Monthly Archives: May 2020

Tips for the Car or Van Dweller Newbie

Depending on how much or little money you have to spend and how long you will be utilizing your vehicle to live or camp in, consider a few of the following basics to help you make your situation a little easier to navigate as you jump into vehicle/vandwelling. OK let’s get you started!

Your #1 priority: Does everyone have space to sleep? In most vehicles you can lay the front seats down to allow more space if needed as well as utilizing the back seat(s). For older vehicles some even choose to modify their vehicle so that the seats in back can recline to utilize the trunk area for additional sleeping space. In this way you can generally sleep two people instead of one (even in a small car). In SUVs of course the back seats lay down allowing a larger amount of space to sleep two (& possibly additionally a small child). In a van it gives you additional options. If it is one or even two people a bed can be constructed, or you can utilize the floor in addition to the reclining front seats if they are critically needed. Many vans also have a bench seat in the rear that can make an excellent bed option. Top with a comforter & few pillows and whallah!!!

Your priority #2 – Staying clean and having a place to take care of basic hygiene needs. One easy option (particularly if you stay in one area or geographical region) is to join a cheap fitness center. Planet Fitness is one fitness center with locations in many states that offer monthly fees as low as $15, and they do not require monthly contracts. There are others as well. These fitness centers and most gyms have wonderful bathrooms with large showers and electrical outlets to blow your hair dry et cetera. They are generally open from very early, typically by 5 a.m., and stay open late, most until midnight or later. Some of these fitness centers/gyms also have indoor pools, free classes & programs, and other amenities including fitness equipment parked in front of rows of flat screen TVs to view as you run on that treadmill! For a family, inquire to see if they have any type of family rates. Also, look up your local YMCA as they not only have a wide array of programs, but also family plans in most areas. Do be careful to check into all the details (read the fine print) of any option, before making your selection. If you have no other options, you can always utilize rest area bathrooms or even a fast food place to clean up until you find a better solution. Another option that I personally use is Passport America ($40 to $44 annual membership fee), an annual 50% off RV/Camping Club. They currently have right at 1800 RV Camping locations throughout the USA, Canada & Mexico. It makes a huge difference to pay $12.50 instead of $25 a night or $15 vs. $30! If you stay one night per week you are looking at an average cost of $60 per month to utilize their showers, electric and amenities. One more mention for those who travel is Travel centers. Although it is not my choice many love them for their showers (typically $7 to $10) in addition to many other options for those on the road such as wifi, coin laundry, TV lounges and though certainly not common, occasionally even a Jacuzzi!

Note: For “In-Between” showers: If you camp/overnight in more private areas (National Lands et cetera) you will want to get a sun shower bag for an easy, cheap, effective solution.

To keep hair nice and clean you may want to consider spray and/or foam hair shampoos. TREsemme’ and Suave both have products that work well and are priced $4 to $5 per can/bottle.

Other tips to get you started:

>One inexpensive way to plug in AC devices to charge (laptop, cell phone, etc.) is to get an inverter. An inverter is a small unit that plugs directly into your cigarette lighter in your vehicle. Once plugged in & turned on, it draws power directly from your car battery, so especially when you are driving somewhere, you can easily utilize that time to also be charging devices. You can find a good quality 350W to 400W inverter on amazon.com or at Walmart or many other stores for as little as $30. If you decide you will be vehicle/van-dwelling for a more extended time period and/or want to do some travel and/or camping in your vehicle/van, you will want to check into setting up a simple battery system in conjunction with your inverter. The battery can be wired to draw power to recharge itself only when the engine is running so as to keep the battery charged without drawing down your auto/truck battery. But to get you started an inverter to use in your vehicle will be a cheap easy option to utilize.

>Utilize public libraries & wifi spots to not only be able to access the internet, but also charge up laptops, cell phones & even a portable power station if you have one! If you do have a portable power unit you can power it through your vehicle or possibly at the fitness center! This option will allow you more portability when you are in or outside of your vehicle.

>Where do you park? Walmart parking lots and Travel Centers are no-brainers, but there are actually a number of other free legal places you can park, in addition to many no or low cost sites in parks & public lands. Following are three of the numerous excellent resources available, to identify some of these areas.

~FreeCampsites.net http://freecampsites.net Online directory of free and cheap (under $10) campgrounds across the USA. This site has some real finds in public forests & natural settings with some great options near water sites.

~Recreation.gov – “Explore Your America” http://www.recreation.gov/ This official site features online comprehensive listings and searches for U.S.A. recreation on public lands; includes fish hatcheries, fishing areas, historic places, campgrounds + more!

~Allstays Camp & RV is currently available for both Apple iPhone/iTouch & Android devices. I love this app and use it often! I paid $4.99 for it a couple years ago and it is hard for me to function without it! Before I go to a new area I always check it out on this app as far as Walmarts and Travel Centers there, where I can legally park overnight. Lots of info included in this app & I highly recommend it. You can also utilize Allstays free camping info on their website.

So that will get you started, and if you choose to use your vehicle for an extended camping or living option, there are many more options you have to make it a quite comfy home and enjoyable experience! ~See ya down the road!

Blessings for Your Journeys, Brenda

Tips on How to Lease Out a Car

Are you planning to buy a car? Is the EMI pinching your pocket? Are you looking for any alternative solution with lesser EMI? Then, leasing a car is the solution to all your EMI worries. If you buy a car you got to finance for the whole vehicle cost. However, if you lease out a car you will pay only the depreciation cost. This will definitely decreases your EMI amount and also the principal amount of loan. If you don’t have any clue on how to lease out a car then just go through this article this will help you in understanding the major differences between buying and leasing a car and which option suits you best under which circumstances.

If you like to change your car in every few years then it is better to opt for leasing a car rather than buying it. If you buy a car instead of leasing you got to face a lot of hardships when you are going to sell it after few years. In such cases it is always advisable to go for leasing over buying. Apart from non-monetary issues there are certain monetary benefits of leasing that are making it a more favorable option over buying. Let’s look at the financial front of leasing vs. buying. Leasing a car would less affect your monthly cash flows. Also leasing needs less down payment and initial fees.

If you consider financial front then leasing is a best option for you as you will have more surplus cash flows each month which means a chance for alternative investments. However, leasing a car is not an option for you if you drive a lot, if you’re prone to getting scratches on the car and if you buy a car for business. If you are clear on your priorities and if you want to lease a car then let’s looks at how to lease out a car? Whom to contact for a lease deed?

Contact a lease funding service firm in your locality and tell them your requirements, car model and find out whether leasing of the vehicle of your choice is available or not. If you are satisfied with the information by the firm then execute a lease contract. Once the agreement executed you will receive your car and you can start using the car while paying your EMI’s as per the deed. Once you reach out the end of the leasing deed you can either sell the vehicle back to the lesser or you can buy out the car by paying off the amount agreed upon.

5 Smart Tips on Leasing Your Next Car

Consumers shopping for a new car have three options for making a deal. The first option involves a cash payment with no financing involved. The second option is automotive financing, where the consumer puts money down on a new car and finances the rest. The third option is to lease a car, basically renting it for a term and then returning it at the end of the lease.

Few people can afford to pay cash for a car, leaving the other two options as possibilities. While financing can help you to eventually own your car, leasing can help you get a new car every few years and avoid the hassle and expense of major repairs down the line.

Let’s take a look at several smart tips on leasing your next car:

1. Consider your purchase. What type of new vehicle do you want? When leasing, you need to identify the vehicle that is right for you including the make/model, trim level and other amenities. Choose the car you want and outfit it the way you want before moving to the next step. Yes, you should test drive your vehicle too to make sure that it is the right car for you.

2. Select a term. How long do you want to lease your next car? Although it is possible to get out from underneath a lease, you’ll pay transfer costs to a new owner, that is if you can find one. Choose a lease term that suits you, opting for a shorter 24-month lease if you expect your transportation needs will change or a 36-month or longer lease if you expect your needs will remain the same. The longer the lease, the lower the monthly payment… usually.

3. Know your mileage limits. Leasees often get hammered at the end of the lease term because they did not know their mileage and other limitations. Typically, you’ll be able to drive 1,000 miles per month or 39,000 miles for a 39-month lease. Go over that number and you could be charged 20 cents per mile, a payment you’ll need to make at the end of the lease term.

4. Consider wear and tear. When leasing, you need to take care of the usual maintenance unless a maintenance program is included with your lease. Change the oil at regular intervals, rotate tires, replace the air filter and handle other end of lease term matters. If you return the vehicle with obvious signs of wear and tear, expect to accessed a fee for maintenance. You may end up holding a bill for hundreds of dollars in repairs, maintenance and touch ups inside and out.

5. When to buy. Some people contend that there are better times to lease a car than others. Typically, that time can appear during the last four months of the calendar year as manufacturers seek to move older product off of dealer lots to free up space for new models. Still, lease deals can be had throughout the year, therefore keep your eyes peeled for bargains. Also, you can negotiate your lease too, reducing your monthly payment and your down payment or your capitalized cost rate.

Final Thoughts

When leasing a car, you’ll typically lease through the manufacturer’s financing arm. Negotiate the best deal and if you later decide you don’t want the car, there are services such as Swapalease.com and LeaseTrader.com that can help you get out from underneath a lease. You can also use those services to test leasing, taking over lease payments yourself to find out if a particular car and leasing is right for you.

Seven Tips For Finding Excellent Car Service

The best car service is preventative, not patchwork. The last thing car owners need nowadays, with increasingly busy schedules, is frequent trips to the mechanic. It’s especially frustrating with easily fixed or recurring problems. Here are some tips to avoid breaking the bank the next time your vehicle breaks down.

Check Out Reviews First

With the spread of customer reviews on the internet, it’s quite easy for a consumer to find personal accounts of a business with a quick search. On occasion, reviews will be staged or not representative of the service, but a perusal of a range of reviews may give you a reasonable expectation of what to expect. An old fashioned review from a trusted friend – especially a car lover – never hurts, either. You can’t put a price on experience.

Shop Around

Most mechanics will offer free estimates. It helps to get the estimate for your car service on paper as proof. This document can also be used as leverage with other mechanics. Sometimes the cheapness of the price can suggest poor workmanship, but you certainly don’t want to be swindled.

Ask To See A Certification

ASE is the most common certification, and a trustworthy business should have no issue presenting you with such certification. This will establish a baseline of experience and knowledge. A shop that possesses an American Automotive Association rating is a good sign too, as it guarantees that they have been pre-screened by an objective source.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions, Even If You’re a Novice

Beyond a price estimation, it is very helpful to ask questions that you may consider basic. Such as, which parts will need to be replaced? How long will the work in question take to complete? Can I see the problem area of the car? Even more intensive questions about the process of fixing the vehicle should not fluster a reliable mechanic. These questions will make you feel comfortable with the car service and prove to the mechanic that you take your car’s care serious.

Go With Your Instinct

This tip is harder to pin down, and will mean different things to different people, but it remains relevant. Simple things, such as the cleanliness of the shop, may be symbolic of the overall service. Furthermore, if a mechanic is giving vague answers or treating customers in a hostile manner, it’s probably a clear sign to get out while you can. Getting a car fixed is rarely a pleasant experience, so there’s no need to add extra stress to the process.

Find a Location Near Your Home

This is especially important if you don’t have a friend or family member to follow you to the mechanic and drive you home. Finding a route home or to work via public transportation may be pivotal, depending on how long the car will be out of commission.

Warranties and Specialists

This tip will mainly pertain to people whose cars need to be fixed at a dealership. It also applies to those who own a car that has to have specialty parts replaced. Do research and determine whether a mechanic has expertise in your particular make and model. Additionally, an honorable mechanic will supply warranties on new parts. Make sure to establish this warranty before they get to work on your car.

Some Tips Related To The Car Conversions For Novice Drivers

The regular hike in fuel prices across the world has become at the matter of concern for motorists across the world and therefore they are searching for different fuel options which could facilitate them to economically drive their vehicle. Going through this issue huge discussions and debates are going in the cyber world to find the best solution to the problem. Interestingly converting the engine configuration of existing car has emerged as the reliable way to combat the problem and therefore lots of motorists are converting their existing gasoline car into electric car.

Well, this might surprise you but in recent years electric car conversion has originated as the highly preferred ways for minimizing the cost of driving a personal car to huge extent. An interesting benefits enjoyed by the converting the gasoline into an electric car is decline in the expenses on fuel followed by pollution free environment. Apart from this another worth mentioning benefit of an electric car is that there are lots of countries throughout the world which offer huge discount on different types of taxes levied on car owners, along with this the owners of electric cars are free to enter any country without any restrictions.

But, the problem from which almost every car owner struggles is absence of knowledge about the whole conversion project. There are lots of people who believe that converting their existing car into an electric car is the best option to enjoy its maximum benefit. Anyway this might be their personal opinion because on the basis of my knowledge gained from various authentic sources, to convert a car into an electric car the best way is to hire a donor car. Because hiring a donor car for conversion will offer you maximum benefits that you expect from your vehicle. There is plethora of expert technicians across the world that offer the facility of car conversion to the owners willing to minimize the expense on fuel consumption.

If you are also speculating to convert your existing car into an electric car then there certain factors which you should consider, before you visit to any of technicians.

1. Which donor car is best for you: Although electric cars offer maximum benefits to their owners in terms of fuel efficiency and emission norms, but still depending upon their make the owners have to invest substantial amount on its maintenance and conversion. Before generally the conversion process involves the replacement of existing engine with powerful motor and additional equipments. If you have a hatchback then it will remain a small engine and same for a sedan. Along with this you should also make sure that converting kit is available in the market for specified car.

2. AC system or DC system: As a general practice the car conversion companies suggest for DC engine system due to its affordability, but the system requires use of various batteries for covering the long distance. On the other side AC engine system is capable for covering long distance smoothly but due to its sophisticated nature it is quite expensive than compared to DC system.

3. Running distance: An electric car could be driven at the top speed of 70 miles per hour up-to 50 miles, after which it requires charging. To avoid any problem of battery drainage while driving it would be better to assess your driving kilometers before starting the journey.

4. Weight of battery: This might surprise you but weight of the battery also affects the performance of an electric car to huge extent. Because if a heavy battery is installed in your car it will require more power to run it, which means quick drainage and need of charging quickly. Therefore enjoy smooth durability it is imperative to install compatible battery in your converted car to enjoy its hassle free drive.

6 Tips to Buy a Used Car

Have you been thinking of buying a card car? If so, you are not alone. Every year, around 40 million second-hand cars are sold to new buyers. Since there are tons of choices, you will find it hard to choose the best car. Given below is a list of a few important tips to make this challenge a bit easier. Read on.

Set a budget

Typically, if you take out a loan for the car, make sure the payment of the car is not over 20% of your take-home salary. But if you are on a tight budget, try and stick to your budget. Used cars require regular maintenance and replacements. Aside from this, there are some costs that buyers have to take into account, such as insurance and fuel.

Build a List of Used Cars

If you want to save money buying a used car, make sure you take into account multiple brands. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to make a list of 3 to 5 cards that will meet your needs.

If you are planning to get a car that is not older than 5 years, we suggest that you get a certified pre-owned one. These vehicles come with long-term warranties.

Check Prices

Based on where you are going to buy the car, the prices will vary. You can also find them at new-car dealerships, used-car retailers and independent car lots, just to name a few. The cost of the CPO cars is the highest. If you want to have a good idea of what people are paying for the brands you are interested in, we suggest that you look at the average prices of the cars that people are willing to pay in your area.

Read the History Report

If you are buying the vehicle from a friend or family member, you don’t need to worry about the vehicle history report. On the other hand, if you are buying it from someone else, you must read the history report. The report will let you know vital information regarding the vehicle, such as the condition of the odometer. If you want to get this information, you can use the vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

Contact the Seller

Don’t just run out to take a look at the car you have found. What you need to do is make a call to the seller. Actually, you need to establish a good relationship with the seller, which will help you verify the information regarding the vehicle.

If things go as planned, you may want to approach the seller to test drive the vehicle. If possible, drive the vehicle during the day. This way it will be easier for you to check the condition of the car.

Negotiate a Deal

It’s a good idea to negotiate a good deal. Before you negotiate with the seller, make sure you know the maximum amount that you are willing to pay for the car. The opening offer has to be lower than the price you are willing to pay.

So, you may want to follow these tips when buying a used car.

Automotive Clutch Replacement Tips – Dos and Don’ts

Having spent several years in tech support with a company that sells manual transmissions, I have spoken with many customers that have made clutch installation mistakes that cost them dearly in terms of time, money and frustration. These tips are based on my experience with what is frequently overlooked by a novice that is installing a new clutch. This article is NOT a substitute for a good auto repair manual that is specific to the vehicle you are working on! If any of these tips contradict the information in your service manual, follow the service manual instead.

Tip # 1: Lubrication in all the right places (and none of the wrong places!) – Place a light coat of grease on the pilot tip of the input shaft and on the collar that the release bearing slides on. Wipe a VERY light coat of oil on the input shaft splines to prevent rust. Be careful to NOT get any grease on the flywheel, the clutch disc, or the pressure plate.

Tip # 2: Have the flywheel resurfaced, no matter how good it looks. It only costs a few dollars, and the risk of having to remove the transmission again because of a chattering clutch is not worth the money you might save.

Tip # 3: Replace the pilot bearing or bushing. If you don’t have a special pilot bearing puller tool, some service manuals instruct you to remove the old bearing by packing the cavity behind the bearing with grease and using a wooden dowel or old input shaft to drive the old one out. I have found that instead of grease you can use play dough, silly putty, or even some old bread, with equal or better results and way less mess!

Tip # 4: Don’t force anything! If the transmission won’t slide all the way up to the back of the bellhousing, do not draw the transmission up to the bellhousing by tightening the transmission to bellhousing bolts. I can’t tell you how many broken mounting ears and damaged pilot bearings I have seen! If the transmission will not slide all the way in to the bellhousing, then the clutch disc is misaligned or the input shaft is not going into the pilot bearing because the transmission is at an angle. Try this: Install or reattach the clutch linkage, and then have a helper depress the clutch pedal slightly while you wiggle the transmission around to get it aligned. When the clutch disc is released, it will move so that you can get the transmission aligned with the pilot bearing. I fought with a transmission for an hour one time before I thought of this, and then it took about five seconds once I had a helper step on the clutch pedal!

Before tackling your first clutch replacement, I highly recommend reading the complete procedure in a repair manual or factory service manual. Even if you are a seasoned veteran, it doesn’t hurt to take a look at a service manual if you are replacing a clutch in a vehicle you aren’t familiar with.

Automobile Dealerships – Out of Trust Situations – Tips For the Dealer

Almost every financial organization has a workout department. Their names are as varied as Problem Loan Administration; Central Loan Department; or Special Assets Department. A dealer may be assigned to one of these special departments, or a member of the department may start appearing at meeting with the dealer’s regular bank officer.

The courts have consistently upheld the rights of lenders to have workout teams and to have those teams, within broad parameters, take affirmative actions to protect the lenders’ interests.

Matching the average dealer’s experience with work-outs, to that of the lender’s experience, would be equivalent to matching a high school football team against a professional team. The professionals have played the game hundreds of times. They have seen and heard hundreds of presentations, arguments, excuses and reasons for a dealership’s problems, while the dealer, lacking experience, is encountering the trauma for the first time. Realizing the dealer will probably be a neophyte, with respect to workouts, the following rules are provided the dealer, as a plumb line, to be followed throughout the workout procedure:

1. Do Not Confuse Friendship with Business. Factories and lenders have seen and heard most of the workout plans any dealer could suggest. The have probably seen versions of each plan which have been refined over generations by some of the best minds in the business. Their experience, however, cannot help the dealer get the best benefits for the dealer.

Employees of the factory/lender have an obligation to their corporation and in turn to its shareholders, to get the best contract for their corporation. There is nothing wrong with that; they have a legal duty to their shareholders and creditors to protect them, not you.

They will, however, indicate whether or not you workout plan is “acceptable” or “unacceptable” to them. If the proposed plan is “unacceptable”, one of two things can happen. The dealer can keep proposing plans, until one is accepted, or the factory/lender might suggest an acceptable alternative.

If the factory/lender suggests a plan acceptable to them, it means just that: the workout plan is acceptable to the factory/lender. It does not mean, and should not mean, the factory/lender will not approve some other plan, which may be more beneficial to the dealer, if the dealer knows what to request and how to structure it.

2. Do Not Confuse Optimism with Confidence. Optimism means expecting a plan will work. Confidence means knowing what to do if it does not. Never act without confidence.

3. Do Not Value a Dealership by the “SOT + Assets” Formula. The odds against that plan working are about the same as the odds against winning the lottery, except the ante is higher.

4. Do Not Say “SOT”. Sometimes a dealer talks in terms of SOT (Sold Out of Trust) or OT (Out of Trust) with the factory or lender, when the dealer actually has SAU (Sold and Unpaid) units. Once the dealer refers to an out of trust situation, it puts the factory/lender in a precarious position. All sorts of rules then come into play, both legal rules and company rules, which would not have had to take effect if the dealer used the phrase SAU. The factory/lender can’t read minds to know the dealer really meant SAU, instead of SOT. From the moment the phrase SOT is used, the only thing the listener knows for certain is, if there is a law suit and the listener were asked if the dealer said he or she were SOT on such and such a date, the listener would have to answer “yes.” Don’t put them in that position.

5. Do Not Lie. Don’t lie to yourself; don’t lie to the factory; don’t lie to the lender.

Dealers, who lie to themselves about their problems, how they got there, or their ability to solve them, base their entire solution upon a lie and, without exception, compound and complicate the original problems.

A lie to the factory/lender will alienate the only entities which have both the ability to help and the most to gain, besides the dealer and the dealer’s family, in finding a workable solution. When in doubt, remember what Mark Twain said: “I never got hurt by anything I didn’t say.” He also said that when he was ninety, he recollected he had worried about a lot of things in life, most of which never happened.

6. Do Not Panic. There are many challenges in business, and being short of cash is but one of them. Numerous dealers have been there before and numerous dealers have survived.

Analyze the problem as if it were someone else’s problem, and compose a short letter as if you were giving advice to another dealer. The advice should be to get professional help. A storm at sea, calls for seasoned sailors. No one would want a crew with little experience in storms, unfamiliar with navigation, no charts, no radar and no one to call upon for advice. A dealer with a SOT problem is in a big storm, except it won’t go away with time. Without help, the dealer’s family, friends and employees will all be affected. The dealer has to make tough decisions, or time will make them-and the dealer will not like the decisions time makes.

At the time the lender has the second meeting, referred to above, wherein the lender wants the dealer to sign the work-out agreement, the dealer should be prepared to structuring of the work-out plan, the handling of a keeper, the method of repayment and such.

As soon as you know you are OT, your first call should be to us (or someone as experienced as us) and your second call (after visiting with us, your attorney and accountant) should be to the credit company. Telling the credit company you have sold and unpaid units before they tell you, is vital to establishing a foundation upon which to build a work-out plan. At the same time, Automotive Advisors’ experience is vital to the dealer and the dealer’s attorney and accountant, in providing constructive suggestions and in planning and recognizing realistic options.