3 things you should consider before buying your next car
Research tire size
We all know that the price of everything seems to be going up. Included in the list of things is tires. Not only is petroleum used in the making of tires, but also the shipping of tires. Also, a change in world demand for tires has inflated prices. There are a few tips to keeping it a bit more affordable when shopping for your next car.
Manufacturers sometimes put unique tire sizes on their vehicles to try to funnel traffic back to their repair facilities. This creates a couple problems:
1) no tire selection-1 or 2 high end tire manufacturers tend to have the tires available
2) sizes that are unique are expensive even in off brand tires.
3) wheels with tires that have a thin sidewall are more likely to get bent or damaged by potholes and curbs. Of course, the rims aren't cheap either.
So when your car shopping, look at the numbers on the side of the tire. If they have the designation 'R' 15 or 16, you should be able to find tires at pretty reasonable prices. If your not sure, write down all the numbers on the sidewall and call a tire store for a quote. A little research can save a lot of money.
Research oil change requirements
Oil changes are the most frequent maintenance performed on any vehicle. Even if other things are neglected, most people will at least do the oil change. The question becomes, does this vehicle require a special oil or filter? More and more vehicles are going from a regular 'spin-on' filter, to a paper cartridge style filter. Also, oils are becoming a bit more complex. Some manufacturers require a full synthetic oil and a paper filter. This will change the price substantially. Also it's a good idea to find out how much oil it holds. A good example is a Mercedes Benz. Most require up to 10 quarts of full synthetic oil and a paper filter. Average price for oil change, over $100.00.
Research common repair items
An alignment used to be a relatively easy and inexpensive maintenance item. Now with all the advancements in safety features, some cars require recalibration after alignment. This is an additional expense and a lot of small independent shops don't have the proper tools. Skipping this step can cause major issues if you have to attempt to avoid an accident. These systems are designed to actuate the traction and anti-lock in relation to the orientation of the steering wheel. In other words, if you stomp the brakes to avoid something and you happen to be going straight, the steering wheel position sensor may not relay a straight ahead message and instead try to compensate for being in a curve. This means that the vehicle will actually send you in the wrong direction. Not good.
Also, a lot of imported vehicles require special tools or equipment to perform engine or suspension repairs. Check with your local mechanic to see if he is able to perform these repairs. It's a good idea to contact a parts store and ask them about the price and availability of common parts for the prospect vehicle. Common parts are items such as brakes, tie rods, wheel bearings, belts, water pump, radiator, and air conditioning compressor.
All too often, I have customers that have not done their research and are very upset when I have to share prices they weren't prepared for.