After buying a house a vehicle represents the second biggest investment for most of us. In fact, reliable transportation holds a place of importance equal to housing for most Americans. Even die-hard urbanites who reside within close proximity to public transit facilities utilize cars as a form of personal expression. Commercial entities likely employ cars as platforms to reach many pecuniary destinations via lasting public impressions.
An overview of various ways to extract maximum mileage from a piece of machinery that assumes a larger-than-life status and multi-faceted role follows:
Financial “Front End” Alignment
Minimizing acquisition costs is the first step in the odyssey to optimizing long-term advantages of auto ownership. Depreciation is the first economic obstacle to effectively confront and successfully overcome. A well-known Biblical philosophy posits that “pride goeth before a fall.” That sage advice holds equally true for modern motorists’ financial outlook as it did for ancestors’ social and esoteric status. Do not passively accept depreciation’s devastating economic impact. Instead, accept others’ invitation to incur its costs by choosing a high-quality pre-owned edition of your coveted car. Beware: Successful execution of this economic feat entails a delicate balancing act.
Getting reliable transportation at the lowest possible price is the object of this game and must remain your overriding objective at all relevant times. Online local listings like craigslist.org or other virtual resources offer the best overall odds of avoiding the “lemons” that litter the paths to relatively rare “cream puffs.” Low mileage and late model years are the twin landmarks to look for guidance in your search for a great car deal. Those residing near a major military installation are most fortunate in this regard. Military service members dispatched to distance duty on short notice make for motivated sellers willing to offer great deals – with no strings attached.
Lender repossessions are another little-known resource for putting prospective car owners behind the wheel of a machine that matches their budget. When banks must take back collateral, the last thing they want is to sit on it forever. Rather, they want fast liquidation for cold hard cash to line corporate coffers. Take advantage of their motivation and near desperation to negotiate a drastic price cut for a late-model vehicle of your dreams.
Routine Maintenance is Perfunctory
An ounce of prevention always beats pounds of cure when it comes to maximizing auto performance and longevity. Simple measures go a long way toward enhancing car owners’ pleasure.
Regular fluid checks. Just as sufficient liquid intake is imperative to your body’s overall health, maintaining adequate levels of various fluids are vital to maximizing your car’s mechanical condition.
This slimy dark substance provides indispensable lubrication to keep engine components working smoothly without undue internal friction. Also, don’t forget the emission testing if your vehicle is a bit of an oldie.
This clear solution is essential to keeping cool head cams, gear shafts, and engine blocks. Absent adequate H2O continuously circulating to safeguard against excessive heat invasion, things come to a screeching halt.
- Transmission fluid
This synthetic substance keeps gears contained within automatic transmission working well. Failure to keep the well beneath the hood fully will result in your vehicle’s stubborn refusal to budge an inch when you try to back out of your driveway one day.
- Brake fluid
Car owners who fail to keep enough of this juice on hand literally jeopardize life and limb. I speak from personal experience. After noticing my Nova’s stubborn recalcitrance to halt when prompted at red lights and stop signs, I delayed consulting a mechanic due to fear of brake replacement costs. A near-collision with a 16-wheeler abruptly disrupted my stubborn disposition, however. Upon my (reluctant) visit to a reputable mechanic, I learned that all my prior fears would have been easily alleviated by a $2.99 bottle of DOT 3 brake fluid. Needless delay prompted by ignorance induced a $200 bill from accumulated air that destroyed the brake line in the interim!
Other DIY Mechanical Endeavors
Cars require other simple replacements beside mere continual liquid libation. Following are a few simple, low-cost replacements that lay car owners may easily perform:
- Air filter
These easily replaceable devices ensure adequate internal airflow inside your vehicle’s engine. You can find a perfect fit for most models at any major auto parts retailer for less than $3.00.
- Windshield wipers
- Blinker and headlight replacement bulbs
All the above safety devices can mean the difference between life and death in perilous situations and snow-filled winter climes. Their miniscule price tags become even less significant after citation fines for improper equipment are factored in.
Retreaded used tires from reputable suppliers perform as well as brand new rubber wheels – for a fraction of the cost.
Reduce operating overhead. Savvy car owners can substantially decrease the peripheral costs of operating a vehicle by implementing these helpful hints:
Lower this perpetual pecuniary drain immensely by obtaining a prepaid gasoline card. Such financial devices typically feature discounts of up to 5 percent on all gasoline purchases. Before your next foray to purchase fuel from the closest station, visit gasbuddy.com or a similar online site to ascertain the lowest prices in your area. A simple zip code entry instantly reveals the best gas bargains on a real time basis.
Utilize online search engines such as esurance.com to find lowest possible premiums. Investigate possible discounts thoroughly. Group affiliations such as membership in professional associations, affinity organizations, and even personal characteristics such as gender, marital status, excellent credit, having an exemplary driving record, or being a non-smoker may be worth more than you think.
In case you have not followed through with all this… at all times check out “Things to remember if your car breaks down.”
The tail end..
Car owners preparing to part with their pride and joy after a long, productive love-hate relationship should heed the following pointers:
- Private sale vs. dealer trade-in
Dispose of your old clunker privately instead of trading it in for a direct price concession from the prospective dealer. The latter approach lets car owners bolster their bottom lines by several hundred dollars compared to the former option. Deal directly with end users on a retail basis rather than business-level wholesale middlemen when that is possible.
Commercial auto sellers simply sit on your trade-in until the next auction – at which time they let it go for a song in order to make room for the next conquest from an eager buyer like you. By contrast, end users with visions of open roads willingly pay full retail value for the privilege of turning their dreams into reality. Help them and yourself simultaneously.
As the excited purchaser pulls off with a beaming countenance, let you own face break into an equally broad as you pat the newfound lump in your pocket that is sufficiently padded to finance both a down payment and insurance binder on your next automotive acquisition! And yes we can’t kick out our car addiction…not just yet.
And since you will be buying a new car don’t forget to check out our Green cars section.