The Roadmap To Car Shopping Success
(NAPSI)-Despite a wealth of information available to help consumers find a
vehicle, the car shopping process can still be intimidating for some--especially
A recent survey from AutoTrader.com,
the Internet's leading auto classifieds marketplace and consumer information
website, found that about one in four women finds shopping for a vehicle
"stressful," compared to only 15 percent of men. Furthermore, while
nearly half of men feel "certain and confident" when visiting car
dealerships, only one in four women feels the same way.
According to Courtney Hansen, host of Spike TV's "Powerblock"
and author of "The Garage Girl's Guide to Everything You Need to Know About
Your Car," shopping for a car can be a fun and rewarding experience,
regardless of the buyer's automotive know-how.
"Long gone are the days when making car purchases is a man's role. In
fact, women influence over 80 percent of all automotive sales," she
says. "Doing your homework on sites like AutoTrader.com and arming yourself with
a few simple tips will help anyone in the market for a new car feel more
satisfied with the purchase in the end."
Developed by Hansen, the new AutoTrader.com
Roadmap to Car Shopping Success makes it easy for women to approach the car-
shopping experience with certainty, regardless of how car savvy they are. It
also provides them with tips and insights needed to find the right vehicle
Some of these tips, available at www.AutoTrader.com/roadmap,
Researching and Planning
• Determine what vehicle features--passenger seating, storage
capacity, fuel costs and part replacement--are essential to your lifestyle.
• Compare vehicles, research prices, look at videos and photos, find
specials and access local inventory on sites like AutoTrader.com. Bring this research to
the dealer or seller.
Visiting a Dealership or
• Ask questions to show that you're prepared and knowledgeable.
• Get up and take a walk if you ever feel uncomfortable.
Test-Driving and Inspection
• Bring a friend to the test-drive and to help you fully examine the
body, interior and engine.
• Conduct a thorough visual inspection after the test-drive.
Considerations and Precautions
• Get a CARFAX history report before buying any pre-owned vehicle,
based on the vehicle's Vehicle Identification Number.
• Review government and insurance company crash test ratings for any
vehicle you're considering.
• Go to the dealership armed with the best interest rate that you
can locate on your own.
• When negotiating a monthly payment, focus on the actual price of
• Ask the dealer or seller to explain how the cost breaks down and
get it in writing.
For more information, visit www.AutoTrader.com/roadmap.
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Make It A
Priority: Create A Hands-Free Environment In Your Vehicle
(NAPSI)-Although busy schedules and the growing demands of everyday life
are helping pave the way to a very dangerous highway trend--texting or
talking on handheld cell phones while driving--you can save yourself. The
fact is, in spite of growing accident statistics and a number of laws banning
the use of handheld devices while behind the wheel, millions of motorists
still think it’s acceptable to multitask while driving.
Driving a vehicle is a complex skill that requires your full attention.
Operating a handheld phone, using the navigation system or controlling the
air or audio can be driver distractions that can take your eyes off the road
or your hands from the steering wheel.
Statistics show that driver distractions are major contributors to
automobile crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration, nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes that involved
distracted driving. Also, the National Safety Council estimates that 28
percent of crashes-1.6 million crashes per year-can be attributed to cell
phone talking and texting while driving.
Fortunately, one luxury automaker offers an array of technologies in its
vehicles to help reduce driver distractions. Standard equipment on Lexus
vehicles includes steering wheel controls for audio, Bluetooth technology and
voice recognition. In addition, some models with navigation have a thin film
transistor multi-informational or available heads-up display that shows the
driver turn-by-turn directions within his or her sight line.
At the push of a steering wheel button, the Bluetooth technology allows
hands-free outgoing phone calls using voice commands to dial by name or
number from select Bluetooth cell phones. A microphone built into the car
lets you talk without holding your mobile phone, and the other caller’s
voice is channeled through the vehicle’s audio system. To answer an
incoming call, the driver simply presses a button on the steering wheel.
Additional hands-free features are taken to new heights with the available
navigation system’s voice command/voice recognition technology. Voice
command enables you to place calls with your compatible Bluetooth phone and
operate climate, audio and navigation functions. For example, if you say
“lower temperature,” the climate control will be reduced by one
degree. If you say “coffeehouse,” from the destination menu, the
navigation screen will display options in your surrounding area.
An advanced telematics system, Safety Connect or Lexus Enform with Safety
Connect, is available on all new Lexus vehicles with a complimentary one-year
trial subscription. Safety Connect helps provide peace of mind and includes
an Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), Automatic Collision Notification,
Enhanced Roadside Assistance and Stolen Vehicle Location.
For convenience, vehicles equipped with navigation feature Lexus Enform
services, Destination Assist and eDestination, plus the four Safety Connect services.
By simply pressing the Destination Assist button on the navigation screen,
whether you’re driving or parked, a live agent comes on to help locate
a specific address or point of interest. The agent wirelessly sends the
location to the vehicle’s navigation system for route guidance.
Driver distraction is a growing trend that affects everyone. By using
common sense and taking simple steps such as incorporating and utilizing the
hands-free devices in your vehicle, you can help reduce driver distraction
and drive more safely by keeping your eyes on the road and hands on the
You can find more about these features at www.lexus.com.
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Save Young Lives--Stop For The School Bus
(NAPSI)-When it comes to staying on the road to safety, drivers can give
themselves a more than passing grade if they remember not to pass a school
bus loading and unloading children. To do so is illegal, and for good reason.
The potential for injury caused by motorists passing a stopped school bus
with its red lights flashing and stop arm extended is extremely high.
The Good News
School buses are the safest way to get to and from school; nearly 12 times
safer than passenger vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration. Buses today are safer than ever and have numerous
The greatest danger riders face is getting on or off the bus. According to
the School Bus Information Clearinghouse, a service of the National
Association for Pupil Transportation, dozens of children are seriously
injured each year in school bus−related pedestrian accidents. While
it's always wise to avoid distracted driving, this can be especially vital
during mornings and afternoons, when buses are on the road.
What Drivers Can Do
"The safety and security of the students we carry is our core value.
Schoolchildren are put at risk each time a motorist on the road decides to
save a few seconds and illegally pass a stopped school bus," said Linda
Burtwistle, president of First Student, the nation's largest provider of
student transportation. "It is unconscionable that tens of thousands of
motorists illegally pass school buses every day."
"Passing a stopped school bus that has its red lights flashing and
stop arm extended while boarding or unloading is one of the leading
violations involving motorists and school buses," explained Chuck
Canterbury, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, the nation's
largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers. "Law enforcement
agencies are working with community leaders, schools and transportation
providers to reduce the number of stop arm violations," Canterbury added.
What Students Can Do
Students can also take steps to improve safety when getting on and off the
bus. Paying attention, listening and looking both ways before stepping on or
off the bus or crossing the street is simple but important advice.
"Another problem we see emerging is 'distracted walking,' often caused
by hoodies and headphones. These items can impair students' key senses when
sweatshirt hoods block their full vision and earphones drown out other
sounds. Students are also becoming increasingly distracted by texting and using
other portable electronic devices," said Burtwistle.
For more safety information and tips, visit www.firststudentinc.com.
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Can Help Teen Drivers
(NAPSI)-There’s good news for parents of teens who are about to get
behind the wheel. Because experts agree that parents can have a tremendous
impact on the safety of their teen drivers, AAA has created a new website to
help parents get involved in their teen’s driver education and
TeenDriving.AAA.com is designed
to be easy to use and provides users with specific information based on where
they live and where their child is in the learning process—from
preparing to drive (pre-permit) through the learner’s permit and solo
Plus, it can help eliminate confusion and guesswork, with everything
parents need to know in one place.
“Parental involvement is critical in developing safe and prepared
teen drivers,” said AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet. “AAA
recognizes the learning-to-drive process can be intimidating, particularly
for today’s busy families. TeenDriving.AAA.com
is a unique and comprehensive teen driver safety website that simplifies the
process by offering parents the tools and resources they need as they
progress through each stage of the process. This makes what can be a daunting
task for parents and teens much easier to manage.”
Featured on the site is Start- Smart, a series of online newsletters and
webisodes based on the National Institutes of Health’s Checkpoints
program, which has been scientifically shown to help parents improve teen
driver safety and is being offered nationally for the first time. Some of the
topics covered in these 18 newsletters and webisodes include:
• Nighttime driving;
• Distracted driving;
• Alcohol and other drugs; and
• Developing parent-teen driving agreements.
The site also offers an online version of the Dare to Prepare workshop and
lessons from the motor club’s Teaching Your Teen to Drive coaching
program, both of which assist both young people learning to drive as well as
Parents can also find information about their state’s graduated
driver licensing (GDL) system, how to select a driving school and finding the
right vehicle for their teens. Parents will also learn how to better prepare
their teen for common risks and about driving in adverse conditions.
In a recent study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, only
25 percent of teens practiced under a variety of conditions, including bad
weather and nighttime driving.
For more information, visit TeenDriving.AAA.com.
And for additional safety tips and for information on other AAA services,
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Need To Know To Buy A Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle
(NAPSI)-Car buyers no longer have to choose between buying a new car or a
A new category is attracting the attention of cost- and quality-conscious
That category is certified pre-owned and it offers several benefits.
Buyers don’t have to spend top dollar to get the cars they long for
but, on the other hand, they don’t face many of the risks associated
with buying a used car.
Certified pre-owned programs don’t just take any car. For example,
not all pre-owned Lexus vehicles are worthy of the Certified Pre-Owned (CPO)
designation. If a model is older than six years or driven for more than
70,000 miles, it’s immediately rejected.
Every vehicle in the program must pass a comprehensive 161-point
inspection by a Lexus-trained technician.
If any discovered flaws cannot be repaired to the manufacturer’s
standards, the vehicle won’t be certified.
Because each vehicle is reconditioned and inspected, Lexus offers a
three-year-from-the-date-of-purchase or 100,000-total-vehicle-mile limited
warranty, whichever occurs first. This is included in the purchase price.
If you are considering buying a certified pre-owned vehicle, you may want
to be sure:
• the vehicle is certified by the manufacturer rather than the
According to Edmunds.com, manufacturer-certified programs are more
reliable, as they tend to go through more rigorous testing.
• you are entitled to a Carfax vehicle history report. This can help
both you and the dealer identify potential problems that might otherwise be
difficult to detect.
• that you receive 24-hour roadside assistance, trip interruption
coverage and dealership amenities.
A strict certification process can eliminate many of the risks associated
with financing pre-owned vehicles.
Before you make a decision, ask yourself the following questions:
What does certification mean and what does it cover? Get the details, and
if you don’t understand something, ask more questions. For example,
does certification mean that parts that were used for any necessary
mechanical repairs are warranted by the manufacturer?
• When can you take it for a spin? Even though the car has been
repaired by a factory technician, take it for a test-drive and give it the
Do the doors open easily? Does the paint match? Check for the VIN number.
What’s the price? Before you buy, go online to a recognized site
such as Edmunds.com or Kelley Blue Book and see what the certified pre-owned
price should be. Then you have a ballpark figure to discuss.
What are you getting for the price? Under pre-owned certification
programs, you may get the same kind of warranty and extras that you get with
a new car. The Lexus CPO program, for example, entitles you to 24-hour
roadside assistance, trip interruption coverage and dealership amenities. In
addition, the vehicle’s first basic service is complimentary and a
loaner vehicle will be provided for qualified repairs.
For more information, visit www.lexus.com/cpo
or see your Lexus CPO dealer for details.
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Car Battery On Track For Winter
(NAPSI)-Preventing a frozen battery in the winter is easier than you may
think if you take some time to check out the situation before nasty weather
To ensure that your car battery starts dependably, no matter how
outrageous the weather, Interstate Batteries cold weather expert Gale
Kimbrough offers some simple tips to protect your car battery against severe
Test the starting power: The cold weather can dramatically reduce a
battery’s available starting power, so have the vehicle’s
starting and charging system tested every three months or every oil change.
Charge the battery: Use a battery charger to maintain charge levels and
keep the battery in good condition. If the battery is more than three years
old, it should be tested to make sure it can survive the coldest winter
Test the battery: Have the battery tested before taking a long trip or
after it’s been recharged.
Inspect the battery cables, posts and fasteners: Preparing your car for
the winter doesn’t end with the battery itself. You need to inspect
your battery cables, posts and fasteners. Make sure the cables are in good
shape and are secured firmly to the battery. Corrosion keeps power from
flowing freely from the battery, reducing the power that is available to
start the car.
Keep it clean: Clean the battery terminals with a wire brush or spray some
battery cleaner on the terminals.
In just 30 seconds, Interstate
Center locations can
provide motorists with a free printout analysis of their vehicle’s
battery condition-from projected battery life to cranking performance. It’s
important to have the battery and electrical system checked by a
professional. Sometimes the naked eye cannot detect the presence of corrosion
because it is hidden under the metal between the connection and the post.
A fully charged battery is the best defense against cold weather and
vehicle nonstarts because engines require more cranking amps in colder
weather. The cold also reduces a battery’s efficiency, reducing its
charge acceptance and ability to start an engine. An engine at 32 degrees
Fahrenheit often demands more than 150 percent cranking power from the
battery than it does at 80 degrees. At 0 degrees Fahrenheit, it can be 250
For more information, visit www.interstatebatteries.com.
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A Lesson In
History Helps Find Great Used Cars
(NAPSI)-Experts say the nation’s economic downturn is causing a
growing number of consumers to see used cars as a smart way to get good value
without having to pay new-car prices.
However, as demand for quality used cars increases, the available supply
is decreasing. To find the right cars, it’s crucial for consumers to do
their homework before they buy.
To help buyers have confidence in vehicles they are considering, a
well-known vehicle history service has introduced a new feature.
History—A Guide To Vehicle Value
Every car has a unique history and, therefore, unique value. A low-mileage
car with records of routine service may be worth more than a similar model
vehicle with high mileage and multiple owners, for example. Carfax, the vehicle history service, can help you
understand how a car’s past history affects its value in the market.
The new Carfax History Impact tool helps
consumers determine if a car is worth more or less than retail book value,
based on vehicle history data reported to the service. This information is
especially useful when comparing similar model cars.
Tips For Buying Online
Today, three in four used-car shoppers are likely to compare vehicles online
before buying. Here are some tips:
• Start by comparing listings to find the best price on sites such
as autotrader.com and cars.com.
• Next, research vehicle retail book values by visiting sites such
as kbb.com and edmunds.com.
• Get a vehicle history report and see how adjusted retail value
compares to the seller’s asking price.
• Be sure to buy from a reputable dealer and have a trusted mechanic
do a prepurchase inspection.
A Valuable History Lesson
Dealers have long considered vehicle history as a key factor when
evaluating and pricing used cars for their inventory. Now used-car consumers
have a tool that gives them more confidence during the buying process by
helping them know what a vehicle is worth, based on
its unique history.
“You can’t buy a car without knowing the price,” said
Larry Gamache, communications director at Carfax. “Consumers can be more confident they are
paying the right price when they see how a vehicle’s history affects
To learn more, visit carfax.com.
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Flood-Damaged Used Cars
(NAPSI)-It’s important to steer clear of used cars that were
waterlogged in floods, hurricanes and other storms. Experts say over 75
percent of declared federal disasters are related to floods. The vehicles can
turn up in areas thousands of miles from where the damage occurred, and
unknowing consumers who purchase a waterdamaged auto from a dishonest seller
may have little recourse.
A Growing Concern
It’s estimated that the number of waterlogged wrecks on the market
has doubled in recent years, despite the fact that most flooddamaged vehicles
are writtten off by insurance companies. Indeed, many of the cars make their
way back to the used-car market, rebuilt and disguised as ordinary used cars
with clean titles. Fortunately, there are ways to spot the telltale signs of
a flood-damaged car. Carfax offers these tips:
Check the trunk, dashboard and glove compartment for silt, mud, rust and
other signs of water damage. You should also examine upholstery and carpeting
closely. If it doesn’t match the interior or fits loosely, it may have
been replaced. Discolored, faded or stained materials might indicate water
Run A Test
Test the interior and exterior lights, as well as the windshield wipers,
turn signals, DC power outlet, radio, heater and air conditioner several
times to be certain they work. Also, turn the ignition key and make sure the
accessory and warning lights and gauges work properly. Be certain the ABS and
air bag lights come on, too.
The Nose Knows
Smell the interior of the car to check for musty odors. It’s also
smart to flex some of the wires beneath the dashboard. Wet wires become
brittle upon drying and may crack.
Get A Second Opinion
Bring the car to a trusted mechanic for a prepurchase inspection. Always
get a vehicle checked before handing money over.
Know Your History
Ask to see a detailed vehicle history report. Thousands of dealers provide
them free—just say, “Show Me the Carfax.” A Carfax Vehicle
History Report can reveal any number of hidden problems from a vehicle’s
past, including flood titles. Used-car shoppers worried about flood damage
can also check for free at flood.carfax.com.
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