Fuel Prices? Wheels That Will Keep You Rolling
© 2003 by Kyle Busch, author of: "Drive the Best for
the Price ..."
The cost of transportation can be expensive, and higher fuel prices
does not help matters. The following vehicles have good ratings, and
they will help to stretch your fuel dollars.
The following are some vehicles that will help you to keep rolling longer
and avoid the pump:
The Toyota Corolla has been around for over 30 years. During the last
few years, the Corolla has become a bit larger. Expect to achieve about
30 mpg in the city and about 40 mpg on the highway with this vehicle.
2. The Honda
Civic has been a stiff rival to the Corolla. The Civic has also recently
grown a bit in size. The Civic is right there with the Corolla at about
30 mpg in the city and about 40 mpg on the highway.
The Geo Prizm will cost about $1,000- $1,500 less than a comparable
year Corolla or Civic. The Prizm will achieve about 29 mpg city and
about 38 mpg on the highway. SUVs
can really eat the fuel, however, they are convenient for hauling cargo,
and they definitely have a real advantage in bad weather and off-road
4. The Suzuki
Esteem wagon provides some cargo carrying ability and reasonable fuel
economy. Expect to achieve about 28 mpg in the city and about 37 mpg
on the highway with this vehicle.
5. The Subaru
Legacy wagon/Outback wagon and Forester can all carry cargo plus they
have all-wheel drive. These vehicles generally have the most powerful
engines out of those mentioned above. Expect to achieve about 22 mpg
in the city and about 27 mpg on the highway.
If you are in the market for a vehicle, be certain to do your homework.
Consult "Consumer Report's" automotive issue (April). This resource
is available at most public libraries.
If you plan on buying a used vehicle, also be sure to read a couple
of archived new vehicle road tests (review road tests that were conducted
at the time the vehicle was new) on the used vehicle of interest in
auto magazines (many are archived at your local library) or Internet
sources such as "Car and Driver," "Motor Trend," "Road & Track," or
"MotorWeek." Information from the road tests will allow you to zero
in on which of the vehicles discussed above will be the best for you.
Last, but not least, be certain that you do not overpay to drive a fuel-efficient
vehicle. For example, if you pay say $1,500 more for a vehicle that
achieves five mpg more than your current vehicle, you would need to
drive it about five years to get $1,500 in fuel savings. However, say
you pay an extra $500 for a vehicle that achieves 10 mpg more than your
current vehicle. In a little over one year, you would recoup your $500.
© 2002 by Mommyhood Moms Staff Writer
over some of the things you need to do and check to help keep your car
and you on the road during the upcoming Fall/Winter.
Check your antifreeze. You may need to do more than look for
the green. You need to check the level of antifreeze in the water. You
can purchase a tester. If it is not within the correct levels, you should
drain and flush out your system. It is advisable to use some product
to clean out any deposits in your cooling system. Be sure to check all
your hoses for cracks, leaks or damage and replace as necessary. Then
replace the antifreeze to proper levels. It is also a good time to change
the oil. Next, check your belts. Look for glazing, threads and wear.
Replace as necessary. Be sure to check the tension of the belts also.
If you have been hearing a squealing sound when you take off, this could
indicate the need for a belt to be replaced or tightened.
Another good thing to do is to fill your washer reservoir with
fresh washer fluid. A winter-type brand is best for this time of year.
It can help with morning ice and cut through the mud and salt build
up thrown up from the road. While you are still under the hood, check
your brake, transmission and power steering fluids, these are certainly
going to be important this time of year!
Your battery and posts should be checked. Clean away any corrosion
with a battery post cleaner available at your local auto parts store.
One of the most important items on your car for drive-ability is your
tires. You want to check not only the air pressure (Use recommended
amounts according to your vehicle manual or find on the sidewall of
your tire) but the tread that is left on your tire as well. You can
purchase a tread depth gauge or use a coin. You should have no less
than 3/32 tread left in your tire. Also, check for uneven tread wear
and exposed belts.
Get in and start up your car. Wait a few minutes for it to warm
up and turn on the heat. Be sure that it is warm. If it is not warming
properly, you may need to have your local service center check the heater
hoses and heating core for you. Finally, check your trunk. You should
have a few safety items in there in case of an emergency. A flashlight,
duct tape, a small set of tools (such as screwdrivers and adjustable
wrench), a good jack and spare tire. A blanket and extra water is not
a bad idea either. You should be set now for winter! As prepared as
you and your vehicle can be for the long cold days and nights approaching
What do they mean by second sticker?
© 2002 by Mommyhood Moms Staff Writer
Answer: A sticker is known as the advertised price that is placed
on a vehicle. The second sticker is the price placed on it at the dealership
in addition to the original price. Many times, a dealership will put
an additional price on top of the manufacturer's price and this is known
as the "second sticker". Often when you hear the phrase "second
sticker", you also hear that the dealer will "show you the
invoice", meaning they will show you the original invoice price
to the dealer. This is NOT the same as the price that the dealer paid
for the vehicle. The consumer rarely ever knows that price. That price
is usually only known to the dealer as they must add advertising costs,
prep costs and administrative fees to cover the price of "flooring"
and Answers for Saving Money on Transportation
© 2002 by Kyle Busch, Adapted from
"Drive the Best ..."
With a soft economy and an uncertain stock market, more and more people
are keeping an eye on spending and they are interested in getting
more for their money. Kyle Busch has over a quarter-century of experience
saving money on transportation. He answers ten commonly asked questions
about purchasing vehicles and saving money.
(Q) Why does it make sense to consider buying used vehicles?
(A) Transportation is a depreciating asset that loses value, especially
during the first three years of ownership. Buying a 2- to 3- year-old
used vehicle will provide about a one-third reduction in the cost.
Additionally, the initial owner will have "test driven" the vehicle
for the second owner.
(Q) What is a common error than many people make when buying transportation?
(A) A common error when buying transportation involves buyers not
thoroughly identifying their transportation needs and then purchasing
a vehicle that does not entirely meet those needs. For example, a
buyer might choose a midsize family sedan that satisfies many of his
or her needs. However, six months after the purchase, the buyer realizes
that another vehicle in the same category provides a softer ride,
better fuel economy, etc. and would have better satisfied his or her
(Q) After identifying transportation needs, what should buyers
(A) It is worthwhile to visit a local public library to research which
vehicle(s) will indeed satisfy specific transportation needs and then
identify those that have good reliability ratings.
(Q) Is it best to buy a vehicle from a specific source?
(A) Each transportation source has certain advantages and disadvantages.
However, the important thing to keep in mind is that a number of vehicle
sources should be considered (i.e., private owners, rental car companies,
company vehicles, off lease vehicles, new car dealerships, bank repossessions,
the Internet). When buyers inform a vehicle source that they are also
considering the other sources, better deals are usually obtained.
(Q) What questions should buyers ask by telephone to better determine
if a vehicle is worth their time to investigate?
(A) - How many miles has the vehicle been driven (the average is about
11,000 to 12,000 miles per year)?
if the owner is lying when answering questions about a vehicle?
Is the transmission an automatic, a semiautomatic, or a manual?
If the transmission is not what the buyer wants, there is no need
to ask further questions.
Has the vehicle been repainted and if so, why? It is best to avoid
When are the next state inspection and emissions standard test due?
The vehicle should have a minimum of at least eight months remaining
until the next required state inspection and emissions test.
How often were the engine oil and the oil filter changed, and who
performed the service? An acceptable answer would be every 3,000
to 3,500 miles or about every three to four months.
Are you the original owner of the vehicle? Original owners tend
to take better care of vehicles.
What is the reason that the vehicle is being sold? It is encouraging
if the individual is the original owner and if he or she is planning
to again buy the same make of vehicle.
(A) It is worthwhile to obtain as much information about a vehicle as
possible, therefore, buyers should ask questions. The interior and exterior
inspections, and vehicle test-drive help to verify the information provided
by the owner.
(Q) How long should the vehicle test-drive take?
(A) It is worthwhile to test-drive a vehicle for a minimum of 20 minutes
on two separate occasions. The test-drive should include a variety of
roads that buyers will drive day-in and day-out.
(Q) Should buyers take a vehicle to a mechanic before making a purchase?
(A) A mechanic should confirm what buyers have concluded after they
have inspected and test-driven a vehicle. Buyers should request that
the vehicle be raised on a lift for the mechanic's inspection and that
the mechanic test-drives the vehicle.
(Q) Of course buyers what to save money, but what protection do they
have when purchasing a 2- to 3- year-old vehicle?
(A) Most vehicles have manufacturers' bumper-to-bumper warranties of
three years-36,000 miles or four years-50,000 miles in addition to five
years-60,000 miles on the drive train (i.e., engine and transmission).
The warranties are transferable to buyers who purchase the vehicles
used. The warranties begin on the date that vehicles are first purchased
from new car dealers. Thus, it is important to determine the date when
a vehicle was initially purchased. Buyers best interests are also served
when they have performed research to identify vehicles that have favorable
(Q) What is a long term benefit of saving one-third when buying vehicles?
(A) The average new vehicle costs about $15,000 to $18,000. Most 2-
to 3- year-old vehicles will easily provide five or more years of trouble
free driving. If buyers invest the savings (i.e., $5,000 to $6,000)
and they are able to add $800 per year toward transportation, after
a five-year period, they will have the money needed to purchase another
2- to 3- year-old vehicle without straining their budget.
to Evaluate a Used Vehicle: Kyle Busch has over 300,000 miles
on his 1986 Volkswagen Jetta - a used vehicle that he bought in 1991
for $2,600. Busch is the author of Drive the Best for the Price:
How to Buy a Used Automobile, Sport-Utility Vehicle, or Minivan and
Save Money. For more information, visit www.drivethebestbook.com.