Category Archives: January 2012
As savvy drivers know—and the experts at Consumer Reports confirm—it takes more than just a low MSRP for a car to offer high value. Factors such as ownership costs, fuel costs, reliability, utility and (at least) a competent driving experience can be just as important. And when CR took all those attributes into account for some 200 recently tested vehicles, the 2012 Honda Fit didn’t just represent a good value, it offered the best value—in the entire industry.
According to Consumer Reports, “the versatile, fun-to-drive Fit scored among the top subcompact hatchbacks we’ve tested and has had outstanding reliability,” while also posting low ownership costs. The car also showcases an affordable starting price of $15,175, which still brings drivers plenty of standard features, including:
- A four-speaker, 160-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA sound system with a USB port and auxiliary jack
- Power windows/locks/side mirrors
- Air conditioning with an air-filtration system
- Cruise control
- Honda’s Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control System
- Anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution
- One of the most versatile interiors in the segment, thanks to the Fit’s “Magic Seat” flip-and-fold second-row seating
Thrify EPA ratings are part of the value package as well: The Fit is capable of achieving up to 28 mpg city/35 mpg highway/31 mpg combined.
Honda also continues to work to show “value” and “refinement” aren’t mutually exclusive. Thus, for 2012, the Fit benefits from extensive new sound insulation materials in its floor, front fender and A-pillars, along with thicker glass in its front corner windows. New console-mounted cup holders and console ambient lighting have been added as well, with the result being a quieter cabin with a more upscale feel.
Come by Okotoks Honda today to test drive this fantastic vehicle and look at other Honda vehicles that compare.
Suspension and steering systems take tremendous abuse. All automotive suspension systems — including the tires — need regular maintenance to perform at their best. Here are the top four symptoms that should indicate your suspension and steering systems may need maintenance:
- “Pulling” in one direction or the other: If your car tries to turn in one direction or the other while you’re driving, a number of maintenance issues could be at work. It could be as simple as low air pressure in one ore more tires. Your wheels could also be out of alignment, which can be cured with a four-wheel alignment. More serious issues could include a faulty steering tie rod, a sticky brake caliper, or even a worn wheel bearing.
- Steering wheel vibrates back and forth: If your steering wheel seems to shimmy back and forth at various speeds, there are a few suspension components that could be causing it. Something as simple as a bent wheel or a tire that’s out of round could be the culprit. Wheels also need to be balanced when tires are mounted, and from time to time, the balance can change, causing wheel shimmy. Uneven tire wear can also cause the problem. Most seriously, a bad tie rod end could provide just enough slop in the steering system to cause wheel shimmy.
- Excessive bouncing: If your car continues to bounce after you’ve hit a bump, the most common culprit is a set of worn shock absorbers or McPherson struts. Both of these components serve to damp the motion of the wheels as you drive over pavement irregularities, and they do need replacement at regular intervals.
- Clanking noise over bumps: Your suspension system should operate silently under normal driving conditions. If you hear banging or clanking noises when you hit a bump, it could be a number of suspension components causing the racket. A worn upper or lower control arm, a broken shock or strut, or a worn steering component can cause a ruckus under the car. It could also be something as simple as a loose exhaust component banging against the floor of the car.
Whatever your suspension complaints are, we can help you get them sorted out. Once the car is up on the lift, we can diagnose the causes and our service advisers can steer you in the right direction.
- Honda-Trained Mechanics: Franchised auto dealers invest hundreds of thousands in factory training every year to keep their technicians abreast of the latest changes in technology.
- Honda-Approved Tools and Equipment: Diagnostic equipment and specialty tools cost thousands. Independent shops — even those manned by former factory techs — don’t usually have the capital to invest in such equipment.
- ASE Certification: There are more than 40 different National Institute for Auto Service Excellence (ASE) certification tests. Only shops with the money and the human capital to invest in these certifications can provide such a broad range of specialties
- Honda Service for your Honda Car: Why choose a shop that can only do a handful of services on your car, when you can visit a Honda-authorized service center than can service everything from simple oil changes to the many complex electronic systems in your Honda?
- Genuine Honda Parts: Honda parts and accessories are the highest quality available. Why trust your car to knockoff, aftermarket parts when Genuine Honda Parts are just a phone call away?
If you are thinking about buying a car in 2012, now is the time to do some planning, so you’ll be fully prepared when it comes time to make your purchase. Whether you end up buying a new or used car, chances are it will be the second most expensive item you own next to your home, so it makes financial sense to avoid any snap decisions. Here are 12 tips to ensure you buy an affordable car.
Determining what you can afford, not just for the car itself but for all ownership costs, is important before you settle on a certain make or model. Though spending no more than 20 percent of your monthly household income on all the cars in your household is a general rule of thumb, you may be able to afford more or less. Bankrate’s home budget calculator will help you calculate how much you can afford to spend. Keep in mind this number should cover all costs, including monthly payments, insurance, fuel, repairs and maintenance.
You’ve probably already started noticing cars that interest you. Make note of them and start researching them online at the automakers’ websites and third-party vehicle information sites. Make sure your research includes assessing all of the car’s features that are important to you as well as invoice and retail prices. Keep a file of your research, but don’t head to Okotoks Honda for a test drive just yet.
Don’t assume you’ll get the most bang for your buck buying a used car. Used cars are in high demand and usually more expensive than ever, while many new cars have substantial rebates and other “perks” such as rewards programs, roadside assistance and so many more.
With used cars, however, you let someone else take the initial depreciation hit, while with new cars, you have the benefit of the full factory warranty. Sometimes certified pre-owned cars offer the best of both worlds: a car that’s already experienced the bulk of its depreciation yet has a longer warranty.
To determine if the cars on your short list are within your budget, check the ownership costs for each car. This information is available at many third-party vehicle information sites. But keep in mind the ownership costs on these sites are averages. Your actual costs, especially for fuel and insurance, may vary greatly.
Call your insurance agent to get a quote for the cars using your current coverage as a gauge, and do the math on your fuel costs based on the average price of gas in your area and the typical number of miles you drive.
Every car has a history, and you should know it. For new and used cars, check the model’s reliability ratings to get an idea of how much you’ll spend on repairs as well as how often you may find yourself bringing those cars in for service. For used cars, run a CarProof report using the car’s vehicle identification number, or VIN, to see if the car has any red flags, such as a serious accident, a lemon buyback or flood damage.
Don’t wait until you are in Okotoks Honda to determine initial financing. Use Bank of Canada to see current interest rates nationwide. Also, check with local lenders, including credit unions, which are often 1 percent to 2 percent less than conventional banks. Remember, that as third-party lenders and convential banks use fixed and variable rates, collateral on these loans are high. Sticking with Okotoks Honda Financing, you fixed rates are always guaranteed.
There are now many available financing options to anyone living in their area, eliminating the need to work at a certain company to join. With credit loosening, blank-check auto loans — or prearranged financing — are being offered more widely, and they allow you to negotiate without wondering about your interest rate.
Although Okotoks Honda focuses on helping you find the right car at the right price, we also have years of experience with auto financing. Our relationships with Honda Canada and other banks are extensive, allowing for an easier transition for approvals and financing. That is why you will always get clear and informed quotes from Okotoks Honda.
8. Weigh cash-back rebates versus low-interest loans
The low-interest loans offered by manufacturers are designed to entice clients looking for affordable payments, but actually, the toss-up happens between the low rate and the high incentive. When you do qualify though, a low-interest loans may not be the best choice for you and your financing since you would be giving up a high cash rebate which offsets the cost of borrowing with interest rates. Determine the best interest rate you qualify for and then use Honda Canada’s car rebate vs. low-interest calculator to determine the best deal.
Manufacturer websites will list all of the current cash-back rebates so make note of those before you visit Okotoks Honda. Also use third-party vehicle information sites to research dealers’ incentives. While 95% of the time, cash incentives are from the manufacturer, Okotoks Honda sometimes have in-house rebates to assist with trade values, price reductions or accessories - but you have to ask for it.
Once you’ve decided on the car you want, you have options to visit third-party vehicle information sites and spec out the exact car you want including model year, trim level, engine, transmission and any options. It is always to be completely informed before making a decision. Print out the pricing page and utilize these tools in your discussions and pricing - allowing for fair profit margins for the dealer and best deals for you. Once you’ve negotiated the price, ensure that all cash-back rebates, personal discounts and dealers’ incentives are transparent and disclosed.
Check all third-party vehicle information sites to determine what your car is worth on a trade. Understand that the values you find are based on wholesale pricing vs. retail pricing on AutoTrader.ca. Discussions take place when determining the price of the trade in relation to the vehicle you are buying. Never deal exclusively on both. Utilize trade values and vehicle pricing to get the best deal as possible. At Okotoks Honda, they have many tools and resources to ensure the pricing is fair to you and to the dealership.
While other dealers may expect you to make your decision on a 15-minute test drive, you should take all the time you need. Be sure your test drive allows you to drive a short distance on city streets and get up to speed on a highway. Also, try pulling into and out of a parking space. Let Okotoks Honda allow you to take all the time you need to make your decision. If need be, 24 – 48 hour test drives are available.
If you need to carry certain cargo or install car seats, bring those items along to the dealership to test their fit. Spend some time with the car parked going over the controls, seating, and mirror and pedal positions to help ensure you’ll be comfortable for the long-term.
When considering used cars that are offered for privately sale, it’s important to have a complete history of the car. This is to ensure that you get a vehicle that has not been involved in any accident that may have permanently damaged it and made it difficult to drive.
There are many websites that will list used cars for sale and will give you an option to get the history of the vehicle. CarProof, for example, is a perfect example for owners to consider so they can have all the details that you need to get and the history of the vehicle as well. Although there is an initial fee to purchase a report, the information is absolutely valuable. These reports are also available at Okotoks Honda at a reduced rate.
But in order to get any report, you must get the car’s VIN or vehicle identification number. The VIN can be used to secure the complete background of the vehicle so you’re sure the owner is giving you accurate information. When you get the VIN, the CarProof report will in fact, give you nationwide information you need:
1. Country of Origin
2. Lien Particulars
3. Accident Claims
4. Odometer Readings
5. Insurance and Registration Information
At the end of the day, there are many reasons why getting a used car is more preferable to a new one. Although these reasons work for some clients, they may not work for others:
1. Used cars traditionally require lower insurance premiums
2. They do not incur the initial depreciation like a new vehicle does. Yet, you must consider that how the previous owners drove their vehicle, conditions of the vehicle or any other history is uncontrollable to you.
If you do choose to a used vehicle, it’s important that you first determine what you want to use it for. This helps in making a decision as to the exact make and model of the car you want to get. This then makes it easier to look up the used cars that are available privately or via a dealership.
Nevertheless, no matter what option you choose, the above reports are always available from Okotoks Honda. You can be confident that CarProof reports, Service Records, Safety Inspections are all available with our used vehicles. Reduced interest rates and prices are negotiable. But if there isn’t a car that suits your need in our pre-owned department, then there are plenty of new cars to choose from.
Call us today at Okotoks Honda and speak to any one of our Certified Sales Associates for further information.