1. Watch out for scare tactics.
Admonitions like ‘I wouldn’t drive this another mile’ should be viewed with suspicion.
2. Ask, ask, ask
…for recommendations, years in business, warranties offered, licenses, and the type of equipment used. Look for a clean garage. A floor cluttered with empty oil cans, worn tires, and dirty rags is a red flag.
3. Never sign a blank authorization form.
Always get a signed work order with a specific estimate for each job and warranties that apply.
4. It’s nuts to take a car with engine problems to a shop without a good engine analyzer and scan tool.
Any mechanic who says ‘I don’t need fancy equipment’ should be avoided.
5. Synthetic motor oils may cost more…
…but you’ll get a lot more miles between changes.
6. When you go for a second opinion…
…don’t tell the mechanic what the first diagnosis and price were.
7. Coolant flushes and power steering flushes…
…are very common gimmicks at quick lubes. Check your owner’s manual; many cars have fluid that is designed to go 100,000 miles. And cleaning fuel injectors is a waste of time and money. There are additives on the market that do a great job.
8. Always ask for OE (original equipment) brake pads or at least equivalent material.
A $49.95 brake job will usually get you the worst friction material you can buy-it’s the difference between stopping short and causing a pileup on the way to work.
9. Lifetime mufflers?
What would ever make you think a muffler will last a lifetime? Yes, they’ll give you free replacements, but they’ll hit you over the head for expensive pipe repairs.
10. Consult your dealer…
…before you have work done on a catalytic converter or emissions parts. Some of these items carry a very long warranty, and free replacement is often required by law.
11. It’s not okay for your ‘check engine’ light to stay on all the time.
It’s probably not ‘a loose gas cap.’
12. Don’t be duped by double labor.
“If a mechanic offers to change your timing belt and water pump, question how long the job will take. Some
will charge you double labor even though the second task is essentially done once the belt is removed.”
13. Always ask for your old parts back.
“This way you’ll know they’ve been changed, and you or a friend can tell if they’re worn.”
14. Be careful with “road hazard” warranties on tires.
“The shops may give you a free tire here and there, but eventually they will soak you with unnecessary
alignments or suspension replacements.”
15. All brakes are not equal.
“Ask for estimates on brake jobs. Many mechanics will use very cheap parts and mark them up. Good mechanics who understand cars will never skimp in this area.”
16. Have your car test-driven.
“A good test-drive is just as important as a regular service – it might mean the difference between simply
needing brake pads and having a complete rotor replacement.”
17. Find expert mechanics.
“Good mechanics, like good customers, are hard to find – communication is key. A good mechanic will explain repair phases and give you choices.”
18. Be wary of certified pre-owned cars.
“Usually in this business the only thing that’s certified is that someone owned the car before you. Very
little ever gets done on these types of cars.”
19. Don’t make a rookie mistake.
“Beware of a mechanic who shows you a transmission pan with metal particles in it and recommends a major job. The shavings are usually a sign of normal wear.”
20. Beware of false promises.
“Watch out for ads promising $100 brake jobs or $15 oil changes. No mechanic can make money on that.”
21. Weed out scams.
“Transmission flushes are one of the biggest scams going. Manufacturers don’t recommend them, and your car almost never needs one.”
22. The market is being flooded…
…with cheap parts from China. Request a name-brand replacement and ask to see its box.
- by: Brad Guy / May 23rd, 2013
- Categories: Vehicle Service
Before finalizing the deal for your newly purchased car, be sure to know the monthly payments you can afford. There are a number of recurring expenses to consider while determining an affordable monthly car payment budget. Keep your realistic monthly budget in mind while shopping for your next car.
Work With Your Existing Budget
The best place to start when figuring out how much you can afford to spend on monthly car payments is your existing household budget. If you do not already maintain some kind of budget for personal expenses, this is a great motivation to start. Ask yourself whether or not your current car payments have been easy to difficult to afford. This can serve as a handy indicator to what you can afford to pay for your next vehicle on a monthly basis.
More Than Loan Payments
There are more expenses to consider while figuring out how much you can afford in monthly car payments than the financing expenses. The cost of routine maintenance, average gas usage, insurance coverage, and other recurring expenses have to be worked into a realistic monthly car budget. A car you like that has loan payments you can afford may not be as affordable after all the other logistics are considered.
Insurance, in particular, can have a serious impact on whether or not you can afford the monthly payments you’re considering. Some cars are more expensive to insure due to theft, accident, and mechanical statistics. Before purchasing a car, shop around for insurance policy quotes. Gas mileage is another important factor to work into your monthly car budget. Compare the mileage your current car gets to what you can expect from your new vehicle to determine an estimated fuel cost.
Have a Cushion
What may be affordable now may overextend your finances before the end of your loan’s term. Due to the unpredictability of the future, you should provide yourself some kind of cushion in your monthly car payment budget. Just because you can afford as much as $600 a month now does not mean you should commit to monthly payments that high for the next several years. Consider opting for a less expensive car and funneling any additional funds into a savings account in case you run into future financial trouble.
A realistically affordable monthly car payment budget should be worked out before you set foot in a car dealership. Prior financing planning can ensure you can pay off your car without breaking the bank.
- by: Brad Guy / May 23rd, 2013
- Categories: EZ Financing
Unlike positive information, negative information does not stay on your credit report forever. The general rule is that negatives on your credit report will be removed after seven years. However, different kinds of information may stay on your credit report for longer or shorter lengths of time.
Debts in Collection
Debts you owe that have been sent to a collections agency usually remain on your credit report for seven years. The seven years start when the debt is passed to a collection agency, not when the original bill was issued.
There are three primary kinds of information gathered from your credit accounts that affect your credit rating. Accounts that have been paid on time and in full will stay on your report the longest, as is the case with most positive information. When the credit account becomes past due and is officially reported as unpaid, that information will remain on your credit report for seven years. Lastly, credit accounts that are continually active, like revolving or installment debt, and have a late payment history will affect your credit for up to 10 years. The late payment history will go away after seven years, but the account activity remains on your credit longer.
A chapter 11 or 7 bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 10 years after the date it was filed. A chapter 13 bankruptcy will remain on your credit history for seven years, unless it was never discharged. A non-discharged chapter 13 bankruptcy continues to negatively impact your credit rating for 10 years, which is an incentive to pursue dismissal of the bankruptcy as soon as possible after filing.
Liens and Judgments
A tax lien you have paid will stay on your credit report for seven years after the date of the lien being repaid. However, a tax lien you do not pay is not likely to ever be removed from your credit history. An unpaid lien is incredibly detrimental to your credit rating and should be dealt with as soon as possible.
Monetary judgments a court requires you to pay usually stay on your credit report for seven years after the judgment is rendered.
Most negative information that is passed to credit reporting agencies will remain on your history for an average of seven years. More serious information, like certain bankruptcy filings and unpaid tax liens, can stay on your report longer. Be aware of what information is negatively affecting your credit score and how long it will be visible to reporting agencies.
- by: Brad Guy / May 23rd, 2013
- Categories: Tips & Advise