Car Buying Tips From a Seasoned Pro!

One of my passions over the years has been the art of automotive science. Over my lifetime I have researched, studied, kept up on the latest automotive technology with a vengeance. My buddies and I used to play the “name that car makes and model game” as we drove down the various roads all over the USA. It was a competitive game between us to see who could correctly identify the make/model of a car that was approaching us before the other guy, all for bragging rights. This game may seem trivial to some folks but to any of you auto buffs it makes perfect sense. So I thought I’d write a quick post and share a few tips about what I’ve learned over the years of buying and selling a number of cars.
With so many choices in today’s automotive world where does one start? Unfortunately, from my personal experience, there are more than a few car dealerships that still play the high-pressure games. Although with the advent of the internet most well-armed buyers have more than enough resources to level the playing field between them and the car dealership.
Hopefully by the time it comes to look for your new ride you have some idea of what type/make/model of car you are looking for. If you need assistance with this there are some great websites you can utilize. is a great resource to help you research different makes and models and also has a consumer ratings/feedback section where you can read other car owners reviews of that particular vehicle.
Once you have narrowed it down to the particular make and model, I would recommend using a top online auto classified site like , Autotrader is one of the best websites out there from my personal experience, although there are certainly other good sites I would start with them as they seem to have the broadest inventory of new and used vehicles of any site I’ve researched. One word of caution, unless you have a burning desire to be the first butt to warm the leather… save yourself a lot of money and but slightly used! Automobiles are NOT a good investment and they depreciate up to 50% within a few years of ownership. I would recommend purchasing a pre-owned automobile that is two to three years old and has under 30,000 miles on the odometer.
You may ask why two to three years old and under 30k miles? Good question, most manufacturers have a bumper to bumper warranty that covers any defects or problems for four years or 50k miles whatever comes first. By purchasing your car with 30k or fewer miles and two to three years old, you still have enough of a cushion to drive your new ride and still be protected. If you purchase your new car from a new car dealer they may even certify that particular car for up to a 100k mile warranty but that does add to the retail price of the car.
Now that you have found a car you really like and are willing to drive for the foreseeable future its time to negotiate a price. With the advent of the internet, one can search nationwide to find the car of your dreams. I have personally purchased cars all over the country and had them shipped to my residence with great success. Shipping to most parts of the country costs between $500 to $1000 depending on the distance.
Car pricing can vary greatly from one section of the country to the other and whether the car is being offered through a dealer or a private party. I would recommend using a site like Kelly Blue Book or, you can look up the exact pricing for your car based on the year, make, and particular model. KBB will then give you an estimated price range based on three pricing levels; wholesale or trade-in, private party, and retail dealer pricing.
If you decide to purchase from a dealer, I would stay away from the “our best price” model some dealers employ. Usually with a little negotiating you can find that same car for quite a bit less somewhere else. I always negotiate the price I wish to pay using the KBB wholesale pricing. It is a good way to always low ball the dealer/private party and who knows, maybe they are motivated enough to sell you the car at a wholesale price.
Another very important aspect of buying a pre-owned automobile, get a research report on the vehicle before committing! and are two of the top car history reporting services. They will run you a report that details its entire history so you will have peace of mind concerning any accidents, title discrepancies, flood/hail damage, salvage title, service history on that particular automobile.
Below is a summary to a smart automobile purchasing experience:

If you can, purchase a slightly used or pre-owned vehicle and save a TON of money!
If you’re not sure of your next horseless carriage, utilize a good automobile research/review site.
Utilize a good car classified service to search nationwide as prices/inventory vary across the country. Look for cars that are 2-3 years old and have under 30k miles on the odometer.
Look for cars that are 2-3 years old and have under 30k miles on the odometer.
Negotiate the price utilizing an automobile pricing guideline service and start by using the wholesale price.
Before you purchase your next bucket of bolts, make sure it isn’t! Use a car research service to review its history or you may be sorry.
Do not be afraid to purchase your next car from someone out of state. Shipping is relatively painless and easy to set up.
I hope you find value in this article and from my personal experiences purchasing and selling a number of cars over the past twenty plus years. If you did enjoy this article please feel free to re-tweet it and leave a comment below, I really appreciate your comments.
Sincerely,
Jeff Wisuri

Loving Yourself Isn’t As Easy As it Seems

Loving oneself isn’t as easy or as automatic as it may sound and there are many different ways of succeeding at doing so. There are fundamental aspects of loving oneself that can enrich our lives, but even more in the details that bring us love, joy, and peace. Most people consider providing the basic things in life such as a job, home, food, clothing, etc. as self-love, and to some degree, it is because it is self-care, but there are other equally (if not more) important areas that make us feel loved and valued. The areas I am talking about include the more specific things and ways we take care of our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls that fill us with a sense of self-love. Providing what we need in these areas gives us a feeling of truly being valued and cared for, especially on a day to day basis where we are acting on the details that define what is special to our individual needs.
A common misconception is when people tend to confuse self-care with self-indulgence. Often we act compulsively out of fear or the unknown, this is the time to stop and think. It does take practice and deliberate action but ANYONE can do it. Granted it helps tremendously if you can reach out and ask for help but many people fear to do even that. The key is to find what works for you and act on it. Breaking bad habits and patterns can be tricky but it can be done, and the rewards of a less stressful and more controlled life are worth it. What may appear as small choices are in actuality huge! At any time on any day, we can stop and ask ourselves what choices can we make that will make our lives better? It’s actually an amazing power we have and can control in a positive manner if we try to learn and understand it and utilize it appropriately.
Another important area that gets taken for granted is boundaries. More people than we’d care to believe don’t even know what they are, and others either do not have them or do not know how to use them correctly. Boundaries give us a sense of control over our own bodies and lives, a sense of self-respect and self-protection. Without these we feel more controlled by the circumstances and people outside ourselves. Without personal boundaries we can be easily manipulated, overpowered and undervalued. Setting boundaries for ourselves give us a sense of autonomy, confidence, and self-worth. I see boundaries incredibly undervalued in our society, except for the personal growth crowd. Boundaries give us the psychological awareness that we are uniquely separate from the world and others, which is healthy and necessary. Those who are not taught or allowed to use boundaries growing up feeling enmeshed with all outside sources. They have no real sense of autonomy, individuality. They have never had the opportunity to know how to be self-contained as the individual they are or know how to protect themselves even in the smallest ways. This lack of education in such a crucial area can actually be potentially dangerous. When they come across situations that require them to protect themselves physically, emotionally or psychologically, often even spiritually, they are at a loss. This, unfortunately, leads to unhealthy relationships in many areas, including and especially with themselves.
This brings me to the understanding of the fundamental concept that you can’t have a healthy relationship with someone else UNTIL you have a healthy one with yourself. I think if more people really understood this perhaps they would stop trying to find that fulfillment outside themselves that is meant to be found inside. I have found that this concept is difficult for many to understand but to put it simply, a healthy relationship with oneself is treating yourself with care, sensitivity, respect, and generosity, and self-care is not synonymous with self-indulgence. Self-care is making sure that you make healthy choices for your mind, body, heart, and soul, whereas self-indulgence can be giving in to desire even if it is unhealthy. Self-care is taking the time out to consider what you want, need or feel. It’s making sure that you use the necessary boundaries to make yourself feel safe and respected. It’s eating the right food, getting the right amount of rest and exercise and bringing people into your personal and professional world whenever possible that enhance your life not hinder it. It’s utilizing as much conscious choice as humanly and practically possible.
We all need help in life, and loving yourself would be recognizing that and asking for help as needed from trusted people. We enjoy a feeling of self-love and self-respect when we stand up for our rights and opinions, as well as when we are honest with ourselves and others. There is nothing like a satisfied conscience and living in truth to make us feel at peace. Trusting oneself is an important aspect to self-love as well, and if you realize you don’t know how to do that then seeking the help necessary to learn it would be equal to self-love. These, of course, are merely guidelines, the details vary per individual, but the important fact is to work with what you have and make it as positive and productive as humanly possible; and whatever you don’t know make the effort to learn. If there is one thing our society has made readily available, it’s information, more now than ever with access to the internet; and if you are one of those people who would rather learn it from another person, ask someone you trust or seek an outside source of help.
At this point in time, we can’t exactly say that self-love is always easy, especially with so much going on to keep our lives intact, but it is always worth the effort, for it will give you something you can’t get from anyone else-an inward sense of stability and peace. As humans, we will always have weaknesses but acknowledging them and trying to improve them is an enormous act of self-love.

Separate Vacations For Married Folks? Why Not, I Guess

Mountains or the beach? Vegas or Disney? Manhattan Island or Manhattan Kansas? Where to go this year, and who got their way last year, and how do we resolve the vacation destination riddle? Is there a married couple who hasn’t had this discussion? Likely there isn’t, and the answer, though somewhat puzzling, and perhaps a bit controversial, maybe separate vacations altogether. It’s happening with increasing frequency, particularly with two career families, and so-called working vacations.
The practice is gaining in popularity, and for several reasons. Some of them have to do with time, of course, some with money, some revolve around kid care and some with a combination of all the above. Let’s explore a few of the reasons, advantages, disadvantages, and considerations for taking a vacation alone, leaving your mate behind, or on their own separate trip.
You’ve been dying to see wine country, and the offerings of Napa Valley, the B& Bs, the lush, verdant landscapes in and around fabled northern California towns. Your mate? Forget it. No interest. If there’s not a baseball game or an outlet mall nearby, they’re really not interested in going. Besides, wine gives them a headache–not good for a vacation with your spouse, and cheese gives them gas, ahem, not good either.
They, on the other hand, have been itching to get to the new Camden Yards to see the Orioles play, hopefully, the Yankees, then to catch a harborside dinner of crabs and all the seafood fixings, then take in Fort McHenry and revel in all the history there. Your mate? Baseball gives them a headache, history is boring, and crabs give them gas, but well, there’s hope for both of you. These are just a few of the dilemmas we face when it comes time to select a vacation spot. Here are a few more, including some legitimate reasons to vacation by yourself.
It’s been thirty years since High School graduation, and you’d really like to reconnect with the old crowd. You want to see if BT really started that bowling alley, or if JS really did marry that goofball PD and they had seven kids! Your mate never even knew BT, only from scurrilous rumors of what he did as a pinspotter, and she’d been nuts about JS, and couldn’t believe he ran off with that goofball PD and they had all those kids! So no, thank you very much, she’s not going to the reunion. Separate vacations? Why not?
This is the year all your sisters are getting together on the Oregon coast, and your mate isn’t even invited–girls only. Separate trips are in order.
Your daughter has an audition at Juilliard, and only one of you can go because the other has a critical business deal. Take your daughter to New York and enjoy the place for three or four days? Why not?
You have vacation time that you’ll lose if you don’t take it, and your spouse can’t go? Why not take off, catch some of the sights he or she doesn’t care to, and bring them back a nice gift?
Maybe your job title is changing, and the boss requires some updated training that can only be found in Monterey, or New Orleans, or Martha’s Vineyard. Hey, we can all dream of things like this, can’t we? The training is two weeks of intense, eight to five indoor, hands-on work, and your mate has their own work, so–separate vacations? Why not?
Finally, perhaps you just want some time alone. Maybe the kids have worn you down, a life change has left you questioning a lot of things, or a certain birthday looms and you’d like to meditate on it, free of the need to interact, even with your mate. We all need this from time to time, and they’ll understand. Go ahead; getaway; you’ll feel better, and that may be a welcome relief for both of you.
It’s happening a lot more, for a lot more reasons. Separate vacations for married folks are less rare all the time. Even certain resorts are beginning to cater to the single-married set. The practice can be more restful and refreshing than any trip together just because it’s the norm, the way you’ve always done it. As Tara Fass, a therapist in Los Angeles says: “Going away on your own gives you and your partner the experience of autonomy, and also allows you to reflect on your marriage.”
One thing to consider, though, as the experts all agree, separate vacations should not take the place of shared vacations with one another. It’s important that you save time and money for both at some point. It’s also very important to understand why you want to travel separately. If there’s a challenge in your marriage, it may not be the best time to go it alone.

Car Repairs: A Little Now or A Lot Later

In today’s economy, we are all watching every single dollar down to the pennies in order to stretch it as far as we possibly can. This extends right down to the vehicles we are driving every day. We are letting basic maintenance of these important necessities lapse and trying to get as far as we can without spending any money. Unfortunately, this can really come back and bite us in the long run and can cost a tremendous amount more than we can afford. Sometimes trying to make our dollar stretch isn’t the best answer, it can cost us far more than a simple prevention appointment would have cost, to begin with.
There are five decisions or regular maintenance appointments that can actually help us to keep our money in our pocket instead of giving it to the auto repair centers. If we simply keep up on these appointments our vehicles will run better and for longer, if we let them slide we may end up walking or hitching rides while our vehicle sits in the repair shop.
When the weather turns colder we all want to start the car and let it warm up before we climb in, however, if you go out and the car won’t even crank, you know the battery gave up the ghost. It is best to check the battery every so often and pay attention to how the vehicle is starting, is it cranking for a long time or is it normal? When choosing a battery, don’t just go for the cheapest thing you can find. The cheaper batteries are usually not designed as well and can cause problems with the terminals and cables making a repair that is even more costly than just choosing a better battery would have been. These cheap batteries release gas while they are in use which corrodes the battery cable terminals and will eventually eat away at the actual cables. This makes the alternator work harder and generally causes the entire charging system to be overloaded. It is possible to go from a measly cost of $75 for a decent battery to ten times that to repair the entire mess that a cheap battery can cause.
Another system that requires a little maintenance is the engine cooling system. It is important that we take the time to flush the coolant system it can save our vehicle a lot of headache in a literal sense. Using the wrong coolant or simply neglecting the system can cause the head gasket to fail. The proper coolant keeps the dissimilar metals in the cooling system from being eroded by electrolysis. Using the wrong coolant can cause the necessary pH balance to be off and bring about the failure of the head gasket. This simple flushing costs a little over $100 while the head gasket failure can cause a $1000.00 a headache.
There is one more flush that should be done on any vehicle, the transmission fluid. This particular flush is maybe one of the last ones that people would think of. Transmission fluid is the lifeblood of the transmission; it cleans cools and lubricates the moving parts of the transmission. Time breaks the fluid down and makes it less effective. Being informed on what a transmission flush entails and what is recommended could save your transmission completely. Also knowing the proper fluid to put in your vehicle is very important. Not all transmission fluids are created equal. Know what your vehicle needs and get it taken care of on a maintenance level instead of a repair level, this can save you over $1500.00.
Another quick and easy maintenance item involves your tires. We have all heard that so much is riding on our tires, it is so true because the condition of the tires effects how the brakes work, the traction on the road safely to the destination. The safety of the vehicle also somewhat rests on the tires. Tires that are almost worn out can blow out at any time and cause an accident. Simply making sure the tires are rotated and have the proper air pressure can actually increase the life of the tires. The last place we want to be changing a tire is alongside the road in a storm.
A vehicle without an engine is just a metal shell that is worth very little. An engine without oil will bring about the metal shell of a vehicle in very little time. Oil is the blood of the engine and without it, an engine will seize up. A blown engine isn’t repairable without a complete overhaul; it can require an entirely new engine. That is a pretty expensive repair when you compare it to a simple oil change at $29.99 every 3000 miles. That is pretty cheap insurance in the long run. While it is most likely not engine threatening to let the oil change slide by 1000 miles, it isn’t smart to let it go further than that. Most people would rather pay $30 than $3000.00. It just makes good sense to keep the oil in good condition thus keeping the engine in good condition.
Preventative maintenance no matter how we look at it is good insurance. It is cheaper to keep up with the maintenance of our vehicles than to be forced to deal with the expense of a major repair. We all know that we can’t go very far without our vehicles; we use them to get everywhere and anywhere. The newer vehicles are not as easy to maintain at home as they used to be. That is why the large auto repair centers are available to change the oil, check the tires and take care of everything under the hood. These professionals know just what it takes and they have all the tools to maintain any vehicle and keep it running good so we can stay on the go. Spending a little money on our vehicle at important times in its life can keep it from spending days and weeks in a repair center. Spend a little to save a lot because a lot is riding on the dependability of our vehicles.