Five Important Things To Know Before You Buy A Car

Consumer confidence is picking up. Gas prices are rising. Tax refunds are starting to flow. Those things are causing customers to give serious thought to buying a new car this spring. If you’re headed into the market, there are some important to things to know before you buy your car.

1) Check your trade-in value.

Used car prices have hit records over the past few years. That’s great news for people with low-mileage, well-maintained used cars. But you have to know two things before you go to a dealership: your car’s trade-in value, and where you stand on your car loan. In some cases, you may find out that you owe more on your car than it’s worth, especially if you’ve driven it a lot. (Raises hand.) If so, you have a couple of options.

2) If your car is in demand, go sooner rather than later.

Last month, small cars help General Motors post a sales gain, while sales of the Ford Focus were more than double in February from a year ago. If you’re pondering a Chevrolet Cruze, a Focus, a Honda Civic or one of the new Prius models from Toyota, you’ll have plenty of company at car dealerships.

3) Decide how you want to pay for it.

Dealers love to finance car transactions. There are often attractive programs from the car companies with better interest rates than you’re able to get at your local bank or credit union. But it isn’t a bad idea to get pre-approved by your own financial institution before you walk in the dealership. If the finance manager sees that you can go elsewhere, he or she might cut you a deal on the interest rate or the trade-in value.

4) Consider crossing the state line.

If you live in a city that’s a short drive from another state, like New York, or Kalamazoo, Mich., or Tupelo, Miss., broaden your shopping to include nearby states. You might get a better deal after a short drive than you’ll find in your backyard. It’s easier than ever to check dealership inventories online.

5) Make sure you can live with it.

There are a lot of people who are heading into the small car market who’ve owned SUVs or bigger vehicles for the past few years. It needs an adjustment in lifestyle and attitude.

In short, plan your strategy before you head into the spring car market. Then, breathe in that new car smell. To get more information about cars or car parts, you are free to visit

Performance Cars of 2012

There will be a motor show in Paris in September, 2013. Now let’s take a preview of these cars.


The Continental GTC Convertible will arrive in March, just in time to escape the heat of summer. The open-air cruiser packs a 6.0-litre W12 that pumps out 423kW and 700Nm mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox.

July will see the introduction of the much-anticipated Continental GT V8. Designed to cut the company’s CO2 emissions and fuel consumption figure, the new 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 is shared with the Audi S6, S7 Sportback and S8.

The new engine is good for 373kW and 660Nm, so while it may cut fuel use it shouldn’t be slow.


The new version of the gansta-style 300C sedan will be headlined by the new SRT8. Powered by a 6.4-litre Hemi V8 the range-topping 300C will have its sights set on snatching sales from HSV and FPV.


It’ll only sell in small numbers but the Grand Cherokee SRT8 will give the Jeep brand a new hero model when it arrives in March.

It will use the same 347kW/630Nm 6.4-litre Hemi V8 found in the Chrysler 300C SRT8, making it a bahnstormer, at least in a straight line.


Mini will introduce a pair of new models in February. The Mini Coupe and Mini Convertible – not to be confused with the Mini Cooper and Mini Cabriolet – boast slightly more slippery styling and are aimed more at the performance-focused end of the market.

The “helmet-head” coupe will be priced at $42,990 in Cooper S guise, powered by a 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder producing 135kW and 260Nm. A John Cooper Works version is also due to debut, expected to be priced about $50,000.


The hotly-awaited 86 coupe goes on sale in around June with an expected sub-$35,000 starting price.

The 86 marks the return of ‘badge engineering’ where car makers amortise development costs by jointly building one car that basically wear different badges. The sleek coupe is powered by a Subaru-sourced 147kW/205Nm 2.0-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder “boxer” engine.


The brand’s performance car hero, the GT-R, will receive another yearly update around March. This time around, the GT-R will gain more power (again!), with the 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 now good for 405kW and 632Nm of torque (up from 390kW/612Nm).

A few interior updates will also appear, including an upgraded stereo and revised instrument cluster.


Suzuki will launch the Swift Sport early this year – a higher-powered hero version of its small city car.

When it arrives in March it will get rid of the low-out 1.4-cylinder engine seen in more civilised Swifts, replacing it with a 100kW 1.6-litre powerplant. A six-speed manual is already confirmed, but Suzuki has already hinted at a self-shifting version, too.