Used Car Buying: Getting the Timing Right

Want to get the best bang for your buck when looking for a used car deal? It comes down to three factors: What you buy when you buy, and where you buy it.

What you buy will have the greatest impact on the used car deal that you get, and if you make your purchase at the right time you can save big.

It’s an interesting time to buy used, with the average retail used car price reaching a new record high in the first quarter of the year across the broad market, but with low prices in some segments and an increasing number of lease returns set to drive prices down across the board. According to automotive researcher Edmunds.com, the rate of three-year leasing grew 27.1 percent between 2012 and 2013. Those cars leased in 2013 are now flooding the used car market.

In many ways the record high transaction price is more of an indication of the type and age of vehicles coming into the used market, rather than the trend for any single model. SUVs and high-trim pickups make up a growing portion of the lease segment, and their return into the used car market is one factor skewing the average used car market price upward.

Most cars and trucks coming off lease are only 3 years old, and they’re being returned in great shape to avoid excessive wear charges, and they have low miles to avoid excess mileage charges. Those attributes also contribute to their higher prices in the used car market. In short, used cars today are newer than they have been and therefore more expensive.

What to Buy

To find the best deals, look where the new car market is heading and go the opposite way. Sales of compact SUVs are hot right now, and many of those buyers are moving to them from sub compact, compact, and midsize cars. Low fuel prices and the steadily improving economy have increased the demand for truck and SUVs, while sales of smaller cars have languished.

“Interestingly, some of the less popular segments in today’s market were the most popular leased vehicles in 2013: mid-size cars, compact cars and entry luxury cars,” said Edmunds analyst Ivan Drury in a recent press release.

That means it’s a great time to be looking for cars like the Honda Civic, Hyundai Sonata, Mini Cooper, Acura ILX, or Cadillac ATS. Those smaller cars and midsize sedans are being returned in excellent condition with low miles when their leases end, but the supply is outpacing the demand, creating opportunities for buyers.

More opportunities come from owned compact and midsize vehicles that are being traded in as down payments on SUVs and crossovers, though they’re likely to be older with higher mileage.

When to Buy a Used Car

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc.

Seasonal trends can also create chances to get a great used car deal. Typically, used car prices are at their lowest in the early winter, with dealers looking to reduce inventory just before the end of the year. Prices then typically climb through the spring and summer months before starting to decline through the late fall.

If you’re looking for a specific vehicle, you can learn from some annual trends. As summer approaches, demand for convertibles naturally rises. When winter nears, prices for all-wheel drive vehicles, crossovers, and SUVs climb. Buy a convertible in the late fall or an SUV in the spring, and you can save some money.

Fuel prices also have a great impact on buying behavior and used car prices. The current surge in SUV and pickup buying is being driven in a large part by cheap gas prices. That has also reduced the demand for small vehicles and alternative-fuel cars and trucks. With cheap gas and a redesigned Toyota Prius recently arriving on the market, it would seem to be an excellent time to buy a three-year-old Prius or any of the other hybrid models available.

When fuel prices start to rise – and they certainly will at some point – many trucks and large SUV owners will start to see their total cost of ownership dramatically rise. Those thirsty cars and trucks will begin to flood the used market.

Pickup trucks are an interesting segment of the market. There are two typical buying groups, including those who buy their trucks for work, use them hard, and keep them forever. The pickup lease customer, on the other hand, often has a higher trim level truck with more high-tech features. The fancier trucks typically depreciate at a much faster rate, even though very few ever leave the pavement or do much hard work. The technology that was expensive when the lease was signed isn’t state of the art three years later when the lease expires, and used car buyers don’t put as much value on the extras as new car buyers do. The premium trucks can offer excellent value when purchased on the used market and are durable enough to have long lives with their second owners.

Where to Buy

Where you buy is usually a reflection of your risk tolerance. Many buyers find it more reassuring to buy a used car from a franchised new car dealer rather than an independently used car outlet or a private party. While you can potentially get a better price from the latter two, many buyers don’t have the confidence or knowledge to take that leap.

Franchised new car dealers, on the other hand, have the greater overhead that you will help pay for with a higher price on your used car purchase. Many also offer certified pre-owned cars that come with a certain level of inspection, refurbishment, and often a warranty and special financing opportunities, along with a higher price tag.

U.S. News & World Report’s used car site offers a number of tools for shoppers including rankings and pricing tools, plus a search system that can find cars and trucks in your area. Find out how much car you can afford using our calculator, and be sure to have your own financing lined up before you step foot in a car dealership.

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • TwitThis

Do All Parents Need Life Insurance?

In May we celebrate and thank Mom for everything she does.  In June we celebrate and thank Dad for everything he does.  In July we celebrate and thank them both!  Did you know that the fourth Sunday in July is National Parents’ Day?  Parents deserve thanks every day, but three national holidays dedicated to them is a good start.

I imagine that being a parent is the most challenging, yet rewarding, experience you can ever go through.  When you have your first child, you realize the world is bigger than just you.  As you make decisions in life you think “How will this affect my kids?”  Buying life insurance is one of these important decisions.  “If I die and don’t have life insurance, what happens to my kids?”

Buying Life Insurance
Pros:
  • Children can stay in their childhood home
  • Surviving spouse can afford to take time off work to spend with children
  • Family’s standard of living won’t need to change
  • Spouse can afford to send children to college
  • It can be customized to fit in most budgets
Cons:
  • It’s not free

There are all kinds of parents:

  • Married spouses who co-parent
  • Divorced individuals who co-parent
  • Unmarried partners who co-parent
  • Single parents
  • Stay-at-home parents

No two parents are the same, but you know what they all have in common?  They all need life insurance to protect their loved ones should they die prematurely.  Term life insurance is affordable and provides many benefits.

Term Life Insurance for Married Parents

There is a gender gap in life insurance.  Fewer women than men have life insurance and, in addition, own less coverage on average.  If you have children and you both bring home a paycheck, you both need life insurance.  If you have children and only one of you brings home a paycheck, you both still need life insurance.

Is it written somewhere that dad is more likely to die unexpectedly than mom?  No.  You never know what life may bring – both parents need to own life insurance.

Married same sex couples need life insurance as well.  Same sex couples raising children need to think about what would happen if one or both of them should pass away.  With same sex marriage being legal across the U.S., same sex couples won’t have any issue purchasing life insurance on one another or naming each other beneficiary.

Term Life Insurance for Divorced Parents

In most cases, divorce doesn’t change the fact that you both love and care for your children.  Both parents need life insurance.  In fact, in some divorce cases the court may order the parents to buy life insurance policies to ensure the financial futures of the children.

In amicable divorces, some choose to leave their ex-spouse as their policy’s beneficiary still trusting that they will put their children’s needs first.  Others choose to change their beneficiary to their children.  However, if the children are still minors then an adult custodian would need to be named instead.

Term Life Insurance for Unmarried Parents

On average, today couples are postponing marriage, but not necessarily postponing having children.  You don’t have to be married to buy life insurance on each other, but it’s easier to prove insurable interest this way.  (Insurable interest exists when you would feel financial consequences upon the death of another person.)  However, having children together is proof of insurable interest.

You could also opt to own your own life insurance and name your partner as a beneficiary.  Be sure you name a contingent beneficiary whom you trust to use the policy benefit for your children in case both you and your partner die at the same time, such as in a car accident.  If you both pass away and you named no one else as a beneficiary, the policy benefits are then added to your estate and held up during the probate process as a court decides what to do with the money.

Term Life Insurance for Single Parents

Arguably, single parents have the greatest need for life insurance.  There is no other parent for your children to fall back on if you should pass away.  Making a plan to protect them financially if you are suddenly no longer around to provide is essential.  You’ll want enough life insurance coverage to replace your income, pay for child care, and cover your final expenses.  It’s also critical that you choose a responsible guardian who is willing and able to care for your children should you die.

Typically couples will name each other as beneficiaries since they hope one will survive to care for the children, single parents should consider creating a trust and naming it as the beneficiary of the policy.  Minor children cannot receive life insurance death benefits so a trust can be set up to ensure the death benefit is distributed and used according to your wishes.

Term Life Insurance for Stay-at-Home Parents

Term life insurance is always explained as “income replacement” so if you don’t provide an income, then you don’t need life insurance, right?  Wrong.  A stay-at-home parent may not generate an income, but this allows a family to save money by not hiring out for various responsibilities such as child care.  According to Care.com, child care is the largest annual household expense, averaging $18,000 for U.S. families.  If a stay-at-home parent were to suddenly pass away, would the surviving parent be able to find an extra $18,000 per year to hire someone to care of their children while they were at work?  What about someone to clean the house or transport children to and from school and extracurricular activities?

It’s a mistake to think that life insurance is only for breadwinning parents.  Unless the family is considerably wealthy, the mortgage is paid off, and there is a substantial amount in the savings account, a stay-at-home parent needs life insurance too.

How much does term life insurance cost for parents?

Term life insurance is quite affordable and the term length and coverage amount can be customized to fit in most budgets.  A term policy can ensure your family is able stay in their home, provide funds for college tuition, and pay for your final expenses should you die unexpectedly.  How much life insurance you need depends on your individual situation.  Consider the following questions.

  • Do you have debt you want life insurance to pay off? For example, a mortgage, student loans, credit cards, or car loans.
  • How much monthly income does your family need? The amount your paycheck provides is a good place to start.
  • How many years do you think your family needs that monthly income before they are financially stable?

Remember: term insurance is structured to only last a specific period of time – typically when your family is most financially vulnerable.  How long you want the term insurance to last depends on a few factors such as how young your children are, how much time you have left on your mortgage loan, how close you are to retirement, and what your budget is.  For example, if your children are teenagers and you only have 10 years left on your mortgage, you probably don’t need a 30-year term policy.  However, if you just had your first child and want to make sure your child will have the funds to go to college, and recently purchased your first home, then you’ll want to consider at least a 20-year term policy.

Let’s take a look at some numbers to get an idea on how much life insurance costs.

Example:

 

The debt you want paid off if you die:

  • Mortgage loan = $215,000
  • Credit card debt = $10,000

The monthly income you provide: $4000

How many years your family will need this income = 5 years

Using the Needs Analysis Calculator on our website, $465,000 in coverage is a good estimate.  (Or you can manually add up 215,000 + 10,000 + (4000 x 12×5).) We’ll round up to $500,000 in the table below.

Your children are two and five years old.  You decide you want your term policy to last until they both are at least 25 years old so you decide a 25-year term policy is best.

 
Estimated Monthly Cost of a 25-Year $500,000 Term Life Insurance Policy
Healthy 30-Year-Old Male = $29 Healthy 30-Year-Old Female = $25
Healthy 35-Year-Old Male = $34 Healthy 35-Year-Old Female = $29
Healthy 40-Year-Old Male = $48 Healthy 40-Year-Old Female = $40
Healthy 45-Year-Old Male = $76 Healthy 45-Year-Old Female = $58

Do the costs surprise you?  Americans overestimate the cost of life insurance by as much as 213 percent, meaning some people think that a healthy 30-year-old male is actually going to pay $90.77 per month for the above policy instead of only $29.  That’s quite the difference.

As you can see, the cost of life insurance increases as you age and because women statistically live longer than men they have cheaper premiums.  Having some life insurance is better than having none at all, so if you are unsure you can easily afford the premiums of a 25-year $500,000 term policy, consider a 20-year term or decreasing the coverage amount.

It’s easy to try out different policy lengths and amounts on our quoting tool.  Easily find out premiums estimates for a 30-year $100,000 policy… a 10-year $500,000 policy… a 20-year $1,000,000 policy… you have many options.  Run as many quotes as you want – no contact information required and no commitment necessary.

If you have children, there’s no excuse to postpone buying life insurance.

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • TwitThis

Do Home Warranties Cover Plumbing?

Let’s face it; plumbing issues stink! Plumbing is one of those home systems we tend not to appreciate until there’s a problem with it. They can occur without any warning making for an unpleasant surprise that you have no choice but to address immediately.

Plumbing problems aren’t just unpleasant; they can also be expensive. Not only does the issue itself needs to be remedied, but also leaked water can cause several residual issues such as floorboard rot, drywall damage and mold, among others.

Related: A Guide To Leaks, Clogs, And Other Plumbing Issues You Can Fix

The average cost to hire a plumber for a typical job ranges from $160 to $430. Plus, plumbers often charge an additional premium to come out on evenings or weekends. The cost of parts for the repair can vary widely, especially in older homes where replacement pieces are harder to find.

What Do Home Warranties Cover?

If you’ve been asking yourself whether you should invest in a home warranty, the first step is to look at what’s covered under the warranty. Each plan is different and coverage can vary.

E-exchanger Home Warranty plan covers the costs of repairing or replacing more than 20 major appliances and home systems, including plumbing. There are flexible plans that allow you to choose the best fit for your family’s needs and you can even build your own custom plan so you have the exact coverage you want.

Do Home Warranties Cover Plumbing?

Generally speaking, home warranties do cover plumbing when issues result from normal wear and tear. Not every plan is created equally, though, so it’s important to look at what exactly is covered, especially if you already have a contract. Some of the common plumbing troubles covered by AHS include:

  • Leaks and breaks in the water, gas, drain or vent lines
  • Faucets, shower heads, and shower valves
  • Built-in bathtub whirlpool motors, pumps, and air switches
  • Clearing sink, tub, shower and toilet stoppages

Be sure to check the yor contract for more details.

Give Yourself Peace of Mind

Unfortunately, plumbing issues are inevitable in any home. Since the best plan is to be prepared, you can ease your stress by giving yourself the gift of an American Home Shield plan.

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • TwitThis

Shopping For A Used Car? How To Make Sure You Don’t Get Burned…

There are many ways to shop for used car. You can go from dealer to dealer and used car lot to used car lot, you can go on many of the used car sites online, or even an auction site online. Regardless of how you go about finding a vehicle it is important you understand what to look out for to make sure the you are not purchasing somebody else’s discarded problems. Here are some tips that might help you to find a high-quality vehicle that hopefully will serve you for many years to come…

1. Take your time when evaluating a vehicle. Take several walks around the exterior of the vehicle noting any imperfections you may find. Open the doors, trunk, and hood and look for anything that does not look like it was original or just doesn’t look right. Don’t be afraid to ask the seller questions and evaluate the answers you received. Do the same with the interior, take your time and sit in the vehicle and make sure you try all of the equipment and accessories to make sure they are operating properly. Shift the vehicle into drive, neutral, and reverse and make sure it seems to shift quickly and smoothly. If not, expensive repairs may be imminent.

2. Ask for a vehicle history report such as Carfax or AutoCheck. Make sure the vehicle has no major negative events in its history and that there are no odometer discrepancies.

3. Start the engine and open up the hood. Your eyes, ears, and nose are your best friends here. You want to look for any visible oil leaks. You want to listen for any unusual sounds. And you want to make sure that there are no unusual smells, for instance something smelling like it’s burning. Check the transmission fluid by pulling out the dipstick and checking the level and giving it a quick smell. If the vehicle was just started the transmission fluid level should be near the cold marker. You want to make sure it does not smell burnt as this could identify a current or pending problem. When the engine is turned off again pull out the oil dipstick and again, make sure it looks like it is not dirty and does not smell burnt. The color of the oil should be similar to dark amber.

4. Now it’s time for a test drive. Before you start moving check the steering system. Open the windows and turned the steering wheel hard all the way to one side, and then the other. You want to make sure there is no resistance and that there are no loud squealing sounds which could signify a problem with costly parts of the steering system. You will also want to jiggle the wheel back and forth a bit from the center position and make sure that it doesn’t have any play. Going from one side to the other. It should feel firm when turning from one side to the other. Once you are confident the vehicle is safe to drive make sure you drive it with the windows open and closed. Make sure you don’t hear any noises that seem uncommon. If you do find any potential issues and you are not sure what they are make sure to have a qualified mechanic look the car over before you complete the purchase. While driving, make sure to pay attention to the brakes. Do they feel like they are working properly and stopping the car efficiently? If not, they may need to be addressed and that could help you as any other problems found, in negotiating a better purchase price.

5. Last, but certainly not least. Asked to have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic or shop of your choice. If there is any resistance to having the vehicle inspected run, don’t walk away from the vehicle as is a telltale sign there are going to be issues found.

Once you have found the right vehicle and have made a purchase it is a sound financial decision and great idea to purchase a quality used car warranty. An auto warranty can protect you from the inevitable major or minor repairs that you will face down the road. There are few reputable companies that will allow you to purchase coverage directly, excluding the dealer and their profit, at wholesale pricing. A great place to start is Auto Advantage Inc.

 

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • TwitThis

Do Your Research Before Buying An Auto Warranty

When a consumer takes purchasing an auto warranty into consideration, they usually select mainly based on the price. Consumers want to try to get the best deal that they can when buying auto warranties. Price is important to take into consideration, but it is also important to realize there are other factors that should be looked at when choosing the auto warranty to buy as the final purchase.

When conducting research about auto warranties and which one will be the best option for you, make certain that you are going to be buying one that is of a higher quality. Keep these things in mind when doing research:

1. Look at the cost of the auto warranty and be sure that it is affordable. However, make sure that this is not the only deciding factor for what will be your final purchase.

2. Look into the company that you want to buy the warranty from. Ask yourself a couple of very important questions: Is this company reputable? Is it an established company? Is the company visible online? In addition, make sure that the company is both accredited and has high ratings with the Better Business Bureau.

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • TwitThis

When Should Parents Consider Child and Car Safety?

  

If someone asked us when parents should consider and begin to practice child safety as it relates to cars, we’d answer that these things should start before their child is even born.

This may sound strange, but as any mother will tell you, the impact from a child begins months before birth. Thus, our answer to the previous question. Since mothers are carrying unborn children for the gestation period, child safety is impacted by the mother’s safety.

While expectant mothers are undergoing physical changes to their bodies, such as the expansion in their abdomens and widening of their hips in the first trimester — changes that continue for all 40 weeks they’ll carry their child — we suggest the same for them as we would any other driver. Wearing their seat belts.

We’ve heard the myth that seat belts endanger the lives of the unborn, but it’s just that — a myth, as long as seat belts are worn properly. That means expectant mothers should wear their seat belts, with the lap belt should be across her hips and below her belly, and the shoulder belt should be across her chest, between the breasts.

Car Seat Installation

With the new arrival of a bundle of joy, we shift from the safety of the mother to the child itself. It may be easy to think that installing a car seat is a simple matter. Put the child seat in the car, insert child, and we’re done, right?

Not so fast. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) says 75% of car seats are installed and/or used incorrectly. Fortunately, many hospitals have Child Passenger Safety (SPC) Technicians who can help parents of newborns properly install and secure their car seats.

But what do you do if you’re on your own? While the documentation and instructions included with the child seat is a good start, we think the NHTSA’s free child safety seat inspection centersare also worth the few minutes of time they’ll take to visit. These government-funded centers are based throughout the nation, and they’ll help to ensure a child seat is installed correctly, preferably using the LATCH system.

LATCH, or the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children system, has been standard equipment on every car sold in the United States since 2002. All child seats produced since that time are also LATCH compliant. The system employs different sets ofÿanchors to be used with child restraints.

However, if you don’t have access to these resources then you’re left to install it yourself. With all the latches and straps installation may seem complicated. But don’t worry; we’ve got you covered below.

Installation for Infants

The primary role of a car seat for infants is to protect the head and neck, which are the most vulnerable to long-term complications in the event of a collision. There are two types of car seats for infants: rear-facing, infant-only; and convertible seats. Rear-facing, infant-only care seats are ideal for newborns but they become obsolete once the child grows to more than 20 pounds. When you’re installing your little one’s car seat we suggest you follow the steps outlined in the manufacturer’s instruction manual. However, here are some general tips that will help you properly secure your newborn. If you’re more of a visual learner you can watch installation videos provided by the NHTSA.

  • If you can move the car seat more than an inch then the straps aren’t tight enough. To get them tight enough we suggest you find a way to put your weight into the car seat and then pull the straps as hard as you can. It’s important that the seat moves as little as possible while you’re in transit.
  • Ensure the carrier straps are tight and the harness clip is even with your baby’s shoulders or armpits and the straps are in the slot that lines up close to the infant’s shoulders.
  • If your baby has some extra space in the seat you can place rolled receiving blankets or towels on each side to keep him or her from wobbling. Avoid placing anything under the harness straps.
  • Locking clips are necessary for some vehicles made before 1997. This is necessary because these vehicles don’t have seat belts that lock when the brakes are slammed, so the clip keeps belt from slipping if an accident occurs.
  • Your baby’s head should be at least two inches below the top of the safety seat and make sure the seat is set at a 30 to 45-degree angle.
  • You can see more tips at DMV.org or Kids Health.

Convertible seats, the alternative to rear-facing, infant-only seats, are designed so that they can be used by infants after they’re heavier than 20 pounds. When the baby reaches that weight the seat can be turned to face forward and it’s secured with three types of harnesses: T-shield, tray shield, and five-point. All of these types meet required safety standards, but the five-point harness is regarded as the best option since it can be tightened to fit snugly and it doesn’t get in the way of the baby’s head. When installing a convertible seat you should make sure all straps are as tight as possible to prevent it from wobbling.

Ages One to Three

While infants should always be placed in rear-facing car seats, once a child has reached at least one year of age and weighs at least 20 pounds they can utilize forward-facing child safety seats installed in the rear of the car. That being said, they’re safer in a rear-facing seat, so keep them in one for as long as possible.Forward-facing seats, like the ones that come before, should be installed using LATCH rather than seat belts, if possible. Here are some other tips:

  • If you’re installing a forward-facing seat make sure it’s set directly against the back and bottom of the car seat. When you’re installing the seat make sure to put weight on the seat to push it back as far as possible so the straps will be as tight as they can be.
  • Make sure the seat can’t move side to side or tip forward more than an inch. If it does then unbuckle it and try again.
  • If your car was made before 1996 then you’ll probably need to buy a locking clip to prevent the lap and shoulder seat belts from slipping.
  • Make sure the straps lie flat and tug on them to make sure they’re secure once your baby is fastened into the seat.
  • If you can pinch any of the harness material between your fingers then it’s too loose and needs to be adjusted.

Ages Four to Seven

There are no rear-facing car seats available for this age group, and we don’t know of any children of this age group that would be content to sit facing the rear of the car. So, once a child reaches age four, you’ll have no choice but to move to a forward-facing seat.

Keep a child in this age range in their child seat until they outgrow either the height or weight limits specified by the seat manufacturer. Once this happens, it’s time to switch to a booster seat.

Ages Eight to Twelve

Once a child reaches eight years of age or is at least 4’9” tall, they should be placed in booster seats. Most booster seats simply elevate the child’s seating position and enable them to use the standard seat belts on a car. LATCH is not required nor should it be used with booster seats.

At some point during this period, you’ll likely transition the child from booster seat to just using the standard seat belt of the automobile with no otherÿencumbrances. Make sure they’re wearing the belt properly, with the lap portionÿacross their upper thighs and the shoulder portion across their chest.

Other Considerations

We’ve heard lots of chatter regarding the so-called “combination seats.” These seats are marketed as being able to go from a rear facing infant seat to a forward facing toddler seat and then finally to a booster seat for older children. A testing study performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found significant problems with these combination seats.

Children should always ride in the back seat of a car, if possible, no matter if they’re in a car seat, a booster seat, or if they’re old enough to wear seat belts.ÿAll modern cars now have both driver side and passenger side front airbags, which are designed for full-sized adults. Airbags can injure or kill a child, and the back seat is simply the safest place in the car.

Finally, don’t assume that just because your child isn’t in a car that all auto-related dangers areÿabated. Child pedestrians are killed at a greater rate than any other age group. In fact, male children, aged 5 to 9 years old, are the largest group of pedestrians killed every year. Children can still fall victim to an automobile by darting into a road without looking or by playing on a street.

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • TwitThis

What Car Warranty is Best for Me?

Whether you're shopping for a new or used car, most people have a general idea that a warranty is a good idea. Warranties are often considered to be a form of "insurance" - you pay out a fee and in exchange, your car will be fixed if anything on it breaks, but unfortunately, it's not quite that simple. There are different types of warranties and a warranty might not necessarily cover everything that you think it will. Here is everything you need to know:

What Exactly is an Auto Warranty?

A warranty is a contract between either you and your dealership or you and your manufacturer. At its simplest, a warranty sets out a specific amount of time and mileage; any defects and repairs that are necessary under that time and mileage amount are automatically covered under warranty. Warranties usually last around three years or 36,000 miles. They can also be extended upon vehicle purchase. This is very common when used vehicles are purchased. 

But an auto warranty is not a type of insurance even though it is often presented as one. Auto warranties are only designed to fix parts that are considered to be defective or faulty. They are not designed to fix parts that have broken down from wear-and-tear, collisions or other issues. There are also different types of auto warranties that you need to understand.

What Types of Warranty Coverage Exist?

  • Drivetrain and powertrain warranties - These warranties are designed to ensure that the very essential components of the vehicle last: the engine, transmission and the associated parts. Drivetrain and powertrain warranties protect against manufacturer defects of these components but will be voided if they haven't been properly serviced (such as with regular oil changes).
  • Bumper-to-bumper warranties - The standard bumper-to-bumper warranty is a three-year warranty (or 36,000 miles) that governs the parts of the vehicle from bumper-to-bumper. If these parts are considered to be defective, they will be repaired as needed.
  • Rust or corrosion warranties - This type of warranty is rarer but may be tacked on to the other warranty. This covers rust and corrosion if it occurs due to a defect.
  • Federal emissions warranties - This warranty is more popular now and will cover any repairs necessary to ensure that the vehicle meets its emissions standards.
  • Roadside assistance - This is another specialty warranty that offers roadside assistance if a vehicle breaks down. Most people already have this through their insurance.

How Does a Warranty Work?

To go through a warranty, you must first contact the vehicle entity you have a relationship with: either your dealer or your manufacturer. They will then direct you to the repair shop that will work with you. 

Warranties can be voided if an individual does not maintain their vehicle properly. Auto Tek provides complete auto services that will ensure that all the parts of your vehicle are well-maintained so that you can stay within your warranties. Contact our team of professionals today!

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • TwitThis

Keeping Your Teen Safe at Home

When I was a teenager, I would come home from school hours before my parents got back from work. Sometimes I wonder if they ever worried about me being at home alone—whether I was getting up to any teenage mischief or not. Unless they called, there was no way for them to know.

Nowadays there’s texting, which certainly helps this problem. But your security system can also be a huge help in knowing your kids are home safe and behaving well.

SimpliSafe Components That Go the Extra Mile:

SimpliSafe has lots of customizable features that allow you to create a solution that fits your family’s needs.

The SimpliSafe security camera records videos any time your system is tripped, but did you know it also records a short clip anytime the system is armed or disarmed? It’s great for checking in on who’s home. You can see which friends your teen has over. Is it their study partner or that bad apple from down the block? You can check in any time. And don’t worry. The privacy shutter on the camera gives you and your family privacy when they’re home.

You can also set up your system so that each member of the family has a unique PIN. That way you’ll know who’s arming and disarming the system. Not only will you know your teen got home safe, but you’ll know they remembered to arm the system again after.

Another great feature to take advantage of is the SimpliSafe app. With interactive monitoring, you can arm your system remotely when your teen forgets. You can also check to see when they armed or disarmed the system (a surefire way to know if someone’s been breaking their curfew).

If your kid is old enough to stay home alone overnight, SimpliSafe will give you the peace of mind they’re protected, even when they’re asleep. They’ll have the backup not just from our monitoring center, but from the local police as well. Plus, you’ll also have the peace of mind that if they throw a wild party you’ll catch them red handed.

Entry Sensors & Secret Alerts:

We’ve heard of customers using SimpliSafe sensors in creative ways to keep an eye on their teens. Some like to install Entry Sensors in unusual places like liquor cabinets to know when someone is getting into somewhere they shouldn’t be.

Of course, you probably don’t want the police called if your kid happens to open the liquor cabinet. That’s why SimpliSafe has Secret Alerts. You’ll get a text if that sensor is tripped, but the alarm won’t sound and the message won’t be sent to SimpliSafe’s monitoring. It’ll be between you and your teen.

You can also use Secret Alerts to get a text if they’re sneaking out at night, or if they’re taking a peek at those Christmas presents hidden in the closet (we never get too old for that, do we).

Give Them Responsibility:

Part of keeping your kids safe is teaching them how to keep themselves safe. So give your teen some responsibility in protecting your home. If your teen is the most likely person to be at or near your home, consider making them a primary or secondary emergency contact. Teach them what to do and practice the emergency plan together.

If there are younger siblings, have your teen teach the little ones how to use the system and what to do in an emergency.

You can also give your teen access to the app. This way they can also arm and disarm from a distance, and check in on what’s going on at home. You can even work the app as part of their chores, like keeping an eye on the pets.

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • TwitThis

8 THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR WHEN BUYING A USED CAR

BUYING A USED CAR

The used car market is a haven for various automotive gems! It is the perfect place where you can look for that odd box-type sedan that brings you back to your good old childhood days, or if you are lucky enough you can get a rare expensive classic that can now be worth millions away from its original price. Regardless of whatever meets your eye as you wander about in the used car center, used cars can become financial liabilities if you do not make it a point to check on them after making your purchase. Whether the vehicle is for you, your brand new teenage driver, your significant other, or a friend/family member, before you jump the gun on purchasing a used car, make it a point to watch out for these elements.

BODY AND GLASS

First impressions last – at least that is how you should think when you start evaluating your used car of choice. Issues such as cracks, dents, and uneven paint should play a significant part in the used car’s pricing, since those can be costly to repair. Moreover, those kinds of damage may indicate that the used car may have been involved in accidents of various degrees under its previous owner. That, of course, may point to further internal damage, so make sure to look at those problems with great circumspect when you think about your used car purchase.

INTERIOR, SEATS, AND ODOR

When canvassing for a used car, do not just look at the outside. In fact, it is even more important that you discern whether the used car you are looking at has an interior that is bearable enough for you to spend most of your time; think about all that time you spend sitting in traffic to and from work. Things like seat upholstery, seatbelts, and overall odor play a huge part in your driving experience with your used car, so make it a point not to neglect those things.

CONTROLS AND SOUND SYSTEM

Watch out for missing dials, malfunctioning light indicators, and damaged interfaces when looking for a used car. A typical secondhand vehicle should have controls that are still working properly, albeit with some parts of it already worn out. Also, make it a point to check the condition of the used car’s sound system. Muffled speakers and a faulty sound system interface may make for an unpleasant driving experience (think about having to sit in silence or forced to listen to an awful radio station during that traffic we already talked about), while faulty electrical wiring for both your controls and sounds may prove to be dangerous in the long run.

LIGHTS

Obviously, faulty exterior lights are a no-no for used cars, and fixing them can be quite a costly ordeal. With that, it is highly important that you check the conditions of the headlights, signal lights, and taillights of the used car you are eyeing first before purchasing it. Moreover, also make sure that your interior lights are also in good shape, so that you would not have to experience inconvenience in the event you need cabin lighting as you drive during nighttime.

TIRES AND SUSPENSION

A good used car has a properly-rotated and balanced set of tires and a suspension set that provides stability and safety, especially during long drives. With that, make sure that your used car of choice has good tires and suspension. Otherwise, you would certainly find yourself flirting with the possibility of encountering unwanted road accidents. You do not want to be that person on the side of the highway waiting for road assistance because your tire blew.

FLUIDS

Before purchasing a used car, make sure to check the condition of its fluids. Watch out for residues, burnt smell, or foamy particles on the dipstick – those typically refer to various problems your mechanic should work on right away. Normally though, engine oil is brownish or blackish in color and residue-free, while the transmission fluid appears pinkish.

RADIATOR

A used car should not have green particles sitting around on its radiator. Otherwise, it shows that leaks may have been made, and that a replacement may be necessary. As long as the radiator does not appear rusty or to have corrosion, then you are in good company.

ROOF

Checking the roof of your chosen used car is actually a no-brainer. Doing so allows you to see whether there is a possibility of water leakage inside the cabin, which you must prevent at all costs if you want a pleasant driving experience. At the same time, make sure to check if your sunroof is working properly, if you have one.

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • TwitThis

How Can a Home Warranty Protect Your Dream Kitchen?

 
The day is finally here. After hours of research and meetings with contractors, a million pins on interest and only slightly fewer frozen dinners microwaved in your living room, you've built your dream kitchen!

Now — to make sure that it stays up and running — it’s time to protect it with a home warranty.The  E - exchanger Plan covers the repair and replacement costs of more than 20 of your home appliances and system parts. And E-exchange makes it easy — choose from existing plans or customize one that meets your needs without paying for unnecessary coverage.

You might think that because you have homeowners insurance you don’t need a home warranty, this is a common misconception but it's not true. Home insurance and home warranties offer different types of protection. A home insurance policy covers accidental damage to your home and belongings due to theft, storms, fires and some natural disasters. A home warranty is a service contract that provides for repair or replacement of your home appliances and system components that fail due to age and standard wear and tear.

Different Types of American Home Shield Plans

The Systems Plan covers items related to the major systems in your home such as air conditioning and heating (including ductwork), electrical and plumbing, water heaters, garbage disposals, water dispensers, central vacuums, smoke detectors, doorbells and ceiling fans. All things you take for granted, but that can cause major issues when they break down. For example, that new kitchen of yours will lose its luster pretty quick should you AC go out this summer. And it will be pretty hard to entertain should your garbage disposal or water dispenser go out.

The Appliances Plan covers, home appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers and dryers, ranges/ovens/Cooktops, built-in microwaves, freestanding ice makers, trash compactors, garage door openers and built-in food processors. This plan helps get your household back up and running when one of these critical devices stops working. You don't want your refrigerator to break in the middle of summer, leaving you without cold beverages or frozen treats, right? What's summer without them, anyway?

Choose a plan that best fits what you need

The Combo Plan is our most popular and covers both systems and appliances.

The Build Your Own Plan lets you customize one that meets your needs without paying for coverage you might not need.

Optional Add-Ons

Don't think that you're limited to just standard appliances. You can always add coverage for things such as a pool/spa, water softener, well pump and septic pump. Simply select the plan that best suits your needs and then tack on any of these extras as appropriate. 

You’ve taken great care to build the kitchen of your dreams. It makes sense to protect your investment with an E-exchanger Home Warranty Plan. Explore our plans, see a list of what’s covered and get prices in your neighborhood now. With this kind of peace of mind, you can sit back, relax and start trying cool summer recipes from your favorite chefs!

Share or Bookmark this post…
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • TwitThis