Winter is coming, and war is on the horizon. But the battle we’re talking about today is your car vs. snowy roads.
Winter is one of the most dangerous seasons for driving. In fact, the Federal Highway Administration says that 22% of all accidents per year are weather related, which includes snow, freezing rain, and black ice. But despite the risks of winter driving, you can keep yourself out of harm’s way with a little knowhow and a lot of care. Here are 6 tips to get you started.
1. Snow tires
If you live in an area with a lot of snowfall, snow tires can dramatically impact the way your vehicle handles the elements. While cars with snow tires aren’t accident proof, the added grip the tires provide can be the difference between a small slip and a major accident.
If you don’t get snow tires for any reason, at least make sure your tires are inflated. The change in temperature can cause them to deflate.
2. Always keep winter essentials on hand
Snow storms can be ferocious, and your car can get covered in ice and fresh powder in an hour’s time. You’ll want to have an ice scraper and a snow brush available at arms reach.
If you’d like to prepare yourself further, consider bringing a warm blanket and fresh water with you to keep you warm and hydrated in the event of an accident.
3. Check the weather for every stage of your journey
Knowing is half the battle, and driving is no different. When planning long road trips, check the weather forecast for the major locations along your route to know what you’re getting yourself into.
If possible, time your journey to avoid the worst weather on your route.
4. Keep plenty of distance between the car in front of you
Even if you’re a cautious driver, you never know what the vehicle in front of you is going to do. To keep you and your fellow drivers safe, create an especially large gap between you and those in front of you. A good rule of thumb is one car length for every ten miles per hour, and even more in inclement weather. That way, no matter who loses control of their car, everyone else will be able to react and respond accordingly.
5. Always be mindful of black ice
If the weather is cold, there’s a chance that any wet surface can turn to ice. Even if the temperature outside is above freezing (32 degrees fahrenheit), ice can still form on pavement. Since you can’t really predict when a patch of road might get icy, take extra precautious around sharp turns and make sure your brakes can stop your car without skidding.
6. Go slow
Driving isn’t a race. Your only job is to get from point A to point B while respecting the rules of the road to the best of your ability. When the weather is bad, go slow and keep safe under any circumstances. No matter how the cars behind you may be driving, just remember that slow and steady wins the race.
Though it’s always a bummer to add extra time to your commute or road trip, a safe arrival is more than worth the cost. Even if you don’t realize it, you are precious cargo to your friends and family members. Keeping yourself safe is the best Christmas present anyone could ask for.
When we think of gifts, we think of clothes, vacations, gift certificates, or other relatively small purchases. Based on the gifts most people receive, a car usually doesn’t come to mind.
But there are some people out there who have the means, willingness, and generosity to buy a vehicle as a gift for someone else. These people take gift giving to a whole other level, and make the rest of us look bad in comparison. If you’re one of these people, and are considering giving someone a new or used car as a present, here are some tips to help you pull it off:
1. Pick the right vehicle
This is absolutely critical if you’re going to be giving someone the ultimate gift. Sure, you’re probably not going to give someone their dream Ferrari, but make sure it’s a car or truck that you’re sure they would want. Don’t forget to find the right color, style, and features if those are things the gift recipient cares about. It might be tricky to find all of this information out without making them suspicious, but you need to be sure that you’re picking the right model.
2. Figure out who will be paying
You’ll have to figure out the payment strategy on the vehicle ahead of time. Ideally, you’ll buy the vehicle in cash or make all of the payments on it yourself. But you can also make the downpayment on the car and have the gift recipient make the payments. However, keep in mind that you can’t add someone to a loan without their presence and signature. So if you’re planning to have your loved one make the payments but you want to keep the gift as a surprise, let the dealership know and they can help you plan out the process.
3. Plan ahead
If you’re giving a car as a gift, do not wait until the last minute to try to set everything up. You’ll need to find the right vehicle, line up the payment or financing, and handle all of the paperwork all while keeping it a secret. So trying to get it done the day before a birthday or holiday might be cutting it close.
4. Think about registration and titling
This is another big consideration when buying a car as a gift. Whose name will the vehicle be registered in? Who will hold the title? The law will vary depending on which state you live in, so contact your motor vehicle department to figure out the best way to go, or work with the dealership to figure out the best way to go. Again, a dealer could help you set everything up to make it a surprise, and then have your loved one fill out the right paperwork after.
5. Let the dealership know it’s a secret
If this vehicle is a gift that you don’t want your loved one to know about, then make sure to be very clear with the dealership about the fact. And be careful about whose phone number you put on the paperwork, especially if you have a home phone. It’s unlikely that anyone will intentionally ruin your surprise, but mistakes do happen so make your discretion a priority.
6. Don’t forget the bow
How can you give someone a car as a gift without a giant bow attached to it? It’s part of the fun! Don’t assume that a dealership will have a bow available, since they may be out of stock or not used to having vehicles bought as gifts. You can order a bow online for under $75 bucks. It’ll be worth it to make the experience for your loved one an unforgettable one.
When buying a vehicle, many customers don’t necessarily consider the importance and value of an extended warranty. Fortunately, it’s simpler than it sounds and might be more of a no-brainer than you think.
Every new car comes with a factory warranty, and even used cars may have their factory warranty intact at the time of purchase. However, you’ll likely be asked if you’d like to purchase an extended warranty before grabbing the keys to your shiny new vehicle. Though these can differ by dealership, many extended warranties are also fulfilled by the manufacturer of the vehicle. As with all purchases, reading the fine print is recommended so you know exactly what you’re getting.
Many critics have made mathematical arguments both for and against buying car warranties. But the truth of the matter is, a warranty can save you more than just money.
Let’s face it, no one plans on their vehicle breaking down. Even if you’re a perfect driver, you could be faced with serious issues with your vehicle that you weren’t even aware could happen. These are stressful situations, and you don’t want to be thinking about the money you have to spend on top of everything else.
With a warranty, you get that peace of mind. The stress and uncertainty that can come from vehicle problems usually isn’t worth the amount of money you could save otherwise. And in these cases, it’s at least just as likely that you’d be losing more money without a warranty anyway.
Some have argued that you could save the money you’d spend on a warranty and use that to cover repairs instead. This could technically be true, but again, it assumes that your cost of repairs will be lower than what you paid on the warranty until that point. It’s also extra hassle on your end. It’s hard enough to manage bills and day-to-day spending, and the last thing you need is an essential repair that you forgot to keep saving for.
Another reason why buying a warranty is a great idea is the complexity of modern vehicles. Software is ingrained in nearly every part of a modern vehicle, and when something goes wrong, the expenses aren’t in the hundreds of dollars, they’re in the thousands (or more). The same technology that makes vehicles amazing to drive can make things significantly more financially burdensome when something goes wrong.
A final point to consider is that a warranty can add value to your vehicle if you wind up selling it early. You do have to make sure the warranty is transferable in these cases, but if it is, your vehicle will have an edge over other similar cars on the market. Alternatively, a transferable warranty means any children or relatives who inherit your vehicle can also reap the benefits of it for the remainder of the contract. In other words, you could be saving them money down the line as well.
Though some will debate whether a warranty is likely to save you money in the long run, a warranty is more than what you pay for. It’s peace of mind that your car will be taken care of in the future, regardless of the money in your bank account or the stress you’re otherwise dealing with in life. If that sounds worthwhile to you, then consider getting a warranty with your vehicle.
Car salespeople get a bad rap. The only profession who is treated as badly as automotive salespeople is congress, but they actually deserve it. Too many people assume that all automotive salespeople are like the sleazy ones you see in movies: fast-talking hustlers trying to talk you out of your money.
But this assumption is unfair. In reality, the majority of salespeople are hardworking professionals trying to provide for their families, and should be treated better than they are. But in case you need a better reason to be nicer to car salespeople, here are five:
1. They are your friends, family, and neighbors
The number of car salespeople in the country is estimated to be over half a million, which doesn’t include the sales managers, and sales support teams involved in the process.
This isn’t some small niche profession. Car salespeople live and work alongside everyone else, and there’s a great chance that you have one as a neighbor, friend or relative. Treat them accordingly.
2. They’re very stressed out
Sales is a stressful profession, and car sales is one of the more stressful sales jobs out there. Long hours, a high volume of customers, intense competition among dealerships, and pressure to earn a living make car salespeople a stressed out bunch. Being nice to an overworked salesperson will probably make their day.
3. You’ll get a better deal
You catch a lot more flies with honey than you do with vinegar, but lots of people seem to forget that when shopping for a vehicle. Treating someone politely and with respect can go far when you’re trying to get a better deal, and it will absolutely serve you better than being rude or hard-nosed. Humans are naturally inclined to help those who are nice to us, so don’t forget that when working with an automotive sales professional.
4. If you don’t buy, they’re working for free
Unlike other professions, salespeople oftentimes only get paid if they close a deal. So that salesperson who is spending time answering your questions and potentially dealing with abuse is probably doing it for free. That’s not to say you should feel obligated to buy anything, just that you should treat auto salespeople with respect since their time is costing them money.
5. Their goal is to make you happy
There has been a marked shift in automotive sales in the last decade or so. High-pressure sales tactics have been replaced by a more consultative sales model, and since pricing has been made comparable across dealers due to the internet, salespeople understand that they need to earn your business through superior customer service. This means that the salesperson sitting across from you understands that their goal is to make you happy, so let them.