TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Feb. 17, 2017 — When the calendar turns over to mark a new year and Presidents Day (Feb. 20) comes up, auto dealers offer special deals on new and used vehicles. Whether you’re thinking about purchasing a new set of wheels or learning how to keep your current one in top condition, these three tips can help maintain the vehicle’s quality and save you time and money in 2017.
1. Shop informed.
Before hitting the car lot make sure you understand what products you’ll need to protect your overall investment. One of the best ways to protect yourself is with a GAP waiver. If you’re left with a totaled or stolen vehicle, a GAP waiver can cover some or all of the difference between the car’s actual value and the balance of your car loan (which may be much higher). No one expects their car to be totaled, but it happens – and if it does, you don’t want to be left paying off a loan for a car you can’t drive.
2. Consider a used car.
To save on average $13,500, consider a used car. Tools like Carfax will help you check a vehicle’s history so you can make the best determination about the quality of the used car you’re considering. Since many used cars come without a manufacturer’s warranty, shoppers should go into the transaction with a plan for repairs. One option is to have a savings account to put aside money for repairs when they’re needed. If that’s not feasible, consider a service contract. Piled on top of car payments and other life expenses, just one repair bill can put a major dent in your wallet without a plan to cover the cost.
3. Prepare for repairs.
According to CarMD, the most common vehicle repair for U.S. consumers is replacing an oxygen sensor, which can cost a manageable $250. However, the No. 2 repair, replacing a catalytic converter, can cost five times as much – and studies have shown that almost two-thirds of Americans do not have enough savings to cover even a $500 emergency. A service contract can help cover the cost of vehicle repairs and necessary replacements – and can be purchased anytime.