Getting the Most From Your Vehicle Trade

So you’re looking for a new car, and you just want to trade in your current vehicle to a dealer. What should you do to make sure you get your money’s worth? We’ve put together a few steps to help you get the best price for your car.

Step 1 – Research 

The biggest thing that will help you get the most money is doing some research. Having an idea of what your car is worth is very important. It’s possible that you’re expecting more money than you’re going to get, but depreciation can hit certain vehicles harder than others. Of course, the condition of your car, having copies of maintenance history, and any additional aftermarket parts will make a difference — mind you, not all aftermarket parts and accessories will increase your vehicle’s value — but it should come as no surprise your car isn’t worth what you initially paid for it. Luckily, it is fairly easy to get an approximate value for your vehicle online using websites like Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds. Something many do not take into account though in their research is how many other vehicles just like your may be in the market in your area. Take a little extra time to search local listings for the year, make, model, and trim level of the vehicle you’re looking to trade in to get an even better view of what it’s going for. 

Step 2 – The Dealership’s Perspective

The dealership is looking at factors such as how fast they can sell your car to another buyer (a car sitting on the lot is actively spending the dealer’s money on a variety of levels of overhead), and also how much work they may have to do to fix it up so it’s ready for the next owner. The dealer is more willing to work with you on a trade than buying your car outright, but in fairness it’s good to keep these things in mind during negotiations.

Step 3 – Prep Your Vehicle

The presentation of your vehicle will go a long way in getting you a good value. Vacuum the interior thoroughly, and make sure everything that isn’t supposed to be in the car (such as trash – you may be surprised how many people do not consider this) is out, and everything that should be in the car (things such as documents, manuals, tools) are in the car. It doesn’t hurt to make sure your vehicle smells good too. Go through a car wash or hand wash, and give your car a wax to make it look better. If there’s anything wrong with your vehicle the value of the trade will go down, but it may be easier and sometimes cheaper to just leave the problem and have the dealership fix it. If your vehicle has major issues don’t be afraid to approach the dealer regardless, it never hurts to get an appraisal, and hey, you may come away pleasantly surprised!  

Something to keep in mind is that dealers love happy customers, repeat business is how we stay in business, so always feel free to come on in and give us a shot, you may just drive away happy.

Tire Maintenance Means Safety (and Savings)

Consider that your tires are the only part of your car that touches the road, so no matter what sort of engine, transmission, suspension, or brakes you have, without a healthy set of tire tread, you’re asking for trouble. You want to make sure they are up to standard and prepared for anything that comes their way, and to that end it’s important that you know how to properly take care of your tires. Some people think of tires simply as they would their own shoes, they wear out and you replace them, but there are some simple things you can do to both keep you and your vehicle safe on the road, and save money as well by increasing your tires’ longevity. 

You don’t want to over inflate or under inflate your tires, as both can cause the tread to wear unevenly. The proper amount of air pressure for your tires should be in the handbook that came with your vehicle, and if you no longer have the handbook a quick google search will do the trick. Go and purchase a tire pressure gauge if you don’t have one, and stick it in the glove box for when you need it. They’re fairly cheap and make filling up your tires with the proper amount of air easy.

To ensure a long service life for your tires, it’s essential to keep the wheels balanced and aligned and get the tires rotated every 5,000 miles. Always be on the lookout for unusual vibrations while driving, as this may indicate an improperly balanced wheel. Rotating the tires as per the manufacturer’s recommendation also helps ensure even treadwear of all the four tires.

The treads of a tire are what help it grip the road while braking, turning, and of course, in sloppy, “Kansas weather” conditions. A tire’s capacity to disperse water is reduced considerably when the tread is worn out. If your tire can’t contact the road, that means you’re riding on top of the rain or snow, which means you are no longer in control of the vehicle. So it’s important to replace your tire’s when the tread wear indicator is exposed. A tread wear indicator is a bar of rubber built across the treads and can be seen only after the rubber is worn down to 1.6mm.

Hopefully, these tips help you with your tire maintenance. It does require a small bit of effort, but keeping up with your tires’ maintenance is a big factor in staying safe out on the road.

Maintaining your rarely used vehicle.

Driving Less These Days? You Still Need to Maintain Your Vehicle

With the Coronavirus pandemic still around it’s possible that you’ve been working from home, or at least self isolating, resulting in our vehicles being driven less and less. So what should you do to keep your vehicle in good condition during your hiatus from the roads?

Step 1: Keep your car clean

This may seem like an obvious step, but it gets looked over by almost everyone. Make sure you get out all the old cans, bottles, and trash that’s accumulated in your car. The last thing you want are bugs or even rodents trying to find their way in because they smell some old food or drink. It makes the most sense to give your car a good cleanse before you go through the other steps, but you can do this in any order you please.

Step 2: Fill the gas tank

This is for pre-90s vehicles with metal gas tanks: if you leave your car unused for too long with no gas inside of the tank it can actually rust, which can create a host of issues. You should go and fill up before you park your car for an extended period of time. Plus, you’ll be ready for an impromptu road trip with your family or friends once you’re ready.

Step 3: Stay on top of oil changes

It’s suggested that you get your oil changed every 6 months or 5,000 miles (check your manual to be sure!), whichever comes first. Even if your car is not being used, the oil still needs to be changed, as it will break down over time regardless. Getting your oil changed every 6 months will help make sure your engine is protected whenever it is you DO crank it up next.

Step 4: Check the tires

You don’t want to park your car, then come back to it weeks later to find a flat. Just check on your car every so often and see how the tire pressure is holding up. Weather change can have an impact on the air in your tires, so keep that in mind too. Make sure you’re following the user manual’s guide on the right tire pressure for your car.

Step 5: Drive your vehicle every once in a while

You should take your car out for a drive every few weeks, even if it’s just a quick couple laps around the block. This will help keep the fluids good for longer, keep your battery charged, and engine healthy. At the very least, replacement batteries aren’t cheap.

Hopefully these steps help keep your car healthy while you take a break from driving. Stay safe out there, friends!

Safe “Hypermiling”

One of the most sought after features on a vehicle is good gas mileage. The fewer trips that you have to make to the gas station the better. I bet you wish you could improve your car’s gas mileage, and what if I told you that this was a possibility? With “hypermiling” it’s possible to improve your mileage and save a bit of money. This term has become controversial, as some extremist go to great and sometimes dangerous lengths to eke out extreme performance, but here we’ll focus purely on how to hypermile safely and effectively.

Step 1 – Vehicle Maintenance

These driving techniques won’t work if you don’t properly maintain your car, which you should do whether you’re hypermiling or not. Keep your car tuned up. Out of tune cars are more inefficient and produce more pollution. Take your car in for regularly scheduled check ups, and pounce on any problem that your car may face early. Don’t wait till it’s too late.

Step 2 – Tire Maintenance 

Your tires are the only thing that makes contact with the road, obviously, so if you have tires that aren’t rotated properly, or if the tread is bad, then you’re going to suffer poor fuel efficiency. Make sure that your tires are properly inflated (This also means don’t over inflate them), and also make sure your tires are properly balanced and aligned. You should rotate your tires every 6 months, or every 6,000 miles.

Step 3 – Weight Management 

Remove the extra junk from your car! This one is overlooked compared to the other two steps, and it makes sense. People have a lot of stuff, and that stuff usually ends up in your car. Just remember that more weight equals less fuel efficiency. Also, don’t take out important things from your car just because you’re trying to lower the weight. Your spare tire and tools can stay.

Step 4 – Coasting

Coast when you can, and again: SAFELY. Don’t cause traffic issues, don’t drive below the speed limit, just try to avoid sudden stopping and starting, as this is fuel efficiency’s biggest enemy. On newer cars if the car is in gear and your foot is off the accelerator, the injectors shut off completely,  essentially creating “free” mileage. Don’t coast by disengaging the clutch and/or putting the car in neutral, this will cause the engine to go into idle which uses up more gas than simply leaving the car in gear and letting it coast, and more importantly: it can be dangerous. Bottom line: be safe when coasting, keep your foot close to the brake, and make sure you don’t “coast” through a red light or stop sign.

Step 5 – Idling and A/C

Try to idle the least amount possible, sometimes this cannot be avoided, but it’s something to be aware of. Try to limit your A/C use to only the freeway, and if you live in a hot climate where you need to use A/C, cycle your use. When it comes to using the heat, most gas cars create “waste” heat so it won’t affect your fuel economy.

Step 6 – Acceleration

Be gentle with the accelerator. The “gas pedal” is called that for a reason, so to effectively hypermile you’ll need to learn to push down the gas pedal slowly, and only when necessary. Also, you’ll need to learn to let off in anticipation for every stop.

Safely Taking it to the Max

We hope that these tips help you get out there and hypermile effectively. You may be wondering why we didn’t include drafting in this list, and the answer is that it is dangerous, as the whole point of drafting is to be close to the vehicle in front of you, therefore giving you significantly less time to react to anything that may happen. Now get out there and get the maximum fuel efficiency possible!

Buying a Used Truck

You may think that purchasing a used truck would be no different from purchasing a used car, right? Well, there are differences that you may not consider, that can save you time in finding the truck you want, and the deal that suits you. We’re here to share some simple considerations that will simplify the start of your search.

Step 1: Know What Size is Right for You

When it comes to trucks there are many different customization options regarding the size of the cab and that of the bed. It can be intimidating and confusing trying to pick from the multitude of options even when they’re lined up in front of you. The most important thing you need to figure out is what you are trying to achieve with the truck you are wanting to purchase. Are you wanting to be able to haul equipment for your business or wanting to be able to move big items? Then a full size truck with a large bed is the correct option for you. If you simply like the idea of driving a truck and don’t plan on hauling anything major, then a midsize truck would be the best option. In regards to the cab, do you need room for children or full-size adults? This may seem obvious, but a lot of people buy far more truck than they really need and end up not as happy with their purchase over the long term. 

Step 2: Light, Medium, Or Heavy?

The towing capacity of a truck is important if you’re planning to haul anything from a boat to a work or even travel trailer. Trucks are commonly divided into three different categories; light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty. These three categories are then given numerical labels such as 1500, 2500, and 3500 (or 150, 250, and 350.)  

It’s important that you get the proper size truck for your needs. If you go with less power you may not be able to haul what you need to unless you like replacing parts. On the other hand, if you get a truck that is too big you’ll have to spend more money purchasing it, and filling it up at the gas station. Additionally, if this is for everyday use, you also probably don’t want to struggle with maneuverability in every parking lot.

Step 3: The Test Drive

So you’ve figured out which size of truck you want, and you’ve made it to the point where you’re giving the truck a test drive. This step is similar to buying a regular car. You really want to test the limits of the truck you’re driving. Accelerate hard, give the brakes some work, and get the engine and transmission up to operating temperatures. A 20-minute drive should be enough time to reveal any apparent issues. Does the truck drift to the side? Is there play in the steering wheel? Does it brake well? Are there any quirks in acceleration? Does the truck shift smoothly? Pay close attention to your gut feelings, and don’t get too attached to the truck. If something doesn’t seem right don’t buy it. 

We hope that this list can help you get started in making the right decision for your future truck. If you have any further questions about purchasing a used truck, feel free to come speak to our friendly and knowledgeable staff. We would love to help you out and make sure you get the best deal for you.

Are Online Credit Applications Safe?

There are many things that can be worrisome with the credit application process, and the last thing you need is added stress in the thought that your information could be stolen. We’re here to give you the information you need to make sure you’re safe when filling out your online credit application.

Is It Safe? 

When you’re filling out the credit application on BriggsSuperscenter.com you can rest assured that your information is safe from hackers and online criminals. According to our own website, “Our website resides behind a firewall and uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer, the industry-standard security protocol used to communicate with browsers) to transmit personal information. Data is strongly encrypted during transmission to ensure that personal and payment information is secure. Industry-standard data encryption techniques are used to protect personal information.”  

As you can see, we take the security of your information very seriously. If you want an added layer of protection, you can set a router password, enable WAP2 encryption, and specify which devices are allowed to connect with your wireless network. Just open up your router settings by typing your IP address into a browser window and entering your username and password. You can find all that information in your router manual, or by calling your internet provider.

Why You Should Apply Online

You may be thinking, “Why not just apply at the dealership if there is a risk that my information could be stolen?” Well, the process is actually as safe as if you were doing it on paper at the dealership, and it saves time for both you and the dealership. 

How To Fill Out Your Online Application

Online filing of credit applications is a simple process. In just a few steps, you can fill out and submit this form on our website. After one or two days, we will send you a confirmation email with the loan options available for your profile. For your satisfaction, we ensure that the information is transmitted through a secured gateway that is protected with the latest firewall systems. 

Conclusion

If you have any questions that have been left unanswered, feel free to call us at (785) 776-3677, or come in and speak to us. Our friendly and knowledgeable team would love to answer any questions you have!

Beware Buying Used Cars Online

Today it’s possible to handle the tasks associated with purchasing a new or used car from the comfort of your home. You’ll generally have two options during the online car-buying experience: purchasing the vehicle from your local dealership’s internet sales department or buying your car from an online platform. Should you find what appears to be a great deal on a highly desirable vehicle, if you’re thinking about buying a used car online, there are reasons to be cautious. You want to keep these things in mind before transferring your hard-earned cash:

  • Look for listings that have multiple quality pictures. There should be pictures of many different angles of the car, interior and exterior. If there are barely any pictures, it can be a sign that the seller is omitting a problem area. If you’re serious about the purchase, don’t be afraid to ask for more photos, and feel free to be specific about what you’d like to see.
  • It will take a decent amount of time for your vehicle to get delivered to you. Sadly, there isn’t a two-day shipping option like there is with Amazon. If you purchase your vehicle at a dealership however, you’ll be driving off the lot the same day. There is a chance that the warranty for the vehicle you purchase online is very limited, and it may expire by the time it gets to you. Be sure to ask detailed questions.
  • If the person or organization that you are buying a car from online is unwilling to provide a free copy of the vehicle’s history report, they are not to be trusted and you shouldn’t purchase from them.
  • State regulations for motor vehicles vary from state to state. If you purchase a car online in one state and have it delivered to your state, it might not comply with things like emission standards. Paperwork can also be tricky when you buy used cars online. Each state has its own paperwork requirements, and some don’t accept electronic signatures. Be sure to do your research, else a “great deal” might not be so great in the end.

The bottom line is that unless you see the car and inspect it for yourself, there’s no way of knowing the true condition of the car. There is a possibility of ending up with a car that has a malfunction or even an issue the seller themselves are unaware of. It can be a gamble, and it’s good to have as much information as possible to deduce if it’s really worth it.

How DIY Auto Maintenance Maintains Your Car’s Value

Many people don’t realize just how much performing basic maintenance can affect the resale value of their vehicle. Keeping your vehicle in good shape, both outside and in makes it more desirable to either dealerships or individual buyers when you get ready to switch rides. Over the years cars have become more complicated, though for good reason. The advancement of technology has brought increases to fuel economy, power, and reliability. With the expansion of technology though, some maintenance has become more complex or requires proprietary tools for the job. That said, there are still plenty of things that even the most novice shade tree mechanic can still do at home to keep their vehicle happy and healthy. Here are five things you can do to keep your car both safe and valuable:

Tire Pressure/Tire Tread

Checking and adjusting your tire pressure only takes a few minutes and can save you hundreds of dollars in replacement costs. A tire gauge is only a few dollars, a tire inflator can be purchased for as low as twenty dollars, and if you have a local gas station with free air, even better! Keeping your tires at a proper pressure helps your tires last longer, keeps you safely in control of your vehicle (especially during inclement weather), and optimizes fuel economy. Checking the tread is very important for your safety as well, as having bad traction causes accidents. You can get a tool to check tire tread for only a couple dollars, and it takes just a few minutes to check all four tires. If any get below 2/32” (4/32” in snow or rain) you should replace them in either pairs or sets of four. For someone looking at your vehicle for sale or trade, uneven tread wear or droopy tires can be red flags. 

Fuel Filters

Fuel filters have an average price of $15 depending on the car, but can save you hundreds of dollars in engine repair costs if changed regularly. Fuel filters are important to keep fuel injection and carburetor systems clean and working properly. It is imperative to release the fuel system pressure before replacing the fuel filter to avoid damage or injury, but if in doubt look for directions per your specific make, model, and year. 

Oil Change

This can be more involved, but can save you a good amount of money . Changing engine oil on your own requires car ramps or a jack and jack stands, and very important: tire chocks. Never put any part of your body under a vehicle supported only by a jack. You will also need a drain pan, funnel, nitrile gloves, and rags, which go a long way toward keeping things clean. Be sure to recycle used oil at your local shop or auto parts store.

Replacing Bulbs

Bulbs don’t last forever, and they can burn out when you least expect it. If a headlight or tail light blows, it will be harder to see at night, and you are at risk of getting pulled over and getting a fine. Also, as per their purpose, it’s nice if you can see to navigate the road, and be seen by other drivers. Fortunately, many bulbs are user-replaceable, often without tools or with just a screwdriver. It’s a good idea to replace headlight bulbs in pairs. This also falls under things a prospective buyer can see during their inspection, and though it may seem minor, it immediately affects the way they feel about the potential unperformed maintenance elsewhere in the vehicle.

Replacing Wipers

Wiper blades help you see in all kinds of weather and situations, whether it’s snow, rain, bugs, or dust. Over time, the rubber wiper blades can wear and degrade, leading to poor visibility, and unwanted noise, such as squeaking. Neglecting to replace the blades could even lead to permanent windshield damage. Fortunately, replacing wiper blades only takes a couple minutes, usually by hand or with a screwdriver.

Following these five tips can go a long way in squeezing extra money out of your sale or trade. If you’d like more information and details on maintaining your vehicle, you may also want to check out some Chilton repair manuals.

Used Cars: Best Price Doesn’t Always Mean Best Deal

Shopping for used cars can sometimes seem overwhelming, with so many makes, models, and let’s not forget trim levels, to choose from, the landscape is an expanse of options. For those who have a good idea of what they really want in a vehicle though, from color, to seat materials, to powertrain, the price ranges start to come into view. As you start keeping track of said vehicles and comparing them, the natural inclination is to be drawn to the lowest price and thus, “best deal,” but before you put pen to paper, be sure to do your due diligence to see just how good it is.

Maintenance History

Checking out the vehicle’s CarFax is nice, helping ensure it wasn’t recently found at the bottom of a lake or there’s no good reason to suspect it drives at a 45 degree angle, but your detective work shouldn’t end there. How much of the car’s history is there in regards to regular maintenance? CarFax doesn’t always include this information, are there service records that can be shown? Cars are more reliable than ever, but every car has manufacturer recommended maintenance intervals, so keep internal wear and tear in mind should you find a better price on a lower mile version of your dream car, because not all miles are created equal. 

Accident History

Looping back around to CarFax, many equate this report to accident repair reporting. It’s good to know this, even for simple bumps and bruises, as there could be a bent frame involved or something seemingly smaller like damaged suspension, which then creates knock-on effects to performance, creating extra wear on connected parts and on down the line. A quality dealership will be keenly aware of these situations, but when buying from a private seller it’s especially important to have a mechanic look over the work if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. If the vehicle has a salvage title, then you definitely want to know details before purchasing.  

Where You Buy

Finally, whether you’re comparing dealerships versus each other, or dealers versus private sellers, trust your judgement with who seems like they’ll take care of you after the sale. Briggs has made our name and success with repeat business through great customer service. We invite you to check out our expansive inventory and give us a try today.

Car Buying: New vs. Used

Whether to buy new or used cars is a long-standing conundrum for many. There are certainly people with their heals dug into both ends of the spectrum, and plenty of regular folks in the middle just trying to get a deal. We’re here to discuss the pro’s and con’s to both in an effort to help guide you into being an informed buyer. 

Typically, buying a used car is cheaper than buying a new car. You can usually get a car that is three to four years older than the newest version and have it be almost half the price. When you purchase a used car the price depreciates, especially within the first two years. This depreciation of cost means that the price of ownership diminishes per year. You may have heard that insuring a new car is more expensive than a used car, but that’s not always the case. It’s true that more expensive cars generally cost more to insure, and new cars tend to be more expensive than older ones. But new cars also have several things going for them that can make their insurance rates lower, such as:

  • Newer and improved safety features: A car with modern safety features is seen as cheaper to insure, as they can not only be safer in an accident, but also potentially less likely to get in an accident in the case of driver-assist technology. Saying that, many late model used vehicles have great safety features too, so be sure to read the spec sheet.
  • Likelihood of theft: A new car isn’t usually the most appealing target for thieves, as anti-theft technology continues to progress. They’re more likely to go for a popular model with parts that have remained unchanged for years, because it’s easy to strip down and part out. Again though, be sure to check the spec’s on both new and used, as there can be a vehicle by vehicle difference. 

A common misconception about used cars is that they are less reliable, but this is simply not true. Cars have never been more dependable than they are today. With proper maintenance the hundred-thousand-mile mark isn’t the big deal it was in yesteryear. Interestingly enough, the cost of renewing your registration is also cheaper on a used car.

Luckily for you, whether you want to get a new car or a used car, Briggs is the right place for you. The Supercenter has a wide selection of top quality used vehicles, but our family of stores also has plenty of new as well. Contact us today and let us help find the one that’s right for you!