer
f. Sports car with just enough room for two

 

How long do you plan to keep it?

Think about the long term… Is this an impulse buy or can I really keep this vehicle. The best scenario would be to purchase used after depreciation and drive it until the wheels fall off.

 

Am I financing or paying cash?

If you’re taking out a loan, get a quote from your bank or credit union so you can compare those numbers with what the dealer may offer in terms of financing. Remember, longer-term loans may lower your monthly payment, but you’ll end up paying more for your vehicle in the long run. Cash means zero percent financing!

 

A: THE CAR

As a rule, it’s best to set a budget first, seriously, set it and don’t forget it. This will help you decide where the funds will come from and how to pay them back. Decide what you need and want, yes they’re both part of the equation, you’ll be making those payments so you should be happy with your purchase. Remember, affording a car is more than making the monthly payment. You may be able to pay for a BMW and a Toyota Corolla but can you afford to repair the BMW? Search online; Car Gurus, CarMax, local dealers, Carvana, and Facebook Marketplace.
By now you should have a pretty good idea of what’s in your price range, time to start digging…

 

B: RESEARCH

How is the car’s safety and reliability record? Check Consumer Reports and J.D. Power collect maintenance reports from owners and rate your choice as well as other used cars. Safety first and reliability is key!
You can use a guide like Kelly Blue Book to estimate the market value of the car you’re looking at based on age, mileage and options. It’s not perfect, but it should get you in the ballpark.
Now that you’ve found a car…. What’s next?

Once you find a car you like, contact the seller to ask any questions you have and get a Vehicle History Report from CARFAX by referencing the vehicle’s identification number (VIN). This will give you the good, the bad, and the ugly on the car. A reliable dealership should provide a CARFAX report on every car in their inventory. This report is vital, it will provide you with information that cannot always be seen. Below are just some of the details you’ll get from a History Report.

a. Does this car have a clean title? If a car’s been in a serious accident, fire or flood, and was “totaled” by the insurance company (declared a total loss) it still might be drivable. However, the insurance company will issue a “salvage title” to alert future buyers. It’s best to steer clear of cars with a salvage title because it kills the resale value, and the car might still have hidden problems. NOTE, this is not always the case, especially if you plan to keep the car indefinitely and know that the damage was repaired completely.

b. Serious accidents are reported to the insurance company and will probably be on the vehicle history report.
Shady car lots might spin the odometer back to increase its selling price. The vehicle history report can alert you to this scam.

c. It’s nice to think the car you’re interested in was driven to church by a little old lady for its entire life. If you order the report, you’ll know for sure each time it changed hands.

d. Some reports show if required maintenance was done on time and where the work was performed.

A pre-purchase inspection of the car you’ve chosen can be done before making any deals. A pre-purchase inspection is an independent, third-party professional service that evaluates a vehicle’s condition before a purchase offer is made. … Unless the vehicle is unsafe to drive, the evaluator does not provide a purchase recommendation. It will include a detailed road test where components such as steering and brakes can be assessed. A thorough inspection will include checking engine compression and a computer engine analysis. A basic PPI will cost $20.00 from Firestone and the buyer typically pays for the pre-purchase inspection. This is your opportunity to test drive the vehicle to see what YOU think.

 

C: Make the Deal

Let’s make a deal! A good deal is paying less than the listed price, prepare to negotiate with the comparisons from your online research and your Kelly Blue Book numbers. Considering the seller has probably listed their car a little high, you should have some room to bargain. Start by pointing out the things you love about the car then move to your concerns and what the blue book says the car is actually worth. Play nice, be firm and you’ll do just fine.

Before taking ownership of the car, you should add it to your insurance policy. Then, you only need to pay for the car — usually with cash or a cashier’s check. Make sure you get a title and have the seller sign it correctly. When in doubt, check the state’s registry website for more information. Most states allow about 10 days to register the car in your name. If you’re buying from a private party, and there is still a loan on the car, call the lender to find out how to close the deal. If the lender is a bank, offer to meet the seller in a branch office and sign papers there.
If you’re at a dealer, It doesn’t hurt to see if they can get a better interest rate. Just make sure all the other terms of the loan are the same. Review the sales contract carefully before signing. The contract will probably include the agreed-on sales price, sales tax, documentation fee, and registration fee. Take your keys and hit the road!

Have questions? Call or text Mike Love (757) 560-4250. I have answers!
Follow TM Auto Wholesalers on Facebook to see our latest inventory.

 

 

 

Sources:
Reed, Philip “How to buy a used car” NERDWALLET.COM 3/21/2016. Web. Retrieved from

How to Buy a Used Car

Youngs, Jeff “Understanding Pre-purchase inspection (PPI) JDPOWER.COM Shopping Guides 4/19/2019 Retrieved from:
https://www.jdpower.com/cars/shopping-guides/understanding-pre-purchase-inspection-ppi

“Planning to buy a car, take these five steps” ONEMAINFINANCIAL.COM Resorces-everyday living. Web. Retrieved from:
https://www.onemainfinancial.com/resources/everyday-living/planning-to-buy-a-car-take-these-five-steps-first

Berger, Rob “6 Reasons to Pay Cash for a Car (and how to actually do it) Personal finance. DOUGHROLLER.NET 9/26/2018. Web. Retrieved from:
www.doughroller.net/personal-finance/6-reasons-to-pay-cash-for-a-car/

Buy a slightly used car for the win!

New Car Depreciation

A new car purchase is exciting, there is nothing quite like the moment you drive off in your new car! It’s the same for all of us, what is there not to love? Well, you probably won’t love the price tag or the drop in value within the first 1-5 years. In fact, that car will be worth 20-30% less within 12 months, that’s a $15’000 loss on the average luxury car! Could you have used that cash?

Look at it like this; your brand new $40,000 car will have a sticker price closer to $45,000. That’s one way to look at depreciation. Carfax data shows that cars can lose more than 10 percent of their value in depreciation during the first month after you drive off the lot. 

 

Make Depreciation Work for You

A used car that is two or three years old will already have taken a big depreciation hit, making it a better value. On average, a used car will already have lost 20 to 30 percent of its value in its first year and half its value by year three or four. If you plan to keep it for a long time, a used car may be an even better value. These days, it’s not uncommon for used cars to go well past 100,000 miles if they are properly maintained. Many can hit 200,000 miles without a major problem.

 

Fastest Depreciating Cars in 2018

If you bought one of the cars used, good job! Look at their depreciation rates after just one year of ownership to see what you may have or could have saved.

 

  • Kia Sedona 30%
  • Toyota Camry 30.7% (due to redesigned new models)
  • Infiniti Q-50 – 32.2%
  • Cadillac CTS 33.4%
  • Lincoln MKZ 33.7%
  • Mercedes Benz E-Class 34.5%
  • Jeep Compass 34.8%
  • Cadillac XTS 38.7%

 

Largest Drop

Every automobile, for specific reasons has its own rate of depreciation. It may be a particular model isn’t quite what the market expected or a high-ticket luxury model that’s at the height of popularity. In most cases, it’s simply the lure of “NEW”, and its depreciation value is your gain.  Below is a list of cars that are known for their high depreciation value. You can expect to get the best deals on these cars after 5 years off the lot. Like what you see, call me!

 

  • Chevrolet Impala 66.2 %
  • Jaguar XJL 66.4 %
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class 67.2%
  • BMW 5-Series 67.3%
  • BMW 6-Series 68.3%
  • Ford Fusion Energi Hybrid 69.4%
  • Mercedes-Benz S-Class 69.9%
  • BMW 7-Series 71.1%
  • Chevrolet Volt 71.2%
  • Nissan Leaf 71.7%

 

Percentages will vary from car to car depending on it’s condition and MSRP but on average you can expect a sharp drop within the first five years. Consider buying slightly used when choosing your next car, it’s money in the bank!

Have questions? I have answers, call or text (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love. Let TM Auto Wholesalers of Chesapeake help you get the car you want for the price you need.

Follow TM Auto on Facebook to get instant notices on new inventory.

 

Sources:

Agadoni,Laura. “Budgeting.nest: Buying a New Car Vs. a 2 or 3 Year Old Car” www.budgeting.thenest.com 4/1/2019. Web. Retreived from:  https://budgeting.thenest.com/buying-new-car-vs-2-3-year-old-car-25758.html

Stocksdale, Joel “MSN: Fastest depreciating cars in America.” www.msn.com. 4/6/2018. Web.  Retrieved 4/1/2019 from:   https://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/buying/fastest-depreciating-cars-in-america/ss-BBDY7Oa#image=9

Silvestro, Brian “Road and Track: These Are the Cars That Depreciate Most” www.roadandtrack.com. Oct 12 2018, Web. Retrieved 4/1/2019 from https://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/buying-maintenance/g23723032/cars-with-high-depreciation/

Head For The Hills With Confidence

 

“I think I can, I think I can!” Is this what your truck says when you’re towing a boat or camper through the hills?

The little engine that could had the distinct advantage of being an American fairytale; you don’t… know before you go!

 

Can your vehicle pull its own weight and then some?

Anyone who’s ever towed a fully loaded trailer knows that it can get a little sketchy sometimes. If your underpowered or have too little stability, you could get into a number of bad scenarios. Your vehicle’s engine, transmission, brakes, tires and suspension, are all under pressure when towing an RV, boat trailer or toy hauler. Factor in adverse weather conditions and you may find yourself in a real pickle.  

What you need to know about your car, truck or SUV’s towing capacity

All towing vehicles have a maximum weight that they can safely tow. Exceeding that limit and trying to carry more than the recommended value could lead to accidents that cause damage as well as extreme wear and tear on the vehicle. (You can find the recommended weight in the owner’s manual.) Your vehicle’s tow rating takes several factors into consideration, including:

 

  1. Vehicle structure

  2. Chassis and suspension design

  3. Engine type, axle ratios, and other drivetrain variables

  4. Hitch design and class

  5. Tire ratings and load capacities

 

It’s important not to exceed these vehicle tow ratings, however there are other important weight limits that should never be exceeded while towing, including:

  • Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), which represents the maximum weight your vehicle can carry, including passengers, cargo, fuel and the vehicle itself.

  • Gross axle weight ratings (GAWR) on both the vehicle and trailer, which represent the maximum amount of weight a particular axle can carry, including the wheel and tire.

  • Gross combined weight rating (GCWR), which represents the maximum weight of your loaded tow vehicle and your loaded trailer combined.

  • Tongue weight or hitch weight, which should be between 10-15 percent of the total loaded trailer weight for conventional trailers and 15-30 percent of the total loaded trailer weight for gooseneck or fifth wheel trailers.

The above “Gross” ratings are on your vehicle’s door tag. See image below.

 

Exceeding even one of these ratings while towing could not only cause severe damage to your vehicle or trailer, but also put yourself, your passengers and others in danger

 

How heavy is your trailer?

Gross trailer weight is the weight of a fully loaded trailer. It’s not a weight rating determined by the manufacturer or a weight combined with any other weight — it’s the actual weight of the trailer after you’ve loaded all of your bikes, firewood, camping gear, people or any other cargo onto (or into) it. Any weight that you add to the trailer adds to the gross trailer weight. It’s as simple as that. How do you find your (GTW)? Most communities have public scales. For just a few dollars and a few minutes of your time, you can get the answers you’re looking for.

 

Inventory TM Auto Trucks

Inventory TM Auto SUV’s

 

If you’re a first time hauler, practice towing your trailer on some deserted roads before doing any actual towing out on the highway. Backing up, turning and braking should all be part of your training regimen. All that practice will come in handy for the real thing, because if you’ve done everything properly up to this point, including meeting the weight requirements, loading properly and checking equipment, then you can handle almost any challenge up or down the road.

 

Have questions about your vehicle’s towing capacity, trailer weight or other related specs? Ask Mike, text or call (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love. I’m always happy to help you find the best vehicle and ensure you’re in it for the long haul!

 

Sources:

Etrailer.com. “Are Tongue Weight, Hitch Weight and Pin Weight The Same Thing For a Fifth Wheel Trailer

” Q&A, etrailer.com, Web. 9, 4, 2018

Sourced from: https://www.etrailer.com/question-124243.html Accessed 4 Sept 2018

Uhaul “How to determine your hitch system rating”

Sourced from: https://www.uhaul.com/Articles/Tips/33/How-To-Determine-Your-Hitch-System-Rating/ Accessed 4 Sept 2018

COUNTING CARS

Can one have too many cars? Well, as a used car dealer my knee jerk reaction is…, never! I mean I have around 20-30 at all times and seldom drive the same one two days in a row, it’s great! Ok, I get that I might possibly be a little tiny bit bias but still, is that something that people are concerned with? Should we be considering the risks of owning too many cars or is there even such a thing?

It’s easy to imagine that most people own 2, maybe 3 cars each, considering the variety of styles available, and the level of importance most Americans place on their automobiles. However, the peak amount of cars per household in 2006 was only about 2.05. That number correlates roughly with the economy’s highs and lows as you might expect and the recession of the late 2000’s created a bottomless pit decaying into 2010 bringing that number down to a little over 1.8. The lasting effects of this were pedestrians choosing public transportation and carpooling over driving, some ultimately relocating to cities where no personal transportation was even necessary. Some of you here in Hampton Roads may remember the “big move” to northern Virginia beginning around 2012. Also, generation Y (millennials) who as consumers showed much less interest in car ownership due to conservation concerns and affordability also helped drive the percentage of car owners down.

This all makes perfect sense and predictably, these numbers have rebounded with the economy’s upward climb. However, there are some noticeable behavioral changes in the average car buyer. Americans today have fewer light-duty vehicles, drive less, and are consuming less fuel. Hmmm, more car but less motoring over all tells me we’re onto something. We want our cars to last, we want comfort and convenience and saving money is higher than ever on our priority list. Once bitten twice shy? You could say that car enthusiasts today are justifiably more discriminating. The economy, fuel prices, and the negatives of consumption are great teachers. In addition to a greater economy, many of those Gen Y millennials are in their 30’s now. They’re getting older and at a stage in life where salaries are higher and guess what… kids are on the way! The percentage of car owning millennials has gone from 14 to over 29. The fact is we need transportation and though specific demographics are bound to hoof it and others will take trains and busses, the majority of Americans love their cars.  

So what do the studies say? The total number of cars per household falls naturally around 2, going up slightly as kids reach adulthood and prepare to leave the nest. What we also know is that heavier duty vehicles are more popular and that car owners are spending more responsibly using less fuel, and driving shorter distances. So how many cars are cool you ask? Well, look in your driveway… that’s about right 🙂

 

Sources:

Schmitz, Matt. “How many cars does the average American own?” CARS.COM CARS.com. 15 March 2017. Web. 8, 20,2018 https://www.cars.com/articles/how-many-cars-does-the-average-american-own-1420694459157/

 

Easy Financing

How to Get It

Buying a used car can be daunting. First, you have to find a car that suits all your needs and is safe, and reliable. Now comes the fun part, paying for your new car. If you’re like most people, you’ll be applying for a car loan. When you get a loan, you borrow money from a lender and pay them back over time, with interest. The amount you actually borrow is the loan principal or financed balance, plus interest. The interest rate, presented as an annual rate, is the percentage you pay back in addition to the loan principal.

How do car loans work?

Most people think that when you get a loan to buy a car the finance company lends you the money and the car is yours. In reality, however, the lender actually owns the car, and they’re just letting you drive it while you’re paying off the loan. You don’t get the title to the car until you make your final loan payment. This is why if you don’t make your payments, the lender can repossess the car and if the car is destroyed or stolen during the term of the loan, you’ll still have to pay back the loan. This is also why lenders require you to carry insurance on the car where they’re named as the lien holder. If you fail to provide proof of insurance to the lender, they will purchase insurance on your vehicle to protect their investment. Letting that happen isn’t ideal, however, as the insurance is pricey and only protects the lender, not you.

Different loans have different loan terms, or how long you have to pay the lender back. For example, if you sign up for a five-year term, you’ll pay the money back, and then own the car free and clear, after 60 months. Loans are paid back in monthly installments, and most financial institutions can set up automatic payments to ensure that an installment is not late or forgotten. Lately longer and longer loan terms have been offered to customers; some lenders even offer eight-year car loans. While such long terms can mean lower monthly payments, they can also create situations in which you owe a lot more than the car is worth. The typical auto loan for a used car is much less, than for a new car — an average of $19,329 for used cars and $30,621 for new ones.

How does your credit score affect interest rates?

No loan is the same; some people pay more interest, and some pay less. The interest rate is based on a number of factors, one of which is your credit score. Sometimes called a FICO score, though FICO is only one credit scoring method used by lenders, your credit score can be anywhere from 300 to 850. Credit scores are determined by credit bureaus based on how much debt you have, how many open accounts you have, how much credit you have been offered, whether or not your bills have been paid on time, and the length of time you’ve been using credit.

Your lender will use information from your application and credit report to determine your debt-to-income ratio, and your credit score predicts how able and likely you are to pay back the loan. If you have a lower score, lenders will assume that you’re at high risk for not paying the loan back will charge you a higher interest rate and may only extend a loan offer with a shorter term. A more substantial down payment might also be required from customers with lower scores. It’s important to know your credit score before you apply for a car loan and do your best to make sure it’s as high as it can be.

You’re entitled to free credit reports from the major credit bureaus, but you may have to pay a little extra to get your actual score. There are a few ways to improve your score if it isn’t as high as you’d prefer, like paying off old bills and paying all bills on time for 6-9 months. If you don’t have any credit card debt, closing unused cards can help raise the score. If you do have card balances, closing cards can actually hurt your credit by raising your percentage of credit utilized. You’ll also want to double check your full credit report to ensure its accuracy. For example, say someone stole your identity and opened a credit card in your name. This could affect your ability to get a car loan, or the terms of any loan offered. You need to report the fraudulent activity right away so any errors can be corrected before you apply for auto financing. Dealing with the credit bureaus takes time, so checking your score before applying for a loan is vital.

If you have a high credit score, 760 or above, you’re considered a prime loan applicant. This means you can be approved for interest rates as low as 2 or 3%. Those with lower scores are considered a riskier investment for lenders, meaning higher interest rates. Individuals in this ‘subprime’ category (a score of 580 or below) can end up paying auto loan rates that are 5 or 10 times higher than what prime consumers receive. Most people who get auto loans have a credit score around 706 and should expect to pay rates close to the 4.21% mean.

What other factors affect your loans and interest rates?

Auto loan interest rates also depend on the type of institution lending money, so choosing the right lender means lower rates. Large banks are the leading lenders for auto loans, but credit unions tend to provide customers with the lowest APRs.

The national average for auto loan interest rates in America last year was 4.21% on 60 month loans. For individual consumers, however, rates vary based on credit score, term length of the loan, age of the car being financed, which institution provided the loan, and other factors relevant to a lender’s risk in offering a loan. On the whole, the annual percentage rate (APR) for auto loans ranges from 3% to 10%.

However, the highest allowed APR varies widely among banks, with top rates ranging from as low as 6% to as high as 25%. Banks who provide higher rate loans will generally accept applicants with worse credit, while others won’t offer loans to applicants with scores below the mid-600s. Most large banks have eligibility requirements for loans, including a mileage and age maximum for cars and a dollar minimum for loans. TM Auto can provide buyers with good credit a financing interest rate as low as 2.3% (conditions/restrictions apply) on cars up to 5 years old, even if they’re out of warranty.

As mentioned previously, credit unions tend to extend loans at lower interest rates than banks. They also have more flexible payment schedules, and require lower loan minimums — or none at all, in some cases. However, credit unions tend to offer loans exclusively to their membership, which is often restricted to certain locations, professions, or social associations.

How credit unions help!

Credit unions are member-owned and operated, controlled via a volunteer board of directors, elected by the membership. The board establishes and assesses policy, sets dividend and loan rates, and may hire a management team to run the credit union. This kind of structure means that members have a safe, convenient place to save and borrow at reasonable rates from an institution whose goal is to help them, not to make a profit of of them.

Anyone who uses credit union services is also a partial owner has the right to vote on important issues, like  the election of member representatives to the board of directors. Most other financial institutions, on the other hand, are owned by stockholders after a profit. Credit unions can charge lower rates for loans — including your car loan — and pay higher dividends on savings because they’re not-for-profit. Profits aren’t paid to stockholders, but rather are returned to members as dividends or improved services.

For example, the NAE Federal Credit Union in Hampton Roads is a cooperative, not-for-profit institution built to promote frugality and provide credit to members. It also provides special low rates for those financing with TM Auto and those also willing to move their account to an NAE bank. NAE Federal Credit Union is community chartered and accepts people living and conducting business within an area covering Hampton Roads, Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Mathews, and York Counties in Virginia and Currituck and Gates Counties in North Carolina.

Members can also look forward to low rate credit cards with no annual fees, membership discounts, low rate loans, federal insurance by the NCUE, and convenient hours in addition to low rates for those financing with TM Auto Wholesalers. Even more benefits of being an NAE Federal Credit Union Member include:

  •         Free Voice Response
  •         Free Online Banking
  •         Free Draft Accounts
  •         Free Debit Transactions and Card
  •         Free Bill Pay
  •         Free Payroll Deduction
  •         Free ATM transactions at our locations

 

Getting financed can be easy if you know where to go! Have questions about getting financed through TM Auto Wholesalers? Call (757) 560-4552 and ask for Mike Love. Feel free to browse TM Auto’s inventory; your car, truck or SUV may be just a phone call away!   

 

Sources:

Heaps, Russ. “5 car loan mistakes that cost you money”. Bankrate. Bankrate, LLC. 8 July 2015. Web. 24 Jan 2018. https://www.bankrate.com/loans/auto-loans/5-car-loan-mistakes-that-cost-you-money/

N.a. “Average Auto Loan Interest Rates: 2017 Facts & Figures”. ValuePenguin. ValuePenguin. N.d. Web. 23 Jan 2018.  https://www.valuepenguin.com/auto-loans/average-auto-loan-interest-rates

N.a. “FAQ”. NAE. NAE. n.d. http://www.naefcu.org/hampton-roads-credit-union/faq/

U.S. News Staff. “How to Finance a Car and Get a Car Loan”. US News & World Report. US News & World Report. 6 Oct 2016. Web. 23 Jan 2018. https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/how-to-finance-a-car

Stay with the Old, In with the New

Make Your Old Car Like New Again

Look out your window, and you’ll see Ole’ Reliable sitting in the driveway. The car that’s been with you for years now and still (mostly) runs great. Maybe you bought it new, used, or maybe it’s a relative’s old car. As nice as a brand new car might sound, those car payments…. Fortunately, here are a few things you can do to make your old car seem new! These tips and inexpensive fixes will get your old vehicle looking and feeling like it just rolled off the lot.

  1. Cosmetic Fixes

The most obvious cosmetic upgrade to your car may be painting it, but the easiest upgrade to make an old car feel new is a nice, thorough cleaning. Not just a vacuum and a car wash. To really spruce up your car, try checking off this list:

  • Shampoo carpet and upholstery
  • Clear out the trunk trash
  • Clean outside and inside of windows.
  • Remove the spare and clean out the tire well
  • Remove and clean under seat cushions. Consider getting cushions covers to make your life easier in the future.
  • Clean off floor mats or replace them with rubber floor mats, which are far more durable than most original versions.

A high quality professional detail is the way to get the outside of your car looking new again. Waxing and buffing can easily make old paint look new! If you really want to clean your car up, consider getting the engine compartment pressure washed as well. Your engine will look new again; it’s pretty amazing. Before going on the lot, all of the cars in my inventory are professionally detailed. I’ve used Gary, owner of Liquid Investments for years. He and his team do an excellent job for a reasonable price. Give him a shout (757) 477-5752.

After you work your way through a solid cleaning session, you car should already be looking good. If your steering wheel is looking a little beat up as well, you might consider purchasing a steering wheel cover for around $10. Another easy to overlook flaw that makes for a noticeable upgrade is your dashboard. You can add a dashboard cover or even paint it with vinyl paint to make it feel newer, and don’t forget to check the dashboard illumination. If your knobs or switches are broken, replacement parts are cheap whether they are new or recycled.  

  1.            Performance Upgrades

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. (top vs bottom image)
  • 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!**

  • Wheels. Tires periodically need to be replaced as treads wear down. Use the Penny Test (http://www.firestonecompleteautocare.com/penny-tire-test/) to check your car. Even if you don’t need to replace your tires, installing new tires can completely change how your car drives (and looks) and are much cheaper than a new car payment.

After working your way through these cosmetic upgrades and internal fixes, Ole’ Reliable shouldn’t look quite so old anymore and will be much more reliable! Have questions about these upgrades? Call 757-560-4252 and ask for Mike Love with any questions!

 

Sources:

Brown, Evan. “10 Ways to Make Your Used Car Feel New”. esurance. Esurance Insurance Services, Inc. n.d. Web. 1 Nov 2017. http://blog.esurance.com/10-ways-to-make-your-used-car-feel-new/

Huffman, John Pearley. “10 Ways to Make Your Old Car Feel New”. Popular Mechanics. Hearst Communications, Inc. 26 Sept 2011. Web. 2 Nov 2017. http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/g175/10-ways-to-make-your-old-car-feel-new/

Karim, Andrea. “12 Cheap Ways to Make Your Car Look Awesome”. WiseBread. Wise Bread. 14 Dec 2014. Web. 2 Nov 2017. http://www.wisebread.com/12-cheap-ways-to-make-your-car-look-awesome

To Grandmother’s House We Go

Travel In Comfort This Holiday Season

The autumn chill has settled and the leaves are changing, bright pops of reds and oranges along the highways. Holidays are just around the corner, and we can all look forward to spending time in our cars, whether it be a short trip to the grocery store for extra stuffing or a long drive to Grandma’s house. The journey is the destination, as they say, and it’s important to keep comfort in mind during these long hours in the car.

 

Of course, comfort means different things to different people. When you’re looking for a new vehicle, it’s important to keep your specific needs in mind. For example, if you’re headed across state lines with four kids and a dog in tow, your first concern is space and durability. Are you looking for an SUV or a minivan? Would you prefer easy to clean leather seats? Then again, if your family goes all out on decorations, you might consider something with room to store your lights, trees, and figurines, like a pickup truck. But what if you’re looking forward to a romantic holiday of two? Something smaller and sportier might suit your needs. You can keep costs down on your get-away by going for a fuel-efficient option, too.

With your specific needs in consideration, it’s time to narrow down what exactly you’re looking for in a car — and how much you can afford. Start by creating a checklist of features you prioritize in a vehicle and narrow down your options from there.

Some things to consider while creating this list might be:

  • Safety Features 
  • 4WD, All-Wheel Drive, 2WD
  • Wheel Base / Leg Room
  • Luxury / Comfort
  • Towing Capacity
  • Fuel Efficiency
  • Reliability
  • Maintenance Costs
  • Price

 

Once you have your ‘Must Haves’ and a solid budget, it’s time to start looking at cars! Check out TM Auto’s inventory online, and feel free to call 757-560-4252 and ask for Mike Love. I’ll be happy to answer your questions and guide you through your next car purchase.  

Back-to-School on a Budget

Used Cars & College

2013 Ford Edge TM Auto

 

The temperature may be saying otherwise, but summer is quickly drawing to a close. Beach trips and adventures will soon be squeezed into weekends and afternoons. With school back in session in just a few weeks, getting the right car at the best price is at the top of your list!  Whether campus is up the street or across the state, arriving in style is important. Here’s how to find your ride and stay on your budget.

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 car for your child’s back-to-school travels is a smart choice. 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 or a few hours across the state? Depending on your travel distance, a newer vehicle or one with an impressive miles-to-the-gallon may be the best choice. If school is nearby and only a short drive, an older car could be just right!

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 child’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 a mechanic of your choosing is always a good idea too. A professional inspection won’t cost too much, and it’ll buy you both peace of mind.

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 (757)560-4552 and ask for Mike Love!

The Best Vehicles for Traveling

The Journey Is the Destination

It’s Summer! The kids are home, the sun is out, and the open road is calling your name. Every day is an opportunity for a brand new adventure. A weekend in the woods, a day at the beach, a cross-country road trip or just a trip to the store, any trip can be exciting with the right set of wheels. 

 

How will YOU get there?

TM Auto best vehicles for taveling

 

A weekend drive along the coast with the windows down could be an epic experience in a sporty Mazda RX-8 or maybe a 4dr Jeep Wrangler with no windows at all, just depends on your cargo! Your kids and your family dog may squeeze into your current mode of transportation, but if you’re serious about beaching it, you need more.

 

It’s no news that the Jeep Wrangler is ideal for summer travel, highlights to seal the deal for die-hard beach lovers.

 

  • 1. Four-wheel-drive provides total beach access
  • 2. Going topless, there’s nothing quite like it
  • 3. Easy to clean floorboards, just pull the floor plugs and hose it out!
  • 4. Removable doors will turn your Jeep into the ultimate adventure mobile
  • 5. 4dr versions have as much cargo space as any full size sedan
  • 6. Did I mention the windshield folds down? Yes, it does
  • 7. The deal clincher is that most jeeps have a reasonably low base price so a used Jeep Wrangler or even a Rubicon are feasible options!

 

A weekend jaunt to the woods with all your gear begs for a roomy Ford Explorer or if you’d rather bring just the essentials, a stylish CR-V! A few hours in most cars are doable, but for a family excursion along the coast or to the mountains, your time at the wheel is the destination. Make it count from driveway to journey’s end.

If low down, sporty, and road hugging are more your speed, then 2dr coupes and convertibles are perfect. Traveling light can be liberating, just you, your favorite travel partner, and loads of curves to navigate!

 

Think about it while you check out these sporty highlights.

 

  • 1. 5-6 speed manual transmission puts you in control of every peak and valley
  • 2. Sunroof and T-tops are standard options, awesome for sunny days and starry nights
  • 3. Bose, Infinity, & Blauplunkt sound systems are the norm, a necessity for cruising
  • 4. Most handle athletically for speedy turns, yet have comfortable interiors for long trips
  • 5. All the luxury options that you want, AC and power everything are usually standard

You may not always have the need for speed but when you do… nothing satisfies better than putting some distance between you and home in your own sports car. See TM Auto’s inventory

Wherever the journey takes you, make every mile a memory. Your journey begins and ends with transportation and your ride can make or break the experience. Buy your vehicle with your journey in mind and you’ll never regret it. Sure, we all have a need for our daily driver, a trusty shuttle is essential. However, traveling in these can be great or not so great, depending on where you’re going and who’s tagging along. When selecting your car, it’s smart to look at the bigger picture. Whether you’re planning a perfect family beach day or a weekend camping trip, how you get to the promised land is important. Having the right vehicle for the occasion is vital so the journey is as memorable as the destination itself.

Every family, big and small, has different needs. There are plenty of makes and models to go around and one to fit every lifestyle and budget. Whatever your adventure and whichever vehicle you prefer, let me help you get there!  Please browse my website and See TM Auto’s Inventory. Choose from a wide variety of used vehicles.

If you don’t see what you’re looking for, I can find it for you! I’m always available to answer your questions, feel free to text or call (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love.

On The Road… To Health & Fitness

With the sun shining and temperatures rising, more and more people are gearing up for outdoor adventures throughout Hampton Roads. Outdoor activities can spark your fitness life and do wonders for our health! So how do you keep your health and fitness fun?

Make It an Adventure

The Road to Health & FitnessTraveling to new places taps into our adventurous side, adding variety and interest to our active lifestyles. Keep changing up your exercises and activities and you’ll never get bored! It’s simple, just pack up the truck and head out to enjoy one of the dozens of hiking opportunities offered in Hampton Roads. Take Fido and your friends to add a little spontaneity and you’re off! Hampton Roads is also home to Virginia Beach and Sandbridge Beach; a couple five star spots with good surf, paddle-boarding, and a thriving boating community for those who are more at home in the water than next to it. Virginia Beach has an obstacle course in the trees and a beach conditioning facility on the sand. Sandbridge also has playgrounds and fishing and leans towards the back to nature side of fitness, with such spots as Back Bay Wildlife Refuge & False Cape State Park.

Whether you want to venture through tree lined paths and sandy dunes or catch a few waves, a healthy adventure is only a short drive away. TM Auto has your vehicle!

 

  1. Click to see – Small SUV
  2. Click to see – Full Size SUV
  3. Click to See – JEEP 

 

Fresh & Fun

Exercise is king, but health and fitness doesn’t stop there! Enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables instead of prepared or processed foods are one of the most important steps to staying fit. Luckily, for us, Hampton Roads is home to a wide variety of farmer’s markets and farm fields that are open to the public; just park and pick!

You Pick Farms Hampton RoadsFarmer’s markets stretch all across Hampton Roads, over a dozen all together. The experience of hand picking fresh fruits and vegetables ignites the back to basics side of us. It sets the tone for our entire summer! All across Hampton Roads are U-Pick Farms where you can grab a basket and harvest as many fruits and vegetables as you can carry. Check out the links below to find a close farmer’s market or u-pick farm and the TM Auto vehicle for the trip!

 

 

 

Farmer’s Market Guide http://hamptonroadsguide.blogspot.com/p/farmers-markets.html#.WRdL4IjytEY

U-Pick Farm Guide http://www.pickyourown.org/VAsoutheast.htm 

 

How to Get There

Every adventurer needs reliable transportation! TM Auto has a vehicle for every purpose to suit every lifestyle and budget. Please browse my website and See TM Auto’s Inventory. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, I can find it for you!

I’m always available to answer your questions, feel free to text or call (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love.

Get out, get active, and have a great summer!