6 Craigslist Alternatives to Consider

Most people probably use and know about Craigslist.  Stories pop-up about all sorts of wacky things people sell through the local free classified service.  It's great for those looking to get rid of something fast, but may not always be the best option depending on what you are selling.  If you are looking to sell a car I'd recommend these 6 Craigslist Alternatives.  You might save yourself time, hassle, and get more money for your car or vehicle.

1. eBay

If you take great pictures of your car with a very detailed and accurate description you might get more money through eBay.  The thing with eBay is it encourages people to pay more since it's an auction style.  Craigslist is more about a buyer getting a better deal.  Also people feel more comfortable since there is a 3rd party involved.

Typically rare or hard-to-find vehicles sell well on eBay although listings for “regular cars” are popular now.

2. Forums or Communities

If there is a specific forum or community for the type of car or vehicle you are selling you could try listing it there first.  Just Google for “Toyota Corolla Forum” or something like that.  This way you know those people are interested in what you are selling and will have serious buyers that will not waste your time.

3. Friends, Family, and Neighbors

Don't be afraid to ask you friends, family, and neighbors if they are looking for a car or vehicle.  Chances are someone probably is and you might get a sale through people you know.  Just make sure you are honest about the condition of what you are selling.  You don't want to ruin a relationship or burn any bridges.

4. Flyers

Your local community center, church, college, etc. still has old school bulletin boards where people post flyer and posters for events, news, and even a classified ad.  Why not make a nice printout with all the information and contact info.  Then go around town posting these if it is not too inconvenient for you.

5. Yahoo Groups

Yahoo Groups could be considered a community but they are really more old school email lists.  (It's like Mailman.)  While these were a lot more popular years ago they are still active discussions there centered around specific topics.  It might be worth it to revive or get a Yahoo account to sell through a Yahoo Group.  Typically moderators like it as long as you have an acccurate and detailed listing.

6. For Sale Sign

Again a bit old school, but why not go buy a “For Sale” sign at your local hardware store and put it on your car in front of your house.  You might get interested buyers that way.

3 Reasons Hot Hatchbacks are in Style in the US

kia forte hatchback

It seems like hatchbacks and small wagons (noooo that's a bad term in the auto industry) have been slowing making a comeback in the US for awhile.  All of a sudden I've started to notice a lot more hatchbacks out on the roads nowadays.  Why is this?

While I could go find hard numbers and look at lots of graphs and sales charts, I'm too lazily to look to go do this and check and it would be pretty boring.  I assume the comeback in Hot Hatchbacks in America is due to three reasons;

High Gas Prices

While the US has historically had lower gas prices than most European countries our gas prices have been going up over the past few years and people are more concerned with MPG (mile per gallon) than ever before.  This is not the heyday of big American cars and smaller cars sell well nowadays.  It seems a large portion of the population wants cars that are more roomy but take up the similar footprint of a regular sized sedan.  Hatchbacks fit this bill perfectly

Young People are Buying Hatchbacks

From what I can tell a younger population seems to be buying hatchbacks.  This might be due to the the fact that they are considered “European” or are good values for the money or a combination of all these factors.  Bottom line hatchbacks are good for a single person or growing family on a budget and you can fit a lot more stuff in them than a sedan on the same footprint.

The more young people that buy hatchbacks the more they are “cool!” so it's cycle.  I just hope when the young people become old people they aren't seen as ‘old people's cars' in the US.

Automakers use Global Vehicle Platforms

It's no secret that automakers are trying to safe a few bucks here and there.  They are accomplishing this by building cars and vehicles that can be sold and marketed globally instead of only in select markets and countries.  This cuts down on development costs and makes it easier to export and import certain models.  Since hatchbacks are popular in the rest of the world it's not surprising that we are seeing more hot hatches in the US.  Automakers don't want to have to spend too much R&D money for the all the markets and countries they sell cars in.  Making global vehicle platforms even if they need to make tweaks for safety and fuel economy laws is not as big a deal as building a completely different car.  This means that automakers are offering more hatchbacks in their vehicle line-ups in the US.

Leasing Vs Buying: What you Need to Know

leasing vs buying

While the economy is turning around the economic climate is still tough so it’s not surprising that many people are exploring alternative ways of living, in order to save a few dollars here and there. Cars have especially been in the limelight recently, with many US citizens shaking their heads with despair at spiraling fuel prices, expensive car repair costs and all the other myriad of issues, all of which seemingly custom-designed to shrink the wallet and drawn your bank account. It’s little wonder that many people have been exploring alternative ways of getting from A to B, including alternative car sharing services like Relay Rides and innovative parking solutions like Parking Panda. Something a lot of people consider is car leasing, but is leasing a car more cost-effective than buying? Is there any situation where leasing a car can work wonders for your wallet, or does it actually have an adverse effect on your finances in the long term? And most importantly, when committing to leasing a car, how can you make sure you get the best deal going?

Leasing vs Buying: The Facts

Initially, it might seem like a bit of a ‘no-brainer’. When purchasing a car, no matter how incredible the feeling might be, driving it for the first time and knowing it’s entirely yours, there’s no escaping the fact that you’ve just committed yourself to a considerable cash investment and there is virtually no chance of ever seeing a good return on it.  (Unless you bought a Ferrari.)  Whereas, leasing a car is almost like a ‘pay as you go’ option, with only a monthly payment to factor into your budget and there is not as big of an upfront cost.  But is it really this clear-cut?  The answer of course, is no.

Car Leasing: The Advantages

  • Repair Costs. This, of course, is a significant attraction for a lot of people.  One of the least appealing aspects of owning a car is the problem of having to spend money to keep it running. When leasing a vehicle, this issue becomes a blissfully distant memory, though be aware, terms and conditions regarding the exact problem with the car may vary depending on the least contract.
  • Getting the latest modelFor car fanatics and gearheads, this can be a real perk of leasing since you can upgrade to a new car more often.  Tired of the model you’re driving at the moment? When the lease is up, simply trade it for the next one, a fantastic shiny new car, without any of the major investment of buying it outright.
  • Flexibility. Leasing allows you the freedom to change cars after a relatively short period of time, rather than committing to the same vehicle for many years.  A lot of people prefer to switch cars every year or two anyway.

However, sadly, though leasing might work for some people, there are a few very good reasons why leasing might not be the financial solution that you’re looking for.

Why Car Leasing Sucks

Sadly… leasing is not a good deal for most people and here are a few reasons why;

  • Long term costs: Rather than looking at the initial advantages of paying less upfront you need to think of other factors like your car insurance and vehcile payments which you will always have. Often, when you compare the figures over an extended period of time, those leasing their vehicle rather than purchasing, end up paying significantly higher sums of money, sometimes thousands of dollars more, over the course of their lifes.
  • You Don't own the Car: Another factor to take into consideration is the lack of possessing anything when you pay money each month for something.  Of course, cars tend to depreciate in value the moment they leave the showroom, but there is something rather frustrating about the thought of having invested considerable money, with nothing to show for it at the end.
  • High Insurance: Regrettably, those who lease, rather than buy a car, will end up paying more for insurance, regardless of the deal that you find.  A factor that can put people off leasing in the long run since you always have a new car, which is nice, but you are always paying insurance on a fairly new car.  It’s always worth shopping around, just to make sure you find the best insurance plan available to you and a deal that best reflects your needs.

It Pays to Do the Research…

Ultimately, it’s a good idea to make sure that you explore all your options before committing to lease or buy a car.  When deciding between leasing vs buying try to project into the future, taking into account considerations such as repairing the vehicle, what would happen in case of theft, and whether your personal situation is likely to change.  People often need to get out of a car lease in the middle due to the fact they are having a baby.

Do you find that you hardly use a car at all?  Then perhaps renting a car on a daily basis, with a service like Relay Rides, might be a more ideal option. Sounds crazy? Perhaps not. Whatever your decision, make sure to do your research first and make a wise decision.  Cars are big investments whether you are leasing vs buying.

The Importance of Auto Insurance in Today’s tough Economy

car crash

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Is getting a car insurance a necessity or an expense?

As the economy takes a slow turn, people are preparing themselves for the worst and are now in search of drastic means in order to trim their expenses. This includes re-evaluating their needs by giving up some services such as car insurance. In this post, we want to see if it’s still significant to get your vehicle covered by the best insurers, in this unstable market. A research from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) showed that automobile insurance is one of the services that they’ll sacrifice just to reduce costs. Almost 20 percent of them have ended their contracts just so they could get immediate financial relief. However, they are unaware of the very reason as to why they’re signing up for the said service. Car insurance is the same as the life plan. You get these services because you want to be prepared when unexpected circumstances such as accidents happen. Depending on the type of accident, the average medical cost of a single person is at $820, according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT). Meanwhile, the minimum car repair usually costs $392. A car insurance serves as your back-up plan when you need to cover large expenses beyond your current savings. These days, companies now offer a wide variety of compensations from replacing broken car parts up to giving medical services all for free. According to Aviva’s website, all of their vehicle policies include lifetime repairs and a 24/7 help hotline to accommodate their on road clients. Apart from phone calls, policyholders also have the option to install their insurance provider’s mobile application to quickly chat with one of their representatives. Install the app at AVIVA. Other outstanding features of vehicles plans today includes the option for multiple cars to be insured. With a multi-car contract, you avoid the hassle of signing a couple of insurance for each vehicle, providing you with an efficient and cost-friendly solution. The very reason we sign for insurance is the feeling of assurance when unexpected incidents happen. Every car, whether old or new, must have a plan to secure you from the harsh payments brought by expensive repairs later on. Consider getting a car insurance as a necessity rather than a vanity. You can read Adam's Auto Advice related post, 5 Car Insurance Myths Debunked.

5 Things to Change on Your Car

It’s a great feeling to drive home in a new-used car. There are some aspects of preparing your new (to you) car for life on the road though. Even if you found a perfect car that fits you well, there are 5 things you should try and change as soon as possible.

  1. Factory and OEM clone air filters work, just not as good as they could do. If you spend a few dollars and buy a good quality air filter like a K&N filter (there are a good number of similar-quality brands on the market if you prefer the companies that supply those) then you will subsequently increase mileage, horsepower, and overall performance. Though good air filters are not cheap, it will still be a good investment in the long run (the mileage savings should neutralize the initial cost of the filter and added power is always a welcome improvement to any car enthusiast) Most high end filters are washable, too, so it should be a one-time investment.
  2. If you purchased a used car and you don’t have documentation of when spark plugs were changed last, then change them. Use a quality platinum or iridium plug for a hot, cleaner burning spark. Many people change new car plugs simply because some manufactures still insist on using a lower grade plug to keep their costs down. Much like the air filter, this can add a bit of extra time before a fill-up is needed, as well as giving better performance and horsepower as well.
  3. If the car is not currently under factory warranty research tuner chips for your make and model. The (typically easy to change) computer chips can make a big difference in performance. If this is a totally new area for you do some research on Car Performance Chips – just have a play around with Google and spend a bit of time getting a good overview of the topic, as it’s quite an in-depth one. A bit of research goes a long way though, and an afternoon reading good quality information sources (cross-reference where you find information out from using other sources to give yourself a better chance of weeding out unreliable information) can pay big dividends.
  4. Get rid of the space saver spare tire that the car is most likely equipped with. Get a tire correctly suited to the road conditions you’ll be driving on most often. If you read the limitations on the space saver spare you’ll find they are designed for short distances and low speeds. In any case, you will probably need to replace the tire if you get a flat at highway speeds anyway so there is no money saving involved if you wait until it happens. Finally, think about snow tires or chains-in the event of heavy snow they can make a large difference to the grip the tires can generate.
  5. Get rid of the cheap scissor or bumper jack that came in your car. Whether just for emergency use or for use when doing your own maintenance at home a quality jack like this 2 tonne bottle jack will be easier and safer to use.

Financing a Used Car

alfa-romeo-giulietta-spider

There are many considerations someone thinks about when purchasing a used car. One of the largest being how to pay for it. A majority of used vehicles are financed since this is an expensive purchase for most car shoppers A large factor when buying used vs a new car is the loan rate the credit union or bank gives you and the amount of money you are approved for.

Insurance

Although finance is the focus here, it nevertheless has a large impact on insurance. If a bank issues an auto loan it will require certain levels of insurance on the vehicle that is collateral on that loan. Although auto loan rates are typically lower than personal loan rates, if the insurance is $100/month cheaper because you are a high risk category then going with a personal loan at a higher interest rate may make sense over an auto loan, since it could save your money. This does not change the fact you have less insurance on the vehicle and if something happens to it you may lose out overall but assuming all goes smoothly you might be fine.

Dealership Financing

You may already do your banking with one or two banks or credit unions. A dealership often does business with lots of banks and credit unions and the financing arm of the auto brands they sell. Working with a dealership has the advantage of convenience and speed. Large full service dealerships like The CarShopcan assist you arranging insurance and financing a car.

However be aware that with convenience that probably means you won't be getting as good a deal vs going through a local bank or credit union. There can be a lot of “gotchas” through dealership financing you may not be aware of and you should read terms carefully.

It is always smart to compare all your financing options and I recommend taking your time to consider who you will finance any car with. Searching for financing before starting the search for a car is a good idea. Personally I recommend using a local credit union over a bank or dealership. Many actually use the lower rates they get through a credit union and pressure a dealership to give better loan rates and terms.

Cash Alternative

Maybe you have saved up for a used vehicle and intend to pay cash for it. That's great as most dealerships tell salespeople that, “A sale today is better than a sale tomorrow.” This usually means you can pressure the car salesman to give you better deal on the spot with all that beautiful cash, but that may not always be the case. Since dealerships make more on the financing of cars most of the time they might be hard negotiating a better price. If that is the case then you should move onto another dealership and not waste your time.

 

Have you ever Considered buying a Fleet Vehicle?

fleet vehicles

There are plenty of places and people you can buy a used car from, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. This includes dealerships, private parties, and friends or family. However buying used fleet vehicles is one place many people neglect to look, even though they can save thousands by considering it.

Fleet vehicles and cars can include those from police forces, car rental companies, government agencies, large corporations and even used taxi fleets, such as Cab Direct, which sell off large numbers of fleet vehicles and cars they don't need every year. The vast majority of these fleet vehicles are sent to auto auctions where they are sold to dealerships and then usually resold to the public.

Even though the main customers for these fleet vehicles are dealerships, there is nothing stopping average joe's from buying them. So Why not considering buying them directly from the fleet owners?
When you do the math, the vehicles that get sent through standard auction channels are then sold at a dealership cost a lot more. This is for a variety of reasons. The dealerships selling fleet vehicles have to pay for a large number of outlays. For example, they need to pay for shipping them to the auction, followed by auction fees, then transportation to a dealership, reconditioning, and subsequently an additional add on for profit at the dealership. This is often $2000 or more than the amount the fleet company was hoping to get for the vehicle sale.

Essentially, what this means is that if a commercial fleet owner only wanted $8000 for a vehicle when they sell it, you won’t be able to purchase it for less than $10,000 – and that’s on the very low end of the estimate. This could typically amount to around a 25% markup from what you could buy the vehicle for directly, if you went down the route of working with fleet owner yourself.

Though many people are concerned about the roadworthiness and nature of used fleet vehicles,since they have been used by a lot of people, I would still recommend considering them. Most of the time these vehicles have a specific maintenance schedule that is maintained often by dealership garages or private independent repair shops. Fleet vehicles all need to be in great running condition and service which routinely involves traveling a great number of miles and dealing with mixed conditions. Those responsible for their maintenance don’t tend to let an oil change slide for a month or use a cheaper quality auto parts that might cost more in the long run. Private party “one owner” vehicles often make these claims of maintaining cars but seldom can it be verified.

Negotiating the best deal for a fleet vehicle is a simple matter. You’ll need to contact the fleet companies or fleet sales specialists directly. They have a price in mind and know what they would get at the auctions since they sell a lot of these cars. If they can get the same price from you and save the costs of shipping it to the auction, it is definitely a win-win for everyone. This allows you to enjoy the same used car as you would get from a dealership at savings around the 25% mark.

Next time you are buying used, why not consider a fleet vehicle?