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Younger people have a hard time understanding how people got anything done before the Internet and smart phones. In the digital age of the 21st century, more and more of life happens online. From communicating with friends and family to banking to all the things you can buy and have rapidly shipped to your home, it’s incredibly convenient. In the rush to take advantage of all the opportunities for selling anything and everything online, we’d like to pause and recognize there are still some things best left to in-person, real-world transactions. We think buying a vehicle is one of those things. In this article we’ll explain why we think you should avoid online used car buying.

Online Used Car Buying: Don’t Believe the Hype!

Notice how we’re being very specific with our language here. We’re talking about “buying” a used car, not “shopping” for a used car. When you’re shopping, part of the process is doing your own research, and that is where the power of the internet is your friend. It’s very easy to go online and see what’s out there and do price comparisons. We encourage everyone to do the research part of the process online because it will save you tons of time. Running around to every dealership in your area would be a gigantic waste of your time and energy. Leverage the power of the world wide web to narrow your search down to a short-list of options.

But once you have your short-list of vehicles that interest you, what then? This is when we think you should see each car in person so you can verify for yourself its condition and take it for a test drive. The vehicle you drive is often the second-biggest purchase you make in life. For many, it is second only to buying a home! Do you really want to make such a big, important decision without actually seeing and driving the product before buying it? We think the answer to this question should be obvious.

Some online car sellers offer to deliver the vehicle you purchase right to your home, and take away your current car if you’re trading it in. Others allow you to pick up your purchased car from a giant vending machine. It all sounds very exciting and convenient, but what happens when the car you just purchased turns out not to be everything you expected or were led to believe it would be? This is why we caution against buying a car without seeing it in-person and test-driving it first. After all, the single most important factor in buying a used car is how well it has been reconditioned! And you won’t have a clue about that beyond what the online car seller is telling you if you don’t check the vehicle out yourself.

If you’re tempted by online used car buying, please take some time to read the customer reviews of any site you’re considering. Does it work for some people? Sure it does. But you’ll also quickly discover how many people – too many people – have experience nightmares with online used car buying. Here’s just a small sampling of things we’ve seen in customer reviews:

  • Delivery Delays: It’s unfortunate how many customers you will find who are promised a certain delivery date, only to be later informed it will be delayed, often by a week or more. Meanwhile, these same customers had plans to use the vehicle, or go on a trip, and the delays totally wreck their plans. This happens way more often than you might think. In some cases customers don’t find out about delivery delays until the day of scheduled delivery, which is just a horrible way to do business.
  • Bad Cars: Another thing that happens is that the car arrives and has all kinds of problems about which the customer was not informed. In some cases the car gets damaged during transport. In other cases the car has various issues like oil leaks, a nail in the tire, cigarette burns in the upholstery, broken AC, bad brakes, only one key when they said there were two – you name it, people have experienced it, even though they’re all issues that should have been discovered in any kind of standard inspection of the vehicle before offering it for sale. The dealer might allow you to swap it for another vehicle, which means another opportunity for delivery delays and you missing work and throwing your schedule out of whack to deal with it all.
  • Poor Customer Service: When you read about all the nightmare scenarios people have gone through with online used car buying, a common theme running throughout them is how the customer service people clearly don’t care at all, or make it sound like they do but still don’t get satisfactory results for the customer. Few things in life are worse than getting the runaround from customer service when you’ve got serious issues that need to be addressed.
  • Repair Hassles: Some online used car buying services give you a certain amount of time, such as a week, during which you can decide to return the car. What happens to a lot of customers is a scenario where there are problems with the car. A customer service representative gives you a process to go through in order to have the problems taken care of, but this whole process ends up involving so much back-and-forth and delays that the grace period expires and the customer is stuck.

Please keep in mind that the above nightmares are just a small sample of true customer experiences with online used car buying. We know there’s a better way to sell used cars here at Auto City.

The Auto City Advantage

Some of you may be thinking that because Auto City is a used car dealership, we’re just trying to entice you to come to our lot in El Cajon so our salespeople can pressure you into buying a car. But that is not how we do things at Auto City. Since our founding, we have been on a mission to do things differently when it comes to used car shopping. When you shop for your next ride at Auto City, we let you take the lead. No pressure. No gimmicks. Want to move fast on your purchase? We’ll be right there with you. Want to take your time and consider all your options? No problem! We understand your satisfaction is the key to our success. So ditch online used car buying and discover the following benefits of the Auto City Advantage:

  • Perfect Pricing: Some people like haggling over the price of a used car. But most people don’t, and neither do we. In fact, we think it’s a waste of everyone’s time. At Auto City you’ll discover that each of our vehicles has a firm, up-front price that’s fair and competitive. How many used car dealerships do you know that can say the same?
  • Superior Selection: We focus on newer used cars, which means you’re getting more bang for your buck. Why? A newer model in great shape with low miles has already taken the biggest hit on depreciation, so you’ll be starting out in a better position than buying a brand-new car. This gives you the opportunity to achieve positive equity in your vehicle faster than buying new.
  • Financing for All: We’ve spent years developing a super-strong network of the best lenders for those who need to finance, whether your credit is awesome or seriously challenged. 
  • 3-Day Money-Back Guarantee: We even go the extra mile and give you a full three days to make sure you’ve made the right decision. If you have second thoughts (although we don’t think you will), you can return the car for a full refund, no questions asked!
  • Rave Reviews: We don’t filter reviews to only show you the ones of happy customers. We invite you to look at unsolicited reviews for Auto City on sites like Yelp and Google and DealerRater. We understand our reputation is on the line with each and every customer, which is why we treat everyone with VIP-level customer service!

Ready to experience a whole new way of used car shopping you will love? Learn more about why you should buy from us, how we rock at car loans, and check out the fantastic cars available in our current inventory. Have questions? Check out our common questions page or contact us and we’ll give you answers!

The post Auto City vs Online Used Car Buying: A Head-to-Head Comparison appeared first on Auto City.

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It used to be that you’d have auto service and repair done by the shop you bought the car from or your local mechanic. However, the more urban you get, you have many more auto repair shops to choose from. Increased competition does a couple of things that might surprise you. To stand out in a crowd of auto repair shops, all offering oil change and auto repair services, someone has to do something extraordinary to garner attention. Offering while-you-wait service, free loaner cars, or a great warranty are a few ways to stand out. After all, who wants to wait or worry about something going wrong with the repair?

Another way to stand out is to offer better pricing or better service. Unfortunately, these two usually don’t go hand-in-hand. Here, we’re looking at two axioms which may make you wonder why you’re price-shopping auto repair and maintenance, such as oil changes.

Oil Change: Good, Fast, or Cheap

In today’s fast-paced society, everyone wants to get products and services at an instant’s notice, pay the least, and get the best quality. The problem is that its impossible to get all three in one package. You must make the sacrifice, based on these three basic rules:

  • Good service fast won’t be cheap.
  • Fast service cheap won’t be good.
  • Cheap service good won’t be fast.

This is important to understand the relationship between different kinds of services. For example, good service requires better materials and more-experienced technicians, both of which increase the price. Fast service might require setting aside a specific bay for your on-demand oil change, requiring mechanics to shuffle and hustle, another expense. Cheap service usually means cuts in one of these other two areas, maybe using less-experienced technicians, inexpensive and low-quality supplies, or putting your vehicle on the back burner for “when they get to it.”

You Get What You Pay For

Along the same lines, “you get what you pay for” makes total sense when talking about oil changes and other auto services. For simplicity, we’re going to talk about “the $20 oil change.” For example, you can buy a quart of conventional oil for maybe $5, or you can buy a quart of synthetic oil for more than double, but let’s call it $10. Even within these broad categories, there is a great variation in pricing, from as little as $2 to $20. Similarly, oil filter also comes in different grades, from cheap to premium and high-capacity. Of course, auto shops usually get bulk pricing, but it’s still not free.

When shopping around for an oil change, the price of supplies is directly related to the price you pay and the quality and reliability you can expect. If you’re getting $2 oil and a $3 oil filter, are you getting a quality oil change that will help your engine last longer? Chances are good that many engines are sent to early scrapyards for poor quality materials. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to buy the most expensive oil either, unless you’re driving a luxury car or performance car, in which case you might need the quality and protection of a higher grade of oil.

Another problem, aside from quality, is business practices. Every business is in business to make a profit. One way to increase profit is to reduce costs or increase prices – cheap supplies make cheap oil changes. Another way to increase profits is by selling additional services. At best, shops break even on cheap oil changes, which means they’ll be looking to upsell you other services. Think of it like a diner offering cheap unlimited coffee – they’re losing money on the coffee, but the great majority of people visiting are buying the food, which makes the diner profitable. Granted, you might need some services, but you can expect to be upsold and possibly pressured into purchasing something to help them make a profit. Fortunately, customers tend to weed out the dishonest and pushy shops, and you can learn a lot from online reviews if you’re looking for your next oil change.

The Best Oil Change You Can Buy

Getting a regular oil change is an absolute must, but you have choices. Choosing cheap doesn’t always get your car what’s best for it, and you could be setting yourself up for shorter engine life, excessive fuel consumption, and higher emissions. If you must choose cheap, then at least make sure they’re using quality supplies and experienced technicians. Still, expect to wait a little longer for the job to get done.

If you’re interested in going the DIY route, you could do your own oil change. This gives you full control over what supplies you use, but also requires investment in some basic tools and equipment, such as wrench, funnel, drain pan, jack, and jack stands, or ramps.

The post Does it Matter Where You Get Your Oil Change? appeared first on Auto City.

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Auto City has been helping people in the greater San Diego area fall in love with a different kind of car shopping experience for more than a decade. We saw every piece of the car shopping process that was broken and fixed every one of them. From haggle-free up-front pricing to a great selection of newer used vehicles to our 3-day money-back guarantee, Auto City has your best interests in mind. Then we decided we wanted to buy more of our cars directly from you, so we launched Driveo as a better way to sell your car for more money than you’d ever get on a trade-in deal. Now we’re launching another program to better serve our customers: Day One Credit, which specializes in bankruptcy car loans.

A Fresh Start with Bankruptcy Car Loans Through Day One Credit

We understand how filing for bankruptcy can be very stressful. If you also discover you need to replace your car, you might feel completely overwhelmed. After all, if you just filed for bankruptcy or are in the middle of one, who is going to help you finance a vehicle purchase? Many people in this situation just assume they’re stuck. Not so! Day One Credit was launched by the same knowledgeable team of people behind Auto City, where helping people get the financing they need in spite of bad credit has been an important part of what we do from, well, day one!

Too many people think of bankruptcy as an ending when in reality it is a beginning. Bankruptcy laws were designed to help consumers get out from under crushing loads of debt. Whether the cause of your debt was unexpected medical bills, job loss, a divorce or a series of poor spending decisions, everyone deserves a chance at a fresh start. Filing bankruptcy is how you get the fresh start you need.

You Just Filed for Bankruptcy. Now What?

If you have already filed or are about to file for bankruptcy, you’re probably worried about the effect it’s going to have on your credit score. But in reality that damage is already done. Your credit score has already suffered. Filing bankruptcy is actually the first step towards fixing your credit! So how do you go about rebuilding your damaged credit? The credit bureaus want to see you being responsible with credit after filing bankruptcy. But who is going to extend any credit to you if you’re in bankruptcy? This is where many people stop, and it’s easy to understand why. Many traditional lenders simply don’t want to work with bankruptcy customers at all. But their loss is our gain here at Day One Credit!

We’ve spent years building an incredibly strong network of lenders who specialize in loans for every kind of bad credit situation, including bankruptcies. It doesn’t matter if you have a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, or a discharged bankruptcy – we can work with you to find a loan to meet your needs! And this is how people in the San Diego area can begin to rebuild and restore their damaged credit – bankruptcy car loans with Day One! Financing a car purchase and making monthly on-time payments will put you on the path to fixing your credit score. And, of course, keep up with your monthly payments on any debts that weren’t included in the bankruptcy, such as mortgage payments and student loan payments.

How do Bankruptcy Car Loans Work?

The lenders in the Day One network are companies that realize bankruptcy customers need loans to purchase vehicles just like other people. They are willing to take on a little extra risk to get a steady stream of customers most traditional lenders will not even consider. Yes, the interest rate and APR on bankruptcy car loans are going to be higher than people with better credit, but it’s a small price to pay if you need to purchase a vehicle when you have an open or recently discharged bankruptcy. But, keep in mind that once you’ve filed bankruptcy, your loan rates will probably be better than the person with a bad credit score and lots of debt who hasn’t yet filed for bankruptcy. Why? Because these specialized lenders recognize you’re on the way to reducing your debt through bankruptcy – which is a good sign!

If you haven’t yet filed bankruptcy but are considering it, you’ll need the help of a qualified attorney to guide you through the process. Day One Credit knows some of the best bankruptcy attorneys in the San Diego area and is happy to recommend one to you. Day One’s Bankruptcy Blog is also a place to visit for informative articles related to bankruptcy and bankruptcy car loans.

The Benefits of Day One Bankruptcy Car Loans

We’ve figured out how to do this right, which means you’ll experience nine key benefits when you work with Day One Credit to find the bankruptcy auto loan you need:

  1. No Money Down: Most of our customers qualify for a no-money-down loan with affordable monthly payments.
  2. Restore Your Credit: You can you start rebuilding your credit on day one of filing bankruptcy by working with Day One Credit! You don’t have to wait. As soon as you have a Chapter 7 case number or a Chapter 13 confirmed payment plan, you can apply.
  3. Ditch A Bad Loan: You can get out of your “upside-down” or “underwater” car loan by working with Day One to find the right loan and a more affordable car.
  4. Trusted Reputation: We’ve been getting great results for our customers for so long that bankruptcy attorneys in the area refer their customers to us!
  5. Improve Your Ride: We help you get into a newer used car with lower miles because it’s way cheaper than buying a brand-new vehicle and will cost you less in the long run.
  6. Unbeatable Experience: We know how this works and how to make it work for you. We are very familiar with all the common questions, and we can answer them for you!
  7. The Best Cars: Our selection of top-notch vehicles can’t be beat.
  8. Great Rates: With your worst debts out of the way through bankruptcy, you’re in better shape than many people with bad credit who haven’t filed for bankruptcy.
  9. Top Lenders: Our network of lenders specialize in bankruptcy car loans and will all be competing for your business – which means YOU are the one who wins!

If you’re ready to find out more about bankruptcy car loans through Day One Credit, visit the Why Day One page of the website. If you still have questions after that, feel free to pay us a visit or just get in touch. Whether it’s through our web form, by email, or speaking with a real person by calling (855) 475-4725, Day One Credit will be happy to help you in any way we can! Your satisfaction is always our top priority.

The post Auto City Introduces Day One Credit for Bankruptcy Car Loans appeared first on Auto City.

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When you’re shopping for your next vehicle, do you plan on examining the warranty that comes with it? If you’re like most people, it’s not something you’ve ever really given much thought. But if something goes wrong with your car soon after you purchase, you’re going to suddenly want to know all the details about its warranty – if there even is one. And if you do have one, you could be in for a rude awakening about what’s covered and what’s not. This is one part of the used car shopping process you want to understand better for you buy, and this article will cover many of the basics you should know.

New Car Warranties

Let’s start out with something most people are at least somewhat familiar with – the new car warranty. Every brand-new car comes with what is called the manufacturer’s warranty. The company that actually made the car offers this warranty as a kind of guarantee that all the vehicle’s basic components and systems ought to function properly under normal driving conditions for some amount of time.

How long a new car warranty lasts is usually described as a number of miles and a number of months, whichever one comes first. Some common ways to see this might “bumper-to-bumper for 36 months or 36,000 miles.” Others might describe a more specific kind of coverage, such as “powertrain for 72 months or 100,000 miles.” Some do a combination of both. Whatever the details may be, bumper-to-bumper means if something about the car fails, the manufacturer will cover the parts and labor to repair it at one of its certified service shops (typically a dealership for that brand of car with a service department). A powertrain warranty is specific to covering parts and labor to repair any failures related to the engine, transmission or axles. Want more information about what’s typically covered in a new car (or extended) warranty? Check out previous article, How Much Does a Manufacturer’s Warranty Cover?

A lot of people believe that if they hang onto a car past the manufacturer’s warranty, things are going to start going wrong and they will be responsible for paying to fix them. This is why many people like to sell a car before the manufacturer’s warranty expires, and the vehicle then enters the used car market.

Extended Warranties

If a relatively new-ish car enters the used car market by being traded in to a dealership of its own brand, the service department will give it a thorough round of reconditioning and restoring to fix anything wrong with it. This will probably make it eligible for the dealership’s certified pre-owned or CPO program. These are cars in great shape and will offer carry an extended warranty, meaning the manufacturer is willing to guarantee the vehicle’s good functioning for an extra period of time beyond the original manufacturer’s warranty.

Whoever is buying this CPO car will not have to pay anything extra for this kind of extended manufacturer’s warranty. Different car brands describe an extended warranty in different ways. Some will add more months/miles to the original warranty, so the previous bumper-to-bumper for 36 months or 36,000 miles might now be described as 60 months or 60,000 miles. Other places might only describe the additional length of coverage that starts with the new owner, which in this example would be 24 months or 24,000 miles. The extended warranty also might not cover exactly the same things as the original warranty, and might also involve paying a deductible, so read the fine print to see the details!

Service Contracts

If a used car doesn’t come with an extended manufacturer’s warranty, you can always buy a service contract to help take the sting out of unexpected repairs. Service contracts come in all shapes and sizes in terms of what’s covered, what kind of deductible you have to pay and how long the contract lasts, all of which affects the cost of the service contract. What you have to pay for a service contract is often worked right into your finance contract, and once again you want to read the fine print so you know exactly what you’re getting into. You can even purchase service contracts from third-party companies that specialize in them.

One thing you need to get really clear on is that an extended warranty and a service contract are NOT the same thing, but the two terms are often used interchangeably, even in the industry. The big difference is that you don’t have to pay for a true extended manufacturer’s warranty, but you do have to pay for a service contract. If you want more details on the differences between warranties and service contracts, check out our previous article, The Difference between a Service Contract and a Warranty.

Find Out Warranty Details in the Car’s Buyers Guide

Used cars sold at independent dealerships also often come with a warranty of some kind, and the dealership is required by law to disclose details about that warranty. It’s not a manufacturer’s warranty, it’s one offered by the dealership itself because it understands people should be able to expect even a used car to perform properly for some period of time after purchasing it. Any business selling more than five used cars in a year has to comply with the FTC’s (Federal Trade Commission) Used Car Rule, which includes displaying a Buyers Guide. The Buyers Guide is where you’ll find some of the information about the warranty on the vehicle. Below is what the FTC requires to be in a Buyers Guide, where consumers are advised about the following:

  • The major mechanical and electrical systems on the car, as well as some of the major problems that consumers should look out for;
  • Whether the vehicle is being sold “as is” or with a warranty;
  • What percentage of the repair costs a dealer will pay under warranty;
  • That oral promises are difficult to enforce;
  • To get all promises in writing;
  • To ask to have the car inspected by an independent mechanic before they buy;
  • To get a vehicle history report and to visit ftc.gov/usedcars for information on how to get a vehicle history report, how to check for safety recalls, and other topics; and
  • To ask for a Spanish Buyers Guide if the sale is conducted in Spanish; and
  • To keep the Buyers Guide for reference after the sale.

The FTC also has a a good article called Buying a Used Car that contains a lot of good information about used car warranties. The most important thing to understand is that the Buyers Guide only provides you with a limited amount of information about the warranty on the car, such as if one is even offered and what kind of warranty it is. What you need to do is request a copy of the dealership’s warranty document, because that’s where the details will be spelled out, including exactly what is covered, for how long, if there is a deductible, how to go about getting covered repairs done, and who is legally responsible for fulfilling the warranty, because it could be a third-party company. Most used car warranties will be “limited” as opposed to “full” coverage, so knowing the details is important.

Used Car Warranties at Auto City

When you shop for a used car at Auto City, you can rest assured that every one of our vehicles comes with a warranty. In some cases, our cars are still covered by some of the original manufacturer’s warranty or the manufacturer’s extended warranty. When this is the case, the free CARFAX report you can see for every car on our lot calculates any remaining manufacturer’s warranty by simply clicking “warranty check” and entering the vehicle’s mileage. But in all cases, cars in our inventory always come with an Auto City warranty. Ask any of our friendly sales advisors questions you may have about the Auto City warranty. If you’re ready to find your next ride in the greater San Diego area, check out our amazing selection of vehicles available now!

We’re confident you’ll like what you see, as well as all the ways we do things differently to make your used car shopping experience one you will actually enjoy. Besides our great selection, you’ll enjoy haggle-free up-front competitive pricing, financing that fits your unique credit situation, and our 3-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee. Learn more about these and other advantages of buying your next car at Auto City on our Why Buy From Us page.

The post Understanding Used Car Warranties appeared first on Auto City.

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Cars have indeed gotten more complicated over the years, and for the better. All this advancement has led to better fuel economy, more power, and higher reliability. At the same time, it’s made it harder for the average DIY to maintain, diagnose, and repair their own cars. Still, an engine is an engine, and a tire is a tire, so many basic DIY auto repair and maintenance steps haven’t changed all that much. Here are a few basic DIY auto repair steps that every car owner can take and should take. You don’t have to be a master mechanic, just a driver who wants the best for their car and their family.

Tire Pressure

It only takes a few minutes to check and adjust tire pressure. A decent tire pressure gauge shouldn’t cost more than a few dollars, and a tire inflator is a great investment. Proper tire pressure keeps you safer on the road, helps your tires last longer, and improves fuel economy. Don’t forget to check the spare tire, too.

Tire Inspection

All tires wear out over time, but there are few warning signs apart from sudden loss of traction when you need it most. Inspect tire tread depth at least once every month. A tire tread depth tool is only a couple bucks, and it only takes a few minutes to check all four tires. Replace tires in pairs or in sets of four if any get below 2/32” (4/32” in snow or rain)

Check Fluids

Under the hood, there are a few fluids critical to the function of your car. The owner’s manual tells you how to check and adjust engine oil, brake fluid, engine coolant, windshield washer fluid, and sometimes transmission fluids. All you need is a few minutes a week and a rag. Never “top off” brake fluid, unless it goes below the LOW mark, and make sure you always use compatible fluids.

Spare Tire

Tires do last a long time, but road or construction debris can cause punctures. If you get a flat tire, you could be stuck on the side of the road. If your vehicle is equipped with a spare tire and tire changing tools, you can get back on the road quickly. Basic tire changing tools should include a jack, wheel chock, lug nut wrench, warning triangle or flares, and a pair of work gloves. Practice once or twice in your driveway until you get the hang of it.

Replace Fuse

With so many electrical components and electronic devices in our vehicles and in our daily lives, circuit protection is one coming up more often. If something doesn’t work, such as a headlight or power socket, a blown fuse could be the culprit. The owner’s manual shows where the fuse blocks are and which fuses power which devices. Replacing a fuse takes just a couple minutes and the fuse tool is usually right there in the fuse block with spare fuses. Always replace fuses with the same rating or lower to prevent damage to the wiring.

Replace Bulb

Bulbs don’t last forever, and they can burn out when you least expect it. If a headlight or taillight blows, you might find it hard to see at night, or others might misinterpret your turn signals or brake lights. Fortunately, many bulbs are user-replaceable, often without tools or just a screwdriver. It’s a good idea to replace headlight bulbs in pairs. To extend the life of any bulbs, never to touch the glass part of the bulb, or else clean it with alcohol before installation.

Replace Wipers

Wiper blades help you see in all kinds of weather, whether it’s snow, rain, bugs, or dust. Over time, the rubber wiper blades can wear and degrade, leading to poor visibility, streaking, squeaking, or chattering. Neglecting to replace the blades could even lead to permanent windshield damage. Fortunately, replacing wiper blades only takes a couple minutes, usually by hand or with a screwdriver.

Jump Start

The battery and charging system work together to give you the power to start your car every. Still, batteries only last four to six years, and people make mistakes, like leaving lights on or doors open. Either way, you could be stuck unless you know how to jump start your car. Jumper cables require a second vehicle for help, or else portable jump boxes can be used on your own. Some are small enough to fit in your glove box.

Air Filters

Like you, the engine needs to breathe clean air. The engine air filter makes this possible, and it can fill up over time with dust, dirt, road debris, bugs, leaves, and other “stuff.” Similarly, the cabin air filter on many vehicles clean the air coming into the cabin, a boon to those who suffer from allergies. A dirty air filter can usually be replaced in just a few minutes by hand or with a screwdriver.

Oil Change

This is a little more involved but can save you some cash and get you more in tune with your car. Changing engine oil on your own requires car ramps or a jack and jack stands – never put any part of your body under a vehicle supported only by a jack – and a few tools and supplies. A drain pan, funnel, nitrile gloves, and rags go a long way toward keeping things clean. Be sure to recycle used oil at your local shop or auto parts store.

Tire Rotation

This is another more in-depth maintenance item and should be done every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. The easiest way to rotate your tires is to lift one side of the vehicle, swap front and rear tires, then repeat on the other side. Use a torque wrench to tighten the wheel nuts in a star pattern.

Tools Required

Through this article we mentioned various tools you’ll need to get started in DIY auto repair and maintenance. Most of these tools can be found at your local auto parts store, home improvement store, or even at a big-box retailer. You don’t have to buy the most expensive stuff, but tools that are comfortable to use and safe. More important would be the money you spend on the parts and supplies you use.

Why DIY Auto Repair Works

DIY auto repair is great for at least a couple of reasons. First, it gets us back in touch with our cars, the machines we rely on to get us to work and school and play every day of the week. Second, DIY auto repair can save you money, as you can choose the quality of the parts you wish to use and you supply your own labor.

The owner’s manual is your best source of information, but there are plenty of other resources available, such as YouTube videos, online tutorials, and your neighbor down the street – a six pack or a pizza are pretty good bargaining chips. Finally, in case you get stuck or you are uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to talk with your local trusted mechanic. After all, what good is saving money if you can’t be sure your vehicle is safe and reliable!

The post Basic DIY Auto Repair Every Guy and Girl Should Know and Practice appeared first on Auto City.

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If we made the statement, “Auto repair is expensive,” this would come as a shock to exactly no one. With our budgets stretched every which way, setting aside funds for auto repair and regular maintenance can be difficult. In fact, a recent study revealed that at least a third of American drivers do not have sufficient funds on hand for an unexpected car repair. It’s a good idea to set aside at least $50 per month for such unexpected problems. Otherwise, you might end up with one of several additional problems:

  • Do it yourself, which can indeed save you money, but isn’t always a good idea. Some auto repairs are just too complex or require expensive tooling outside a DIYer’s budget.
  • Pay with a credit card, you will likely end up paying way more for common repairs, thanks to compounding interest.
  • Shop for cheapest auto repairs, which sometimes results in higher repair costs later, for poor quality parts and supplies.
  • Delay or skip maintenance or repair, which will likely result in higher repair costs and lower reliability down the road.

Given that car repair is sometimes seen as a “necessary evil,” it’s tempting to look for the cheapest parts and lowest labor rates. Some even go online to look for cheap parts and then look for a shop to install them. Aside from paying in cash or doing the job yourself, the other options just don’t make any sense. Still, why should you pay more for auto repair? Is there any difference between cheap car repair and “expensive” auto repair? Here are a few ideas to consider.

Auto Repair – You Get What You Pay For

As with most things, “you get what you pay for” exactly describes automobiles, car parts, and auto repair. Generally, the more you pay for a given item, the more you expect from it. For example, if you spend $100 on a pair of headphones, you can logically expect that they will sound better and last longer than a pair of $10 headphones. Manufacturers recognize this, which is why the $100 headphones are built of better “stuff.” In auto repair, the same idea goes for everything from engine oil changes to check engine light diagnostics. If shopping around for an oil change or your check engine light is on, paying more is probably a good idea:

“Cheap” oil changes are offered solely to get you in the door. The entire business model is built on upselling you on other services to cover their losses on oil change parts, supplies, and labor. You’ll not likely get a quality engine oil, nor a quality oil filter, which sets your engine up for premature wear and possible failure. Additionally, you’ll likely face pressure on upsells that you might be unready to pay for or actually need. By paying an honest price for an oil change or whatever services you need, you are more likely to receive better service without upsell pressure – you may still get upsold, but they’ll likely be more honest.

Auto diagnostics is another thing that really ought to be paid for. Considering the complexity of the engine control system, online searches, forum postings, and guessing just isn’t conducive to a successful auto repair. True, some fixes are more common than others, but statistics don’t favor the individual. At best, you’ll end up wasting money on un-necessary repairs. Auto diagnostics requires an experienced analytical mind and specialized tools, things that it just makes sense to pay for.

While your bank account and a reliable car are tangible things, building a good relationship with a car repair shop or a specific auto repair technician has intangible benefits you may never have thought of. If you price-shop auto repair and car maintenance, you’ll almost never find “the best prices” at the same shop every time. You might visit five shops who only see you as “a number.” Loyalty can be questionable: they know you’ll never be back so they’re more likely to upsell you. By searching out and sticking with a single full-service auto repair shop, you build a relationship that benefits you both. You’re more likely to get honest service if they know you’ll be back in 5,000 miles or the next time your check engine light comes on.

The Object of the Game

We already know auto repair costs money, but there are good reasons to not “cheap out” when it comes to keeping your car running its best. After all, your car gets you to work and school and play, and there is no substitute for a reliable car. Kept in good repair, even if you spend good money on auto repair, your car saves money in good fuel economy, fewer breakdowns, and lower overall repair costs. Using quality parts and supplies, trained and experienced technicians, and sticking with a single shop can keep your car on the road with fewer headaches and more money in your pocket.

The post Shop Auto Repair Quality, Not Price! appeared first on Auto City.

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In our previous article, How to Buy Car Insurance, we mainly advised that you pay attention to the amounts of different kinds of coverage included to make sure you have enough insurance but not more than you need, and then emphasized the importance of shopping around to get the best deal possible in a very competitive market. Think of all those commercials you see from different car insurance companies all saying they can save you money – it’s worth checking them out and comparing them to each other. But there are other ways to get more affordable car insurance. The ones we’ll cover in this article include the kind of car you’re insuring and whether or not you should participate in one of those driving habit tracking programs some companies offer.

More Affordable Car Insurance Depends on Your Car

Besides how competitive some insurance companies are with the cost of their policies, a major driving force behind insurance rates has to do with the kind of car you’re insuring. When an insurance company is looking at what they’re going to charge for their coverage, they take into account the vehicle’s risk as shown by claim histories, accident rates and how often they get stolen. Particular models with higher claim histories are going to cost more to insure while those with fewer and lower-cost claims will be cheaper to insure. The insurance companies are trying to take in more revenues through premiums customers pay than what they pay out in claims because that’s how they make money.

This relatively simple concept explains why some kinds of cars are always going to cost more to insure. Sports cars are typically driven by younger drivers, who are more likely to have accidents, which drives up the cost to insure them. Luxury cars are also more expensive to insure because repair costs are higher for them, as is the cost of replacing them when totaled. The higher costs involved in repairing electric and hybrids can also make them costlier to insure. If your car is one that thieves find attractive, the cost of your comprehensive insurance will be more.

So where does that leave you in terms of the cars that are cheapest to insure? One analysis looked at the top 25 best-selling models of cars and then ranked the top five cheapest to insure models as 1) Subaru Outback, 2) Ford Escape, 3) Chevrolet Equinox, 4) Toyota RAV4, and 5) Honda CR-V. If you look at the wider market and not just top-selling models (which tend to have higher-than-average insurance costs), the ranking comes out more like this: 1) Honda Odyssey LX, 2) Jeep Renegade Sport, 3) Jeep Wrangler Black Bear, 4) Honda CR-V LX, and 5) Jeep Compass.

If you’re in the market for a new car, those rankings could help you choose a vehicle that will cost less to insure. What about used cars? Somewhat different but not hugely so. The rankings for used cars by average insurance costs will typically include Honda Odyssey, Honda CR-V, and Ford Escape as highly recognizable models. But then you’ll also find some odd ones such as Saturn SL1, Kia Spectra and Mercury Sable.

Tracking Devices for More Affordable Car Insurance

Many of the insurance companies are offering “safe driving” programs that can get you a significant discount on your car insurance. The way these programs work nowadays is either through a smartphone app or by plugging a tracking device into your diagnostics port and leaving it there for some period of time. The device keeps track of various driving habits the companies think are important to safe driving such as hard breaks, fast accelerations, late-night driving, safe speeds, and so forth. Here are some of the programs offered by various companies:

If you do any of these programs, you have a great chance to get significant savings if you don’t do late-night driving and avoid fast starts and high speeds. But what you’ll quickly find out is how often you stop with what the device is going to consider a “hard brake.” This can get really frustrating when the device beeps what feels like every time you stop. It seems the devices consider a hard brake an indication that you’re either driving too fast or not paying attention. What it doesn’t account for is how often what it considers a “hard brake” is in reality good defensive driving – like to avoid hitting wildlife or people or other objects that appear suddenly in front of you. But if you can train yourself to really go easy and start applying your brakes gently well ahead of when you need to make a stop, even that annoying feature can be overcome.

It’s also worth noting that right now these programs are all opt-in, but that might not always be the case. Insurance companies could decide to require them. It may be worth your while to try one of these programs if one is offered by your current insurance company just to get a feel for how they work so that if it becomes required in the future, you’ll already know how to drive in ways that won’t hurt your insurance rate.

Most of these programs have also evolved over the years to change their basic approach. It used to be that what they were doing was rewarding drivers with good habits by discounting their insurance rates. The approach now is one of penalizing drivers with bad driving habits with higher rates. The all still use the same language of “saving money” on your insurance by participating in the program, but the shift in philosophy is interesting.

These programs are not without controversy. The devices do track GPS location of your vehicle, which may or may not play into what the insurance company is considering for potential discounts (or avoidance of penalties). But a lot of people just don’t like the idea of being tracked that closely. It also raises the larger issue about data use and abuse. The devices are collecting and conveying all sorts of data from your car’s computer systems, so how well is the data encrypted (if at all) when being transmitted? How easily can those devices be hacked and become a way into your vehicle’s computer systems? These are questions the companies have not really dealt with in a definitive way, leaving many customers wary about participating in them. A great article about the various issues involved can be found here.

If you’re ready to find a great used car in the San Diego area, we invite you to take a look at everything Auto City does to make the used car shopping and buying process better than anything you’ve ever experienced before. Our Why Buy From Us page explains all six elements of the Auto City Advantage: Superior Inventory (we select only the best and forget the rest), Perfect Pricing (firm, no-haggle pricing), our 3-Day Money-Back Guarantee (no questions asked), Financing for All (we rock at car loans), Challenged Credit Financing (including bankruptcies), and our many Rave Reviews. Visit us in El Cajon or check out our used car inventory online today!

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Most people don’t realize just how popular diesel cars are in other parts of the world. In Europe, fully 50% of all new cars sold each year run on diesel. Meanwhile, here in the United States that figure is a tiny 3%. There are lots of reasons why diesel has yet to catch on in the USA, but a shift is beginning to take place. Yes, those Europeans are onto something! In this article you’ll discover 8 reasons why you should choose diesel if you’re going to buy a car in 2019.

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Reason #1: Incredible Fuel Economy when You Choose Diesel

Those of you who were driving twenty or thirty years ago might remember when diesel fuel used to cost less than gasoline. These days, diesel costs more than regular gasoline and tends to be more on par with premium gasoline prices. But get a load of this: Your fuel economy in a diesel is on average as much as 33% higher than its gasoline counterpart. The difference can vary quite a bit depending on the make and model of the car, so be sure to look at figures for the specific vehicles that interest you. Why is a diesel engine so much more fuel efficient than a gasoline engine? Without getting into too detailed, it has to do mostly with differences between the two fuels:

  • Diesel has a much lower evaporation point than gasoline. Regular gas evaporates at room temperature.
  • Diesel is combustible whereas gas is a flammable liquid. All gas needs is a spark to act as fuel, whereas diesel requires both compression and heat to function.
  • The power generated by the combustion of diesel is much greater than that of gasoline because diesel is denser – this makes diesel much more efficient than gasoline.

With that said, diesel’s fuel economy shines best with highway driving rather than urban short-trip driving. Most hybrids, on the other hand are the exact opposite, utilizing the power generation from braking in around-town driving to maintain battery power. This is why diesel fuel economy on highway driving can even beat many hybrids.

Reason #2: Better Resale Value When You Choose Diesel

If you’ve ever looked at the up-front price tags on diesel cars, then you also know they’re higher than gas cars, often by at least several thousand dollars. Seems like you’d have to drive the car a long time to make that up through fuel economy, right? But that’s the wrong way to think about it. Most people don’t hang onto cars until the bitter end of their useful life, and the good news is that diesel cars hold their resale value much better than their gasoline siblings. Diesel vehicles experience less depreciation, which can make them especially attractive as lease options.

Reason #3: Lower Overall Cost of Ownership When You Choose Diesel

Even though a diesel car comes with a higher price tag and even though diesel fuel is more expensive than regular gasoline, the better fuel economy and better resale value when it’s time to sell it make for a truly winning combination. Specifically, diesel vehicles offer a significantly lower total cost of ownership over five years and 75,000 miles of driving. Total cost of ownership accounts for depreciation, fuel, repairs, fees and taxes, maintenance, and insurance. A study back in 2015 at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute “found that based on fuel costs, resale value and operating costs, diesel vehicles saved owners as much as $2,000 to $6,000 in Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) during a three to five year period when compared to similar gasoline vehicles (source).

Reason #4: Diesel Vehicles are Way Better Now than they Used to be

Think about what diesel cars used to be like back in the 1970s and 1980s. They were considered dirty black-smoke-belching monsters no one wanted to be around, let alone drive. But there have been vast improvements to diesel vehicles over the last couple of decades such that you wouldn’t notice many differences at all between a diesel and gas version of the same car, except better fuel economy and more torque with the diesel (more on that later). If you haven’t checked out diesel vehicles in a long time, you’ll be very pleasantly surprised at what’s available these days. In short, they are no longer the loud, smelly, slow diesels of yesteryear.

Reason #5: Diesel Engines Last a Lot Longer than Gas Engines

You can generally expect to run a gasoline engine for 200,000 miles over its life on average, but a diesel can generally be expected to run for 350,000 miles over its life, which again varies widely by make and model. Why such a big difference between the two engines? A diesel engine operates through direct fuel injection, meaning the fuel goes right into the cylinders, and those cylinders are specifically designed to withstand a lot of pressure and heat. There are no spark plugs used in a diesel engine, which is what gasoline engines require to operate. A gasoline engine adds air to the fuel, then compresses the fuel in the piston and ignites by the spark plugs. In a diesel engine, the air is first compressed because this heats the air up enough for the fuel to ignite when it is injected into the piston.

The downside of the diesel engine is that because it relies on temperature rather than spark to ignite the fuel, they can have more trouble getting started in cold temperatures, which is why “glow” plugs are sometimes added in to help raise the temperature to lead to combustion in cold weather. Because diesel fuel is actually a light oil, it automatically lubricates engine parts as it is used, resulting in a longer life. Gasoline, by contrast, acts more like a detergent or solvent that washes oil away, resulting in more wear and tear on the engine.

Reason #6: A Diesel Car Has More Torque

To be more technically correct, a gasoline-powered engine has higher horsepower and faster top speeds, but a diesel engine produces more torque. Torque can be loosely defined as the twisting force needed to rotate something. In the case of cars that translates to the crankshaft and rotating of the wheels. Because higher compression is involved in a diesel engine, more twisting force is exerted on the crankshaft. It also helps that diesel fuel contains more energy than gasoline, on average 147,000 BTUs per gallon of diesel versus 125,000 BTUs for a gallon of regular gasoline. Diesels also have a longer piston stroke length in order to get higher air compression, and since torque consists of force times distance, that longer stroke length produces more torque. What that feels like when you’re driving is more “power” at lower speeds in a diesel. Or if you’re driving up a steep hill and a lot of torque, you’ll still be able to accelerate with a diesel engine whereas it will be much harder to do so with a gasoline engine, and especially in a higher gear. The higher torque of a diesel engine can give you the rush of faster initial acceleration. If you like the feeling of being pushed back into your seat out of the starting gate, the torque of a diesel engine can give you that feeling pretty easily.

Reason #7: Diesel Fuel Can be Better for the Environment

Environmental regulators tend to go back and forth over the question of whether diesel is better than gasoline when it comes to environmental impact in the form of exhaust emissions. Diesel engines produce dirtier emissions than gasoline engines, but many believe their greater fuel economy offsets those emissions. If you go back a couple decades, diesel was touted as better for the environment because it had significantly lower carbon dioxide emissions than gasoline. But improvements to gasoline have reduced that difference. Diesel does, however tend to emit less carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide than gasoline.

Meanwhile, diesel fuel does emit more of other kinds of pollution, including nitrous oxides and particulates that have a more direct impact on human health. And it’s that particulate pollution (soot) that gave diesel such a bad name back in the 1970s. But just like gasoline, big improvements have been made in diesel so that it burns a lot cleaner than it did in those days. It’s also worth noting that producing diesel fuel requires a lot less intensive refining than gasoline, which means the energy cost of producing diesel is a lot less than gasoline. In the final analysis, diesel makes less of a contribution to global warming and climate change than gasoline, but probably has a higher negative impact on ground-level air quality than gasoline depending on what pollution-reduction technologies have been included. In both cases, newer models are better than older models.

Reason #8: You Have Fuel Flexibility Options

One of the other big advantages of a diesel vehicle for the eco-conscious crowd is how easy it can be to switch from regular diesel fuel to something eco-friendlier. “Diesel engines were originally invented to run on vegetable oils. Today, most diesel engines can run on high-quality blends of biodiesel with little modification as well as next-generation, drop-in renewable diesel fuels which offer even further benefits. This flexibility of the diesel platform can accelerate the introduction of these renewable diesel fuels across the economy.

If you’d like to choose diesel for your next car, be sure to check out the Auto City inventory page for the latest listing of vehicles we have available. On the left side of the page are various filters you can use to refine your search, including by fuel type, where one of your choices is diesel. Or you can just click on this link to get a page with all our diesel vehicles listed. But besides our superior selection of vehicles, Auto City has no-haggle firm up-front pricing, a 3-day money-back guarantee, financing for all, and rave reviews from thousands of happy customers. If you’re in the greater San Diego area, come discover the Auto City Advantage in El Cajon!

Top Reasons To Choose a Diesel Car in 2019

Top 5 Reasons To Choose a Diesel Car in 2019 - YouTube

The post Top 8 Reasons to Choose a Diesel Car in 2019 appeared first on Auto City.

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When shopping for a used car, everyone wants to find one for a good price that’s in great shape. One challenge is how difficult it is to compare different used cars, because each one is unique and different depending on how their previous owners drove them and cared for them. When you’re looking at various used cars at a dealership, the most important thing of all is the reconditioning that went into preparing them for sale as it will ultimately determine the condition of that used car, its overall cost of ownership and how good or bad it is posed to serve its new owner. For this reason a lower priced used car does not always equal a better deal. A properly reconditioned used car may be more expensive initially but ii will surely save a lot more in the long run.

Used Car Reconditioning by the Numbers

It’s great when a customer comes into a dealership with an awesome car and wants to trade it in towards another because the dealership didn’t have to do anything to find the car. But most dealerships can’t run a successful used car operation relying solely upon trade-ins. Another option for acquiring inventory includes buying cars from wholesale auctions, which is what most dealerships do. Either way, the single most important thing for any dealership’s used cars is the care and attention that goes into reconditioning them.

Most people don’t realize how much reconditioning affects the operations of a car dealership, whether it’s an independent used car dealership or a new-car dealership with a used car division. What’s interesting from an industry point of view is how much the overall spend on reconditioning has gone up in recent years. The last year for which data is available is 2017, during which the average amount spent at a new-car dealership for reconditioning used cars was an eye-popping $635,453 (back in 2009 this figure was only $288,479). Why is the spend on reconditioning so much these days? It has a lot to do with what’s happening in the new car market.

Right now, new car sales are in a slump. In fact, the first quarter of 2019 saw new car sales dip under 3 million units for the first time in six years. Higher prices on new cars have pushed many consumers to buy used cars instead – the average price of a new car is now above $34,000. But here’s the thing: Someone who is deciding to buy used instead of new wants their used car purchase to be as close to new as possible while still saving money, and it’s this demand for higher-quality used cars that is a major driving force in higher reconditioning spends at dealerships.

Reconditioning versus Detailing

Detailing is an important piece of prepping a used car for sale. It consists of thoroughly cleaning (inside and out) and preserving a car so it looks and feels as close to new as possible. But detailing is what happens at the end of the reconditioning process, which involves everything that goes into repairing and restoring the vehicle to something as close to new as possible. Reconditioning can include all kinds of repairs, such as headlight restoration, paint chip repair, plastic trim restoration, repairing holes and tears in cloth, fixing dents and dings, vinyl and leather repair, carpet dying and rejuvenation, foul odor-removal, and on goes the list to include any kind of mechanical or cosmetic repair needed to bring the vehicle up to standards for presenting on the lot.

Speed and Quality are the Driving Forces Behind Used Car Reconditioning

A car sitting around waiting for reconditioning to get started or finished is a car that is not out on the lot being sold, which means it’s costing the dealership money. As you might expect, dealerships are looking to recondition vehicles as quickly as possible to keep their inventory fresh and moving. But they also have to pay attention to the quality of the work in order to fetch the best prices and maintain their reputation for quality vehicles. Every dealership is different in this regard. The ones who are aren’t paying attention to the efficiency of the reconditioning operation are taking upwards of two weeks to get a car ready, which is way too much time. The dealerships who are doing everything in their power to speed the process up have to be careful not to cut corners and sacrifice quality. In the industry, the metric being tracked is often referred to as recon-to-front-line time or time-to-market, and it does have a surprisingly large impact on gross profit margins, so it’s something good dealerships pay attention to.

Auto City Takes Reconditioning Seriously

Here at Auto City, we take reconditioning more seriously than many dealerships. Why? Because we know that our excellent customer satisfaction ratings depend on it! When we see a dealership who claims their recon-to-front-line metric has been whittled all the way down to three days (and some will even say two days), we have a hard time believing that they’ve put quality first. In our own experience, we’re fine with an average total recon turnaround time of seven days, give or take a day depending on the car’s needs. For us, that’s the right amount of time to make sure a vehicle is in the kind of tip-top shape our customers have come to expect from us. Anything significantly less than that would run the risk of not meeting our high quality standards.

Of course, there are some dealerships who don’t do proper or thorough reconditioning at all beyond a round of detailing to clean a car up. You’ll never find a car on the Auto City lot that hasn’t been thoroughly reconditioned from top to bottom, front to back, inside and out. That’s our commitment to quality and our commitment to you, the customer.

Auto City’s reconditioning efforts are a big part of what goes into the incredible inventory of used cars we have on hand, with fresh inventory arriving on a weekly and even daily basis, and each one goes through our very thorough inspection and reconditioning process before it goes on display for you to see. We are so confident in the quality of our cars that we even offer you a 3-day, no-questions-asked money-back guarantee! How many dealerships have you ever heard of doing that? It’s just one of the many ways we do things differently here at Auto City. If you’re ready to discover a whole new way of shopping for used cars in the San Diego area, come visit us in El Cajon today!

The post Why Used Car Reconditioning is The Single Most Important Thing when it Comes to Car Shopping! appeared first on Auto City.

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When you step back and look at how the Internet and mobile technologies have totally transformed life in the 21st century, it’s pretty amazing. Besides the ability to quickly find information and connect with people all over the world, people today don’t think twice about buying nearly anything online. Never before has it been so easy to find product information for comparison shopping and have your purchases delivered to your home in ever-shorter amounts of time. But there are still some things better purchased in-person, and we think used cars are among them. In fact, this article will give you 4 big reasons NOT to buy used cars online.

Reason #1: New Cars are Different from Used Cars

One of the most important things to keep in mind if you’re considering buying a car online is how new cars and used cars are different. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Of course they’re different, but people tend to forget why the difference is important and how this relates to online car shopping. New cars are all the same within a particular make, model and trim style (except for color and options). They roll off the factory line the same.

Every used car, however, is totally different in all kinds of ways, even within the same year, make, model and trim style. This makes perfect sense when you think about it. After all, everyone drives their car differently and takes care of it (or doesn’t take care of it) differently. Take three 2016 cars of the same make/model and they could be hugely different. One might have been kept meticulously clean and followed all the regular maintenance guidelines while the second might have been handled roughly or not kept clean or maintained, and the third might have been in an accident or a flood with the damage hidden to fool unsuspecting buyers.

You can see what we mean when we say new cars and used cars are fundamentally different, right? A used car has a whole history of previous ownership that has a huge impact on its quality, which is not true for brand-new car. If you are familiar with a particular make and model of car you like and are ready to upgrade, by all means, go ahead and order it up online and have it delivered to your local dealership for that brand. You can do this because you know what you’re getting. The same is not true for a used car, which is why we don’t recommend ever buying a used car online. You run a huge risk of the car not meeting your expectations.

Reason #2: Shopping and Buying Used Cars Online Are Two Different Things

We also want you to know that just because we recommend resisting the temptation to buy used cars online doesn’t mean you can’t shop for a used car online. What we mean by shopping in this sense, however, does not including buying. Before life became mostly online, people used to do something called “window shopping,” which just meant looking at different products arranged in storefront window displays. If you saw something you liked, you might go in and take a closer look. That’s the kind of online shopping that is appropriate to do online.

You can search the websites of all the dealers in your area to see if they have the kinds of used cars that interest you. You can visit sites like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds to find out what kinds of prices people are paying in your area for various used cars. You can research what Consumer Reports says are the most reliable used cars to buy. You can do a lot of window shopping online, but when you come across one or more used cars that interest you, then you have to go see those cars in-person and test-drive them to make sure it’s what you really want and is in good enough condition to justify the asking price.

Reason #3: Face-to-Face, Eye-to-Eye with the Seller

Besides not being able to inspect the car yourself to assess its true condition, another big downside when you buy used cars online is not meeting in person with the seller. A face-to-face meeting with the seller is a key part of the car buying process, whether it’s a dealership or for-sale-by-owner situation. Why? There’s a lot you can pick up on when you meet in person.

In a dealership situation, interacting with one or more of the salespeople can quickly tell you whether or not the dealership is reputable. If the salesperson tries to rush the process, use high-pressure sales tactics, or convince you to look at cars you know are way above your budget, you can always just walk away.

In a private sale situation, the same is true. You have the opportunity to to pick up on all kind of visual cues and body language that help you decide whether the seller is being honest about the car’s condition, not to mention being able to look the car over in person and take it for a test drive. You simply don’t get the opportunity for any of that to happen if you buy used cars online. If you want to greatly increase the chances of buying a quality used car that meets your expectations, dealing face-to-face and eye-to-eye with the seller is the way to go.

Reason #4: Red Flags When You Buy Used Cars Online

You have to be smart when you’re looking at used cars online because there’s a lot about the car you simply won’t know unless you go see it in person. Keep the following in mind to convince yourself not to buy used cars online:

  • If a used car listing online doesn’t include lots of great pictures, consider it a big red flag. You should be able to look at least a dozen photos of all parts and angles of the actual car being sold, inside and out. An online seller who doesn’t puts a sub-par effort into this is probably trying to hide something, so beware!
  • When you buy used cars online, you can expect delivery to take much longer than you’d be willing to wait for any other purchase you make online – there is no two-day “Prime” shipping of cars! Purchase your car locally or regionally and you’ll drive away in it when you close the deal. And get a load of this: Some cars purchased online do come with a very limited guarantee – but it might expire before the car is even delivered! Not to even mention that shipping a car is always expensive, so that has to be added on top of the purchase price.
  • Unless you see and inspect and drive the car yourself (or take it to a trusted mechanic), you really have no way of knowing the car’s true condition. This is just not smart because you could wind up with a true lemon or an unsafe car – and there will be very little if anything you can do about it.
  • Any online used car seller, whether a dealer or an individual, who isn’t willing to provide you a free copy of a vehicle history report should not be trusted!
  • State regulations for motor vehicles vary from state to state. If you purchase a car online in one state and have it delivered to your state, it might to comply with things like emission standards. Paperwork can also be tricky when you buy used cars online. Each state has its own paperwork requirements, and some don’t accept electronic signatures.

All those things listed above are some of the many ways that you’re more vulnerable to things going wrong when you buy used cars online. Is it really worth the risk?

Buy Your Next Used Car from a Dealer You Can Trust!

You can avoid all the potential pitfalls and dangers of online buying if you opt instead for a reputable used car dealership that will treat you right. We created Auto City more than a decade ago because we saw a need that we could meet for the many car shoppers in San Diego area who wanted a different, better experience of buying a used car. We looked at every part of the process people found frustrating and came up with a better way to do each one.

At Auto City you never have to haggle over price. Most people hate doing that, so we adopted a fair, up-front firm pricing model to save everyone’s time. We do real market research to determine what we think will be highly competitive pricing on each of our vehicles. And our selection of vehicles is top-notch. You never have to worry about buying a lemon from us. We focus on more recent models with low mileage that are already in great condition, and then we still thoroughly inspect and recondition each one to make sure it meets our high quality standard. Check out our current inventory to see for yourself!

But we don’t stop there. We also offer the best financing options around, whether your credit is perfect or serious challenged – even including open or recently discharged bankruptcies. In short, we rock at car loans thanks to our large network of reputable lenders who all compete to make you the winner of a great loan. Even better, we offer a 3-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee on every sale. If you have second thoughts, you can return the car for a full refund if it’s within three days of when you bought it.

Thousands of people in the greater San Diego have discovered the Auto City Advantage. You can read the real reviews from our customers on Google, Yelp, and DealerRater – where we’ve been named California’s used car dealer of the year three years in a row and have also received their consumer satisfaction award for three years running! If a whole new, better way of buying used cars sounds good to you, visit Auto City!

The post Top 4 Reasons Not to Buy Used Cars Online appeared first on Auto City.

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