Maybe you've got a car you're looking to get rid of. Or maybe you're in the market for a used car. If you're looking to sell, now's the time to go for it and if you're looking to buy, keep your wallet in your pocket a little while longer.
Why? The short answer is gas, and a used vehicle shortage.
A lot of industries have been affected by the Great Recession, and the car industry was among them. People had less money, so they were more likely to, instead of shelling out for a new car, pay for a used one. That is, if they even bought one at all; many of us are simply keeping our older cars on the road. This cut down pretty heavily on America's stock of used vehicles, which had been building up for a while as people traded in their junkers and rolled off with a newer car.
And then...well, then gas prices started climbing, and suddenly, the only used vehicle anybody wanted was one that got better gas mileage than the one they already had and had low auto insurance rates. Add suddenly-high consumer demand and a limited supply and you got rapidly-rising prices. For example, a 2009 Prius costs nearly $2000 more now than it did at the beginning of the year. So, how do you use this to your advantage? Especially with gas prices starting to come down?
Obviously, the best time to sell your car is right now. But how do you go about doing that to get the most value?
The best place to start, especially if you're looking to sell to trade up, is a dealership. Dealerships want all the fuel-efficient used cars they can get, because they know they can sell them, so use that to your advantage. Don't hesitate to shop around, either; talk to different dealerships and see what they're willing to offer you for your car.
If you're just trying to sell on your own, play it smartly: undercut the competition slightly. Look to see what your car is selling for, and offer it for a hundred dollars or so less. It will make you more likely to find a buyer, and if prices suddenly drop, you won't suddenly be asking more than anybody's willing to pay.
Keep your wallet closed and your eyes sharp. Try to wait until at least June before you go shopping for a used car, simply because spring is a big car-selling season, and gas prices will drop quite a bit over the next few months.
If you do have to buy now, drive a hard bargain, especially at dealerships. They know just as well as you do that gas prices are falling and that demand is expected to slacken. So use that to your advantage; after all, even if he does give you a good deal on the car, it sure beats the alternative of getting even less for it in a few months.
In short, it's the classic business adage: buy low, sell high.
Tags: safauto, safe auto, used cars
Sometimes, a car decides that it's had enough of being bossed around by a human and takes matters into its own hands. Usually, this doesn't end well for the car (or the owner’s auto insurance rates). Here are five videos of cars malfunctioning: sometimes scarily, sometimes hilariously.
Cars Go For Donuts
This video, filmed in 1992 in Tampa, Florida, is actually a tribute to quick thinking. A mechanic was working on a car in his driveway when it fell off the blocks and started rolling. He wasn't able to grab the handbrake, so he did the next best thing: he locked the steering wheel all the way to the right, meaning the car, instead of careening down the street, simply started spinning in one place.
Believe it or not, this is fairly common in runaway vehicles: if the steering wheel is in one position, it'll bias towards that direction and generally spin in circles, which is why it's advised to turn your wheels toward the curb when you park on a hill. Of course, not everyone is so lucky...
The Highway's This Way, Right?
This man was apparently trying to figure out why his car wouldn't start...and made the mistake of putting it into neutral without the brakes on. Physics took over and he wound up chasing his car down the hill, narrowly getting in and yanking the handbrake before it tried to jaywalk across a busy highway.
It would have been one heck of an auto insurance claim, we admit.
Not a Drive Through? Make it One!
Sometimes, though, it's not entirely due to driver error...or even a driver. For example, these two trucks in Long Beach, MS, were being towed to a destination when they disconnected from the truck. Since they already had the rolling momentum, and nobody to hit the brakes, they rolled straight into a nearby drugstore's front doors.
Which, despite being made of glass, actually took the hit from two big pickups quite handily, unlike some other videos we've seen where a truck or car wipes out the entire glass front. They build those drugstores sturdy in Mississippi!
Cruise Control Will Tell You When To Stop, Thanks
This Australian man turned on his cruise control and discovered that the car just did not want to get out of it, keeping him at a steady 50mph straight down the highway. Fortunately for him, he called the police and they were able to figure out a way to stop the car safely.
Although we've got to ask, didn't it occur to him to, oh, we don't know, shut off the gas?
That's One Way to Solve It
And we end where we began, with a driverless car doing donuts. But this one has a slightly more dangerous finale to it.
We're not really sure why, exactly, the off duty officer didn't simply try breaking the window and jumping in to turn off the car, but we do have to admit: shooting out the tires is a quite effective way to get the car to stop, if just a wee bit risky.
Then again, this was Baltimore in the '80s. Maybe he figured with all the gunfire in Washington D.C., nobody would ever notice.
Tags: safe auto, safeauto, driverless car, runaway car
Nowadays, the economy is still sluggish, so households are trying to stretch their dollars as far as they can go. Also, gasoline prices are still staying high, with motorists paying over $4 a gallon in many places. Fortunately, the cost of hybrid technology has come down, and there are numerous gas-hybrid or fully electric vehicle choices that are available in a variety of price ranges.
Given these conditions, Americans should be switching to hybrid cars, trucks, and SUVs while eschewing gas-guzzling vehicles… right?
A new R.L. Polk study reveals that hybrid technology still hasn't caught on with the average consumer -- even those who have bought alternative fuel vehicles. Of the hybrid vehicle owners who traded in their vehicles for a new model in 2011, only 35% purchased another hybrid. Interestingly, though, this percentage varied depending on the type of hybrid they owned before:
In addition, the overall percentage of hybrid vehicle sales slipped to 2.4% of all of the vehicles new purchased in 2011.
What Gives? So why aren't Americans fleeing from gas combustion vehicles to their hybrid counterparts in droves? One word: money.
Hybrid vehicles still costs thousands more than their comparable gasoline-powered counterparts (which can also increase auto insurance premiums). The problem is that it takes so long for a hybrid owner to recoup that extra cost in fuel savings -- as long as 7 to 10 years in many cases. Although hybrid technology engineers are working hard to reduce this so-called "payback period," most hybrid owners are opting to save money up front by purchasing a lower-priced gasoline-powered vehicle. In other words, the idea of helping the environment is taking a back seat to staying within one's budget.
There's also another factor driving this trend. Automakers are introducing traditional vehicles which are capable of achieving fuel economy ratings that are close (or equal) to those associated with hybrids. Plus, there are some diesel-powered vehicles that are recording competitive gas mileage figures as well. When consumers compare MPG ratings on stickers, they're wondering why they should saddle themselves with a higher monthly car payment just so they can have the privilege of owning a hybrid.
So What’s Next? What does all of this mean for the future of the hybrid? It really depends on where the next technological breakthrough comes. If makers of hybrid vehicles can cut the payback period for gasoline-electric hybrids, or of they can expand their selection of product which run on electricity alone, then hybrids might begin to increase their market share with repeat buyers.
However, if engineers can continue to improve traditional gas combustion engines and make them efficient enough to outperform hybrids at the gas pumps, then the era of the hybrid might come to a sudden end.
Tags: safe auto, safeauto, hybrid
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There are many bad drivers out there on the road. Play It Safe with helpful tips, articles, videos, and of course, examples of what not to do. Brought to you by SafeAuto Insurance Company.