Kia Optima Named The Best Budget-Friendly Option for Midsize Sedans

Sifting through all of the available information about potential car purchases can cause a major headache for drivers. With so many statistics and reviews targeted at the general public, you can find yourself mired among dozens of complicated write-ups that make it difficult to compare similar models. That's why set out to translate all of this information into an easy ranking system to see which midsize sedan really offered the best value. 

The final list was created by combining the average price of the automobile with the estimated five-year cost of fuel. This way, each selection was ranked based on its fuel efficiency and cost of ownership as well as upfront expenses. 

At the end of the day, the Kia Optima – with a Convenience Plus Package – landed at the top of the list. It was followed by the Nissan Altima SV, the Honda Accord Sport and the Mazda6 Touring. 

"The midsize sedan remains one of the most popular segments in the U.S.," said Patrick Olsen, the editor-in-chief of "They serve as great cars for families, commuters, road trippers and more. Because of this, carmakers offer a dizzying amount of styles and options, but with differing content that can make it hard for shoppers to compare apples to apples. That's why we've put this list together, so that shoppers can understand where the most value is before they head to the dealer." 

Once you've done your research and narrowed down your options, you can make your way to an auction lot like New Jersey State Auto Auction. There, you can find a wide selection of CARFAX-certified sedans, trucks and vans that offer great value for your next purchase. 

Drivers Lack Knowledge Of Basic Car Maintenance

When some motorists encounter a problem with their car, they simply check out what's going on under the hood to see what requires their attention. While these drivers once knew what was wrong with a quick look, nowadays most are clueless when it comes to basic car maintenance and repairs. According to a recent study from Warranty Direct, do-it-yourself fixes are decreasing in popularity as cars become more technologically advanced and complex. 

Even the standard, preventative maintenance that is expected on most models takes a significant chunk of time. Not only do motorists have to perform the task themselves, but they often have to spend time acclimating themselves to the machine and its idiosyncrasies and technology, which is rapidly becoming too difficult for normal drivers to understand. 

Car owners don't want to spend their time fiddling with auto parts and are hesitant about potentially causing more damage. Instead, many are turning to professionals for maintenance, but the cost of these repair shop visits can add up. 

"The days of changing oil, filters and replacing light bulbs on the driveway are fast becoming a thing of the past – in some cases, they already are," said Duncan McClure Fisher, managing director of Warranty Direct. "New, more complicated technologies on cars are placing even more pressure on already strained household budgets." 

Not every driver may be able to handle basic vehicle maintenance, but luckily, there are public repair shops that can help out in a pinch. The Total Car Care Center at NJ State Auto Auction is one of these garages. It caters to motorists who may need a little extra guidance with their car repair or maintenance, and it can help with any automobile issues that may come up. 

Survey Finds Honda Is The Most Reliable Automaker

One of the best ways for motorists to save money is to search for used cars that are exceedingly reliable. Whether you're looking for models that are loaded with safety features or cars that have a history of easy maintenance, these automobiles can help to make driving a safe and relaxing experience. Finding such vehicles can be more difficult, which is why one annual survey strives to find the automaker with the best track record of producing dependable cars. 

The 2013 Reliability Survey, conducted by What Car? and Warranty Direct, asked more than 50,000 drivers about their opinions and experiences with different vehicles. For the eighth straight year, Honda ended up in the top spot, with motorists lauding its low average repair costs, lack of model issues and overall dependability. Much of this is due to the manufacturer's extensive testing and high-quality production, which help to create cars that are capable of handling anything. 

"Reliability is at the heart of all our research, development and manufacturing processes, and this ensures we build reliable and high-quality cars," said Phil Crossman, a managing director at Honda. "We strive to deliver an enjoyable and hassle free Honda ownership to all our customers, from the moment they purchase, right through the lifetime of the car … We are incredibly proud to be the most reliable manufacturer in the industry – yet again." 

Other brands to land in the top 10 most reliable companies include Chevrolet, Ford and Hyundai

If you're on the hunt for a Honda vehicle or any other dependable model, you may want to check out the selection at New Jersey State Auto Auction. The lot is filled with CARFAX-certified cars, trucks and vans, making it easy to find reliable vehicles that fit within your budget. 

Ford Is The Top Brand In The US – So Far

Each year, YouGov releases a list of the top brands in the U.S. based on how they are viewed by the general public. While this highly anticipated list, called the U.S. Buzz Rankings, is usually released at the end of the year, the organization decided to unveil the mid-year survey results for 2013, and a mainstay of the auto industry found itself in the No. 1 spot. 

According to the survey, Ford is the "buzziest" brand so far in 2013. The manufacturer narrowly edged out Amazon, Subway and The History Channel for the honor. It was the only member of the auto industry to land in the top 10 and improved on its sixth-place finish at the end of 2012 in just a few short months. 

YouGov conducts the survey by asking respondents what they have heard about the brand in the past two weeks, if they heard anything at all. Then the participants are asked to rank how positive or negative the news was.

Through the first six months of 2013, the buzz was positive for Ford. The Michigan-based brand posted its highest-earning quarter in more than 10 years at the beginning of the year while also improving its market share. A slew of new ads also helped the brand resonate with consumers and highlighted some of the most popular individual models offered by the automaker. 

Drivers who are interested in looking at some of the models that have helped make Ford the No. 1 brand in the U.S. should head to NJ State Auto Auction. The auction lot is home to an array of CARFAX-certified cars, trucks and vans, including Ford and  many other famous brands. There you could find an affordable option for your next ride. 

Does Air Conditioning Impact Fuel Economy?

A major concern facing drivers today is fuel efficiency. With gas prices remaining at a high level, especially during the summer months, the cost of filling up a tank can make a significant dent in your wallet. To combat this potentially expensive aspect of car ownership, many motorists are looking for ways they can improve their car's mileage and get the most out of their investment. 

Some drivers may turn their attention to little ways they can boost their vehicle's fuel economy. Areas like properly managing tires and altering your driving habits to avoid wasteful practices can be useful, and many motorists have ideas on other ways they can improve their car's mileage, such as not using their HVAC system. 

The idea that air conditioning hurts fuel economy has some truth to it, but it is likely not as significant as you might think. According to Consumer Reports, while using the air conditioner does put additional stress on your engine, it only has a slight effect on fuel economy. Ultimately, being more comfortable behind the wheel – and as a result more alert and focused on the road – is more beneficial than saving a few cents and suffering in the heat. 

One way to stay ahead of these concerns is to take your vehicle in for a car tune up. This kind of preventative maintenance can go a long way in staving off costly repairs, so consider bringing your automobile to a public garage like the Total Car Care Center at New Jersey State Auto Auction. There, professionals can diagnose any issues you may have and help you take care of problems in a timely and cost-effective manner. 

Don’t Let High Temperatures Lead To Car Damage

Summer heat waves can cause a lot of discomfort for individuals, but few stop to think about how the high temperatures are affecting their cars. That doesn't make the heat any less damaging, as it can cause severe problems for both drivers and their vehicles. 

"Prolonged exposure to high temperatures is not only a threat to passengers, but a vehicle concern as well," said John Nielsen, AAA's managing director of automotive engineering and repair. "Knowing the dangers and preparing your vehicle for extreme heat can help keep your vehicle running smoothly during the hot summer months." 

Those who don't provide an adequate level of care to their automobiles in the middle of scorching weather may find themselves mired with issues down the line, so it is important to keep an eye on a few specific areas of vehicle maintenance when stuck with soaring temperatures. For example, drivers should be on the lookout for signs of an overheating engine. To prevent this problem before it happens, make sure there is enough coolant in the motor and the cooling system is working effectively. 

You also need to pay attention to a car's tires. High temperatures can cause the air pressure to go wild, impacting a vehicle's safety and driving performance. The likelihood of a tire blowing out is also increased in the midst of hot weather, especially if the road gets just as warm as the air around it, so get in the habit of checking tires consistently. 

If you think the most recent heat wave has done some damage to your vehicle or want to make sure temperature-related problems don't crop up in the future, the first thing you should do is take your car to a professional garage. The Total Car Care Center at NJ State Auto Auction is one spot that can examine your ride and handle any issues that the automobile may have. 

Drivers Can Reap The Benefits Of Used Cars

There are a number of reasons why drivers may find themselves drawn to used cars. Liking the style, color or design of an automobile is certainly a valid reason for considering a given ride, but a few other benefits may help to convince motorists to invest in a pre-owned car. 

Lower prices
One of the major benefits of purchasing a used car is the affordable prices that you can take advantage of. Drivers on a budget are often able to find high-quality, pre-owned vehicles at a lower cost than new models, which makes used cars a great option for the budget-conscious. 

Buying used also allows you to avoid fees commonly associated with dealerships, such as a pre-delivery inspection. Splurging for enhanced packages or getting talked into extra features can also drive up the sticker price, leaving a bigger dent in your wallet than you may have originally planned. 

Proven vehicles 
Another advantage to buying pre-owned cars is that you can carefully select proven models. If a certain vehicle has been on the market for several years, there's a good chance that any kinks or issues have been recognized. That means you can rest easy as you get behind the wheel and will likely only have to focus on repairs that pop up later down the line. Driving a new car means you run the risk of encountering first-time problems, recalls and other potentially dangerous issues that could be costly. 

Motorists ready to shop around for their next vehicle can look to NJ State Auto Auction for a wide selection of potential rides. The auction lot has plenty of CARFAX-certified cars, trucks and vans to choose from, and any one of these vehicles could serve as the right investment for your needs. 

Importance of Paying Attention to Check Engine Light

Cars need regular maintenance to continue functioning safely, and when problems arise, it is important for drivers to take action as soon as possible, regardless of how big or small the issues might be. One particular issue that crops up quite frequently is the check engine light. The Car Care Council indicates that one in 10 cars on the roads in the U.S. is operating with the check engine light on. When this symbol is illuminated on the dash panel, it is warning the driver that something is amiss underneath the hood.

"When the check engine light comes on, it means that a vehicle system, such as the ignition, fuel injection or emission control, is not operating properly, even if the vehicle appears to be running normally," said Rich White, the executive director of the Car Care Council. "A glowing check engine light doesn't mean you have to immediately pull the car to the side of the road, but it does mean you should get the car checked out as soon as possible."

Often, drivers dismiss the light, assuming it is on because there is a problem with the light itself. However, there are many different problems that could be related to the light, including a faulty oxygen sensor or ​trouble with the spark plugs. If the light starts blinking, it means the issue is more severe and requires immediate attention.

The sooner the light is addressed, the less severe the damage will likely be. Ignoring the light could lead to worsening issues and more expensive repairs.

In some cases the damages may not be worth the cost, as buying a new used car could be a better financial decision. Drivers can find a slew of makes and models at New Jersey State Auto Auction, and each vehicle is Carfax certified.

Used Cars Offer Great Value And Selection

Purchasing a used car doesn't have to mean you are stuck with limited choices. In fact, the current market for pre-owned vehicles boasts a large assortment of automobiles, with much of the growing selection consisting of recent models that offer great value for drivers. 

According to The Boston Herald, the combination of decreasing used-car prices and the riding quality in recent vehicles makes for lots of opportunities for excellent value, providing motorists know where to look. Many recent redesigns and popular new introductions have flooded the market, and drivers with money to spare have been investing in these automobiles while releasing their used cars – many of which are only a few years old – to the public. 

These used vehicles have many modern features that drivers are looking for while still offering discounted prices. The news source reports that the average cost of used cars is down 6 percent from its high point in May 2011, and many experts believe the price will keep dropping as the supply of pre-owned vehicles for sale grows. 

"If the new-car prices are out of your budget and you're looking to buy used to save a few dollars, used cars [from] the past few years are really good products," Alec Gutierrez, an analyst for Kelley Blue Book, told The Boston Herald. "If you take a look now, the manufacturers have made huge strides in improving their product." 

Drivers who are looking for quality used cars can turn to New Jersey State Auto Auction for help. The auction lot has plenty of CARFAX-certified vehicles, ranging from compact cars and sedans to vans and trucks. With so many options, it's easy to find a pre-owned automobile that has all of the features you need to stay safe and happy on the road. 

The Justice League Takes Off In A Kia Sorento

No one can deny that superheroes have style. Whether it's with their outfits or their rides, the larger-than-life characters that have starred in comic books, television shows and movies know how to make an impression. So it's no surprise that some of the most iconic superheroes acted as the inspiration for a customized Kia Sorento. Unveiled at San Diego Comic Con, the vehicle is the eighth and final car in a line that came from the partnership between the automaker and DC Entertainment. 

The exterior of the car features an airbrushed design with depictions of members of the Justice League, with the group's logo emblazoned on the hood of the Sorento. Each of the seven seats in the car has also been dedicated to a superhero – Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg are all present. 

This Sorento will be auctioned off to benefit the We Can Be Heroes campaign, which supports ending hunger in the Horn of Africa. 

"Auctioning the Justice League-inspired Sorento is the perfect way to finish off what has been a very positive and successful partnership between Kia and DC Entertainment to benefit the 'We Can Be Heroes' campaign," said Michael Sprague, an executive vice president at Kia Motors. "Like all of the Justice League-inspired vehicles before it, this customized Sorento blends the automotive and pop-culture worlds while also allowing Kia to extend our philanthropic efforts to support this very worthy cause." 

You may not be able to purchase your own superhero-inspired ride, but you can certainly check out the selection of Kia vehicles at places like the New Jersey State Auto Auction. The lot is home to many CARFAX-certified cars, trucks and vans, so there's a good chance you can find a used automobile that is perfect for you.