Buying a Used Car? 5 Things You Should Know

buying-aBuying a brand new vehicle can be a costly endeavor. While driving a nice new car sounds appealing, years of high monthly payments and immediate loss of value due to depreciation does not sound so appealing.

Purchasing a used vehicle may be the way to go. Buying used can not only cut down the cost of your monthly payments, but it also can decrease the cost of your insurance and registration.  However, when it comes to purchasing a used vehicle it is important to do your research. You want to get a great deal, but you also need to make sure that what you are buying won’t leave you with costly repairs in the long run.

At Smyth Automotive we want to make sure you get the most out of your hard earned money. Here are five things you should know before purchasing a used car.

1. History of the Vehicle

Several websites, such as CARFAX, provide detailed descriptions of a vehicle’s history to make purchasing a used car easier. The report allows you to view any of the vehicle’s reported accidents, service records, title, mileage history and ownership. That way you have an idea of what the vehicle has been through in the past.

 2.Condition of the Vehicle

Have the car inspected before you buy. Take the vehicle to a trusted certified mechanic and have him inspect it to make sure everything is running properly and in that the car is in good overall condition. You also should test drive the car to see how it drives and to make sure it’s the right choice for you.

3.Vehicle Value, Features

What are you looking for in a vehicle? Do you want a compact car or an SUV? Do you want it to have heated seats? Or, can you simply not live without a sunroof? Take some time to research the vehicles that match your needs. Also, be sure to check the price on Kelley Blue Book so you have an idea of what you are going to pay for the vehicle in your particular area.

4.Your Budget

Set a price range for yourself and do not let the salesperson persuade you to extend your budget. It is important you negotiate a price that you are comfortable with. You need to be firm and remember that a used car budget should also include money to cover necessary small repairs, as well as an inspection.

5.Financing Options

Can’t pay for the car with cash? That’s okay, there are several financing options outside of the dealership. Credit unions are a perfect place to get a smart rate on an automobile loan.  Make sure you get rate quotes from multiple lenders and compare them.

Heading Out for the Holidays This Year? Check Out These 5 Winter Travel Tips

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According to the Farmers’ Almanac, “winter is back.” This upcoming holiday season is expected to be numbingly cold in the Great Lakes, Northeast and Midwest. Jack Frost may have been on vacation last year, but this year’s prediction says otherwise. Be prepared for the weather ahead of you by ensuring you and your vehicle are up to the many challenges the snow may throw at you.

Here are five winter travel tips from Smyth Automotive to make sure that your holiday season is not as treacherous as the weather outside.

  1. Make Sure You Are Fully Charged

Having clean connections, as well as a fully charged battery is a must. As colder temperatures approach, they naturally act as an inhibitor, slowing down your battery’s internal reactions. If your battery is weak, power can’t be properly supplied to the areas of the vehicle that need it in order to run effectively. If you’ve had your car battery for more than three years, you need to think about replacing it. Head to a mechanic for a scheduled maintenance inspection and have your battery tested.

  1. Check Your Tires

Your tires are the only source of contact between your vehicle and the pavement, and they play a vital role in your safety. Every time the temperature decreases by 10 degrees, so does one pound of pressure per square inch in your tires. In your owner’s manual, you can find the correct tire pressure for your vehicle. Also, depending on your geographical location you may want to swap your regular tires for winter ones to ensure safe tread for your holiday journeys.

  1. Always have a Clear View

Safe winter driving means maintaining the best possible visibility. Make sure you always have a clear view of the road. Snow, ice and the dirty tire spray from the cars in front of you can cause you to go through a lot of windshield wiper fluid. Completely fill the reservoir before the first snow hits, and be sure to keep extra fluid in your vehicle. Also, check your windshield wipers and defrosters. Make sure your wipers are working properly and replace worn blades if necessary. And check to see that your front and rear window defrosters are in working order.

  1. Remain Calm

Sliding or skidding can happen during icy and snowy conditions. When your car starts to slide, gently steer in the direction you wish to go. And, most importantly, do not slam on your brakes. This will not only make it harder to gain control, but it can upset the balance of your vehicle. Allow at least a car’s length distance between you and the car in front of you. If you find yourself in a situation where your wheel begins to spin, release from your accelerator and allow your tires to gain some traction.

  1. Be Prepared

Last, but certainly not least, you need to be prepared in case of an accident or other emergency during your winter travels. Here are a few things you should have in your vehicle at all times.

  • Snow shovel
  • Ice scraper/brush
  • Basic tool kit
  • Traction material (kitty litter or sand)
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Blanket
  • Warm clothes
  • Booster cables
  • First-aid kit
  • Flares
  • Extra food and water
  • Always have at least half a tank of gasoline

5 Practical Fall Car Care Tips

 

It is that time of year again, and we all know what that means. Not only are the leaves starting to drop, but so is the rain, the temperature and maybe even snow. So, it is crucial to ensure that your vehicle has been well maintained and that is able to withstand Fall’s inclement weather.

October is Fall Car Care Month. Here are five practical car care tips from Smyth Automotive for preparing your vehicle for the cooler months ahead

  1. Check Your Battery

Having clean connections as well as a fully charged battery is not only a benefit for you but also your vehicle. Colder temperatures naturally act as an inhibitor, slowing down your battery’s internal reactions. If your battery is weak, power can’t be properly supplied to the areas of the vehicle that need it in order to run effectively. Head to a mechanic for a scheduled maintenance inspection and have your battery tested.

  1. Inspect Your Tires and Brakes

Your tires are the only source of contact between your vehicle and the pavement and they play a vital role in your safety. Is there uneven wear? This could mean a multitude of things. Your tires could be out of alignment, underinflated or they may need balancing. However, your brakes are also a valuable asset and should be inspected by your trusted mechanic to measure the pad and shoe thickness, check for even wear and check rotors to ensure the overall hardware is working properly.

  1. Replace Wiper Blades

Cracked or worn blades do not properly clear your windshield, and they can also scratch and damage your glass. Check your wiper blades and replace them in order to have a clear view of the road. Also, don’t forget to replace your windshield washer fluid with a solvent created for harsher weather conditions.

  1. Check Your Lights and Bulbs

Autumn days mean longer nights, so your lights are even more important than usual. Make sure your headlight, brake, hi-beam and fog lights are functioning properly. It is also time to replace all of the bulbs that no longer work or are broken.

  1. Make Sure Defroster/Heater Works

As the weather gets colder, you will want to make sure your heater is working properly to keep you warm. Additionally, driving without a working defroster can cause foggy windows. As the temperature drops, the condensation caused by higher temperatures inside the car will turn to frost or ice. Save yourself from scraping away at it, and make sure your defroster is working properly.

Improve Your MPG: 5 Tips for Getting Better Gas Mileage

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As we head into Fall, road trips are decreasing and the summer driving season is coming to a close. It’s possible we may see a dip in the average price of gas. And what’s better than saving money at the pump?

Smyth Automotive car care experts advise that if you are saving money on gas, why not also save money by improving your overall fuel economy. Following are some simple steps you can take to get more miles per gallon:

  1. Check your tires. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage. So keep all four tires properly inflated. Tire pressure can fluctuate when outside temperatures do, so regularly check the tires and inflate them when the pressure is low.
  1. Keep your driving in check. Avoid heavy braking and rapid acceleration. Even speeding can significantly lower your gas mileage. Don’t drive aggressively, be mindful of your speed and use cruise control while on the highway.
  1. Lighten your load. Remove needless items from your trunk, especially if they’re heavy. The added weight can affect fuel efficiency. Also, don’t keep items on your roof rack when you’re driving around town. Remove cargo boxes and other items from your car roof when you’re not using them.
  1. Avoid unnecessary idling. Turn of your engine if you will be parked for a period of time. Reducing engine idling not only saves money, but it also cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions and harmful pollution.
  1. Check your engine air filter. A dirty filter will reduce fuel economy. Replace a clogged filter to help your engine run more efficiently.

5 Simple Summer Car Care Tips

Summer-Road-TripAh, it’s the middle of summer and the hottest part of the year. This heat can often affect your car if you don’t keep up with regular maintenance. Here are five simple tips from Smyth Automotive for keeping your car in top shape for the remainder of the season.

 1. Check All of Your Fluids

Now is the time to check and top off your fluids to avoid overheating. This includes brake fluid, power steering fluid and coolant. And don’t forget about your oil. Checking your oil regularly is even more important during the summer when your engine is more likely to overheat. If it’s low, top it off. And don’t forget to schedule your regular oil changes.

2. Inspect Your Tires

Tire pressure can fluctuate when outside temperatures do, which can affect your gas mileage, your car’s handling and the overall life of your tires. Make sure your tires are properly inflated according to your car’s recommended PSI (pounds per square inch). You can find this in your owner’s manual or on your driver’s side door. Also, you should regularly check your tires for potential damage due to road hazards and general wear and tear.

3. Get Your Radiator Checked

Buildup can cause overheating or even damage to your radiator. Have your mechanic check for damage and clogs in your radiator and flush the cooling system if necessary.

4. Check Your Battery

Has it been a while since you bought a battery? Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, which can lead to corrosion. So, old batteries can die in the summer just as easily as they can in the winter.

5. Check Your AC

You don’t want to find out your AC needs repair during the hottest time of year. If the AC doesn’t feel as cool or if it seems weak, it could be blocked or need more Freon. Be aware that a weak AC could actually cause your engine to overheat, so get it checked out as soon as you notice something is wrong.

Also, remember to keep a few important items in your trunk in case of emergency:

  • Extra antifreeze in case you overheat
  • Extra water to mix with the antifreeze
  • Quart of oil
  • Properly-inflated spare tire
  • Emergency kit that includes things such as flares, tire gauge, jumper cables, flashlight, etc.

5 Things Dads ShouldTeach Their Kids About Cars

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Dads always seem to know what to do. From helping you with finances, to helping you with heavy lifting, or having the answer to any question you ask, dads just get it. A lot of dads also know everything there is know about cars. Here are 5 things dads should teach their kids about cars, so they.

When to change the oil. This may seem simple. Go to your mechanic when the sticker says to, repeat. But you should actually read the manual that comes with your car to learn when to go. This is especially important if your changing your own oil, which you can do.

Know how to replace windshield wiper blades. After a while, your windshield wiper blades will go dull, and just smear the rain on your windshield instead of actually removing the rain. They should be replaced every 6 months or so. You can find what type you need in your owner manual or by stopping by Smyth Automotive where an associate can assist you.

Know when to replace your brakes. When you use your brakes, they should feel smooth and quiet. If they sound like they are grinding, or you feel a shuddering, get them checked out as soon as possible.

When to replace the air filter. When checking your oil, check your air filter as well. This will save you in fuel costs, and also it is just good for your car. Most mechanics will check it for free and replacing it will be cheap.

Be sure to check your lights. Headlights, taillights, turn signal lights. All of these are important not only for your own safety, but also for the safety of others. Make sure these lights are all functioning, and try to replace them once a year.

Summer Break Road Trip Tips

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Summer time is finally upon us! Before you hit the road this summer, here are a few tips to make sure your car is ready for your adventures.

  1. Get a checkup for your car. You want to make sure your car is ready to go for the road. Check your fluids, tires and get an oil change. You want to make sure your car is in tip top shape before you hit the road.
  2. Check your car’s load capacity. If you over load your car, you not only will have to spend more money on gas because your car is working extra hard, but you could also put yourself at risk. Too much extra weight can make your car hard to handle in emergency situations.
  3. Be sure to take breaks. This isn’t just for the car, it is for you, too! Being in the car for so long can cause you to cramp up and go stir crazy. Get out and walk around, stretch your legs, get some fresh air. Your car will also thank you, because so much driving can cause your car to overheat, which is not good.
  4. Be prepared. Bring snacks, trash bags, water, and other equipment you need for the journey and also in case of an emergency. First aid kits are smart to bring too. The better prepared you and your car are, the better the trip will be.

 Follow these tips, and you will be sure to have a great trip this summer!

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