How to Travel for a Great Deal on Your Next Car

Would you drive 500 miles if someone paid you $2,000?

Most of us would say yes to that without any hesitation, yet when we search for a new or used car, we typically keep our searches narrowed to cars available within 25 miles or so. Expanding your search to other cities could save you hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars.

Car prices can fluctuate depending on the market. A 4WD Ford Excursion, for example, may cost less in Phoenix than it does in Minnesota. Here’s how expanding your search can help you find the best deal. Continue reading >>>

Bad News for Finance Company Means Good Deals on Used Cars

Following financial news is about as invigorating as watching cantaloupe ripen, which is why the vast majority of us don’t include it as a regular pastime.

Financial developments, though, can have lasting impacts on our lives and affect the ease with which we buy houses, cars, and other items that typically require financing. Trends in the automotive finance industry can also provide a glimpse into the future of car prices and help us find the perfect timing for purchasing a new or used car.

With that in mind, we have some interesting news to share from Ally Financial, formerly GMAC, that might be good news for used-car shoppers who love to take home a great deal.

The news is not so great if you’re an automaker, a dealership, or the CEO of Ally. Continue reading >>>

When Used Cars Come With Extra Surprises

2014_volkswagen_jetta

This is a true story: A friend had purchased a new-to-her Honda CR-V. She was instantly in love with the car, a spotless low-mileage white 2006 model. After a few days of driving, however, she started to notice a peculiar smell. The odor worsened over the coming days until it became so offensive in the summer heat that she had to drive with the windows down.

She scoured the car for the source of the smell with no luck until, one day, she discovered a rotting tuna sandwich under the driver’s seat.

It’s not uncommon to find forgotten possessions in used cars, but they normally amount to some loose change or stray crayons.

A man in Kentucky, though, may have won the award for the most interesting find yet. Continue reading >>>

The Winners (and Losers) of Dependability

2016 Buick Verano

2016 Buick Verano

Every year J.D. Power and Associates releases a study that names the most dependable three-year-old cars on the market. This year’s results include some surprises but also reinforce some long-held beliefs regarding brands that are known to be exceptionally reliable.

Some of the most common complaints about the cars did not have to do with mechanical failures or poor build quality, but were frustrations with wireless connections, navigation, and voice-recognition software.

Technology has infiltrated our cars at a pace never before seen in the history of the auto industry, but automakers haven’t yet figured out how to seamlessly integrate it into the lives of their customers.

If technology is our biggest complaint, though, I don’t think we really have much to complain about.

Continue reading >>>

Older Cars Gaining Traction With Young People

Breaking Bad Aztek

These are the zombie cars.

These are the cars that died ages ago, forgotten and unwanted by the American masses. They are the Chrysler Pacifica, the Dodge Magnum, the Pontiac Aztek, and the Chevy TrailBlazer. There are many more, but today it’s these cars that have caught our attention.

Why?

Because they are back from the dead and living among us once more.

The source of their surprise resurrection might be a little shocking. It’s not the original owners looking to experience the vehicles they let get away. No, this time it’s their kids.

It’s the new generation, the group known as the millennials, who are snatching up these old dead cars and bringing them back to life.

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Coming Soon: 10,000 Flood-Damaged Used Cars

Texas_flood_cars

When you’re buying a used car, it’s always a good idea to have it checked out by a mechanic. There’s nothing new or Earth shattering about that advice, but people routinely ignore it.

Over the next few weeks and months, buyers who choose not to have used cars thoroughly inspected do so at their own peril. We have the recent flooding in Texas to thank for that.

Thousands of vehicles get damaged beyond repair anytime there’s a natural disaster involving water. Flooding, even on a small scale, can do more damage to a car than a lifetime on the road.

The floods in Texas were anything but small-scale, and some reports say up to 10,000 vehicles were damaged by the high waters.

Continue reading >>>

How to Find Your Perfect Car

2002 Saturn SL2

“What’s the best car I can buy?”

The question pops up quite often at family gatherings, social events, in random Facebook messages, and anywhere people find out I write for a car blog.

The answer is always the same.

“The one that makes you happy.”

Of course, people want more information than that. They want to be told which car offers the best value, best performance, best fuel economy, best reliability, and so on. Needless to say, there is no “best car money can buy.” There is a “best car for you.”

Today we’ll look at the best car to buy if you want an inexpensive used car with great gas mileage.

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Sell the Honda, Buy a Kia?

2014 Kia Soul

A friend of mine had a beautiful, low-mileage Honda Pilot for sale.

This is the kind of guy who keeps the paperwork on everything he buys and has required service performed at the recommended intervals and only at authorized locations. He buys reasonable, practical items, but only gets the top-of-the-line versions of them.

Let me give you an idea of what kind of guy this is. When I purchased a used hot tub from him, he handed me a manila folder with every piece of paper it came with and receipts for every service and part, sorted by date. And laminated.

So when this guy sells a car, the buyer gets a pristine example of what a used vehicle should be.

When he told me he wanted to sell his Honda and get a Kia, my reaction was two-fold.

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The $40,000 Bentley: A Good Idea?

2005 Bentley Continental GT

Even when I’m not shopping for a car, I’m shopping for a car.

It probably happens to you, too. For me, I’ll just be going about my normal day-to-day business when suddenly, out of nowhere, I think it’s a good idea to buy a car.

Maybe driving past a dealership and seeing a great price on the window of a perfect car spurs the thought. Maybe it’s an online ad, or maybe it’s just a friend or family member who says something that sparks an interest.

It has happened to me twice in the past week.

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The 2016 Honda Pilot Turns Into a Minivan

2016 Honda Pilot

Back in 2004 I purchased a car I thought would last forever.

Its looks weren’t anything special, but its capabilities and features were exactly what I needed.

The car was a 2004 Honda Pilot, and it lasted all of 6 months. That’s not because anything failed on the car, it’s because it caught on fire and burned to the ground.

Now that the Pilot has been around for over 10 years, it is being revamped for the 2016 model year, but even with all the changes, I think I’d prefer to own my old ’04.

My biggest problem with the new, recently unveiled Pilot is that it’s basically a Honda Odyssey minivan without the sliding doors. The Pilot was never rugged in SUV terms, but it was at least an SUV.

Continue reading >>>