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Archive for February, 2012

Monkeemobile: A Tribute to Davy Jones

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Former Monkee Davy Jones passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack on Wednesday. Although the tragedy will likely cause people to reminisce to tunes like "Daydream Believer" and "I Wanna Be Free," others may choose to reflect on his ride of choice when he was in the band – the Monkeemobile.

The car, made famous thanks to the band's 1960s television show, was actually a modified Pontiac GTO. It was created by legendary designer Dean Jeffries and built by George Barris, who is responsible for another icon of yesteryear – the Batmobile, USA Today reports. Though he only met Jones and the other band members several times, Barris has fond memories of both them and the car he helped create.

"He was kind of like the spark of the group," Barris told the publication of Davy Jones. "He had a character, had a certain personality. He seemed to be more dramatic and more fun."

Though the show went off the air in 1968, the legend of the Monkeemobile lived on. There were two models that were used on the show, one went to Barris and the other actually had quite a journey. After it fell out of view, it eventually resurfaced in Puerto Rico before moving back to New York State.

Of course, not everybody can have a customized GTO in their garage, but that does not mean its upkeep is any less important. Regular maintenance is a crucial part of used car ownership and New Jersey State Auto Auction's Total Car Care center is the place to go to ensure your vehicle runs smoothly. Open to the public, the center provides drivers with experienced mechanics that offer everything from repair to regular tune ups.

High Occupancy Toll Lanes Become More Popular

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Anybody who has sat in traffic and groaned when they saw cars whizzing by in the car pool lane may be able to do something about it. Since October, officials in Georgia have given drivers the opportunity to pay for the privilege of riding in the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane, even if there's only one person in their car, The New York Times reports.

The program was started in an effort to help keep traffic low in the Atlanta area. It works by charging a fee that can vary depending on how busy the road is. The cost can range anywhere from 11 to 90 cents per mile. According to the newspaper, other cities including Denver, Houston and Los Angeles are all considering the lanes – dubbed high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes. However, they have not been without their critics.

Some claim that HOT lanes are too expensive for average motorists to drive in, and the result is added buildup on the normal lanes and only high-end vehicles making use of the convenience. Still, officials are hopeful that the ease of use will change some people's minds.

"Anybody who’s a driver can at certain times find it really valuable to get somewhere faster," Ellen Hanak, a senior policy fellow with the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California, told the Times. "Time can be money for everybody."

If you're looking for a minivan or SUV to help you get in the HOV, you may want to look toward New Jersey State Auto Auction. With a wide variety of makes and models, there is sure to be something for even the choosiest of consumers.

CR-V, Passat Top Best Family Vehicles List

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Purchasing the right family car can be a big decision. Between rides to school, sports practice and social functions, it may seem like a family spends most of their time in the car. So, you should not take the decision lightly. In the hopes of making the choice a little bit easier, Kelley Blue Book (KBB) recently unveiled its picks for the best family cars of 2012.

KBB took a number of factors into consideration when forming the list. Everything from safety to comfort to consumer ratings played a part in the final rankings. The list includes a wide variety to address the unique needs of families.

"After driving and evaluating nearly all of the new cars available on the market today, we identified the vehicles that offer the greatest combination of features and value for everyday families," Jack R. Nerad the executive editorial director and executive market analyst for kbb.com.

One inclusion that should not surprise anybody is the Honda CR-V. This long-time family favorite has been a reliable crossover SUV for years and that's not expected to change in the near future. Among its most stand-out features is a rear-seat entertainment system that few other similar models offer.

Also on the list is the Subaru Outback. The reliable sport-utility wagon can handle rough terrain while also turning in impressive fuel economy. Add that to the plenty of storage space and it's no wonder why this model made the list.

Families looking to downsize may want to go with the Volkswagen Passat or Toyota Prius, both of which made the list for their spacious interiors and high gas mileage.

If you're in the market for a used family car, look no further than New Jersey State Auto Auction. With a wide variety of makes and models there's sure to be something to suit the needs of both you and your loved ones.

Used Cars More Reliable Than Ever

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

In years past, used cars may have been painted as less reliable than their brand new counterparts. While that may have been the case decades ago, it is no longer true, experts say, and buying a used car may actually be the better choice than going new.

To find out just how much the quality of used cars has improved, analysts at Consumer Reports looked at the number problem-free three-year old models in its 2002 surveys compared to its 2011 surveys. In looking at the two batches of data, they found that nearly all automakers improved their reliability in 2011, with brands like Volvo, Volkswagen, Ford and GM making the biggest gains.

Though the reliability of used cars has improved dramatically over the last several years, that does not mean you should take your foot off the pedal when it comes to doing your due diligence. Consumer Reports says there are a number of things you can do to ensure you're driving away with a good ride.

Perhaps most importantly, you'll want to be on the lookout for signs of any collision damage. There are obvious indicators, including mismatched doors and body handles, but you should also keep an eye out for trunks that don't close properly. Similarly, mold or mildew along with a discolored carpet is indicative of flood damage.

Along with its repair history you should pay close attention to what's coming out of the car's exhaust pipe. Both blue smoke and billowing white smoke are signs the engine is not working properly and would likely need a significant repair to fix.

Though being a discerning shopper is important, you likely will not have to worry about such things at New Jersey State Auto Auction. All of the dealers makes and models are CARFAX certified, so you know you're getting a reliable car no matter what.

Subaru Tops Consumer Reports Automaker Report Card

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

The Consumer Reports automaker report card is not set to hit newsstands until March 6, but the publication gave an early glimpse at its scores, and a first time company made it to the top of the list. Subaru came in with the highest score of 75 thanks in large part to a fleet of redesigned models.

The score is two points higher they last year and can be chalked up to new looks for the Impreza, Legacy and Outback. In fact, the 2012 Impreza was also named as the publication's top pick in the small-sedan class segment.

There were also some shake-ups below Subaru. Honda had nailed down the top place on the list last year, but it fell all the way to fourth this year. Conversely, Mazda landed in second place after jumping five spots from last year's seventh place finish. Toyota, which always has a strong showing, was in third. Though Japanese automakers dominated, experts say they should be on the lookout for American and European challengers.

"While Japanese automakers still hold the top five spots, their lead is shrinking," said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports Automotive Test Center. "In some of Honda's and Toyota's recently redesigned models, cost-cutting has become more noticeable."

Whether you're looking to pick up a used Subaru or are more loyal to Ford or Chevy, New Jersey State Auto Auction likely has the car for you. With a wide variety of makes and models, all at affordable prices, there's something for everyone. Not only that, but with guaranteed credit approval, getting a loan is as easy as ever.

How to Tell When Brake Pads Should Be Replaced

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Brake pads provide both friction and a cushion to help bring your car to a safe stop without wearing down the other components of the brake system. They are typically made of a metal mixture, although some high-performance vehicles may be equipped with ceramic brake pads. These auto parts are designed to wear down over time, and it is important to keep an eye on them. If you wait too long to replace worn brake pads, you risk damaging the brake rotors and the calipers, which could require more expensive repairs to get your brakes working well once more.

You can easily inspect the thickness of the brake pads in most cars by peering through the wheels. Some vehicles may not provide a convenient access window, but most brake pads come with built-in warning systems. Once they wear down enough, a small metal piece will become exposed. This causes a high-pitched squealing sound when the brakes are applied. When you hear this noise, you'll want to take your car to an auto maintenance professional to have the brake pads replaced. It is important to change the pads sooner rather than later, as allowing them to wear further can damage the brake system.

This is a project that gearheads can typically tackle on their own, but other drivers may want to leave the job to the professionals at New Jersey State Auto Auction's Total Car Care center. The automotive experts at this service center, located in Jersey City and open to the public, can replace the brake pads to help keep your car safe on the road.

New Cars Offering Fewer Options

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Automakers are offering fewer choices when it comes to purchasing new cars, and although the companies say it's with the best interests of the consumers in mind, it may limit the options available to buyers. Instead, prospective drivers may want to head to New Jersey State Auto Auction and check out a wide variety of used cars to get what they really want.

The trend of limiting options is one that has spread to many manufacturers, USA Today reports. In particular, the new Buick Vernao is only available in 18 combinations of trims and other options. As for the Volkswagen Passat, you may have been able to order in 148 versions of the car in previous years, but now it's only at 15.

Some industry insiders say the new guidelines cut down on complexity, which makes the car-buying process a bit easier. However, others are not quite as optimistic when it comes to the new policy because, with few options for customization, they may get an excess of features.

"You end up buying things you don't want or need in order to get things you do want or need," John O'Dell, a senior editor for car research site Edmunds.com, told the publication.

Although many automakers are embracing the trend, such is not the case for Porsche. The luxury brand caters to a crowd the demands the ability to customize their car, and company officials say that limiting their ability to do so may actually slow down production.

With limited options for some new cars, you may want to head to New Jersey State Auto Auction, which offers enough makes and models to suit the needs of even the most discerning shopper.

Car From “Otis” Video Up For Auction

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Though Kanye West and Jay-Z made headlines last summer for their hit album Watch the Throne, several months later the star of one of their videos is getting most of the attention. The $350,000 Maybach that was featured prominently in the video for "Otis" is set to go up for auction, and experts say it may fetch a pretty hefty sum, according to Autoblog.

Aside from playing a significant role in the video, the car has a number of other features that make it especially appealing to collectors. Most notably, it is gutted almost down to the frame, something that both Kanye and Jay-Z take care of in the minutes of the video. Even with all the trappings removed, the car's pop culture significance could still bring in around $100,000 when it goes up for sale, the website reports.

The person who ends up taking home the Maybach will be doing much more than just adding a one-of-a-kind luxury car and piece of music history to their collection – they will also be doing a good deed for charity. The proceeds of the sale will be going to help Save the Children, an organization dedicated to helping kids around the world.

Kanye and Jay-Z are not the only ones using an auction to get rid of a used car. New York governor Andrew Cuomo is doing the same. He is taking a surplus of 500 state vehicles and putting them up for auction online, according to the New York Daily News.

Although not everyone can get behind the wheel of a famous car, New Jersey State Auto Auction has plenty of used vehicles that will make you feel like a million bucks. With a wide variety of makes and models, there is something for everyone.

Congress to Vote on Requiring Rear-View Cameras in All New Cars

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Rear-view cameras have become more common in vehicles since they first appeared on the market in high-end luxury vehicles and SUVs, but they will soon be in more cars. The New York Times reports that federal auto safety regulators have decided to require the cameras in all new vehicles by 2014. This measure was first proposed in 2010, and it is expected to go to final vote in Congress this week.

"We haven't done anything else to protect pedestrians," Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety in Washington, told the Times. "This is one thing we can and should do."

Each week, an average of two children are killed and another 48 are injured because drivers cannot see them as they are backing up, according to Kids and Cars, the nonprofit organization that first drew Congress's attention to these types of safety issues. The hope is that having the cameras in more cars will reduce the number of unnecessary accidents.

Consumer Reports states that every vehicle has a rear blind spot, the area directly behind the car and below the rear window, which can range from 25 feet for a minivan and up to 50 feet for a pickup truck. It may be easy to see an adult walking behind the vehicle, but small children could be standing upright 24 feet away from the car and drivers would have a hard time noticing.

Some new vehicles are equipped with proximity sensors that increase beep frequencies when nearing an object, but they do not define whether the object is a person.

Drivers who want to get behind the wheel of a used SUV or luxury sedan that is already equipped with a backup camera can head to New Jersey State Auto Auction. NJ Auto offers a wide variety of makes and models, and every car is CARFAX certified, so consumers know they're driving away in a safe, reliable ride.

Detroit’s AutoRama Brings Together Car Lovers of All Kinds

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

It may not have the name recognition of the Detroit Auto Show, but that does not mean the city's annual AutoRama is any less popular. The event kicked off in the city's Cobo Center over the weekend and featured some of the biggest crowds in the show's 60-year history, The Detroit News reports.

Although events such as the Detroit and Chicago Auto Shows feature some of the latest cars set to hit the market, things are a little bit different at AutoRama. Instead, the focus is squarely on unique rides ranging from hot rods to trucks to customized low riders. Though attendance figures were not available for Saturday, Friday night attracted an impressive 20,000 auto enthusiasts.

There's a wide variety of attendees as well, according to the newspaper. While the upstairs may features flashy more attractive vehicles, the lower floor is home to used cars that have seen their fair share of miles over the years. But that's just fine for Cleveland, Ohio, resident Rodney Moore.

"Down here it's an entirely different atmosphere than up on the main floor," he told the news source. "It's like upstairs is where all the beautiful people are, while this is where the people who love the smell of burning rubber like to hang out."

Whether or not you can make it to events like AutoRama, you should not be denied the security of a quality used car. New Jersey State Auto Auction is just the place to go for such a ride, as it offers plenty of makes an models at affordable prices. And all products are CARFAX certified so you know you're getting a reliable vehicle.

Cars of Movie History

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

The Academy Awards honored some of the best actors in the business on Sunday night, and although the spotlight was on the human players, General Motors did not pass up the opportunity to tout its impact on cinematic history. The venerable auto manufacturer has long had an impact on movies, and this year was no different.

The most well-known current movies to feature GM products are the Transformers franchise. These three films have prominently included classic American-made cars – most notably a yellow Chevrolet Camaro. The most recent movie, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, was even up for three Academy Awards including Best Visual Effects.

In previous years, classic movies such as American Graffiti, Batman and even Smokey and the Bandit all had GM cars prominently included in the plot. It's no surprise that vehicles had such a significant role in cinematic history, according to  Elliot Wilhelm, the film curator for the Detroit Institute of Arts.

"Cars have a lot in common with movies, and there is an often an emotional connection between the audience and the featured car," he said. "You often hear audible groans or see cringes form the audience when a beautiful car is destroyed in a movie."

While you may not be able to get behind the wheel of the Batmobile or a Camaro that transforms into an alien-fighting robot, New Jersey State Auto Auction can still offer you a variety of used cars that are out of this world. With plenty of makes and models at affordable prices, there is something for everyone. Additionally, thanks to a partnership with the Credit Acceptance Corporation, getting a loan is easier than ever before.

Check Fluid Levels for Safe Spring Driving

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Spring is just around the corner, and drivers need to start thinking about de-winterizing their vehicles. This is one step many may forget, but it is important to make sure a vehicle did not suffer any damage during the harsh winter months. Cleaning the car can be a good place to start, as it can make the vehicle gleam like new. Plus, removing all the road salt residue and debris that may have accumulated over the winter will help preserve the paint job.

The spring is also a good time to check the oil, transmission, steering, coolant and brake fluids. Oil should be a clear, golden color. If you remove the dipstick and the fluid is dirty or dark in color, you may want to have the oil changed. Low levels could indicate it's time for a change as well.

This also holds true for other liquids in your vehicle. Transmission fluid can be a few different colors, typically green or red, but if it has a rusty hue, you may need to have the system flushed. Coolant, which is typically green, can also be other bright colors, such as pink, blue or yellow. If you see this fluid on your driveway, you may have a coolant leak. This should be addressed immediately to avoid overheating the engine.

Drivers can take their cars to New Jersey Auto Auction's Total Car Care center for routine tuneups. Located in Jersey City and open to the public, this automotive service center can handle any maintenance and repairs your car may need to run smoothly this spring. Even if you're not sure whether it's time to get the oil changed, the experts at NJ Auto will know what your car needs.

Buying Fuel-Efficient Cars May Not Be Best to Combat Rising Gas Prices

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Gas prices are climbing steadily, and many drivers may soon look to trade in their current cars for more fuel-efficient models. According to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the current national average for a gallon of regular gas is just under $3.70, which is about 10 cents higher than the average at the start of the weekend. Time Magazine reports these prices are likely to continue increasing, but when the cost of fuel rises, the price tags on smaller, economic vehicles may do the same.

Conversely, dealers tend to offer better deals on larger vehicles when this occurs. Drivers thinking about making a switch may want to figure out if the added cost of a smaller vehicle is worth what they could save at the pump. It may be more economical to hang on to their current vehicle or invest in an SUV if they need the space anyway.

"Historically, gas prices have to spike to change consumers' habits," Rebecca Lindland, an IHS automotive analyst, told The Wall Street Journal. "Even then, the change lasts only three to four months before they adapt to the higher prices. If that old SUV is paid for, running well and not costing a lot to maintain, you're going to keep it."

Drivers in the market for fuel-efficient vehicles or larger SUVs and trucks can head to New Jersey State Auto Auction, which offers a wide variety of makes and models at affordable prices. Those looking to improve the fuel economy of their current cars can drive them to Jersey City where the experts at NJ Auto's Total Car Care center can perform routine maintenance, change the oil and address any repairs. A car that runs well will consume less gas and help drivers save at the pump.

How to Improve Gas Mileage as Fuel Prices Rise

Monday, February 27th, 2012

With many analysts predicting the average price of gas may hit $4 a gallon in the near future, it's more important than ever for drivers to be as fuel-efficient as possible. Though cars have improved gas mileage over years past, there are still a number of ways you can help get the most out of your car.

"There are several easy things drivers can do to stretch each tank of gas and find the lowest fuel prices when it is time to fill up," said Marshall L. Doney, the AAA national vice president of automotive, financial services and e-Business.

Among the easiest ways to save on gas is to make sure your tires are properly inflated. Still, despite the known benefits of having tires filled to the right levels, only 17 percent of drivers have all four tires sufficiently inflated. To check the proper levels, look at the manual or on a sticker on the driver's side door jamb, AAA says.

How you drive can have a significant impact on how much you spend at the pump as well. For example, driving at or around the speed limit can save you a substantial amount. The U.S. Department of Energy found that for every 5 mph driven over the speed limit it's like you're paying 24 cents more a gallon.

Similarly,  going easy on the brake and gas pedals will save money as well. By not starting and stopping so harshly you could improve mileage by as much as 33 percent, according to AAA.

Regular maintenance is also a must when it comes to improving your gas mileage. To ensure your car is running smoothly you may want to visit New Jersey State Auto Auction's Total Care Care center. Open to the public, the center provides everything from repairs to general upkeep.

Volkswagen Reports Successful 2011

Monday, February 27th, 2012

The results are in for 2011 and it looks like last year was especially good to Volkswagen. The German automaker says that it more than doubled its profits last year and its global sales rose an impressive 14.7 percent, according to The Detroit Bureau.

The improved sales figures are indicative of Volkwagen's shifting focus toward becoming a global power in the auto industry. For instance, it has placed an emphasis on emerging markets such as China. It also set its sights on the United States, where it is expected to release an all-new mid-size Passat specifically for the country.

To fully appreciate the sales boost Volkswagen had in 2011, one need look no further than where it ranked among the world's automakers. Its 7.2 million vehicles sold put it in second place – ahead of longtime number one car company Toyota – and behind only General Motors, which experienced a resurgence of its own as the economy improved slightly, the news source reports.

Another good indicator of the upward trend VW is experiencing is how well it fared against European competition. Sales rose 11 percent in its native Germany, while it had a 7 percent jump in the rest of Western Europe.

"We know the car business is a volume and scale business and today Volkswagen is the only carmaker in Europe that has that scale," Philippe Houchois, head of European auto industry research at UBS in London, told The New York Times.

Whether you're looking to get behind the wheel of a used Volkswagen or would prefer an American-made vehicle, New Jersey State Auto Auction is the place to go. With a wide variety of makes and models at affordable prices, there is something for everyone.

Industry Experts Expect Auto Sales to Improve in February

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Since the fourth quarter of 2011, industry experts have been predicting sales improvements for 2012, and the latest J.D. Power and Associates monthly report indicates the predictions are right so far. The update projects that new-vehicle sales are expected to reach about 857,400 units by the end of February, which is a 5 percent improvement over the same month last year.

"Retail light-vehicle sales in February are strong, which makes us modestly optimistic about the growth of sales going forward," said John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive operations for J.D Power. "We're increasingly confident that the fundamentals are in place to continue to support an upbeat sector outlook for the coming year."

Improvements from last year were even stronger for used cars, which may be as much as 16.5 percent higher than February 2011, according to recent TrueCar.com predictions. In fact Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends and insights for the automotive website, said he expects automotive sales to reach 14 million units by the end of the year. Until now, experts have projected the totals to reach between 13.6 and 13.8 million units.

Toprak also expects to see a 20 percent surge in sales of fuel-efficient compact cars and hybrid models, such as the Ford Focus and Honda Civic Hybrid, throughout the year. In February at least, used vehicles sales are predicted to outweigh those of new cars two-to-one. Those looking to get behind the wheel of a used vehicle this year can head to New Jersey State Auto Auction. Whether you want a fuel-efficient gas-powered car like the Focus, or you'd prefer to drive a hybrid, NJ Auto has plenty of affordable options.

Hyundai Sales Improve, Prices Increase

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Hyundai has been climbing the ranks of the automotive industry to become one of the best-selling brands in America. Since the brand is building a new, reliable image and shedding its former reputation for supplying vehicles with questionable quality, its sales are rapidly growing and so are the prices, according to USA Today.

"They really changed people's minds," Jessica Caldwell, an Edmunds.com analyst, told the publication. "It's a turning point for the brand but it's a long process that's not over yet."

For example, the Elantra, which was named the 2012 North American Car of the Year, is one of the products helping to reinvent the brand's image, but the news source reports it may be more expensive than some of its competitors. In fact, the average price paid for an Elantra in 2011 was about $19,711, which is about $1,500 more than what consumers paid for the Toyota Corolla.

New cars typically lose about 10 to 20 percent of their resale value the moment they are driven off the lot. Used vehicles on the other hand do not depreciate as quickly. They also tend to cost less than new versions.

Those looking to get behind the wheel of a used Hyundai Elantra, Sonata or other compact vehicles need look no further than New Jersey State Auto Auction. The dealer offers a wide variety of used vehicles from smaller, fuel-efficient models like the Toyota Corolla or the Honda Civic. All of the models are CARFAX certified, so drivers know they'll be driving away in a dependable set of wheels.

KBB: Seriously Consider Fuel-Efficiency as Gas Prices Rise

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Gas prices have been on the rise over the last several weeks, and some experts predict the increases won't stop any time soon. With the average gallon of gas costing close to $4, anybody considering buying a used car may want to heavily weigh the importance of fuel-economy on their next purchase, Kelley Blue Book (KBB) advises.

The national average price currently stands at $3.59 a gallon and buying a fuel-efficient used car may be a great way to save money over the next several months, as gas prices could reach near-record levels. Analysts at KBB say an increase of $1 per gallon could cost consumers who drive a car that gets 20 miles-per-gallon an average of $11.50 each week. Though it might not seem like a lot, it could make a big difference.

"While in today's economic environment many families are on an extremely tight budget and $11.50 per week may be enough to break the bank," said Alec Gutierrez, the senior market analyst of automotive insights for KBB.

Of course, there are some cars that are better choices than others for people looking to get behind the wheel of a fuel-efficient car. For instance, the Toyota Camry has been a longtime favorite and its new hybrid model gets an impressive 41 miles per gallon on the highway. Other good options include a used Ford Fiesta or Hyundai Accent, which not only provide optimal fuel-efficiency but also are affordable options.

Those looking for a small used car might want to head to New Jersey State Auto Auction. The dealership offers shoppers a wide variety of makes and models at affordable prices, and with guaranteed credit approval everyone can walk out with a new ride.