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Car Maintenance Tips

Properly maintaining your car is key to keeping it in top condition. It can also help ensure your safety, the safety of your passengers and your fellow drivers. Here are some ways to help keep your car running smoothly.

The Car Maintenance Checklist

Consider adding these items to your vehicle maintenance "to do" list:

Inspect and Maintain Tires

Knowing how to maintain your car's tire pressure can help reduce wear on the tires and helps ensure you're getting good gas mileage. Checking your tire pressure includes finding the recommended pressure, checking the PSI and inflating or deflating your tires accordingly.

A flat tire is a hazard that can be dangerous to you and your car. There are several preventative steps you can take to help avoid a blowout, including rotating your tires every 5,000 to 10,000 miles and watching for tire recalls.

Change the Oil

Routinely checking and changing your car's oil is essential to keeping its engine in running condition. Check your oil each month and change it as directed in the car's owner's manual.

You can change your oil yourself or take it to a service center. If you choose to do it yourself, learn the necessary steps to drain the fluid, set the correct oil level and dispose of old oil.

You should also know which type of motor oil is best for your car, regardless of whether you change the oil yourself or take it to a service center. This generally means considering three things — the oil viscosity, whether to use synthetic versus non-synthetic oil and your car's mileage.

Check the Fluids

There are several fluids that should be kept at the appropriate levels to help keep your car running properly. According to Popular Mechanics, you or your mechanic should check:

  • Engine oil

  • Coolant

  • Power steering fluid

  • Brake fluid

  • Transmission fluid

A leak with any of these fluids can affect the way your car drives. If you spot a leak, you may be able to identify the fluid by its color. This can help you and your mechanic determine where the leak is coming from. It can also help speed up the repair process.

Test the Lights

A broken or burnt-out bulb is a safety hazard and might get you a ticket. Learn how to thoroughly inspect each bulb on your car. If a bulb is out, take your car to an expert to determine whether it's the bulb or the fuse that needs replacing.

Headlights are key safety lights on your car. Consider taking a few extra steps to help keep them shining bright, such as cleaning the lenses and replacing bulbs as they start to dim.

Replace Windshield Wipers

If your wipers aren't working like they used to, don't let the problem linger. Damaged or worn out blades can reduce visibility during a heavy rain or a snowstorm. Knowing how to inspect your wiper blades regularly and replace them when necessary is one way to help keep your car safe.

Change Your Engine Air Filter

A dirty engine air filter can allow dirt and other particulates into your car's engine and reduce its efficiency. Inspect your car's air filter once a year and replace it as needed.

Regular Checkups

Some routine car care tasks can be done at home, but others require trained technicians. Take your car to a technician if the check engine light comes on. Trained technicians can diagnose the problem through the car's on-board diagnostics (OBD-II) port.

A qualified repair shop will also be able to inspect and replace other core components like the alternator and the wheel bearings. Scheduling regular tune-ups will help ensure that your car gets other maintenance items repaired as well.

Have Your Brakes Checked

Your car's brake pads also require regular inspection. While driving, listen for any brake noise and pay attention to shuddering or vibrating from the brake pedal. If any concerns arise, consult a service center as soon as possible

Wash Your Car

Your car is subjected to all sorts of elements, from road salt and ice melt in the winter to tree sap and bird droppings in the summer. Some of these hazards are not only unsightly but can cause damage to paint and the undercarriage, according to AccuWeather.

Keeping your car clean may help prevent long-term damage. Find the car washing method that works for you and regularly wash your car.

Check Belts and Hoses

Keeping your car's belts and hoses in good shape can help keep your car running and may help you avoid a breakdown on the road. For example, if your serpentine belt breaks while you're driving, it may cause many of your car's systems to fail.

Having your belts and hoses checked at every oil change will help ensure that they're in good condition and don't need replacing.

Review Your Car Insurance

Just like regular car checkups, it's a good idea to review your car insurance policy from time to time. This can help ensure your policy's coverages, limits and deductibles are up-to-date and suitable for your current situation.

Keeping your car in good shape can help keep you and your passengers safe. And remember, if you're ever unsure about how to inspect or replace a car part, be sure to contact a local mechanic for help.

Article Originally published allstate.com

Top Car Cleaning Hacks

So, your car has seen better days. The upholstery is looking a bit worn, and the once-shiny windows are now…well, not so shiny. Sure, you could take your car to a professional cleaner—or you could save your money and spruce things up yourself. Here are our top car-cleaning hacks.

Shine A Light

After a few years of driving, the plastic on a car’s headlights tends to oxidize, giving it a cloudy, yellowish appearance. That film can be dangerous because it cuts down the amount of light they cast. You could splurge on an expensive buffing compound to clean them up, or opt for a cheaper solution—toothpaste. Just dab some on a rag and rub away. Once you’re done, rinse with water; you’ll be amazed by the difference.

Window Polish Perfection

Have your kids decided to do some finger-painting on your car’s windshield? To give your windows a streak-free shine, follow these easy steps.

Combine ¼ cup of vinegar with ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol. Add two cups of water and a few drops of lemon essential oil. Mix together and add the contents to a spray bottle. You’ve now got a solution that will have your windshield, windows and rear-view mirrors looking spotless. Try wiping down your windows with old newspapers—you might be surprised with the streak-free results.

Dashing Dashboards

If your vinyl dashboard has seen better days, there’s an easy way to get it looking new again: take a slightly damp cloth and run it over all the surfaces. This will remove dust and grime. For tougher stains, use a small amount of the mildest laundry soap you can find—the plastic and vinyl on dashboards can be scratched or discolored by abrasive cleaners. When you’re done, wipe away excess soap and moisture with a soft, clean, dry cloth.

Bye Bye, Bugs

Dead bugs—is there anything harder to clean off your car? Some people rent power washers to blast them away, while others opt for cleaners laden with special enzymes and harsh chemicals. But those solutions are both expensive and could damage your finish. The better way? Wet your car and apply a healthy dose of car soap, which you probably already have on hand, with a soft washing mitt. Work in small areas and rinse each section when you’re done. With a minimal amount of elbow grease, those critters will start dropping like, well, flies.

Article Originally published geico.com

What Makes a Luxury Vehicle


Here at Right Buy our ultimate goal is to provide our customers with affordable premium pre-owned luxury import automobiles with un-beatable rates.  The long and short of it is, we want to treat our customers the way we would want to be treated when shopping for a new vehicle. Contrary to belief luxury doesn't have to be insanely pricey though....which begs the question what is defined as a luxury vehicle?

What Makes a Luxury Vehicle

Luxury vehicles typically represent the leading edge of comfort, performance, safety, and technology, and a good luxury car has an innate quality that goes beyond leather upholstery and wood trim. Materials should be of a higher grade than those in mainstream vehicles, with plush carpets, rich fabric, and quiet cabins. Basic power amenities, automatic climate control systems, and uplevel audio systems with Bluetooth connectivity are expected. Many luxury models also offer all-wheel-drive and can be had in sedan, coupe, SUV and convertible body styles.

What You Will Pay
Prices can run the gamut. For example, the Acura ILXAudi A3, and Mercedes-Benz CLA are priced in the low $30,000s. From there, true luxury models can reach up to $200,000 and more. The most expensive car Consumer Reports has bought is the Tesla Model S P85D ($127,820), and the most expensive SUV we've tested is the Land Rover Range Rover ($88,000).

Key Things to Consider
Luxury cars can be so comfortable and enjoyable that once you've experienced the luxe life, going back to a mainstream car feels like a major downgrade. But this exclusive driving experience comes at a price, literally, in the form of the initial purchase and ownership costs, both of which typically far exceed those of more humble vehicles. Before committing to a luxury model, realize that nearly all of today's mainstream models are better equipped than luxury cars from just a few years ago. Many offer uplevel comfort and safety features that were once the exclusive domain of prestige-brand models. These well-equipped mainstreamers cost thousands less than luxury-branded models, but often lack the thoroughness of design, special atmosphere, and prestige of a proper luxury car. Ultimately, it's an individual choice as to how your money is best spent. Luxury cars tend to do very well in our tests due to their performance and comfort, but so do some well-appointed models from non-luxury brands.

When buying a luxury car, one must look carefully at the standard equipment list, especially on European cars, which sometimes offer little more than brand cachet in their lower-spec models. Features you might expect to come standard, such as metallic paint, backup camera, and genuine leather upholstery, may be offered as extra-cost options, and high-end, high-tech features are often bundled in expensive option packages. Most of these optional extras are priced far higher than similar features in mainstream cars, and we've seen several models which offer enough high-priced options to nearly double the price of the car. If you want to avoid option confusion, consider American and Japanese brands. They tend to offer a few trim levels and a minimum of options and packages. The German manufacturers take the opposite approach, with multiple versions or trim levels, plus extensive lists of options and packages

Note, though, that some high-end features add more complication than real functionality. That said, the rapid advances in active safety systems are well worth your attention, as many systems are helpful (blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert) and some a proven lifesavers (collision-mitigation systems). Once the lone purview of the luxury class, these systems are becoming widely available. It is best to try any unfamiliar features before putting much weight on them in your purchase decision. Your salesperson should be able to explain and demonstrate any features.

Luxury Comes in Different Shapes and Sizes
Midsized luxury cars and car-based SUV models, priced from $40,000 to $60,000, are generally a sweet spot in the market, offering driving enjoyment and interior refinement without the fussiness or large footprint of a large vehicle or the complexity of cutting-edge features.

Large and heavy V8-powered luxury models tend to also cost you at the pump. Hybrid, turbocharged, and diesel powertrains are offered in a growing number of luxury sedans and SUVs to improve fuel economy, although the hybrids and diesels often come at a significant price premium. Generally, this isn't a category to explore if saving money is a primary goal.

Traditionally, most large luxury sedans employ rear-wheel drive. It is the preferred set up for ideal weight distribution, handling agility, ride comfort, and noise isolation. But rear-wheel drive is not the ideal setup for foul-weather driving, and many rear-drive luxury vehicles offer all-wheel drive as an option.

If you want a luxury car, deciding whether to choose a sedanSUV, or sporty model depends on your needs and wants. You can turn to our buying advice for those types of cars to help you narrow it down. Each category has several good vehicles to choose from, but there are several models that don't deliver on their luxury promise. Our Ratings will help you see the difference.

What You'll Spend
Entry-level compact luxury models are priced from the low $30,000s up to about $60,000 for a heavily optioned model. Midsized luxury models cover the range between $40,000 and $80,000, while the large luxury cars start around the mid-$70,000 and run well into three figures, not counting the offerings from exotic brands.

Low Rate Credit Union Financing


Today it can be stressful shopping around when getting trying to get the best rates available when making any large purchase. Here at Right Buy We understand that that why we have worked extremely hard to build relationships with several prominent lenders to be able to offer our customers the best rates possible for just about any credit situation. We really focus on our low-rate credit union financing which allows us to offer rates as low as 1.99% and as little as no money down, depending on the credit situation of our customers.*(Apply today to see if you are eligible)

To clear the air, because we know we can run into first time buyers, or people who don't know how auto financing works....we are putting forth how the process goes so people have reassurance as well as peace of mind.

Here’s how to apply online for an auto loan:

  1. Once you apply, the lender will check your credit and contact you with a decision, in some cases in less than a minute. Some lenders will do a “soft pull” of your credit, which will not damage your credit score, to pre-qualify you. Later, at the dealership, you will fill out a full credit report for final approval. Other lenders will run a full credit to get you preapproved. In both cases, the lender will offer you a amount you can borrow at a certain interest rate. Some lenders will present a range of interest rates depending on whether the loan is for a new car, a used car or an older used car.
  2. The lender will then give you a no-obligation check or email you a certificate you can take to the dealership. (Note: Some lenders have restrictions on where cars can be purchased using their loan. For example, some lenders work with a network of dealerships. Other lenders won’t grant loans to buy cars from private party sellers.)
  3. Negotiate your best deal for the car, being sure to leave enough money to cover taxes and fees. For example, if the loan is for up to $20,000, look for a car in the $15,000 range because the final price will be about $16,500 or higher.
  4. Once you pay for the car with the lender’s check the loan is finalized at the purchase amount. When using a lender’s certificate, you may be required to fill out a credit application at the dealership which will result in a slight reduction of your credit score.

Preapproval and pre-qualifying help streamline the negotiation process because you can sidestep the car seller’s favorite tactic: the monthly payment game. If you negotiate for a monthly payment instead of the price of the car, it’s easy for the salesman to obscure the real price. But when you are preapproved, you become a “cash buyer,” meaning that you can ignore the monthly payment question and concentrate on negotiating only the price when shopping for a new car.

Here are other points to keep in mind as you shop for an online car loan:

  • Apply to several lenders to find your best interest rate. Lenders who only do “soft pulls” of your credit, don’t damage your borrowing ability. But it’s still smart to make all your loan applications within a two-week period to minimize damage to your credit score that can be caused by multiple credit checks over an extended period.
  • Be sure to also check the loan terms offered by your bank or credit union. Their rates are often very competitive with online lenders.
  • Gather documents you might need before beginning the loan application process: driver’s license, bank account numbers and pay stubs.
  • Set up your loan so you pay it off as quickly as you comfortably can. Shorter terms usually mean lower interest rates.
  • Be careful: If you’re shopping at a dealership, the finance manager will probably try to “flip” you — get you to use the carmaker’s financing. It doesn’t hurt to hear the pitch, but make sure all the terms — particularly the length of the payback period — are the same so you can accurately compare the dealership’s offer to your preapproved loan.

When shopping for a car loan, it’s important to be realistic. Just because interest rates are low doesn’t mean you should buy too much car. And remember, the most important thing for you, your budget and your credit score is to keep up with the payments and get the loan paid off on time.