Archive for April, 2014

Fuel Efficiency Myths, Scams and Misconceptions To Watch Out For

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Constantly rising gas prices are everyone's least favorite part of driving. Frugal motorists are always on the hunt for new methods to boost fuel efficiency and save cash, scraping the barrel of folksy wisdom and fancy scientifically engineered products alike. But for every tip on how to save gas you encounter, there are a dozen misconceptions, bogus bits of information and enterprising snake oil salespeople waiting to prey on overeager drivers. Below are some of the more common traps you'll want to be sure and avoid.

Manual doesn't trump automatic
It's a common myth that manual transmissions tend to get better gas mileage than their automatic cousins. MSN Autos reported that historically speaking this was true, as the greater control drivers have over shifting gears in a manual could prevent superfluous fuel consumption due to over-revving the engine. However, in recent years, automatic transmissions have become more and more advanced, and are now better able to control the engine in the gear shifting process than many drivers are. As automatic gear shifting became more efficient, so too did the fuel consumption of automatic cars, and stick drivers' old advantage at the pump has quickly evaporated.

There is no magic potion for better gas mileage
Entrepreneurial manufacturers of auto accessories have been carving out a niche in the "artificial fuel additives" aisle of your local auto shop for years. Citing a variety of questionably sourced scientific evidence, all of these products are connected by one claim – that they will give you better gas mileage and save you money. It should come as no surprise that these mysterious elixirs are almost all universally bunk. In fact, not only have many fuel additives not been proven to help your car run cleaner, the Federal Trade Commission published a report outlining that many of them can actually damage your engine over time. As a general rule, neither the EPA nor any other government body endorses products alleging to boost fuel efficiency, so if you pick up a bottle claiming the product is backed by Uncle Sam, that should raise a big red flag. 

If you have concerns as to how your car is running, be sure to schedule an appointment with NJ State Auto Auction's Total Car Care Center. Knowledgeable staff are on hand to answer any questions you have about your car, and can work with you to identify and fix any problems to keep your car running the way you need it to. 

Spring Cleaning Tips For Keeping Your Car Clean

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Spring is finally here, but don't put away that mop and bucket just yet. Your spring cleaning efforts aren't over until you've given your car the traditional seasonal TLC as well. Let's face it – you certainly weren't scrubbing and waxing it weekly in the dead of winter, and who can blame you? But now that the snow is gone and the mercury is rising, it's time to snap on your gloves and give your car a thorough spring cleaning.

Cleaning it up
After a long harsh winter like this last one, your car can look like you drove it through a war zone. Salt, sand and a host of other wintertime detritus can make your car look grimy and old. Giving your ride an extensive car wash doesn't just make you feel better about how your car looks, it's also good for its performance. Road salt and much of the buildup you've accumulated throughout the winter months is corrosive, and can actually contribute to the rusting of your car's frame.

While you're on a cleaning kick, it's important to give the inside of your car as much love as the outside. Popular Mechanics outlined a battery of interior cleaning jobs, from vacuuming your car from top to bottom and scrubbing the upholstery to treating leather seats and washing floor mats. Of course, we know you like to measure the winter based on how many empty coffee cups accumulate in your back seat, but it's time to clean out the trash and finally get rid of those as well.

Keeping it running
Spring cleaning means taking care of more than just the cosmetic things. Changing temperatures as the weather warms up can affect road conditions. The Tire Rack reported that you can expect a change of approximately one psi for every 10 degree change in temperature, so be sure to be vigilant in checking the air pressure as well as your tires' treads. Speaking of tires, if you're sporting a set of snow tires for the colder months you'll want to swap those out for all-weather tires. Snow tires tend to have softer rubber and deeper treads, according to Popular Mechanics, and you can actually cause damage to them if not removed for the summer.

If you need a hand in getting your car checked out for spring, make an appointment with the NJ State Auto Auction's Total Car Care Center. The talented and knowledgeable staff are on hand to answer any questions you have, as well as help you address any maintenance concerns so your car stays in top shape.

Women To Overtake The Car Buying Market

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

The age-old stereotype of cars being a man's pursuit is definitely starting to wear thin. In recent years, the car market has seen women slowly but steadily catching up to men in the buying department, and for the first time, the ladies may be poised to overtake the gentlemen as the new queens of the road. The details of this trend may surprise you.

Why are women more interested?
It's true that the number of women driving has increased – Par Excellence Magazine reported that since 1972, the ladies have gone from making up 44 percent of licensed drivers in the U.S. to half of them. Yet that fairly modest climb in driver representation does little to account for the surge in ladies at the dealership.

Research suggests that economics most likely play a factor. According to data from CNW market research, since 2007 and the recession, men have been plagued with greater instances of unemployment than their fairer counterparts, with women on average seeing almost 2 percent lower unemployment rates. The secret lies in which kinds of cars both groups are buying. In general, men like to put their money where their wheels are. The top brands with the highest percentage of male owners are, unsurprisingly, Lamborghini, McLaren and Ferrari, MarketWatch reported. The women, on the other hand, tend to be more sensible with their car purchases. The top woman-owned brands? Mini, Kia and Fiat, according to Edmunds. 

More men facing unemployment and economic hardship means there are fewer of them who are able to spend top dollar on big-ticket cars, leaving room for their statistically more sensible counterparts to zoom in and start claiming the top spot.

How will this affect cars?
Not only are women beginning to buy more cars, they're becoming more active in the industry. General Motors, one of the country's largest manufacturers, currently has a woman at the helm, and Par Excellence Magazine indicated that more women are beginning to move into design and engineering positions. This shift could lead to more cars designed for women by women, possibly serving as a mediator in the great motorized battle of the sexes.

If you're looking to buy a used car, head to NJ State Auto Auction. You'll find hundreds of Carfax-certified cars on the lot, a knowledgeable sales staff and an in-house finance department who can help you afford the high quality used car, truck or van that's right for you.

Common Maintenance Pitfalls To Look Out For

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Car ownership can be an expensive affair. While sometimes your car can be your best friend, other times it can as much a source of frustration as an unannounced visit from the in-laws. It's true that all cars are different, but there are a couple of common sticking points that many drivers typically find themselves contending with. Here are some of the maintenance snafus you'll want to keep your eyes open for, as doing so can save you both frustration and money.

The check engine light
Drivers everywhere have, at one point or another, come face to face with the dreaded check engine light. Though that little red eye glaring ominously at you from your dashboard could be indicative of a serious and costly problem with your engine, many of us have learned to live with it as part of our daily driving experience. In fact, CarMD.com spokesperson Kristin Brocoff told Edmunds that 10 percent are driving around with the check engine light on, and half of them have been staring at drivers for three months or longer.

The good news is that while this little light can point to a host of bigger problems, oftentimes the real issue is deceptively simple and actually cheap to get fixed. According to Edmunds, one of the primary functions of the light is to monitor vehicle emissions. Fixes for the indicator's appearance have ranged from tightening the gas cap to making sure the car's oxygen sensor is working properly. These may seem like minor fixes, but engine light-related troubles can impact your car's fuel efficiency, so getting the issues resolved quickly can actually save you money in the long run.

Losing your keys
We've all had those moments where we frantically scour our homes for our misplaced car keys that we could swear we just had in our hands. Though not strictly a maintenance issue, car key loss can definitely contribute to racking up unnecessary expenditures. Especially with today's current technology, including things like remote keyless entry, laser cut keys and transponder keys, replacing lost keys can add up to a costly and frustrating endeavor. 

If your car needs maintenance, make an appointment at NJ State Auto Auction's Total Car Care Center. Their skilled mechanics can help you address any maintenance issues, large or small, that may be keeping you from getting the most out of your car.

Tips For First-Time Car Buyers

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Deciding to take the plunge into becoming a first-time car owner can be an exciting experience. The excitement and freedom of having your own wheels is a great feeling, but for clueless or inexperienced auto shoppers, it's very easy to be overwhelmed with details, procedure and a deluge of too much information. With a little planning and foreknowledge, even the least experienced car virgins can turn their experience into a positive one.

Plan ahead
Preparation is always important when making a major purchasing decision, and this is especially true for buying a car. You'll want to make sure you do your homework so you know what size and class of car you're looking for, which features you need and how much you're able to spend, all before you even head out to the dealership. Take care to also check online to compare models from different manufacturers in the same class.

"On average, people only shop about three vehicles," Steve Witten, executive director of U.S. automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates told MSN. While analysis paralysis is understandable, especially for first-time buyers, restricting your search to a small number of models can keep you from finding the right car at the right price.

Do the math
Once you've figured out your budget, that doesn't mean that you can start looking at cars at that price. The physical cost of the car itself is just one of many factors that will influence how much you ultimately end up paying. Once you've selected a model, you'll then have to consider things like additional features and add-ons, so make sure you do your research beforehand so you know exactly what extras you'd like and which ones you don't need to spend cash on. 

Hidden costs can crop up outside the dealer's office as well. One of the biggest ongoing expenses outside of the car payment itself will go to your insurance provider, and the car you choose while you're shopping can have a significant impact on that payment. When picking out your model and features, keep abreast of how things like car size, safety features and reliability will impact your insurance rate and shop accordingly. 

Whether you're a neophyte buying your first car or a veteran who's no stranger to the car-buying process, head to NJ State Auto Auction for your next purchase. You'll find hundreds of Carfax-certified vehicles on the lot and a helpful in-house finance team who can help make the experience simple and affordable. 

Bad Habits To Avoid For Safer Teen Driving

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Driving is such an integral part of daily life in the U.S. that we hardly even think about it. We're so used to getting around in our cars that for many of us it can seem as natural and automatic as walking. The feeling of freedom you get cruising down a highway or driving around with friends is hard to beat, but it can be easy to develop bad habits that can transform driving from a fun activity to a potentially dangerous one. Especially for younger teen drivers who don't have years of experience under their belts, it's important to be aware of some of the most common bad habits drivers get into to make sure you keep driving safely.

Teens at risk
Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that, perhaps not surprisingly, teens aged 16-19 make up the highest percentage of auto accidents in the U.S. In fact, in 2010, 282,000 teens were treated in hospital emergency departments for car crash-related injuries. That adds up to around $19 billion in injury-related medical costs for only teen boys. With such a high figure comprising 30 percent of the total national cost of injury-related treatment, it's not only good safety practice to nix bad driving habits, it's beneficial to your wallet as well.

High-risk habits
When it comes to safety-compromising driving habits, what are the worst offenders? One of the easiest and most important things you can do to become a safer driver is put down the cellphone. In a recent survey of drivers ages 16-21 conducted by Bridgestone, 80 percent admitted that they considered texting and driving to be more dangerous than skydiving, yet their actions speak louder than words. Results indicated that 70 percent of teen drivers admitted to texting while stopped at a red light – which may not sound so bad until you take into account that 60 percent said they texted while driving alone in their cars.

While cellphone use sits atop the list, many of teens' bad driving habits can ultimately be traced back to lack of experience or not paying attention. According to the CDC, teen drivers are more likely than their older, more experienced counterparts to misjudge or underestimate risky situations, as well as engage in riskier driving practices like speeding.

Whether you're a teen looking for your first used car or an experienced driver looking for a new set of wheels, NJ State Auto Auction can help you out. There are hundreds of used cars on the lot, and an in-house finance department to help make your choice of high-quality used car affordable.

Get Star-Struck With These Iconic Movie Cars

Monday, April 14th, 2014

If there's one thing America loves more than cars, it's movies. Blockbuster films and sexy wheels seem like a match made in heaven, and many Hollywood directors have been sprucing up their flicks with cool cars for decades. In fact, some of the most well-known cars of today have been catapulted to icon status by their starring roles in our favorite movies. Here's a look at some of Hollywood's most motor-friendly movies, as well as the classic cars that stole the spotlight in them.

James Bond
Few things are more synonymous with cool cars than Mr. 007 himself, James Bond. The British spy has been leading the charge as a purveyor of the finest wheels for decades, and is almost as famous for his souped up cars as he is for his daring exploits. From the classic Aston Martin DB-5 in 1964's "Goldfinger" – complete with oil slicks and ejector seat – to the classy BMW 7 Series that could be driven with a cellphone in 1997's "Tomorrow Never Dies," filmgoers always know that they're always in for a wild time when they ride along with Bond.

'Back to the Future'
You'd be hard-pressed to find a better example of the relationship between film and cars than the 1985 series "Back to the Future." The famous film trilogy almost single-handedly elevated the DeLorean DMC-12 from little-known auto industry curiosity to monolithic pop culture icon. Though the quirky steel car's starring role in the time-traveling adventure may not have brought the huge boost in sales the Texas-based manufacturer may have been hoping, it did firmly cement the car into the American consciousness. Over the past several years, DeLorean fan clubs, swaps and meetups have sprung up, and DeLorean Motor Company has resurfaced, ready to showcase the car to future generations of auto enthusiasts.

'Jurassic Park'
With its electric engine and self-driving capabilities, the yellow and green Ford Explorer from 1993's "Jurassic Park" is cited by Edmunds as one of the 100 greatest movie cars of all time. Whether peacefully taking parkgoers on a tour of the prehistoric island's dinosaurs or simply helping them run away, the sport utility vehicle is beloved by many fans as a constant stalwart companion throughout the film. According to Business Insider, the intrepid Explorer is allegedly being replaced in the upcoming 2015 sequel by the Mercedes G63 AMG, stepping aside for a new generation of rugged cars to help tourists run away from T-Rex's. 

If you're looking for the perfect used car for you, head to NJ State Auto Auction. With hundreds of Carfax-certified cars on the lot and an in-house finance department to help approve you for a loan, you may just drive away with a high-quality used car, truck or van.

Celebrate An American Tradition By Visiting A Drive-In

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Everyone has that image in their head of the classic drive-in movie theater. The picture of the giant empty field or lot crammed with hundreds of cars has been a classic fixture of American entertainment for decades. Sadly, recent years have seen the collapse of the drive-in phenomenon and the subsequent closing of most of the drive-in theaters in the U.S. Even though many of these iconic theaters have gone the way of the dinosaur, it's fun to take a few minutes to pay homage to these classic avatars of Americana, and maybe even learn something about their history.

Did You Know?
Did you know that New Jersey was the home of the very first drive-in theater? Developed by auto sales manager Richard Hollingshead, opened his first theater on June 6, 1933 in Camden, N.J. Originally billed as a "park-in" theater (which, when you think about it, makes much more sense), admission was sold at the rate of 25 cents per car and 25 cents per person. 

Equally impressive was the All-Weather Drive-In located in Copiague, N.Y. This 28-acre behemoth boasted full-service eateries, a playground for children, and parking spaces for up to 2,500 cars.

Join The Fun!
Although the number of drive-ins still operating in the U.S. today is rapidly diminishing, Salon reported that there are still a few hidden gems out there just waiting for savvy and nostalgic car-bound movie-goers to pull up in a parking spot – man of them close by in New York or New Jersey. 

The Warwick Drive-In is located in Warwick, N.Y., six miles east of Vernon, N.J. Like most drive-ins, it offers double feature movies. Unlike most drive-ins, it's pet-friendly, so you're encouraged to bring along your four-legged friend. If you're looking for a bit of history, you'll want to check out Shankweiler's Drive-In in Orefield, Pa. Operating consistently since 1934, it is the oldest drive-in theater in the country that is still running.

If you're willing to take a bit of a road trip, you can head on down to Baltimore to the Bengies Drive-In. With a screen that is 6,240 square feet, it's the largest screen in the U.S., drive-in or not. Opened in 1956, it may not be the most historic of drive-in destinations, but it offers cheap double features and an assortment of both modern and classic drive-in food.

If you're itching to head out to one of America's remaining drive-in hot spots, head into NJ State Auto Auction. With hundreds of Carfax-certified cars on the lot and an in-house finance department, they make it easy to find and afford a quality used car, truck or van. 

Celebs Hit The Track For The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

One relationship that has been even steadier and more reliable than Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie is the relationship between celebrities and automobiles. Whether they're athletes, actors or musicians, our celebrities seem constantly fascinated by fancy or expensive cars – especially if they go fast. Many of our celebrities love collecting luxury cars, but once a year there's an event that gives a handful of them the chance to drive one.

As part of Toyota's 40th Annual Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend, 15 stars from sports, music and movies will have the chance to climb behind the wheel of custom race-outfitted Scion FR-S cars to compete in the 2014 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. Celebrities will be competing against professional drivers in a 1.97-mile street course through Long Beach, the official press release stated. Among the field of celebrity speedsters are actors Adrien Brody and Sam Witwer, radio host Lisa Stanley and Olympic gold medal sprinter Carmelita Jeter.

Celebs and pros alike are taking to the track to support the "Racing For Kids" program aimed at raising money for children's hospitals nationwide. The race has been run since 1991, and in that time over $2 million has been donated to children's hospitals around the U.S. on behalf of the generous racers.

If you're looking to rekindle your love for the automobile, head to NJ State Auto Auction. There are hundreds of Carfax-certified cars on the lot, and the in-house finance department is available to help you afford the used car you love.

2014 Could See The Auto Industry In An Upswing

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Good news for car owners and enthusiasts: 2014 has already seen some very positive and promising indications that the auto industry may be on its way to being back on its feet. 

Despite recent economic gut-punches that have led to things like plummeting car values and closing plants, car enthusiasts demonstrated earlier this year that their dedication to their passion hasn't waned and, if anything, is actually on the rise. The Detroit Free Press reported that back in January, the North American International Auto Show held in Detroit attracted more than 800,000 attendees for the first time since 2003. 

"The industry is healthy, the products and technology are spectacular, and confidence is high," Bob Shuman, NAIAS chairman, told the source. 

The iconic exhibition drawing in the biggest crowd in over a decade is more than just a statistical curiosity. It looks like America's renewed auto fever is having impacts on car owners all over the country. A report published by Kelley Blue Book indicated that March saw car values rise sharply across all classes. Current owners of midsize sedans and compact cars have particular reason to smile, as these classes have seen the largest percentage increase in value year-to-date.

According to the Kelley Blue Book report, March saw large spikes in the value of used cars in particular, with an increase of 1.4 percent on average. While encouraging, this is hardly surprising, as Kelley Blue Book reported the used car market has been particularly strong throughout the winter season and heading into the spring thaw.

Celebrate your passion for cars by coming down to NJ State Auto Auction. There are hundreds of Carfax-certified cars on the lot, and an in-house finance department to help you get approved for a loan. You may find yourself driving away with a high-quality used car, truck or van.

Get Your Car Ready For Spring During National Car Care Month

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

With winter on the way out, it's once again the time of year for everyone to dive headfirst into spring cleaning. That includes your cars too. April is National Car Care Month, and the Car Care Council is encouraging drivers to pay special attention to their vehicles in the wake of what has been a particularly ornery and persistent winter.

Keeping up with your car's scheduled maintenance is always important. Every car has a different schedule, based on make, model, age and mileage, and consistently keeping up with basic preventative maintenance for your car will help keep things running smoothly as the season starts to change. Amica Insurance shared some tips on specific things to make sure to address, including signal lights, fluid and motor oil levels and tire pressure.

While you're paying attention to general maintenance, also be sure to take stock of any specific issues that may have arisen thanks to stubborn winter conditions. Swapping out winter tires for appropriate all-season counterparts is always a good idea, but don't forget the little things as well. Salt, sand and debris from winter roads can corrode your frame, make your headlights less effective, and wreak havoc on your windshield and wiper blades. It's as good an excuse as any to treat your car to a sexy springtime wash and wax.

"Your car has gotten you through one of the worst winters in recent memory, working overtime in harsh conditions," said Rich White, Car Care Council executive director. So show it your appreciation by making sure you thoroughly de-winterize it.

Since you're already giving your car a check-up and a makeover, it's also a great time to address all those little things you've been meaning to get to. Replace burnt-out headlight bulbs, change worn wiper blades – it's a brand new season, so why not give your car a fresh start as well?

This year, celebrate National Car Care Month by heading into the Total Car Care Center at NJ State Auto Auction. The experts on staff can help you with everything you need to drive your car into spring and keep your car running well in the seasons ahead.

Tips For Saving Money At The Pump

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

There are few things drivers everywhere hate more than constantly rising gas prices. It seems like every time we turn around prices spike yet again. Unfortunately, we don't seem to be out of the woods yet, as AAA forecasted that the nationwide average gas price will actually hit its peak in April, hovering around a wallet-punching $3.55–$3.75 per gallon, according to a recent report. While you hunker down to weather the coming fuelpocalypse, here are a couple of tips to help keep more of your money in your pocket instead of your gas tank.

Stifle The Road Rage
All that aggressive driving and road rage isn't just costing you brownie points, it's also costing you money. Driving at erratic, inconsistent speeds and accelerating and braking too sharply can have a severe impact on your gas mileage, reducing your highway fuel efficiency by up to 33 percent, FuelEconomy.gov reported. Combat this by stopping gradually at lights rather than slamming your brakes, and easing off of the accelerator rather than putting the pedal to the metal. An Edmunds report indicated this will increase your car's coasting time and reduce the amount of fuel you inject into your engine, helping you get the most out of your gas tank. Also make sure you use your cruise control on the highways. It's one of the easiest things you can do to immediately save some cash on gas.

Keep Your Car Healthy
It stands to reason that the better care you take of your car, the better care it will take of your wallet down the road. Fortunately, you don't have to be a mechanic to reap some noticeable fuel economy benefits; keeping up with just a few preventative maintenance tasks can help save you dollars at the pump. Simple things like keeping your tires properly inflated can improve your fuel efficiency by up to 3 percent, and you can even boost your mileage by making sure you're using the correct grade of motor oil, FuelEconomy.gov reported.

Shop For Efficiency
It should go without saying that in the gas mileage department, some cars are more efficient than others. Cars with better fuel efficiency might cost a bit more up front, but you'll be making that money back and then some when it comes time to fill up your tank. While it may not seem like there's a huge difference between a car that gets 20 miles to the gallon and one that gets 30, it adds up. That extra boost in fuel efficiency can save you on average $888 per year.

If you're in the market for a used car, head to NJ State Auto Auction. There are hundreds of Carfax-certified cars on the lot, and a knowledgeable and helpful sales team dedicated to helping you find the right used car for your lifestyle.