Habits and Tools To Help You Be Safe In Your Car

Cars are convenient, essential parts of daily life that enable us to get to work, buy our groceries and pick our kids up from soccer practice. But we're so used to driving our cars that we can often forget that they can be dangerous too. Safe driving is a habit that should be instilled in every single driver, especially the younger ones. Fortunately, it's just a matter of practicing a few basic habits to make sure that your next road trip is as safe as it is fun.

Staying aware
This may sound like a no-brainer, but the most important thing you can do to encourage safe driving is keep your awareness tuned to your car and what's going on around you in the road. If this sounds redundant, it's because it hasn't entirely sunk in for many drivers – a government survey from the U.S. Department of Transportation found that over 3,000 driver deaths and over 400,000 driver injuries in 2012 were caused by driver distractions. 

The most common culprit when it comes to distracting drivers? You guessed it – cellphones. Of course, drivers without phones aren't immune from distraction. Before you go to change your radio station or use your electric shaver on your way to the office, stop and think about whether or not you should wait until you're stopped – the answer is almost always yes.

The right tools
A big part of safety behind the wheel is making sure that everything is in properly maintained and in working order, and that people make use of a car's safety features. Buckling up is a habit that gets force-fed to every single driver from childhood, and it's for good reason. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shared that seatbelts can reduce accident-related injury and death by up to 50 percent. 

Also make sure to keep your eye on a few key systems of your car, namely your tires and your fuel gauge. Blown-out or underinflated tires can create a serious hazard in the form of poor traction and loss of control, while driving on fumes does your car no favors either. Not only do you risk getting stranded, but the dregs of your gas tank are swimming with impurities from your gasoline that get pumped right into your engine when it's empty, which can seriously impact performance.

If your car is in need of a checkup, make an appointment with NJ State Auto Auction's Total Car Care Center. The skilled mechanics on staff will help identify and fix any problems that may be holding your car back.

Get Certified: The Benefit Of Certified Used Cars

You may not know this, but not all used cars are created equal. When shopping for your next ride, there are important considerations you should keep in mind to avoid having to make lemonade from an undesirable lemon. One of the most important things to follow when you're on the market is this: certified above all else. Like houses, appliances and even some professionals, certification carries with it a mark of quality that can be looked to as a guiding light when making purchasing decisions, and if you're looking to buy, it's worth your time and money to gain a better understanding of what that means exactly.

Understanding certified used cars
The first question you may have is, what exactly is a certified used car and how does it differ from the standard garden variety? According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, certified used cars are those that have undergone a thorough inspection and are backed by an extended manufacturer's warranty. Another important feature of certified cars is that, in general, a manufacturer won't certify a car that's older than five years, or one that has been in a serious accident or had extensive work done to it. This can serve as built-in peace of mind for many people wary of buying a used car.

Considering Carfax
Not all used car certifications come directly from the manufacturer. In recent years, third-party car verification services, the most popular of which is Carfax, have arisen to offer added assistance and guidance for car shoppers. Carfax is an extremely valuable service, as it can provide you with a vehicle history report outlining previous transactions and, most importantly, repair history. Accidents and repair problems are listed in the Carfax report, offering a useful snapshot of the condition of a used car. 

Such a service can be useful not just in assessing cars, but dealers as well. A high number of Carfax-certified vehicles can serve as the mark of a reputable dealer for those not in the know, which is an invaluable guidepost for those who are not experienced in navigating the often-confusing used car market.

For a wide selection of Carfax-certified cars, head to NJ State Auto Auction. There are hundreds of high-quality used cars on the lot, and an in-house finance team dedicated to helping you afford the used car, truck or van of your dreams.

Larger Drivers May Face Larger Risks And Challenges

When it comes to cars and driving, people tend to do everything they can to drive safely so they can protect themselves and their family and reduce costly repairs. However, some drivers may find it more difficult to reduce or fully eliminate risks behind the wheel. Data has found that obese drivers tend to face more driving-related difficulties. Not only may they encounter trouble when it comes to shopping for cars, but they also may find themselves at greater risk of injury in the event of an accident.

Purchasing considerations
People who are shopping for a car are looking for a vehicle that fits their budget and lifestyle. Drivers who are obese face an additional criterion that can throw a wrench in the works – they also need a car that fits their body type. While not a significant consideration for some drivers, there are others for whom that is a very real issue. Unfortunately, with the auto industry's recent push toward smaller cars, the issue is more relevant now than ever before. In fact, according to AOL Autos, the percentage of the obese population in the U.S. is expected to climb to 43 percent by 2018.

This is an issue not just for the affected drivers, but for the auto industry as well. The recent industry focus on smaller, lighter weight and more fuel-efficient vehicles finds manufacturers making more cars that fewer of their potential customers are comfortable driving. 

Safety too
Recent study data has revealed that, unfortunately, obese drivers are more likely to face health and safety complications in the event of an accident than other drivers. A study reported by Medical News Today found that drivers who were medically classified as obese were found to be up to 80 percent more likely to die in a car crash than smaller motorists. Whether this is due to additional health concerns commonly associated with the condition or as a result of standard car safety features like airbags and seatbelts not being properly fitted for larger frames, the statistics are alarming.

Of course, that's not to say that obese drivers are at greater risk of having an accident in the first place – safe driving practices are learned, and are in no way dependent on superficial physical attributes such as size. But the safety risks such drivers face is a problem that the auto industry needs to work toward solving.

If you're looking for a used car, head to NJ State Auto Auction. You'll find hundreds of Carfax-certified cars on the lot, and an in-house finance team ready to help you finance a high-quality used vehicle.

Fuel Efficiency Becoming A Top Trend Driving The Future Of Auto Manufacturing

It isn't just drivers who are interested in doing everything they can to get the most out of their gas tanks. In recent years, several car manufacturers have been focusing their efforts on fuel efficiency for some of their newer models. From experimenting with aerodynamic design to lighter-weight, space-age body materials to diving deeper into hybrid engine design, car engineers have made better gas mileage a priority, a goal which will undoubtedly lead to benefits for those driving the cars as well.

Space-age design
Looking at some of the design trends engineers have been experimenting with recently, many auto workshops are starting to resemble science fiction sets. Edmunds reported that engineers have started focusing on body designs aimed at making cars sleeker and, ultimately, more fuel efficient. Aerodynamic design is not a new thing in the auto world, as anyone who's been to a Formula One track can attest. However, whereas the focus of previous aerodynamic engineering was to make cars faster, engineers are now looking to make them more fuel efficient. The result is a less drastic visual divergence from standard auto bodies, but while you may not notice the difference on the lot, your wallet sure will when it's time to fill up your tank.

In addition to modifying the shape of cars, many engineers are doing everything they can to make them lighter. The Tennessean reported that automakers industrywide are experimenting with lighter materials such as carbon fiber and aluminum for their car bodies. 

Hybrid engines
Hybrid cars have been around in some form or other since 1999, and they're only growing in prevalence in the auto market. According to The Chicago Tribune, the number of hybrid models has grown in that time from two to 71 in just 15 years. Drivers have been somewhat reluctant to hop aboard the hybrid bandwagon, as the newer technology comes at a price – hybrid cars in general cost a considerable amount more than non-hybrid models in comparable classes. 

However, experts are finding that those willing to invest may find themselves reaping much longer-term financial savings in the form of fuel efficiency. A study conducted by Vincentric found that while hybrids cost more, just five years of hybrid ownership can save over $3,000 in fuel costs.

If you're shopping for a used car, head to NJ State Auto Auction. There are hundreds of Carfax-certified cars on the lot, and an in-house finance team on hand to help you afford a high-quality used car, truck or van.

The Benefits Of A Lower-Tech Car

Our society loves cars and technology fairly equally, and it only makes sense that we'd eventually get around to putting the two together. Newer cars have hit the road with virtually no limit to the kind and amount of gadgets in, on and around them. For drivers looking to keep their cost of ownership down by keeping it simple, however, it may seem impossible to find a ride that just covers the basics with no bells and whistles. Fortunately, if you know what to look for, it's possible to find a car that is cost-effective and reliable.

Skip the all-wheel drive
Anybody who's spent any amount of time shopping for a car will know that all-wheel drive is an oft-touted benefit that seems more and more common these days. Many are tempted to go that route – after all, all-wheel drive sounds like a great thing to have, right? However, for many, especially those who restrict their driving to around town, all-wheel drive is more of an unnecessary expense than a useful addition.

All-wheel drive means that your car is heavier than it would be if it were a two-wheel drive model, meaning that you're going to take a hit to fuel efficiency. Specifically for around-town, stop-and-go driving, the extra cash you'll be spending at the pump outweighs the benefits of the feature. Front- or rear-wheel drive cars will leave you with more than sufficient power and acceleration without leaving you with a higher gas bill. According to Edmunds, your tires are far more important for traction than your drivetrain anyway.

Time your buy
Finding a base model car without a slew of add-ons and features can be difficult, but there are things you can do to keep your budget happy. The used car market is a great resource, as buyers are often able to find models that are only a few years old and thus have limited mileage but also limited gadgetry.

One suggestion is to start shopping close to the end of a cycle for a given make and model. When new-cycle cars are released, they frequently receive significant technology upgrades. Find out when your favored brand releases its new models, and make a point to take a look at the influx of used cars you'll see popping up.

For your car-buying needs, head to NJ State Auto Auction. You'll find hundreds of Carfax-certified cars on the lot, and a dedicated in-house finance team to help make your dream of car ownership affordable.

Potholes Create Speed Bumps For New Jersey Drivers

An epidemic has hit the streets of New Jersey, wreaking havoc on cars and their drivers with reckless abandon. According to one car insurance company, potholes are doing far more damage to cars than in previous years. More than just bumps in the road, these hazards can create serious maintenance and safety problems for careless drivers. If you want to keep your ride out of harm's way, it will require some knowledge, preparation and maintenance.

Don't be caught off guard
As a product of extreme winter temperatures and icy conditions, you can't avoid potholes from cropping up, but you can remain extra vigilant in the months following the thaw to make sure you don't run into them. Keeping your eyes on the road and scanning the lane ahead of you can help you spot these sneaky tire traps with enough time to try and safely avoid them. Be extra wary of large puddles, as they tend to be favorite hiding places for potholes and can catch unsuspecting drivers off guard. 

If a meeting between you and a pothole seems inevitable, react accordingly. You'll want to slow down, but be careful not to slam on the brakes – doing so means you may hit the pothole when your suspension is dropped, which drastically increases the chance of something getting knocked out of alignment.

Fight back
You don't have to get caught flat-footed by potholes. There are things you can do to help steel your wheels against potential pothole damage, as well as check after such an encounter. One of the biggest weapons in your arsenal is proper tire pressure. Those four wheels are taking the brunt of the impact every time you hit a divot, so keeping them in good shape is crucial for avoiding costly damage to your car. Underinflated tires can damage not only the tires themselves, but can also cause them to rebound harshly against your suspension, potentially knocking that out of whack as well, according to a press release from Plymouth Rock Assurance.

Your car's suspension is another favored target of devious potholes, and oftentimes it can be more difficult and less immediate to notice if anything has been knocked out of alignment. If you hit a particularly nasty bump, it may be a good idea to get your suspension checked, especially if you notice your car pulling to one side.

If you think your car may need repairs, make an appointment with the NJ State Auto Auction Total Car Care Center. The skilled mechanics are on hand to help keep your car running smoothly.

A Teen Driver’s Guide To Car Insurance

If you're a young driver, you've likely spent lots of time thinking about your perfect car. What you may not have spent as much time thinking about is your insurance options once you have your car. Navigating labyrinthine insurance paperwork can kill the buzz of a car purchase for new drivers quickly, and the hefty insurance bill even more so. Unfortunately, teen drivers tend to feel the heavy end of the hammer when it comes to insurance premiums. The good news is, there are some tips for keeping your insurance costs down as a younger motorist. 

Start with the car
The easiest and most basic way to keep your insurance bill down is to choose a car that doesn't come with a conventionally high cost to insure. Some of the factors are fairly obvious – for example, more expensive cars, and cars with lower reliability and safety ratings, tend to carry a higher price tag when it comes to insurance. But other factors can play a role as well, such as how likely your car is to be stolen – a statistic that the National Insurance Crime Bureau tracks on its list of Hot Wheels, Edmunds reported.

Educate yourself
A little time spent in a classroom can go a long way in saving money on your insurance bill. According to Edmunds, taking an official driver's ed course can save you up to 10 percent on your insurance premiums versus going it alone. Once you have your license, you can continue to trade study time for insurance discounts. Many providers offer money off to drivers who attend save driving courses, and there are several that target teens and younger drivers specifically. 

Even studying hard at school can pay off for you. According to Kiplinger, some insurance providers offer discounts to student drivers who keep their grades up above a B average.

Cut out what you don't need
It's true that insurance is buying yourself peace of mind, but it's also important to be realistic and economical to avoid paying through the nose for unnecessary services. Kiplinger recommended doing away with more advanced coverage options such as collision coverage – many older cars are worth less from insurance than what you'd pay for the premium anyway.

If you're shopping for a used car, head to NJ State Auto Auction. You'll find hundreds of Carfax-certified cars, as well as an in-house finance team dedicated to helping you finance a high quality used car.

What You Should Know When Buying Your First Car

First-time car buyers have a lot to be excited about. A first car can be a powerful symbol of freedom, independence and authority, and a quality vehicle can stay with you for years to come. That said, it's not an undertaking that should be approached lightly. When shopping for your first ride, understand what you should be looking for in a car, but also what responsibilities await you after you've signed your contract so you can keep your car in great condition for longer. 

Making the right pick
The important thing when shopping for a car is to choose one that is well-suited to your lifestyle. Ask yourself what you'll primarily be using your car for – do you commute to and from work? Is it going to be for longer road trips back home? Are you just tired of taking the bus to buy groceries? Your answer to these questions should inform your shopping. If you're going to be putting a lot of miles on your car, you'll want one with a higher reliability rating so you don't have to worry about repairs popping up at inconvenient times. For trips around town, make sure you pay attention to fuel economy, as the frequent stop-and-go traffic of city driving can deal a hit to your gas budget. 

Maintenance basics
Of course, it's not enough to just hop in your newly purchased car and drive off into the sunset. If you want to best avoid problems down the road, there are a few basic maintenance tips you should brush up on, according to The Chicago Tribune. 

Everyone knows at least one person who has one of the notorious check engine light stories – someone who's been cruising with that little orange light on for months. It may seem innocuous, but paying attention to your car's lights, signals and alerts is crucial for keeping it well maintained. Even if you're not a gearhead, pop your hood and take a look at some of the more basic indicators, such as your oil and other fluids. You don't have to be performing any of this maintenance yourself; at least knowing where everything is may help you to identify problems more easily when and if they arise, or at the very least make it easier to talk to the mechanic about what's going wrong.

For your used car needs, head to NJ State Auto Auction. You'll find hundreds of Carfax-certified cars on the lot, and a dedicated in-house finance team to help you afford a high quality used car. The NJ State Auto Auction Total Car Care Center is a valuable resource for keeping your car running smoothly.

Lifestyle Tips With The Commuter In Mind

We form close relationships with our cars, many of us depending on them to fulfill basic parts of our daily lives. For those drivers who commute to and from their jobs every day, their rides are more than a convenience, they are a key part of their livelihood. Unfortunately, the extra miles a daily commute racks up can slowly but surely push a car into early retirement, a hassle that is as expensive as it is inconvenient. If you're looking for a car primarily to carry you to and from work, here are a few things to keep in mind to help you keep your car happier longer.

Pooling your resources
It's an oldie but a goodie – carpooling has been a fixture of many commuters' lives for a long time, and with good reason. The fewer miles you put on your car, the longer it will last. Not to mention carpooling saves tremendous amounts of money that would be spent on gas for everyone taking part. In fact, Bank Rate reported that a Seattle-area survey found vanpools to be 61 percent cheaper than driving alone, and even 28 percent cheaper than public transit, giving commuters the flexibility of their own transportation without the associated costs.

Another hidden benefit of carpools? Many highways offer special high-occupancy vehicle lanes specifically for carpools, so not only can you save money, but in some cases you can also cut down on irritating traffic jams.

Shop smart
If you're looking to buy a car for your commute, you're in a unique position, as you have the ability to plan right from the get-go. One main cash sink most felt by consumers is the gas budget, so choosing a ride based on fuel efficiency can help ease the pain your wallet would otherwise feel thanks to a daily commute. CNBC outlined some models known for being good on gas, such as the Ford Focus. Chevrolet also has a selection of gas-conscious models, including the Volt – an electric car using no gas at all. As a bonus, such cars also tend to see better maintenance and reliability ratings, saving you money across a variety of channels. 

When the time comes to shop for a used car, head to NJ State Auto Auction. You'll find hundreds of Carfax-certified cars on the lot, and an in-house finance department dedicated to helping you afford the used car, truck or van that's right for you.