Tutorial: Building A Car Emergency Kit For Winter Time

Here at Trust Auto, we believe that having an emergency kit in your car at all times is very helpful. You never know what can happen and when so rather be safe than sorry, right?

Below is a step by step guide to building an emergency kit for your car, winter edition. 

  1. Grab a bucket or duffle bag to place all of your items in. You don’t want something huge… maybe a medium size.
  2. You can go to your local grocery store to purchase an already built emergency kit that has bandages, medicine, and other small items for medical issues. This small medical kit can go in your big, overall car kit.
  3. Place a blanket or two inside.
  4. Add water bottles and perishable snacks.
  5. Put flashlights and batteries inside.
  6. Having a neon windbreaker is nice incase your car breaks down at night, your body is visible to those driving on the road.
  7. Grab hand warmers.
  8. Get some jumper cables to have in the kit too.
  9. After adding all necessary items, zip up your bag or close up your bucket and place it in the trunk of your car.

Now your off to being prepared at all times. Safe driving!

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Top 5 Car Tricks For Winter Months

 

Winter time can be scary when it comes to driving, depending on where you live. Some areas experience more snow than others. Our focus is to make sure everyone is driving on the roads as safely as possible.

5 Car Tricks

  1. Of course we recommend keeping an ice scraper in your car at all times, but if you happen to forget it… no worries! You can always use a credit card!
  2. Just like we think it’s best to keep an ice scraper on deck, we believe having an emergency kit on hand at all times is of importance too. Need help putting one together? Check out our blog post here on creating an emergency kit for you car.
  3. If you know it’s going to be snowing, raise your windshield wipers the night before to make your life a whole lot easier for the next day.
  4. You can put tube socks over the wiper blades as well to keep them from freezing.
  5. Last, but not least placing Ziploc bags over the side mirrors can be very helpful in helping keep snow off your actual windows so when you go to scrape the snow off you can simply just remove the bag.

What did we miss? Comment below any other tips or tricks you have! 

For more blog post on driving during Winter time, keep reading.

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Local to Syskeville, Maryland or live in a surrounding area? 

Come check us out! We offer financing and to help you come ready to go, click here, to pre-apply.  To view our inventory ahead of time, click here.

We look forward to seeing you!

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The Essential Guide To Trading In Your Car

Going into a dealership to trade in your car can be an anxious process. You can’t wait to find out the value of your car so you can move onto finding the perfect car! Well, no worries as Trust Auto is here to ease your mind and give you all the information you need.

The Essential Trade In Guide 

  1. Research. You can Google and look on different websites to get an idea of what your car may be worth. While you’re researching keep in mind that the website isn’t actually looking at your car. It is giving you an estimate. Don’t get too excited. This is just for you to get an overall idea before heading in to get it looked at in person.
  2. Clean. Go in with your car cleaned. A nice, cleaned out car is a lot more appealing than one that is filled with junk. Many people ask about getting dings and other small things fixed on their car before having it looked at. While this may help enhance your value, if your car is over 50,000 miles we recommend not trying to fix everything beforehand. The dealership can easily fix whatever may be wrong with your vehicle and cars over 50,000 miles tend to go to auction.
  3. Be Honest. When you do get your car looked at, be honest about accidents and any other issues your vehicle has. This is important especially for the next person who will be driving the car.
  4. Promotion. Many dealerships run trade in specials so be on the lookout for any promotions going on near you.

We hope this was helpful in easing your mind. After you do your research and go into a dealership…

  • The appropriate person will take your car for a test drive and look over it in detail to see everything your car has to offer.
  • The mechanic on hand will have a look at your engine and do a more in depth look at what’s going on inside.
  • Lastly, the car will be appraised and you will officially have an accurate answer on what you can get for your car. Not all dealers will give you the same amount, but it will more than likely be around the same.

If you have any further questions on how trading your car in goes, comment below! 

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Local to Syskeville, Maryland or live in a surrounding area? 

Come check us out! We offer financing and to help you come ready to go, click here, to pre-apply.  To view our inventory ahead of time, click here.

We look forward to seeing you!

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Buying A Car Guide: How To Come Prepared

Buying a car can be a super fun process or a long, drawn out process. Our goal is for this to be fun so we put together a guide for you to come prepared. Going to the dealership with everything you need can help speed things up.

Below is a list of things you may need. Most of these items are for those who plan to finance, but rather be safe than sorry! Remember our goal here is to make this fun. 

  1. Proof Of Address: This can be a piece of mail or rental agreement/lease
  2. Drivers License
  3. Proof Of Income: Pay stub
  4. Existing Proof Of Insurance
  5. Check Book

Very simple and painless. Come with the above five things and you’re well on your way to your dream car!

If you plan on trading your car in, there are a couple more pieces of information you need to bring: 

  1. Certificate Of Title
  2. All Keys
  3. Co-owner Signature: If you co-own the car with someone else, make sure the title is signed by the both of you. 

On top of these things we recommend coming with your car cleaned out so it’s all nice and ready to go.

And just like that, you’re set up for success. 

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Local to Syskeville, Maryland or live in a surrounding area? 

Come check us out! We offer financing and to help you come ready to go, click here, to pre-apply.  To view our inventory ahead of time, click here.

We look forward to seeing you!

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New Year, Used Car: The Best Time to Buy a Pre-Owned Vehicle

It’s no secret that the best time to shop for a new car is between Black Friday and New Year’s Day. But what about a used car? A brand new car may not be what you are looking for – whether you need a second car for your family, a car for a new driver, a work truck, or something that you can use as a commuter vehicle – sometimes pre-owned cars are the way to go.

It may seem like a stretch to spend a large amount of money right after the holidays, but January is the best month to buy used vehicles. And here’s why:

Strong December Sales

Many new car dealerships run great specials on vehicles in December to make room for new-year inventory. This means they have a lot of used vehicles on their lot that they want to sell.  In order to make room for new cars, these dealerships will likely have the used cars on excellent sales and provide low prices with attractive financing.

Given that over 1/2 of new car sales involve a trade-in and resale takes an average of 45 days, dealerships will be eager to get used vehicles off their lot, meaning the buyer has the upper hand in negotiating deals and better prices.

Slow Retail Month

After the holidays and going on spending sprees, many people tighten their wallets in the new year. People use what extra money they do have (after paying off credit card bills and debts) towards less frivolous things.

However, car dealerships still have to make money and meet sales quotas. This means one things: A buyer’s market. Dealerships and salespeople are eager to close deals and make sales, making January a great time to negotiate a better deal. This will even extend into February and even March, until people have paid off their debts and reenter the retail world.

Leased Vehicles Ready for Resale

Many people lease cars at the end & beginning of the year, which means many 3-year-old vehicles are available for resale in January. These vehicles are generally in great condition and will be “restored” to like-new condition. Since the mileage is lower than many used cars, you can find a steal – a newer model with low mileage for an exceptional price.

Luxury Deals

If you are shopping for a sports car or luxury model, chances are, you’ll land the best deal during the winter months. There is little supply-and-demand for sporty little cars with convertible tops or flashy little cars no suitable for harsh winter roads, which means you will likely get your pick of the best luxury vehicles for a much lower price than if you wait for the weather to get warmer.

Typically the more expensive cars on the lot, come January, these sporty little models suddenly drop in price and become more reasonably priced and the best deals out there.

Another Year Older

When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, used vehicles suddenly become one year older meaning their value drops, and sometimes that drop is significant. For instance, Edmunds says the typical 2009 model sold for $19,392 in December 2012, but $18,738 in January 2013 – a 3.4% price drop in just one month.

This is true for models that are only 1 or 2 years old as well – you can find an “old” model that is just 2 years old, and in most cases, it will be in mint condition with just some miles put on.  For this upcoming January, look into 2017 models instead of a 2018 model and you’ll be shocked at how low the price is compared to it’s 2019 counterpart.

Shop Around for Financing Deals

Oftentimes, the finance deal the dealership will offer you isn’t the best you can find – especially in the new year.  A lot of banks, credit unions, and regional banks will offer financing incentives in the new year for existing customers. Contact your bank to see what deals they are offering and if you qualify for low interest rates. There may be discounts available if you enroll in auto-pay or use an existing bank account for the monthly payments.

Before settling on a pre-owned vehicle, be sure to look up what the MSRP was for the vehicle originally, and if there is any resale information. This can help you negotiate prices and deals in the long run. The most important thing to keep in mind is to have a set price that you cannot go over. No matter how great a deal, if the deal is more than you are able to spend, it’s not worth it.  Never overspend just because a dealership is pressuring you to sign a deal to help them meet their quota.  Keep shopping around – you will find the best deal for you!

 

Preparing Your Car for Cold Weather

Before the cold weather really hits, it is best to prepare your car as best as possible to ensure that it’s running well and safely. While vehicles are made to handle inclement weather and cold temperatures, there are a few steps you can take to ensure your car is in the best possible condition.

Inspect Your Tires

Whether your car has front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, or even four-wheel drive, inspect yours tires to make sure the tread is deep enough and the tire pressure is accurate. Worn down tires can be hazardous on slick winter roads.

  • Tire Pressure – If you’ve never checked your tire’s pressure before, refer to your owner’s manual for the proper PSI. Most gas stations have air stations for your tires.
  • Tread Check – The easiest way to ensure your tire tread is safe is with the penny test: hold a penny between your forefinger and thumb so you can see Lincoln’s head. Place the penny (upside down) in the tire tread and if you can see Lincoln’s whole head, your tires need to be replaced.

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Check All Fluid Levels

Make sure your car’s fluids are all topped off to start the cold season. You can check at home or take it to your local mechanic.

  • Oil – Mechanics sometimes recommend using thinner oil in the winter months because the cold weather can make it thicker and harder on your engine, but check your owner’s manual just in case.
  • Coolant – If you live where temperatures get below freezing, it is important to have the proper water/antifreeze mixture to prevent your radiator from freezing. You can pick up a tester at any auto parts store to make sure the fluid is filled up to maximum capacity.
  • Windshield Washer Fluid – This may get overlooked, but make sure your washer fluid contains antifreeze so you can see clearly all winter long.

Test Your Battery

It’s not only your engine that dislikes cold weather – your battery gets cold too! In fact, colder temperatures can wreak havoc on your battery capacity.

Check your battery for any cracks, make sure the cable connections are snug, and check the charge level. You can do this by turning off your engine and looking at your battery’s built-in hydrometer to check the voltage levels. If your car doesn’t have a hydrometer built-in, you can pick one up at an auto parts store.

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Have an Emergency Kit

In case of an emergency, you’ll want to be prepared with all the essentials for both you and your vehicle.  Use this checklist to make sure you have everything you need in case you get stranded this winter.

Keep Up Regular Maintenance

The best way to ensure your car is running smoothly this winter is to stay on top of routine maintenance – this means getting your oil changed regularly, have your belts and hoses checked by a mechanic, and get your engine tuned up as recommended.  Every vehicle is different, so reading over your owner’s manual before the cold weather strikes can be incredibly helpful so you know what to expect.

Why December is the Best Time to Buy A Car

There are arguably a few different times throughout the year that are ideal for buying a car. But December is the best time to buy a car.

It’s enough that dealerships are generally emptier during the holidays due to people traveling, but sales teams have looming quotas to meet before the year’s end. To put it simply, they want cars out the door. And the best way to do this is to run unbeatable deals.

In fact, consumers can expect to get almost 8% off MSRP values when buying a car in December as opposed to waiting until January.

Like any big purchase, it’s important to do your research before you buy a car, so do your research (and maybe even test drive a few) during the fall. This will give you plenty of time to decide what make, model, and trim options you want in your dream vehicle. But when it comes to making a purchase? Pull the trigger between Black Friday and New Year’s Eve.

Here are just a few reasons why December is the best time to purchase a car:

Better Leverage (& Negotiating)

Dealerships tend to be slower during the winter months, so in order for the sales team to meet their quotas, they will be desperate to get cars out the door and on the road. This means you, the buyer, will have better leverage to get a great deal on the vehicle you desire. Take advantage of an empty dealership to ask lots of questions and get in-depth about the car’s features, amenities, safety ratings, and when it comes down to price, don’t be afraid to haggle.

Making Space for Newer Models

October, November, and December see a lot of new makes and models come onto the scene in preparation for the new year. But this means the old inventory has to find a new home so there’s room on the lot. Meaning… prices will drop. If you are shopping for a car, instead of buying a 2019 model, look at 2018 models instead. The prices will be significantly lower because they aren’t the newest model on the market anymore. But December is when the prices hit the lowest – the longer a car sits on the lot unsold, the lower the price drops.

Peace of Mind

You may not think about this when you are purchasing a vehicle right away, but have a safe and reliable vehicle can bring you a lot of comfort during the winter months when road conditions are treacherous. Having a vehicle with new tires, top-notch breaking capabilities, and updated technology can give you more confidence when you are driving on slick and snowy roads.

Holiday Bonuses

Everyone loves a little extra cash for a holiday bonus. Why not out it to use and put it towards a down payment on a vehicle.  If you can put down a higher percentage, you will be able to get a better interest rate, or better yet, if you can pay with cash, there’s a huge chance you can talk down the price even further!

If you’ve been dreaming of a new car, now is the time.  This is the best time to buy a car, so put your haggling skills to use and be prepared to get the best prices on the market!

‘Tis the Season: Holiday Car Decorations

It’s time to deck the halls, and you go all out at home… but why stop there? More Americans travel during the holiday season than any other time during the year, so why not show your holiday spirit all season long as you drive down the road with some of these festive car decorations (that won’t scratch the paint or leave any marks on your vehicle!).

1. Rudolph Nose and Antlers

You can pick these festive decorations up at almost any auto store, Walmart , Target and Amazon this season.  Attach the nose to your car’s grill using wire ties and the antlers safely hook onto your windows or door frame.

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2. Garland and Wreaths

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Get festive with decking your car out with wreaths or garlands! Easily attach wreaths to your car’s grill with red ribbon or zip ties. If you want to get super festive, use a battery-powered pre-lit wreath to help light the way this holiday season!

3. Car Paint

Window painting, large vintage lightbulbs

Just like people write “Just Married!” on vehicle windows, get in the holiday spirit and use your creativity to draw and write holiday sayings on your vehicle’s windows.  These paint pens can be easily washed off and don’t block your vision while you’re driving.

4. Window Decals and Magnets

Footloose Elf - Back in stock!

Throwback to the 90’s with window decals! Meant for windows and glass doors, switch things up and use them in your car. Stick them on the inside of the window and smooth out any air bubbles.  Magnets are another great way to add some holiday spirit to your car. Find some cute ones on Amazon!

5. Festive Steering Wheel and Seat Covers

If you aren’t big on decorating the exterior of your car, but still want to spread holiday cheer, try adding holiday seat covers and a steering wheel cover! This also doubles as a way to keep your hands warmer on your steering wheel during the cold months. image 0

 

Winter Driving Safety Tips

With the winter months quickly approaching, driving becomes more hazardous and risky as the roads are slick.

These tips will keep you (and others!) safe on the roads, no matter what Mother Nature has in store for you.

Check Your Tires

As the temperature drops, so does the pressure in your tires.  Less tire pressure can result in poor road safety and can wreak havoc on your breaking abilities.  It is recommended to check your tire pressure at least once a month, and you may even decide to switch to winter tires.

Regardless of whether or not you change your tires to winter or all-weather tires, check the tread on your tires. This can be easily done by doing the “penny test.” Hold a penny between your thumb and finger so that Lincoln’s head is showing. Place the top of Lincoln’s head pointing down into one of the grooves of the tire’s tread. If any part of Lincoln’s head is obscured by the tread, you have a safe amount of tread, however, if you can see Lincoln’s whole head, it’s time to replace your tires.

Practice Safe Breaking and Accelerating

Giving yourself plenty of space between the car in front of you will allow you ample breaking time, which can help avoid spinning on slick roads.  When accelerating, practice going slowly and working up to a safe cruising speed.  If you try to break or accelerate too quickly, your tires will spin because it won’t have enough traction on the slick roads.

If you find your tires spinning, release the accelerator until you regain traction. It does help to remove your foot from the brake and accelerator and to steer in the direction you want to go. Do not slam on the break or accelerator until you have regained control of the vehicle. Remaining calm in a situation like this can help prevent accidents.

Maintain Your Vehicle’s Engine and Battery

As temperatures drop, your vehicle’s oil gets thicker, which puts strain on your car’s battery (it requires more power). This can be particularly strenuous on batteries that are 3+ years old. If you don’t know when your battery was last replaced, pop your hood and look at the battery – there will be a date on the casing.

Colder weather causes oil breakdown faster than your area’s “normal” temperature range, so you should get your oil changed more frequently in the colder months.  Before the first frost, schedule an oil change to start the season with fresh oil. Keep an eye on it if you have an especially  harsh winter.

Create a Winter Emergency Kit

In the event that your car does break down during the colder months, it helps to be prepared. Keep an emergency kit in your trunk in a plastic bin so you have the essentials in case you get caught in a bad situation.  It is recommended to have these items:

  • Snow Shovel and Ice Scraper
  • Warning Flares
  • A bag of sand or kitty litter for traction
  • Flashlight (crank handle, or have backup batteries)
  • Blanket
  • Extra gloves, hat, scarves
  • Hand warmers
  • First-Aid Kit – bandaids, antiseptic ointment, Ace bandage, etc.
  • Non-perishable foods – granola bars, beef jerky, bottles of water

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Mother Nature has a way of unexpectedly throwing bad weather our way, so always be prepared for snow, ice, sleet, and any emergency situation on winter roads.