Understand These Common Maintenance Warning Signs

Even though we often take them for granted, there's no denying that cars are very complicated pieces of machinery. There are so many systems and bits of equipment under the hood it can boggle the mind of the less mechanically inclined motorist. While the inner workings of your vehicle may stymie and confuse you, the good news is you don't have to be a mechanic to notice when things are going wrong. Your car will talk to you, and if you know what to listen for, some of these common indicators can alert you to potentially more severe maintenance problems.

Check engine light
The most notorious auto indicator is also probably one of the most poorly understood. This concerning orange light can be triggered by any number of things, and as a result, many people end up driving around with this light on for months. It can point to a variety of potential issues, and while some of them are fairly simple fixes, they all warrant immediate attention to prevent further complications.

If you're lucky, the check engine light could just be trying to tell you that your gas cap is loose – if this is the case, fixing it won't cost you more than a few seconds of your time. Of course, as AutoTrader.com noted, it could also represent anything from a problem with a spark plug to a damaged catalytic converter, which can be serious.

Squeaky brakes
The next time you roll up to a stop sign, take a quick listen. If you hear a squeak when you hit the brakes, that's a bad sign. It's not mice in your car, it's actually indicative of worn-out brake pads. This can reduce your brakes' effectiveness, which is a major safety concern. Once the squeaking upgrades to a more ominous grinding sound, you should head to the mechanic's shop immediately – your car isn't safe to drive.

A bouncy ride
Those who live in an area with poorly paved roads may notice their car dipping and tilting when they brake, accelerate or turn. Far from normal, this can be an indication that your shocks are on their way out. Your shocks absorb and dissipate the impact of driving, protecting your suspension from warping and improving your car's handling ability. When they wear out, your car's suspension can often follow it, which can have a big impact on its handling.

If your car needs maintenance, make an appointment with the NJ State Auto Auction Total Car Care Center. The skilled mechanics can help diagnose car problems and expertly perform maintenance needed to keep your ride on the road.

What Car Does Your Favorite Celebrity Drive?

We hold our celebrities in such high regard that sometimes we can forget that they're people just like we are. And just like us, sometimes they need to get from point A to point B. Some our favorite and most visible celebrities have made headlines with flashy wheels and custom rides. While maybe not strictly practical, many of the cars some of the biggest entertainment personalities drive are attractions in their own right. Take a look into some of these celebrity driveways and peek through the windows of the cars of the stars.

Justin Bieber
The Canadian golden-boy-turned-bad-boy certainly isn't afraid to show off when it comes to his choice in autos. In fact, the crooner is a textbook example of the stereotype of celebrity fiscal irresponsibility of the four-wheeled variety. According to Celebrity Cars Blog, the pop star isn't content to just own one super stylish ride – he has a veritable fleet of fancy cars to fit any occasion. The guiding theme seems to be matte black, as he sports a Cadillac CTS-V, a Range Rover and even a Smart Car decked out in the finish. 

Kanye West
The notoriously cocky musician and producer isn't one for subtlety, and this is reflected in his choice of autos as well. When it comes to wheels, it's nothing but the best of the best for Mr. West, who boasts a collection consisting of several Mercedes-Benz models ranging from the SLR Stirling Moss convertible to the massively imposing G63 SUV. Celebrity Cars Blog pointed out that Kanye even owns a Lamborghini Aventador, further distinguishing himself from the crowd by driving one of the industry's flashiest roadsters.

Paris Hilton
The queen of hotel royalty takes her appointment very seriously, even when it comes to her choice in cars. You may have heard that it's appropriate to match your shoes and purse to your outfit, but Ms. Hilton felt the need to take things a step further and add her auto to the mix as well. As Huffington Post reported, the notoriously pink-loving public figure turned heads by driving around in a pink dress, pink shoes and a pink Bentley to match. It raises the question if she has cars to match the rest of her outfits as well. 

When you're shopping for a pre-owned car, head to NJ State Auto Auction. You'll find hundreds of Carfax-certified cars on the lot, and the in-house finance team can help you find a financing option that's right for you.

What You Need To Know About Poor-Credit Loans

Whether or not you drive a luxury car, simply having a set of wheels doesn't have to be an extravagance. Gone are the days when you needed to light your Cuban cigars with your disposable income to be able to afford a car. As owning a vehicle has become something of a necessity for many adults, dealers and lenders provide a variety of options for lower-income buyers to drive away with a car of their own. 

Many dealers boast their willingness to finance to shoppers with poor credit. Loans can give low-income buyers the chance to own a car when they otherwise couldn't. However, there are a few important things to keep in mind when financing on the lower end of the credit spectrum to ensure you don't get burned. 

What is subprime?
Loans that are offered to those with poor credit scores are referred to as "subprime" – a term The New York Times defined as a loan given to anyone with a credit score below 640. While the specifics of credit ratings and what affects them can be opaque and complicated, an important point is that such loans have increased by 130 percent in recent years, according to the Times. In fact, Auto Credit Express reported that subprime loans are more common now than they have been since the Great Recession began in 2008. 

On the surface, the increase in such lending patterns seems to be beneficial for buyer and seller alike. Lower-income or lower-credit buyers have more opportunities to own a car, while lenders appreciate the increased interest involved with lending money to more people, and at higher interest rates. 

What to be wary of
Subprime loans can be good resources for some who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford a car. However, there are risks involved, and these should be considered carefully before you decide to sign any loan documents. 

When buyers have lower credit ratings, such agreements represent risk for the dealer, so expect lenders to require a larger down payment. As part of the risk management process, Auto Credit Express noted that lenders may be more selective in their approvals for subprime lending, so it's still a good idea to take specific effort to raise your credit score before heading to the lot. Even if a lender is willing to approve you for a subprime loan, be sure your income is stable before you sign on the dotted line – defaulting on a loan can result in your car being repossessed.

When shopping for a used car, head to NJ State Auto Auction. There are hundreds of Carfax-certified autos on the lot, and an in-house finance team ready to help make your pre-owned vehicle affordable.

Understand The Buyers Guide And How It Can Help You

Buying a pre-owned vehicle can be intimidating, especially if you've never done it before. Any major expense is bound to induce some sort of anxiety. Thankfully, despite what you may think, heading to a dealership isn't at all like walking through the saloon doors in the Wild West. Both dealers and manufacturers want to help you understand the ins and outs of the car you're purchasing as well as the buying process. One tool that's a great resource for nervous shoppers is the Buyers Guide, a document that can potentially put many of your fears about buying a used car to rest.

What is the Buyers Guide?
Dealers who sell used vehicles have to follow the Used Car Rule defined by the Federal Trade Commission. Part of this process involves providing potential buyers with important information on a car and its warranty that could help an on-the-fence car shopper come to a decision. Buying a set of wheels is a big commitment, and the Buyers Guide can remind you of some of the more important considerations to ponder before signing on the dotted line – things that inexperienced buyers may not have even thought of in the first place.

In addition to the make and model of the car in question, the Buyers Guide tells you procedural information such as whether the vehicle is covered by any warranty or being sold "as-is." If there are any warranties, you'll also have access to information about what they cover in terms of percentage of repair costs and specific automotive systems. 

How can it help you?
As an invaluable resource to those shopping for used cars, the Buyers Guide should be a key stop on the road to car ownership. The warranty information it provides is crucial for drivers who want to keep themselves covered in the event any repairs are needed later. 

More generally, the guide also provides helpful advice to those who may be new to the world of shopping for used cars. Aside from basic technical specs, consulting this information will yield such advice as the fact that verbal contracts are very difficult to enforce, and recommends that buyers seek out any agreements in writing. Another key suggestion is that you should submit a used car to a mechanic's inspection before deciding to buy to suss out any maintenance pitfalls. 

As the official website of the FTC noted, dealers are required to display a Buyers Guide on any used cars that they sell, so make a point to seek out that sticker when you're on the lot.

When shopping for a used car, head to NJ State Auto Auction. In addition to the hundreds of Carfax-certified cars, you'll also find an in-house finance team that can help make your high-quality used car, truck or van affordable.

Keep Safe This Rainy Season With These Driving Tips

Summer thunderstorms are a common occurrence during the warmer months. While they may rain out your baseball games, they can also provide stunning and awe-inspiring attractions in their own right. Of course, if you happen to be on the road when a downpour kicks up, you may have a slightly different attitude. Severe rainfall can present unique driving hazards, and if you find yourself on the road during a storm, knowing how to handle it can help to ensure your safety.

Know the hazards
One of the risks many drivers are aware of when dealing with excessive rainfall is skidding. The wet pavement can make the roads slippery, resulting in a lack of control in steering and braking. In the event of extremely heavy rain, drivers face the risk of what is known as hydroplaning – an instance where a buildup of water actually pushes underneath a car's tires, causing the car to actually skid or glide above the road. In these scary occurrences, you can lose total control of your car if you're not careful. Taking preventive measures is recommended in poor weather, as well as knowing how to react in the event that your car skids.

Slow down
One of the biggest preventive steps you can take is also one of the simplest – reduce your speed. According to AAA, a car can lose contact with the road in as little as 1/12 inch of rain going as slow as 35 mph. Not only will reducing your speed help you avoid hydroplaning, it will also give you more time to react in the event of an emergency.

Keep your tires in good shape
Your tires are responsible for keeping you safe in your car, and this goes double in the event of poor road conditions. Under-inflated tires can lead to loss of control or reduced handling, which will only be magnified when roads are wet. Check your tire pressure and tread before heading out into a storm, and be sure to replace worn-out tire treads.

What to do in a skid
If you do find yourself hydroplaning, don't panic. By staying calm, it's possible to weather this woeful occurrence safely. Don't slam the brakes or jerk the steering  – instead, ease off the gas slowly and keep steering the wheel in the direction you want the car to go.

When you're shopping for a new car, head to NJ State Auto Auction. You'll find hundreds of Carfax-certified cars on the lot, and an in-house finance team is ready to help you afford the used vehicle of your choice.

How To Handle A Flat Tire While On The Road

A flat tire can be one of the most annoying and inconvenient obstacles for a driver to have to overcome. While there's never really a good time for a flat, driving through town or even down the freeway with a punctured tire is one of the most irksome situation to find yourself in. In fact, driving on a flat at cruising speeds on a highway can be especially dangerous if drivers respond poorly. While certainly a major concern, a flat tire doesn't have to be a total car catastrophe. By keeping the following things in mind, you can make the best of an otherwise bad situation. 

Identify a flat
As odd as it sounds, you may not always realize right away that you've got a flat tire. While puncture damage, such as running over a nail, tends to announce itself a bit more aggressively, sometimes a flat can be caused by a slow leak or a damaged valve stem, according to AA1car.com. In such cases, there may not be an immediate telltale.

Your car does a good job of telling you something's wrong, but it helps to know what to look for. If you notice that you're having difficulty accelerating, or feel like you're driving with the parking break on, there's a good chance a tire may be flat. Difficulty maintaining speed can be another sign, as can your car pulling to one side, generally toward the direction of the flat. 

Get off the road
Driving with a flat is not a good idea for you or your car. You may be tempted to finish your trip home or to a gas station and fix the problem then, but if you do, you not only compromise your car's ability to handle and brake, but you also risk dealing more serious damage to the wheel itself. As soon as you notice you have a flat, you should make an effort to get off the road as quickly as you can, but try to do so as calmly and safely as possible. 

Don't slam on the brakes or jerk the wheel – you could lose control of the vehicle. Instead, slowly guide your car toward the breakdown lane or shoulder of the road, easing up on the gas slowly but steadily until you come to a complete stop.

If you experience a flat tire or any other problems with your vehicle, make an appointment with the NJ State Auto Auction Total Car Care Center. The on-site mechanics are available to help diagnose any maintenance issues and keep your car in working order.

What Are Some Of Your Favorite Classic American Cars?

Summer is the perfect season for hot dogs, apple pie, baseball and other icons of Americana. One fixture that's equally as iconic in the U.S. identity is the classic car. From the muscle cars and roadsters every teen boy dreams about to the vintage luxury cars of the upper classes, the U.S. has a long and colorful history with a wide variety of handsome autos. This summer, take some time to share in the national appreciation of the country's coolest cars, starting with some of these automotive icons.

Ford Mustang
If ever there was a car that embodied the spirit of the classic American roadster, it would be Ford's famous Mustang. Revving its way into the hearts of auto enthusiasts since 1964, this classic "pony car" is practically synonymous with the open road. Available as either a hard-top or convertible, the four-seat fireball is the gold standard for sexy sports car, and continues to claim its place even to this day. The 'Stang has seen constant production since its introduction in 1964, according to AskMen, and its popularity has remained red-hot ever since, indicating that this classic car is far from slowing down. 

Chevrolet Corvette
Not content to let Ford monopolize the U.S. roadster market, Chevrolet's Corvette is classic sports car royalty in its own right. Tearing up U.S. roadways since 1953, the Corvette is one of the oldest and longest-running sports cars boasted by the nation. In fact, the 'Vette is considered such an integral part of U.S. culture that in 2008, a special edition collectible silver dollar was minted featuring the classic car. Designed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of General Motors, the Corvette coin depicts the car in bright yellow, complete with pop-up headlights that light up, Jalopnik reported.

Jeep Wrangler
Americans like to pride themselves on their rugged, indomitable spirit and history of conquering frontiers, and the Jeep Wrangler embodies this spirit in car form. Descended from the World War II General Purpose – G.P., or "Jeep" – vehicles, the Wrangler is now practically synonymous with outdoor excursions and adventures. While perhaps not the most practical car around, if you're looking for a symbol of the U.S. identity, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better car.

When shopping for a used car, head to NJ State Auto Auction. You'll find hundreds of Carfax-certified vehicles on the lot, and the in-house finance team is on hand to help you make your purchase affordable. 

Why You Shouldn’t Go It Alone When It’s Time To Sell

At some point, it comes time for every trusty steed to ride off into the sunset, and the same is true of your car. When you're ready to sell, you'll find yourself faced with a few options, namely, if you should head to a dealership to sell or attempt the task yourself. You may be tempted to tackle the challenge of selling your car on your own, perhaps in a desire to maximize your profit. However, especially for neophyte car owners or those who don't know what they're getting into, working with a reputable used car dealer can save you time, headaches and money.

Selling anything on your own can be stressful, and this goes double for big-ticket items like your car. With the time and money at stake selling your wheels, chances are you don't have the luxury of waiting for weeks to find the right buyer, then spend time haggling over dollars and cents.

This is one of the main benefits of selling your used car to a dealer instead of trying to take on the responsibility yourself. As CarsDirect reported, dealers make the process relatively painless on your part – sign a minimal amount of paperwork and your car is as good as sold. Moreover, dealers tend to be far less picky than private buyers when it comes to which cars they'll buy, meaning that you've already got a greater chance of selling right off the bat.

Trade-in benefits
Chances are, if you're selling your car, you're going to need another one to take its place. This means that in addition to the headache normally associated with selling your car, you also have to go through the process of shopping for, financing and buying another one immediately after.

Dealers can act as an important bridge to this process. When you sell your to a dealer, you'll more than likely be offered a trade-in value – an amount that you can use directly and immediately toward the purchase of another vehicle on the lot. In fact, CarsDirect indicated that some dealers are willing to offer more in trade-in value than they'd pay in cash, simply as an incentive for you to buy a more expensive car from them.

If you're shopping for a used car, head to NJ State Auto Auction. You'll find hundreds of Carfax-certified vehicles on the lot, and an in-house finance team ready to help you make your purchase affordable.

Get The Most Out Of Your Used Car With These Maintenance Tips

For many, buying a used car can be a great way to save cash while still driving away with a reliable ride that will get them where they need to go. Of course, there are also those who worry about the longevity and sustainability of used cars from a repair and maintenance perspective, concerned that the additional miles or former owner may have piled a heap of hidden maintenance concerns on the car that will be discovered later. The good news is that buying used doesn't mean that you have to compromise performance. With a little foresight, and the knowledge of some of these maintenance basics, you can keep your car running well into the future.

Tires are important
Your car's tires are one of its most important safety features, and drivers neglect their tires at their own peril. Fortunately, keeping up with your tire maintenance doesn't have to be a pain. The important things you'll want to keep track of are your tire pressure and the state of your treads. Your pressure should be checked at least every month – too high or too low and you run the risk of compromising acceleration and control, which is bad news. Always keep a tire pressure gauge in your glove compartment, and such checks can be performed in a snap.

Tread is what helps your tires grip the road, and as you can imagine, is equally important as the air pressure. Go ahead and stick a penny into your tread, and if you can see all of Lincoln's head, it's time for new tires. As a tip, keeping up with regular tire rotation can help your tread wear more evenly, preserving your tires' lifespan.

Eliminate gasoline guesswork
It may have been drilled into us from a young age that the more expensive something is, the better it is, but this isn't true when it comes to gasoline. You may be tempted to shell out the extra pennies per gallon for a higher-octane fuel blend, but chances are, you're not doing your car any favors, and may even be doing harm. 

According to MSN Autos, you'll want to check what octane level your engine is rated for, and stick to that at the pump. Bumping up to a higher rating isn't going to turbo-charge your engine, since your car isn't capable of burning the fuel that efficiently, but it will dip into your wallet.

If your used car needs maintenance, make an appointment with the NJ State Auto Auction Total Car Care Center. The knowledgeable mechanics are on hand to help diagnose problems and keep your car on the road for as long as possible.

How To Not Let Bankruptcy Bankrupt Your Chance At Owning A Car

The threat of bankruptcy looms like a bogeyman hiding in the closet over many adults struggling to keep up in the wake of the recession of 2008. While bankruptcy is treated like something of a four-letter word for many, the truth is it doesn't have to spell the end of your hopes to own a car. Even if your financial history is less than stellar or you're a bankruptcy survivor, it's still possible to make good on your dreams of owning a car, if you follow the right steps. 

Think used
When it comes time to finance a car after going through bankruptcy, you're bound to have far better success in the used market than if you were shopping for new cars. According to BankRate, used cars are a much better option, as the lower price point is appealing to lenders being asked to finance a bankruptcy survivor, and you'll be more likely to find solid, reliable transportation at those price levels in a used car than in a new one.

Know your limits
In general, you'll likely find that lenders are more willing to offer you a car loan after bankruptcy than you might expect. Of course, that doesn't mean that the sky's the limit when it comes time to choose your model. While you aren't necessarily expected to go lemon picking, you also should be realistic with your expectations and your decision making. As BankRate noted, the $10,000 to $15,000 range is where you should be focusing your efforts, as it represents the best balance between affordability and reliability so you won't find yourself running into trouble later.

Prepare to spend a bit more up front
According to CarsDirect, lenders will be assessing your eligibility for a loan based largely on your prior payment history, specifically on your most recent car. If you're just coming out of bankruptcy, chances are this isn't stellar, so anything you can do to ease the minds of your lenders will help you get approved for a loan. If you offer up a higher down payment, you may find yourself spending more out of pocket right away, but it's a good way to indicate your seriousness to your lender, and could help your chances of getting approved.

When 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 to help you afford the used vehicle of your choice.