Prepare For The Worst This Winter

With winter fast approaching, it's time drivers get ready for the inclement weather ahead. This starts by getting a tune-up for your car, which is why NJ State Auto has its Total Car Care Center open for business. This garage can address any issues your ride may have, but it only represents the first layer of protection against getting stranded this season. 

Expect the worst
If you're a driver in the Northeast, you know winters can be tough. That's why you have to prepare for the absolute worst conditions. Freezing temperatures are just the beginning – you'll likely also have to contend with heaps of snow, slush, icy roads and hail. Make sure your tires are up to snuff. Then turn your attention to windshield wipers, the HVAC system, the car battery and the engine – all of the parts that will be heavily affected by extreme weather. 

Keep the essentials on hand
Part of your preparations should consist of putting together an emergency kit. While you should have some semblance of this in your car already, it's important to check in with your gear to ensure everything is still operating as it should. 

"No matter what region of the country you live, State Farm encourages all drivers to stock their trunk with emergency kits to help if the unexpected happens," said John Nepomuceno, auto safety research administrator from State Farm. "Also, check to make sure all of your supplies are working properly. What's worse than a flat tire? Discovering your spare is flat too."

Some of the basics that all drivers should have include a spare tire, jumper cables, area maps, an ice scraper and brush and a flashlight. Those can help should your car run into trouble, but for human problems, be sure to have a first-aid kit as well. It can also pay to have a spare change of clothes in case the weather gets the best of you. 

Invest in a few extras
The above only includes the basics that all emergency kits should have. If you really want to kick your preparations into high gear, consider adding some more specialized equipment. For example, having road flares and reflective road signs can help you out in the event you get stranded or need to do some emergency work on your car. Another winter staple is road salt. This is key for gaining traction on a slippery surface, but if you don't have any on hand, cat litter can serve the same purpose. 

Prepare For Thanksgiving Road Trips Now

The holiday season is right around the corner, and that means the time of feasting and visiting loved ones has arrived. Of course, before this can happen, people have to get to their loved ones, which frequently involves road trips. Whether you're traveling through the city or across the country, be sure to know what to expect before you leave. 

Americans are on the move
According to Travel Pulse, there is a 12-day window for Thanksgiving travel this year, extending from Nov. 21 to Dec. 2. The number of air travelers taking to the skies is expected to increase this year, the source reported, but that doesn't mean the highways will be emptier. In fact, with the average price of a gallon of gas dropping below $3 in much of the country, more people may be encouraged to get behind the wheel. 

Last year, more than 43 million Americans traveled more than 50 miles from home to reach their Thanksgiving destination, according to an AAA report. About 90 percent of those drove, which accounts for almost 39 million people on the roads. If this year's numbers are similar, travelers could have to put up with plenty of congestion, especially on the busiest travel days. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is generally the worst, with more than one-third of people traveling that day. Roughly the same number return on both Saturday and Sunday after the holiday. 

Get your car ready
If you plan on driving somewhere this Thanksgiving, the first thing you should do is make sure your car can handle the trip. Heavy traffic means you could encounter many stop-and-go scenarios, so be sure your brakes can stop on a dime. It could also be beneficial to have a standard tune up, as a professional may be able to identify areas that need quick fixes. Just an extra hour in the shop could result in plenty of time and money saved on the road. 

New Jersey State Auto Auction can help you get any vehicle ready for a road trip. Take your ride into the Total Car Care Center for a tune up, as the garage there caters to the public and can address any issues you may have. Whether you need a simple fix or more extensive repair work, the team of experts at the garage can get you headed in the right direction. 

New York Lowers Speed Limit – Now What?

Traffic in New York City has never been great – just ask anyone who has to try to get to work on time. Still, many people choose to jump in their own cars or use taxis to cross the boroughs. The next time you head into the city, however, you're going to have to slow down. 

Slowing down for safety
Mayor Bill de Blasio recently lowered the default speed limit in the city to 25 mph. While this is only a small drop from the 30 mph limit on most streets, it could be a significant one. The Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg told CBS News that the 5 mph decline halves the risk of a fatality in a crash, which is key for protecting the many pedestrians in the area. 

"I think there's a real consensus in this town that we need to have people drive more carefully, more safely and slower for the protection of our kids, our seniors," de Blasio told reporters, as quoted by CBS News. 

The reduction is part of de Blasio's "Vision Zero" campaign, which aims to decrease the number of traffic deaths in the city. This will undoubtedly take time, but fatalities have already declined through 2014 compared to previous years, and the rollout of this new legislation isn't even complete, according to AutoBlog. 

Will drivers comply? 
The law just went into effect, so it remains to be seen if drivers throughout the city will obey the new rule. Many objected to the change initially, fearing increased police presence and speeding tickets. According to The New York Times, however, the city is not expected to increase ticketing – at least not just yet. It will take some time to update and replace street signs as well, and officials don't want to make an enemy of drivers as they get used to the new reduced speed. 

Anyone in or around New York City will need to make sure they comply with these rules – and that means having a vehicle that can handle the braking and accelerating of urban traffic. That's where New Jersey State Auto comes into play. Not only does the auction lot have hundreds of Carfax-certified cars, trucks and vans for sale, but there's also a garage that can address issues relating to driving performance. 

3 Credit Mistakes To Avoid

Having a credit history is essential for making big purchases. Unfortunately for some people, their past isn't quite as rosy and pristine as they'd like. In fact, many would-be car shoppers have to deal with subpar credit scores, shaky payment histories or even bankruptcy filings. 

But it's never too late to pick up positive habits – and ignore the bad ones. Here are three credit mistakes you should avoid like the plague. 

Mistake 1: Not reading the fine print
You could think you have a great deal on a credit card, but unless you comb through all of the fine print, you'll never know for sure. Your card could be loaded with hidden late fees, minimum balances, gradual interest rate increases or other penalties. Make sure you know what to expect before getting involved with a company. Any time a policy changes, it could be enough to disrupt your payment pattern, so work to avoid these situations. 

Mistake 2: Only making minimum payments 
Some people fall into the trap of using a credit card to buy things and then only making minimum payments on their bill. That's a good way to quickly build up debt without reaping the rewards on your credit score. Instead, try to pay off the entire balance whenever possible. 

USA Today reported that people using rewards cards should also be motivated to make bigger payments. The cash-back rewards or perks received for using a card usually amounts to 1 or 2 percent of the total purchase, which isn't enough to outweigh interest rates. To truly take advantage of these rewards, pay off your balance in full, or as much of it as you can. 

Mistake 3: Doing nothing with credit cards
If you have credit cards but you aren't doing anything with them, then you aren't building credit. That means you're probably paying start-up fees without getting any of the benefit. Start by opening an account with one card and using it for smaller purchases, paying off the balance immediately. Eventually you can work your way up to multiple cards and major buys. 

Not sure if your credit has you able to buy a used car? Let the experts at NJ State Auto Auction help you. The lot has hundreds of Carfax-certified cars, trucks and vans to choose from. Once you find the vehicle that works for you, the in-house financing team can sort through your options and figure out the best possible plan. 

Watch Out For These Car Scams

Thinking about all of the financial scams out in the world is enough to send you into the backyard with a shovel to bury all of your cash. It doesn't have to be that way, though. If you're vigilant and use plenty of common sense, you can protect all of your assets while still making all of the purchases you need to. 

It all starts with knowledge. Brush up on a few of the most common scams found in the auto industry so you know what to look out for. 

So-called 'mobile repairmen' 
One of the most prominent scams out there today involves mobile repairmen offering to make auto repairs. These individuals aren't involved with a garage or dealer – instead, they advertise via online message boards, such as Craigslist, and try to woo unsuspecting drivers with low prices and empty promises about timely repairs. However, most of the time these so-called experts are nothing more than con men. They'll do superficial repairs – if that – and then return your car. In a few days, you'll find that there are even more problems and you've been fleeced out of hundreds of dollars. 

"These guys will do terrible work, they're unlicensed, shoddy work, wrong materials," Eric Friedman, of the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection, told WJLA. "They'll probably cause more problems. They'll take the money and run."

Open sale negotiations
If you go to buy a used car and the salesperson, whether from a dealership or an independent owner, leaves any part of the transaction up for interpretation, you should get out immediately. Forbes magazine recommended reading over all documents and making sure everything is set in stone before you drive away. In some instances, new owners will be contacted days later, with the seller stating that there was some type of problem with the credit application or other procedure. This could be a scheme to get more money from the buyer, but you can avoid falling into this trap by hashing out all of the details before taking the car. 

To find used cars safely, head to New Jersey State Auto Auction. This lot has hundreds of Carfax-certified cars, trucks and vans, so you can rest assured you're getting a high-quality vehicle at a bargain of a price. It even has its own repair garage, called the Total Car Care Center, which is able to address any auto issues you may have without resorting to shady personalities on the Internet. 

Used Cars Offer Great Value For Smart Buyers

So you want a new car … now what? The first thing you may have to do is get a reality check, as the cost of a brand new model is pretty high. For some drivers, that's just one of the many reasons to find used cars instead. These pre-owned models provide great value, and in light of the most recent sales figures, they may be the best option as well. 

New cars grow pricier
According to a report from Cars.com, the average transaction price for new cars purchased in October reached $30,382. That's the highest so far for 2014 and represents a slight uptick from September's expenses. However, the cost could be even higher. USA Today reported that TrueCar pegged the average transaction price for the month at $32,957. 

People still need loans to help pay for these expensive new cars. The source reported that the average length of a loan needed to purchase a new model was 67 months. That's the second-longest term in history, and while it could be good news for drivers who don't mind spending a little during their time as owners, it can make a big difference for those who care about the bottom line. 

Opportunities for savvy shoppers
The prices may be going up, but more people buying new cars means there may be greater numbers of used cars entering the market. As vehicles get traded in or discarded for newer models, savvy drivers are able to pick out real gems. 

It could even be easier to find a viable car because gas prices are dropping around the country. A report from AAA found that the average cost of a gallon of gas has recently dropped below $3. With these expenses dropping to their lowest point since December 2010, more people are turning to large SUVs and pickup trucks. They may have been considered gas guzzlers at one point, but in today's world they are almost as practical as smaller sedans. 

Are you convinced yet? Used cars can offer plenty of value for anyone – drivers just have to know where to look. Start your search at New Jersey State Auto Auction. Our lot has hundreds of Carfax-certified used cars, trucks and vans for sale, and you'll be able to find many models at prices that fit in your budget. 

4 Ways To Rebuild Credit After Bankruptcy

Have you filed for bankruptcy recently? If so, then you're one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who find themselves in this precarious position each year. While bankruptcy can feel like the end of the world, it does provide a way to start over – provided you know the best methods of doing so. 

Here are a few ways you can work to rebuild your credit score. 

Monitor your credit score
It's going to take a while to get your credit score up to snuff, but you should be consistently checking in on it to ensure that it's moving in the right direction. This also allows you to ensure that there are no errors or inconsistencies on your report, which in turn guarantees there isn't a separate problem holding you back. 

Start fresh with new accounts
Part of the benefit of declaring bankruptcy is being able to start over with regard to your finances. Take advantage of this by saving up enough money to open new bank accounts. The Huffington Post also recommended applying for a secured credit card or retail card to start rebuilding credit. They key is to not use these cards to make extraneous buys – use them to get the basics and then make moves to prevent debt from growing. 

Avoid only paying the minimum
Scrambling to make minimum payments – along with not making payments at all – is part of what got you into debt in the first place. Instead of going right back to your old habits, embrace some positive ones by keeping debt under control. Whenever possible, use credit cards to make small purchases and then pay off the balance immediately. Gradually, this will build up a credit score and allow you to make larger purchases. 

Don't let it scare you off from purchases
Declaring bankruptcy may have you thinking that you're stuck with your current car, as it can be tough to find a loan for a purchase. However, spots like New Jersey State Auto Auction help subprime buyers find used cars that can meet their needs and budget. Our in-house financing department has the power to get you approved for credit even if you've had trouble in the past, and you can use that to select one of the hundreds of Carfax-certified cars, trucks and vans on the lot. 

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Car Buying

Want to spend a ton of money when you purchase your next car? Unless you've stumbled across some buried treasure, the answer to that question is probably no. Unfortunately, many drivers don't know what to do to keep cash in their wallets. Here are a few do's and don'ts to keep in mind when shopping around for cars. 

Don't: Buy a new model
We get it: A lot of people want to enjoy that new car smell when they get behind the wheel. However, not many know how much that aroma actually costs. Yes, you're getting a high-quality car, but the second you drive off the lot it begins dropping in value. Yahoo reported that a new vehicle with a sticker price of $30,000 loses more than half its value in the first three years of ownership – a fact that can leave you owing more money than your ride is worth very quickly. 

Do: Find a used car 
Your best bet for saving money may be to find used cars that meet your needs. Today's used cars offer many of the same technology and safety features that you'd see on a newer model, all at a lower price. If you can find an option that's been well-maintained and has the qualities you like, you might want to jump on it. 

Don't: Blindly agree to a loan 
Most buyers will need some kind of help affording a car, regardless of whether it's new or used. If you fall into this category, make sure you're doing your research before agreeing to a loan. Just because you think an offer may be the best to come along doesn't make it so. Look up average loan terms and interest rates for your area and budget, and use online calculators to check that your offer is fair. 

Do: Look for a shorter loan 
Many drivers, especially those who are classified as "subprime," may be tempted to accept a longer loan because it allows smaller monthly payments. However, with these agreements you'll probably be paying much more in the long run – maybe even more than the car is worth. Try to scrounge up money for a hefty down payment or splurge for the shorter loan instead. 

If you need help finding a used car, head to NJ State Auto Auction. Not only does the auction lot have hundreds of Carfax-certified used vehicles for sale, but it also has an in-house financing team that can help save you money.