Buying Used Car

First of all, the simple fact that you’ve decided to purchase a used car is a smart decision. You can get a very good car and you don’t have to undergo the painful process of paying for the dramatic depreciation a new car suffers especially in the first two years. Ever purchasing a car that is only one year old will be at least 20 percent less expensive. Not to mention the other huge advantages involved in purchasing a used car.
used cars Buying Used Car
First of all, you get to save a lot of money on insurance. Used cars always have cheaper insurance compared to new ones. Besides, if you plan on keeping the car for a longer period of time, you can always get an extended warranty to further protect your car. If you’re an experienced buyer, you can find much bigger bargains when dealing with used cars compared to new ones. If you’re lucky enough, you might even find cars that still have their factory warranty active, so more protection for you.

If a couple of years ago, a car history were something to be “feared”, nowadays you can easily verify the entire history of the car by simply tracing the VIN number, especially when you’re dealing with a private party. Purchasing a car from a private party can have loads of perks: you don’t have to handle that stressful situation when negotiating with a car dealer since you’re purchasing the car from another simple guy just as yourself. Private parties are less likely to try and hoodwink you or try to sugar coat a busted car. Since they have as much interest in selling the car as you have in buying it, they will present the car exactly as it is.

When you’re at the beginning of the car purchasing process, you probably know what kind of car you would like to have. The problem is: can you afford to buy this car? This question has to be answered before you do anything else. One of the best things you can do is expanding your horizons. Let’s assume that you’ve picked a car. Now you should pick two more cars within the same price range and compare them. Don’t be narrow, because you may be surprised with the results. Many times the first choice isn’t necessarily the right one. Let’s put it this way: if you’d like to get a Toyota Camry, then you should also look for a Honda Accord or a Nissan Altima. Although all of these cars cover just about the same market segment, they were built with different specifications and features.

Another important thing to watch for is the car’s condition. This is the cornerstone of a used car’s value. Depending on the number of miles it has registered, the performance delivered and last (but definitely not least) the car’s popularity, a car will be valued at a certain price. Naturally you would want a sturdy car which you can rely on, but do you want it to be the same as everyone else’s? If so, be prepared to pay some serious premiums for it.

Before making a decision, you should seek out car rating websites such as KBB or Edmunds. These are the two major websites for car ratings, reviews, compares and pricing. The KBB Market System and Edmunds True Market Value System are the perfect tools when attempting to find the best car for you. Once located, you must figure out how you want to pay for it. Edmunds comes to your help again with an Affordability Calculator.

Global Rally Cross – Las Vegas Practice

Global Rally Cross – Las Vegas Practice

Last night I arrived at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in time to see a group of steel workers assemble the jumps for the fifth round of the 2012 Global Rally Cross this weekend.

Global Rally Cross – Las Vegas Practice

Just like previous rounds held in conjunction with a NASCAR event, the GRC track runs along the pit road and part of the front straightaway. The big deal for TV and spectators, but not the race teams, is the 60-foot jump that has caused numerous problems. It now has a large foam bumper so if a driver doesn’t make it at least he should escape harm and the car will not be quite so badly damaged.

Global Rally Cross – Las Vegas Practice

After practice this morning the course was dismantled in readiness for practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck event. It will be rebuilt again for seeding and qualifying before being dismantled a second time tomorrow. The GRC track will then be re-assembled immediately after the truck race on Saturday evening for the final heats and main race under the lights at 10 pm.

Global Rally Cross – Las Vegas Practice

It’ll be interesting to see how many spectators stay to watch these highly modified 600 horsepower cars from Ford, Dodge, Hyundai, Saab and Subaru.

You can watch Saturday’s craziness live on ESPN3 starting at approximately 11.30 pm (ET)/8.30 pm (PT) with a tape delay broadcast at 6 p.m. (ET) Sunday, September 30, on ESPN2.

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Lewis Hamilton to Mercedes-Benz

Lewis Hamilton

In a move that was both expected and yet considered unlikely, Lewis Hamilton has departed the McLaren Formula 1 team. The 2008 Formula 1 World Champion has singed a three-year contract to race for Mercedes-Benz, teamed with Nico Rosberg. This seems to signal a possible second retirement from F1 racing by 7-time champion Michael Schumacher.

Hamilton has been a part of the McLaren family since before he was a teenager, working this way up through the various racing formulae. Now he will also be teamed with Mercedes team tech leader Ross Brawn as the German team continues to chase its first constructors championship.

Replacing Hamilton on the McLaren team is Mexican driver Sergio Perez, who has impressed with three podium finishes this year driving for the Sauber team.

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Upcoming Ferrari Enzo II-The Inside Story

Next generation Enzo chassis at Paris
Next generation Enzo chassis at Paris

By inside we mean the one-piece cockpit, central chassis and roof structure of Ferrari’s next Enzo. Rory Byrne, the South African-born mastermind behind numerous Ferrari championship-winning Formula 1 cars, took time during the 2012 Paris Auto Show to explain his latest brainchild.

Byrne noted that while aluminum may be best for Ferrari’s “normal” production cars, but carbon fiber used in various forms and techniques is more suitable for a supercar like the Enzo. Ferrari is able to use specific types of carbon fiber in various areas of the “tub” and roof, which are then joined into one structure.

Thanks in part to the use of finite element analysis, the result is a one-piece unit that has all the strength it needs, but no unnecessary weight. As you can see in the photo, included in the design are the front suspension pick-up points and seat cavities. Note the narrower side sills than in the past, adding interior room. Not seen are the dash crossmember, battery compartment and gas tank protection. What you see reflected below the structure is a Kevlar panel that is fitted underneath to protect the structure from road damage.

Rory Byrne
Rory Byrne

Byrne points out that the results, compared to the first Enzo, produce 27 percent better torsional rigidity and a 22 percent improvement in beam stiffness. Weight has been trimmed by 20 percent with better safety thanks to the design and material efficiencies.

So now we’ve seen two major elements of the next Enzo, this central structure and, at the last Beijing Show, the hybrid drivetrain with its V-12, HY-KERS, lithium-ion batteries and twin-clutch transmission.

We expect to see the Enzo II in late 2012 or early 2013 and can only imagine the bodywork that will grace this structure and that promising driveline.

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Get Out Of Your Car Lease

If you are interested in how to get out of your car lease, you should know that there are several ways to do so. You probably know that getting out of a lease is not as easy getting in and quitting one means that you will be backing out of an original agreement that consisted of low payments over a fixed amount of time. Taking into consideration that leasing is not renting, you do not have the possibility to return the car to the company and simply walk away.

Your first option to terminate the contract would be to return the vehicle and do the remaining payments, which could cost you a great deal. In most cases, this isn’t the greatest way to get rid of the lease because most likely, what you will actually pay will be a lot more than what you anticipated. The reason for this is because the lease companies have their own ways of calculating what you still owe. Remember to read the small print on the back of the contract before signing the deal. You would be surprised finding out how much you still have to pay although you have made lots of payments.

Moving on to another alternative. Transferring the lease is the best and most affordable way to get rid of the payments. A lease assumption comes with significant advantages like the fact that you will not have to pay any penalties or payoffs. However, you will have to pay some transfer fees but the good thing is that your credit score will not be affected by this lease assumption. You would be surprised to find out how many people are looking to take over a lease.

Keep in mind that this lease transfer is not allowed by all companies and even if they do, you’ll have to follow a procedure as you cannot “give” the lease to the other person without notifying the leasing company. The “lessee” must get approval and sign new lease papers.

types of car lease Get Out Of Your Car Lease

Another way to get out of your car lease would be to get in touch with the leasing company and ask about a trade-in. Nowadays, dealers are eager to get rid of the cars in their lots and you will have plenty of room to negotiate. Always remember to use well-though tactics like offering the leased car as a trade-in before signing the deal.

Your last attempt would be to negotiate the terms and conditions of the lease, although these two are non-negotiable. Try to do your homework and learn all there is to it about the lease and maybe the company will let you break the lease without charging any penalties or at least change the contract so that it will be more convenient for you.

As you can see, there are several ways to get rid of the car lease, but we highly recommend only one: transferring it to another person. This way, your credit score will not be affected and you will not have to pay those ridiculously high fees.

Mopar to Display 20 Vehicles – 2012 SEMA Show

Mopar to Display 20 Vehicles

These sketches show a handful of the customized vehicles that will be displayed by Mopar at the 2012 SEMA Show. The show is set to open on October 30, 2012 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Mopar to Display 20 Vehicles

The company, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, will display more than 20 Moparized Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Fiat and SRT vehicles at the show.

Mopar to Display 20 Vehicles

“At Mopar, we always look forward to the SEMA season,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “The show is an opportunity for us to inspire owners to customize their vehicles, and it’s the perfect place to showcase our vast portfolio of quality-tested performance parts and accessories.”

Mopar to Display 20 Vehicles

Mopar to Display 20 Vehicles

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BMW Classic Car Show

BMW is an important German car manufacturer known worldwide because of its high-performance automobiles that always display innovative designs. Many people choose to buy such reliable cars and the ones that can’t afford it are excited about being part of the spectacular BMW classic car shows.

One of these events is the BMW classic car show that takes place each year at the Santa Pod Raceway. Introduced in 2006, this event has become more and more popular each year and therefore has significantly increased in size. This is different from other BMW car shows because it’s focused on races that are organized throughout the day for all the BMW fans. It’s a great place to be even if you are interested in the latest models, in BMW classics, retro rides or even BMW bikes. There’s something for each one of us to admire.

In 2010, the organizers decided to add an hour of RWYB (Run What You Bring – only BMWs) which is completely free. You can also enjoy the free handling track that is ideal for con-dodging and also the drift demos presented. Some incredible car and bike stunt drivers were also part of the event along with the 270mph Fireforce Jet Car and have done a great job in keeping the audience content. If we add to the tyre-smoke and the engine revs some static elements such as the BMW Drivers Racing Club, some Formula 1 ingredients (the show car and the simulator), the show and shine competition and many other opportunities you can discover the recipe of success. Another advantage was represented by the possibility to benefit from free camping as long as you were a weekend ticket holder. The atmosphere was as incredible as the cars displayed and convinced many people to not miss the 2011 edition that announces to be at least as spectacular. If I got you interested make sure to be on the 10th of July at the Santa Pod Raceway for a relaxing weekend.

BMW Classic Car Show opt BMW Classic Car Show

BMW Classic Car Show

Another representative BMW classic car show is the Oktoberfest organized by the BMW Car Club of America. This is obviously a car club designed to bring together the American BMW car owners and which decided to host Oktoberfest. The 2011 edition is planned to take place in Birmingham at the Barber Motorsport Park. This BMW focused event is based on multiple contests that are designed to test the overall performance of the participant BMW’s, the BMW knowledge of the owners and the racing abilities of the cars. This is not an event limited to the club’s members. Any owner of a BMW can feel free to attend the event and have a great time as long as he takes the time necessary to register on this club’s website.

A third BMW car show I can mention is the ZFest BMW classic car show. This is an event organized by the Z Series Car Club of America, each year during the Labor Day weekend. The 2010 edition was held in Los Angeles, California and brought together the owners and admirers of Z class BMW models. The Z1, Z3, Z4 and Z8 models were welcome to attend the event no matter if they were owned or not by a member of the Z Series Car Club. The 2011 edition of the ZFest will be organized September 1-3 in Greenville, SC and plans to gather as many BMW Z Roadsters and Coupes as possible. You can’t yet register for the event, but the organizers will soon put at your disposal a link that will help you register fast and easy.

Sonoma Raceway’s European Lollapalooza

Photos courtesy of Sonoma Raceway

Pal Varhaug-Auto GP

Sonoma Raceway embraces the obscure with three cult racing series from across the pond.

As a lover of semi-obscure, non-mainstream bands, I couldn’t wait to attend the first Lollapalooza tour in 1991.

Organized by Jane’s Addiction front man Perry Ferrell, the alternative rock freak-fest made one of its early stops in northern California, and between seeing Jane’s, Living Colour, The Rollins Band and Ice-T’s rap/rock group Body Count, it was a smorgasbord of indie delight.

I couldn’t help but think of Lollapalooza last weekend when Sonoma Raceway imported a European mash-up of racing series that played to crowd of just over 10,000 fans—kindred souls who were drawn to the appeal of three ‘indie’ championships.

To start, the FIA’s World Touring Car Championship is by no means a hidden gem on the international stage, but in America, the WTCC has a smaller, cult following.

Touted as a traveling circus of wheel-banging tin-tops, the trio of factory Chevy Cruze drivers delivered on that promise, trading positions in treacherous corners like the Carousel and other you-must-have-a-good-chiropractor locations that pose unfavorable risk/reward ratios.

Cruze drivers Yvan Muller and Rob Huff won the pair of sprint races while an assortment of drivers managed to spin and crash into each other behind them.

WTCC Chevy Cruze Trio

The costs involved with racing a WTCC car at Sonoma also caught my attention when one of the privateer teams rang me on Wednesday—two days before the start of free practice—to ask if I knew of any local drivers that had the skills and qualifications to pilot one of their entries.

With one of its scheduled drivers backing out at the last minute, I suggested a number of pros who work in and around the track, but as the conversation evolved, it was clear I misinterpreted the meaning of ‘qualifications.’

Silly me; I had ‘driving qualifications’ in mind while the team was thinking more along the lines of ‘paying qualifications.’

Asked how much they wanted for a privateer entry on such short notice, I’ll admit that I managed a laugh-snort when I heard the sum of “55 grand” mentioned over the phone. I don’t know how much the ride ultimately sold for, but I did suggest that I could place a driver in two different GT cars at next year’s Rolex 24 At Daytona for about the same price…

With the WTCC as its headliner, Sonoma Raceway was treated to its regular opening act, the Auto GP series.

Comprised of ex-A1GP chassis and engines, the spec open-wheel category is known for producing incredibly entertaining races…which is helpful.

Where the WTCC features a few drivers road racing fans might have heard of, a run down the Auto GP entry list is a lot like watching the credits scroll through the ‘Henchmen’ section of a documentary about the Mongolian Mob.

Pal Varhaug? Check. Sergey Sirotkin? You bet. Facu Regalia? Yes, that’s actually a real person. Max Snegirev? Also real. Yann Cunha? Probably real. Sten Pentus? OK, he might be a made-up character, but they all drove in Auto GP cars last weekend.

Maserati Trofeo

Like portions of the Lollapalooza roster, if you ignore the names and just soak in what’s being put forth, Auto GP’s cast of drivers certainly added some much needed variety to the program.

The final act in Sonoma’s Obscure-O-Rama race weekend was the Maserati GranTurismo MC Trofeo World Series championship.

The 24-car grid of shapely Italian coupes featured actor/racer Patrick Dempsey—something that was mentioned a good 5000 times during pre-event promotions—and a number of ALMS and Grand-AM regulars, including Johannes van Overbeek, Alex Popow and Henri Richard.

Take the angry little WTCC cars, change the pace with swoopy Auto GP open-wheelers and cap it off with sexy Maseratis, and you have the makings of something cool and possibly sustainable at the track formerly known as Sears Point.

When it was over, Sonoma’s Euro Lollapalooza didn’t exactly pack the stands, but it did offer a unique opportunity for domestic fans to get a taste of something different than the familiar IndyCar/NASCAR/Drag/Moto/Sports Car events on the calendar.

And with two more years left on the WTCC contract, I can’t wait to see what kind of bizarre entourage the FIA drags along to entertain the crowd in 2013.

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Peugeot Onyx Concept – 2012 Paris Auto Show Preview

Peugeot Onyx Concept

2012 Paris Auto Show

You have to love a car that comes with copper doors, a felt-lined cabin, and dashboard “wood” made from recycled newspaper. The Peugeot Onyx is set to take the Paris Auto Show by storm on September 27, when this rear-wheel-drive super coupe is officially unveiled during the show’s media preview. Powering the Onyx is a 600-bhp diesel-electric powertrain based around a 3.7-liter V-8 engine. A kinetic energy recovery system, similar to the one Peugeot employed on its 24 Hours of Le Mans 908 racecar, helps capture energy under braking, and transfers it from the flywheel to a compact lithium-ion battery pack. With the push of a button, the driver can call up an extra 80 bhp on demand. The Onyx remains purely a concept and is not scheduled for production. Though you could always start saving newspapers and collecting pennies if you want to create a replica.

Peugeot Onyx Concept


2012 Paris Auto Show NewsPhotos: Best of 2012 Paris Auto Show

Full Coverage: 2012 Paris Auto Show >>
Photos: 2012 Paris Auto Show >>


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Tesla Introduces Free Topups at Supercharger Stations

Supercharger Stations

The distance from Los Angeles to Las Vegas is 265 miles, coincidentally this happens to be the official EPA range for the Tesla Model S when fitted with the 85 kWh battery pack.

It means that if you drove a Model S at a steady 60 mph or so you’d make it on a full battery charge – but only just.
However owners of this well received all-electric car that I briefly drove back in June can now make the journey at a faster clip without having to worry about running out of juice. That’s as long as they are willing to stop off in Barstow on the way for half an hour.

Yesterday Tesla revealed that it has built six Supercharger stations in California where the 85 kWh battery in the Model S can be replenished to “half full” in 30 minutes, extending the range by a further 150 miles.

Supercharger Stations

The 480-volt electricity used by the Supercharger comes from a solar carport system provided by SolarCity, which happens to be another company founded by Elon Musk, Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO.

Best of all because the Supercharger stations have almost zero marginal energy cost after installation, Tesla is able to provide the charge free of cost to Model S owners.

Tesla says each solar power system is designed to generate more energy from the sun over the course of a year than is consumed by Tesla vehicles using the Supercharger. This results in a slight net positive transfer of sunlight generated power back to the electricity grid.

By next year, Tesla plans to install Superchargers in high traffic corridors across the continental United States, enabling fast, purely electric travel from Vancouver to San Diego, Miami to Montreal and Los Angeles to New York. Tesla will also begin installing Superchargers in Europe and Asia in the second half of 2013.

Supercharger Stations

“Tesla’s Supercharger network is a game changer for electric vehicles, providing long distance travel that has a level of convenience equivalent to gasoline cars for all practical purposes. However, by making electric long distance travel at no cost, an impossibility for gasoline cars, Tesla is demonstrating just how fundamentally better electric transport can be,” said Elon Musk, as he unveiled the long rumored plan. “We are giving Model S the ability to drive almost anywhere for free on pure sunlight.”

I happen to be driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas tomorrow in a Subaru XV. Odds are I will stop in Barstow for gas and a quick bite. If I’d known a Tesla Model S could have made the journey, without giving me range anxiety, I’d have been more than happy to drive one. You’ve got to hand it to Tesla – the company is going a long way to make electric cars a practical proposition for more than just short distances.

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