Important Tips when Buying a Used Car

Alfa Romeo Spider
Alfa Romeo Spider

Important Tips when Buying a Used Car

With 2013 bringing so many great new cars to the market and with new car sales trending upwards for 2013, many people are getting into new cars while selling off their old cars. This has made a great opportunity for used car shoppers since these used cars typically are only owned for a short period of time (1-5 years).

However buying a used car it can be challenging for first-time drivers or people who have a limited budget to spend. A few good tips can help in making a wise decision and choice when shopping for that perfect used car.


Figuring out how much you can spend on a used car is the first step you need to make before take the plunge into shopping. Have you checked you credit scorce? Do you know a reasonably amount you can borrow? This will ensure that you do not get swayed by a salesman who will try to lure yo to buy a used car, or even new car, you might not be able to afford.  Please read my article “The DOs and DON'Ts of Car Financing” to get a better idea of what you need to do and think about.

The Right Fit

Just like a baseball glove or sweater the you car buy should be a suitable fit for, your lifestyle, and preferably style. Though you need to be flexible about the color of the car and features when buying a used car, looking through all the car options that fits within your budget including contemplating on the pros and cons, will help you make the best choice when selecting a used car.

Test Drive

Obviously before you buy a used car make sure to test drive the car you will be purchasing. This will give you an exact idea about the way your potential “new car” works and how you like driving it. While test driving, particularly look for how it feels on the road and how the mechanical systems works such as the brakes, transmission, suspension, etc. Does the engine make any abnormal sounds and vibrations? Are there any general rattles when the car is moving?

Check it Out

Getting a used car inspected and checked by an independent trusted mechanic is a must. Consider what you found on the test drive an d let them know. With the help of a mechanic, ask them to help you inspect the chassis of the car, if the headlights and indicators are working, the battery condition, any repainting or bodywork signs, air conditioning, HVAC, electrical systems, etc. If the car needs repairs it might be fine, but it will allow you to negotiate a much better deal.

If you are not a member of a credit union I would highly recommend joining one in your area. Credit Unions are non-profit and owned by the members who are part of it and not shareholders. This allows them offer much lower rates on loans compared to traditional banks. Many credit unions charge have the same interest rate on new cars as used cars, which is unheard of at traditional banks.

After you have found the best used car for you needs and feel comfortable moving ahead, make sure to negotiate the best possibly deal. Try to make it reasonably for both you you and the seller of the car. Confirm that the paperwork is in place and properly filled out and being transferred to you the new owner and that the current owner actually owns the car. You should be good to go.

Buying a used car for a first-timer or a veteran can still be a challenging and frustrating experience. Used cars can vary widely in condition but if you follow these tips you should be good.

If you have any questions about buying a used car please contact me and I would be happy to help you out.  If you have find this article and information useful please follow Adam’s Auto Advice on Facebook and Twitter.

2013 Ford Explorer Sports – First Test Drive Impressions

What can you say about the new 2013 Ford Explorer?  In a nutshell it is the new redesigned Ford Explorer and is the synthesis of an American SUV with European styling and handling.  The interior was nice and well appointed which made me feel I was in a luxury Lincoln.  Makes you wonder what Ford will do with the Lincoln version of it.  The model I had was a beautiful black and pretty brown leather seats.  The 2013 Explorer Sport has some nice features but the re-engineering is what won me.

Ford's head engineer on the 2013 Ford Explorer emphasized that have improved to make a stiffer body with reinforcements in key structural areas.  Under the two fronts seats where they attached to the floor, there is a bar that stiffens the body, right across the transmission tunnel.  There is another stiffening bar behind the front shocks that is also behind the engine.

What was interesting to hear is that Ford Explorer weight split is 60/40 vehicle but the drivetrain can go into pure 50/50.  There is a convenient knob on the central console where you can select Desert, Forest and Ice mode, each giving you more or less torque if different driving conditions.

Although you sit high, as with any other SUV, it felt responsive and tight… at least tighter than any other SUV I've driven.  I would imagine the Porsche and Maserati could easily out handle the 2013 Ford Explorer, but not its price.  It's a SUV and has limits but more than a few BMWs on twisty roads were surprised by the powerful SUV keeping pace with their German vehicles.  Worse case handling scenario, the rear has a hard time understanding what the front is doing but obliges willingly and follows the curve.

Purist will hate the paddle shifting mounted on the steering wheel instead of the column, but I suspect 90% of its clientele won't know or care what paddle shifters are or even bother to use them.  I found myself a few times coming out of a curve wanting to shift but not being able to figure out which paddle was up or down.  One very nice touch are the good looking 20-inch wheels with “Sport” engraved in them.  The brakes have been generously upgraded for the Sport version for the extra power.

All in all, this is yet another Ford achievement as the company positions itself to compete with the more power and performance oriented SUV market, but at an affordable price.  I found the SUV easy to drive in traffic and even fun to bounce around canyon roads.  The engine comes alive at over 3,000 but not once will it intrude inside your plush felt cabin.  The only thing you will hate on the road if you own a Sport version is to see an older Explorer in front of you heavily braking at every curves.  This SUV is meant to go fast, cruise around town and everything in between.

Mini John Cooper Works GP will excite all Mini Fans and Gearheads!



Mini fans, get ready for one of the baddest and sportiest Minis that will ever hit the roads, the new Mini John Cooper Works GP.

What makes the new Mini John Cooper Works GP special? The British premium brand has come up with another car of exceptional design paired with exceptional performance on both the race track and the road.

To be clear when Mini says racetrack, they mean racetrack! The Mini John Cooper Works GP set quite an impressive lap time around the famed Nürburgring’s Nordschleife track in Germany. The time? 8 minutes and 23 seconds, making this one fast Mini! This also means the new version has beaten the lap time set by its predecessor, the Mini Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit, by around 19 seconds.

This is largely due to the performance which underpins this impressive Mini. The John Cooper Works GP features an exclusive powertrain, chassis and aerodynamics technology inspired directly by racing. It also has a twin-scroll turbo engine which generates outstanding torque, displays remarkable elasticity and demonstrates a healthy appetite for high revs. Specially developed, adjustable race suspension channels this superlative output into spectacular yet precisely controllable handling.

Looking at the Mini John Cooper Works GP, it's hard not to get excited by it's aggressive and muscular stance. The design of the body isn't just for looks though, as it gives the ideal aerodynamic balance in extreme driving situations, a key element in delivering precise handling.

Great Looking Butt!

The large front and rear aprons, striking side skirts and a bespoke roof spoiler are complemented by a newly developed rear diffuser which optimizes airflow around the underbody. The interior of the Mini John Cooper Works GP also contributes to the car’s inspirational racing feeling; with the rear seats removed, it focuses unashamedly on the needs of the driver and co-driver.

The “GP” tag on the model title tells you exactly where the extreme sports edition of the compact Mini most tellingly reveals its potential. The GP’s chassis configuration, the effectiveness of its race-spec braking system, the grip offered by its likewise custom racing tires, and its aerodynamic properties have been honed into a high-performance whole on the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife circuit, widely considered world’s most difficult race track.

The unadulterated transfer of racing expertise into the everyday driving environment has a long history at Mini; it was this approach that made the Mini Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit the epitome of extreme driving fun in a small car when it was unveiled in 2006. Specific output of 100 kW/136 horsepower per liter of displacement and similarly impressive reserves of racing technology have secured its status as a sought-after collector’s item today.

The world will have to make due with only 2,000 Mini John Cooper Works GP though. A very sad thought indeed as this sounds like one seriously fun car.

C’était un Rendez-Vous by Claude Lelouch is The Greatest Movie Ever Made

Recently my colleague and friend, Nicolas Zart, showed me this short French film from the 70's called “C'était un Rendez-Vous” by Claude Lelouch.  In English this means “It was a date.”  After watching the film, which is only about 8 minutes and 30 seconds, I concluded that this is The Greatest Movie Ever Made!

C'était un Rendez-Vous features fast driving through the streets of Paris and the lovely sounds of a beautiful roaring engine.  What more could you ask for?  There are no stupid story lines that don't make sense with stupid characters and bad actors.  (Anyone remember the original 1976 “Gone in 60 Seconds?”)  C'était un Rendez-Vous starts off with pure driving and ends with a classic French twist.

What's most interesting about C'était un Rendez-Vous is I clearly see where director John Frankenheimer got his inspiration for the chase scenes and some of the camera techniques used in “Ronin.”  Ronin is considered to have some of the best car chase sequences in the history of movies.  Robert de Niro, Jean Reno, and Natascha McElhone were actually in the cars during for those sequences.  Rendezvous, as it is known, has also influenced other car movies and sequences as well.

Watch C'était un Rendez-Vous below and let me know what you think?

For more info about C'était un Rendez-Vous visit the Wikipedia page.

Synthetic Oil

In my last post I suggest getting your Oil changed every 3,000-4,000 miles.  If you feel that's just to often for you there is a solution…. Synthetic Oil!

Regular Oil, that you most likely have in your car right now, will only last for 3,000-4,000 miles.  Synthetic can last 2 or 3 times longer.  Meaning you could go 10,000-15,000 miles between Oil Changes!  Imagine saving all that time and hassle!

Synthetic Oil cleans and protects your engine better.  Your car's fuel economy can improve.  It will make your engine last longer.  It has higher boiling point, so if your engine is overheating Synthetic Oil won't burn up as readily as Regular Oil.  On cold days, it will provide more even lubrication.  Many people argue that it's also better for the Environment, because you use less Oil over the life of your car.
Are you asking yourself “Why hasn't anybody suggested Synthetic Oil before?”  There might be several reasons, but the main reason is Price!  Synthetic Oil lasts longer, but is more expensive.  A typical Synthetic Oil change at a shop might cost $70-90, not including disposal fees and taxes.  Many people just don't want to spend that much.  Actually… most shops don't even carry Synthetic Oil, because there isn't much of a demand.

I put Synthetic in my Toyota Camry!  I feel it's worth it.  Usually Auto Parts Stores have special deals to buy 5 quarts of Synthetic Oil with a high-quality oil filter for $30.  It saves me time, since I only change it every 10,000 miles instead of 3,000 miles.  I checked my dipstick yesterday, and 6,000 miles later Synthetic Oil still looks new! 

Even though Synthetic Oil is great, I wouldn't suggest it for cars with 100,000+ miles.  I tried using it in my Mom's Van…… it leaked out.  Synthetic Oil is so viscous and cleans so well, it tends to leak through older engines that have used Regular Oil.

It's better to switch to Synthetic early in a car's life.  You'll prevent any problems from switching over if you do.  Many high-end manufacturers, Ferrari, Aston Martin, etc factory fill cars with Synthetic Oil.  So why not your car?