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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!

Why to Buy Your Next Used Car From a Dealer

When shopping for a new-to-you used car there’s a lot to consider, from your own wants and needs, up to the current state of, and history of the vehicle you’re looking at. Price is often cited as the largest factor in a vehicle purchase, but do not forget when looking at the sticker to also include the long-term “price” of this vehicle. Private sellers can sometimes offer seemingly great deals, but when is it too good to be true?

Trust
A dealership has a reputation to uphold, dealers build clientele and success in an area through repeat business both with sales and service. If you’re unhappy with your purchase, then you’re also highly unlikely to return for even simple maintenance. Long-term trust is not a concern for a private seller. There’s nothing to compel them to disclose known issues that may be difficult to find during a basic walkaround or are otherwise benefitting from a short-term patch that won’t be discovered until literally down the road. Dealerships inspect vehicles added to their inventory and repair major issues when found before you ever get to see them. If you’re looking at a certified pre-owned vehicle, then that’s an even more stringent inspection, but for the sake of this article, we’ll stick with standard used cars.

Selection and Warranty
Dealerships have first pick at vehicles coming off of factory leases, and they get a steady stream of trade-ins from new car buyers, meaning a hand-picked selection for you to shop. This often means lightly used cars, and can also mean potential remaining warranties. Depending on your choice of vehicle and dealer, an extended warranty is an option only found at a dealership as well. Peace of mind should be a consideration in your purchase.

Financing and Taxes
The ability to finance your purchase and include your sales tax provides the opportunity to lighten the monthly financial load and build credit. Dealerships have relationships with multiple lenders, so can help you with creating finance options that work for you, as well as creating a competitive environment for said lenders as they compete for your business.

Regardless of whether you buy from a dealer or private seller, just do not be afraid to ask questions and do your research on the model and model year of the vehicle of which you’re considering. Ask yourself how long you expect the car to last, and remember that what you pay that day isn’t necessarily the final price.

What are the Cheapest Cars to Insure?

When shopping for used cars you are looking for a good deal, and the price of car insurance is a big consideration in that. There are many factors that go into the price of insuring a car, such as age, gender, geographical location, and years of driving experience to name a few. Though many of those things are out of your control, you can control which car you purchase, and that is a huge influencer of the price of insurance. We want you to know what goes into this so you can make an educated guess yourself during the shopping process.

 

Car insurance is determined based on the risk determined that the driver and the vehicle present. Probably unsurprisingly, when you add more features to your vehicle, the price of insuring said vehicle rises. An obvious example is if you decided to purchase an engine with more horsepower, your insurance is likely to rise because the insurer believes you’re at a greater risk for speeding and getting in an accident. Also, more high-end features means more money to repair, which causes car insurance prices to rise as a consequence. 

 

If you want cheaper insurance, a good rule of thumb is to avoid these types of cars:

  • Sports cars – typically more expensive to insure because of the higher speed potential of the vehicle, and if you’re a young person and driving a sports car, the insurance companies will think you are at a higher risk of having an accident.
  • Luxury vehicles – luxury vehicles have more expensive parts, and if the vehicle is totaled, it costs more to replace.
  • Electric vehicles – Electric vehicles can be more expensive to insure based on their higher price to purchase, and replacing an EV battery costs thousands of dollars.
  • Vehicles targeted by thieves Comprehensive insurance pays out if your car is stolen; it also covers damage from vandalism, fire, floods, and other problems.

 

If you want cheaper insurance, you should try and purchase a vehicle that has a higher safety rating, and a vehicle that is larger. Owning a vehicle with a high safety rating means there is a lower chance of needing to pay for your or your passengers’ medical bills, which means your rate will be lower. The safety rating is based on several factors, including the likelihood of the car’s owner getting into an accident, and also how likely a passenger is to be injured in an accident. Safety features such as airbags, automatic seat belts, and traction control help make your car safer, which makes you less likely to get in an accident in the first place, as well as making it less dangerous for passengers in worst-case scenarios. Larger cars are generally, but not always, safer than smaller cars in an accident, therefore, many larger cars with good safety ratings have lower premiums than smaller cars with otherwise similar ratings. However, cars with larger engines relative to body size tend to have higher rates – for instance, insuring a sports car with a V8 engine costs much more than a small car with a four-cylinder engine. 

 

These are all simply guidelines, as there are always outliers, but the price of insurance varies from person to person even when buying the same vehicle. To know what your exact rate is going to be, it’s always best to reach out to your insurance agent and consult with them.