Category Archives: Douglas Q&A

Should you buy a new or used car?

Should you buy a new or used car?

If your old vehicle is on its last tires, you may be wondering if you're better off replacing it with a new or used vehicle. That depends on a number of factors. Typically, car experts say buying used is a better deal. It's true that when you drive a new car off the lot, it automatically depreciates by thousands of dollars. On the other hand, you'll pay more in repairs for a used car. There are other things to consider, however, such as do you have enough cash on hand for a down payment? Do you have a trade-in that's worth the equivalent of a down payment? If you have good credit it may be easier to buy new with less down payment than if you buy used, according to Autotrader. There is a plethora of manufacturer incentives for new cars in the form of cash back and lower financing costs. By contrast, buying used means putting money down upfront or a trade-in with equity, so sometimes its is possible to find a new car with a manufacturer's incentive that will ... read more

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Douglas Q&A

Should you lease or finance your next car?

If it's time for a new ride, you might be wondering whether to buy or lease?  There's no easy answer, since both have their advantages and disadvantages. It boils down to your lifestyle and needs/wants. Financially, buying a car is better in the long run because once it's paid for, it's yours. You can do anything with it or to it and drive it as much as you want. When you lease a car, once your lease is up, you have nothing. However, there are advantages to leasing. Your monthly payments are lower when you lease, you don't need a huge down payment and repairs cost less because your car is under warranty. Plus, you get to drive a newer car. Automotive resource Edmunds lists pros and cons of both financing and leasing: Leasing Pros: Lower monthly payments; low or no down payment. Drive a better car for less money. Lower repair costs under factory warranty. A new car every two or three years with less sales tax and no trade-in hassle. Leasing Cons: You d ... read more

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Douglas Q&A

The importance of turn signals

The importance of turn signals

Your car's turn signal exists for a reason. Yet, many drivers hardly or never use their signals, which is a mistake. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, two million vehicular accidents a year occur due to a driver's failure to use a directional signal, and the Society of Automotive Engineers says that more than a fourth of drivers don't use them. And, did you know it's illegal in all states not to? Turn signals let other drivers know your intentions to turn or change lanes. If you don't signal those intentions, others naturally assume you will continue on as you are. While switching lanes, you should activate your turn signals at least five seconds before merging, according to Traffic School Online. Always turn them off, after you've completed your lane change. When turning, activate your turn signal well before you start to slow down to make the turn. Waiting until you're already into the turn is not only frustrating to the driver behi ... read more

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Douglas Q&A

What to do if your car's heater is not working

What to do if your car's heater is not working

There are few things more annoying than jumping into your car on a freezing winter day only to discover that your heater isn't working. Unfortunately, there are quite a few reasons that could cause this. If you heater fan isn't blowing it's likely the blower motor has gone out. But it could also be that a switch has gone out. If, however, your fan does blow but only when you're driving at certain speeds, the culprit could be a bad blower resistor. The good news is that the repair is likely not expensive. If you've got heat but it's just not up to par, you could have a bad thermostat, especially if your dashboard temperature indicator is low. This condition could turn on your "check engine" light. Another cause of less-than-adequate heat could lie in your car's heater core. If it's blocked it won't heat. A flush can solve the problem. If you hear a clicking sound and no air is blowing from the vents, a blend-door motor needs to be replac ... read more

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Douglas Q&A

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Coolant , heat

Should I put money down when buying a car?

Traditionally, buying a car meant putting 20 percent down. However, the cost of new vehicles has risen dramatically over the years. In fact, according to automotive resource Edmunds, car buyers today put only about 12 percent down. But should you put any money down at all when buying a vehicle? Putting as much as possible down on a new or used vehicle has important advantages. It makes your monthly payments smaller, and, if you’re buying new, it can offset the depreciation that takes place when you drive off the lot, adds Edmunds. - a full 20 percent in the first year alone. If you put down very little or no down payment at all, you’ll owe more on your car than it’s worth, you’ll have higher monthly payments and higher finance charges. Simply put, it’s better to put money down when buying a car, but your down payment should be one you can reasonably afford. Depending on the condition of your current car, your trade-in can be your down payment, or at leas ... read more

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Douglas Q&A

Timing is Everything For Timing Belts

Timing is Everything For Timing Belts

​Q. I have a Nissan Maxima and was told I should replace my timing belt and water pump. I have owned the car since it had about 42,000 miles on it and have been good about keeping the oil changed. Other than tires and brakes it has not needed much service. It has 122,000 miles on it now and runs fantastic; I don't understand why I need to spend $800 to have this work done when I am not having any problems? A. I am glad to hear that you have had such good luck with your Maxima. My advice would be to replace the timing belt if you want to keep having good luck. If you wait until you need one (the belt breaks) you most likely will be spending over $2,000 to do the belt and repair the bent valves. A timing belt is made out of rubber and over time it deteriorates to the point where it can break. Most manufacturers have a maintenance interval ranging from 60,000 miles to 105,000 miles. Your Nissan is overdue; how overdue depends on the year of the car. The reason you will want to ... read more

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Douglas Q&A

Having Steering Wheel Issues?

Having Steering Wheel Issues?

​Q. When I turn my steering wheel right or left it makes noises. What could that problem be? I had it worked on last summer and a steering arm was replaced, but the noise is back again and very irritating. This happens intermittently, but more often than not. The temperature can be hot or cold; it does not seem to matter. When I drive down the road I hear this noise around the wheel area. It is very noticeable. Last summer I had the bushings replaced and the noise is back again and very irritating. I feel I am taken to the cleaners by mechanics and would appreciate your help. Suggestions? A. I am not sure if you are talking about two different noises or the same noise, but it sounds like you have a dried-out ball joint or tie rod end. These are steering and suspension components that used to be greaseable but in most cases today they do not have fittings that can be greased. You will have to have someone isolate which one it is and most likely it will have to be replaced. Occas ... read more

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Douglas Q&A

Best Car Advice Comes From Shop Owners

Best Car Advice Comes From Shop Owners

I've had a lot of calls lately from my clients either looking to buy or sell a car or truck. Have you considered speaking to your repair shop when you are in the market to purchase a replacement vehicle or sell your existing one? It's a great place to go for either of these transactions. When you are looking to buy, your shop may not only know of a client who is looking to sell, but you will be able to buy with confidence knowing no one will know the car or truck better than those at the shop who serviced it. They will have records for when various services were performed and would most likely pass any service guarantees on to you as the new owner. When you are looking to sell your car, no one knows it better than your shop and staff may just have a buyer looking for a car like yours. Everybody wins and the new owner can drive away with confidence. I always encourage my clients who are purchasing a replacement vehicle, if they don't know anything about it, to bring it i ... read more

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Douglas Q&A

Worry-free Road Trips - Be Prepared for the Unexpected!

Worry-free Road Trips - Be Prepared for the Unexpected!

I love this time of the year! I love boating and sitting on the back porch enjoying the outdoors, and I love going on a road-trip vacation. I also love to help my clients get ready for their road trip, unless of course it goes something like this … Client: "Hi Doug, I would like to get my car checked over for a trip we are going to take." Doug: "That's great. We would be happy to check it out. Where are you going?" Client: "We're towing our camper out to Yellowstone and to see the sights out West. I thought it would be a good idea to have the Tahoe checked before we leave." Doug: "Sounds like a lot of fun, and I definitely think it's a great idea to get your vehicle checked out before you go. When are you leaving?" Long pause … Client: "Tomorrow. Do you have time?" Doug: (Gulp) "Yea, we can fit it in." (In my mind I am trying to figure out how I am going to get this car into the schedule). I ... read more

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Douglas Q&A

Rust usually excluded from warranties

Rust usually excluded from warranties

Q. I read with interest your recent column regarding the Santa Fe and rust, which is a related issue with my 2003 Santa Fe. In December I spent almost $2,300 at the Hyundai dealership replacing the front exhaust pipe assembly, which had rusted out and fallen off the car. When I took it to my regular mechanic in January for an oil change and checkup, he told me the rust on the bottom of the car -- brake backing plates, gas tank shield, etc. -- was so bad it looked like the car had 300,000 miles on it instead of the 90,000+ miles it does have. I still have a few thousand miles left and about six months on my 10-year, 100,000 mile warranty. Do I have any recourse to get the car repaired or the rust problem addressed before the whole car falls apart? I believe there have been multiple lawsuits against Hyundai on the rust issue in "Salt Belt" states but not much came of it. Your recommendation?   A. Thanks for reading the column and sorry you are having all those issues w ... read more

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Douglas Q&A
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