Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

Drive safely in winter weather with these tips [Video]

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

Tis the season when snowfall transforms the landscape into a winter wonderland. But while skiers, sledders and snowman aficionados are all welcoming the wintry precipitation, drivers may not be quite so happy to see all the snow and ice.

The season's precipitation and sub-freezing temperatures can create all manner of driving hazards, whether you're on the highway or on local roads in the middle of your town. Staying safe is just as important as getting to where you need to go, so consider these tips this winter.

"Your car needs more battery power in winter than in the summer."

Keep up with your maintenance
Winter weather can be harsh on your car. There's nothing worse than being stuck on the side of the road in a snowstorm or in freezing conditions because your engine is frozen or your battery is dead. Get a head start on avoiding these potential problems by making a trip to your mechanic's shop at the beginning of the season.

In particular, you want to pay special attention to your battery. Car Talk noted that you actually need more battery power in winter than you do in the summer. This is because your motor oil is less fluid in the freezing temperatures, meaning you need more power to get the engine started. Additionally, the colder the weather, the less power your battery will generate. If your car battery is old, consider replacing it with a larger, more powerful version to avoid being left out in the cold.

Also remember to keep your antifreeze topped off in your engine. The best ratio of water to fluid is actually 1:1: Opting for 100 percent antifreeze in your engine actually is less effective than this ratio.

Check your tires
You know the importance of using good winter tires in the cold season, but it bears repeating because it's so important. Even in parts of the country with milder winter weather, you want to use winter tires instead of all-weather radials, since they have much better traction and hold up better in cold conditions. According to Edmunds, your tread needs to be at least 6/32-inches deep to maintain the best level of traction in snow or on ice.

Drive defensively
Careful driving is obviously a must for any time of year, but it's absolutely essential in the winter. Snow storms can reduce visibility to almost nothing, effectively eliminating your response time in the event of a potentially accident-causing occurrence like a car stopping short in front of you or an animal darting out into the road.

On top of the reduction in visibility, winter is the season when black ice comes out. This dangerous driving hazard was responsible for 458 traffic fatalities in the 2009-2010 winter season, according to IcyRoadSafety.com. Keeping a slower speed on icy roads can give you more time to spot this danger, and may help reduce the loss of control you experience when you hit a patch. If you do find yourself skidding out thanks to black ice, stay calm. Press down on your brakes as firmly as you can and keep your foot there. You'll feel the brakes pulse automatically as the ABS cycles, helping you regain control.

Ensure you have an emergency kit in your car during the winter.

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Be prepared
Even if you follow the above advice to the letter, there's still a chance that you could find yourself in an emergency situation. Create an emergency kit and keep it in your car in case you get stuck on the side of the road. Include items like a blanket, a flashlight, a first-aid kit and flares or reflective triangles. Also ensure you have bottled water and a small supply of nonperishable food, as well as a charger for your cellphone and jumper cables for your car, if needed.

If you need a car to see you through the holiday travel season, head to New Jersey State Auto Auction. You'll find hundreds of Carfax-certified cars on the lot, and a helpful and knowledgeable staff ready to assist you in finding the perfect high-quality used car.

4 simple maintenance jobs that can help you save money on your car [Video]

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Owning a car can be an expensive affair. With regular maintenance, gas, parking and insurance – not to mention the actual car payment itself – it's important to make sure you're financially capable of car ownership before heading to the dealer.

Fortunately, while there isn't much you can do about things like gas prices, there are steps you can take to lower your cost of ownership. Cars are complex and maintenance on them can be expensive if things get out of hand. On the flip side, taking a few preventive measures regularly can keep your car running smoother for longer.

Here are a few simple maintenance task any driver should be able to do that can reduce your cost of ownership.

"A dirty air filter can reduce your fuel efficiency by around 10%."

1. Change your air filter
Plain old air is a critical component in the smooth operation of your car's engine. According to CarsDirect, every gallon of fuel your engine uses requires 10,000 gallons of clean air. That may seem like a lot, but remember that your car gets all the air it needs from outside – you just need to keep an eye on the air filter.

Investopedia recommended changing your air filter every three months, though this may change depending on the area that you live in – parts of the country that are particularly dusty or pollen-infested may require more frequent maintenance. Air filters themselves are fairly inexpensive and are simple to replace – most of them don't require any special tools and can be swapped by hand by even novice motorists.

For such a small component, the air filter can have a major impact on your car's gas mileage. A dirty filter can reduce your fuel efficiency by around 10 percent, costing you an extra 15 cents per gallon on gasoline – an amount that will certainly add up over time.

2. Keep your tires inflated
You likely don't think too much about your tires unless there's a problem. They're an important part of your vehicle's overall function and safety, and replacing them can be an expensive ordeal. That's why it's important to keep them in good, working condition as long as possible by keeping them inflated.

Tires tend to lose air at a rate of about one to two pounds per month, Investopedia noted. In addition to this, extreme temperature changes – such as the oncoming season – can cause even further loss of air pressure. Check your tire pressure regularly, as well as your owner's manual to determine what the recommended pressure is for your car so you can stay on top of the issue.

Knowing when to change your oil is just important as knowing how to do so.

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3. Change your oil on a realistic schedule
Conventional wisdom holds that you should change your oil every 3,000 miles. However, it turns out conventional wisdom may be overcompensating. While it's important to change your oil regularly, every 3,000 miles is a bit excessive, especially with new advancements in synthetic motor oil technology. Check your car's owner's manual for manufacturer recommendations, but in general, you can likely get away with changing your oil every 5,000 miles. Not only will you be saving money on unnecessary oil changes, you'll also be going easy on the environment.

4. Buy an OBD-II reader
Wait a minute – we're supposed to be helping you save money on car maintenance, so why are we recommending you buy a diagnostic reader? Before you get too upset, keep in mind that the nebulous check engine light is the source of many headaches – and unnecessary maintenance expenses – for motorists everywhere.

Fortunately, an OBD-II reader, a machine that retails for just under $100, can eliminate unnecessary trips to the mechanic's shop. The reader interfaces with your engine's on-board computer, providing you information on exactly what's wrong when the check engine light goes on for most cars manufactured later than 1996. While you should try and get all maintenance issues with your car addressed as soon as possible, some are more pressing than others, and these are exactly the sorts of things that an OBD-II reader is designed to help you determine.

If you're in the market for a used car, head to NJ State Auto Auction. You'll find hundreds of Carfax-certified cars on the lot, and a helpful sales and finance team dedicated to putting you in the used car that's right for you.

3 common car repairs to look out for [Video]

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Simply put, buying a car is an investment. Aside from the up-front cost of the car itself, you should expect to spend money on keeping your car running smoothly and safely so you can maximize its life as much as possible.

But cars are also incredibly complicated machines. With so many moving parts, it only makes sense that things will break down every now and then. Even cars from the most reliable manufacturers need a mechanic's TLC every now and then. While there's a seemingly endless number of components that could potentially break down in any given car, the good news is that most repair jobs tend to be pretty predictable.

Here are three of the more common car repairs.

Changing your oil is simple, but essential.

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Oil-related issues
Oil changes are the most common and well-known maintenance task, even for drivers who have no idea how a car works under the hood. This is because oil changes are both simple and regular – it's a task you need to be on top of, and they're easy enough that you can do them yourself. That's right – you don't need to shell out any money to get your oil changed, this is one maintenance task you can do all on your own. Just be sure to check your car's owner's manual to see how often you should change up your oil.

One final note: Just be sure you stay current with your oil changes. According to the All Pro Service Center in Des Moines, Iowa, failure to change your oil can result in your engine overheating much faster and can even warp some of the components inside, resulting in hugely expensive or even irreparable damage to the engine.

Tire changes
Sure, you may know how to change a tire on the side of the road, but we're not talking about a temporary replacement until you can get to a service center. You likely don't think about your tires too often, but believe it or not, they may be the most frequent reason you head to the mechanic's shop. According to Cheat Sheet, a set of tires tends to last between two and four years. Considering it's not uncommon to keep the same car for close to 10 years, that means you'll likely go through the process of replacing them multiple times during the life of your car. Considering it can cost between $400 and $600 to swap out a full set of four, that's a significant expense.

Fortunately, you can help extend the life of your tires by regularly monitoring their air pressure and tread. Doing so will greatly improve their effectiveness and reduce wear and tear as much as possible.

"Brake pads typically need to be changed every 40,000 miles."

Brakes
Brakes are such an important safety feature of your car that multiple Hollywood movies create suspense by putting plucky protagonists in vehicles with insidiously snipped brake lines. The good news is you likely won't have to worry about your brake lines – unless you're an international spy or something similar – but you'll most likely have to replace your brake pads at some point during your ownership.

According to WyoTech college in Laramie, Wyoming, brake pads typically need to be changed every 40,000 miles or so. While replacing the brake pads is a fairly simple and inexpensive process, if you also need to replace the disk, drum or rotor component of your brakes, you may be looking at a much higher expense. Mitigate these maintenance costs by addressing any brake-related repair issues immediately, before they can get worse.

You won’t be-leave these autumn driving hazards [Video]

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Fall is the time of year for enjoying beautiful foliage while sipping on a pumpkin-spice something-or-other. If you're an autumnal aficionado who happens to have a car, your options for fall enjoyment are even greater, as you can hop into your vehicle and go on a sight-seeing drive through the vibrant countryside. 

Unfortunately, your car doesn't share your enthusiasm for autumn foliage. While the fall leaves can be pretty to look at, they can also be a source of safety and maintenance concerns for your car. But you shouldn't let a little thing like some fallen leaves ruin your appreciation of this beautiful season. Pay attention to the following safety and repair concerns so you can hit the road to leaf-watch without a care.

1. Traction issues
If you're fortunate enough to live along a country back road, you're in a great spot to enjoy some of the prime viewing vantage points for the seasonal foliage. But these leaves that are so stunning to look at are also a potential safety hazard, especially on those winding country roads. As leaves fall, they can blow into the road. When it rains, leaves that were formerly dead, dry and brittle become wet, mushy and slick – exactly the kind of conditions you want to avoid driving on. Because roads tend to be leaf-covered in the fall, it's a great time to check your tire traction and air pressure, if you aren't already doing so regularly. Well-maintained tires will be your best line of defense against this particular hazard.

"Even small piles of leaves can cover up potholes."

2. Obscuring essential information
Fallen leaves can be more than a traction issue. In heavily wooded areas, significant leaf piles can form that may actually cover up markings on the road such as driving instructions or dividing lines. More significantly, even small piles of leaves can cover up potholes enough for you to not notice them. If  you don't know that a pothole is there, you don't know to slow down. As a result, you may hit these covered-up obstacles quickly enough to damage your suspension or your tires. If you're driving on an unfamiliar road that's particularly leafy, use extra caution. If you do notice a pothole, many cities and municipal government offices encourage citizens to call and report them so they can be fixed.

3. Dry-leaf dangers
It's not just wet, slippery leaves that can be worrisome for drivers. In fact, parts of the country that don't experience much precipitation present unique hazards to drivers. You may not realize it, but dry leaves can be a fire hazard. EInsurance recommended against parking your car on top of a pile of dried leaves – or any other type of dry foliage such as pine needles or fallen branches. If you do, your car's catalytic converter could start a fire when you next turn it on. 

Leaves can damage your car's paint job, but it's nothing a good polish won't take care of.

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4. Staining
Leaves aren't just potentially hazardous, they can also be damaging to your car even when you aren't driving. It's virtually impossible to keep leaves from falling on your car, but you should make a point to clear them off when you notice them. If they linger for too long, water and tree sap can actually seep out of the leaves, resulting in unsightly stains on your car. Telegram recommended removing these leaves by hand rather than trying to sweep them off with a broom, as the bristles can scratch the paint. Fortunately, while these stains are a nuisance, they aren't damaging in the long-term, and can usually be cleaned fairly easily with commercial paint cleaner.

5. Water damage
Water leaking into your car's interior is a worst-case-scenario for many drivers. Autumn leaves can actually be a catalyst of this. London's Russell Automotive Centre noted that it's not uncommon for autumn leaves to accumulate in the space under your windshield. This important area directs water from your windshield safely away from the interior of your car, so if it gets clogged, the chances of your interior being affected by water damage are much higher. 

If you're in the market for a car this autumn, you're bound to find the right model for you at NJ State Auto Auction. With hundreds of Carfax-certified cars on the lot, you're sure to drive away the happy owner of a high-quality used car.

How to keep your cool during roadside emergencies

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

As they say, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. No matter how thoroughly you think you've prepared, there's always the chance that you'll encounter an emergency or other unexpected hiccup while you're on the road.

Roadside vehicle-related emergencies can be particularly stressful since there's really never an opportune time for them to happen. Often, even if you have a cellphone, you may be miles away from the nearest service station. But never fear – with a little planning, it's possible to meet any unforeseen situation head-on to minimize stress and maximize safety. 

Let your warning lights illuminate the problem
Even though your car is a machine, it still talks to you, and it can provide you with useful information if you pay attention. In fact, there's a whole host of things your car can communicate just on the dashboard in the form of warning lights. 

Everyone's encountered at least a few of these over the years, from the engine radiator light to the ubiquitous and mysterious check engine light. In an emergency situation, being able to read and interpret these beacons can be a huge help.

For example, when the low oil pressure light or high temperature indicator go on, these are signs to immediately stop driving and have your car towed to a service center. Driving a car that has low oil pressure or is overheated can both utterly ruin your engine. On the other hand, the check engine light or SRS/airbag indicators mean that while there are issues that need to be brought to your attention, they don't need to be urgently addressed. 

Have an emergency kit with you in your car at all times.

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Be prepared
Former Boy Scouts are doubtless well aware of the organization's age-old motto. You can apply that thinking to your daily life even today by putting together an emergency kit to keep in your car. Of course, you don't need to throw everything and the kitchen sink into your emergency kit, but it's important to have a few basics on hand. Try to keep a flashlight, a blanket, a spare tire, jumper cables and, of course, a cellphone in your car with you at all times. 

Find a safe spot to wait for help
It goes without saying that a roadside emergency can be dangerous, especially on a highway or busy street. If possible, make your way to the shoulder of the road to wait for help. Give yourself a wide berth with cones or reflective pylons if you have them. This is especially important at night when visibility is even lower than normal, or in poor weather when drivers may need additional space and time to slow or stop safely. Consumer Reports recommended placing such items as far behind your car as possible to maximize your visibility and to give motorists enough time to react appropriately. 

"Getting out of your car can put you and other motorists in immediate danger."

Stay in your car
Roadside emergencies are stressful, and you may be tempted to get out of your car to seek help, flag down a passing motorist or even just stretch your legs. However, resist this urge if possible. Especially if you're broken down on a highway or busy roadway, getting out of your car can put you and other motorists in immediate danger. If you have a cellphone, make a call to your roadside assistance agency or a local repair shop, then wait with your doors locked for help to arrive.

If you got caught without a phone, place flares and reflective triangles around your vehicle to alert other drivers that you need help, then get back in your car. Be very wary about unlocking your doors and accepting help from anyone you don't know. If possible, only respond to emergency personnel or service agents. 

What’s the deal with motor oil? [VIDEO]

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Whether you've been driving for years or just bought your first used car, it's always good to know a bit about what's going on under the hood. Having an idea of how things work and what happens when they don't can save you a lot of headaches and trips to the mechanic. Today, we're going to talk a bit about motor oil: what it is, what it does and what happens when it leaks or needs to be changed.

"Motor oil keeps engines well-lubricated."

Why do cars need oil?
Engines are made of hundreds of metal parts that bump, grind and rub up against one another. Motor oil provides lubrication to prevent excess wear and tear, allowing each part to function as expected as long as possible. Without oil, the engine will not run as smoothly due to all the friction of the hard surfaces colliding without protective barriers. Cars.com pointed out that oil can actually help keep the engine cool as well.

What do all those numbers mean?
If you have had to buy a bottle of oil for your car, you may have been confused by all the numbers and letters defining the different options. So what is the difference between 5W-30 and 10W-40? The specifics behind these numbers have to do with the testing process, but what you really need to know is that the different codes represent different viscosity, or thickness, levels.  Some oils are designed specifically for higher-mileage vehicles and others are made to be used in commercial vehicles with larger engines.

How do you know which to choose?
The type of oil you'll want to use will depend on the kind of used car you drive. Everything from the size of the vehicle to its age and even the time of year can influence which type of oil you'll need. For example, it is better to use a thicker oil in the winter and a thinner one in warmer months. Thankfully, you only need to check the owner's manual to find out what the automaker recommends for your make and model. You can also seek out the advice of an expert when you take your car in for a tune-up or an oil change. 

What should you look for when checking the oil?
The primary reason to check your oil is to ensure there is enough to keep the engine lubricated. Doing so is a simple process that should take more than a few minutes and should be done every month or two. Ideally, you will want to find a decent fluid level and liquid that is golden brown, dark brown or black in color, and free of debris.

Checking the oil is easier than you think.

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Checking the oil also gives you an opportunity to spot potential problems like leaks. If you notice that the level is particularly low, add a quart or two to the tank and check the level again in a few days. You might have a leak if the level has dropped significantly in a short time, and you should see out a mechanic's help. The same advice goes for if you can see flecks of metal or debris in the fluid, as this may mean it's time to replace your oil filter. It could also point to another leak somewhere in the engine.

How often should you change the oil?
Much like the oil type, the frequency of changing it relies on numerous factors. The age and condition of the car will dictate this maintenance schedule. Older cars can often go longer between changes, since their parts tend to be a bit more worn and smoother and they won't require as much lubrication. However, newer models are made with more advanced parts and can last longer than traditional recommendations. The old rule of thumb was to change the oil every 3,000 miles, but more recently, automotive experts have stated that drivers can wait anywhere from 5,000 to 7,500 miles. A professional can provide a more specific range depending on the type of car and its condition.

How to keep your car in top shape all summer [VIDEO]

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

The maintenance your car needs changes with the seasons, and as things heat up it's good to make sure your ride is ready for the summer months. All sorts of things, from longer days to hotter roads, can affect your vehicle this summer. It's good to keep up with maintenance to not only ensure your vehicle will be able to get you to the beach all summer but to prevent major problems that will come with hefty repair bills. Let's take a look at some of the maintenance you can do at home to keep your car running smoothly and safely all summer long and well into fall.

Follow some of these car care tips to have a safe, happy summer.

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Fluids, fluids, fluids
You already know it's important to drink lots of water and stay hydrated under the summer sun, but you might not give the same consideration to your car. It's important to check levels of your windshield washer fluid, oil, transmission fluid, coolant and brake fluid regularly. If the levels are low or if the fluids appear discolored or grainy, it's probably a good idea to schedule a routine check-up with your mechanic. Low levels and particles in fluids could indicate leaks.

What color should my fluids be?
It's good to familiarize yourself with the different types of fluids under the hood of your used car. This way, you'll be able to identify the problem faster if you spot a leak.

  • Windshield washer fluid: Typically bright blue
  • Transmission fluid: Bright red to darker, rusty red
  • Coolant (Antifreeze): Most often bright green, but can also be pink or orange
  • Brake fluid: Pale yellow or clear
  • Oil: Anywhere from golden brown to black, depending on its age

Popular Mechanics also indicated that it's better to use thicker oil, like 10W-30, during the warmer months, as thinner oil like the standard 5W-20 may not provide enough lubrication in the summer heat. Getting an oil change is something you should be doing every few thousand miles anyway, so what better time than in the summer?

"Low tire pressure can increase mileage."

Tires
While typical summer heat won't melt the rubber in your car tires while you're lounging on the beach, that doesn't mean you can ignore your tires until winter. Check the air pressure regularly, adding air when necessary. You can look in your car's user manual to find the correct PSI range you should aim for. Having too little air can decrease your fuel efficiency, and too much air increases the risk of popping a tire and getting into an accident.

It's also good to visually inspect the tires. You will want to take a look at each one. If you notice cracks, tears or uneven wear, you may need to replace or at least rotate your tires. Check the tread to determine the level of wear. You can do this easily with a penny. Simply slip it into one of the treads with Abraham Lincoln's head facing you. If you're able to see more than half of his head, your tires may be a bit too worn down. Worn tires have a harder time gripping the road's surface, especially in inclement weather, so speak to an expert if you're worried about your tires.

Car wash
Washing your car will provide a few benefits, the most prominent of which is that your ride will look great when you cruise along the ocean. A good wax can also help protect your car's exterior from things like UV rays, bugs, sand and debris that can chip and scratch the finish. In addition to cleaning the exterior, you should take the time to clear out any trash or accumulated items from the interior. Use a vacuum to suck up all the sand, and tackle the seats with a shop vac to get the smell of salt water out of your car.

"Wash the windows for better visibility."

You should also clean the surfaces, such as the dashboard, center console and control display. A car that looks and feels clean will be much nicer to drive and make the trip more enjoyable for you and your passengers. Don't forget to give the windows a good wipe-down as well. This final step will make it easier for you to see the road, as there will hopefully be fewer streaks that can crate glares and reduce visibility.

If your car needs a lot of work beyond basic maintenance and minor repairs, however, it could be a good time to head to New Jersey State Auto Auction and start shopping for your next used car. The public auto auction has loads of pre-owned makes and models. Whether you're in the market for a sensible sedan like a Ford Focus or a Toyota Camry, or you'd rather find a luxury car in your budget, NJ Auto Auction is sure to have what you need. The best part is that there are new cars every week, so you're bound to find the model of your dreams.