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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Common Mistakes People Make at the Dealership

Are you in the market for a new or used car? To ensure you make a smart purchase, here are six rookie mistakes to avoid at the dealership. 

Mistake #1: Neglecting to Do Your Research 

Too often, rookie car buyers make the mistake of going to the dealership, without having done their research first. Whether you're shopping for a new or used car, you should begin your search well before visiting the dealership. Do your due diligence by searching the online inventories of various car dealers in NJ, as well as looking at Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds guides. This will tell you show you what's out there and allow you to compare costs and features.  

Along with surveying the options, consider the type of car you're after. By knowing what type of car you require, you'll avoid choosing a car that's ill-suited for your needs. Learn about the different makes and models of various vehicles to determine which is best for you.  Then write down a list of specific vehicles that meet your budget, needs and lifestyle and ask to see them specifically when you're at the dealership. 
Mistake #2: Not Securing Financing Before You Shop

Many rookie buyers head to the dealership without securing financing first. They assume they will finance through the dealership. While financing through the dealership can be the better option, it's still best to line up your own financing first. Before you shop, get pre-approved for a car loan from your bank or credit union. If the dealer can match the interest rate, then you can choose to go through the dealership. If not, you have a lower rate locked in. Having something to compare against the dealer's offering can also help you get the best offer, as well as help you understand how much you can really afford. 

Mistake #3: Focusing Too Much on the Monthly Payment

While buyers need to know how much they can afford for a monthly car payment, this number shouldn't be the only deciding factor when purchasing a car. Buyers should consider the overall cost of car ownership, instead of focusing solely on the monthly payment. Buyers who zone in on the monthly payment make the mistake of paying more in the long run. They settle for a longer finance period to lower the monthly payment, resulting in more interest.  When budgeting for a car, also consider the cost of insurance and maintenance. Keep in mind older vehicles will cost a lot more to maintain. 

Mistake #4: Buying from a Shifty Dealer 

There are plenty of car dealers in NJ, so make sure you shop around. If a dealer feels untrustworthy and gives you a weird vibe, simply walk away. There's also no shame in speaking to a manager or another sales representative if you feel a particular salesman is pressuring you into a sale that you're not comfortable with.  Make sure you are shopping at car dealers that are reputable and have a good standing with the Better Business Bureau. 

Mistake #5: Skipping the Test Drive 

Research shows that nearly 20% of car buyers skip the test drive before purchasing a new car. Another 33% of car buyers only take a car for a short 10-minute drive around the block before buying. Even with new cars, the test drive is essential. You can’t just go off of what you've heard about a particular car. The test drive is the only real way to determine if it's right for you.

Make sure you do a thorough test drive; don't just take a short a spin around the block. If possible, drive the car on a variety of road conditions and try to mirror your daily driving habits. For instance, if you often drive on fast highways, then test the car on a fast road. If you drive frequently on uneven backroads, then drive the car on a bumpy road. During the test drive, consider all aspects of the car, including the comfort, ride, noise, controls, sound system, heating and cooling system, brakes, steering, and so on. 

If you have your heart set on a specific make and model, consider test driving a competitor vehicle to ensure it suits your preferences. 

Mistake #6: Forgoing the Appraisal on Your Trade-In

When shopping for a new car, many buyers plan to trade in their current vehicle. If you plan to do this, then do an appraisal on your car beforehand so you know how much it's worth. It's best to leave your car as is because repairs will do very little to increase its value. Refer to Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds guides for the value of your trade-in. 

By being an educated buyer and avoiding these rookie mistakes, you'll choose with the right vehicle and have a positive car buying experience.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Driving Safety Tips for Your Teen Driver

Getting a license and finally being able to drive is a very exciting time for teenagers. While teens may be ready to jump behind the wheel and hit the road, parents should discuss safe driving techniques with their children to ensure they keep themselves and others safe on the roadways. Unfortunately, teens' inexperience makes them the highest group for auto accidents. However, practicing safe driving techniques can reduce that risk.

To promote safe driving for teens, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sponsors Teen Driver Safety Week annually in October. This year, the event falls October 16 to 22.  In honor of the upcoming Teen Driver Safety Week, here are some ways you can ensure the safety of your teen driver.

Buy a Safe Car

Most teens drive used cars in New Jersey. When buying used, always be sure to get the vehicle history report. Whether you're buying new or used, pick a safe car equipped with the latest safety features, including anti-lock brakes, airbags, traction control, and electronic stability control, as well as an outstanding crash safety rating. While you want a car that provides protection in the event of a crash, it's best to avoid large, bulky cars like trucks that aren't the easiest for new drivers to operate.  

For a safe car for your teen, visit our Autoland Dealership on Route 22 in Springfield. We carry a variety of new and used cars in New Jersey and will be happy to assist you with your search.

Always Wear a Seat Belt

A seat belt provides protection in the event of a crash. Not wearing a sea tbelt significantly increases the risk of injury or even death. Make sure your child knows to always wear a seat belt and to check that their passenger is buckled up before hitting the road. Newer cars have a seat belt warning that beeps until everyone is wearing a seat belt.

Always Obey the Speed Limit

Speed limits are set for a reason; the speed limit is based on the road condition and surrounding area. Speeding significantly raises the risk of an accident, as it impedes your ability to stop or react quickly. Aside from accidents, speeding can also result in a traffic ticket, resulting in fines, points, and a higher auto insurance premium. Encourage your teen to maintain a safe speed and safe distance with the car in front of them. Also tell them not to feel pressured to speed to keep up with traffic.

Enforce a "No Cell Phone" Rule

Cell phone use while driving is among the leading causes of auto accidents. Today's teens are more tech savvy than ever, and it's important your child understands the extreme danger of texting and using a phone behind the wheel. Research shows texting takes your focus off the road for about 5 seconds, which is the equivalent of driving the length of a full football field while blindfolded.

Encourage your child to leave their phone in their bag or safely stowed in the glove compartment or center console when behind the wheel. Drivers should also turn off their phone or put it silent to avoid the urge to answer. Even texting while sitting at a stop light should not be done. Drivers still need to pay attention while stopped in case something occurs.  

Minimize Distractions 

In addition to cell phones, there are other distractions that should be avoided while driving. A distraction is anything that takes a driver's mind off of driving, hands of the wheel, or eyes off the road. Talking to passengers, adjusting the temperature controls, changing the radio station, and eating and drinking are all distractions while driving. While these are distractions for anyone, they are even more so for inexperienced drivers; distractions can prevent a teen driver from noticing an impeding danger until it's too late.

To avoid distractions, prohibit your teen driver from having more than one passenger in the car, as passengers increase the risk of an accident. Also encourage your teen not to eat or drink while driving, as well as to keep other distractions to a minimum.

Enroll in a Safe Driving Program

To equip your teen with more experience and give yourself piece of mind, enroll them in a safe driving program. Safe driving courses can be taken in-person or online and typically last between six and 12 hours. Your insurance company may offer a driving safety program, or check with the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles for a list of approved courses. Not only will the program increase your teen's knowledge and skills, but also it could result in a discount on their auto insurance.

Set a Good Example

If you don't practice what you preach, it can be difficult for your teen to follow your advice. Make sure you are obeying the same safe driving practices that you are teaching your child. Make sure you are always wearing a seat belt, avoiding distractions, maintaining a safe speed, and so on.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Baby On Board: Safe Driving Tips for Baby Safety Month

A baby is one of life's most precious gifts, and as a parent your child's safety is your top priority. In honor of Baby Safety Month, our Springfield Toyota dealership and service center is sharing important tips for keeping your baby safe and comfortable in the car.

Leave Your Phone in Your Bag 

Using a cell phone while driving is very unsafe and even illegal in most states. The National Safety Council estimates cell phone use while driving causes 1.6 million accidents a year. Texting and driving is the cause of 1 in 4 car crashes. To avoid the temptation to use your cell phone while driving, always leave it in your bag or safely stowed out of reach. If you must use your phone, pull over at the next parking area or gas station. The "No Cell Phones While Driving" rule should be practiced whenever you're behind the wheel, even if your baby's not on board. 

Use the Right Car Seat 

There are many different car seats to choose from, and you need to select the one that properly fits your car, has a good safety rating, and is right for your child's age and size. Children must be restrained in a rear-facing car seat until age two or until they exceed the height and weight limit, which should be displayed on the car seat. Remember, car seats should always be placed in the back seat. Never leave the baby on your lap or in the front seat while driving. To ensure your car seat fits your vehicle and is installed properly, contact your local public safety department for a free car seat check. For more advice on choosing the correct car seat, visit

Register Your Car Seat 

Once you've founded the right car seat for your baby, you need to register it with the manufacturer. Registering your car seat will ensure you are immediately notified if a defect has been identified and whether repairs or replacement are needed. 

Attach Toys to the Car Seat 

Providing your baby with toys during the ride is key to keeping him occupied and entertained. But, toys won't do any good if they're on the floor and out of your baby's reach. Not to mention, loose items can be a distraction for the driver and potentially cause harm to you or the baby in the event of an accident. Be sure to only provide safe, soft toys and tether them— along with your baby's pacifier— to the car seat to keep them within his reach. 

Install a Backseat Mirror 

A rear-facing car seat in the backseat is the safest place for your baby in the car. But, a rear-facing seat can make it difficult to keep tabs on your baby while driving. A backseat mirror gives you peace of mind by allowing you to safely glance at your baby to ensure he's comfortable and safe. 

Pull Over for Feeding Time 

Do not nurse or feed your baby in a moving car; always pull over at the nearest rest area, gas station, or parking lot. Feeding while driving impedes the safety of you and your baby, as well as others on the road. Fumbling for a dropped bottle poses a distraction for the driver, and if you baby chokes you will not be able to react quickly or safely.  Always pull over to allow your baby to eat and drink safely and comfortably.

For new parents, driving with your baby can be a little overwhelming. Keep these tips in mind to keep your baby safe when you're behind the wheel.

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