Tips For Buying A New Car This Fall

Car buying is not a task to be taken lightly. The cost of a new car equals almost what my parents paid for their first home. It’s imperative to do behind the scenes research to ensure you get a great deal.

Do not be in a hurry. Car dealers can detect the scent of desperation a mile away! If you are totally without transportation, rent a vehicle until you find the right car. If you rush your purchase, you will usually end up on the bad end of the deal.

You can uncover the typical retail cost of a specific make and model right on the internet. With a little extra research, you can discover the wholesale cost as well. These two pieces of information give you an edge when it comes to negotiation.

It’s best to work toward a win-win situation with the car salesperson. They need to make some money on the deal, and you want to pay a fair price. You can often negotiate a price that is $500 above dealer cost, or about 20% off the sticker price. Make sure you take your calculator with you when car hunting.

You can often order a car with *custom* option choices. This could save you hundreds of dollars. You might wait a couple of weeks, but why pay for options that you do not need?

Always check with the dealership to see if you can return the car if you do not like it. Many dealerships now offer this option. Some dealerships will give you a three day trial period in which to try the car.

It is a good idea to wait until the end of the month to go car hunting. Salespersons who want to meet a certain quota will be eager to strike a deal.

Knowing the value of your old car makes it easier to negotiate a better price for it. Try not to talk about a trade-in possibility until you get a purchase price. Sometimes this is difficult, as most salespeople will ask upfront about a trade in.

I took my car to one lot, and was told the trade in value was $1,200. Another dealership said they would give me $3,500 for the same car! So do your research to make sure you receive a fair price on your used vehicle. Stick to your guns when it comes to getting the value of your trade-in, especially if you’ve had your car serviced regularly.

A service contract will likely be brought into the negotiation. Most consumer information shows no need to buy an extra contract on a new car, as it’s not likely a problem will occur during the first months of use.

Whatever you do, always read the fine print of any contract before signing it. Ask questions about what certain phrases mean if and when you do not understand something.

Also, just because a car is brand new doesn’t mean you should buy it without asking questions. New cars can land in the lemon category as well as used ones. Keep on your toes during the negotiation process. You will enjoy both getting a new car, AND creating a win-win situation for yourself and the dealer.

Cleaning Your Cars Upholstery Like A Pro

All that eating and drinking in the car can result in stains from liquids. The first step is to blot the spill and absorb all excess liquid. Then apply an upholstery cleaner available from your local auto parts store. Spray a small amount of cleaner on your car upholstery and wait a few minutes. Scrub the stain a little with an old tooth brush. Then dry the soiled area with a clean cloth. Repeat until you no longer see the stain and the cloth you are using to dry the area shows no discoloration. If the stain is small, shaving cream may do the trick instead of commercial cleaner.

If ink stains your car seat, do not rub the stain as this can smear the ink and make the stain larger. Start by carefully blotting the area to remove any excess ink. Spray a small amount of hairspray on the stain and let it sit a few minutes. Take clean dry towels and wipe the area. Repeat as needed but use the minimum amount of cleaner necessary. Change your wiping cloths frequently to prevent soiling the material from cross contamination. Rubbing alcohol can also be used to clean ink on car upholstery. Dip a cotton swab into the alcohol and apply it only on the actual ink stained area. Then wipe with a clean cloth as above.
To remove lipstick stains from your car’s upholstery, try rubbing gently with a white, non-gel toothpaste. Then wipe clean with a damp cloth.

If there is a battery acid stain, rub a paste of baking soda and water into the spot right away. Leave this on for two hours and then wipe it off with a damp cloth. Repeat if any stain remains. Any remaining residue can be cleaned with a commercial upholstery cleaner. As an alternative, you can make your own cleaner by mixing 1/2 teaspoon liquid dishwashing detergent in a quart of warm water. Beat this with a mixer and clean the upholstery using only the suds. Work on a small area at a time, overlapping areas to avoid spotting. Change the rinse water frequently to keep it clean. Let dry thoroughly.

To remove a gasoline stain from your car’s interior, treat the stain with a mixture of one teaspoon each of vinegar and mild dish detergent in a quart of warm water. The vinegar will remove the odor while the detergent does the cleaning. Let the area dry. If any spotting remains, you may need to repeat the process. If this does not seem to be working, try using dry cleaning solvent.

If you have children, they may play with crayons in the car and may get some on the upholstery. To remove crayon marks, first scrape the excess crayon off with a dull-edge knife or metal spoon. Spray with WD-40 and let stand a few minutes. Using a small, stiff bristled brush, work on the crayon stain and then wipe the area with paper towels. Respray with WD-40 and apply liquid dishwashing detergent on the sprayed area. Work this material in with the brush and then wipe the stain away with a damp sponge. If any stain remains, repeat the procedure.

To remove mold, mildew and their odor from upholstered auto seats, products with peroxide and detergents will restore the car interior. This both removes the stain and deactivates the odor. Simply spray a citrus cleaner product on the soiled area. Wait about five minutes for it to penetrate. Using a clean white absorbent cloth, blot the area, pressing down firmly without rubbing for 30 seconds. Repeat this blotting process until the area is dry. If the stain or odor persists, repeat the process. As an alternative, you could create a cleaning mixture by combining 1/4 teaspoon of color safe bleach and 1/4 cup of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. With a clean cloth, gently rub the stain until it is gone. Rinse the area with clear, warm water and dry thoroughly.

Clean upholstery helps your car keep its value

By keeping your car upholstery clean not only will it look better, it will also last longer. Nice looking upholstery maintains the value of your car. If your upholstery is stained or damaged beyond cleaning, replacement seat covers are available for most cars and trucks. People who know how to clean car upholstery won’t have to go to the expense of buying those replacements since their cars’ interiors will look like they just came from the showroom.

Clean Your Car Battery Like A Pro

Did you ever go to jump start your car, and notice that you can barely see your battery underneath all the gunk? This ‘gunk’ is actually battery corrosion, which is formed by acid condensation. Since this is formed by acid, a basic chemical solution will do the cleaning trick. Battery acid is actually very easy to clean away with a common household item- baking soda! But still, precautions must be followed. This article will inform you step by step how to clean the battery while keeping safe.

    First, you will need to gather supplies for this project. Most of these items you may already have in your home.
  • Safety glasses or goggles
  • Box of baking soda
  • Adjustable pliers with insulated handles
  • Screwdrivers with insulated handles
  • A small, stiff-bristled brush (an old toothbrush will work just fine!)
  • Assorted small open-end and box wrenches
  • Small metal or plastic scraper
  • Special battery tools, including a cable puller and cable terminal cleaning brushes
  • A turkey baster or small funnel
  • All-purpose household cleaner in a spray bottle
  • Sponges or clean cloths
  • A source of ample clean water such as a garden hose or a large bucket and sponge
  • Rubber gloves for protecting your hands

There are a few safety tips to keep in mind when getting ready to clean the battery. First of all, you safety glasses and gloves must be worn to protect your eyes and skin from sulfuric acid that can linger in the corrosion deposits. Also, this material can eat away at your car’s paint, so keep it away from that as well.

Because the amount of dirt and corrosion on batteries may differ from one another, battery cleaning will vary, so some of the steps below may or may not need to be performed. Sometimes, to thoroughly remove severe corrosion and dirt, you may even need to remove the battery from the vehicle.

First, scrape off any white or greenish corrosion deposits with the stiff-bristled brush or small metal or plastic scraper. Next, use the solution of baking soda mixed with water, approximately one heaping tablespoon to each pint of water. Carefully apply it to the outside of the battery and its cable connections with the turkey baster or small funnel. Then, you can use your brush to work the baking soda solution into the heavily corroded areas. If you find that the cable clamps or terminals are badly corroded at the battery, you can disconnect them for easier cleaning. For this, you may need to use pliers, assorted wrenches and a small battery cable puller to disconnect them. You should disconnect the negative first, followed by the positive.

Then, use your battery cable scrapers or brush to remove the corrosion from the terminals, battery posts and hold down clamps and brackets. Flush these parts with your baking soda solution to rid them of any trace of corrosion. After this, wash the outside of the battery, the cable ends and the hold down parts with a liquid cleaner in a spray bottle. After that, use a sponge or rag to get off any remaining dirt or grease. After everything is clean, dry off the battery and all its parts with a dry rag or cloth.

The final step is just reinstalling any part that was removed and tightening everything so it is secure. Reconnect the battery, positive cable first. You’re done! You’re battery is now safe and clean.

Everything You Need To Know About Brakes In One Article

While we like to focus on the gas pedal-with things like 0-60 times, fuel efficiency, etc-your brakes are just as important during your trips to the store and cruising on the highway. That means you definitely should not ignore potential signs of brake issues.

We’ve teamed up with the experts at Advance Auto Parts to give you a rundown of everything you need to know about brakes: what type of break is best, different types of brake pad replacement, as well as when to take your brakes in for service.

Brake issues to look out for

There are a few tell-tale signs that something is wrong:

  • A brake pedal that feels “mushy”
  • A “check brakes” or “check brake fluid” warning light
  • A brake pedal that goes all the way to the floor when pressed
  • A grinding noise when braking
  • Squeaking sounds when braking
  • Vibrations when braking

Overall, there are many potential problems when you experience these symptoms. But if you are experiencing the “mushy” brakes or have a brake pedal going all the way down to the floor, you may have: a leak in the brake system, low brake fluid levels, dirty brake fluid, or air in the brake fluid. If you do have a leak, make sure you get it fixed as soon as possible.

Brake noises

Grinding and clunking noises – may indicate missing or loose hardware, or even damaged or missing parts in the suspension system

Brakes that squeak or squeal – usually need new brake pads. In fact, engineers design brake pads to squeal at the end of their lifecycle. This is called a “wear indicator” and means the brake pads are about to wear out completely. With worn-out pads, the brakes will damage the rest of the system by grinding metal against metal. If you experience vibrations when braking, it may mean:

  • Bad brake pads (see above)
  • A bad brake disc
  • Worn out front suspension

Drums, brake pads, or rotors?

When getting your brakes fixed, the mechanic may mention drums or rotors. This is dependent on one of two types of brake systems:

Drum brakes: the brake shoes come in contact with the drum to slow the car

Disc brakes: where the brake pads and shoes come in contact with a rotor to slow the car down

Drums and rotors wear down the same as brake pads and shoes. When a mechanic puts on new pads or shoes, there must be a smooth and even surface for them to grip or the brakes will not function properly. Luckily, the drums and rotors may not require complete replacement. Drums and rotors can be “turned” or resurfaced if they are not badly worn. And resurfacing the drums or rotors is a common practice and is safe when done according to the specifications.

Let your budget and your driving expectations help you make this decision. And, know that the higher-priced brake pads will just about always offer better performance through better stopping power, longer pad life, lower noise and less dust.

Drivers should never ignore brake issues and should address them as soon as they come up. Plus, mechanics can typically perform most brake repairs the same day.

DIY Car Tips

You can save time and money with easy DIY auto maintenance tips and they are simple. Find out how to lower your car maintenance costs by doing some easy tasks.

Vehicles are a big investment for families – usually the second highest valued item in a household after the home itself. While the purchase price for cars, trucks and SUVs keeps going up, the cost of maintenance is holding steady or even dropping for most vehicles. Better materials, sophisticated computers and other advances increase reliability and allow less frequent oil changes, tune-ups and other service.

Owners can do some of the work themselves to lower maintenance costs even further. Anyone interested in saving money and increasing pride of ownership by doing their own work can spend just a few minutes and accomplish the following four maintenance tasks easily, without any expensive tools or training.

* Cabin Air Filter Replacement

The air conditioner is cranked up on those hot summer days. The cabin air filter keeps the air blowing through the heat and air conditioning ventilation system clean, and it should be replaced at least once a year. But in areas of the country where there is a lot of pollen or dust – from dirt roads, construction projects or even arid conditions – it’s a good idea to replace this filter more frequently.

Check your owner’s manual to see if there is information on replacing the cabin air filter.

* Headlamps And Tail Lights

When a headlamp or tail light burns out, you may be surprised to discover how easy it is to replace these bulbs. For most vehicles, installation of headlamps is from the engine compartment. Just unplug the electrical connector on the back of the bulb, unscrew the large plastic ring that holds the bulb in place and pull the bulb out. Because headlamps are usually halogen lights, be sure to wear gloves or use a cloth to avoid getting fingerprints on the bulb. Oils from your hands can shorten the life of the bulb.

Tail lights are similar – usually you can gain access through the trunk of the vehicle underneath the trim material.

* Wiper Blades

Trying to see the road through a streaky window is almost as bad as trying to see the road in a heavy rain shower. The quality of the blade purchased will determine how long the blade will last and how well it will perform in clearing the windshield of rain.

Higher quality blades tend to cost more, but drivers will appreciate the durability and clarity they provide.

* Engine Air Filter

These air filters keep the oxygen supplied to the engine’s combustion chambers free of dirt and other contaminants. Clean air is needed to optimize the engine’s performance and extend its life. Manufacturers recommend replacing an engine air filter every 12,000 miles driven.- However, it will also depend on the car’s model and how dusty the environment is. This filter is typically located under the hood in a large, rectangular, plastic air filter housing. Remove the four bolts or clips around the edges and then lift the dirty filter out.

These maintenance tasks are ongoing, but they become even easier with repetition. DIYers save money and time when they handle them at home.