Top Causes of Car Accidents


Experts state that the major causes of car accidents are driver distractions. Dangerous distractions that can lead to an accident include cell phones and other gadgets that drivers use as they drive. Cell phones, laptops, electric razors, etc. causes drivers to take their eyes off the road for seconds at a time with the potential to cause a serious, if not deadly, accident. In response to this, some states in the US have banned the use of hand-held cell phones while people are driving. The alternative is to use a hands free ear bud that is lightweight and comfortable, and allows a driver to carry on a conversation without diversions.

Another dangerous distraction is when a driver who has been drinking and then attempts to drive. The effects of alcohol can and does raise havoc behind the while. Anyone with a blood alcohol level of .01 is considered unfit to drive. The effects of driving while intoxicated include drowsiness, loss of focus and the inability to judge distances and reaction times.

Rubbernecking and tailgating are other potentially dangerous habits that many practice while driving. Rubbernecking occurs when drivers slow down to look at another accident on the road or anything that looks unusual on the highway. When a driver slows a car down too quickly, the driver in the car behind often times doesn’t have enough time to slow down or stop and runs into the back of the vehicle in the lead. Rear end collisions can lead to serious injuries. The same applies for tailgating in that a driver who is following a car too closely may not have enough distance to stop suddenly, and the potential for a serious accident is eminent.

A driver’s behavior causes many accidents; still others are caused by mechanical failure or road conditions. There are technical solutions that are available to help with these problems and have contributed to a decline in the death rates caused by automobile accidents. They include proximity monitors that let a driver know how close they are to the vehicle ahead; sobriety detectors, that measure the amount of alcohol that a driver has consumed and drifting monitors that alert a driver when his or her car drifts too far to one side of the road or the other.


Source by Eric Morris

Car Buying Tips – Watch Out for the Curb Stoners


Chances are you have never heard the term curb stoner. However, you might have met one and not even known it. A curb stoner is a “professional” used car seller who poses as a private individual selling his or her own car. You can find curb stoner’s cars everywhere; parking lots, people’s front yard, parked in a parking lot with a for sale sign on it. These types are especially menacing to the average car buyer.

Not to say that buying a car from an individual is bad. However when you run into people who are posing to be something that they are not (telling you that they are selling their personal car when it is just a car that they bought at auction), that is when the problems begin.

There are two surefire ways to beat the curb stoners at their own game. First make sure that you get a CarFax report on the car before you even think about giving them your money. This is simple and costs about $30. It will be the best $30 that you will spend for this purchase. Simply go to the CarFax website and enter the car’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number). You will receive a report that will tell about the odometer history, any wrecks or title abnormalities and a host of information about the car that you are looking to buy. You will have to ask the seller to give you the VIN. A sure sign that there might be something fishy with the seller is if they refuse to let you have the VIN number. At that point, I would just walk away.

Second, make sure that when you are buying a car from an individual (or used car from a dealer for that matter) you have it checked out by a certified mechanic. Like the CarFax report, it will be the best money that you could spend. There might be hidden problems that will not show themselves for several months after you bought the car.

As with all used car purchases, just be aware of any red flags that pop-up along the way. And just remember you can always say, “no I don’t want to buy the car”.


Source by Jeff McKinstry

Don’t Buy a Car From a Tote The Note Dealership


I have been all around the car business for years and I hate to see people make mistakes that hurt them in the end. Simply buying a car from a tote the note dealership is a terrible waist of money, it is always overpriced and does nothing but damage your credit report. The reality is that there are ways to get a car with the same qualifications that a tote the note lot wants you to have. The difference is it will be reported to all the major credit bureaus and usually has a warrantee to give you a piece of mind.

This is how a tote the note lot works, they shop used car auctions and buy cars that major dealers don’t want, usually for under $3000. Most of the time they don’t even dive them if the seller (another used dealer) says that it is good. Then they put it on their lot for $5999, yes that much profit. The reason is simple your down payment is usually about half or all of what they have spent on the car. Then your payments for the next 4-5 years are mostly, or all profit for them, but does nothing for you. In the next four or five years if you have a car problem you are just stuck in a bind. If you call the lot they say it is not their problem, or they say they will have their shady-tree mechanic fix it. Then extend your note so they can make some more money from you. If you can’t afford to fix it you still have to pay or they will repo it, and most times report it onto your credit report. That’s the problem they only report if you default on your credit report. They don’t report all the payments on time you made. They don’t want your credit to get any better so that you and others have to come back and buy cars from them. Then they take that same car and sell it to somebody else, and guess what, this time it is all profit. There is a better way.

There are some major dealerships (Dodge Chevy Ford) that have special finance programs that work especially with people with poor credit, or even no credit and even without a cosigner. The way this works is a car is traded in, and the dealership has their service station inspect it. They load the info like miles, condition, make and model into a program and the special finance lender determines the price. That way you can’t get overcharged. The reason is that the lender does not want to repo the car and have to resale it. That’s why they will usually give you a 2-3 year payment around 250 mo so that you can pay it off quick. Usually they like to cover it with a warrantee for special finance customers. Just incase your car breaks down you will be able to have it fixed and continue your payments.

Here is the best part, a special finance company will report to the bureaus every month of your on time payments, that will start to raise your credit score. All you need is six months to a year of on time payments on your report, and then a regular lender will give you a shot. A major dealership wants your credit to get better so you can comeback and buy again.

“But I went to a major dealership and they embarrassed me about my credit.” you say, not all major dealerships deal with special finance. There is an even easier way; you can apply for your financing online, with special finance lenders. Then you never have to worry about the public rejection of the dealership, and they never see your credit. Most companies will approve you instantly or in 24 hours. You can print your approval out and go and shop like everybody else.

If you need some special finance lenders I have a few listed on my free do it yourself credit repair site []


Source by Jeered Ward

How I Leased a $60,000 Car For Only $111 a Month and Why I Think Dealer Leasing is Dumb


The rational behind leasing a car is simple; you basically rent the car for a period of time then drop it off when the lease expires without any obligation (generally if the car is clean) or further costs.

What you are doing is paying for the depreciation of the vehicle during the lease. So, if a car is new and worth $50,000 today and in 3 years it’s expected to be worth $30,000 then you as the lessee basically pay the depreciation of the car over the 3 years to the lessor and get a new car every 3 years.

Seems simple and smart, right? Wrong, I am going to show you a better way drive cars if you can raise a lump sum of money. For me it was obvious, I am in the business of raising lump sums of money to settle debt.

So a BMW M3 Cabriolet (convertible) is a gorgeous car, it’s a driver’s machine and is truly sublime. A few years ago, and after several years of very frugal living and driving cheap cars my accountant talked me into spending some money. And that was tough for him to do; after all he is the guy that told me cars are a colossal waste of money.

It was 2006 and I was looking for a 2003-4 M3. These cars were selling for $80,000+ brand new. I always buy used and private; for 3 reasons:

1) Let someone else pay the depreciation in the first couple of years

2) Dealers usually lie and just tick me off

3) You can usually negotiate a better price with private sellers.

In 2006 used M3 Cabs were selling for $50,000 – $60,000. A 2003 Imola red M3 Cab for $46,000, with low miles really caught my eye. It was cheaper then the rest and red was a rare colour on these cars; it looked stunning.

So I checked it out, drove it and was really impressed. It was my first real experience in a premium German car and I was sold hook, line and sinker.

There was a catch. It was a US car. No big deal right? Wrong, the car hadn’t sold for a reason. It scared buyers. The owner had imported it as a “salvage title” meaning it had been written off in the US. But he had paperwork (albeit dodgy looking but, I verified it) to show that in the State of New Jersey when are car is stolen and written off, and the vehicle later recovered it gets a “salvage title” because the owner was already paid out by the insurance company.

In other states a salvage title means the car was written off in an accident. Salvage titles can’t be sold in the US again. So it wasn’t in an accident like most people would normally believe and everything including the VIN checked out on the Carfax report. In fact the car was in flawless shape and found by authorities in a shipping crate ready to go across the Atlantic. It was sold at an auction by the insurance company to my seller.

So the next step was to negotiate a final price. I knew the car was up for sale for almost 6 weeks because I was following the used car ads. That told me the seller was having a difficult time unloading the car because of its history. So I told him, “regardless of the asking price, this car would be very tough for me to unload when I needed to get out of it”, and he knew it was true. I offered him $38,000 and after some negotiating we settled on $40,000.

I got a car everyone else was selling for $60,000 or more with lower miles (only 35,000 miles when I got it) for considerably less.

I enjoyed the car for about 36 months, put on another 30,000 miles and sold it for $36,000 (I fully disclosed the history to the buyer), my cost to carry the car for 3 years was only about $111/m in depreciation to drive a premium German automobile.

Comparable used cars were leasing for about $900/m with $5,000 down at the time I bought mine.

That’s how I like to buy cars. It’s easy and don’t be afraid of private sellers and cheap car ads, check them out; sometimes there is a good reason behind it and nothing really to worry about if you do a little homework and dig deeper.


Source by Richard G Cooper

Understanding Car Titles


Individuals who purchase cars, regardless of whether they are used or new, should receive the titles for those vehicles when they assume ownership. The title shows that the individual owns the automobile and is legally registered as the owner.

A title in general is a document that legally establishes ownership over a piece of property. A title is sometimes called a deed for certain types of property, but it is usually a title when it applies to a vehicle.

When an individual goes to buy a car, the previous owner should have the title. If the previous owner does not have the title, then it probably is not safe to purchase the automobile. This holds true whether the seller is a private citizen or a used car dealership.

It is important to note that individuals who finance their vehicles will not have the titles to their vehicles until they have paid the full amount of the car to the lending institution. In the meantime, the lending institution is considered the legal owner of the vehicle, which is what allows them to repossess vehicles when their owners are delinquent on payments.

After an individual agrees to buy a car, he or she should work with the vehicle’s previous owner to have the titled transferred into his or her name. If the individual buys from a used car dealer, then the dealership will usually take care of this step as part of the car buying process.

Usually, individuals must visit their local courthouse to transfer titles. This process requires the individuals to list a price on the vehicle as well as to pay a small fee for the transfer transaction.


Source by James Witherspoon

How to Clean Upholstery in Your Vehicle


When you look at your older car’s interior, it more than likely does not look as good as it did the day you bought it. It is not at all uncommon for the interior to get soiled over the years with normal use. Learning how to clean upholstery yourself is not all that difficult and can save you some money.

These upholstery cleaning tips are for cloth interiors only and not leather. We use shampoo to clean cloth interior. We have options when it comes to the cleaning solution we use. You can buy super clean or purple power degreaser at any local auto parts house. This works really well on carpet and cloth seats for removing stains. You can also use dawn dish washing liquid which we all know is great at fighting grease. Find a five gallon bucket or anything that will hold two or three gallons of water. Fill the bucket with water and add just a little of the cleaner, if using purple cleaner just add a few capfuls until the water slightly changes color. With dish soap maybe a tablespoon or so. We do not want a lot of foam and soap we have to get out of the cloth. It is always a good idea to test a little spot in an inconspicuous area before we start. Just use a white cloth and wet with cleaner and rub a little in to see if the color is rubbing off on your towel. If so stop now and call a professional for advice on cleaning this type of material.

Items needed to shampoo your cars interior yourself are a wet/dry vac, a scrub brush, and a few towels. Just do small areas at a time to get the best results, except for the seats, wet the entire seat to ensure there is no streaking. Then you can work smaller areas of the seat after it is all wet with shampoo. Use a hand towel to wet it down with shampoo, then scrub gently with a brush and vacuum it really well to remove as much water as possible. You can repeat wetting bad areas and vacuuming it out until you see no more dirt coming up. When you have it vacuumed as good as possible use a dry towel to rub the entire seat down which removes more dirt and more water to help dry times. We do the same process with each seat and the carpet.

Drying the interior as quickly as possible is essential when you are all done shampooing. If not dried in a reasonable time it will get musty, similar to leaving wet clothes in the washer too long. If it is sunny out leave the windows down and make sure the car is in the sun. Place a fan blowing in a window of the car to keep the air moving and speed dry time. If it isn’t sunny out, you can roll the windows up to about 2 inches down and turn the heater on high. If you have a small fan that oscillates, put it in the car wherever you can get it to stay safely and turn it on high. Do not leave it unattended for very long and keep checking the carpet and seats to see if their dry. If you have a garage where you can leave the windows down all night and a fan blowing, this would be the ideal thing to do.

During the drying stage, you may notice some dirt resurfacing. When being shown how to clean car upholstery that has had cola spills in it, you will see exactly what I am talking about. You can just take a dry towel and rub these areas as they dry and it will pick it up. There is no doubt this is a long tiring process when learning how to clean upholstery. There is a lot of bending and scrubbing involved. This is why a lot of people choose to take their cars to a local detail shop and have the interior steam cleaned. Although, if you want to save money and learn how to do it yourself, this is one way to do it and get great results.


Source by William D Armstrong

Police And Emergency Vehicle Lights


There are many changes to what we used know as a police car. The conventional police lights we usually see in police vehicles during the past years have already been replaced with light bars and inside these light bars are strobe lights. The emergency lights which are used by most police cars these days actually “dance” at the top of the vehicle and these types of lights are very advantageous for the police vehicle and the other drivers that are on the road, why? First, it provides more visibility to the police who are in pursuit of a certain suspect and for the other drivers on the road the strobe light serves as a warning light that a chase is ongoing in order to avoid accidents.

One disadvantage of this kind of light is that at times it can block a driver’s vision; however the advantages actually outweigh the disadvantages. To others it can serve as a warning light when they approach the police vehicle while to some it can cause some blockage to their vision while driving. Emergency lights which are used in police cars sometimes comes in different color combination just like red, blue and white and. Some emergency lights are made of LED lights which is also very effective in emitting very bright flashes of lights.

LED lights are also used to add to the beauty of your vehicle. Construction vehicle and road service vehicle also use LED lights to warn other motorist that a construction is ongoing, especially during the night. However, if you are planning to install one in your vehicle you have to see to it that it is not as the same color as to the one which is used by the police vehicles, even though in most states the traditional red police lights have already been replaced by many different color combination; the red flashing lights are still used by many different emergency vehicles like ambulance, fire trucks and the like. You might be wondering why you can’t use the red LED warning light. Basically because it will just confuse other drivers if a chase is ongoing or is it just a construction or road service vehicle.

It is actually very important for the police vehicles in different states to use the same color scheme, for the main purpose of avoiding chaos. For example, if you see a police car that is flashing green and orange lights you might get confused if it really is a police car or not. However, for unmarked police cars using different color from the usual is really an advantage for them.


Source by Paul C. Graham

10 Traits of a Successful Car Salesman


Selling cars for a living is not for everyone, but if you are the right fit to be a car salesman these ten points will practically ensure you become a successful car salesman. The job of a car salesman is a bit like having a business of your own inside a car dealership. Having your own car selling business allows you to control how much you earn by your level of commitment to the profession. A successful car salesman can earn a six figure income and I have heard of some earning close to $250,000 a year. Implement these car salesman traits and you can join the ranks of the top salesmen and saleswomen that enjoy the peace of mind and security of a six figure income.

1. Commitment: As I mentioned earlier you control your own level of car salesman success in direct proportion to the amount of effort and the level of commitment that you apply to the business of selling cars. Most car salesmen work on a commission basis which can result in an irregular weekly pay check which makes some people shy away from being a car salesman, but the upside is that you will be paid according to your skills, abilities and production. The pay plan of a car salesman allows you to control your car salesman income, but you must make the commitment to being a good car salesperson without second guessing yourself. There is no “I will give it a try” or “maybe it will work out”. There is only a full 100% percent level of commitment to becoming a successful car salesman.

2. Positive Attitude: Being a successful car salesman will go hand in hand with your attitude. When you are dealing with a customer your tools are your words, actions, reactions and knowledge. When you interact with a potential car buyer a positive attitude is a must. You need to be positive and confident in order to put the customer at ease so they can make the major decisions that are needed to buy a car. If you have a positive attitude your customer will have a positive attitude and that will make selling them a much easier task.

3. Goals: Setting and tracking goals are one of the common traits of most successful car salespeople. They set goals for their monthly and yearly income along with weekly and daily goals for cars sold, ups taken and closing ratio. A top car saleswoman or man pays close attention to their goals and tracks their progress either daily or weekly. They know their status and there are no surprises at the end of the month or year.

4. Enthusiasm: The enthusiastic auto salesman has an advantage over the average salesman. When you help your potential vehicle buyer in an enthusiastic manner it becomes contagious and your customer becomes enthused with the process of buying a car. Be eager and excited to show them the vehicle and its features and get your customer involved. A higher level of enthusiasm will practically make you a more successful car salesman.

5. Product Knowledge: Granted, product knowledge will not guarantee car sales success, but it definitely helps. Car buyers have a habit of asking questions that they know the answers to as a way to test their sales person. They are rarely important questions, but they try to catch their car salesman in a lie. If they catch you lying to them about something small they will never trust you when it comes to pricing and payments. Knowing the answers to their car buying questions will put you miles ahead of a car salesman that lies to their customer or doesn’t know their product.

6. Personal Management: The most successful car salesmen and saleswomen have learned to manage themselves and their time efficiently. They don’t hang around with the bottom feeders waiting for ups and complaining about management, traffic or anything else that comes to mind. They are busy calling be backs, doing follow up and arranging deliveries.

7. Selling Cars is about Relationships: Every once in a while selling a car can be a quick business transaction, but more often than not it is a time consuming process. The person that is about to spend $20,000 on a new car is not very likely to feel good about buying that new car from someone they don’t like. People like to buy from people they respect, like and believe are the best person to sell them a car. All of the steps to a sale are important, but the successful car salesperson will always look, act and talk like a professional automobile sales person. Sell you, the dealership and then the car.

8. Have a Daily Plan: You know what they say, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. The successful car salesman has a daily plan which includes all the things they need to accomplish. Their daily “To Do” list may include calling past customers, scheduling deliveries, ordering accessories and of course taking fresh ups. Whatever it may be, it is a plan to achieve their goals and become a more successful car salesman.

9. Stay in Touch: When car salesmen are successful you will notice that they sell cars to the same customer more than once over the years. They keep track of their past customers through letters, cards, email or the telephone. They let their past customers know of sales, new models and special events that may be of interest to them. The salesman is providing a service to them which they appreciate and then return to buy again and again.

10. Self Improvement: A top car salesman is always learning about new models, new features and anything else that will make them better. They attend auto manufacturer training classes, monitor the competition and are always looking for ways to make themselves more valuable to their new and past car buying customers.

These 10 successful car salesman tips and traits will help you increase both your sales and your income by becoming an asset to your customer. There are always car dealerships looking for good sales people. Top car salesmen and saleswoman can work anywhere because they sell cars, lots of cars.


Source by Karl Beckham

Net Promoter Score (NPS): Real Deal or Have Car Dealers Been Sold a Lemon?


In the car sales arena Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) are King: every sales statistic possible is monitored, from customer visits, test drives, sales, deliveries and finance penetration etc and now customer satisfaction. These KPI’s are benchmarked to provide an industry/dealer standard of performance.

It is believed that each KPI has a correlative effect on each other, in that the more people you see, the more you test drive, the more you sell: it is as they sales people say ‘a numbers game.’

Now we believe that we can reverse the algorithm and make KPI’s do the work. By delivering exemplary customer service, a customer becomes a net promoter, advertisement and an advocate for the company.

All we have to do is sit back and wait for the satisfied customers or ‘Net Promoters’ to drive the new customers, soon to satisfied and be transformed into promoters, into our businesses and reap what has been sowed.

A perfect self sustaining and scalable business model or have the sales people been sold a lemon?

What is Net Promoter Score?

In recent years there has been an upsurge in the use of Customer Satisfaction Surveys and the reliance upon the’ Net Promoter Score (NPS)’ – none more so than in automotive manufacturers and retailers.

NPS is a question within a Customer Satisfaction Survey, where the customer is asked to rate on a numerical scale of 0-10 how likely they would be to recommend the retailer to someone else.

The resultant score is applied to the following three categories:

· Score of 9-10 Promoters – those who will actively recommend the retailer

· Score of 7-8 Passive – satisfied customers but ambivalent about recommending

· Score of 0-6 Detractors – unhappy customers actively dissuading others

The Theory

At face value, NPS serves as a more pertinent barometer of customer service levels in that the customer is not just completely satisfied but so elated that they will sing the praises of the retailer at every opportunity.

However it has become relied upon as a Key Economic Indicator of the future financial health of the organisation and an aid to the prediction of future sales.

In essence NPS is a ‘rebranding’ of a theory long since expounded by economists in which certain Key data such as employment statistics have a ‘procyclic’ correlation with the wider financial health of a country. Simply put, if a country is creating jobs then there will be an increase in personal spending which will be reflected in retail sales.

Three problems:

1. The issue with NPS, at least within the automotive retail sector is the tendency to manipulate the statistics.

Employees have been coached in how to ask, persuade or even incentivise customers to ‘tick’ the 9 or 10 box in an effort to mask any real or underlying ‘service’ issues and keep the employee and retailer out of the critical view of the manufacturer.

2. Even if the retailer does give outstanding service and the delighted customer does genuinely and voluntarily ‘tick’ 10, is there really a correlation with increased future sales?

It is fair to conclude that a 10 on NPS cannot in good conscience be compared in terms of its value as an indicator to the creation of an additional job in the market place. There is simply no predictive evidence to demonstrate the relationship, as opposed to the straight forward algorithm of a person earns money, they spend money therefore retail sales increase.

3. Lastly, why is there no correlative evidence or any evidence for that matter? Instead we as the prospective customer ‘how they heard about us?’ and then provide them with a drop down list of options.

Surely we would want to apply a more technical approach as utilised in Google + for example or other social networks, where through the power of technology the relationship between customers is apparent.


Get back to basics.

Let’s forget for a moment the tangible benefit of NPS or not as the case maybe and consider the original premise behind automotive sales.

It used to be said that a retailer could earn more profit from a customer over the three years after buying their car than was realised from the original sale.

Therefore, the focus should be not on who the customer can recommend the retailer to, but how frequently they themselves return to the retailer.

The good news is we have the capability and relatively simple technology to measure real customer loyalty and harness the data as a real Key Economic Indicator.

Nowhere to hide

Perhaps obviously the introduction of ‘loyalty cards’ would electronically track customer behaviour and reward them for it, but for reasons unknown it has not yet made it into dealer groups. Nevertheless, there is a more rudimentary solution.

1. We downloaded the vehicle sales data for a given year and filtered the information to include the purchase date, customer name, vehicle registration number and net profit.

2. We cross matched that data with that of the three years post purchase to determine if and when the customers returned to buy again.

3. We then cross matched the data with the service and parts department to indicate how frequently the customers patronised the businesses.


If the retailer is brave enough they could contact those customers that didn’t ever return after their first visit and ask them why, to gain real insight to customer service.

However, the results from running this experiment with several retailers, who will of course remain nameless, has been nothing short of shocking.

There is no doubting their determination and ability to gain new customers and sell plenty of cars, hours, parts and finance but they undoubtedly make it hard work for themselves.

But in that regard they are a one trick sales pony and would be best advised to focus a proportion of their efforts in learning and training about customer behaviour and retention.

The Mystery of KPI’s


Source by Philip Harmer

Government Auto Auctions – Cars Under 500 Dollars?


Until recently, used car prices had been going through the roof. They started getting cheaper when gas headed toward $4 a gallon, and then when the credit crisis hit, and there were a lot of repos on the market, they got even cheaper. Now that gas is back down under $2, they’ve gone back up somewhat, but they’re still cheaper than a while back. Of course, “cheap” is a relative term, and one man’s bargain is another man’s extravagance. What if you need a car fast, and you only have five hundred bucks? I’d head for government auto auctions. Cars under 500 dollars are available there.

Now, don’t get me wrong. At government auto auctions, cars under 500 dollars aren’t a dime a dozen. They really aren’t even plentiful. But you stand a very good chance of finding one or two such bargains at any given government auction you attend. And, yes, I’m talking about cars that actually run and are street legal. Now, it’s probably going to be quite a it older than most cars on the street, but that’s no problem. If you’re really looking for a cheap car, you can forget about a late model one, anyway. Those will be snapped up by the dealers, and they’ll go for a lot more than 500 dollars.

That’s because they’re looking for cars that can be resold fast, which is late model cars in great condition. That’s why dealers attend government auto auctions. Cars under 500 dollars don’t interest them, because they’re going to be too old to have much of a market. But that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with a 500 dollar car you pick up at one of these. It will just be older than average, and probably not in tip top shape. But you can certainly find yourself a 500 dollar car that runs if you attend a few auctions.


Source by Patrick Mole