Category Archives: CAR OWNER TIPS

How to keep your car cool this summer

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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

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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.

 

Toiletries

 

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.

 

Cooler

 

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.

 

Chargers

 

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.

 

Entertainment

 

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.

 

Sunscreen

 

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.

 

Navigator

 

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.

 

Pillows

 

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

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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

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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.

 

 

5 Things that can Hurt your Car’s Resale Value

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Posted on May 23, 2017

Car Resale Value Tips

 

While unlikely that you’ll get back what you paid for your car, you can still get a decent chunk of change for a trade-in if you have a handle on it, and avoid some of the common problems linked to depreciation.

 

Here a few things that can negatively affect your car’s resale value:

 

No maintenance records

 

So you’ve taken good care of your vehicle over the years, it’ll still be tough to prove without the proper documentation. Without any service records, it’s impossible for a buyer to be certain that your car was properly maintained.  Even if there’s nothing wrong with it, this in itself can negatively affect the resale value.

 

Remember to always keep dealer invoices, receipts, and any other documentation to prove your maintenance history. You could find yourself losing out on hundreds of dollars if you don’t.

 

If you don’t have the proper documentation, at least be honest up front. You could end up digging yourself a deeper hole if you lie about the condition of your vehicle.

 

Dents and scratches

 

This is an easy one – it’s tough to sell a car that looks beaten up.

 

Before selling your vehicle, make sure any significant dents and/or scratches on your car are dealt with ahead of time. It may seem like nothing more than a cosmetic issue, but a well-informed buyer is likely aware that those types of problems can lead to damage to the body down the road.

 

Simply put, the more scratches and dents your vehicle has, the less you’ll get for it.

 

Interior Issues

 

Having a dirty interior may not seem like a huge deal, but it can make a big difference in the eyes of a buyer. Even something like a foul odour can certainly be enough to turn off a prospective buyer.

 

Spend a few bucks and get your car detailed at a dealership. It may seem counterintuitive to spend more money on a car you plan to sell, but it can go a long way in ensuring you get the most for your vehicle.

 

You’ve driven it too much

 

Even if your car appears to be in great condition, you’ll have a hard time getting a good return for it if you’ve driven it for too long.  The further your car has traveled, the less you’ll get it. It’s as simple as that.

 

Modifications

 

Just because you like the customizations you’ve made to your vehicle doesn’t mean someone else will.

 

Generally speaking, the more modifications you’ve made, the tougher it will be to sell. While leather seats or security features may be seen as a bonus, a lowered suspension or tinted windows likely won’t be welcomed by a prospective buyer.

 

Keep this in mind the next time you think about accessorizing your car.

 

 

First-Time Car Buying Tips

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Posted on May 12, 2017

First-Time Car Buying Tips

 

Have you finally saved up enough money to purchase your first vehicle? Or perhaps your parents are buying one for you as a graduation gift. Maybe after years of taking public transit and hitching rides with friends, you’ve decided it’s time for a car of your own. Whatever your situation may be, going car shopping for the first time can be an overwhelming experience – but it doesn’t have to be. Here are three tips that will help to make your first dealership visits easy and exciting:

 

  1. Do your research

 

With the age we are living in, virtually all the information we need is only a click away. Use the Internet to your advantage and do some serious research before heading out on your first car shopping trip. Check out the websites for all the different car brands you are interested in to see what features their various models offer and for what price. The vast majority of car company websites have a “build and price” feature that allows you to customize a vehicle to your liking and see how much it would cost to buy or lease it. If safety is your top priority, look up safety ratings, or if you have a small garage, check out the dimensions of various vehicles to see what would fit. Don’t let any information pass you by!

 

Also, make sure to check out third-party reviews, either on car blogs or YouTube channels. This will provide you with an unbiased opinion on the vehicle you are considering and may offer up some information not available on the company website. There are also many articles out there on the web that compare similar cars to one another which can help determine which one is the right fit for you.

 

  1. Take someone with you

 

Going on your first car-buying expedition alone is risky business. Whether it’s a family member or a friend, you will want to make sure you have someone by your side when you go to check out your options, and this person should have car-buying experience of their own. Even if you go into it well-prepared, chances are there will be questions you will forget to ask the salesman, and that’s where your shopping companion can step in to make sure all the bases are covered.

 

Taking someone car shopping with you will also help to prevent any impulse decisions – it’s easy to get caught up in the moment. You may be tempted to buy the sports car you fell in love with, but your friend will be there to remind you that it wouldn’t be practical to drive that in Canadian winters with your long work commute, and that an all-wheel drive SUV would be a smarter option.

 

 

  1. Shop with a budget

 

Shopping for your first car is like looking for a house – you will want to go into it with a strict budget in mind and not stray from that budget for risk of disappointment, or even worse, spending above your means. Take some time to go over your finances to determine what the maximum amount you feel comfortable spending is, and only look at vehicles that fit comfortably into your budget. While it may be tempting to check out a luxury sedan “just for fun,” doing so will only result in heartbreak. Buying your first car is a big financial commitment, and it’s important to keep that in mind throughout the whole process.

 

Bonus tip: Wear comfortable shoes! Test driving in high heels or loose flip flops will not only be uncomfortable, but it also won’t give you an accurate idea of how you feel driving the car.

 

 

There’s rust on my car – what do I do now?

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Posted on May 9, 2017

car rust tips

 

 

One of the most unpleasant sights to see is the development of rust on your vehicle. Not only is rust an eye-sore to look at, but it also can become dangerous the longer it sits there.

 

The dangers of rust

 

While many drivers think of rust as nothing more than cosmetic issue, it can actually become a significant safety problem if it’s not properly taken care of.

 

Once rust penetrates the surface of your car and begins to attack your vehicle’s frame, it will start to cause serious damage. Since your frame helps to hold your entire vehicle together, a number of problems can occur if it becomes weakened by rust.

 

First, a weaker frame means less protection if you get into an accident. Depending on the severity of the collision, this could be the difference between a serious injury and getting off unscathed. Second, once rust gets into your frame, there’s nothing stopping it from seeping further into your car and causing damage to parts such as the brakes, fuel lines, or suspension.

 

When should I get it fixed?

 

Remember that rust will continue to spread unless you actively do something to stop it. Unless you’re strapped for cash, you should have your car looked at to avoid any major problems from occurring.

 

If you wait too long, your vehicle may be beyond repair, forcing you to replace the car altogether.

 

Keep your car clean

 

It’s more difficult to do in the winter, but keeping your vehicle’s exterior clean is an important step in preventing rust. Ideally, you should try to wash and wax your vehicle every couple of weeks to keep the exterior shiny.

 

The dirtier your car is, the more susceptible it is to rusting, which is why it’s so important to get rid of the dirt and debris on a regular basis.

 

Rust proofing

 

The best way to avoid rusting in the first place is to get rust proofing for your car. Since corrosion is more active in warmer temperatures, it’s a good idea to rust proof your car in the coming weeks if you haven’t already done so.

 

Simply put, if you live in Canada and want to keep your vehicle for an extended period of time, you should strongly consider rust proofing it.

 

Resale value

 

Not only is rust unattractive and dangerous, but it can also greatly affect the resale value of your car.

 

If you’re planning on selling or trading in your car in the foreseeable future, make sure to get any rust taken care of ahead of time. Otherwise, you’ll likely receive a significantly amount less for the car than you’d hoped.

 

 

Finding the right car for your lifestyle

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Posted on May 2, 2017

Finding the right car for your lifestyle

 

Shopping for a new car may seem like a daunting task, but it’s really only difficult if you fail to do the proper homework.  In order to find a vehicle that’s right for your needs, there are a number of factors you should consider prior to stepping into a dealership.

 

Here are just a few of the things you should think about below:

 

Budget

 

Maybe the most important element to consider is figuring out how much you can afford on a new vehicle. If you’re unsure of how much you can realistically spend, look at your past bank statements to determine how much you’re consuming on a month-to-month basis.

 

Once you get a good idea of your spending habits, use one of the several auto loan payment calculators available online to see how much you’d be spending given a certain down payment.

 

Remember that just because you have the extra cash doesn’t necessarily mean you need to use all of your hard-earned savings on a vehicle. You’ll still need money for maintenance, gas, and any potential repairs.

 

Family

 

While it’s easy to put your own interests ahead of everyone else’s, it’s important not to purchase a vehicle that only benefits you.

 

If you’re planning on looking at multiple options at a dealership, bring the whole family with you to ensure everyone’s comfortable with the new ride. For example, make sure everyone has ample leg space, not just you.

 

Remember that the happier your children are, the less stressed you’ll be while you drive, which will create a safer environment for everyone involved.

 

Safety

 

If you’re going to skimp in one area, make sure it’s not safety. Nothing is more important than you and your loved ones, which is why it’s important to find the safest car possible that will still fit within your budget.

 

Familiarize yourself with the safety features present in today’s vehicle to get an idea of what’s right for you. While you can never be too safe, you’ll likely prioritize some over others, so it’s important to do the proper research ahead of time.

 

Work

 

Depending on your career, your job could play a big factor in the type of vehicle you purchase.

 

If you work in an office and commute downtown on a regular basis, it likely wouldn’t be necessary to purchase a large SUV. However, if you run your own construction business for instance, a bigger truck would make a lot more sense.

 

If your commute is an hour or longer, you’d be wise to find a car with good fuel economy. Sure, it may cost you a few extra bucks up front, but you’ll more than make up for it with all the gas money you’ll save.

 

 

How much should I budget each month for repairs?

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Posted on Apr 18, 2017

Car Repair Budget

 

A big thing to consider is how much you’re willing to spend each month on maintenance.  While many drivers choose to save a buck whenever they can, skipping out on car maintenance will not only shorten the lifespan of your vehicle, but it could also cause you to spend more money in the long run.

 

To get a feel for how much you could be spending, here are some factors to consider when budgeting for car repairs:

 

Age

 

If you want to determine a rough estimate of how much you’ll need, look at some of your past statements to see how much you’ve spent on repairs over the last year. Divide that figure by 12, and you’ll have a solid idea of how much you should be putting aside each month.

 

If this number seems a little high, you should realize that older vehicles tend to need more repairs than newer ones, so you’ll likely be spending less if you recently purchased a new car. However, if you want to play it safe, put a little extra aside.

 

Maintenance history

 

The more you spent on maintaining your car, the less you’ll likely need to spend on big repairs in the future.

 

If you’re someone whose neglected car maintenance over the years, the number you’ve calculated may be far lower than what you should realistically be spending. Remember that in addition to vehicle repairs, you should be setting aside extra cash for oil changes, other fluid changes, tire rotations, tire alignments, and air filter changes – just to name a few.

 

If you’ve regularly maintained your vehicle in the past, the original number you’ve calculated is likely a good representation of how much you’ll spend in the future, meaning it’s unnecessary for you to set aside any extra money moving forward.

 

Mileage

 

Like age, mileage is another important factor in determining your monthly budget. As you’re probably well aware, you’ll need to spend more on repairs as the mileage on your vehicle creeps up. If you’ve already broken the 150,000 kilometre threshold, be aware that you could end up spending a bit more money in future.

 

Tips for budgeting

 

If the thought of setting aside an extra $100 every month feels a little overwhelming, you should realize that it’s likely not as bad as you think.

 

It’s hard to spend money that you don’t actually have, which is why it’s in your best interest to separate your car expenses from the rest of your savings. If you need to, set up a separate savings account that is designed solely for car repairs. Some banks will even allow you to automatically transfer a predetermined amount into the account each month, so you won’t even have to worry about setting aside extra cash on your own.

 

 

What to consider before applying for a Car Loan?

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Posted on Apr 10, 2017

Car Loan Tips

 

If you’re like most people, you’ll likely need to set up some sort of loan to finance your vehicle purchase.

 

Applying for a car loan may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be if you know what you’re doing. Read ahead to get a better understanding of auto loans so you won’t have to worry the next time you buy a car:

 

Check your credit score

 

The better your credit, the more favourable loan terms you’ll receive – it’s as simple as that.

 

To ensure you’re getting the best loan possible, shell out a few bucks and take a look at your credit report. Not only will this tell you your current score, but it will also highlight the issues that could be dragging you down. If some of them are simple problems, take the time to correct them. For instance, if you have a small amount of debt outstanding, pay it off now.

 

Remember that the higher your score, the lower the interest rate you’ll have.

 

Budget ahead of time

 

Make sure you know what you can afford before arriving to a dealership.

 

The easiest way to budget for a car loan is to check some of your previous bank statements to get a feel for your spending habits. If you find that you’re consistently saving money from month to month, you can probably afford a more expensive car. However, if you noticed that you have little saved up, it may be a good idea to make some adjustments to your spending habits, or look for vehicles that fit your financial situation.

 

Once you know how much you can afford on a monthly basis, you’ll have a better picture of which loans will work under your budget.

 

Figure out an appropriate down payment

 

You’ve heard it before, but you should always strive to make the biggest down payment possible when purchasing a vehicle.

 

While it’s certainly tough to see your hard-earned savings suddenly disappear, it’s in your best interest at the end of the day. The more you pay up front, the smaller your loan will be, and the less you’ll pay in total interest.

 

Understand what type of loan is best for you

 

Far too often, car buyers just don’t quite grasp the type of loan they’re applying for.

 

Just remember the less you spend today, the more you’ll need to spend tomorrow. While signing up for a deferred payment structure may seem like the best bet, you may be paying more in interest down the road. Of course, this type of loan may make sense if you’re expecting a raise in income in the future, but probably isn’t the best choice for someone who isn’t expecting a raise anytime soon.

 

 

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