Survey Reveals More Drivers Turn to DIY Maintenance

Not long ago, the majority of car owners turned to their mechanics for even the most basic maintenance needs to keep their cars in top shape, but now more drivers are getting their own hands dirty. recently released its 2013 DIY Report that revealed many motorists are taking matters into their own hands and tackling easier car maintenance and repair projects such as replacing batteries and windshield wiper blades, changing the oil and repairing ignition wire sets.

The major driver for this trend is cost-savings, as 96 percent of survey participants reported saving at least $100 a year on repairs and tune-ups, including nearly 60 percent who have saved more than $500. Many began performing basic maintenance to save money during the recession and have continued in this fashion. Roughly two-thirds of DIYers indicated they are considering attempting more complex repairs in the future.

"When we released our first auto repair DIY report in 2010, we found that the economy was driving more auto repair DIYing, with DIYers reporting considerable cost savings," said Brian Hafer, vice president of media and marketing at "In the ensuing years, we have seen this trend continue, bolstered by an increase in the accessibility of how-to info online."

The top jobs performed at home are adding antifreeze and replacing the battery, windshield wiper blades, headlamp bulbs and air filters. Other drivers have undertaken more difficult tasks, such as changing spark plugs, replacing fuel filters and flushing radiators and cooling systems.

Some jobs, however, even the most skilled amateur mechanic will be ill-equipped to perform. Whether a driver lacks the expertise or tools to get a job done, he or she can bring the car to New Jersey Auto Auctions' Total Car Care Center, which can handle all the automotive needs the motorists cannot take care of on his or her own.

Below-Prime Buyers Provide Insight To The Auto Industry

Being on a budget can drastically affect how you go about shopping for something you need. That's certainly the case when looking for a new car purchase, as most prospective drivers need to search for a vehicle that combines safety, technology and performance in one affordable package – especially if they are a below-prime buyer who needs a car loan to complete the transaction. 

According to a report from, below-prime buyers account for 43 percent of all auto loans and are constantly searching for great value and longevity in their vehicles. As a result, the most popular models in this segment may reflect the extensive warranties, special features and attractive price range many people are looking for. 

"While compact sedans rule the new vehicle list, when it comes to used, pickups and midsize/large sedans dominate, with no compacts making the top 10," said Jim Landy, president and CEO of "This is a consumer looking for multi-use trucks and larger, fit-the-whole-family vehicles, but seeking those relatively high-cost vehicles at a significantly lower used price point." 

The most popular used car for below-prime buyers was the Ram 1500 truck. That was followed by the Nissan Altima, Ford F150 and Dodge Charger, while several Chevrolet models – the Silverado 1500, Impala, and Malibu – the Toyota Camry, Chrysler 300 and Ford Mustang rounded out the top 10. 

Prospective car owners don't have to be classified as below-prime to be on the hunt for a great deal. Almost all drivers are trying to get the most bang for their buck while shopping around for a new ride, and taking cues from below-prime buyers may help them find some hidden gems. Of course, savvy drivers can always head to NJ State Auto Auction to check out the selection of CARFAX certified cars, trucks and vans. If you're looking for a great deal on a used car, the selection at New Jersey Auto Auction could have just what you need. 

National Car Care Month Tips: Exhaust Smoke

The exhaust pipe jutting out from under your car's rear bumper helps to keep the engine from overheating, and most of the time the emissions coming from the tailpipe are pretty much undetectable to the human eye. However, you may sometimes see smoke coming from the pipe, and in certain cases this could indicate there is a serious issue. The appearance of the smoke can tell you a lot about what might be going on with your car.

White Smoke
White smoke typically indicates that water has gotten into the exhaust system. This could be due to condensation on a dewy morning or a coolant leak. It's important to inspect the coolant levels and add more fluid if necessary when you notice white smoke. You may also want to check the oil, as a coolant leak in the wrong spot can wind up getting into the oil, which can create a host of other problems.

Black Smoke
If the engine is unable to burn off all the fuel during the combustion process, the gasoline can get into the exhaust system and create thick, black smoke. You may also notice that your car's fuel economy has dropped significantly.

Blue Smoke
If the smoke has a bluish appearance, chances are that somehow the motor oil has made its way into the exhaust system, likely due to a leak. The sooner this issue is addressed the better chances you have at preventing further damage.

Regardless of what color smoke is pouring from the tailpipe, it's important to visit a mechanic as soon as possible. The experts at New Jersey Auto Auction's Total Car Care Center can help you sort out the issues, keeping you safer on the road.

More Drivers Looking At Diesel And Hybrid Cars

Car consumers are constantly on the lookout for vehicles that will help them save money and the environment at the same time. As a result, diesel and hybrid cars are becoming more popular choices, and people across the U.S. are starting to take notice of these alternative types of automobiles.  

Data compiled from R.L. Polk and Company shows that the number of diesel and hybrid vehicles in the country is growing at a rapid rate. From 2010 through 2012, there has been a 24 percent increase in diesel cars and a 33 percent jump in hybrids, despite the total number of automobiles increasing by less than 3 percent. 

In total, there are about 6.65 million diesel vehicles and 2.29 million hybrids currently registered stateside. 

"While diesel vehicle registrations are slightly less than 3 percent in the U.S., auto analysts and market researchers virtually all agree diesel sales are going to increase significantly as the number of new diesels made available domestically will more than double in the next two years," said Allan Schaeffer of the Diesel Technology Forum. "… And an interesting wild card will be the emerging market domestically and internationally of clean diesel hybrid vehicles that will achieve astounding mpg numbers." 

According to, New York is one of the states with the fastest-growing diesel markets, and its surrounding area may soon see a jump in the number of available diesel vehicles. 

If you're looking for a diesel, hybrid or standard car in the New Jersey area, head over the NJ State Auto Auction. With a large selection of CARFAX certified automobiles, drivers can find just the kind of vehicle they're looking for and make sure it comes with the best safety features and performance standards available. 

Motorists Identify Features They Want In Future Cars

Car owners are constantly on the lookout for features that could help enhance their next vehicle. The ability to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the changing technological times is extremely important for these motorists, many of whom want to have the most up-to-date resources and aids in their automobiles. 

According to the J.D. Power and Associates 2013 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study, the majority of vehicle owners are looking for a few specific capabilities in their cars. About 82 percent want a mobile device or application link up, enabling them to connect smartphones directly to the automobile. Another 79 percent wish to have a fuel economy indicator somewhere on their display. 

Additionally, roughly three-fourths of drivers want to see tools like active shutter grille vents, natural language voice activation and a next-generation head-up display. Other potential features included things like wireless connectivity, on board cameras or even technological keys that hook up to phones. 

"Vehicle owners are continually aware of rising fuel costs and the need for better fuel economy," said Mike VanNieuwkuyk, executive director of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates. "As they have come to understand the benefits of new automotive technology, they are increasingly interested in those that allow them to manage their fuel consumption with greater efficiency and help better manage their cost at the pump." 

These features are not exclusive to brand new models. Plenty of used cars come with some or even all of these top capabilities, and drivers can get a jump start on finding their next ride at New Jersey State Auto Auction. This NJ lot is filled with CARFAX certified cars, trucks and vans that can meet the needs of many motorists – all they have to do is head over and check out the selection for themselves. 

National Car Care Month Tips: Checking Your Brake Pads

The brakes are among the most important parts on your car, which is why it's crucial to keep them in good shape. To safely bring your vehicle to a stop, calipers squeeze brake pads against brake rotors attached to the wheels to slow them down. The friction generated by this action slowly wears down the pads over time and they need to be replaced. The lifespan of brake pads depends on the type of material they are made of, as there are metal, ceramic and composite options, and each type has its advantages and disadvantages.

Different Types of Brake Pads
The most common brake pad material is semi-metallic. This material is made up of a combination of copper, steel wool, and friction modifiers, and is often more durable than other materials, but it also wears down faster, meaning you'll have to replace the pads more often. Ceramic brake pads are more expensive, but they are quieter, longer lasting and easier on the rotors than semi-metallic pads.

How to know when it's time for a change
Most brake pads are equipped with wear indicators that let you know you should schedule an appointment with your mechanic. Essentially, there are small metal rods protruding from the base of the pads that will rub against the rotors when the pads are significantly worn down. The result will be a high-pitched squeal when you apply the brakes. When you first hear this noise, you will still be able to drive the car before you can get to your mechanic, but delaying a visit to the shop too long can allow the wear indicator to scratch up the rotor. Replacing pads is fairly inexpensive, but if you need a new rotor the bill will likely be higher.

If you think you might need work done on your brakes, head over to New Jersey Auto Auction. The dealer has a garage, the Total Car Care Canter, that is open to the public, and the experts are ready to help get your car back in running order.

Drivers Want Government To Focus On Fixing Roads

As the economy rebounds, people across the U.S. expect many areas of the public sphere to improve, and this extends to transportation. In fact, the majority of American drivers believe transportation needs to be an area of focus for the federal government. 

According to a poll from AAA, about 62 percent of U.S. drivers think more federal funding should be used to fix public roads. These motorists recognize that faulty streets can lead to car damage and the need for repairs, as well as traffic congestion and accidents, and one of the only ways to decrease these negative occurrences is by investing in roadways. 

"Most Americans recognize the need for increased transportation funding because they drive over potholes and bumpy roads every day," said Robert L. Darbelnet, president of AAA. "Unfortunately … policymakers and transportation advocates are failing to connect with the public on the practical concerns that matter most to motorists. Motorists want to hear about how their elected officials can improve their daily commute by repairing the pothole down the street or the bumpy road around the corner." 

Despite the overwhelming desire to have roads repaired, the funding for these public projects is dwindling. According to Stateline, the National Highway Trust Fund is rapidly decreasing and may be wiped out by 2015. If the government wants to continue investing federal money in the roads, it will have to raise gas taxes, tolls or find a source of funds elsewhere. 

Until roads across the nation are fixed, drivers will have to rely on cars that offer superior safety features and dependability. There are many of these vehicles at New Jersey State Auto Auction, which has CARFAX certified cars, trucks and vans available for purchase. Drivers can find automobiles that perform well and require minimal maintenance, making them perfect for driving on roads across New Jersey and the country. 

Maria Sharapova Joins Forces With Porsche

Porsche is no stranger to celebrities. The luxury automaker regularly provides the rides for famous faces, but now, one star will be lending her face to the brand. Maria Sharapova, the tennis sensation who burst onto the scene with a dramatic win at Wimbledon less than a decade ago, has signed on to be the next brand ambassador for Porsche. She will be making appearances in the company's advertising efforts as well representing the automaker at a variety of events, which could range from car shows to athletic tournaments.  

While Sharapova has made a name for herself on the court – including winning all four Grand Slam titles and ranking no. 1 for 21 weeks – it's her personality that solidified her as a prime choice to be the manufacturer's spokeswoman. 

"Maria Sharapova is an exceptional athlete. She combines top performance in her sports with elegance and power," said Porsche AG's CEO, Matthias Mueller. "These are precisely the qualities that are embroiled in our sports cars. Maria Sharapova is the perfect choice. Her profile and charisma are an ideal fit for Porsche. She is also highly respected around the world and enjoys an outstanding reputation." 

This isn't the first time Porsche has extended into the world of tennis. The company currently sponsors the German women's national team as well as an annual tournament in Stuttgart, Germany. In fact, Sharapova herself won the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix last year, which landed her a grand prize of a Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet, The Wall Street Journal reports. 

Whether you're looking for sports cars, trucks, vans or anything in between, you can find just the right car at NJ State Auto Auction. The lot is filled with CARFAX certified vehicles that could be the perfect fit for any driver. 

National Car Care Month Tips: Checking Coolant

Coolant, also known as antifreeze, is the stuff that keeps your car's engine from overheating. If the fluid levels are low or contaminated, the cooling system won't be able to function properly and you might find yourself stuck on the side of the road with a smoking engine, looking at an expensive repair bill. It's important to get your coolant flushed and replaced at least once a year, but you should also keep an eye on things on a regular basis. As April is National Car Care Month, this is the perfect time to pop the hood and take a peek at your car's antifreeze.

Antifreeze is typically bright green or blue in color, making it easy to see the fluid in the overflow tank. This is typically located next to the radiator, which is at the front of most engine bays. It's easy to take a quick peek and make sure the levels aren't too low when you're checking the oil. You should also pop the cap, when the engine is cool, and examine the liquid itself. Look for signs of contaminants floating around and take note of the color itself. Any discoloration or particles could indicate there is a leak, which should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

If levels are low, you should add more coolant as soon as possible. You can't just dump plain old antifreeze into the tank, however. It needs to be a 50/50 ratio of coolant and water. There are plenty of premixed options available to save you the trouble. If you're in a pinch, such as stuck on the side of the highway, you can use water alone, but this is an extremely temporary fix, and you should bring your car to a mechanic right away, so he or she can flush the system. New Jersey Auto Auction's Total Car Care Center is a great place to bring your car, truck or SUV, and the experts can spot any potential issues, such as leaks, to help you avoid a major problem down the line.

Hands-Free Texting Still Contributes To Distracted Driving

Distracted Driving Awareness Month is almost at an end, but new revelations about practices behind the wheel continue to come to light. The latest updates are courtesy of a study from the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University, which found that drivers who use voice-to-text tools instead of traditional texting lose just as much focus when driving as their counterparts texting traditionally. 

Results from the study showed that, in each case, drivers took about twice as long to react to a situation as they did when they were driving with no distractions. In fact, using voice-to-text tools took even longer than regular texting, as drivers often had to correct mistakes in translation, which kept their eyes off the road for an even greater amount of time. 

"You're still using your mind to try to think of what you're trying to say, and that by proxy causes some driving impairment, and that decreases your response time," Christina Yager, the study's author, told Reuters. "… Every day, new technologies come out, and it is important to educate the public that even these seemingly new distractions are still distractions, and it will help people be safer when they get into the vehicle." 

It takes more than positive driving practices to keep you safe on the roads. The features that vehicles are equipped with is just as important, so shoppers need to be on the lookout for the best options when searching for their next car. Drivers who turn to NJ Auto Auction for their vehicle-buying needs can take advantage of a wide selection of CARFAX certified cars, trucks and vans, many of which are ready and able to provide a safe experience on the road.