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How To Find an Affordable SUV

How To Find an Affordable SUV

When it's time to upgrade to your next pre-owned SUV, you want to make sure you're getting the most for your money. The great news is that it's easy to find a fantastic vehicle under $15,000 in Meridian, Idaho, if you know what you're looking for. To find the best SUV in your price range, consider the perks of the following models.

Subcompact Models
For the performance of a crossover vehicle and the versatility of a car, you can't go wrong with subcompact options. They have the horsepower and all-wheel drive you would expect from a sport utility vehicle but because of their size, they're easier to park and tend to get better gas mileage than their larger counterparts. Your local used car dealership can show you some of their best ranked items:

  • Hyundai Kona
  • Honda HR-V
  • Subaru Crosstrek

Compact SUVs
Many drivers consider their compact to be the best SUV you can buy. You have all the benefits of a sedan with more interior space. The most recent models are more expensive, but you can still get a lot of the bells and whistles you love with those that came out in 2015-2016. To see if compacts are the right size for you, test drive a Mazda CX-5 or Honda CR-V.

Traditional Sport Utility
If the classic Jeep Wrangler or Grand Cherokee are more your style, you should be able to find a reliable used SUV for a significant savings with the right dealer. Both of these vehicles are built for off-road adventures but still drive smoothly in the city. If you are looking for a little more horsepower, take the Infiniti FX 37 for a spin. Like the Grand Cherokee, it comes standard with a V6 engine but the 325-horsepower gets you from zero to 60 in no time.

No matter what size or style you prefer, the best SUV is the one that you feel most comfortable driving. Talk to your dealer about what you want your vehicle to do and the features you need. Take your time and test drive each selection to see which one is the best fit. If you shop around, you should be able to find a great used SUV for less than $15,000.

Weighing the Options of Buying or Leasing a Car

Weighing the Options of Buying or Leasing a Car

Are you in the market for a new or pre-owned vehicle? If so, you have likely realized that cars are costly, likely more so than the last time you purchased a vehicle from a dealership in Boise, Idaho. The sticker shock is probably making you weigh the options between buying or a car lease. Before you dive into one or the other, it pays to look at the potential downfalls of each.

1. Ownership or Lack Thereof
The first conundrum in the buy vs lease debate is ownership. Does it matter to you if you own the vehicle? If so, do not lease. When you lease a car, the lease management company owns the vehicle, meaning all the benefits of ownership are stripped away. You will be subject to mileage restrictions, confusing terms and contracts, and a potential penalty for ending the lease early.

2. Costs
Initially, when you look into buying a car, it appears more expensive. Down payments and monthly payments can be more than with a car lease. However, long-term leases end up costing more than purchasing a car. Also, if you keep a car for more than three years, you typically end up saving money on insurance and registration, negating the initial savings from a monthly lease payment.

3. Comfort and Inconvenience
With a lease, you typically have to obey rules and restrictions assigned in the lease agreement, meaning you might not be able to upgrade stereo equipment or use a mechanic you are used to. The lease agreement might also prevent any DIY maintenance, regardless of your skills or expertise. Buying a car means you are in charge of the vehicle. You can upgrade or change anything you like with little to no interference from any outside sources. However, you also incur the costs associated with maintenance and repairs that a lease might otherwise cover.

As you continue shopping for a vehicle to purchase or a car lease to sign, keep the above in mind. Only you can decide what arrangement is right for you, but many people feel buying a quality pre-owned vehicle provides the most benefit, especially as it relates to ownership and convenience.

4 Ways To Save Money on the Road

gas pump

With gas prices on the rise in Boise, ID, filling your tank can be a cringe-worthy experience. Watching the pump's counter steadily increase dollar-by-dollar is like watching the bills fly out of your wallet. Pumping gas will never be a pleasant experience, but fortunately, there are some ways to save money at the gas pump.

Here are a few simple approaches to make this unavoidable task a little less painful:

  1. Fill Up on Monday or Tuesday
    Fuel prices are typically lowest at the first of the week. Even if your gauge isn't on or near the infamous "E," you could save some cash by topping off your tank on Monday or Tuesday.
  2. Use a Gas Pricing App
    Whether you're commuting to and from work or you're taking a long road trip, it's always good to be sure of two things: that you have a reliable vehicle from a trusted dealer and the gas stations on your route offer the lowest costs. These days, several apps, such as Waze and GasBuddy, make it simple to spot the lowest gas prices before you head out. This way, you can plan your gas stops along the way.
  3. Pay With Cash
    At many gas stations, stopping by the register before you start the gas pump can save you money. By paying with cash instead of a credit card, you're enabling the business to avoid credit card processing fees. Therefore, these stations will pass the savings to you by offering a lower price per gallon.
  4. Join a Fuel Savings Program
    Fuel rewards programs offered by many gas stations and grocery store chains can save gas money and offer cashback and/or discounts every time you pump. If you do a lot of driving, these savings can really add up over a short time.

The key to seeing savings at the gas pump is to avoid waiting until you're running on fumes before making the inevitable pitstop. Everyone can benefit from lowering their daily expenses. These suggestions aren't difficult to accomplish; it simply takes some research to find what works best for your schedule and budget. Begin tackling these tips today and you'll soon notice the savings.

3 Questions To Ask Before Buying an Electric Car

electric car

The electric car is a relative newcomer to the automobile industry, but there are several reasons why drivers are interested in purchasing electric rather than gas-powered vehicles:

  • Better for the environment
  • Excellent efficiency
  • Reduced energy costs
  • Limited maintenance requirements
  • Reliable performance

If you've been considering transitioning to an electric vehicle from your gas-powered car or truck, take time to do some research. Start by asking several important questions:

  1. How Far Can I Travel?
    Most of the electric automobiles on the market today can travel more than 200 miles on one charge. A few exceptions have more than 300 miles of range. This means your electric car should easily get you to work and around town during the day. Be aware that several factors affect your car's range:
    • Your speed
    • Driving habits, such as hard braking
    • Your use of climate control
    • The weather
    It's a good idea to stay under the estimated range and keep track of charging stations. You'll probably do most of your charging at home, but it may take a bit of effort to find public charging stations.
  2. How Much Does It Cost To Charge?
    Electricity costs vary from one location to another, so you may less than a dime per kilowatt-hour in some parts of the country and close to a quarter in other areas. There are a few things you can do to keep your costs low, such as charging at home and during the nights or weekends when electricity isn't in as high a demand. When planning a road trip, you'll spend less money for charging your car than you would pay for gas. However, you should plan time for recharging the battery and make note of where public charging stations are located.
  3. Are There Any Incentives for Electric Automobiles?
    It is often possible to get a significant tax credit when you buy a full or hybrid electric auto. However, to get the full benefit, you need to buy one of the first 200,000 vehicles offered by the automaker. Hybrid vehicles may not qualify for the full tax benefit. The best way to get accurate information about the incentive is to talk with a tax professional. Buying an electric car in Meridian, ID, can be a satisfying experience when you understand the ins and outs of owning an electric auto. What other questions do you have about buying a new or used electric automobile?

Tips for Unlocking a Steering Wheel

steering wheel

Most vehicles come with a steering wheel lock that engages when they are not being used. This safety feature can be troublesome, however, if the steering wheel refuses to budge or locks up when you need to drive to your next destination in Boise, Idaho. There are a few methods for getting your steering wheel unlocked.

Ignition Pressure

Most of the time, a locked steering wheel can be released simply by turning on the ignition or repeating the ignition process. The key to this method is avoiding the urge to exert too much pressure on the key or the wheel. Applying too much force can cause several problems:

  • Damaged ignition switch
  • Broken key
  • Expensive repair costs

Instead, insert the key and turn it gently to engage the ignition switch. More often than not, this will release the steering wheel. If the key does not turn easily, you may also try placing pressure on the wheel itself in the direction you want it to turn.

Ignition Cleaning

If the steering wheel lock does not release as easily as it should, you may have a sticky ignition. Debris in the key hole may prevent the mechanism from working properly. Try using canned air to blow out some of the dust or particles that have accumulated inside the ignition. If the problem persists, it may need further cleaning. Your local automotive store can recommend a good electrical cleaner. Squirt a few drops into the ignition, being careful not to overdo it. Then use your key to get the cleaner to all the spots it needs to reach. Once you've done this, the lock may release more easily.

Ignition Replacement

If following car tips such as gentle coaxing and cleaning don't release your locked steering wheel, it's time to consult the maintenance professionals at a trusted used car dealership. As with any car part, the ignition eventually will wear out and need to be replaced. Technicians can assess the problem and give you an estimate of how much it will cost to have the work done in a timely manner.

The steering wheel lock on your car serves an important purpose, but you need it to release when it's time to drive. There are a few things you can do on your own, but don't hesitate to call in the professionals if those tricks don't work.

Tips for Financing Your Car Purchase

car loans

When buying a car, it's natural to spend a lot of time considering the pros and cons of the various vehicles on your radar. What isn't quite as common is researching the different types of loans. When you plan to buy through a used car dealership, in Meridian, Idaho, to save money and avoid steep depreciation, it's important to know how to finance a car.

Types of Loans

If you don't know much about loans and financing, you could end up paying much more than you need. The good news is that with research, you can choose an affordable, cost-effective loan:

  • Lengthy loans
  • Short-term loans
  • Bad-credit or no-credit loans
  • Bank loans
  • Credit union loans
  • Dealer financing

You can decide which options are best by comparing and contrasting the pros and cons of each and by talking to a trusted advisor.

Long-term or Short-term Loans

Whether you shop at a new or used car dealership, the salesperson is highly motivated to offer longer-term loans. This is because you pay a lot of extra interest. This means you will ultimately pay several times the original price of the automobile. Choose a loan with the shortest term you can afford.

Bad-Credit or No-Credit Loans

It doesn't take much of an emergency to prompt a drop in your credit score. Unfortunately, this will make it harder to get a used car loan. Bad-credit and no-credit loans can be helpful, but these come with high interest rates. If you must use one of these loans, shop around before heading to the dealership.

Bank, Credit Union, and Dealership Loans

Bank loans tend to be more expensive than credit union loans, and the credit union is usually more flexible about the terms of a used car loan. However, sometimes, dealerships can offer more quotes because they work with more than one bank. The dealership salesperson is more motivated to get you into a loan than a bank or credit union, so the salesperson may work harder to find you a loan that suits your needs.

These are just a few examples of how you can get the best financing when buying an auto from a new or used car dealership. The more research you can do, the better.

How and Why You Need To Check Your Car's Oil

checking your oil

Oil is one of the most important fluids in your vehicle. If you have a new car or one you bought at a used car dealership in Boise, ID, you need to know why, when and how to check the oil. You should also know when to have your oil changed.

How To Check Your Oil

Checking your oil is relatively easy. With the car turned off and preferably cool you:

  1. Locate the dipstick
  2. Pull the dipstick out
  3. Wipe off the excess oil using a rag
  4. Reinsert the dipstick
  5. Pull the dipstick out again and look at the engine side end

You should see something like "add oil" towards the bottom and "full" an inch above that with crosshatched lines in between. If it reads full or near full, then you are fine. If it reads closer to add oil, you should add some oil but never go over the full line. It is important to check the oil regularly to detect leaks.

Why Check Your Oil

No matter what make or model car you have, it needs some form of oil or lubricant. Motor oil is vital for your car's most important parts, such as the valves. If there is no lubricant in your engine, your engine will seize up and overheat. Then you will have to replace your motor. Checking your oil is a vital part of car maintenance

When To Check Your Oil

If you know you do not leak, you should check your oil at least once per month. If you have a leak, you have to check the oil more frequently until you have it fixed by a licensed auto mechanic or repair shop specializing in these types of leaks.

When You Need an Oil Change

When you look at your oil, it should appear a very light brown or clear. If it is dark, you should get an oil change. You should also get your oil changed every six months or 1,000 miles, depending on your car or oil type. Checking your oil is not difficult and is essential. Remember to always read your car owner's manual and follow its guidelines.

3 Reasons Your Car's Brakes Might Squeak

squeaky brakes

Being able to stop your car efficiently when you need to is a critical component of safe driving. If your brakes are squeaking, it is important to know whether it is a critical problem that warrants brake replacement or whether the issue can be resolved in some other way.

These are three reasons your brakes might squeak.

  1. Worn Brake Pads
    Brake pads contain a metal disc that is exposed as your brake pads wear down. This functions as a warning to the vehicle owner that the brake pads need to be replaced. If you know how to, you can replace the brake pads yourself. If you don't want to do the repair yourself, you can take your car to a service station in Meridian, ID, and have them replace the pads for you. A mechanic will usually also check your rotors for damage while your car is being serviced.
  2. Warped Discs and Rotors
    Hard braking can accelerate the rate at which your brake pads wear down. It also generates heat that can contribute to the warping of your brake discs and rotors. If your discs and rotors are warped you may need brake replacement. You can reduce the chances of this happening by avoiding hard braking whenever possible and replacing your brake pads whenever they become worn.
  3. Dirty or Rusted Rotors
    Dirt, debris, rust or wear and tear on your rotors can cause the surface to lose its smoothness, resulting in squeaky brakes. A mechanic may be able to file your rotor surfaces to remove debris and rust and smooth out the surface. Some squeaking noises may be a sign that you need brake replacement; however, usually, it indicates a maintenance problem that if addressed promptly can save you from needing more expensive repairs. You should have your vehicle's brakes inspected as soon as possible to avoid potential brake failure or additional damage.

The Most Common Car Leaks

oil leaks

You pull out of your driveway and you notice a brown stain on the pavement where your car was parked. This is a clear sign that something is leaking. It's most likely motor oil, but there are many other fluids that your vehicle uses that have the potential to cause a steady drip. Identifying the kind of car leak you have is the first step of getting it fixed.

Keeping your oil at the right level is crucial for engine lubrication. If left undetected, an oil leak can cause irreparable damage to your car after a while. There are several reasons why your car may be oozing motor oil:

  • Lax car maintenance schedule
  • Loose oil filter
  • Uneven tightness on gasket and oil pan
  • Cracked or faulty seals
  • Worn out components
If you see a stain on the concrete where your car is parked, you should have the service department at a used car dealership in Boise, ID, take a look at your vehicle. Expert mechanics can find and fix the problem so that your engine doesn't burn up from too much friction.

Another common car leak, particularly in the winter months, is antifreeze. If the chamber gets cracked, you may see pink, green or yellow liquid running from under your car. A timely repair keeps your engine's temperature in check.

Brake Fluid
If the puddle is near your tires, it may be brake fluid. This liquid can be brown or clear, and it is crucial for making sure your brakes work properly. Fixing this leak as soon as you notice it helps keep you and your passengers safe on the road.

Transmission Fluid
This brown or red fluid shows up under the middle of your vehicle when it leaks. Your car's transmission helps it shift gears more easily, taking some of the pressure off the engine. Delaying repairs can cause extra problems. No matter what fluid you find pooling beneath your vehicle, a car leak is never something you want to ignore. What starts as a small stream can become a much bigger issue in very little time. Timely maintenance and repair are the keys to keeping your vehicle running smoothly and reliably.

Keeping Your Car Clean During a Quarantine

Covid 19 cleaning

COVID-19 has everyone washing their hands and not touching public surfaces, but many people forget about the surfaces we touch every day without even realizing it. Surfaces like those in your car. Fortunately, there are quick ways to disinfect your car during the quarantine.

Where To Concentrate Your Cleaning
Where you clean is extremely important to keep yourself safe. You want to concentrate on areas that you are likely to touch, such as:

  • Door handles inside and out of the car
  • Your key fob and keys
  • Your ignition
  • The armrests
  • The consol and buttons
  • Seatbelts and buckles
You might also want to look for areas that you might touch accidentally. If you are unsure, you might want to contact a new or used car dealership in Boise, ID that offers car cleaning and disinfecting services. They are educated in all of the best disinfection techniques and can clean your entire car.

What To Use When Cleaning
Your car has a variety of surfaces that can become contaminated with the virus. Although some disinfectants cover a variety of these, the interior of your car might need different cleaners. Optimally you want to use the correct cleaner on the correct part. Isopropyl alcohol of at least 70% can clean and disinfect most of the surfaces in your car without damaging them. It is also extremely effective against COVID-19.
The exception to this is leather or vinyl interiors. Alcohol will damage leather and cause it to dry out. In this case, a dealer approved conditioner that contains a disinfectant is necessary.

What NOT To Use When Cleaning
Although it might seem like a good idea, you never want to use bleach or ammonia on your car's interior or exterior. Although effective for disinfecting, these chemicals will damage the clear coat, paint and other surfaces. Many quarantine tips suggest using these, but in this case, using them will cause more harm than good. When in doubt, you can always consult your car owner's manual to ensure a substance is safe for your car.
The majority of the websites containing information on COVID-19 caution you to clean commonly touched surfaces. As many return to working outside their home, properly cleaning and disinfecting your car will become more important. Make sure you know how to disinfect it properly."