Category Archives: CAR OWNER TIPS

The Dangers of Selling Privately


Posted on Aug 15, 2017

Selling car privately

Selling your vehicle on your own may seem like a good way to make a few extra bucks, but it doesn’t come without its risks. Read ahead to learn some of the hidden costs of selling your car privately.



One of the additional costs of selling on your own is being forced to advertise the vehicle yourself.  Whether you choose to post an ad online or in your local newspaper, you may have to pay a small fee to get the word out there. If you decide to advertise through multiple outlets, you could end up spending quite a few of those bucks on promoting your vehicle alone.

Of course, if you choose to skip advertising altogether, you could end up waiting months and months before your car is eventually sold.

Quick Tip:  Try using Kijiji, it gets a lot of eyeballs and better yet – it’s free!


You don’t know who you’re dealing with

Most people look to buy privately because they’re looking for a good deal.  If you’re negotiating skills aren’t up to par, you may end up selling the vehicle for much less than you intended, especially if the prospective buyer happens to put you on the spot.


Receiving the payment

Unless you’re getting cash up front, there’s always the risk of being scammed.  While most buyers will make good on their word, there are still some who may try to offer you counterfeit cash or cheques.  Once the buyer has the vehicle in their possession, you’ll likely have a hard time getting it back.


The return

Unless your car is in peak shape, there’s a chance that the buyer will demand a refund if they discover something wrong with it after the purchase.  If you aren’t willing to refund the payment, you could end up having a legal issue on your hands, which will just end up costing you more time and money.


Time consuming

We all live busy lives, and many have of us don’t have the time required to sell a car on our own.

If you list your vehicle online, you’re likely to receive dozens of inquiries from people across the province, all of which are expecting an answer in a timely manner. There will also be a handful of prospective buyers asking to see the car in person, meaning you’ll have to spend your free time setting up appointments with these people.

Unless you’re offering up a really good deal, you’ll likely have to wait a while to find a buyer that will match your price.  At the end of the day, is an additional few dollars worth hours of extra work?  For most people, the answer is no.


Trade-in instead

If you want to ensure you receive payment in a timely fashion, you should consider the advantages of trading in your vehicle when you buy your next car. It will be quick and easy, and you won’t have to run the risks above.


Why wash your vehicle regularly?


Posted on Aug 8, 2017

Washing your vehicle


If there’s one thing car owners tend to delay, it’s washing their vehicle after as it begins to get dirty.  While some people believe that washing your car is only necessary if you care about its appearance, there are many hidden benefits to cleaning your vehicle’s exterior regularly.


Here are a few of them below:


It’s safer


It may not seem like a big deal, but having windows that are covered in dirt and debris can make driving much more difficult.  Even if your windows are a little dirty, your vision will still be slightly impeded. This may cause you to react a split second slower, which could be the difference between an accident and driving away unscathed.


Washing your car regularly will ensure you’re consistently looking out a clear window when you drive, helping keep you and everyone else around you safe.


Your vehicle can rust


What begins as nothing more than a little dirt and debris could eventually turn into a much bigger problem down the road.  If you fail to wash your vehicle, you’ll likely accumulate a significant amount of dirt on your car over time, which will eventually cause damage to your paint.


If your paint is damaged, it will offer very little protection against the elements in the winter, which could lead to a huge rust problem. Once rust begins to form, it doesn’t stop. This could cause serious damage to your car’s engine.


It will help your trade-in value


The better you take care of your vehicle now, the more it will be worth when you inevitably trade it in. As mentioned earlier, washing your car regularly will help to remove any dirt and debris you accumulate, which will help ensure your vehicle’s paint remains in tip-top condition.


If you bring in a vehicle with a damaged exterior that’s covered in rust, you’re lowering its value when you bring it into a dealership. Washing your car regularly will ensure you get top value when you decide to sell it.


How often should I wash it?


While it’s not really necessary to wash your vehicle on daily basis to remove any debris, you should aim to clean it every one-to-two weeks. This will ensure your exterior remains in good shape, without forcing you to take a trip to the car wash every day after work.


Of course, you may have to wash it a little more often if you take a lot of unpaved roads on your daily commute, or own a cottage that you visit frequently. In general, if you see dirt, it’s time for another wash.


Should I Rent a Car for my Next Road Trip


Posted on Jul 27, 2017

road trip

Should I rent a car for my next road trip or drive my own?

We’re officially in the heart of summer, which means road trip season is in full effect.

Depending on how old your vehicle is, you may give serious consideration to renting for your next trip. While many detractors will argue that doing so is a waste of money, you could actually end up saving a significant chunk of change in hidden costs by renting.

Read ahead to find out some benefits and disadvantages of each option:

How much does renting cost?

While it ultimately will depend on the type of vehicle you borrow, you can typically rent a car for about $50-100 per day. This figure may seem high to some, but it’s really not that much, especially if you consider some of the external costs you’ll be avoiding by renting.


The more kilometers you put on your vehicle, the less it’ll be worth – it’s as simple as that.

While your car isn’t likely to lose much value if you’re just traveling across Ontario, you could lose a significant amount of money in depreciation if you choose a significantly longer trip.

Renting solves this problem, and could very well offset the extra $50-100 you’re spending each day on borrowing a vehicle.


Remember that if you plan to drive your own vehicle, it’s highly recommended that you perform the proper maintenance beforehand. This could mean changing your oil and other fluids, getting your tires and brakes checked, and potentially having your car detailed.

It stops working

As your vehicle ages, the chance of it breaking down increase – not something you want at any point however even moreso on vacation.  For many people, this is their worst nightmare on a road trip, as you could be stranded for hours on end before you receive any help.

If you aren’t positive that your car can withstand prolonged hours of driving, you should really choose to rent instead.

At the very least, make sure to visit a mechanic before you leave to ensure your vehicle will be able to last for the entirety of the trip.


Even if renting may end up being cheaper in the long run, you shouldn’t ignore the luxury that comes with driving your own car.

It will likely take a few hours, possibly days to get accustomed to a new vehicle, and that’s not necessarily something you want when you’re traveling for hours on end.



Is it Worth it to Buy Premium Gas?


Posted on Jul 17, 2017

Premium Gas


It may seem logical to buy premium fuel if you own a high-performance vehicle, but is it really worth it?  Let’s find out…


What is premium gas?


Many people assume that premium fuel is better, but have no idea what actually makes it superior.  The majority of gas stations offer three types of fuel: regular, midgrade, and premium, with the latter possessing the highest octane rating. An octane rating shows how easily the fuel will ignite when compressed. The higher, the better.


In general, high-performance vehicles need a higher compression ratio, which is why some require premium gas.  While a higher octane rating may be seen as a good thing, it still doesn’t mean it’s worth the extra money.


Read your Vehicle Manual


Before you do anything, check your owner’s manual to see the minimum octane rating your car requires.  While you should never dip below the minimum level, it likely won’t benefit you much if you use fuel that has a higher rating than what’s required. Despite what you may hear, many experts believe you won’t actually notice a difference in your car’s performance.


If your manual recommends premium fuel but doesn’t require it, then the decision is really up to you. However, many studies have shown that the cost of premium gas often outweighs the benefits.


But my fuel economy will improve!


A common myth is that premium gas will significantly improve your fuel economy because it burns better.


While you may see a slight uptick in your vehicle’s fuel efficiency if you own a high-performance car, the improvement will likely be minimal, and certainly won’t be worth that extra dollar amount you’re paying.  If you’re using premium fuel simply because you want to improve your efficiency – perhaps so a little more homework and possibly reconsider.


But plenty of people use premium gas!


Sure, premium gas is still used by many drivers across the country, but that doesn’t mean they actually know what they’re getting when they fill up.  Many people are mythed into believing that “premium” coincides with good value, and think they’re truly saving money in the long-term by using premium fuel.


When is it worth it?


As mentioned earlier, you should really own use premium fuel if your car requires it. Otherwise, you’re likely just throwing away your hard-earned money.  While it’s rarely a bad thing to take care of your vehicle, in this instance, it’s simply not worth it.



4 Packing Tips for a Weekend Getaway


Posted on Jul 14, 2017

Packing Tips and Ideas


Weekend trips are a great way to enjoy a few days away from the hustle and bustle of your everyday life. However, packing for these short-term getaways often proves to be a bit of a challenge. Whether you are flying to a wedding and don’t want to check luggage or driving up to a friend’s cottage with limited space in your vehicle, chances are you’ll need to pack light. Here are four tips for an efficient and stress-free packing experience:


  1. Make a packing list


Before you even unzip your suitcase, it’s important to make a packing list – and even more important to stick to it. Checking out the weather forecast for your destination will help you to determine what and what not to bring along – you don’t need a jacket taking up precious space when it’s going to be 25 degrees and sunny all weekend long. Make a list of all the essentials you require, from clothing to toiletries to electronics (don’t forget your chargers!).


Take the list with you on your trip so that you can refer to it while packing up to come home to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything at your destination.


  1. Plan your outfits in advance


Avoid packing any unnecessary clothing items by planning your outfits in advance. Lay out the tops and bottoms you plan on wearing together as well as any accessories (such as jewelry or watches) that you plan to wear with that outfit. Not only will this method save you packing space, it will also save you time on your trip when you are looking for something to wear that morning.


Packing tips Packing tips packing-5


  1. Pack neatly and tightly


By now you’ve probably heard that the most efficient way to pack is to roll your clothing – not fold it. Well, it’s true. This method will save you space and also cause less wrinkles than folding.


Now that you have your pre-arranged outfits, pack them together. If you don’t own packing cubes, large Ziploc bags are perfect for compressing your clothing and keeping everything neat and compact. Pack each outfit in its own bag and use a marker to write a brief description on it – that way it will be super quick and easy to find what you are looking for when you need an outfit to wear.


Re-sealable plastic baggies are also perfect for storing your toiletries and any liquids that could potentially leak. They are also great for keeping all of your chargers and earbuds untangled.


Clothes packing ideas Clothes packing ideas Clothes packing ideas


  1. Leave extra space


While it may be tempting to use every bit of room you have in your suitcase, it’s important not to pack to the max and leave some extra space for any shopping you may do while on vacation. Better safe than sorry!


Suitcase packing tips


6 Ways to Protect your Car from the Elements


Posted on Jun 27, 2017

Protect your Car from the Elements


Summer weather is great, but it can also be a hazard to your vehicle’s exterior.  While you’ll never be able to escape the elements altogether, there are several things you can do that will help minimize the damage done to your car’s paint during the summer months.


Park in the shade


Unless you’re in a rush, you should avoid parking in direct sun whenever possible. Not only will shade help to keep your car cool, but it will also keep your paint from fading.  This may not seem like a huge deal, however the damage can add up if you allow your car to roast in the hot sun day after day.


Wash often


Washing your car on a regular basis is the most important thing you can do to ensure your exterior stays fresh. However, it’s really only beneficial if you take the time to wash it properly.


Before you begin, make sure your car is parked away from direct sunlight.  Next, take a hose and rinse off any dirt that’s accumulated since the last wash. Now it’s time to give it a good cleaning.


If you’re still having trouble getting grime off after washing, use a clay bar and gently glide it over any sticky areas. When that’s done, make sure to rinse one more time to clear off any residue.


Finally, make sure to dry it thoroughly. Grab a microfiber cloth and dry your entire vehicle by hand, making sure not to miss any spots. If you don’t take the time to dry it yourself and allow your car to air dry instead, water spots will begin to develop on your car’s paint.




Like washing, waxing your car consistently can help minimize any damage done to your car’s paint. If you wax your car often enough, you can prevent dirt and debris from sticking to your vehicle and avoid causing long-term damage to the exterior.


Clear off any debris


Before you leave for work in the morning, take a moment and wipe off any bugs or debris that may have stuck to your vehicle overnight.


Park in a garage


If you drive to work every day, you may have difficulty finding a parking spot that will be completely protected from the sun throughout the entirety of your shift.  Consider using a parking garage. There, your car will be nice and cool and protected from the hot rays. Your tires and headlights will also endure less wear and tear.


Car cover


If you often have trouble finding shade, keep a car cover in your trunk at all times. It will come in handy during a summer event such as a family barbecue or your child’s baseball tournament.



How to keep your car cool this summer


Posted on Jun 13, 2017

keep your car cool


With the hot and humid weather now upon us, it’s important to look for ways to not only keep yourself cool but your vehicle as well.  While your car will never be able to escape the heat altogether, there are a few things you can try that can help to cool it down.


Read ahead for some quick and easy tips:


Park in garage


The easiest way to escape the hot rays is to park your vehicle in a garage. Even if the garage is warm, keeping your car in the shade will be enough to cool it down significantly.  If your work is close to a garage, it may be worth paying for a pass during the warm months to ensure your vehicle stays cool.


Bring blankets


If you’re out and about and there’s simply no way of escaping the hot sun, make sure to bring some blankets with you to throw over your seats when you leave your vehicle. While the blankets will get hot, your seats will remain cool.


It may also be a good idea to bring a hand towel to throw on top of your steering wheel.


Take your time looking for parking


Unless you’re just going in for a quick errand, it’s in your best interest to look for a parking spot that will offer the most shade. This is particularly important if you’re looking for a spot at work and will be in the office for the day.


If you can’t find any shade, at least make sure that the front of your car isn’t directly facing the sunlight.


Window tinting


If you don’t already have tinted windows, now may be the time to invest in them.  While you’ll still want to keep your car out of the sun, tinted windows will do a reasonable job of cooling your car’s interior on a hot and humid day.


Wait for it to cool


If your car’s been out in the sun for a while, you’d be wise to wait for a minute or two before hopping in.  Open the doors to let the breeze whisk the hot air away. Otherwise, you could be in for an unpleasant surprise when you sit down.


Crack open your windows


While it’s never a good idea to roll down your windows completely, it’s also not a bad idea to open them a crack to let out some of the hot air.  This means rolling them down just a smidge. If a potential thief could still manage to fit their arm through the crack, you’ve rolled them down too much.


Use the A/C


If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to wait for your car to cool, you can always just blast the air conditioning to cool down.



10 items you need to pack on your road trip


Posted on Jun 6, 2017

Road trip packing tips


It seems like no matter how much you prepare, there’s always something you forget to pack when you go on vacation. To make sure you have everything you need, here’s a list of items to bring on your next road trip.




Sometimes, nature calls at the worst time. If you’re on the road and can’t find a proper rest stop, you may have to make do with what’s available. If that’s the case, you’ll want to make sure you have all the necessary toiletries with you (cleaning wipes, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, etc.) just in case.


Snacks and food


Stopping for dinner isn’t always easy when you’re on the road. To make sure you don’t go hungry on your trip, bring a large supply of snacks and other light food items to hold you over. Things like granola bars and veggies are easy to pack, and won’t create a big mess.




On that note, you should also consider packing a cooler stocked with drinks. Bring water and any other beverages that will help to quench your thirst.




In this day and age, it’s difficult to go anywhere without your cell phone. Bring multiple chargers with you to make sure you’re not traveling with a dead phone.




To make sure you don’t get bored behind the wheel, download your favorite podcasts or audio books or make your own playlist for the drive. Bring along any sort of board or handheld games to keep your passengers entertained as well.




If you burn easily, you’ll have a tough time going an hour, let alone a full day, without applying sunscreen. In you’re headed up north, it’s a good idea to bring bug spray with you as well.




No matter how well you think you know an area, it’s still important to bring a navigator with you. If you don’t already own one, make sure to shell out a few bucks to buy a GPS before your trip. You won’t regret it.  Also, if your GPS happens to break down, it’s not a bad idea to bring a physical map as a backup.  A great option is the free Waze App for your iPhone or Android device.




It’s rare to get the proper sleep you need on a trip. Remember to bring some pillows and warm blankets for those in the back who aren’t driving.


CAA card


There’s nothing worse than spending your vacation stuck on the side of the road. Make sure to sign up for roadside assistance if you don’t already have it before embarking on your trip. Be sure to check out CAA‘s affordable options.


First aid kit


If you’re out in the wilderness, it’s important to bring a first aid kid with you to treat any cuts or wounds before they get infected. Doing so could save you from spending a day at the hospital.



Car Insurance Questions and Answers


Posted on Jun 2, 2017


Car Insurance Questions and Answers


Automobile insurance is mandatory in Ontario. However, for many, it is a confusing and even intimidating subject. Broker Colin Robinson uses his experience to help answer some of the most commonly asked questions about auto insurance in the following Q&A:



What are some of the most common myths surrounding auto insurance?


I would say the most common misconception is the notion that red cars are more expensive to insure than vehicles of any other colour. This is unequivocally untrue. Another myth is that two-door cars are always more expensive than those with four doors – this is also false (in fact, sometimes the opposite is true). As well, the idea that expensive vehicles cost more to insure than their more economical counterparts is a myth, as higher-priced cars often have more safety features which can lead to less injury claims, which is a major factor in determining premium.



Will a not at fault accident raise your rates?


No. By law, rates cannot be raised as a result of an accident that is considered to be 100 per cent not at fault. As well, rates can also not increase as a result of fire, theft, vandalism or a situation in which your car is hit while parked.


What type of cars are typically the least expensive to insure?


Family-type vehicles such as sedans and minivans typically cost the least to insure, as do pickup trucks. Also, some exotic sports cars are surprisingly frequently among the least expensive vehicles to insure due to the demographics of the drivers that often own them.


What insurance coverage is mandatory and what is optional?


Third-party liability coverage is mandatory. Available optional coverages include collision, comprehensive (fire, theft, vandalism, glass) and increased accident benefits. However, if a car is leased or financed, the manufacturer will require a full coverage policy.


What are the most common discounts available for car insurance policies?


All insurance companies offer several types of discounts to those who are eligible. These may include:


  • Multi-vehicle discount
  • Multi-policy discount
  • Conviction-free discount
  • Snow tire discount
  • Senior discount
  • Good student discount
  • Renewal discount



What is waiver of depreciation coverage?


This coverage is available on new vehicles. It protects the full value of a car in the event of a write-off for the first 24-48 months of ownership, depending on the company.


What is accident forgiveness coverage?


For those who are eligible, most insurance companies will “forgive” a driver’s first at-fault accident, which as a result will not cause a rate increase at time of renewal.


Colin Robinson has been a registered insurance broker in Ontario for 27 years. He specializes in auto, home, business and life insurance.



Why you didn’t get approved for a Car Loan


Posted on May 30, 2017

Why you didn't get approved for a Car Loan


There’s nothing more frustrating than going through the entire car-buying process only to find out at the end that you didn’t get approved for a car loan.


While it may appear as if your whole world is crashing down on you after getting denied, it’s possible that you’ll simply need to make a small adjustment or two in order to improve your chances in the future.


Credit Score


Your credit score is the main factor in determining whether you qualify for your car loan.


Being out of work, having other outstanding debt, and missing payments in the past are all things that will negatively impact your score. Also, if you’re fresh out of school and still have a large chunk of OSAP to pay off, you may have a more difficult time securing a loan.


If you can, pay off some of your outstanding debt before re-applying for a loan. This may take some time, but it’s also the most financially responsible way to go. If you really need a new car right away, consider asking your spouse or another family member to be a co-signer.


Wrong Information


Even something as simple as a spelling mistake could be enough to have your application rejected.  Fortunately, if that’s the only thing wrong with your application, you won’t have to worry about getting approved once you’ve corrected any errors.


If your supporting documentation is accurate, you could still run into problems if there are mistakes in your credit report. Obtain a copy of the report and make sure everything is correct and up-to-date. If you notice any errors, it’s your responsibility to contact the credit reporting agency to notify them of any blunders.


In the future, it’s a good idea to double-check all your information before sending it in for approval.


You have Inconsistent Income


Unless you’re working a classic 9 to 5 job, a bank may be unwilling to lend you the money you desire if they fear you won’t be able to make steady payments.


Even if you’re taking home a sizeable income, a bank can still deny you if the majority of your earnings are coming in the latter half of the year for example. By pairing up with a co-signer, you can eliminate this problem by sharing your loan with someone else, such as your spouse.


Too Young


Sometimes, age makes all the difference.  You could be the most financially responsible person on this planet, but a bank can still deny you if you don’t have the credit score to prove it. If you can manage, wait a few months to build your credit and apply again. Otherwise, it may be in your best interest to find a co-signer to get the loan approved.


No credit can be interpreted as negatively as bad credit funny – or not so funny enough.


Too Expensive


At the end of the day, you may just be asking for too much money.  Look around, and see if you can find a less expensive vehicle that fits your needs. It may not be your dream choice, but if it’s safe and affordable, it could still be the right car for you.