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How the insurance industry conducts crash tests

In addition to crash tests performed by the government, the insurance industry has its own crash test safety rating system. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) tests are similar to those performed by the government, but have a few notable differences.

IIHS primarily conducts front and side crash tests, according to Consumer Reports. The industry’s front crash test involves slamming a vehicle at 40 miles per hour into a deformable barrier. Unlike in the government’s crash tests, however, the barrier in this test is small relative to the front of the vehicle. This is meant to simulate a driver’s-side to driver’s-side collision, which is often fatal.…

Negotiating off the sticker price can be a bad idea

Many drivers in the market for a new or used vehicle make the mistake of negotiating off the sticker price listed for the vehicle. According to Consumer Reports, negotiating down from the sticker price can be a dangerous financial decision, because a driver may interpret any offer below sticker price as a good deal.

A more valuable piece of information for potential buyers to have is what the dealer paid for the vehicle. Knowing a dealer’s true cost lets a potential buyer know what kind of profit margin the dealer has to work with. Calculating the dealer’s true cost can be done by subtracting dealer rebates and holdbacks from the dealer invoice price, according to Consumer Reports.…

Ways to avoid falling for the wrong car

Drivers with financial difficulties or bad credit history, families, or those that need their cars for a specific kind of travel may need to be more practical when choosing the perfect vehicle for their needs, but no buyer is immune to the emotional response generated by a glitzy vehicle or an attractive deal from a salesman.

However, it is important to remain clear-headed when spending thousands of dollars on any purchase, Consumer Reports suggests. Falling in love with a vehicle can make a potential buyer ignore more practical characteristics like safety, pricing, reliability and ratings.

An emotional response can also be picked up by salesmen and can make a potential buyer more vulnerable in the negotiation process.…

Buying a used car with a trade-in

Many drivers who are in the market for a new vehicle would like to trade in their old one, but may not know where to start in assessing the value of their current vehicle and figuring out what kind of budget to set for a new one.

To thoroughly evaluate the value of a used car, drivers can check the vehicle’s Kelley Blue Book value, which takes into account a vehicle’s age and other factors in determining what price a seller can get for it under different selling arrangements.

Once a driver has done such research, he may need to decide if he’s willing to wait to make the sale, in which case he may be able to get a better price through a private transaction, or if he’d like to change vehicles soon, in which case it may be advisable to conduct a direct trade-in through a dealership.…

The most and least ticketed cars

Auto insurance analytics firm Quality Planning recently did a study to determine which cars received the most moving violations, were driven in a dangerous manner and were likely to receive higher auto insurance premiums.

The cars that top the list include Mercedes Benz SL-class, Toyota Solara, Scion and Hummer H2 and H3, according to MSN. Some experts believe that individuals who are likely to drive in a dangerous manner are also more inclined to purchase sporty vehicles, according to the news source.

Vehicles that were least likely to receive moving violations were typically family vehicles, and included the Buick Rainer, the Mazda Tribute and the Kia Spectra.…

2011 Suzuki Kizashi a Consumers Digest Best Buy

The 2011 Suzuki Kizashi was recently named a Consumers Digest Best Buy in the “Family Cars” category.

According to a Suzuki press release, more than 250 models were reviewed along more than 10 categories, including styling and amenities, safety ratings, ergonomics, warranty, comfort, ownership costs and price. The Best Buy designation is reportedly reserved to vehicles that offer the best value for the money.

The Kizashi was descibed as a “family car for the sports-car addict” and a “home run,” according to the release. The Kizashi is a midsize all-wheel-drive sport sedan, the first of its kind to be manufactured by Suzuki, according to the release.…

Cancelling a credit card or closing an account can hurt credit scores

Many individuals with bad credit history are trying to improve their credit by making smart financial decisions, but not every factor that comprises a credit score is necessarily easy to understand or alter.

Many people think closing an account or credit card that they rarely or never use is beneficial to their credit score, but according to MSN, such a decision may actually be damaging. Credit scores are dependent on the ratio of a consumer’s total balance to his available credit, otherwise known as a utilization rate.

When an unused card or account is closed, the consumer’s available credit drops while his balance remains the same.…

How to avoid buying a flood-damaged car

Vehicles that have been damaged in floods are not as easy to identify as it may seem, since such vehicles’ titles are often changed, and they are shipped to be sold to other states after some superficial body work is performed to conceal the flood damage. There are tip-offs that a buyer can look for to identify such a vehicle, however.

Vehicle history reports often find records of flood damage, but if one doesn’t exist for a possible purchase, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the car hasn’t been damaged in a flood.

Moldy odors inside the vehicle are a clue, along with interior carpeting discoloration from water damage.…

What to look for when test driving a used car

Test driving a used car is an important step of the process of choosing the right vehicle. It may be important to pay attention to every small detail that might signal more serious problems later in the life of the vehicle.

According to Edmunds.com, starting the engine when it is completely cold is a good idea, since some vehicles experience chronic problems only when their engines are started cold.

Once the car is started, it is advisable to avoid noise and distractions, like the radio, since the driver should be able to hear every noise produced by the vehicle. The driver may also want to pay close attention to how the car accelerates from a stop, how smoothly it changes gears and how well it corners and brakes.…

Comparing vehicle history reports

There are currently three main vehicle history report generating services in the market: VinCheck, Carfax and AutoCheck. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and determining which are of greater use to a potential used car buyer can be helpful.

VinCheck is free but very limited in scope, according to Edmunds.com. It only captures serious events on the vehicle’s history, like thefts or salvage titles. However, considering that it’s free and has the potential to rule out a potential purchase by digging up its history of flood damage, for example, VinCheck is an important first step.

AutoCheck and Carfax offer more comprehensive vehicle histories and even provide insurance on their services, promising to buy back the vehicle if their reports missed something “important”.…

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