Archive for October, 2014
With Halloween looming large, your mind is probably consumed by things like candy, costumes and zombies. Of course, the zombies you're thinking of are probably more of the flesh-eating, decaying monster type than the ones with four wheels. That's because not many are aware of zombie cars – but you should be, as these vehicles are more common than you may think.
What's a zombie car?
A zombie car is any vehicle that has been discontinued as a brand. Although new versions of these models may not be hitting the streets, plenty of older ones are still present. In fact, Experian Automotive found that nearly 6 percent of the almost 250 million cars on the road today qualify as zombie cars.
Among these vehicles, the most popular is Pontiacs, which make up more than 32 percent of the zombie car population. That easily outpaced second-place Mercurys, which comprised 19.4 percent, and the third-place Saturns, which came in at 16.1 percent, according to Experian. Also making a mark was Oldsmobile and Suzuki, although those numbers are a bit lower.
The plague hits New York
Of all of the cities in the U.S., New York was one of the most popular for zombie cars. Approximately 3 percent of all vehicles in the city's metro area fall into the zombie category, which is second only behind Chicago's 3.4 percent. It also makes New York narrowly ahead of Detroit, Los Angeles and Minneapolis, which all range from 2.7 to 2.4 percent.
Upgrading your zombie
Are you driving a zombie vehicle, or one that's close enough to make no matter? Then you may be in the mood to upgrade. Regardless of what brand you're thinking of switching to, the selection at New Jersey State Auto Auction may have what you're looking for. The lot contains hundreds of Carfax-certified cars, trucks and vans, as well as an in-house financing department that's dedicated to helping you get the ride you want.
Maybe you drive a zombie car and love it. If that's the case, never fear, as the right vehicle maintenance can keep your vehicle running for many more full moons. Schedule an appointment at the Total Car Care Center if you're concerned about your ride's performance, as the garage can address any issues you may have.
Auto insurance is a must for any driver, but sometimes it can feel like a useless burden. The second you get into an accident, however, that same insurance becomes your best friend. While you may not have a choice when it comes to whether you need insurance, there are many options for providers and plan types – but it's up to you to find one that works. There's good news and bad news for drivers who are shopping around for a new policy.
Low-income buyers charged high prices
The Washington Post recently reported that low-income drivers are under a lot of financial stress when it comes to their car insurance. According to new data from the Consumer Federation of America, there are certain areas throughout the U.S. where average insurance premiums greatly exceed the norm, posing a significant problem for low-income drivers.
"High insurance premiums act to deny [low-income] Americans economic opportunity and also help to explain why so many low-income drivers drive without insurance," said Tom Feltner, CFA's director of financial services and the principal author of the report, as quoted by The Post.
The source did note that several factors go into insurance premiums. For example, urban areas tend to have higher rates of thefts and more expensive repair costs, which can up the required payments.
Americans are still satisfied
Some people face high prices, but most are happy with their insurance provider. A recent study from J.D. Power found that overall customer satisfaction in the industry has steadily improved throughout the past five years. The biggest gains were made with regard to service interaction happiness and claim professional satisfaction, which essentially means that insurance representatives are doing their best to help clients.
"Insurance companies are placing more emphasis on training their employees and representatives to be customer-centric, especially during the interaction process," said Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the global insurance practice at J.D. Power. "That focus is reflected in the increase in satisfaction, specifically with claim professionals, whose primary responsibility is to accurately estimate the amount of the insurance settlement."
Although some people may face higher premiums, there are plenty of ways to balance a budget so a used car is affordable. If that's the case, you need to check out NJ State Auto. The auction lot boasts hundreds of Carfax-certified vehicles, as well as an in-house financing department that can help you find the right fit.
Safety should be your No. 1 concern when you're behind the wheel. Most people address this matter with defensive driving and plenty of attention, but there's a slew of auto features that can help keep you secure in your ride. Among the most popular is rear cameras, which show drivers what's happening in the space directly behind a car, including areas lower to the ground that can often be blocked from view.
Cameras increase safety
One recent study from AAA focused on the effectiveness of rear-view cameras. According to the report, these devices increased visibility by 36 percent in smaller sedans to nearly 75 percent in hatchbacks, with an average of 46 percent for all of the tested cars and trucks. Even the smallest improvement could prevent collisions, so the impressive range delivered by the cameras is a boon for many drivers.
"Rear-view cameras are a great supplement for drivers," said John Nielsen, AAA's managing director of automotive engineering. "Cameras don't replace the need to check around your vehicle for obstacles before getting in to back up, but they do dramatically improve rear visibility. These systems are especially helpful for viewing the first 10 feet behind the vehicle, which are the most hazardous in terms of back-over risk for young children."
Many options for drivers
The good news is you don't have to pay a crazy amount of money for a brand new vehicle to take advantage of rear-view cameras. Not only are there a few lightly used models that boast this feature, but you can even buy the system separately and have it installed. The only difference is that you'll have to find space on your dashboard to fit the miniscreen.
Cameras can be a big help, but they don't show the whole picture. Drivers still have to use their windows and mirrors, along with any other sensors, to ensure that they are safely maneuvering their cars. Additionally, the devices can be compromised by inclement weather, so be sure to clean them regularly.
Rear-view cameras are going to be required on all new vehicles by the year 2016, but in the meantime, even drivers on a budget can tap into this technology. Looking for a car with these features? Browse through the selection at NJ State Auto Auction. This lot has hundreds of Carfax-certified cars, trucks and vans available for purchase, and many of these options have high-tech features that drivers love.
Drivers along the East Coast are prepping for winter, but this process requires more than simply buying an ice scraper and hoping for the best. To stay safe no matter what the weather is like, many drivers are turning to car upgrades such as snow tires, which are designed to handle whatever the winter brings.
The perks of winter tires
Winter tires have several advantages for drivers. The wheels are different from all-season tires in that they provide better traction through deeper treads and more specific materials. This allows them to move snow and slush away from the car while maintaining a strong grip on icy roads. They're also engineered to perform well even as the temperature plummets.
Some people may not see the need to invest in these winter tires. If you aren't expecting a harsh winter or don't think you'll be doing a lot of heavy driving throughout the season, then the tires might not be worthwhile. Additionally, vehicles equipped with all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive may be all set for inclement weather. It simply depends on your personal preference and expectations.
Are they right for you?
Are you thinking that these seasonal wheels might be a good fit? There's no real right or wrong answer – it's mostly about how you feel on the road and whether you mind investing in vehicle safety. It also could depend on the driver or car. For instance, you may be confident in your capabilities but have a younger family member who is inexperienced behind the wheel or driving an older car. In that case, winter tires might be a confidence booster for him or her.
"The bottom line for consumers is being aware of the severe winter driving conditions they might face," said Steve Rohweder, the director of consumer tire technology for Goodyear. "Based on past experiences, do they feel their winter weather is moderate enough to choose a year-round tire, or are they mandated to use winter tires? Or do they face sometimes severe winter weather, and they prefer the peace of mind offered by true winter tires?"
Whether you want winter tires or just feel the need to have a tune-up before winter arrives, call up NJ State Auto Auction and schedule an appointment with the Total Car Care Center. The experts at this garage can address any issues you may have, including some of the most pressing matters that will pop up during the colder months.
Gas prices can make or break a car budget. With all of the money you're already spending on insurance payments, loans and general upkeep, you're probably feeling the crunch of the bottom line. The last thing you need is the high cost of fuel adding even more strain on your wallet.
Drivers don't need to give up the open road to save money, however. There are a few strategies and recent trends car owners can take advantage of to keep more money in their pockets.
Gas prices falling
There's good news for drivers: Gas prices are currently hitting a 44-month low point. AAA reported that the national average dropped to $3.10 per gallon, which is the lowest it has been since early 2011. If the downward trend continues, prices across the nation could fall below $3 for the first time in several years – in fact, 17 states already posted average costs below this mark.
According to the AAA report, prices have decreased by about 10 percent in the weeks since Labor Day. Gas costs continue to fall in every state and Washington, D.C., meaning there's plenty of opportunities to save for all American drivers.
Save even more with maintenance
While the average price of a gallon of gas is dropping across the U.S., motorists don't have to rely on the costs dropping to save money. They can also cut expenses by getting preventative maintenance, which allows a car to perform at the highest possible level and increases its fuel efficiency. That means less gas is needed to operate the vehicle and more money is saved.
"Gas prices are expected to fall below $3 per gallon on average, and that means motorists can count on significant savings at the pump," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. "A small investment in simple and inexpensive auto care will add up to better fuel economy and even more savings."
Are you ready to focus on your car's maintenance? If the answer is yes, you shouldn't hesitate to schedule an appointment at the Total Car Care Center at New Jersey State Auto Auction. The garage caters to the public and is capable of addressing any issues you may have.
Oct. 31 has the potential to be one of the most fun nights of the year. Whether you're trick-or-treating with your family or heading out to a wild costume party, however, you still need to remain safe on this night of mischief. You also need to make sure your car is out of danger, but this task may take a bit of effort.
"Halloween is often thought of as a prankster's holiday, one that attracts any and all kinds of criminals," said Patrick Clancy, vice president of LoJack's law enforcement team. "However, we aren't just seeing petty crimes and joy riding. Now, criminals are smarter, more educated and aware of how to steal in the dead of night."
Here are three ways you can thwart mischief-makers on Halloween – and any other day, for that matter.
1. Keep your lights on
Darkness may be a running theme on Halloween, but it is also an ally for any would-be criminals. Leave outside lights on for as long as possible, even if it means you have to deal with a few late-night trick-or-treaters. You should also always have your headlights on as you drive, even if it is relatively early in the day. Young children typically start trick-or-treating before nightfall, and some of their costumes may cause them to blend in with their surroundings.
2. Don't be lazy
If you're driving around a neighborhood on Halloween, it can be tempting to leave your car running while you escort your family up to the door for some trick-or-treating. However, this leaves your car ripe for theft or break-ins. Instead of letting your laziness take over, make the extra effort to completely turn your car off and pocket your keys as needed.
3. Hide your valuables
It may sound obvious, but you shouldn't be leaving anything of value out in the open in your car, even if it's locked. You may have brought a camera to snap a few pictures of your companions in their Halloween costumes or have your cellphone on hand in case of emergencies. Consider keeping these objects either on your person or locked securely in a glove compartment.
Want to make sure your ride can handle Halloween? Schedule an appointment at New Jersey State Auto Auction's Total Car Care Center. This garage caters to the public and is capable of addressing any issues you may have, getting every aspect of your vehicle up to par.
You've probably heard the phrase "Fall back, spring ahead" as it applies to daylight saving time. While this quote is an easy way to remember which way you're supposed to change your clocks, it can also be a handy method of reminding yourself to schedule car maintenance.
Why does daylight saving matter?
Daylight saving occurs twice each year, and both times signify an upcoming change in weather. When the clocks "fall back" in November, for instance, it's a signal that you need to get ready for frigid temperatures, snowfall and icy roads. Because prepping for winter weather can be rather intensive for your car, it's a good time to bring your ride to a pro for some work.
"The end of daylight saving time means that winter weather is on the way, which can be rough on your car," says AAA's director of Automotive Engineering, Greg Brannon. "This is a good time to have vehicle systems checked and perform important maintenance to ensure your car is in peak condition."
It's also important to note that daylight saving time means it's going to be darker relatively early in the day, so you'll need to put some of your car's features to use more frequently than before.
What do I need to check?
If you've scheduled an appointment at the Total Car Care Center at NJ State Auto Auction, then you're on the right track. The team of professionals there can look over your vehicle and address any issues you may have. However, it can't hurt to have a clear idea of what the most pressing matters may be – especially if daylight saving time is imminent.
AAA suggested looking into areas such as windshield wipers and lights. These are two aspects of your car that you'll need as it begins getting darker earlier in the day. Additionally, make sure your tires are getting some attention. This could be the year you need to switch to snow tires, or your wheels may just need an upgrade due to poor tread. Either way, tracking the wear and tear on tires is essential during the winter months.
Other areas that may require updating include the battery and engine, according to AAA. Both of these aspects of a car can have small problems that are aggravated by cold weather, causing more expensive and frustrating breakdowns later on.
The price of used cars may be dropping, but that doesn't mean most people can just drop off a hunk of cash and drive off a lot with their ride of choice. Instead, a large number of people turn to auto loans to help them afford a car. While loans can be a huge advantage for budget-conscious buyers, there are still some scenarios where the financing options can cause stress and costly payments in the long run.
According to Bloomberg News, the number of late payments by subprime car buyers is rapidly rising, which is cause for concern. Although many of these borrowers, most of whom have spotty credit history, can manage to make their payments on time, others are struggling – perhaps because of the type of loan they sign up for.
Instead of leaving your financing up to chance, pay attention to the details of your loan and make sure you're getting a good deal. Here are two warning signs you should watch out for. While these factors aren't the only red flags out there, they are two of the most common.
1. You don't understand the fees
Auto financing is certainly complicated, and no one is asking every buyer to become an expert. Still, you should have a clear idea of what you're paying for. Take a close look at the loan you're agreeing to and make sure every aspect of the payment is explained clearly. Taxes and fees are normal, but they should be explicitly explained so you know what your money is going toward and how much you're really being charged.
2. There are odd conditions
CNBC noted that situations may arise when a dealer tries to pull a fast one on the driver. In these scenarios, a company will strike a deal with the buyer and sign off on the paperwork. Later on, said company contacts the buyer, claims something was wrong with the conditional sale and makes outrageous demands, such as additional fees or even the return of the car. If any dealer ever tries to back out of a contract, you should alert the proper authorities.
Ultimately, a good auto loan will provide you with transparency along with manageable payments. If you're struggling to find one of these elusive financing options, let the team at NJ State Auto help. Our financing department can get you approved for a loan quickly and easily, explaining all of the ins and outs of the process along the way.
Putting a child behind the wheel of a car for the first time can be an emotional experience for any parent. Often lost in this haze of tears and anxiety, however, is an opportunity to educate these young drivers regarding all of the rules of the road they'll need. It's not enough to pass this responsibility off to driver's ed instructors – parents must do their part as well.
Young drivers need practice
The AAA Foundation recently released a report in conjunction with National Teen Driver Safety Week. In its study, AAA found that experience garnered in the driver's seat matters more than other factors, such as age, when it comes to safety.
According to the organization, drivers who got their licenses at an older age were less likely to be involved in an accident in the first five months of their driving career. However, the data for teens was relatively flat – in fact, people who began driving at age 18 instead of 16 were more likely to be involved in a crash.
"Turning 18 does not instantly make someone a safer driver," said Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. "This new research clearly demonstrates how important experience is to safe driving and suggests that graduated driver licensing laws may be beneficial for people that begin driving at an older age."
New Jersey laws help teens
Luckily for parents in New Jersey, the state has a plan in place for getting teens acclimated to life on the road. As one of the only states to have this program in place, New Jersey reaps the benefits of more informed, safer drivers. Still, parents of drivers at any age can pass on knowledge to their children to ensure that they're ready for the road.
Local laws put young drivers in a position to succeed, but to remain safe they need the right equipment. That's where NJ State Auto Auction comes into play. Our lot offers hundreds of Carfax-certified cars, trucks and vans, any one of which could be ideal for a first-time driver. As an added bonus, we even have an in-house financing team on site. These experts are ready and willing to help you find the best deal possible, enabling you to find a high-quality car for your teen at an affordable price.
It is common knowledge that young people are at risk behind the wheel simply because of their inexperience. To make up for this, parents often lay down rules designed to make driving safer – but there are some loopholes they should be aware of.
Young drivers are at risk
In a survey conducted by the National Safety Council, the majority of parents reported that they don't let teens drive with friends in the car or operate a vehicle after 10 p.m. Despite the fact that 57 percent of parents forbid young people from driving with friends, 60 percent allow these drivers to shuttle around siblings – an act that is just as dangerous. Similarly, driving when it is dark places the same challenges on teens regardless of the clock.
"The most dangerous period for a new driver is during the first year or first thousand miles, but only 54 percent of teens get their license before their 18th birthday," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president of the National Safety Council. "The risk factors remain the same whether you are 16 or 19, so we are thrilled to see parents support extending the most effective interventions to our most inexperienced drivers."
Passing on information
According to the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, 65 percent of teens say they sometimes or usually find themselves in situations they are unprepared for when driving. About two-thirds were unsure of how to maneuver through complex driving scenarios, while 60 percent didn't know how to react when a speeding car came up from behind them. Additionally, 35 percent were confused when an emergency vehicle approached them at a red light.
While some of these situations may seem basic to experienced motorists, it takes time for young people to reach that knowledge level. Attempting to convey this information early with formal driving lessons or an open line of communication could allow teens to ask more questions and therefore receive more answers early on in their driving careers.
Set teens up for success
One of the best ways to ensure that a teen is being safe on the road is to put him or her in a safe vehicle. If you're looking for a car that is tough enough to protect a young driver, head to New Jersey State Auto Auction to check out the selection. The lot boasts hundreds of Carfax-certified used cars, trucks and vans, and many of the options have excellent safety features that can be huge advantages in an emergency.
With winter on the horizon, drivers have likely turned their attention to some issues that may pop up in the season. Whether these motorists concern themselves with icy surfaces, piles of snow on the windshield or making sure the heat works, they know that the cold weather brings at least some car-related challenges. This can even extend to tires, and it's never too early for drivers to start focusing on these fickle parts.
Down goes your tire pressure
According to the Goodyear Tire Company, for every 10 degrees of temperature change, your tire pressure can drop 1 to 2 pounds. This can be especially harmful at the beginning of the cooler seasons, as the mercury readings are liable to fluctuate wildly from day to night.
"Odds are that many motorists haven't checked their tire pressure since the weather began turning cooler. If the last time the tire pressure was checked was during the heat of summer, many people could soon be riding on severely underinflated tires," said Steve Rohweder, Goodyear director of consumer tire technology, in a press release.
Having your tires at the optimum pressure is essential for the functioning of your car. FleetOwner reported that underinflated tires can result in an increase in fuel consumption – and therefore a decrease in efficiency – as well as more wear and tear on the wheels. TruckingInfo also noted this risk, stating that as much as 90 percent of tire failures are caused by underinflation, which in turn can lead to an uptick in emergency service calls.
What you can do
Are you worried about tire pressure fluctuating throughout the winter? Fear not, as there are plenty of solutions for all types of drivers – even if you're a novice when it comes to car maintenance. Goodyear recommended checking the pressure at least once a month with a gauge. If you're unsure how to do that, refer to your owner's manual and check out the specifics as they relate to your vehicle.
Do your tires need some extra attention? Don't hesitate to schedule an appointment at New Jersey State Auto Auction's Total Car Care Center. The professionals at this garage are capable of addressing any issues your car may have, including those relating to tires, and they could even complete some other tasks that will have your ride running smoothly throughout winter.
Caring for a used car can be tough. You've got to pay attention to a bunch of different parts and numbers, many of which you might not even understand. It's never too late to learn, however, and just a little bit of knowledge could make a big difference in how you maintain a vehicle. Being aware of the various fluids in your car, for example, can give you the knowledge you need to maintain them properly.
"Less maintenance improves the cost of vehicle ownership, but fewer visits to the repair facility means the technician will have fewer opportunities to check your vehicle for signs of wear," said John Nielsen, AAA's managing director of automotive engineering and repair. "It's important for motorists to conduct monthly safety inspections to identify issues before they escalate."
Here are three fluids in your vehicle that need to be maintained regularly.
1. Brake fluid
It's easy to overlook brake fluid: Because it's part of an individual closed system in your car, there's no need to constantly check on it. However, ignoring it completely is dangerous. Find a happy medium by examining it when you have an oil change, just to lump your maintenance together for ease. It only needs to be completely flushed and cleaned out about every two years.
Almost every driver has at least some knowledge of oil changes. This update is essential for those who want their engine to run smoothly, but today's motorists may not know when to check the oil or have it replaced. Conventional wisdom says to get an oil change every six months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first, but in reality the need varies by make and model. Check your owner's manual for information that's specific to your car.
3. Power steering fluid
Much like brake fluid, the power steering fluid doesn't need to be constantly monitored. If the level gets low, you'll likely hear some kind of creaking or feel resistance when using the wheel. To avoid this, check the fluid about once a month or so, but don't worry about replacing it until 50,000 miles pass, Lifehacker recommended. If you're unsure, check the owner's manual for more information.
If you think your car needs to be examined and maintained by a pro, head to the Total Car Care Center at NJ State Auto Auction. This garage caters to the public and is capable of addressing any issues you may have.
As the temperature drops and the autumn air gets crisp, you'll want to spend plenty of time perusing pumpkin patches or tailgating the next football game. However, you shouldn't let your favorite fall activities get in the way of your car's maintenance.
The importance of tire tread
Tire tread is an essential part of car safety. The deep grooves on the surface of a tire grip the ground and help control the vehicle, wicking away water and other debris when necessary. Tread is especially important during the cold, wet months, as it allows drivers to maneuver over slick areas and complete their drive safely.
According to The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, this year's winter is predicted to be colder than normal for most of the country. While it's hard to imagine anything being worse than last year's polar vortex, the frigid temperatures and inclement weather on the horizon will likely challenge it. Additionally, people in the eastern part of the U.S. can expect heavy snow and rainfall throughout the season.
But drivers don't have to be stuck inside when winter arrives – instead, they can work to ensure that their cars are safe enough to handle the roads.
Invest in tuneups
With slippery snow and rain arriving shortly, drivers should turn their attention to vehicle maintenance now. Simply getting an auto tuneup is a good place to start, as this quick check-up can ensure that all aspects of a car are running smoothly. Professionals will know how to check your tire tread, along with a few other areas, to see what needs to be done before the next cold wave arrives.
"It's never too late to prepare your vehicle for winter," said Steve Rohweder, Goodyear director of consumer tire technology, in a statement. "Along with antifreeze and battery check-ups, inspection of your tire tread is especially important as we prepare for potential slippery road conditions."
Where to go
At New Jersey State Auto Auction, you can do more than find used cars. The facility also has the Total Car Care Center, a garage that caters to the public and is capable of addressing any issues you may have. Schedule an appointment today to have your tires checked out before you hit the worst of fall weather. You can even use this opportunity to learn more about the use of snow tires or chains, which could increase car safety during the winter.
Used cars can be a great option for drivers. Not only are they more affordable than their newer counterparts, but they also offer plenty of the same styles and features that motorists want. Unfortunately, a recent study found that pre-owned vehicles may still be financially out of reach for many.
Used cars may be out of reach
The website iSeeCars.com gathered data from 25 million used car transactions in the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S. What it found was somewhat surprising: A typical used car sale is enough to leave the average American household financially overextended. For example, people in New Orleans spent about 140 percent more than what is ideal for their budget over the course of used car ownership, CNBC reported.
"The fact is, buying a used car or truck is just not realistic financially for millions of Americans," said iSeeCars.com CEO Phong Ly, as quoted by NBC News. "Low annual household income in some parts of the country is forcing people into car payments that are higher than they'd like, or for a term far longer than ideal, just to make them more affordable."
According to CNBC, the figures were calculated using the average transaction prices in a given region, as well as the typical down payments and monthly payments. Loans can certainly help drivers in the long run, but choosing an option with a longer term also means paying more interest. The trick is to find a solution that balances finances with the needs of the consumer – an act that can be tricky if you're not sure of the process.
Can you afford one?
Are you unsure about your ability to buy a used car? Never fear, as New Jersey State Auto Auction is here to help. In addition to having hundreds of used cars for sale, the facility boasts its own in-house financing team. These experts are well-equipped to find you the best auto loan or financing option possible, ensuring that you can drive off the lot with the car of your dreams.
NJ Auto's financing team is able to approve prospective shoppers for car loans and then help them decide which option is best for their specific situation. Not only does this clarify an otherwise confusing process, but it ensures that you're signing up for a plan you can afford.
For most Americans, traffic is merely an inconvenience – albeit one that can drive them to their wits' end. However, many people don't realize that gridlock throughout the U.S. costs drivers thousands of dollars each year. Not only does the constant stop-and-go traffic drain your gas tank, but the time spent in a car and away from a productive place also negatively affects your wallet and sanity.
Traffic poses major problems
INRIX recently released the details of its latest report, which focused on the facts and figures surrounding traffic gridlock. According to the data, the annual costs associated with traffic will jump by almost 50 percent by the year 2030, bringing its total cost to around $293 billion.
"This report shows that advanced economies could be heading for 'car-maggedon,'" said Kevin Foreman, a general manager at INRIX. "The scale of the problem is enormous, and we now know that gridlock will continue to have serious consequences for national and city economies, businesses, and households into the future."
In fact, many individuals are already paying for gridlock. The report found that the annual cost of traffic for an American household is about $1,700, and that could climb to as much as $2,300 by 2030. Idling in traffic also proves costly for the environment, as approximately $300 million worth of carbon emissions are lost each year.
Planning for traffic
Savvy drivers can make a few concessions that should help them avoid traffic gridlock – and the costs associated with it – in the future. INRIX recommended using navigation services that help individuals find traffic-free routes or nearby public transportation stops instead of sitting in gridlock. More advanced technologies that allow cars to identify crowded areas and avoid them may also assist owners in saving money.
While some residents of urban areas like New York City may just resign themselves to a life of public transportation, there are still plenty of opportunities to find used cars without a hassle. New Jersey Auto Auction, for example, has hundreds of Carfax-certified cars, trucks and vans that can help any driver get around. Shoppers may even find a fuel-efficient or alternative option designed to save money in the long run.
If you had to pick two personal possessions that were never stolen, there's a good chance you would name your car and your wallet. These are some of the most valuable items you own, and not only are they costly to replace, but losing one is sure to bring plenty of headaches and frustration. All of this makes a recent trend even more alarming.
Stealing identities – and cars
The National Insurance Crime Bureau is raising awareness of white-collar methods that many thieves are using to steal cars. One of the most popular schemes involves criminals using stolen IDs to lease or purchase vehicles. Once the car is in their possession, they skip any and all payments, leaving the original victim of theft stuck with the bill. Those vehicles could even be resold to unsuspecting buyers.
Although there are no concrete numbers associated with these scams, the NICB is paying attention to the threat – and you should be too.
"Trying to put a number on these kinds of thefts is a challenge," said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. "It's comparable to a hacker stealing IDs – you don't know you're a victim until it's too late. Most of these thefts don't show up in traditional crime reporting numbers and become financial losses for lenders, car rental companies and others. The result is millions of dollars added to the cost of doing business, which is ultimately passed on to consumers."
How to stay safe
You can take some measures to protect your investment. Start by keeping your ID close to you at all times. You should also be monitoring any suspicious mail that comes to your home address, making sure that you aren't unwittingly receiving follow-up letters from a loan or purchase.
Additionally, always lock your car or home, particularly if you have a wallet lying around. When looking for a used car, be sure to research the vehicle history and make sure you a clear idea of where the car came from.
It also helps to go to a reputable used car lot for all of your shopping and auto financing needs. At New Jersey State Auto Auction, for instance, you'll find hundreds of Carfax-certified vehicles as well as a top-notch financing team. They'll assist you in your search for the perfect ride, complete with an affordable price tag, auto loans and plenty of security features.
Thinking about all of the money that goes into a car – the price of buying used cars, insurance payments, auto loans, gas money and more – can be overwhelming. It may even seem like there's no relief from these costs, as the bills associated with owning a car just continue to pile up. That's why some drivers are getting their hands dirty this year.
More drivers embrace DIY
According to a survey conducted by AutoPartsWarehouse.com, drivers are increasingly trying to save money by doing their own auto maintenance and repairs. Nearly 80 percent of people stated they were trying to pinch pennies by doing their own work, with another 66 percent saying they simply enjoy maintaining cars.
About half of the people who said they embrace DIY jobs reported trying their hand at more tasks this year than in the past, and two-thirds of drivers said they're willing to take on more difficult projects.
Why are these car owners stepping outside their comfort zone? For starters, many of them are driving older vehicles, and they don't feel like it's worthwhile to pump more money into them. Almost half of the respondents said their cars were 10 or more years old, with 64 percent clocking in with more than 100,000 miles.
Some of these motorists would be surprised to hear that repairs and maintenance aren't always so costly. In fact, there may even be a few local garages capable of delivering fine work at a relative low price – drivers just have to work up the effort to find them.
Don't take unnecessary risks
You may feel the urge to try your hand at some car maintenance, but if you're not comfortable with certain tasks, don't hesitate to call a pro. The team of experts at New Jersey State Auto Auction's Total Car Care Center, for example, can address any issues you may have with your vehicle.
At NJ State Auto, you can also find used cars that will serve as great replacements for older vehicles that may be on their last legs. Instead of using patchwork DIY projects to extend the life of a ride, let the facility's in-house financing team figure out how you can get behind the wheel of a more reliable, stylish option.
The sight of an idling police car on the side of the road is enough to make any driver nervous. Even if you're traveling at the speed limit, passing by a radar gun can be nerve-wracking. Motorists may have to get used to this feeling, however, as a recent innovation resulted in a radar gun that lets police know if a driver is texting while driving.
Is texting really that big of a problem?
In short, yes. The Federal Communications Commission reported that text messaging while driving increases the risk of a crash by 23 percent. Additionally, about 11 percent of drivers ages 18 to 20 who were involved in an accident admitted to sending or receiving texts at the moment it happened.
To prevent this type of distracted driving from becoming more of a problem, 44 states have banned texting behind the wheel, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Enforcing these laws is difficult, however, which is where the new invention comes into play.
How does it work?
According to The Virginian-Pilot, the gun senses radio frequencies coming from cellphones inside a car. The device can even distinguish between texting and making a phone call, but it is not able to read what type of data is being transferred should an individual be using a smartphone to complete a different task. Although this device isn't being mass produced quite yet – and it still needs legal approval – there's a good chance it could be used on the roads in the near future.
What can you do?
Can you do anything about the texting radar gun? Probably not, but a good place to start would be to put down the phone when you get behind the wheel. The next step is making sure the car you drive has plenty of safety tools and other features that help you out on the road.
It pays to shop around for the right car. At New Jersey State Auto Auction, for example, you can search through hundreds of Carfax-certified cars, trucks and vans to find the one that meets all of your needs. Maybe it's a subtle color that police won't pay as much attention to, or perhaps it has new technology that allows you to listen to messages without taking your hands off the wheel. No matter what, finding a vehicle with extra safety features – at an affordable price – can make a huge difference.