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Auto Repair

Auto Repair Insurance: Extended Warranties — Myths And Facts

Auto Repair Insurance: Extended Warranties — Myths And Facts

How much insurance does one need? You have the big four: home, health, life, and car insurance. Then there’s a second category, which starts getting a little hazy with credit card insurance, purchase protection plans, fraud insurance and more. Extended warranties, also called extended service contracts, or extended service policies fall into the mist of this second category.

Extended warranties are supposed to pay (in full or in part) for specified repairs for a specific period of time after the expiration of the factory warranty. They can be a great value. They can also be a significant waste of money. It gets quite foggy in the details. What exactly is covered? How long? How much? Are there hidden charges?

There are numerous extended warranty companies and an even wider variety of warranty packages available: silver, gold, platinum, platinum-plus, and a host of other confidence-building words. What’s the best plan, and are extended service contracts worth the money? Extended warranties, like life insurance policies, are a numbers game. They’re a gamble. You pay $2500-$4500 for a 2 year, 100,000-mile protection plan and hope that you get at least that back in warranty repairs. The provider on the other hand, hopes to pay out less than it insured.

There are three major types of plan providers: The manufacturer, the dealership/third party, and third party providers. Each one has its assets and liabilities (discussed ahead).

What exactly is covered in an extended service plan? As mentioned above, what’s covered depends on the package purchased. Some plans only cover the power train: the mechanical components of the engine, transmission, and rear-end. Others cover the power train plus some electrical components. Still others cover electrical, advanced electrical, and computer components. Some only cover what’s listed in the contract. This is called a “Stated” or “Named” contract. This means that if it’s not stated, it’s not covered. Some cover bumper-to-bumper, similar to a manufacturer warranty, except trim pieces, upholstery, exterior components, cosmetic items, and a number of other exclusions.

Never before has the adage, “The devil’s in the details,” been so applicable.

Manufacturer Extended Plans:
Extended service plans from the manufacturer are the best in terms of coverage, convenience, and quality. Coverage is similar to the warranty while the vehicle was under its original factory warranty—with similar exclusions stated above. The billing is direct, meaning you don’t have to pay out-of-pocket, except for a deductible, if applicable. Quality is great too, as an extended warranty from the manufacturer will only use factory parts. They also have money, so there’s less risk of bankruptcy.

The down side of manufacturer extended service plans is that they are not cheap. These plans are generally the most expensive, require low mileage standards, and necessitate servicing your vehicle at a dealer for coverage.

Dealership/Third Party Plans:
Extended warranties from a dealership are actually from a third party insurer. These providers are “generally” reputable, but not always. However, if there is an issue (such as the warranty provider filing chapter 11, which is quite frequent in the extended service contract business), the dealer “may” step in to cover any repairs that would have been covered under the defunct plan. Also, claims are easier: billing is direct because the dealership has a working relationship with the provider, and there is usually agreement on price.

Some dealers set up their own “internal extended warranty,” which is honored by the selling dealer. This is rare, and should not be confused with a manufacturer warranty. Important: extended warranties are often passed off as “manufacturer” warranties. They’re not. This is a sales trick. Also be aware that there is a significant mark up, as the dealership is merely acting as the middle man. Lastly, extended warranty companies often go bankrupt without warning.

Third Party Plans:
These plans are called third party plans because they are outside the responsibility of the manufacturer and the service center performing the repairs (unless there’s a working relationship with a repair shop as stated above).

There are hundreds of extended service contract companies. Some have good reputations, some don’t. Third party plans are frequently sold by used car dealers. You may also receive an official looking notification in the mail stating that your warranty is expiring, and directing you to call an 800 number ASAP. This is a marketing tactic by an independent warranty provider. Despite the “official” appearance of the postcard or envelope, it’s not from the manufacturer. Manufacturers do not send out reminders about warranty expirations.

Given the wide-variety of third party plans there are numerous red flags.

1) Claims: Extended warranty companies will be quick to tell you that filing claims is easy, and that the service center gets paid immediately via a credit card. Thus, there’s no out-of-pocket expense for you. However, the warranty company can’t dictate a service center’s policies. Some service centers will only accept payment from the repair customer. Thus the burden is on the repair customer to fill out the forms, contact their warranty company, and await reimbursement via check, which can take 2-8 weeks.

It is the service center’s responsibility to contact the extended warranty company to let them know what’s wrong with the vehicle and to check coverage. This process can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 20 days, sometimes more, depending on the degree of repairs and especially the amount. (See $1000 and Adjusters ahead)

Service centers and extended warranty companies frequently battle over the “fair” price of repairs. Many repair shops no longer negotiate, and just state the price, leaving the contract holder (i.e., the service customer) responsible for the difference.

2) Rentals: Rental coverage is a great benefit. However, there are fixed rates and time limits. In other words, the warranty company is not going to pay to have you drive a Mercedes-Benz, even if you drive a Benz. Rental allowances range from $25 to $35 per day. Also, rental coverage is based on the number of hours it takes to repair the vehicle, NOT how long your car has been at the shop.

3) $1000 and Adjusters: Repairs that approach $1000, or that require a significant amount of work, will be cause for the warranty company to call in an adjuster to confirm the diagnosis. This will delay the repairs by a minimum of 24-48 hours. It may cost you additional money when an adjuster is involved. You may be charged to have your vehicle pulled back into the shop for inspection, as well as for the time spent with the adjuster.

4) Tear-down Charges: In many cases, an extended warranty company will require that a particular component be taken apart for inspection to determine if the repair is indeed needed and covered. This puts the service customer in a very awkward position. The customer will have to authorize potentially hundreds of dollars of tear-down expense in the hopes that the repair is covered. If it’s not, the customer is out the hundreds in tear-down PLUS the actual repair. This does happen!

Common Myths:

1) “Extended warranties cover maintenance services and brake work.”

No. Extended warranty plans do not cover maintenance or wearable items. Brake pads and rotors are wearable parts. Maintenance such as coolant, brake and transmission flushes, tune-ups, services, oil changes, bulbs, wipers, and more are not covered.

2) “They told me it’s bumper-to-bumper, so it covers everything right?”

Wrong. Not even a factory warranty covers everything. When pitching the sale for the extended warranty, one is very often lead to believe that he or she will have nothing to worry about. This is just not true on so many levels. For example, if your bumper falls off it’s not covered.

3) “I don’t have to pay anything, right?”

Wrong. Despite the claims of 100% coverage, there are many factors involved. The labor rates, labor hours, diagnostic times, parts prices, and machine work are just a few items that often conflict with a service center’s policies. Some extended contracts only pay a maximum of $55 per hour, and only allow one half hour for diagnostic time. This is generally unacceptable to the service center, as labor rates have skyrocketed to over $100 per hour at many dealerships, and average $75 at local shops. Moreover, with the complexity of today’s vehicles, diagnostic time is at a premium. The customer pays the difference.

4) “If I have an expensive problem, I can just purchase an extended service contract.”

It’s unethical, but it’s an option many attempt. However, most service contracts have a minimum time requirement before the first claim can be filed: usually three months. Also, many contracts require that your vehicle be inspected by a service center to check for pre-existing conditions—just like life insurance.

5) “My contract lasts up to 100,000 miles.”

Only if the time limit doesn’t run out first. All extended warranty plans have a time limit. For example, a typical contract will state that the vehicle is covered for two years or 100,000 miles, which ever comes first. During the sales pitch, however, the emphasis will be on the 100,000 miles, not the time.

6) “If my car breaks, it gets fixed like new.”
Actually, depending on the contract, an extended warranty company can insist on installing remanufactured or even used parts.

Items commonly not covered by extended warranties:
• Any component with a pre-existing condition
• Any component related to a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB)
• Many components that has been updated by the manufacturer
• Extra components necessary “due to manufacturer updates” to complete the repair
• Trim pieces: molding, cup holders, dashboard, console, body parts, glass
• Many accessories: radios, DVD players, TVs
• Many expensive electronics: climate control units, navigation assemblies

Service contract positives:
Some service contracts are transferable, and may thus increase the resale value of a vehicle. Many come with trip interruption reimbursement, towing and 24-hour road side. Some plans can also be financed, or have E-Z Pay Plans. Others offer a money-back guarantee.

What should you do?
You’ll get lots of advice about doing the research, comparing plans, and reading the fine print. This is all sound advice. But what about doing the math?

Let’s say a plan costs $2500 for 2 years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first. To break even you’ll need a minimum of $1250 per year in covered repairs, excluding regular maintenance. Remember covered is the vital word here.

Another way to break it down is to anticipate having to pay $104.17 per month over the next two years in “covered” repairs. Do you want to take that bet?

What could happen?
You could double your money or more in repair work. You could conceivably get a new engine and transmission (or used ones anyway). You could also easily spend $2500 for a service contract, and still have to pay another $2500 for repairs, which for a variety of reasons, were not covered under your plan. Now you’re out $5000.

Alternatively, you could keep the initial $2500. In many ways all an extended warranty does is prepay for repairs. You could stick the money in the bank and collect interest. Then you could withdraw the money for repairs as needed.

Another consideration that’s rarely discussed is the cause of the problems. Many car repairs problems are the result of wear and tear, neglected maintenance, physical damage, or acts of God—such as flood damage. None of this is covered. The gamble only covers failed components.

If the vehicle you’re driving does cost $2500 to $4500 in repairs due to outright failed components, is it a vehicle you even want to consider keeping? A vehicle that needs this kind of repair work due to mechanical, electrical, or computer failures may not be worth it. The $2500-$4500 would be better spent on an upgrade to a quality vehicle rather than insuring a lemon.

There’s no question that auto repair is expensive, and even quality cars break from time to time. But do they breakdown to the tune of $2500-$4500? That’s a hefty bet on a “possibility.”

Terence O’Hara from the Washington Post makes an excellent assessment about extended warranties in general. He writes:

…extended warranties play upon a basic human trait to avoid loss, even if it means sacrificing a possible future gain…the gain is all the other things of value that a consumer could buy with the money that was spent on a warranty

What’s the best plan?
Money in your bank account!

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Auto Repair

Motorcycle Software, Inventory Control For Your Dealership

Motorcycle Software, Inventory Control For Your Dealership

Most auto dealers get into the business because of the lucrative money-making opportunity in the car industry. Yet, the majority of motorcycle dealership owners start their own dealership due to their life-long passion for motorcycles.

When you walk into a motorcycle dealership, it’s more like walking into a comfortable place where you feel like you fit right in. It’s not the same as an auto dealership where you have 10 salesmen walk up to you, vying for your business in the first 5 seconds. You can kick back, relax, and decide on the right bike, helmet, or motorcycle accessory you’ve been wanting to buy.

When you decide on your purchase, the last thing you want to worry about is how long you will have to wait in line. After all, you want to get out there and take a nice, long ride with your new purchase.

The only time you would even pay attention to the problems at any motorcycle dealership is when you get to the cashier, or you wait for a customer service representative to come help you find the right helmet or part for your bike, right?

Have you ever wondered WHY it’s so backed up; there’s a long line; the prices aren’t correct when the register rings up the product; or they are short on help?

That’s where we come in and streamline everything on the business side, so the customer never waits. How do we ensure this process is fulfilled and your satisfaction is guaranteed?

By having over 16 years of experience with the best, most automated motorcycle software inventory control system on the market.

I’ll bet you didn’t even think about that aspect of the business, right? Good. Because if you go to your local motorcycle dealership and have a great experience, chances are, the owner thought of his business and customers right from the start.

If you know of a local motorcycle dealership that has any of the problems mentioned here, you might want to let them know that we have excellent support staff and training.

How about walking up to an open spot at the cashier the next time you’re there, because we set up the latest motorcycle software in their store that offers PartSmart integration, inventory control with serial numbers, unit tracking, automatic purchase orders, repair history by unit or customer, warranty claim tracking, floor plan tracking and due dates, and best of all, a very satisfied customer who will be shopping there again and again.

Maybe the motorcycle store owner will be so grateful you told him or her about us, that they’ll give you a discount on your next purchase.

There is help out there for their business and valued customers. All the store owner needs to do is ask us for our free demo CD and information packet. Ideal Computer Systems will send out the information for our motorcycle software inventory control system right away.

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Auto Repair

The Different Elements Of A Car Insurance Policy

The Different Elements Of A Car Insurance Policy

The phrase “car insurance” implies that what you are insuring is your car, but the realities of car insurance are a bit more complex than that. When you purchase a comprehensive auto insurance policy, you are protecting yourself from the costs of damaging your car, but that is just one element that makes up full automobile insurance coverage. You need insurance that can cover the legal fees that may result during a lawsuit if you take another driver to court after an accident. You need insurance that can cover the cost of prescription painkillers that you may need to buy for yourself if an uninsured driver runs a light and hits your car. These and hundreds of other possible costs that have nothing to do with your actual vehicle can be covered by so-called automobile insurance. The act of buying an insurance policy for your car is an act of making sure that it is financially safe both for yourself and for anyone else who you may encounter when you are behind the wheel.

You need to protect yourself from the potential financial hardship of paying for the medical bills of anyone who you injure in an accident, and the costs of repairing any public or private property that you may damage. In addition, before you can hit the road in most states you need enough insurance that you will be able to pay for your own medical care if you are injured in a crash caused by an uninsured motorist. So far, none of these important elements of a standard car insurance policy even mention the automobile itself!

A good collision or comprehensive insurance policy will cover at least some percentage of the cost of repair to your vehicle after physical damage. However, since not every state requires that you have this kind of insurance, don’t assume that physical damage is covered by your policy unless your agent tells you so directly. Physical damage coverage is just one element of a good automobile insurance policy, and many people consider it optional rather than necessary. The actual cost of insuring the physical form of your vehicle is almost always dwarfed by the costs of the other kinds of insurance that you need in order to drive safely, responsibly, and legally.

Other options that you will be likely to encounter when choosing a car insurance policy include things like medical payments coverage, which will help you meet the costs of medical attention after an accident. Of course, a traditional auto insurance policy includes a certain level of protection against the costs of treatment, but things like co-pays are not covered by body injury liability coverage or uninsured motorist coverage. This leads many people to take out additional insurance so that they know that they will not have a larger than necessary financial burden if a hospital stay is necessary for them, for a passenger, or for somebody else harmed during a crash.

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Auto Repair

Auto Repair: How Can They Screw Up An Oil Change?

Auto Repair: How Can They Screw Up An Oil Change?

“It’s all about beating the clock.” This quote comes from a wise old service manager, advising me on how to maximize my income as a flat-rate technician. If you have ever wondered why your car doesn’t get fixed correctly, or all your concerns weren’t addressed, you can blame, in part, the flat-rate pay structure.

Flat-rate simply means that your mechanic is paid a flat fee for a particular repair, regardless of how long the repair actually takes. In other words, if your car needs a water pump, which pays two hours of labor, and the mechanic completes the job in one hour, he gets paid for two.

In theory, this can work to your advantage. If the job takes longer, you still only pay the “predetermined” labor amount. In THEORY, not reality!

The flat-rate pay structure is designed to drive productivity. It’s very effective. The flat-rate pay system encourages technicians to work hard and fast, but it does not promote quality.

In terms of getting your car fixed correctly, the flat-rate pay structure has disastrous effects. Flat-rate technicians are constantly looking for shortcuts to beat the clock in order to maximize the number of hours they bill. Experienced flat-rate technicians can bill anywhere from 16 to 50 hours in an 8 hour day.

It’s these shortcuts and the breakneck speed at which flat rate technicians work that result in some of the most idiotic mistakes. In the rapid-fire pace of a shop I’ve witnessed technicians start engines with no oil. I’ve seen transmissions dropped, smashing into little pieces onto the shop floor. And I’ve seen cars driven right through bay doors—all in the name of “beating the clock.”

Flat-rate technicians can get quite elaborate with shortcuts. My favorite was the implementation of an 6-foot-long 2-by-4, which was placed under the engine for support while a motor mount was removed. It made a job predetermined to take 1.5 hours achievable in twenty minutes. A win-win, right? The technician makes extra money; you get your car back faster.

Actually, in many cases the placement of this 2-by-4 damaged the oil pan. Moreover, it caused the car, your car, to balance precariously 6 feet in the air, while the technician manipulated the car lift to access your engine mount.

This tactic was abruptly discontinued when a technician’s 2-by-4 snapped causing the car to crash nose down onto the concrete floor.

Sometimes the shortcuts create very subtle disturbances, which create problems overtime. A quick example: a vehicle had its transmission serviced with a new filter, gasket, and fluid. During the procedure, the technician was able to save time by bending the transmission dipstick tube slightly, in order to get the transmission pan out faster. The vehicle was reassembled, and the technician re-bent the tube back into place and off it went—no worries….

Six months later, the vehicle returned with an intermittent misfire. The engine wasn’t running on all cylinders. After extensive diagnostics, it was discovered that the transmission dipstick tube had chaffed through the engine harness, intermittently grounding out an injector. Hmm, that’s strange. Don’t usually see that.

The high-speed environment and the subsequent shortcuts illustrate the devastating effects of the flat-rate, sales-driven pay structure on the quality of car repairs.

No wonder even an oil change gets screwed up!

The poor quality of work encouraged by the flat rate pay structure is disconcerting enough. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop here. The negative effects of flat-rate get exponentially worse, as it opens “wide” the door to rip you off!

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Auto Repair

Save Yourself Car Payments – Undercoat Your Own Car

Save Yourself Car Payments – Undercoat Your Own Car

Undercoating stops and prevents rust and keeps your car looking great. It’s recommended for those planning on keeping their vehicle more than a couple of years It is a thrifty job in two ways.

You save the cost of having it done, and leave the body from rusting away.

Undercoating is an extra dollar that an auto dealership often tries to load onto you when you buy a new car. But you need not dig into your pocket for this extra. You can do the job yourself at a total cost that is a portion of what an auto repair shop will charge you.

Undercoating has two advantages. First and foremost, it will protect a card by preventing the rust that eats through a fender and through a car body. Secondly, sprayed or brushed into metal to metal cracks and crevices the black asphalt material will forestall many a squeak and rattle.

Most people think of undercoating in connection with strictly a new car. However it is usually a job that pays dividends on a vehicle of any age. In fact it offers a means of curbing automobile metal rust that may have gained considerable headway on any used car or vehicle.

If you decide to undercoat your car, do so before washing and polishing since some spillage may occur.

First: Remove the Rust. Whether the car is new or old, all rust must be removed and the metal cleaned off before the undercoating goes in. Rust left under the coating would go right ahead with its damaging work. Work on the metal until it shines.

Cleaning comes first. Getting the grime off can be the most difficult part of the procedure.

Steam cleaning is probably the best way to prepare the car. If you can have this done. It will save you much effort and heartache. If not TSP (Tri Sodium Phosphate) can be used to loosen up the grease. A wire brush can be utilized. TSP is an inexpensive crystalline salt available at most hardware stores such as Home Depot or Rona. Mix the TSP degreaser with hot water and daub it on grease areas with a sponge or cloth.

In doing this job it is important to know what to coat and what not to coat. Keep the material off moving parts, oil pan, brake lines, muffler, tail pipe, drive shaft etc etc. Apply it liberally, however under the fender and sills of the frame and under the floor. Under the fenders work it right out to the edge.

To get under the fenders you will have to remove the wheels. Unless the support is very stable, remove only one wheel at a time. It never hurts to play it safe.

Some undercoaters are inflammable, while wet. So work with good ventilation – and avoid smoking and open flames of course.

Remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, or many tons of salt in this case.

Categories
Auto Repair

Poor Credit And The Need To Fix It

Poor Credit And The Need To Fix It

Everyone can be put at a disadvantage if they have poor credit. Lenders are less likely to loan to people with a poor credit history, therefore it becomes a huge handicap for people looking to buy on credit.
If you want to buy your car or house on credit, poor credit can be a huge obstacle. Even if you are approved for the loan, it is hard to secure competitively low interest rates in the industry.
Anyone with a Fico score under 600 is usually considered a person with poor credit. Many people end up with poor credit due to misuse of credit cards. People are usually uninformed about how late payments can negatively affect their credit report. In fact a lot of bankruptcies in the United States are caused by mishandling of credit cards.
Fixing Poor Credit
Tired of being rejected for loans? Tired of sky-high interest payments? It is time to repair your poor credit.
One way you can fix your poor credit is to try to regain control over your debt situation. There are many agencies that can provide debt consolidation or complete debt elimination services. Once you are able to make your debt payments in time, you will reduce the deductions taking place on your credit score.
Poor credit can be caused by not properly planning your expenses so that you do not have enough money left over to pay your bills on time. By creating financial plans such as a household budget and a savings plan, you can get control over your expenses. Proper organization can help you get rid of your poor credit.
Credit cards available to people with poor credit usually have lots of fees such as an annual fee and a high APR. However these cards can give you the chance to start repairing your credit. With a good credit score you can become eligible to lower interest rates and fees on any loan you take out, therefore it is certainly very desirous to start fixing your poor credit.
If you need money in an emergency and are hindered by your poor credit, you can look into a cash advance payday loan. Cash advance agencies usually do not carry out credit checks. However these loans are meant only for the short term and could cost you dearly if you delay the repayment.
Good credit is not built in a day. It will take persistence on your part to repair your credit. With a good credit you can finally be able to buy the house or car of your dreams. You will find many more doors open to you after you have fixed your poor credit.
Even with poor credit you may find agencies willing to loan to you. Search the advertised offers from home mortgage companies, auto dealers and credit card agencies where they say they will provide loans even to people with poor credit.

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Auto Repair

Diminished Value: What Most Insurance Companies Don’t Want You To Know

Diminished Value: What Most Insurance Companies Don’t Want You To Know

If you have been in a car accident with a newer car that was not totaled but received a significant amount of damage, you may be entitled to more money than you know about. Most insurance companies won’t tell you that you may be able to get a significant amount of money for a diminished value claim. Many people do not even know what diminished value means.

Diminished value is the difference in value between a vehicle with an accident history, and the same vehicle without an accident history. Diminished value is the monetary difference between a car’s pre-accident value and its value after the accident – the automatic loss in value from a collision. Diminished value is very hard to prove, so many times you need to hire an attorney who handles diminished value claims, depending on what state you live in.

Diminished value exists as a real concept in the insurance world and it is paid all throughout the country. Diminished value is the best-kept secret that your auto insurance company hopes you never learn. Diminished value is a reality, even in cases where repairs eliminate all visual evidence of damage. Diminished value is most pertinent in relation to late model cars that have low miles and have suffered structural damage. The amount of repair related diminished value is determined by the overall quality of the repairs.

Diminished Value and Insurance

Insurance companies generally do not acknowledge the right to recover diminished value. Insurance companies would have you believe they are your advocates when in reality they are your adversaries. Insurance companies promise to restore your vehicle back to its pre-accident condition, but fail to define exactly what that means. Nowadays, a vehicle’s crash history is easy to track online, and a history of an accident can cost a vehicle owner thousands of dollars.

Diminished Value and Accidents

The fact that it has been involved in an accident and repaired causes your vehicle to have diminished value. It has been estimated that 55% of consumers would not buy a car that had been in an accident. Although your body shop does an excellent job and your vehicle looks as good as it did before the accident, having been in a collision it’s now much less desirable if you should decide to sell it now or down the road. If you list your car for sale in the newspaper for the Kelley Blue Book Value, the first thing a buyer will ask is “Was this car in an accident?” If your beautiful late model car sustained structural damage, or was repaired with cheap foreign parts, your buyer will likely not pap the same value for it as they would have before the auto accident.

Diminished Value Appraisal

It has been my experience that it is key to get a good appraiser to value the car once the appraisals are done.

Categories
Auto Repair

Undercoating Your Own Car

Undercoating Your Own Car

Undercoating stops and prevents rust and keeps your car looking great. It’s recommended for those planning on keeping their vehicle more than a couple of years It is a thrifty job in two ways.

You save the cost of having it done, and leave the body from rusting away.

Undercoating is an extra dollar that an auto dealership often tries to load onto you when you buy a new car. But you need not dig into your pocket for this extra. You can do the job yourself at a total cost that is a portion of what an auto repair shop will charge you.

Undercoating has two advantages. First and foremost, it will protect a card by preventing the rust that eats through a fender and through a car body. Secondly, sprayed or brushed into metal to metal cracks and crevices the black asphalt material will forestall many a squeak and rattle.

Most people think of undercoating in connection with strictly a new car. However it is usually a job that pays dividends on a vehicle of any age. In fact it offers a means of curbing automobile metal rust that may have gained considerable headway on any used car or vehicle.

If you decide to undercoat your car, do so before washing and polishing since some spillage may occur.

First: Remove the Rust. Whether the car is new or old, all rust must be removed and the metal cleaned off before the undercoating goes in. Rust left under the coating would go right ahead with its damaging work. Work on the metal until it shines.

Cleaning comes first. Getting the grime off can be the most difficult part of the procedure.

Steam cleaning is probably the best way to prepare the car. If you can have this done. It will save you much effort and heartache. If not TSP (Tri Sodium Phosphate) can be used to loosen up the grease. A wire brush can be utilized. TSP is an inexpensive crystalline salt available at most hardware stores such as Home Depot or Rona. Mix the TSP degreaser with hot water and daub it on grease areas with a sponge or cloth.

In doing this job it is important to know what to coat and what not to coat. Keep the material off moving parts, oil pan, brake lines, muffler, tail pipe, drive shaft etc etc. Apply it liberally, however under the fender and sills of the frame and under the floor. Under the fenders work it right out to the edge.

To get under the fenders you will have to remove the wheels. Unless the support is very stable, remove only one wheel at a time. It never hurts to play it safe.

Some undercoaters are inflammable, while wet. So work with good ventilation – and avoid smoking and open flames of course.

Remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, or many tons of salt in this case.

Categories
Auto Repair

Understanding Your Auto Insurance

Understanding Your Auto Insurance

Reading auto insurance policies can be like trying to decipher advanced calculus. It’s really not that difficult if you understand a few basic terms. Collision, Comprehensive, Bodily Injury Liability and Property Injury Liability are the main terms you need to fully understand.

You’ll appreciate Collision Coverage in the event you need repairs or replacements if your vehicle collides with another vehicle or property. The higher the deductible you elect, the lower your premiums will cost you. If you’re at fault for something, well of course it would still be an accident, as I doubt you’d plan to run into that guard rail, but how much would you be able to afford to pay out of pocket for repairs? $250? $500? $1,000? Just like medical insurance, you’d have to pay that deductible amount first and then the insurance company would pay for the remaining charges for the repair.

Another term to become intimately familiar with is Comprehensive Coverage. This is the coverage that pays for damage caused from falling objects, fire, certain natural disasters, theft and vandalism. Deductibles work the same way as with Collision; the more out of pocket costs to you, the less your insurance premium.

In addition to knowing how much Collision and Comprehensive coverage you have, you’ll want to know about your liability coverage. Let’s say you rear-end another driver. Or your foot slips off the brake onto the gas pedal and you plow down a mailbox. Your liability coverage will kick in and pay for the damages that you caused with your insured vehicle. You liability coverage will, or could, include bodily injury (people) and property damage.

You don’t want to go without Bodily Injury Coverage. If you were at fault in an accident and others involved needed to go to the hospital and/or lost wages from missing work, those costs would come out of your pocket if you are not insured with Bodily Injury Coverage. It doesn’t take a genius to know how quickly those amounts can add up. This type of coverage can also help you in the event the other party takes legal action against you. Many states require you to carry Bodily Injury Coverage.

The other part of liability includes Property Damage coverage. Can you imagine how much it might cost should you accidentally drive into the side of someone’s home? You wouldn’t want to be caught without property damage insurance should you need to pay for repairs to another vehicle, building or anything else you might hit. As with Bodily Injury coverage, Property Damage coverage also helps protect you in the event of a related lawsuit.

Every policy will have its limits and various degrees of coverage. It’s important that you understand the basics of what you are paying for and why it is necessary. No one plans for an accident, be prepared!

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Auto Repair

How to Save on Car Insurance

How to Save on Car Insurance

Are You Still Paying Too Much for Car Insurance?
Everyone who owns a car needs auto insurance. This article will give you some tips on lowering your auto insurance costs. You will find a checklist of items to ask your insurance agent that may qualify for discounts. Keep in mind that not all discounts can be applied with all insurance companies in all states.
1. Shop Around
Go to your favorite search engine and type in “free car insurance quotes online”. You’ll see a long list of insurance companies that you may even be familiar with. Visit at least five car insurance websites and look for a link to free quotes. You will then be asked basic information about yourself, your driving history, and your car’s make, model, and year. It just takes a couple of minutes, and shortly thereafter, they will email you a no obligation quote. Write down their website address, their toll free number, and customer service email address.
Each insurance company will ask you generally the same questions, and will give you options about how much coverage you will want. Find your current policy, if you have one, and take note of the coverage you currently have. Always provide the same information and ask for the same coverage at each company so you will be comparing apples to apples. Read the fine print and make sure nothing is excluded from the quote like Rental car coverage, towing, medical, etc…
For the purposes of the quote, the insurance company will not ask you your social security number, but keep in mind your actual cost maybe higher or lower depending on your credit history. If you’re not sure about some of the terminology or coverage, take notes so that you can ask the insurance company about them directly.
Once you have at least five quotes emailed to you, take the lowest two or three quotes and see if they are less than what you are paying now. Most likely at least one of them is much lower. At this point you will want to call them directly to get the most accurate quote by providing additional personal information. For additional discounts, here is a checklist of things you should ask about.
[ ] $500 deductible
[ ] $1,000 deductible
[ ] Paying monthly, semi-annually, or annually
[ ] More than 1 car
[ ] No Accidents in 3 Years
[ ] No Moving Violations in 3 Years
[ ] Driver Training Courses
[ ] Defensive Driving Courses
[ ] Anti-Theft Devices
[ ] Low Annual Mileage
[ ] Air Bags
[ ] Anti-Lock Brakes
[ ] Daytime Running Lights
[ ] Student Drivers with Good Grades
[ ] Auto and Homeowners Coverage with the Same Company
[ ] College Students away from Home
[ ] Long-Time Customer
[ ] Other Discounts
2. Saving Insurance Premium on cars you own outright.
If you own a clear title to your car, meaning there is no bank loan on it, then you may want to consider dropping the collision/comprehensive coverage. As a rule of thumb, if the cars value is less than $3000, it may not make sense for you to pay for this additional coverage. Over time, the cost of the additional insurance premium will exceed the value of the car. It’s pretty simple math.
Check the fair market value of your car either through Edmunds.com or even your local newspaper. See what other people are trying to get for the same car. Keep in mind your cars mileage, condition, and age. Has it been in an accident before? Does it have unusually high mileage in excess of 15,000 miles per year? Does it need new tires? You get the idea. Be realistic, because in the event that this car is in an accident and is damaged beyond repair, it is unlikely you will get the full value of the car.
3. Ask About Insurance Rates in Different Areas
Rates can vary widely even in the same state. Different locals have different accident rates, population, and crime. These all factor in to the final cost. If you are moving to a different area, ask about what the rates are for that town.
4. Ask About Getting Other Insurance Policies Together With Your Auto Insurance
Combining insurance policies with the same company can often give you additional discounts. If you own a home, ask about combining your homeowners insurance with your auto insurance. Also ask about other polices, such as life, health, and business insurance. Most insurance companies cover a wide range of policies and will give substantial discounts when you do business exclusively with them.
5. A Clean Credit History Can Reduce Car Premiums:
Having good credit can also lower your insurance costs. Many insurance companies will use credit information to price auto insurance policies. Drivers with good credit and a clean driving record may qualify as a “preferred” customer with lower risk and will be rewarded with lower premiums.
6. Low Mileage Discounts
Some companies offer discounts to drivers who drive a lower than average number of miles per year. If you car pool, take public transportation like the subway, or work from home, you will most likely drive few miles per year than the average driver.
7. Group Insurance
Some insurers offer discounts to drivers who work for certain companies or belong to professional associations, and alumni groups. Ask your employer, group or clubs that you belong to if they have any special arrangements with different insurance companies.
Using all of these tips can save you hundreds of dollars per year, especially when you have multiple cars and multiple drivers in the same household.