Showing posts with label automobiles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label automobiles. Show all posts

I’m sure you guys have probably heard this by now but if not, there are several Toyota models being recalled due to two different safety issues.

The first recall, "Floor Mat Entrapment," regards the potential for an unsecured or incompatible driver's floor mat to interfere with the accelerator pedal and cause it to get stuck in the wide-open position.

The second recall, "Pedal," is being conducted because there is a possibility that certain accelerator pedal mechanisms may mechanically stick in a partially depressed position or return slowly to the idle position.

Here is the list of Toyota vehicles involved in the recall:

* 2005-2010 Avalon
* 2009-2010 RAV4
* 2007-2010 Camry
* 2008-2010 Sequoia
* 2009-2010 Corolla
* 2005-2010 Tacoma
* 2008-2010 Highlander
* 2007-2010 Tundra
* 2009-2010 Matrix
* 2009-2010 VENZA
* 2004-2009 Prius

If you aren’t sure if your vehicle is involved in the recall, head to your nearest Toyota dealer to get it checked. This is a huge recall that can affect the safety your vehicle.

You can also check your Vin number (17 digit number on the left front dash or checked the drivers door). Vin numbers that begin with “J” are not subject to the recall.

Are you a Toyota owner? Is your vehicle affected by the recall? Have you had it repaired?

Image courtesy of MSVG

Hyundai Motors was the first company to offer a great warranty program for their cars. It was a smart move to help build brand recognition and get more people to buy their cars.
The company is now coming up with another first. Hyundai will be the first company to allow you to return your car if you lose your job (within the first year). I think this is a pretty good move to try and get people to buy a car when car sales are in the crapper. It's called the Hyundai Assurance program and I first heard about on the radio during a commercial. Thinking this is too good to be true, I decided to look into the program a little further.

The Good
  • Coverage is available on all new Hyundai vehicles.
  • Available to everyone regardless of age, health or employment history.
  • 12 months complimentary on every new Hyundai loan or lease. Is there a charge after the first year?
  • Coverage available for involuntary unemployment, physical disability, self employed personal bankruptcy, international employment transfer or accidental death.
The Bad
  • Only covers up to $7500 negative equity (diff between value of car - what you owe)
  • The dealer determines the value of your vehicle.
  • To be eligible, you must be current on your loan and you must have made at least 2 scheduled payments.
I suppose for some people, this could work. For the average joe, I still see a lot of people getting screwed out of thousands of dollars and/or having their credit ruined. The first year is the worst for depreciation on a new car.

Let's say that you purchase a $20,000 car and put above average miles on the vehicle. You lose your job and take the vehicle back to the dealer under the Assurance program. The dealer appraises your car and determines the value to now be $10,000.
The Assurance plan will only cover up to $7500 in negative equity. What happens to the additional $2,500? You are on the hook for it or you don't pay it and ruin your credit. I really would like to know more about this program such as:
  • Can you extend the plan past the first year? What is the cost to do so?
  • Does the max negative equity they will pay increase or decrease?
It sounds like a good program. Ultimately though, the dealers need to make money so ANY program will be designed to make sure they make a profit.

Have you bought a Hyundai because of the Assurance Program?

Image courtesy of Ardyiii

Yep, that's right, I got a new car yesterday. It's a brand new 2009 with 4 miles on it. It has a couple of cool extras like satellite radio,
keyless entry, 6 disc CD changer, power seats and it even came with an unlimited gas card. I walked into the dealership, signed the paperwork and was out of there. I got a great deal on the vehicle because I didn't have to pay a dime!!!

For those of you that have been following the blog for awhile, you may or may not remember that I drive a company vehicle during the week and my personal vehicle after business hours and on weekends.
My company policy is to replace all company vehicles once they hit 80,000 miles. My new vehicle was ordered a few months ago once I hit 77,000 miles and it arrived just in time. My odometer hit 80,000 as soon as I pulled into the dealership parking lot.

It was so nice to be in the dealership and getting a new car without worrying about what my new car payment was going to be or how I was going to fit the new monthly payment in my budget. If you are currently making a car payment each month, make it a priority to get rid of it.

When I paid off my car loan last May, it felt so good to be free of the monthly payment burden. Getting rid of debt can make you feel like a ton of bricks has been lifted off your shoulders.

I'm enjoying the new car smell now because I don't plan on buying a new car with my own money anytime soon!

Image Courtesy of bdjsb7

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I had the frustrating experience of going through the car buying experience this past weekend. This car was not for me but for my cousin who turned 18 on Friday. Yep, this is the same cousin from this post. He has been at his job now for a year and a half and managed to save over $8000 (I'm so proud of him). He came to me because he wanted to buy a car and wanted to make sure he made a wise decision. I was more than happy to help him out because I didn't want him to make the same bad decisions I did when I bought my first car at 18.

The first thing we did was sit down and discuss what his price range was and how he would pay for the car. Normally, I would have told him to take the majority of his savings to pay for the car in full but make sure he leaves himself enough money for an unexpected financial emergency. This time though, I went a different route. You see, since I wrote the "
I Want to Be Rich Like You" post, he has become a father. He has a beautiful three month old baby boy. Granted, I wish it had not happened but what is done, is done. We've had numerous discussions about it and he knows I will be on his back to make sure he is taking care of his responsibility. Seeing as how he has this additional responsibility, I wanted him to only use a small portion of his savings. We decided on a price range of no more than $10,000 and he was going to be putting $2000 as a down payment; the rest would be financed. He has no other debt and can handle a small car loan comfortably. I told him he could always make extra payments to pay off the loan early. I usually would be against financing a car but in his situation, we felt that needed to pay a little more to be sure he had a good, reliable car to transport his son. Since he did not have enough saved to pay for the purchase in full while still leaving himself a hefty emergency fund, his next best option was to finance the purchase.

We did research online for safe, reliable and fuel efficient used cars and decided on him purchasing a used Nissan Sentra or used Honda Civic. Knowing what we were looking for and the price range, we headed off to search for the vehicle. We went to about 15 car lots until we found the perfect car for him. We found a used 2006 Nissan Sentra with less than 23,000 miles with an asking price of $12,900. The car was exactly what he was looking for so we sat down to wheel and deal with the salesman. I won't go through all the negotiation details with the salesperson but we ended up getting the car three hours later for $9600.

Since he had no credit history, he needed a cosigner. His mother took the responsibility of cosigning the loan because this was one thing I was not willing to do. (Have you watched any of the tv court shows about people cosigning loans and having their credit ruined when the person they cosigned for did not pay the loan?).

Had he gone to the dealership alone to purchase the vehicle, he probably would have paid about $4000 more for this vehicle. He had never purchased a vehicle before so he did not know you could negotiate the purchase price. That was a savings of $3300. He also did not know about all the junk fees the dealer adds to the purchase. I was able to get them to waive the document fee for a savings of $489. The dealer also added in a charge for vehicle etching (basically, this is a charge for putting the vin # on the glass). Since this was a used vehicle, this charge had already been covered by whomever originally purchased the vehicle. This was a savings of $239.

As the title says, knowledge is power. Since he did not know what he was doing, he was smart enough to find someone who did. Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way and made all the same mistakes myself with my first car. These days, if I am not sure about something, I find someone who knows better than I do or I do research until I am better able to make a decision.

I am looking for a table for my entryway but I don't want to pay store prices for it. I figure the best way to get a nice table for a cheap price is to go to a garage sale. I'd seen numerous signs around my area advertising garage sales today and figured this may be a good way to get a cheap table. I got up early this morning armed with $50 and a cup of coffee. I went to one of the nicer subdivisions close to my house and started my search for a table. I didn't find the table I was looking for but I did find an interesting financial story.

I stopped at this one house because they had one monster of a garage sale. They had so much stuff (no table though), I thought it was a multi-family garage sale. The owner seemed nice so I started making small talk by making a comment on how much stuff they had for sale. She said that they had to get rid of everything quickly. Pushing a little further, I asked if they were about to make a big move. She said that times were pretty hard since her husband lost his job about a year ago. I took that to mean that they had blown through all of their savings and probably had to find cash quickly.

What I didn't understand is why they still had all this "stuff". They had 2 nice fairly new SUV's (aka: gas guzzlers) parked in the yard; complete with nice fancy rims. I also saw 4 jet ski's and a nice boat all of which had a "for sale" sign on them. If her husband lost his job over a year ago, I didn't really understand why they had not sold the "toys" a year ago.The prices on the boat and jet ski were VERY cheap and had I been in the market for a boat or jet ski, I probably would have bought them myself. I think they probably tried to hold onto them as long as they could thinking things might change.

There were so many questions I wanted to ask but it wasn't my place to do so. I didn't know anything about these people so I probably wouldn't have gotten many answers anyway. I also didn't want to risk getting kicked off their property for being so nosey. Maybe if I had the full story, it may have explained their situation a little better.

Let me hear your thoughts? What would you have done?

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Image Credit: John Beagle

With the price of gasoline nearing $4.00 per gallon in most parts of the country, some people are taking extreme measures to save money on gas. There are alot of ideas out there that claim will help you save a pocketful of money on gas. Do these ideas really work? CNN Money looked at six common misconceptions of ways to save money on gas.

1. Fill your tank in the morning. This is one that I've heard alot and would actually do this before gas prices started the upward climb. The theory is that fluids are more dense at lower temperatures so a gallon of cold gas has more molecules than a gallon of warmer gas. According to Consumer Reports, the temperature of the gas as it comes out of the nozzle varies very little during the course of the day so there is little benefit to waking up early to fill up the tank.

2. Change your air filter. Not to say that you shouldn't change the air filter in your car but it won't save you money on gas. Computer sensors in modern engines are able to adjust the fuel-air mixture if a clogged filter is choking off proper air supply. A clogged air filter will probably reduce engine power but lack of performance or an increase in fuel consumption will be minimal.

3. Premium fuel. Newer cars that "recommend" premium fuel probably won't suffer using regular fuel. Again, computer sensors in modern engines are able to adjust spark plug timing when they detect the use of regular fuel. You'll experience a slight decrease in horsepower, but you'll hardly notice it. The savings between the price regular vs. premium fuel to me, is worth a small decrease in horsepower.

4. Pump up tire pressure. Underinflated tires cause uneven tire wear, is bad for handling and could cause a dangerous tire blowout. The key is to have your tires properly inflated. Don't be tempted to overinflate your tires to save money on gas. You'll save a little money on fuel economy because there is less tread touching the road thus creating less friction. You may gain an extra mile per gallon but the risk of having an accident is just not worth it.

5. Run A/C or not. Using the A/C while driving makes the engine work harder and increases fuel usage but having the windows down at highway speeds creates a drag and makes you use more fuel. The best choice for highway driving is to leave the A/C compressor off and run the fans and let in air from the outside if temperature and humidity are low enough so that you are still comfortable. If you are riding around town, it is best to use the windows.

6. Bolt-ons and Pour-ins. Bought a device or fuel additive that claims to improve fuel efficiency and gas mileage? If it was this easy, fuel companies and automakers would probably be doing all they can to compete with competitors. Some drivers who use them swear they work. Consumer advice editor for Consumer Reports, Phil Reed, thinks it's probably a placebo effect. People who've installed a device to increase fuel efficiency or buy additives to save money on gas probably pay more attention to fuel economy and how they drive.

Do you use any of the above to save money on gas?

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