Category Archives: CAR OWNER TIPS

Honda Civic vs. Subaru Impreza

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Posted on Oct 17, 2017

Honda Civic vs Subaru Impreza

If you’re in the market for a new compact car, you’ve probably considered both the Honda Civic and the Subaru Impreza as potential options.

While there are certainly similarities between the two vehicles, each offers its own unique features for their respective 2018 models, potentially making one more attractive than the other for a prospective buyer.

Honda Civic

Honda Civic

Read ahead to find out how the two cars match up:

LOOKS

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it’s really just a matter of opinion as to which car has the better style.  In all fairness, both models are super sleek and should have no problem catching the eye of a passer-by.

Subaru Impreza

Subaru Impreza

SAFETY

When it comes to safety, few compact vehicles can hold a candle to the 2018 Impreza.

Every Impreza is filled with an abundance of safety features, including a rear view monitor, electronic traction, stability control, incline-start assist, and of course Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive – the best in the business. They also all feature front side-impact, side-curtain, and driver’s knee airbags.

The Impreza once again performed exceptionally well in safety tests, earning five stars in every crash test measured by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Furthermore, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) made the 2018 model one of its top safety picks.

Subaru Impreza interior

Subaru Impreza interior

While the Civic is also rated highly among the NHTSA and the IIHS, there is still room for improvement. The 2018 model received four stars for front-crash safety (compared to a five-star rating for the Subaru Impreza), with poor headlights also bringing down its rating.

Although the Civic offers some quality safety features, the list is not nearly as extensive as the Impreza’s.

FUEL EFFICIENCY

Both the Civic and the Impreza offer strong fuel efficiency ratings, helping consumers to save a little extra at the pump.

While the numbers change slightly depending on the model, the Impreza uses roughly 10-11 litres per 100 kilometers, while the Civic uses about 9-10 litres per 100 kilometers for city driving. Of course, these figures improve a bit on the highway.

At the end of the day, you won’t have to worry about either vehicle guzzling too much of your pay cheque.

PRICE

Consumers will be happy to hear that both vehicles come at very affordable prices. The 2018 Impreza starts at just $19,995, while the 2018 Civic DX starts at $18,457.

While the Subaru Impreza may be slightly more expensive, it also comes with more safety features.

VERDICT?

The choice is yours. While your eyes may be immediately drawn towards the Civic because of the cheaper price tag, remember that the reason you’re looking for a 2018 model is that modern-day safety features are important to you. If that’s the case, hello Impreza.

 

How to prepare for your Fall Road Trip

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Posted on Oct 10, 2017

How to prepare for your Fall Road Trip

How to prepare for your road trip this fall

Thanksgiving just passed and Halloween is a few weeks away, meaning Fall 2017 is officially in full swing. With the leaves changing colour and the temperature starting to cool, there’s no better time than now to plan a scenic road trip.

Here are few things you should remember before embarking on your weekend getaway:

Get your car serviced

Before you go anywhere, it’s important to get your car checked ahead of time to see if it’s as ready as you are.

Change your oil, get your fluids checked, get your tires rotated, and have your air filter cleaned. Sure, it may be money you’d rather spend elsewhere, but it’s a heck of a lot better than enjoying the fall colour stuck on the side of the road.

Bring snacks

No brainer ehh?!

Update your phone

It’s 2017, which means your smartphone is likely the most important item you’ll bring. Update your contact list, create playlists for the drive, and download any apps that could be useful.  Especially an app like Waze.  Also, don’t forget to bring a charger!

Take breaks

While you may feel the urge to continue driving to ensure you make good time, it’s more important that you stop and take a break every once in a while.  If you’re with other people who have their license, don’t be afraid to divvy up the driving – especially if it’s a long trip. This will ensure you’ll be alert when you’re behind the wheel and that you can enjoy the fall colour as a passenger.

Don’t overpack

While it may seem like a smart idea to prepare for any situation, it’s better if you don’t overpack for your trip.  More room, less weight, less stuff… traveling light is the way to go.

Prep Work

Google is a wonderful tool in preparing for your roadie – you likely used it to find this blog!  Road maps, routes and tips are plentiful.  But better yet, the Fall Cololur Reports for Ontario are a very handy tool for getting your timing just right.

Bonus tip

Don’t forget your camera!

 

Why is my Check Engine light on?

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Posted on Oct 3, 2017

Why is check engine light on

Why is my “Check Engine” light on?

Most people realize that something is wrong with their vehicle when their “check engine” light turns on, but know little beyond that. While it’s still in your best interest to visit a mechanic when you see it turn on, there’s nothing wrong with trying to diagnose the problem on your own.

Here are some of the most common reasons why your check engine light is on:

Your gas cap is loose

Many people don’t realize this, but a loose or broken gas cap is one of the more common reasons why your engine light turns on. By sealing the fuel system, the gas cap helps to maintain pressure within the fuel tank. Without it, you’re likely to lose more fuel, meaning your gas bill will go up considerably.

The good news is, gas caps are cheap to replace, so there’s really no excuse for not getting a new one.

Issues with the catalytic converter

You may not realize it, but a catalytic converter is one of the most important components in any vehicle. By transforming toxic gases into less harmful compounds, your catalytic converter is able to significantly reduce both vehicle emissions and pollution.

If your converter isn’t working, not only will you be damaging the environment, but you’ll also experience lower performance and fuel economy. Furthermore, there’s no chance you’ll pass an emissions test if you’re having issues with your catalytic converter.

If you notice any strange sounds or discoloured smoke coming from the exhaust, you should have a good idea of why your engine light is on.

Go to a mechanic

While you’ll now have a good idea of why your check engine light is on, it’s still in your best interest to have your car looked at by a mechanic. Not only will they have the expertise necessary to diagnose the problem, but they’ll also have the ability to fix it before it gets any worse.

 

4 Simple Reasons Why Your Car Won’t Start

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Posted on Sep 26, 2017

Simple Reasons Why Your Car Won't Start

It’s Monday morning and you’re late for work. You sprint out the door, hop into your car, and start the ignition. There’s only one problem – your car won’t start.

Your mind begins racing, wondering how you’re possibly going to make it to work on time if your vehicle won’t turn on. While the solution to your problem could very well be too complicated to diagnose on your own, you may also find the answer to your troubles in a matter of minutes.

Here are some of the most common reasons why your car won’t start along with some simple solutions:

Your battery is dead

A dead battery is the most likely reason why your car isn’t turning on.

If you left your lights on all night, your battery likely got drained and doesn’t have the juice to power the starter. If that’s the case, it’s time to bust out the jumper cables.

If you’ve had your battery for a long time, it may just be too old, signalling the need for a new one.

Your battery terminals have corroded

If you’ve experienced problems with your battery in the past, there may be a large amount of corrosion that has built up on the battery terminals over time. Take a minute to disconnect the battery and clean the terminals as best as you can. Re-connect the battery, and try turning on your engine again.

Remember that this is only a temporary solution, and you should still look to buy a new battery sooner rather than later.

There’s an issue with your key

Sometimes, the problem isn’t with the engine, but the key itself.  If you’re lucky, you can fix the problem by referring to your owner’s manual or calling your local dealership.  If you own a spare key, you can also try that out. If your spare key works, you’ll know for certain that there’s a problem with your master key and not your engine.

You forgot to fill up

This may sound completely obvious, but some people don’t even realize they forgot to fill up the night before. While you may feel a little dumb if this is the case, at least you know there’s nothing wrong with your vehicle. Swallow your pride and ask your neighbour to help you out. It may be a little embarrassing, but it’s a heck of a lot better than being late for work by a couple hours.

 

5 Things to Consider before Modifying your Car

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Posted on Sep 19, 2017

Things to Consider before modifying your car

5 things to consider before you ‘pimp your ride’

For some people, nothing gives them greater satisfaction than customizing their new vehicle to their own liking. While there are some obvious benefits to modifying your car, there’s also a significant downside when it comes to vehicle customization.

Here are five things you should think about prior to modifying your new car:

It won’t be cheap

If you’ve already put down a few thousand dollars on a new car, you likely won’t have a ton of money left in your budget for modifications.

What’s more, there could be hidden costs involved with customizing your car. For example, if you’ve modified your engine, you may need to switch to premium fuel, which will cost you more each time you visit the gas station.

The cost of driving a vehicle can already be quite expensive for some. You don’t want to go deeper into your bank account for something that may seem nice, but isn’t a necessity.

It’s up to you, but for many, customizing just isn’t worth it.

It could cause a safety concern

While some alterations can actually make your car safer, others can be quite dangerous.  Unfortunately, there’s always the risk of an improper installation or a faulty part that could put you and loved ones in serious jeopardy.

Before getting any customization done, it’s important to perform the proper due diligence and look at reviews of the company doing the modification.

Your warranty could be voided

While you may not have to worry about your warranty being voided for something as simple as a body modification, you could run into trouble if you’re altering your car’s engine in some way.

Even if a related part is impaired, the car manufacturer will likely blame the damage on the modified engine and your warranty claim will be denied.  If you bought an extended warranty with your car, it’s probably in your best interest to avoid any internal modifications.

It could increase your insurance premium

While not every alteration will affect your premium, some can have a huge effect on your monthly payment. If you’ve added a great deal of power to your engine, insurance companies will recognize that you may be more likely to get into an accident and will increase your premium accordingly.

It will (likely) hurt your trade-in value

While it’s not always the case, modifications will typically lower the value of your vehicle.  Modifications aren’t for everyone and a dealer will likely have a difficult time finding another buyer who shares your interests. As a result, you’ll likely receive a lower amount than you otherwise would when you eventually choose to trade it in.

In addition, a prospective buyer won’t know for certain how the alterations were done or who they were done by. While it’s entirely possible that they were completed by a professional, it could be difficult to prove.

Remember that just because you value something highly doesn’t mean another person will.

 

6 reasons your car insurance claim was denied

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Posted on Sep 12, 2017

reasons your car insurance claim was denied

6 reasons why your car insurance claim got denied

The last thing you want after getting into an accident is to find out that your car insurance claim got rejected.  To ensure you don’t run into any problems when submitting your next claim, read ahead to find out some of the more common reasons why insurance claims get denied:

You never paid your premium

If you want to help your odds of getting your claim approved, you have to make sure you’re actually paying for your policy.  Failure to pay your premium on time can put your insurance claim in jeopardy. Even if you’ve only missed a single payment, the insurance company still can deny your claim.

To ensure your information is always up to date, make sure to notify your provider if you move addresses or banks. This way, you won’t be at risk of missing a payment.

Your policy didn’t cover it

Remember that cheaper policies offer the least amount of coverage.  For instance, if you have liability insurance, but not collision, you won’t have the proper coverage if the accident is deemed to be your fault. While there are certainly benefits to paying a cheaper premium every month, you could run into some trouble if you get into a serious collision.

It could’ve been avoided

Insurance companies aren’t likely to approve your claim if they believe you did a poor job of preventing the accident. If you were driving under the influence or recklessly, an insurance company may not reimburse you for your own careless mistakes.

Your license was suspended

This one may seem fairly obvious, but enough people still try to submit claims after they’ve been in an accident with a suspended license.  Don’t bother trying this out, as the insurance company will likely choose to cancel your policy altogether.

You used the car for business

If you signed up for a personal use policy, you have to make sure that you only use it for personal use. If an insurance company finds out that you’ve been using your vehicle for commercial use, they have every right to deny your claim. This is because business vehicles are used more frequently, and are more likely to be involved in accidents.

In general, it’s a smart idea to be as open as possible when signing up for insurance. If a company ever finds out that you’re lying, you could be in some very serious trouble.

You waited too long 

If you want to make sure your claim gets approved, it’s in your best interest to report it right away.  If you don’t report it within a reasonable time frame, your insurance company has every right to deny your claim.

Take a look at your policy to figure out how long you have to file a report.

 

Why is my car guzzling gas?

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Posted on Sep 5, 2017

gas guzzling

 

Owning a vehicle is expensive enough – between car payments, insurance, and maintenance fees – that you don’t want to be spending a large portion of your pay cheque on gas. If you notice over time that you’re spending more and more money on fuel, you’ve probably developed a few bad habits that are contributing to your high gas bill.

Here are some of the most common reasons why you’re consuming so much fuel:

Heavy loads

The heavier your vehicle is, the harder your engine has to work to get it moving – science.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to take a look around in areas like your trunk, and see if you can get rid of any heavy items. Not only will your car be cleaner, but the lessened weight should help to improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency.

Essentials like spare tires are heavy enough that you don’t want to be adding any extra weight by carrying a bunch of pointless objects.

Cranking the air conditioning

While air conditioning can be a necessity for some people, cranking it at full volume probably isn’t the smartest idea for your wallet.  Roll down the windows at lower speeds, and use air conditioning when you’re on the highway. This will help to improve your fuel economy and will ensure that you’re only using your A/C when you really need it.

Aggressive driving

If you tend to speed up and slow down abruptly, you’re not only adding wear and tear to your vehicle, but you’re also minimizing your fuel efficiency.

In an ideal world, you should be driving at a constant speed to lower the amount that you spend on gas. While downtown driving doesn’t always permit this, you should do your best to drive at a constant speed whenever possible. It may take a little while to get used to, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.

It’s also much safer to drive this way, so it’s in your best interest even if improved fuel economy isn’t a major concern for you.

Your tires aren’t properly inflated

Tires that are either underinflated or overinflated can have a negative effect on your vehicle’s fuel economy, causing you to spend more at the pump.  To avoid this problem going forward, make sure to check your tires on a regular basis, especially if you travel on a lot of uneven terrain.

Planning ahead

One of the easiest ways to lower your gas bill is to consistently seek out cheaper stations.  If you’re constantly waiting until the last possible second to fill up, you’ll be forced to go to the nearest station, which may not be the cheapest one.

There are many free apps available to help with travel and fuel consumption – check out a few here.

Kid-Friendly Features for Next Car

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Posted on Aug 29, 2017

Kid friendly cars

When you’re looking for a new vehicle, there are often more people invested in that decision that just you, namely the kids. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of your kids, which is why you should do everything in your power to ensure they’re comfortable whenever you’re driving.

Here are some of the top family-friendly features you should consider for your next vehicle:

Rear-seat entertainment system

The more entertained your kids are, the less distracting they’ll be when you drive. This could mean getting a rear-seat DVD player or leaving an iPad in the back seat.  Or how about an activity-box filled with their favourite books, puzzles, games etc. While this may not be enough if you’re driving for hours on end, it should keep them busy for the majority of trips.

Sun shades

Baby skin is more sensitive than adult skin, which means it typically burns much easier in the sunlight. As a result, it’s a good idea to invest in sun shades for both of your rear windows to give your young ones another layer of protection against the hot sun.

Rear climate control

Nothing can upset young children more than being too hot or too cold for an extended period of time.  If you want to make sure your children are happy and comfortable when they’re in your car, you’d be wise to invest in a rear climate control system the next time you go to buy a vehicle.

Third-row seating

Just because you only have two children, doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t need a third row of seating in your vehicle. At some point, you’ll likely need to drive their friends around, creating the need for an extra row.

Make sure the seats are flat-folding so you can have extra room in the back for groceries or other items that can take up a considerable amount of space.

Safety features

While it’s important to keep your kids entertained, it’s more crucial that they stay safe.  Some possible features you may be interested in could include: forward collision warning, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, adaptive headlights, and back-up cameras.

Remember that you are not only putting your own health and safety at risk whenever you step into a vehicle, but also the well-being of everyone else you’re with. Therefore, you should do everything in your power to make sure everyone with you stays safe.

At the end of the day, the happier your kids are, the happier you are when driving, so it’s important you take their needs into consideration the next time you buy a vehicle.

 

Why get Pre-Approved for your Car Loan

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Posted on Aug 22, 2017

Car loan pre-approval

Unless you have the funds to pay for a vehicle with cash, you’ll need to secure financing (or a lease) whenever you purchase a new car. While this can be done after you’ve picked out a car at a dealership, there are a number of benefits to getting your loan pre-approved beforehand.

Here are a few of those benefits:

You can set a more realistic budget

Few things are more disappointing than picking out a vehicle and finding out you can’t afford it.

By getting pre-approved for a car loan, you can figure out your budget before you walk into a dealership, giving you a much better idea of how much you can spend on a new vehicle.  Not only will this make you a more educated buyer, but it will also speed up the car-buying process, as you won’t have to waste time looking for something out of your price range.

Removes stress

If your credit history isn’t the greatest, you could be facing the prospect of being rejected for a loan. This can be a very uncomfortable feeling for some people and can create a large amount of stress and worry throughout the car-buying process.

Getting pre-approved can help to reduce any stress considerably – as you’ll know up front what you qualify for – making your experience much more positive.

Saves time

While it depends on the person, some car buyers actually spend more time in the finance office than they do picking out a vehicle.

If you’re someone who doesn’t have the time to spend a half or even full day at the dealership, getting your loan pre-approved can speed things up considerably.  It could also allow you to spend the proper amount of time inspecting your vehicle before driving it off the lot.

Either way, the car-buying process can be much quicker if you get your loan secured ahead of time.

You don’t have to wait for approval

While most financial institutions have sped up their processes in recent years, you typically still need to wait a day or two to get your loan approved. However, this is assuming that you’ve provided the correct information. If not, the approval process can be much longer and can add to the stress and uncertainty.

If you do it all ahead of time, you won’t have to worry about any of this.

Simplifies the car-buying process

If you’re someone who tends to get overwhelmed with numbers and paperwork, you could be doing yourself a big favour by getting pre-approved for a loan. By getting the hard stuff out of the way ahead of time, all you’ll need to worry about is the car itself when you walk into the dealership.

Happy shopping!

 

The Dangers of Selling Privately

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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.

 

Advertising

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.

 

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