Dealing with Rust in Cars

Why does it happen? In older cars it can mean that scratches went untreated or that a below average paint sub was left in the weather with no protective coat of wax for too many years. BUT why do newer cars rust?

You may have noticed some rust on your car, which feels out of place because your car just isn’t that old. Well there are several reasons for this, but generally it’s the result of something that happened, or didn’t happen, during the production of the vehicle.

Most newer cars don’t get a rust problem, but it’s such a pain to deal with let’s look at it in this post.

It’s the places we don’t see which tend to be where problems flare up. One factor that causes the underside and the wheel wells to rust is that this area gets a lot of exposure. Rainwater falls on your car and runs off, but water in puddles on the road get picked up and thrown up into the car from underneath as long as the roads are wet.

However, all cars get exposed to rain so why do some rust? The second factor is a lack of under-sealing. Under-sealing is essentially a coat of paint, which doesn’t have to look good, it just covers the raw metal preventing rust.

You most often hear the term under-sealing from a car salesperson, but it’s a real thing. It might seem like they’re charging you for something and then waving a magic wand over the car, but mechanics do recommend an under-seal. Its factory standard for most cars made in the US, but imported cars are hit and miss. Japan in particular often skips the undercoat as they have milder winters and want the buyer to have the option of saving the money. Under-sealing is particularly vital to make sure that cars don’t rust underneath the trim and bumpers, and the wheel-arches. This tough pain cope with road chippings.

A third factor in auto rust is if salt is used as a deicer in winters, or if you drive on rough roads. Rough roads can expose areas of your suspension that aren’t really made to sit out in the open. Even if this is temporary it can introduce dirty water to these parts, which will act abrasively to create areas that eventually rust.

Vehicles which travel through salty water are more likely to rust because the salt will act on metals such as nickel and chromium. Cars with an underside of metals such as aluminium and magnesium are less likely to rust, which are generally modern cars. It’s the steel chassis which are the pain.

Prevention

To help prevent this you should wash behind the tires using clean, soapy water. Applying a pipe cleaner to hard-to-reach areas is also a plus. If there is an excess of paint or putty substance on the underside use sandpaper or an abrasive wheel to remove it.

Although pressure washers use massive amounts of water, they can also damage the underside and should be done sparingly.

Even when you get your undercarriage sealed.

The coating may get chipped when a person jacks up your car who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

Some “underseals” are a type of thick wax, which will prevent rust by denying air and water to the metal parts. It generally prevents rust but could melt in hot weather or be washed away too much water on the underside of the vehicle.

When you discover rust.

It’s best to start by cleaning surfaces like the wheelarch with a wire brush to remove flaking rust. Then apply a rust converter with a paintbrush for the best results.

Bitumen is a traditional patch for a rusty area, but it’s really inferior for a couple reasons. It doesn’t last that long. It should be applied with gloves and masks. It’s awkward to remove the excess. When dry it turns into a brittle substance and is liable to break off.

Some old-school mechanics will apply grease or old engine oil to problem areas. The problem is that this drip on the road and cause a hassle for motorcyclists and other road users.

When you have a classic car you will just have to face it, you will have to deal with tricky things like rust. It’s just one of those annoying things in life.

Advertisements

Sedan Cars – Who Buys And Should It Alter?

First What is a Sedan?

Sedan, according to Wikipedia, is a style of car which characterized by a box 3 design. Box 3 is when the engine, passenger and cargo compartments are separate and enclosed.

Why are sedans shaped as they are? The design started as a box to hold the engine, the second box used for the driver and passenger, the trunk makes up the third box, which came last of all. The focus is getting the second box right in design terms, is the interior up to date? Does it have all the modern conveniences? Not that you shouldn’t ignore the hood or trunk areas.

We get the name Sedan from rather unsavory roots. The name refers to a form of transportation much older than vehicles. Royalty and wealthy people used to sit in a box protected from the elements. The box was then lifted by poles and carried by servants or slaves.

The UK name has a better connotation. Saloon car originated after luxury carriages in trains, which in turn comes to the French word saloon, a hall (the hall being the most luxurious part of a house).

The Sedan’s Fall from Popularity

For many decades, the sedan or as the call them in England, Saloon car, was the primary car displayed and sold by automakers around the world. It was either a sedan, a truck, a van, or a motorcycle.

However, the bosses of Ford and GM hinted that sedan cars are dead in the water in 2019. Is that really true? What happened is the birth of car design more tailored to purpose. Traditionally a vehicle was more than just a major purchase, it was a cornerstone of your lifestyle. You were driving or you were walking. In those days you bought a swiss army knife vehicle for commuting to work, shopping for groceries, or taking the family outings. Sedans reigned king.

Now cars cost more than ever, but if you’re going to buy one, you buy it to suit your current life circumstance. Automakers have brought us compact (and subcompact etc.) for commuting on minimal gas. They’ve brought us station wagons, which are better suited to family transportation. They’ve brought us sports cars for driving enjoyment, and so on. Then they came full circle and started offering minivans, crossovers and 4 door trucks. It’s all an attempt to let you get a vehicle that fits your custom needs instead of one that is good at everything but not great at any of them.

But is the Sedan Dead?

American automakers might be a bit myopic in their judgement of sedans. US car makers sell a lot of trucks, which has pulled so much of the market for them to one side that the SUV has become the primary showroom product in the US.

There are a number of good sedans, Germans, British, Swedish and South Korean, which sell just fine even in the US. With the big US players not manufacturing sedans the smaller US players have also stepped up. It’s worth noting that Tesla started with a sedan.

So Who in the Market Is buying Sedans?

There are some identity problems with sedans, it’s the type of car politicians and tycoons use, with higher end models used also as a chauffeur’s car. They aren’t popular at showroom but are sold nonetheless with several pockets of society.

One group of sedan shoppers is the Hispanic community. They are one of the fastest growing sedan buyer groups, and the Toyota Corolla is currently most popular among this group.

Another market segment preferring sedans are young people. There is some disconnect in that large engines mean higher insurance, but that doesn’t stop the under 30s buying them. (It is worth looking for a 1 liter engine. They can be still be described as turbocharged, but they don’t break the bank so much.)

Why Sedans might still Compete.

Sedans have bigger engines but not to the exclusion of fuel economy. 38 miles per gallon is not uncommon and some vehicles could possibly convert higher.

Another plus to that big engine to weight ratio is the power to get out of the way when you need to.

The sedan is sportier (it picks up easy and gives better vision to the driver and passengers) than SUV. They drive like a proper car, well what people suppose a proper car to be.

They’re described as better looking than SUV’s, which to some people look like a car on stilts. The SUV having a higher viewer point as a passenger/driver has some advantage but ultimately not that much.

In conclusion.

Although the sedans might not set showroom on fire they are comfortable and practical. The term reliable bring visions of not breaking down, so let’s market with words like purposeful or practical.

Crossovers might be coming up to compete with SUV and sedans. Sedans might be harder to sell, they make up 30% of the American markets, so SUVs and Crossovers maybe more about fixing something that isn’t broken…even money says that the market for sedans is long from dead.

Cars and Smoking – A Bad Combo.

Op-Ed by P. Wimsett and A. Bunch

Imagine a cartoon scene that’s all too familiar for most of us. The picture is of a car lot complete with a dodgy car dealer in front of a number of dubious vehicles. In the cartoons he (it usually is a he in the cartoons) has a Clarke Gable mustache and a wide brim hat. You can almost smell his cologne and you know when he smiles a gold tooth will glint in the sun. As he sells you the car he smokes a cigar which produces smoke rings in the shape of dollar signs. And all is clear what is on the car dealer’s mind; fleecing the punter.

Would he really do that in the non-cartoon world? Only if he’s dumb. It’s not advisable to smoke near tires or engines not to mention smoking while showing a customer the interior, it’ll only mean trouble.

It’s common knowledge, unless you’re Kelley Bluebook, that bad smells, like cigarette smoke, reduces the value of a car. KBB.com doesn’t seem to have a category for bad smelling vehicle. Either they assume you have a magic wand that will erase the smell, or they lump it in with poor condition. It’s an unofficial reduction, but it’s a reduction all the same.

Smokers’ cars can be 7-9% cheaper than non-smokers, according to a survey from the year 2000. (20 years old but sentiment is not likely to have relaxed on the topic.) Cigarette smoke will form part of the dust in the car, not mention sticking to surfaces. You probably don’t need to be reminded that this dust contains nicotine and similar toxic ingredients.

But is it possible to remove the smell?

Not really, it would be like smoking in a closet and to expect the smell to vanish! Most methods you encounter online tend to temporary, the smell will come back a bit weaker in a few days.

The chief problem, which smokers don’t truly grasp, is just how detectible smoke is to a non-smoker. Smokers have a dulled sense of smell and often think they’ve taken precautions to remove the smell. The reality is quite different.

So, what do I use if I bought a great runner with a B.O Problem?

Something like furniture polish won’t cut it, you’ll need anti-bacterial or bleach wipes to remove the oils from the plastic surfaces like dashboards.

The seats, the carpets and the area underneath the carpets need to be steam cleaned. An ozone generator is another option, but again it can only be temporary. Steam cleaners and ozone generators are not cheap but if you got $700 bucks off the price…

Change the cabin filter!

Really Kicker, No Ninja tip to Fix this Oder Problem?!?!

OKAY! If you’ve tried everything else…you can take dryer sheets and put them all over the dashboard and rear window area (on the inside you…) on a hot day. You want heat to activate this little miracle. It’ll do a pretty great job of pulling the smell out.

Car Dealers aren’t the only ones who try to pull a fast one.

We hear stories of potential buyers “looking at the engine” and then you notice white smoke emitting from your car. You’ve not seen any smoke from the engine before, what should you do?

Well, don’t feel pressured into dropping your price. What it may be is the potential buyer surreptitiously applying a coolant on the vehicle in order to make it smoke—then asking for a discount. It’s a general rule that if you notice something strange when selling your car to take it to a mechanic as possible.

Also consider reporting the potential buyer to the police. If local police are alerted the scammer may move onto better hunting grounds.

(But don’t jump to the conclusion that your buyer is trying to pull a fast one. An engine overheating will cause irreversible damage. If there’s a fuel smell in addition to the smoke it’s could be something like faulty fuel injector or the valve timing?)

In summary, cars and smoke in any form is best avoided. If you smoke and have children under 18 please consider not smoking in your car. That’ll protect your resale value and preserve the other things you care about.

A Case of Cut And Shut?

Not all used car sellers are disreputable and it’s unfortunate that the “good” ones find it hard to differentiate themselves from the “bad” ones. In the name of helping you avoid the more serious or more common types of fraud the Kicker will attempt to make you aware of types of fraud or schemes that we run across (within the car industry at least.) 

What is a Cut and Shut?

Cut and shut for instance is when two mechanically identical cars — so not necessarily physically identical — are welded together. One of the cars has been involved in the accident damaging the front, the other involved in an accident damaging the rear.

A lot of cars receive side impact damage, and many are sandwiched—taking damage in both the front and the rear. However, most car accidents result from rear-ending someone, or being rear-ended by someone. A lot of these “write offs” are labeled Category C or D and as such should NEVER legally used again. The nature of modern crumple zones means that the car is designed to absorb impact from the wreck instead of passing it onto the vehicle occupants. Re-using a frame with this sort of damage is like reusing an airbag that’s been deployed once.

On the bright side, many of the cars damaged in this type of accident aren’t seriously destroyed but end up costing more to fix than they’re worth, which means the insurance company considers them totaled. Cars in that condition can be repaired and sold with a “branded” title. However, most end up in a junk yard where parts that weren’t harmed are sold off bit by bit to replace worn out parts on cars of like kind or quality.

It’s a pretty efficient system and works pretty well to the advantage of consumers.

The Problem is when Someone gets Greedy:

A cut and shut is when someone welds the back half of one car onto the front half of another car. The danger starts from the fact that you would do this with cars that were at all candidates for repair. The person who would do this is going to pick what’s cheapest—which is two cars with compromised frames. Then the problem is magnified by the welding, which is usually roughshod.

This could just be the most hazardous kind of automobile fraud. The icing on the cake is that if you can get this car insured you’re unknowing committing insurance fraud. It is best to leave this particular “species” of car well alone.

Spotting this Kind of Fraud:

One of the first warning signs is underpricing. If it’s too good to be true it probably is.

These types of cars are sold on the internet by obscured or grainy photos or what are known as “library photos” – generic pictures of that type of car. It’s a good idea to see the car in proper daylight, not in the rain, mist or snow. Nor should you see the car in a garage or storage bay. These conditions can cause you to miss vital signs about the vehicle in question.

Before you even look at the car:

It’s advisable to consider the seller of the car. If they are courteous and eager to answer questions then fine, but if they are evasive and keep coming up with excuses, they might be hiding something. The seller of this type of car may have welded the car themselves and know the welding is substandard. If you take someone with you who can watch the seller while the car is inspected you can pick up on warning signs.

What you’re Looking For:

When investigating the car, examine the point at the back end where the roof meets the rear panel. Look in the trunk, including under the carpet or whatever. Are there uneven lines? Are there changes in paint color? When touching it, does it feel wrong?

Be aware of any signs of cutting, welding or spraying – one example would be paint spray on door handles or some unknown spillage of solder on the windows.

Ultimately:

If you’re a longtime reader of the Kicker, you won’t be surprised by this sort of scam. You’ve been cautioned against taking things at face value for the last 5 years. You’ve also heard us say that you don’t need to fear buying a second hand vehicle—it can be an affordable option.

Despite doing your best to spot this type of scam, the best way to avoid it is to use a professional car inspector. Let someone who knows cars better than you, who isn’t distracted by their own emotional connection to the vehicle or the opportunity for a bargain examine the vehicle while you keep your eyes on the seller. Our sponsor, TireKickers.com, is one of the best and most convenient you’ll ever find.

If you feel you have been shown a car which possibly is a cut and shut, please inform the police and/or local trade organization. Otherwise the disreputable sellers and welders will keep conning the public as if nothing is wrong.

German Cars – Good Value for the Money?

When we refer to German car we’re specifically talking about a BMW, a Merc, an Audi or a VW.

The German auto makers enjoy a good reputation based on a uniform brand identity for quality. Basically, instead of getting a reputation for family cars or sports cars etc. they focus first on promoting German Engineering. This gives them the flexibility for each brand of German car maker to claim a specific application of German Engineering like, the best German family car, or the best German daily driver.

Clearly the German car reputation is effective for sales since 30% of all cars sold in 2019 were German cars.

So, what is the German Engineering Brand?

Germany is known for “performance machines” and “muscle cars”. The stereotype is that the cars are built with military precision. But is it really justified, or is it more accurate to say they’re constructed with pragmatic appeal?

What some classify as affordable luxury with a solid reputation, combining the best engineering and the best quality. Others would say, too expensive to be a daily driver, too expensive to maintain as a family car, and chalk full of impractical features. In other words, by prioritizing performance and speed before niche specific objectives, are German cars…over engineered?

Many BMW’s cost $200 dollars for an oil change, and don’t get us started on the tire prices.

Is the German Car Impractical?

Do you really need a German car, something like a Ford Focus is better suited for a daily driver when compared to a BMW. The Dodge Grand Caravan, which is rated as the top two minivans of 2020, sells for thousands less than the Mercedes Sprinter Van. Indeed, by calling German cars a muscle car, it sort of suggests a car only for a bachelor not a family at all. The status symbol of the car only goes so far, you don’t want to pay for the name alone.

However, the consumer needs to decide for themselves if they need a daily driver or a family van with a top speed over 150 that corners like it’s on rales. If money is no object, why not? Unless the reputation is hokum.

Is the German Car Reputation Misleading?

Let’s compare two models that are examples of this dual-design mishmash.

The VW Golf has four cylinders and a top speed of 155 mph. This might be a bit too much for a family hatchback, but it’s a lot of fun.

The BMW Turbo meanwhile is designed to combine a light body with a powerful engine, although its mantra was always about supporting those who love performance. The 2002 model altered the functioning of the suspension.)

The question is, why does it needs the word “Turbo” written backwards on it. It works on an ambulance, so that you can easily identify it in your rearview mirror, but on a car…not so much. You’re really putting all your cards on the table calling it a Turbo. So, the Golf may be preferable for most uses and the turbo is for someone who sports car that looks like a luxury car???

To be fair, there are many other BMW’s to pick from if you require something specific. There are a number of innovative BMWs out there, not just the Turbo and something like a station wagon or a SUV might be preferred? Alternately, you check out a cross over or one of the later “Series” cars such as the Series 6 or 7.

On the topic of Variety and Customization:

If you decide on an Audi you can tailor the seats, upholstery, door finishes and even your dashboard? To play Devil’s Advocate is there a bit too much choice here for most buyers?

From https://www.audiusa.com/technology/design/interior-design

Most people are unsure what kind of seating they require, after all. They might be confused as to what twin leather is. (It’s a combo of both leather and artificial fabric). Twin leather is marketed by saying, “people cannot tell the difference,” but you be the judge. The advantages over cotton fabric is its premium feel and being much easier to clean. These options are not uncommon with German cars but the Audi is especially known for its stylish interior.

On the Bright Side:

The German car does hold its value. The sort of person who buys a BMW or a Merc is the type of person who will buy a new one every couple years, so it is not impossible to obtain an affordable German automobile second hand. This could be due to the high performance and the dependability of these models. Still, the price of the oil change is the same on a car you bought used as it was on the one you bought new.

There is a market out there, but it might not be the family market or the practical commuter vehicle.

Car Longevity

These days when it’s hard to reach any kind of mechanic, it’s worth trying to work out how long a car will go.

Thousands of cars can travel for 200,000 miles without the need for a major repair of parts; it all depends on the cars. A car which has had about 200,000 miles is not a strong selling point.

Having a car that can only last ten years doesn’t seem a masterpiece in engineering but when you consider all the moving parts that can go wrong it’s actually quite a feat.

But how can the longevity be increased? It’s not worth keeping a car that continues to fail and needs parts replacing, it’s not economical. Collectability of the car and emotional attachment to the vehicle may mean it is kept “beyond its time.” If you have a business with vintage or classic cars (say a wedding car service) a substantial amount of would-be profit is spent repairing your vehicles.

During a lockdown you might have to pay for repairs but will not have any profits from weddings (with all weddings being stripped down). It’s impossible to show your handiwork at the moment, except virtually, and that isn’t a way to add to the coffers.

A diagram of the chance of failure in a car has a shape like a bathtub. The car can go wrong during the early stages-“teething troubles” you might call it, when new or experimental parts fail more frequently. Then there’s the other end of the diagram where parts wear out. Electronic items fail in a similar shaped. graph.

Teething troubles need not be anything too serious; a knocking sound say or a steering wheel which doesn’t feel right. There are always potholes in the road and your car isn’t fit for purpose of it can’t handle the odd one. It’s important take your new vehicle to the shop when it’s acting up so that problems can be identified by manufacturers. This can lead to voluntary recall, in which the manufacturer will pay for the repair.

With older vehicles, it might just be the mechanic, but small problems have a tendency to become bigger ones after a trip to the garage. People have a tendency to put off these visits, though some checks cannot be avoided if they wish to stay in the road.

Cars have been more likely to fail in the 1930s; a car could generally only last for about 6.75 years. So, overall longevity of the car has improved.

When buying a secondhand car there are ways to ensure that a car won’t simply fall apart. Avoid any cars with dents and signs of repair. This includes mismatched panels.

It is vital to check out the interior too. Are the carpets miscolored and are there mildew smells? If so, there was definitely water damage. It is important to take an independent mechanic to check out the vehicle. Chances are, they will see something you missed.

An old car becomes a project car-one that needs the majority of your time and bank balance. No one wants to take a work of art to the wrecker’s yard. Only a number of vintage roadsters have fallen out of favor and no longer meet the criteria of work of art. It’s a shame that a love for a specific vehicle fades away.

Merry Christmas part 2

christmas-tree-3825102_1920

Buying a car for Christmas

Op-Ed by Paul Wimsett (from the British Desk)

It seems that all retailers are obsessed with making sure that items arrive in time for Christmas, which shines a light on the number one concern of Christmas giving—having a gift appear at just the right time, not early or late. From a PR standpoint its smart to address the more concerning factor for online shoppers; will my gift arrive in time to give it away. Perhaps the only thing better would be not calling attention the chance, no matter how slim, that your gift might be delayed at all.

If you’ve been watching ads this year, you’ve been urged to buy a car for your loved ones…but when? The practical thing to do is to buy the car in early December so you can use it to do your other Christmas shopping. Or, to drive to and from relative’s houses for holiday parties. Can’t you just drive it off the forecourt in any case?

Factor #1 Timing

But no, people want a car to be delivered in order to give a shock value. It might be that you have already left it too late if you want it to happen, the 11th or 12th December if you search online for the two recommended dates to buy for a Christmas Day arrival. That’s assuming you don’t want to get a custom color. Now all you have to do is find someone willing to drive it to your house on Christmas day.

Factor #2 Price

The other difficulty with buying a car at the end of the year is that prices tend to go up at this period in order to meet sales targets. Most dealerships don’t run sales—technically they run end of year sales in early fall to make room for the next years models. Generally, it’s a quiet month for car sales and the forecourts are on the quiet side.

Factor #3 Weather

Oh, the weather outside is frightful…well not always, but car shopping isn’t fun in the rain either. You have to go outside to look at car lots. Sure, these days you can shop online, which would keep you warmer, but statistically most people who car shop use a mix of online and offline methods. It is always possible to haggle as the salespeople are probably yearning after more money, but recall dealerships aren’t desperate, so be realistic with your haggling.

Factor #4 Peace of Mind

So, you choose the cosy alternative, or maybe you do want to see what the local car sales offices have on their books, just for peace of mind? But it’s worth backing up a step and asking if you even want to take on the hassle of car shopping during an already hectic season. If you’ve got the bandwidth or you’re one of those individuals that likes car shopping then go for it, just don’t rush. Your spending a chunk of money and rushing will cost you. Take time to test drive. Have the car inspected by someone who works for you, like TireKickers.

And don’t forget to arrange financing. Banks can be slow this time of year.

Factor #5 The Extras

Just because you get the car to show up and surprise your loved one, doesn’t mean you’ve got it insured and good luck calling your agent on Christmas so you can legally drive it. Be sure to make these arrangements ahead of time and set them to take effect on the date of delivery.

Then you have all the other bills for this period, office parties, presents, heating bills, it might just be best to leave it? If you can live with your old one, that is.

 

Buying Bargain Trucks

deutz-3006862_1920.jpg

If you’re buying your spouse a truck for Christmas we’re envious. However, most of the people buying trucks at this time are businesses trying to make a year-end purchase.

A bargain truck is not a bargain if it doesn’t run and is unsuitable for your company. It’s probably not the best idea to look for bargains if you are looking for a fleet of trucks.

accident-2582430_1920If you only use trucks for one-off events, it may be better off if you hire instead of buy, in which case you will tend to pay about 20% of the costs up front and can use money from the business (hopefully) to assist with further payments.

Then again, if you’re the type of business that requires a truck it renting could cut into profits quickly.

If you are only looking for one truck rather than a whole fleet, here are some helpful hints.

  1. Don’t look for a capacity bigger than you can manage. If you are a house clearer and you only deal with small houses, there is no point in getting a large truck. It is better to make one or two trips. Sometimes a SUV or pickup is a better option, it all depends on the amount of funds you have at your disposal.
  2. If you have to borrow money to obtain the truck it is best to attempt to get the best terms. If you feel that the business it is too unstable for you to borrow money it may be better to leave it until there is more cash flow. Still, all businesses need transport, but don’t go bankrupt, it’s not worth the hassle. It’s a big thing, so seek financial advice, including talking to your tax advisor (as the truck is a taxable commodity).
  3. If you can trade in an old vehicle this will help with financing the truck.
  4. A “good deal” or saving money on a truck requires that you find a well-priced vehicle that won’t cost you more in repairs than you save. Use an inspection service to verify your vehicle before service.
  5. As with buying a car, always see the truck before handing over the money, always pay cash and inspect the vehicle in daylight. This is especially important if you are shelling out for a huge item such as truck, rather than a car.
  6. Always ask for a test drive before you buy. It’s vital that the vehicle can negotiate corners correctly, maybe there are warning sounds? Again, it is better to be safe than sorry and use an inspection service.
  7. If you are using a car to visit the truck, buy it and collect it, make sure you have some way of bringing the car home. And you should be qualified and the right age to drive the truck.
  8. It is better to deal with individuals with references who have experience in selling trucks, rather than someone on EBay or Facebook.
  9. PS if your intending to do business using “ice roads,” you will a special license. You’ll want to examine all the paperwork involved in this kind of enterprise, before selecting a vehicle.

 

Saving for a Car–Sage Advice Part 3

handshake-4011416_1920

Op-Ed by Paul Wimsett and AR Bunch

Following on from the information Sage Advice #2

A car is one of the biggest expenses we have at any one time and a source of constant frustration. Sure, home ownership will come with lots of things that need fixing from time to time, but cars are moving things full of moving parts. It’s a whole other level of ability to destroy itself from the moment you buy it.

Good advice starts with this…get a high yield savings account especially for the car and label it, “fix or replace.”

You may decide to trade-in your current car, or sell it for cash, to help with the down payment for the next car, but that’s not adequate. You don’t want to be financially destroyed by unexpected auto breakdown. These things happen at the worst time.

Searching the market to get the right account for this. It might seem over-cautious but owing for a car is one of the ways that debts accumulate over time. No one here is legally qualified to give you financial advice, but we’ve done enough research to know that savings accounts do exist, that give a slightly higher interest rate in exchange for limiting the number of times you can access it per year. That’s what you want.

Putting as much down as you can will reduce your monthly payment, which is turn lets you squirrel away a little bit toward your next down payment. The idea is to turn some of the money you pay in interest on a car loan into money you’re paid interest on when saving toward your next car loan.

Obviously your going to potentially dip into this account for big repairs but that’s not something you can include when doing the math. (Just consider the decision to fix your current car as delaying the purchase of the next car so your adjusting the timetable buy the amount you’re taking out of savings now.) So for the purpose of doing the math work only with saving toward your next purchase.

Doing the math:

A quick word about maintenance; you should try to keep your car at least five years, which shouldn’t be difficult with regular oil changes and tune ups. (Do not take oil changes/tires/gas etc out of your repair fund—those are operating expenses.)

percent-226316_1920Even though your car SHOULD last five years, assume that you’ll need at least the down payment for new one in two years. There is no telling what sort of car you’ll buy in two to five years, or what it’ll cost, so look at the newest model of the same car you own now. What’s the price of a 2020 Honda Civic, for example? $21,650

What’s price will that car be when you buy it 3 to 6 years from now?

Some models depreciate better or worse than others and an individual car might fair worse than others of the same model. Most cars depreciate about 20% in the first year and 15% each year after that so that 90% of the value is gone in 10 years.

At this rate our Civic should sell for about…

2023 $12,514
2024 $10,637
2025 $9,042
2026 $7,686

The fast way to double check the numbers is to compare to KBB.com when the time does role around. But for the sake of pedicting we’re we’ll use these numbers.

Price will have fallen in half by the year 2024 which is why we’re recommending buying a car 3 to 6 years old. Whenever possible put 20% down and take out a 60 month or shorter loan.

$10,637 x 20% = $2,128

To save that in 2 years just divide it by 24 months = $88.65/ month.

Other Car expenses:

Look to budget for car-related expenses, insurance, roadside assistance, taxes & registration and so on. What is the best way to pay these bills? Would it work out cheaper monthly, quarterly or yearly? Obviously the bills come when they come, but be sure to increase the size of your regular savings to account for saving toward those expenses.

Try to limit your expenses, which is easier to say than to do! Experts we know say that household accounts are where money tends to evaporate and your efforts will be in vain if you leave the heat up on vacation, etc.

Secrets to Saving:

The secret to success is automating your savings. This sounds a bit glib, but there are ways your bank can automatically move money to saving each month so you don’t have to think about it.

Know the bank’s rules on overdraft should you have to take one out.

Other sources of Money for a Car:

Some folks have been able to take out a second mortgage, leveraging the equity in their house instead of financing car? The logic behind this, is that borrowing larger amounts of money results in a lower interest rate. On the downside, your house is essentially securing your car.

As we mentioned in part one of sage advice, if you are buying your first car, you’re probably involving “the Bank of Mom and Dad,” but beware of the stress in family loans can put on relationships. Find out how much are they willing to spend and ask if they need something in writing?

Overall Budget Considerations:

Experts say you shouldn’t spend more than 20% of what you take home on your car. You might have to play this one by ear though, for a low paid job 20% might not be a lot.

Keep in mind cars are a handy tool, but a terrible investment. So don’t make sacrifices to have a nice car. A lot of this advice has been boring common sense, more than sage advice, but it’s a good idea to think logically about cars.

The First Car Buying–Sage Advice Part 1

curly-1648262_1920.jpg

Op-Ed by Paul Wimsett and A.R. Bunch

Let us talk directly to some of you on those of you late teens for this blog, with the voice of a couple car experts instead of your over-protective parent…which I’m sure have already weighed in.

There comes a point in your life as a teenager where you have “come of age” and require your own mode of transport. Though you may be tempted to look for a sports car, or even something like an SUV these aren’t recommended. Just like your “rents” have been preaching, the best type of car is a simple, late model, mid-size passenger cars. Here’s why…

This is about more than just trying to break away from being ferried around by our parents. It’s bigger and more symbolic than that; it’s a machine which can take you (within reason) wherever YOU want to go. Instead of, stand here at this time and I’ll get you, it’s be home by a certain time. The subtle difference is huge because now you are responsible for everything it takes to hit the mark and all the free time that responsibility creates. Therefore, the fastest way to more freedom with your car is to impress your parents with your car buying decision.

Making a good choice in purchase:

What you might not immediately consider are airbags but if you are learning to drive, they are definitely a good idea. Go for side air-bags as well. You might also look for an anti-lock braking system, just to be on the safe side. When you voluntarily pick a safe car, it signals your parents to worry less about you.

The first car might be one that we stick with quite a few years. After all, how long will it take before we can afford a new one? That being the case you can’t just buy the cheapest car you see, chances are that it will only break down. No, it needs to be relatively inexpensive, but operable.

You can avoid a lot of haggling with pros (car dealerships) by shopping private sales online. To avoid scammers, robbers, and worse kinds of creeps, mention that you’re going to have the car inspected by a mobile service like Tire Kickers. Be ready to pay in cash to make the purchase a simple transaction and bring someone with you who has some life experience. (Aunt Sally the x-marine will do nicely).

Obviously, never digitally hand over a deposit for a car you haven’t seen, just because the guy says he’s had a lot of interest—there’re actually a lot of decent cars out there so don’t worry.

Here are two pieces of advice that will serve you well in life–Don’t show your fear & haggle a little. There seller probable has more experience buying/selling cars that you do, but they don’t know that for sure until you open your mouth. Just nod and agree with what they say, and if the amount’s too high and they won’t haggle, the best thing to do is move on. Always haggle a little, because it actually reduces the remorse after the fact—wondering if you over paid. Just because they’re asking more than the car is worth doesn’t mean they need to come down in price, they might fail to sell it to several more people before coming to that conclusion. Sales fall through for dumb reasons all the time. Don’t let it get you down, just move on to the next car.

You’re probably noticing a theme to this section—don’t fall in love with the car before you buy it. That’s literally the job of a car salesman at a car lot—get you to fall in love with it before you talk money. So think logically about your car until you own it, then fall in love with it.

Is color important to a car? NO! go back and re-read the last paragraph! Holy cow, did you already forget the lesson. If you’re excited about the color you are not buying right. Look at the engine, the interior, the acceleration, the fuel economy, how suitable a car is for your needs. Then you can work out if it is the right color or not. (One exception: you can turn a car down if the color is too awful.)

What your Parents Aren’t Thinking:

Most teens assume that their Mom or Dad is primarily concerned with price. They don’t want you to overpay, but they don’t want you to drive an ancient gas guzzler either. Sometimes you might have to adjust your ambitions. Don’t worry about your parents; it’s probably you who will have to keep up with payments.

I know we just said to pay cash for the car, why are we talking about payments?

There is a way to finance a car and pay cash if you can pull it off. Some of the smartest teens we’ve interviewed were able to make an arrangement with their parents. They worked and saved up most of the down payment for their vehicle purchase. Then they looked around for the general type of vehicle they wanted and went to their parents with an offer. Match the down payment and co-sign a personal loan. This sort of loan isn’t tied to the vehicle. If you stop paying your parents will have to make the payments. Many banks won’t consider an unsecured loan because they want the title to the car as collateral, but with your parent’s signature and a sizable down payment some of them will. This allows you to take the amount of money you need out of the loan to buy the car in cash.

Paying cash gets you the best price on a car, usually, and by owning the title you can potentially reduce the cost of your insurance.

The key here is picking a car that your parents are impressed that you chose and try and keep to any agreed budget.

Good luck in buying your new car and here’s to safe driving out there.

PS if your parents don’t agree to help you buy a car you have only two recourses. 1) find ways to get better grades, a promotion at your job, and act more responsibly. 2) use your down payment money to buy a motorcycle…your parents will change there mind about the car…

motorcycle-4182173__480