Saving Money in 2020: What to Know When Shopping for a Used Vehicle

Saving Money in 2020: What to Know When Shopping for a Used Vehicle

If the expensive cost of a new car scares you, opt to buy a quality used vehicle. However, you need to make a careful selection. Here’s what you need to know when shopping for used cars or trucks.


All That Glitters Isn’t Gold

Never buy a used vehicle based solely on its appearance. Looks aren’t everything. Although a vehicle may cause heads to turn, this doesn’t mean it performs well.

Focus more on the vehicle’s comfort and performance. This is especially true for a car that you plan to use for everyday commuting. To make sure you don’t experience buyer’s remorse, always take the vehicle for at least a 30-minute test drive.


Have the Used Vehicle Inspected By a Professional Mechanic Before You Purchase It

If you don’t know much about cars, take some extra precautions. Most importantly, ask your mechanic to perform a pre-purchase inspection. The extra peace of mind is well worth it.

Although the vehicle may seem flawless during your initial test drive, there could be some hidden issues. For example, a shady salesman can easily clear the trouble code for a check engine light. After a mechanic hooks the car up to an OBD2 scanner, they’ll know if the check engine light was reset.


Gather Information on the Vehicle’s History

When shopping for a used vehicle, always ask the seller to share service records. This will help highlight any work done on the car. Good car owners make maintenance a big priority, which includes regular oil changes.

You should also obtain a vehicle history report. Carfax and AutoCheck are two of the most popular companies that collect vehicle history data. You’ll then know about any previous accidents or title problems.


Check the Used Vehicle’s Cost of Ownership

Some vehicles are affordable to maintain. Meanwhile, others will cost you a small fortune in the long run. Before spending your money on a used vehicle, take the time to research its estimated cost of ownership.

Typically, European luxury cars are quite expensive to upkeep. When getting their vehicle repaired, many North Carolina owners are shocked by the cost to replace certain parts. Make sure you aren’t caught off guard by any surprises.


Consider the Car’s Mileage

Because they come with an extended warranty, certified pre-owned vehicles are especially good investments. These automobiles must meet a certain standard of quality set forth by the manufacturer. Not only do certified pre-owned vehicles benefit from an extended warranty, but they also have low miles.

While the best approach is to buy a low-mileage car, some models have a reputation for lasting for a long time. Toyota and Honda have long been known for producing durable vehicles.


Don’t Feel Pressured to Buy the Car or Truck

The used vehicle market gives you a lot of options to choose from. Always remain prepared to walk away from a vehicle that doesn’t meet your expectations. Never allow someone to pressure you into buying something. To keep your options open, test drive at least three different vehicles before making a final decision.

Should You Warm Up Your Engine Before Driving? 

Should You Warm Up Your Engine Before Driving? 

Should You Warm Up Your Engine Before Driving?

Many people wonder whether they should warm up their engine before they drive. Specifically, during the cold winter weather season.

Some people choose to warm up their car because they think that it will prolong the life of their engine. While others feel their comfort drastically improves upon entering a preheated vehicle.

Whatever each driver’s reasoning for warming their engine is, it’s time they change their ways. This is because many different experts have performed many tests and concluded to warm up your engine before driving actually does much more harm than it does good.

Warm Up Your Engine & Do More Harm Than Good…..

The best thing that you can do to warm up your engine is to drive your car.

Gasoline is less likely to evaporate when the engine is cold. However, it is important note that driving your car fast can put an unnecessary strain on your engine. That is why you will need to drive less than 45 miles per hour for the first five minutes you are driving.

Driving too fast when the engine is cold can cause damage to it.

The belief that a car engine should be warmed up before the vehicle is driven has been around for many many years.

In the past, cars were warmed up for a good reason. Before the 1990s, carburetor engines were predominately used in cars. You had to let an older car warm up before you drove it in cold weather because the car was much more likely to stall if not first warmed up.

However, carburetor engines are not used in today’s vehicles. The fuel injection method eliminates the need for a carburetor. That is why it is not necessary to warm up the engine.

The Buick Estate Wagon and Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser, which both made their debut in 1990, were two of the last vehicles to use carburetors. Therefore, unless you have a car that was built before 1990, it probably does not have a carburetor engine.

Your engine needs to reach a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Warming your car up will not help your engine reach that temperature faster. The best way for your engine to reach that temperature is for you to drive your car.

What the Experts Say…..

Experts have stated that modern engines are designed in a way that will warm up faster while driving than they would if they would if the car or truck was sitting.

In fact, The Environmental Protection Agency has stated that warming up a car before you drive it is not only useless, but it is also wasteful. and the Environmental Protection Agency have stated that a car should not be left idle for more than 30 seconds.

There are also some laws that make it illegal for you to leave your car idle for more than a few minutes. For example, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and New York are some of the cities that have this type of regulation. If your car is left idle in one of those cities, then you may be charged a fine.

Benefits of not Warming up Your Car Engine….

Every car has a catalytic converter. The catalytic converter is designed to significantly reduce car pollution. By up to 90 percent!

However, your catalytic converter does not work properly until the engine is warm. This means that if you leave your car running and walk away from it, then you will be emitting more pollution into the air than if you were readily driving your vehicle.

It is also important to note potentially fatal dangers if you warm up your car in an enclosed area. For instance, inside of a garage that is attached to your home. If you forget to first open your garage door carbon monoxide could enter your home quickly, silently, & without you knowing it.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (

In 2015, a total of 393 deaths resulting from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning occurred, with 36% of the deaths occurring in December, January, or February.

If the potentially fatal health hazard isn’t enough to convince you not to warm up you engine prior to driving. Then possibly the cost of doing so will…..

You waste money by warming up your car. A study by Energy Policy found that on average, Americans waste $5.9 billion in fuel because of cars and trucks left to idle. You waste money every second that your car is left idling. Warming up your vehicles engine while it’s parked not moving is leaving your vehicle at idle.

When your car is left idle for a long period of time, fuel residue has a tendency to build up inside of the engine. The more fuel you waste, the more residue will build up inside of your engine.

This can lead to a reduction in miles per gallon.

It can also lead to poor engine performance.

Additionally, this can reduce the lifespan of your engine.

Convinced that you should not warm your engine prior to driving yet?

Furthermore, idling cars are responsible for about 1.6 percent of the greenhouse gases. Pollution reduces air quality and creates smog. Air quality could be drastically improved if more people would stop warming up their cars before they get in them.

The conclusion to many drivers question……..

“Should I warm my car or truck engine prior to driving”?

Warming Up Your Car or Truck Engine is….

NOT a Good Idea!

Transmission Issues

5 Common Signs of Transmission Issues

5 Common Signs of Transmission Issues

No matter what type of vehicle you own, your car or truck’s transmission is one of its most complex components. Unfortunately, this means that it can also be one of the most expensive systems to repair. Catching transmission issues early is the best way to stop damage in its tracks and save hundreds, many even thousands of dollars in the process.

With that in mind, here are 5 signs to look for if you suspect transmission issues:

1. Fluid Leaks:

One of the easiest ways to identify an issue with your transmission system is to look for fluid leaks. If you notice a red, tart- or sweet-smelling fluid in your driveway, this can be a sure sign that your car needs immediate professional attention. Changes to your transmission fluid levels can be another strong indicator that something may be wrong. Unlike motor oil, transmission fluid is not burned while running a vehicle. If you notice that your fluid is running low, this typically means you have a leak.

Transmission leaks can be caused by a number of factors including:

  • Damaged bell housings
  • Services such as transmission flushes or radiator replacements that require disconnection of the cooler lines
  • Gaskets or seals that have become worn or damaged
  • A poorly balanced drive shaft
  • Battered axles or transmission mounts
  • Loose transmission pans

You can help detect and avoid many transmission issues by monitoring & regularly checking transmission fluids.

2. Shift Delays:

If you notice a delay when shifting gears, this may be a sign of transmission issues. Each time you shift the clutch, your transmission should go into the right gear without any hesitation.

If your vehicle has a manual transmission, you may notice a slight delay as you shift gears. This is often indicative of a worn clutch or other transmission issues.

With an automatic transmission, your transmission may notice a pause when switching from park to reverse. If you experience any of these issues, it is important to have your car examined by a professional mechanic as soon as possible.

3. Warning Lights:

Most all modern vehicles have built-in sensors that are designed to detect irregularities. If an irregularity is detected, the sensors trigger your car’s computerized warning system. As a result, a warning light appears to notify you of an issue with a particular part of your vehicle.

In many cases, these sensors are able to detect developing problems before you ever notice them. In the case of transmission issues, the transmission temperature warning sign is often of the first indicator that your transmission might be failing. If by chance you see this light, it means that something is causing your transmission fluid to get hotter than normal.

Any time the transmission temperature warning light appears, it means that you need to have your transmission inspected by a professional immediately. Our expert maintenance and repair technicians can check your coolant and transmission fluid levels to help identify the source of the issue.

4. The Dipstick Test:

One of the simplest ways to prevent transmission issues is to check your transmission fluid regularly. If and when possible. Although some vehicles may not have a standard dipstick that enables the car or truck owner to check their transmission fluid level at all.

However, if your vehicle is equip with a dipstick for manually checking your fluid level and condition it could be difficult for you to locate. The following are a few helpful tidbits. For vehicles with rear-wheel drive, your dipstick should be located near the back of your in-line engine. If your vehicle has front-wheel drive, you can find your dipstick protruding from the transaxle.

If you have trouble locating the dipstick, bring it in for an inspection where one of our professionals can check the fluid levels for you. If you check it yourself and notice transmission fluid that is brown or smells like burnt toast, that is a sure sign that it needs to be changed.

Many vehicles factory recommended maintenance schedules suggest a transmission flush at certain mileage intervals. Possibly the schedule for the transmission flush may be contingent upon individual driving conditions.

5. Weird Noises:

If you ever happen to notice an out of the normal or odd car or truck noise, address it. With that said, it’s also important to know what type of transmission system you have. This is because manual and automatic transmission systems act differently when they are failing.

Knowing what to look and or listen for is key to detecting a problem and avoiding further damage. If your transmission is manual, you may notice a grinding noise when you change gears. Anytime you hear a grinding noise after a shift, this is likely a sign of a worn clutch or damaged gear synchronizers.

If your vehicle has an automatic transmission, listen out for humming, buzzing or whining sounds. You may also notice that your shifts between gears aren’t as smooth as they usually are.

When it comes to transmission issues, early detection is key. If you experience any of these 5 problems, bring your car or truck in for a checkup right away. It will likely result in saving you both time and money.

Cox Auto Service