Everything You Need to Know About Car Tires

Posted by  | October 29, 2014 |
Originally published on Unhaggle.com
Everything You Need to Know About Car TiresThere is a wide range of car tires out in the market that drivers often don’t even know about. Depending on the driver’s lifestyle, road conditions and weather, car tires can change the whole driving experience. Performance tires can give you more control; off-road tires can offer more confidence on rough terrains; and low profile tires look sleek and handle better.

While some drivers choose to stick with all-season tires for the majority of the year and swap over to snow or winter tires for a few months, there are many other options to consider. The same way we have different shoes for different occasions, our BMW 328i should also be able to slip into something more comfortable, enabling it to perform at its safest and best.

Performance Tires

Before engines and suspensions, consider getting performance tires if you want to go faster and get better handling around corners. The rubber found in performance tires has stiffer sidewalls and a softer composition, which allows drivers to respond to the road better – be it stopping with ease or turning with precision.

Although performance tires will undoubtedly enhance your ride, they do wear out faster because of their low tread. Therefore, those tires are often recommended for high-end sports cars and sports sedans. However, there are several types of performance tires to note: Tires rated S or T are often categorized as performance tires just by their appearance and are generally designed for passenger cars and minivans; tires rated H or V are called performance touring tires and have the best all-season capability; and finally, there are the ultra-high performance sport tires, which are rated W, Y or Z, which are designed to enhance handling.

Because of the nature of performance tires, drivers would often own different sets, depending on the driving scenario.

Truck Tires

Vehicles with large inventories and cargo towing responsibilities will require truck tires for better comfort and handling. Generally speaking, these vehicles are used to transport goods across long distances, which makes coping with highways easier. Truck tires are built to boost traction and diminish potential hydroplaning on slippery roads.

Although truck tires can handle many terrains, they do have some characteristics that separate them from off road and all-terrain tires. Most notably, truck tires lack the extra bite and will not grab the rocky, muddy roads as well as their rugged counterparts.

Off-Road Tires

The key attributes of off-road tires are the large treads that grip the road, called lugs, and the deep spaces in-between the lugs that divert wetness on soft and soggy surfaces. Built with a reinforced sidewall and puncture-resistance material, off-road tires are all about traction and endurance and should be fully capable of taking you and your vehicle through the most beaten of paths.

All-Terrain Tires

All-terrain tires combine the open treads and superior traction of off-road tires with the functionality of all-season tires. They enable drivers to operate comfortably on both rocky, muddy roads and clean, smooth highways.

Some minor downsides of driving around in the city with all-terrain tires is that the ride will probably be a lot noisier than with all-season or truck tires. In addition, all-terrain tires are often designed with a softer type of rubber than off-road tires, which ultimately reduces their lifespan. So, it’s worth calculating: If you drive off-road more frequently, then perhaps you might want to consider off-road tires instead of all-terrain, just because of the longevity.

Low-Profile Tires

Low-profile tires refer to the size of the tire’s edge, which means a shorter sidewall height or the amount of rubber between the road and the rim of the wheel. Low-profile tires are attractive because they offer better handling, and their design enables manufacturers to offer bigger brakes.

Although some drivers find low-profile tires to appear more attractive aesthetically, the tire can often be described as stiffer, which causes jarring and agitating rides. Also because of the thinner edge, low-profile tires are more susceptible to deflation overtime.

If a smooth ride is what you are after, low-profile tires might not be your first choice. However, if you have your heart set, you may like to consider upgrading your vehicle in other aspects to accommodate the tires – such as implementing suspension hardware.

All-Season Tires

At last we arrive at all-season tires – the ones we are most familiar with. All-season tires are designed to handle most situations well – not great, but well – and for many drivers that’s fine, since dependability is what most car owners want.

Nevertheless, all-season tires have limitations and may fail to serve your car during snowy days, on gravel roads, and in the course of high-speed chases (not that we condone speeding). Like all things car-related, selecting tires for your vehicle is all about sensibility. Know your car, know your road and know which tires are best for you.

Are Talking Cars a Bad Idea?

Posted by  | October 22, 2014 |
Originally published in Unhaggle.com
Are Talking Cars a Good Idea?

Talking cars have been portrayed in media for generations, but now this fantasy is closer to reality than ever. Of course, I’m not talking about KITT from Knight Rider or Herby the Love Bug (be sure to view our list of top movie cars for more goodies). What I’m referring to is an innovative vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology that enables cars on the road to communicate with one another.

By 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is hoping to have mandated the new automotive communication system in an effort to reduce collisions. Relying on various global-positioning systems, radars and cameras, the new on-board feature will assist drivers by warning them of on-coming traffic, hazardous intersections, complicated left turns and other potential risks.

The question is – are these systems going to be effective?

Pro: Safety and Serviceability

NHTSA believes that this initiative will reduce 592,000 accidents a year, thus saving 1,083 lives. And according to a study conducted by the Government Accountability Office, approximately 76 per cent of crashes that involve two or more vehicles can be reduced with V2V technologies.

In addition, V2V technologies will also supply general traffic information to the driver when they commuting. Through the wireless connectivity to other vehicles, the driver will see which roads are congested in order to avoid them. This type of data will undoubtedly save time and fuel, as well as reduce traffic jams.

If safety and serviceability is the priority, there is no doubt that talking cars will indeed be a good idea.

Con: Privacy

However, there are a few matters to consider regarding talking cars that are causing car owners to think twice before driving off in such an intelligent machine.

The most immediate concern for V2V car buyers is the privacy factor. In a global infrastructure where hackers rule the day, talking cars could become large targets. Once cars become wirelessly linked to each other through cellular networks, hackers will be able to intercept those signals, and from there, drivers can only imagine the worst-case scenario, which may in fact make talking cars more dangerous than your average “mute” cars. With over 100 million lines of code involved in V2V technology, programmers and engineers are staying realistic when constructing firewalls and other security measures to restrict unwanted entries.

The Verdict

Since 2012, the University of Michigan Transportation Safety Research Institute, with 80 per cent of funding from U.S. Department of Transportation, have been undergoing an experiment where approximately 3,000 V2V cars are driving around Ann Arbor, Michigan. The project’s goal is to examine the system in full scale, determine whether traffic rules need altering and understand the safety benefits better. Recently, the organization has announced that they are planning to scale the project, tripling the connected vehicles on the road to 9,000.

By 2016, NHTSA and car manufacturers should be able to have a clearer understanding of what talking cars can do. Then they will be able to relay those findings to drivers to (hopefully) eliminate any form of doubt when it comes to this technology. After all, V2V technology will only function properly if the drivers actually buy into it.

It’s true that talking cars are not solving every problem on the road; in fact, the majority of accidents today only involve a single car, which is not something V2V technology can help prevent. But talking cars are a giant step forward in public safety.

This new automotive communication feature may have its downsides, but it should still be embraced. After all, it will not only make rescuing people in accidents easier, but allow us to avert collisions altogether.

Anti-Theft Devices: Are They Worth the Money?

Posted by  | October 09, 2014 |
Originally Published on Unhaggle.com 
Anti-Theft Devices: Are They Worth the Money?

Anti-theft devices exist in many forms to combat the variety of car thieves out there. From high-tech GPS-based tracking systems to low-tech steering-wheel locking mechanisms, anti-theft devices are car owner’s last line of defence in unfamiliar parkades and dimly-lit streets.

Here are some good news and bad news. Bad news: according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, Canadians spend approximately $1 billion each year due to stolen automobiles. Good news: from 2011 to 2012, 4,500 fewer vehicles were stolen, which adds up to a vehicle theft decrease of 57% in the past decade.

What does this all mean for car owners? It seems that although there is a clear decline in car theft, there is still a lucrative market out there that thrives on stolen car parts, which is why anti-theft devices are still needed. But, are they worth the price and inconvenience?

Here are some pros and cons to help you decide whether your vehicle requires any anti-theft devices:

Pro: Technology Has Improved

Car alarms used to have this spastic siren that both alerts and annoys the user. A gentle bump can be misconstrued as a code-red breach and everyone in the neighbourhood would know about it. That is no longer the case. The latest car alarm innovations include multistage electronics that work with shock sensors to gage whether the nudge was accidental or intentional.

In addition, new inaudible alert applications can be downloaded to car owners’ smartphones. If someone is breaking into your vehicle or a shopping cart crashed into it at the store, you’ll know right away via Push Notification.

Con: Thieves Have Improved As Well

Hoodlums are afraid of car alarms, professional thieves aren’t. Many anti-theft devices are built to stump the amateur, but present little resistance against the experienced.

Alarms alert and immobilizers slow down the thief, but other than that, they really don’t do much. It goes to show that devices are just the most basic form of prevention.

Pro: It Only Needs To Work Once

Although anti-theft devices can cost thousands of dollars, they only need to work once to pay off. If you only have liability coverage with your insurance company, the most you can get is the vehicle’s reimbursed market value if it is not found or cost of repairs if the vehicle is found, but in poor condition and under a certain amount of days.

In a quick comparison, you’ll see that a security device is a cheaper solution than a long-term comprehensive auto insurance plan.

Con: Nothing Beats Common Sense

Often you don’t need security at all, because common sense might do just fine. Some car owners can’t even tell you what anti-theft features are out on the market, because they don’t need to. Instead, they use their best judgement when they park their car.

Car theft is most common in urban areas, and older vehicles are much easier to be broken into and disassembled for parts. By being aware of your surroundings and concealing valuable items within, you are already doing a part in preventing theft.

Pro: Security Features May Lower Your Premium

That said, having additional anti-theft features may qualify your vehicle for a discount when purchasing insurance. Statistically speaking, cars with security features are less likely to be broken into and stolen, so many insurance companies will offer a lower premium for that very reason.

Most Common Anti-Theft Devices

Additional devices for your vehicle may be a costly endeavor, but in my opinion, the pros outweigh the cons, and I believe that it is better to have one than not. What is that old childhood adage? Better safe than sorry.

Here are a few common security features you should consider:

Steering-wheel lock ($25 – $100): Commonly known as clubs, steering-wheel locks are very common and do a decent job immobilizing the vehicle, while also limiting its manoeuvrability. However, it is not foolproof, and professional car thieves will not be foiled by it.

Alarm system ($40 – $1,400): Always useful in getting attention, but not always useful in getting help. If a car alarm doesn’t scare away the thieves immediately, there is little struggle presented after.

Kill switch ($10 – $125): Although some cars don’t allow for a kill switch, it is still an effective system for shutting down the engine, which leaves thieves stranded in a stolen vehicle. In order for the kill switch to work, it must be concealed or the thief might disable it.

GPS-based vehicle tracking system ($500-$1000): Tracking systems don’t exactly stop criminals from stealing your vehicle, but they do offer a 90-per-cent return rate by working with your local law enforcers.

Why You Should Buy a Small Car

Posted by  | September 24, 2014 |
Originally published in Unhaggle.com 
Why You Should Buy a Small Car

When it comes to buying a new car, bigger is not always better. Small cars, generally defined as two- or four-seat vehicles, have a length of less than 457.2 centimetres and wheelbase of less than 266.7 centimetres and may in fact be the better choice in terms of drivability, safety and practicality.

In the past, large cars and trucks were highly touted, because they could haul more cargo, transport bigger parties and never compromise safety. But drivers are not looking to move furniture every other week now, and with hatchbacks such as the Honda Fit, they can easily take some more time at Costco, knowing that the adjustable room is flexible and accommodating, if not spacious.

The world is changing, and as more and more cars appear on the road, being smaller might just be the best driving advantage you can have.

Safety First

We often hear about the hypothetical collision between a Hummer and Smart Car. The image of a smooshed petite vehicle is what appears in our heads, thus deterring us from driving them. Though, in terms of physics, a small car is less likely to prevail in a small-verses-big-vehicle collision, it doesn’t mean that small cars are dangerous.

Larger cars have numerous dodgy factors to consider too. With a higher centre of gravity, large vehicles, such as SUVs, are more likely to roll over, and trucks with unequal weight distributions can fishtail aggressively on wet pavement. All large vehicles offer is a false sense of security and that’s often more hazardous.

The IIHS report clearly shows vast improvements in small-car safety between 2005 and 2011. New safety technologies, like electronic stability control and full side airbags, as well as improved structural materials have reduced the death toll of small-car drivers by 50 per cent. One can only assume that the number will continue to drop as small cars become even more progressive safety-savvy.

Driving Sensibility

There is nothing worse than traversing a tight alley or searching for a parking spot in an urban area, except maybe doing all of that in a large cumbersome vehicle. Small cars tend to be nimbler and more responsive, making it the more practical choice for city drivers. Entering cramp parkades and taking tight turns on smaller roads is easier when you don’t have extraneous parts daring to scrap against a pillar, parked vehicle or pedestrian.

Driving a smaller vehicle is simply the more sensible choice for novice and experienced drivers. After all, there is no such thing as wasted space, both inside and out. Getting around isn’t a big ordeal when you’re unobtrusive.

Better Performance

Small cars have less mass, enabling better performance without installation of a more powerful engine. That is why sleek, speedy sports cars are often smaller and lighter. While true sport and muscle cars have an increased length, adding to the aerodynamic features of the car for a smoother ride, more modest cars can hold their own too without any further strain or modifications. Small cars, as far as they go, are built to perform with less effort. Whether it is an every-day situation or long road trip down the coast, driving a smaller car is all in all a better experience, and it’s all because of the performance.

Fit in Compact Spaces, Including Your Tiny Garage

We are now living in a world of over seven billion people. It’s hard to imagine an automobile and a parking space for everybody. In North America, we feel as though we have unlimited amount of room, but that’s not true. Space is a fading commodity in the city core, parking lots and garages. Owning a large vehicle may be a way to showcase prosperity, but it also exhibits negligence and tactlessness. If you are buying a large vehicle to fuel your own desire, please reconsider, because if you don’t make room for us, there might not be room for you either.

Big Savings

When sifting through a list of affordable cars, you’d find that the majority are smaller vehicles. There are many factors adding up to savings, including fewer materials, better fuel economy, cheaper insurance rate and less maintenance.

In addition, smaller vehicles are also more environmentally-friendly. Electric and hybrid options are in high demand, not only because of the green factors, but also because it means money saved in your pocket. As emission taxes and gas prices increase, it only makes sense that our car sizes should decrease.

To all the car buyers out there: recall the Volkswagen Beetle ad that revolutionized a generation and “Think small.”

How to Get Your Parents to Buy You a New Car

 

Posted by  | July 31, 2014 | 
Originally published on Unhaggle.com 

Transformers-crop

Your parents, they love you. They want the best for you. They raised you and bought you clothes, food and video games, but why aren’t they buying a new car for you when you’ve asked? And they are not even willing to buy you an old one either!

You’ve negotiated and made the loose bargains you’ve been making your whole life: “I’ll get straight A’s!”, “I’ll do the chores!” or “I’ll take care of you when you’re old!” But those aren’t working. Perhaps it’s time to grow up and approach this tactfully. Think: What would an adult do?

Pick the Car You Want and Explain Its Benefits

 

Prove your maturity by doing research. Not only will it show your family that you are knowledgeable, but you might also impress them with all your added automotive expertise.

If your parents are hesitant, which they probably are, then you should suggest several vehicles that will ease their nerves and make them reconsider. Select several cars and highlight their safety features, comfort level, fuel economy and price.

Most vehicles these days come with state-of-the-art safety technology, so it wouldn’t hurt to know what electronic stability control does and why anti-lock brakes are important. If you want to really show off your chops, list all the IIHS Top Safety Picks and pinpoint the vehicle you want on the list. Nothing is more important to your parents than your safety, so be sure to leverage that!

Gas prices are on a pretty consistent rise, insurance is always more expensive than it should be and cars aren’t cheap either. With that in mind, beggars can’t really be choosers, so demonstrate to your parents that you can be financially responsible. After researching affordable cars, you’ll notice that not every vehicle has the lavishness of a Lexus, Porsche orBMW, but they can still get you places and isn’t that the important thing? A car should not be a status symbol unless you have earned it yourself.

Convince Them That You’ll Pay Your Share

 

Nobody likes a spoiled brat, not even your parents, so pay back the good deed. Your mom and dad may take some convincing, but if you can show off your budgeting capability, not only will you get a car, but your family will have a piece of mind too.

Start by paying for the gas you use, move up to the monthly insurance and then, hopefully, over time, you’ll be able to take over the financing or lease. If the car breaks down, if you get a ticket or if your friends make a mess in the backseat, it is your job to clean up that mess. Please don’t let your mom solve all your problems. Admit it, your parents work hard because they don’t deserve to worry about another set of payments. So, anything you can chip in would be great – and make sure you do.

This might mean getting a job on the weekend or after school. Heck, you might even be able to drive to work and show off your ride. All of a sudden, you look a little bit more like the adult you totally are. Understand that a car is not only a wonderful alternative to the bus, it is also a huge responsibility. You’ll need to clean it, take it to maintenance and of course, be responsible while driving it.

Make Your Car Useful and Promise to Follow Rules

 

My late Uncle Ben once told me: “With great power comes great responsibility.” I always heed those words, and so should you. If you have a car, it is your duty to use it to not only make your life better, but to make your whole family’s life better too.

By sharing the vehicle with your loved ones, you’ll better convince your parents that you actually deserve it. So, why not give your sister a ride to the party? Why not help your mom pick up groceries at the store? Or why not drive your dad to the doctor’s office instead of simply driving him mad? The car shouldn’t just change your life, it should change everyone else’s too – and for the better.

Yes, you’re helping out, but when you do have the car for your own time, be sure to follow the rules; rules that you and your parents have agreed upon initially, before the trip to the dealership, before you put the key into the ignition and before you go cruising down the road.

You should be the one who approaches your parents with the rules. Write them down on paper and make them official – parents love official stuff. Whether you deserve a curfew, restrictions on where you drive or the freedom to have food in your car are up for you and your parents to decide. But, once the rules are set, regardless of what they are, be sure to follow them. As soon as you break a rule and your parents catch you, the trust is lost – and the same might happen to your car privileges.

You deserve a car. But, if you want to drive, you’ll have to prove it.

Top 10 Crazy Car Concepts That Almost Made It

 

Posted by  | July 08, 2014 |
Originally published in Unhaggle.com

Car concepts, like fashion, can be creative, innovative, evocative and occasionally a complete faux pas. You can take a look at some failed vehicles on our list of the ugliest cars ever produced, if you need proof of how bad some designs can be.

During auto shows, concept cars are presented to both the public and the industry. It is there that car companies and designers get a chance to measure the overall reaction of their imaginative prototypes. It’s unlikely that these ambitious and unique vehicles would become the next Bugatti Veyron, but it’s a chance for the manufacturers to show everyone what is possible.

While some concept cars actually make it onto the assembly line, others fade away, only to be found in the obscure history books. Here are 10 crazy car concepts that came, went and even foreshadowed the next generation of automobiles.

10. Toyota RV-2 (1972)

Toyota RV-2

The Toyota RV-2 was a four-person camper and standard station wagon all in one. Inspired by the Volkswagen camper bus of the ‘70s, Toyota was trying to appeal to outdoorsy hippies as well as drivers who just wanted a practical vehicle. The innovative, yet far from revolutionary, clamshell roof opened up, revealing a canvas tent that offered a sleeping arrangement that was more comfortable than most backseat at the time.

The emerald green concept car made its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1972 and received positive response from the public. However, it was not popular enough to be worthy of mass production on a wide market.

9. Honda Fuya-Jo (1999)

Honda Fuya-Jo

The Honda Fuya-Jo was built to be a “mobile sound studio,” even though it looks like an oversized purple toaster oven. Translated, Fuya-Jo means “Sleepless City” in Japanese, which make sense, because who can really sleep in this four-seater dance floor on wheels? Taking inspiration from modern clubbing culture, Honda has attempting to replicate the DJ’s mix table and offer a ride that simulates the nightlife experience.

Unfortunately, many feared that the Fuya-Jo might be sending a message that drinking and then driving to the after-party was all right, thus keeping it from the production line.

8. Dodge Kahuna (2003)

Dodge Kahuna

The Dodge Kahuna made some waves at the 2003 Detroit Auto Show, but has never really earned the approval of surfers, soccer moms or the free-spirited drivers who live along the coast. The six-passenger van, with its bulky cartoon-like exterior and its Stow N’ Go seating, was meant to take surfers and athletic types from the street to the beach with ease.

The polarizing impression that the Dodge Kahuna left on critics and the public sank the vehicle’s production potentials. You can even say that the van “wiped out.”

7. Aurora Safety Car (1957)

Aurora Safety Car

The Aurora Safety Car may just be the ugliest car ever conceived. The strange ameba design, with a smiley face grille and oblong windshield, is enough to disgust even he most tolerant drivers. The Safety Car was the first Experimental Safety Vehicle (ESV) to be manufactured.

But the story of Father Alfred A. Juliano, a Catholic priest and automobile manufacturer, was even more upsetting than the Aurora Safety Car’s appearance. Juliano funded the $30,000 prototype with some help from his congregation, but it ended up bankrupting him and the Aurora Motor Company.

However, the vehicle is now restored and can be seen in the Beaulieu Motor Museum in England.

6. Saab Aero-X (2006)

Saab Aero-X

The Saab Aero-X is the stunning and simplistic iCar that might have originated from Steve Jobs himself. The 180-degree canopy and fluid design gave the Aero-X the look of a fighter jet. Unlike the rest of Saab’s lineup, the Aero-X was simply not the direction the company wanted to gear towards. Yet, it was reassuring to know that the Swedish manufacturers were capable of making an elite vehicle that could reach 250 km/h.

5. Audi Avus (1991)

Audi Avus

The Audi Avus was ahead of its time in more than one way. The futuristic design with a 6.0-litre engine capable of producing 509 horsepower turned heads, but wasn’t able to change people’s mindset at the time. Few were convinced that Audi was capable of creating the super car, the Avus claimed to be.

The silver bullet that is the Avus was never meant for production since it was built mainly to prove that Audi was a powerhouse brand that towers above most car manufacturers. Today, the original Avus can be seen in the Audi Museum in Ingolstadt, Germany.

4. Lincoln Futura (1955)

Lincoln Futura

If the Lincoln Futura looks familiar, it’s because it was the Batmobile in the 1960’s television series. The clear-top bubble glass canopy is the defining feature of the UFO-like Futura. The concept car ended up bringing a lot of publicity for the company. Replicas were created for television and media appearances, and few were sold off for novelty sakes.

Although the Futura was a star at the time, it never saw production. However, it did serve as inspiration for other Lincoln vehicles such as the Premiere and Capri, which had a respectable run on the market.

3. Toyota EX-III (1969)

Toyota EX-III

The Toyota EX-III, modeled after the EX-I, is designed for the high-speed commute of tomorrow. Sadly, tomorrow has never really materialized for the EX-III, EX-I or any of the EXs afterwards. The flat body with semi-rear wheel covers, bumperless front, fish gills and tacky headlights remind us of all the design relics of yesteryears.

2. Mazda Furai (2007)

Mazda Furai

The Mazda Furai was the punk-rock speed demon that car lovers have dreamed of, but sadly, the vehicle’s legacy ended in a nightmarish fiery death. During a showcase at Top Gear’s road test in 2008, the Furai’s Batmobile fire-breathing exhaust caught fire with the engine bay. The whole vehicle was engulfed in flames, and in eight minutes, the beautiful concept was scorched. There was no resurrecting the Furai, as the horrible image had made sure of it. The resting place of the concept’s carcass is still unknown.

1. Ford Nucleon (1958)

Ford Nucleon

The Ford Nucleon, deemed the Atomic Car, was one of the most influential and iconic concept cars in history. Capable of running on nuclear power, the car was perhaps more of a mobile nuclear bomb than an energy saving initiative. Inspired by the functionality of nuclear submarines in the military, the vehicle was essentially an ironed-out red pickup truck. Still, you can imagine the chaos of a highway pileup or a congested urban accident, if all the vehicles involved were nuclear-powered, like this one was. Innovative, yes, but the Nucleon was just not meant for our rational world.

Hate Car Shopping? Here’s How to Make It Better

 

Posted by  | June 26, 2014 | 
Origially published in Unhaggle.com 
Ferrari

Car shopping – the disenchanting experience that all car buyers have gone through. Why isn’t the experience of buying a brand new vehicle as appealing as shopping for a new TV or wardrobe? Is it because we hate cars? Or do we hate the dealers?

According to a survey conducted by Edmunds, 46 per cent of Americans in a sample of 1,000 would rather scrub the porcelain throne than go car shopping. In the same survey, 30 per cent of respondents would attend a wedding alone and 32 per cent would sit in the middle seat of an airplane. Finally, only 20 per cent of people would actually prefer going to the showroom.

Apparently, the reason for all the disdainful sentiment is because of one critical aspect of car buying – haggling. People hate it. To some, the whole process is so classless, uncomfortable and complicated that it seems almost pointless.

But, is car buying really as agonizing as the survey makes it sound? Surely there must be some life hacks that can help us out, right?

Know exactly what vehicle you want

Quality negotiators know exactly what they want before they even enter a dealership. If you’re not sure what vehicle you want to buy, you might get swayed by the dealer to get something costlier than you really need.

Begin by doing some research. There are plenty of resources online that can guide you. Since there are tons of makes and models out in the car market to fit every personality on the road, you want to keep on top of them all. You also want to find the perfect fit for your lifestyle

Automaker websites and third-party review sites are all just a search away. Use the process of elimination to make your final selection. And ask yourself a lot of questions (which you should be able to answer). Do you want a nice family sedan? Do you want to take an SUV on a camping trip? Or would a luxury vehicle suit your fancy? It doesn’t matter what you decide on, the important thing is that you’re the one who decides.

Know exactly how much you want to pay

You are less likely to pay more if you set a limit and stay within it. Determine a reasonable budget for yourself and be certain that it makes fiscal sense. If you don’t know the range you are working with, you might spend more money than you should.

Familiarize yourself with the different prices and incentives associated with car buying. Know the dealer’s invoice price, the MSRP and all the other fees before you start negotiating. Your knowledge will be your haggling armour, and the more you know, the thicker it will get.

For more information, check out Unhaggle’s free price report, which includes the MSRP and other pricing quirks. You can also look up local estimations for the average selling price for the vehicle of your choice.

Know how you want to pay

Another factor that a lot of car buyers neglect upon entering a dealership is their payment method.

Is it smarter for you to lease at the moment or would you rather finance and own your new vehicle long-term? This is the tough question you’ll have to answer yourself, but sometimes automotive manufacturers will help you with that decision. We explain the advantages of both right here.

Keep your eye open for promotions and incentives (and finance/lease rates). These opportunities tend to come up at the beginning of each month. Unhaggle also offers public and hidden incentives, as well as the latest rates available, which you can find in the aforementioned price report.

And if you’re looking for tips on how to become a more confident haggler, check out this article on how to become better at everything.

Unhaggle | How to Decide Which Car Features You Want vs. Need

Posted by  | February 12, 2014 |
Ghost written by Elliot Chan.
car-safety-featuresOil slicks, ejector seats and rocket boosts may not be practical car features in the real world, but there are other unnecessary additions you’ll want to look out for as well. Manufactures and dealers will try to up sell and install luxury and impractical features that will end up increasing your budget, becoming useless in the long-term and may even hinder your vehicle’s capability and resale value. Yes, life’s greatest struggle is trying to determine what you really want and what you actually need. And same applies to car features.If you have purchased a car before, you probably have a good idea about your habits behind the wheel. You know what makes you comfortable and secure. You might have also been a passenger inside a friend’s vehicle where you saw all the cool toggles and switches on their dashboard and thought – my next car will have those things. But not so fast, let’s not succumb to peer pressure or cheap sales tactics. Take a moment to determine what you really need!

What You Need

Standard safety features

Safety is paramount, especially while driving. Most cars come with standard features such as seatbelts, airbags and antilock brakes. But you should also consider investing in a few additional features to increase your vehicle’s accountability on the road.

Electronic stability/skid-control system

Electronic stability/skid-control system (ESC system) helps you cope with those scary moments when your tires lose traction and/or control on slippery roads. ESC system operates through sensors in the car (like a wheel speed sensor, steering sensor and yaw-rate sensor). These sensors understand how fast and in which direction your car is going. If a skid should occur, ESC system recognizes it and implements the necessary braking systems to help the car and yourself recover. Less panic means a safer ride.

Blind spot detection system

Blind spot detection system (BSD system) may save your life. There are other people on the road and the BSD system reminds us of them. On highways, busy urban streets or cramp parking lots, other vehicles, bicyclists or pedestrians may cross our paths without us knowing. The BSD system alerts us with a flashing light, a beeping sound and/or vibration before we accidentally collide with anything.

Physical knobs and buttons

Physical knobs and buttons on a dashboard and steering wheel save us from distractions. In a world where everything is interactive, all we really need are a few buttons and knobs to get the job done. Adjusting temperature and radio station is just easier when you can just remember where the buttons are, instead of scanning a touch screen for an image of a button. Physical buttons and knobs also allow you to keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

What You Want

GPS navigation system and Bluetooth

GPS navigation system and Bluetooth are quickly becoming standards in cars. If it’s not included, you should definitely resist — because if your car doesn’t come with those features, your smartphone does.

Touchless or foot-operated liftgate

Touchless or foot-operated liftgate is an absolute luxury. I too had my hands full of groceries from the checkout to my car. I place the bags down and open the door, a slight inconvenience, but far from a hassle. To classify this as a necessity is to say a chauffeur and a butler are also a necessary.

Backup camera

Backup camera is new technology that is still being opposed and advocated for. But when it comes to tight driving situations, every new innovation helps. Backup camera acts as another rear view mirror for your vehicle and should be relied on in the same fashion. That being said, backup cameras may help, but what matters more is responsible and safe driving. Backing up without rear ending someone shouldn’t be a challenge – it’s basic driving.

Automatic headlights

Automatic headlights light the way for us without a reminder. But anything that nurtures your indolence can’t be a good thing, right? Sure automatic headlights might help you save battery life, but the automatic headlights are not driving your car – you are. You should figure out when to turn on or off the lights, not some sensory headlamp. You wouldn’t trust an automatic oven to turn off when you leave the house, would you?

Automatic seat temperature control and memory seats bring a bit of comfort to your drive, but comfort is always something you’ll have to put a price on. I recommend heated and memory seats, like I would recommend a cherry on top of your sundae. For example, the 2014 Ford Fiesta optional features include a comfort package at approximately $290. Something to consider.