used car keys in man's hand

Debunking Myths About Buying a Used Car

If you are thinking about buying a used car, there is a good chance you’ve heard that you are also buying the previous owner’s problems. People assume that purchasing a new vehicle is the best way to get a new set of wheels, but that just isn’t true. New cars come with a lot of financial baggage – frequently, they are marked up, come with expensive warranties that don’t cover much, and depreciate as soon as you drive off the lot. 

The truth is, a well kept and maintained Certified Pre-Owned vehicle can be just like a brand new car. Most of the time, you are unable to tell there was even a prior owner. 

Let’s “debunk” some of the most common myths and misconceptions about buying a used car.

5 Myths About Buying A Used Car

 1. Something is Wrong with the Car

Often, people believe that the vehicle must have something wrong with it because the previous owner didn’t want it. But that has nothing to do with the reliability of the car or its condition. 

People trade-in vehicles for a variety of reasons.

  • Upgrading to accommodate an expanding family
  • Downsizing to a small vehicle
  • Change the model to fit a lifestyle change
  • Lower costs

If you are concerned about the vehicle’s history, you can use the NCIB database to search the vehicle’s VIN and read about any damages or incidents to the car. 

2. Used Cars Don’t Have Important Safety Features

Unless you are purposefully buying an antique or historic car that is decades old, used cars for sale will typically have all the modern safety features like side airbags and anti-lock braking systems. 

Used car dealerships are mindful of this when deciding what cars to sell and know they won’t sell unsafe vehicles. To learn about the exact safety features of the vehicle you want to purchase, you can research the vehicle’s crash-worthiness, crash avoidance, and how it rates against other cars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s website lets you check ratings and vehicle safety by entering the make and model. 

3. A Used Car is Unreliable

The fact that a vehicle is pre-owned has very little to do with its reliability. People often trade-in vehicles because of a lifestyle change, not because the car had something wrong with it. Thanks to advancements in technologies and innovative designs, cars are built to last. Vehicles frequently surpass the 150,000-mile mark when well-maintained and serviced on schedule. If you are concerned about the vehicle’s overall reliability, have a trusted mechanic inspect it. Most dealerships have a licensed inspector on hand, but you may also bring your own. 

4. Used Car Sales Require Cash Offers

Purchasing any vehicle, new or used, in cash will certainly save you in interest payments, but it won’t get you a better deal. When it comes to financing a vehicle, buying a used car isn’t that different from a new car – your credit score and down payment will determine interest rates and monthly payments. 

Used dealerships don’t always demand cash upfront and are typically willing to help you get the vehicle you want. With new car buys, banks and finance companies need credit history and follow strict guidelines to determine if you are the right candidate for an auto loan. Used car dealerships provide their own finance options, and they are usually based on their own guidelines. Chances are, they will offer a more attractive alternative to help you get your dream car than a manufacturer or new car dealership. If you don’t have a great credit score, have bankruptcy filings, or foreclosures, pre-owned car dealerships are more equipped to help you navigate financing options and select a vehicle that best suits you. 

5. No Warranty Included

Again, this isn’t true. If you buy from an individual or private sale, you don’t get a warranty. However, most used dealerships provide a warranty of some kind. New vehicles usually come with a 3-year warranty, and if the owner decides to sell in that time, there is a leftover warranty on used vehicle inventory. On top of that, many dealerships provide a warranty of their own. Before purchasing a used vehicle, check with the dealership regarding any offers or warranty programs they offer. 

Once you realize that most beliefs about used cars are myths and misconceptions, you’ll see endless possibilities.

spring cleaning your car waxing inside

Spring Cleaning Your Vehicle

As the colder temperatures fade into springtime, we frequently open the windows and give our houses a good cleaning. So why not do the same for our vehicles? The idea of starting fresh after months of cold, snowy weather is a welcomed change, and it’s time for spring cleaning! Clean your car of dirt, salt, and residue. 

The cleaning process might be one we dread, but the finished product makes it worth it. Kick-off spring cleaning with a new, clutter-free vehicle. 

11 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Vehicle

Start on the Inside

It’s easier to start on the inside and work your way out. That way, anything you do on the inside won’t scuff up a fresh layer of wax or get dirt on the exterior. 

1. Take out the trash.

It is easy for your vehicle to get cluttered with old receipts, fast food wrappers, empty water bottles, or snack bags. If you have children, you know it’s inevitable that there are crumbs and snack food wrappers to be found. Get a trash bag and empty all the trash from your car. 

2. Wipe Down Surfaces.

Use a microfiber towel and gentle cleaner or interior car cleaner to wipe off any and all hard surfaces. This will wipe away dush, drink spills, sticky messes – whatever might not come up with a vacuum. If you don’t have a gentle cleaner, baby wipes will do the trick. 

3. Brush and Vacuum Carpets.

Use a gentle brush, remove dirt and dust particles from ventilation areas, buttons, cracks, and all nooks and crannies from the seat cushions. Use a vacuum to remove all the dirt and dust. In the small spaces, using a dusting cloth and your hand might work best. 

4. Wash and Vacuum Floor Mats.

Remove all floor mats from your car. If you have rubber mats, wash with soap and water and leave out to dry. For carpeted floor mats, use a gentle carpet cleaner or even a carpet steam cleaner to remove all dirt and residue from the mats – mud, sand, gravel. Every little thing can get caught in the fibers. Leave the mats out to dry completely before putting them back in the vehicle. Use that time to vacuum the entire vehicle’s entire floor. Be sure to move seats forward and back to ensure maximum cleanliness.

5. Organize the trunk.

The back of your SUV or trunk of the car is where most clutter ends up. This is because you can’t see it and lacks storage space. Get simple car organizers to help minimize clutter like chapstick, umbrellas, and even entertainment for the kids. Organizers that hang from seatbacks allow kids to reach toys, snacks, or even diapers and wipes. Bins and trunk organizers keep things like grocery bags, ice scrapers, and gear like tools or jumper cables all in one place. 

6. Reduce bad smells.

Even the cleanest of cars can get a musty smell after awhile. Add in fast-food wrappers, crumbs, old drink bottles, and that smell can get pretty offensive. Place a small odor eliminator under the driver’s seat to help keep your vehicle smelling fresh and clean.

The Exterior

The rule of thumb when detailing the exterior of a vehicle is to work your way up: start at your tires and finish with windows. 

1. Shine the Tires.

Use a non-acid-based tire cleaner. You can use a degreaser to get your tires looking brand new. Be careful around the paint so it does not get damaged.

2. Hand wash.

When doing a deep clean, hand-washing your car is your best bet. Use a car wash solution and not a detergent or dish soap, as they can strip wax coatings and ruin the paint. When you are rinsing the soap off, don’t forget to hose off the underbody of your vehicle.  

3. Dry Your Car.

Don’t rely upon the sun to “air dry” your vehicle; you’ll end up with water spots. Use a microfiber cloth and silicone squeegee to dry your car. 

4. Polish and Wax.

You can use paint polish or car wax. You can use an electric buffer with a microfiber cover, but if you don’t have one, doing it by hand works just as well. Finish with sealing wax to help protect your car’s paint against the elements. 

5. Windows and glass.

Wash and shine your windows and glass last to prevent them from getting dirty while washing or waxing. It is best to use a gentle ammonia-free, streak-free window and glass cleaner with a microfiber cloth. Don’t forget to clean the interior and exterior of the windows, as well as the top of the windows that collect dirt and grime when your windows are down. 

2021 auto trends on blue background

2021 Auto Trends

The events of 2020 could have never been predicted and impacted the automotive industry more than anyone could have realized. Auto sales dropped at alarming rates, manufacturing delays happened across Europe, and exports were disrupted for Chinese parts. However, the industry recovered remarkably well toward the end of the year, paving the way for auto trends going into 2021.

Dealerships continue to release online purchasing options, which helps launch the industry launch forward. Here are the most common auto trends to expect in 2021. 

Auto Trends to Watch in 2021

A Push for Ownership

In the past, ownership has dropped as ride-share options gained popularity. However, COVID-19 flipped the narrative. The pandemic reduced the need for countless people to commute, but many still rely on transportation for shorter, more frequent trips during the day. Ride-sharing companies suffered from a fear of the pandemic spreading, and cities saw residents make the shift from public transport and shared bikes and scooters to vehicle ownership. Even as businesses reopen, many have become accustomed to their new commuting alternative. The pandemic triggered growth in first-time car-buyers, and these numbers will continue to rise. 

Tighter Inventories

With the push to purchase vehicles comes another concern – supply. The demand for cars grew seemingly overnight, and many dealerships don’t have the mass inventories to keep up. Keeping a lean inventory works when the buyer gets the vehicle they want, but it becomes an issue when they can’t find their dream car with the right trim, color, and other preferences. 

The more expensive the vehicle costs, the lesser the inventory a dealership has on the lot. This is the case with pickup trucks and large SUVs – which are ironically driving vehicle sales. 

Go Big, and Bigger

The demand for pickup trucks and SUVs only increases year to year. Regardless of if someone is buying new or used, the need for large vehicles is unwavering.

The demand for large vehicles is good for manufacturers, and their profitability, although this trend is not without risks. Expensive SUVs and trucks dominate the industry, reaching an all-time high right before COVID-19 prevented many Americans from having the option to take public transportation. A lot of buyers began looking for affordable options for transportation. 

SUVs and large trucks increase the average selling price, which affects down payments and monthly payments – bringing affordability into question. With unemployment rates high and financial situations in dire conditions, auto manufacturers could be concerned. 

But what is happening is frequently the opposite. Americans purchasing vehicles during the pandemic qualify for the lowest promotional rates and feel secure in their finances to put down more money to get the car they want. Edmunds reported that the average down payment increased 10% from a year ago, increasing the average monthly payment to $581.

EV Growth

Tesla has competition. Elon Musk’s success has driven many automakers to follow in his footsteps, bringing EV innovation to the market, including startups and mainstream automakers. Electric vehicles will be in the spotlight. The transition to making more vehicles electric and eco-friendly piggyback on environmental laxity and clean air regulations. 

Not only that, but consumers are increasingly more trusting and comfortable with EVs. Manufacturers are producing models of all shapes and sizes to fit every lifestyle. 

2021 will see the production of new EV automakers like Fisker, Lucid, or Rivian. And even brands that have low visibility like Xpeng and Nio are seeing growth in sales. 

Now that EVs are becoming profitable, this segment in the industry is positioned to see growth and innovation this year. 

Digital Era

Because of COVID-19, the whole world witnessed a shift into all things digital. Remote work, video conferencing, online shopping, and telemedicine all saw massive jumps in popularity out of necessity. And if there is one thing auto manufacturers and analysts agree on, a more significant number of vehicle sales will be conducted online. 

This year will revolutionize the way vehicles are sold, purchased, and financed. Being able to see thousands of vehicles on your digital device without having to travel from dealership to dealership is appealing. Consumers can get the make, model, and trim options they want without leaving their couch. 

Car and truck sales mentality has also shifted to accommodate – if the consumer wants it, the dealers will have it. It’s not selling a car these days. It’s a consumer buying a car. Selling vehicles to meet quotas isn’t the modern way of operating a business during these times, and many companies realize this. Many manufacturers have launched a digital car-buying experience, such as Nissan@Home. 

Not only does purchasing online give the customer exactly what they want, but it allows the business to provide optimal customer service. 

New vs. Used

The constant battle between new or used vehicles will continue, and yet again, will be influenced by factors that affect pricing. When manufacturing shutdowns took a toll on the automaking industry last spring, used car sales took the lead. The used car market saw the advantage as a new demand arose – affordable transportation.

The shift away from public transportation to privately owned vehicles increased while the number of people replacing vehicles due to normal wear-and-tear decreased. Since many Americans have not been commuting and putting miles on their car, the number of trade-ins and used vehicles available have diminished. 

Financial worries and uncertainty also drove consumers to purchase more affordable, used vehicles instead of new vehicles with hefty price tags. These auto trends will continue well into 2021. 

trade-in vehicle with dealership

How to Prepare Your Vehicle for a Trade-In

If your car isn’t running the way it should, or if you have your eye on something shiny and new (to you!), then a trade-in is often your best bet. It is a big decision to trade in your current vehicle for a different one, but it is much simpler than a private sale. Trading your vehicle can also be a great way to lower your monthly payments on a different vehicle. 

Whether you are trading in your car or just selling to a dealership without purchasing another car there, pay attention to all the details. Getting a fair price for your old vehicle is important, but ultimately the dealer is the one who determines the value. 

How to Prepare Your Vehicle for a Trade-In

Before taking your vehicle to a dealership for a trade-in, the first step is to prepare your vehicle. Dealers will take their time to look at every aspect of your vehicle, inside and out. It’s their job to determine the value when you bring it in, so looks are very important in this case.

Here are a few tips to getting your vehicle prepped for a trade-in: 

Fix the Small Issues

You might feel silly paying to get the small things fixed when you’re just going to trade in your vehicle, but a small amount of money can make a big difference in its overall value. Check all the car’s lights, including interior bulbs and replace if needed. Check all fluid levels, such as coolant, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid) and be sure to top them off. If your car has any small dings or scratches, there are DIY kits for repairing small imperfections. An oil change and tire alignment can help the vehicle run more smoothly.

Have the Important Paperwork

Gather all the important paperwork and documents for your vehicle. This includes the car’s title, service records, registration, and anything else a potential buyer may want to see. Cars that are well taken care of  with scheduled maintenance and well-kept records retain more of their value. If you do not have a physical record history, no worries – the dealership can pull one themselves! 

Have the Extras

Bring any extra sets of keys or accessories along with your vehicle. This may include:

  • Any additional floor mats if you swapped out the originals for new or all-weather mats.
  • Instruction manuals for the vehicle’s navigation or technology systems
  • Have the little accessories that accompany the vehicle. The dealer doesn’t give credit for those features if they are not with the vehicle at trade in. 

Do Your Own Inspection

Before taking your vehicle to the dealership, do your own inspection. Look for exterior dents and dings that can’t be buffed out with at-home products. Take your vehicle for a drive and pay attention to every little detail – any sound, rattle, or noise that seems out of place. If there are any issues with the way the car handles, any electrical problems, or even how the tires look, take note.

Wash and Detail

Clean the vehicle, inside and out. GIve it a thorough wash and a fresh coat of wax – some extra shine will give it a good first impression. On the interior, clean it from floor to ceiling. Take out all your personal belongings and vacuum it, steam the floor mats to remove any dirt, stains, and scents. If you do not want to clean it yourself, the price to pay for someone detailing your car may go a long way at the dealership. 

Do Your Homework

One of the biggest mistakes people make when going to trade in their car is not knowing what their current vehicle is worth. When you walk into a dealership, you should have a “price tag” in mind of what your vehicle is worth and how much you want for the trade in. This will provide a clear, honest transaction with the dealer. 

To do your homework, pretend you are a buyer and look up the vehicle you want to trade-in. Look at what other people are asking for your specific make and model, especially locally. This will give you a good understanding of the market and what you can most likely get for your trade-in. 

Understand The Dealer’s Perspective

Ultimately, the trade-in is left up to the dealer. Some people are confused as to why a dealer offers a lower trade-in price. However, there are factors that a dealer has to consider when looking at a trade-in and when determining the value. 

One of the major concerns is how quickly your trade-in will sell to a new buyer. Your vehicle will get inspected, walked around, and checked to see if the paint needs work, and to see if any damages have been done to it. Once they determine what repairs are necessary and the cost to get the vehicle in like-new condition, the dealer will offer a trade-in value for your vehicle.

To learn more about trading in your vehicle, contact the team at Trust Auto today.