car repair http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3793/all en-US How to Tell If a Car Service Plan Is Worth It http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-a-car-service-plan-is-worth-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-tell-if-a-car-service-plan-is-worth-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_73183307_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="is a car service plan worth it?" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Considering the purchase of an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-extended-warranties-ever-a-good-deal">extended warranty for a vehicle</a> can lead to serious mockery from the frugal. Everyone <em>knows </em>that dealerships tack large markups to these policies, extracting hundreds of extra dollars from customers. Consumer Reports warns that more than half of people who buy an extended warranty never use it, and even the minority that do use it end up, on average, spending more on the warranty than they save on repairs.</p> <p>But suppose you are able to purchase a warranty at a <a href="http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/secrets-of-an-ace-negotiator-part-ii.html">low markup over the dealer's wholesale price</a>? Should you buy a warranty if it's a great deal?</p> <p>I recently found myself in this position after getting offered a price on a Toyota Extra Care Vehicle Service Agreement so low that a friend who worked at a different dealership urged me to snap it up. But still, I worried. Because even at a good price, coverage that I never used would still be money down the drain.</p> <p>I wished for a crystal ball that would tell me whether the used car I was buying &mdash; a late model Highlander Hybrid &mdash; would ever need the services covered by this plan. Seeing the future is impossible, of course. But with some digging, I found resources that helped me make an educated guess by answering the following questions.</p> <h2>How Long Would the Warranty Cover My Car?</h2> <p>The dealer was offering me an eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty, which sounded like a lot of coverage. But when I looked closer, I realized that the mileage limit was based on the odometer's mileage, not the miles I drove. Since the car already had about 60,000 miles on it, that meant this warranty would cover 40,000 miles of my driving. And since the certified preowned car came with a free one-year warranty, the VSA, if I bought it, it would kick in on year two. Assuming that the car would hit 100,000 miles after four years of driving, this meant that the supposed eight-year policy would really cover me for about three years. I used this information to calculate the cost per year.</p> <p>If you're not sure if a vehicle you're buying is already covered by a warranty, you can check by calling a dealership of that brand, or by getting a VIN-based report from CarFax or CarMD.</p> <h2>What Is the Rate for the Car I'm Buying?</h2> <p>When buying a VSA, it's like betting against the company that your car will break down. Of course, the carmaker and dealership know more about the car's reliability record than you do, so it's a bet that's stacked against you. However, it would help to know how likely it is that you'll need to repair your car during the warranty period, and fortunately, that information is available.</p> <p>One step you can take is to consult the reliability rating of your car's make and model on ConsumerReports.com. My particular car got high marks in this area, which was a strike against buying the warranty. In surveys, Consumer Reports has found that owners of more reliable vehicle makes tend to be less satisfied with their purchases of warranty plans.</p> <p>You can get more specific by ordering a Vehicle History and Title Report from CarMD, a company that sells a diagnostic tool that plugs into the car to tell you why the check engine light is on. You can order a report by typing the VIN into <a href="https://www.carmd.com/wp/how-to-run-a-health-and-history-report-without-a-tool/">CarMD's site</a>, and in addition to useful information about the car's history, CarMD will draw upon its large database to tell you whether a check-engine light repair is expected within the next year. CarMD showed me a report for a car with the same make, model, and mileage as the one I was buying, and the report indicated that no such repair was expected in the next 12 months.</p> <p>That was another strike against buying the VSA.</p> <p>What repairs can cause that light to go on? About 85% of the systems in the car, says CarMD spokeswoman Kristin Brocoff.</p> <p>&quot;It's not just a handful of parts. The car's check engine light can alert you to anything as small as a loose gas cap and serious as engine failure,&quot; she said.</p> <h2>What Are Car Repairs Likely to Cost Me?</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5170/reviewing_car_service_plan.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>CarMD can help answer this question too, using data from repair shops nationwide. The vehicle history includes a five-year cost of ownership estimate, which includes fuel, maintenance, repairs, insurance, and depreciation. For my vehicle of choice, Brocoff broke down the $50,433 cost listed on the report, and revealed that repairs over the next five years are expected to run $1,689.18, or $337.80 per year. This was more than the per-year price of my warranty, so, if all those expected repairs were covered by the warranty I was offered, maybe I would come out ahead by buying the warranty.</p> <p>Another way CarMD can help you predict your car's future is its regularly updated <a href="https://www.carmd.com/wp/vehicle-health-index-introduction/2016-carmd-vehicle-health-index/">Vehicle Health Index</a> reports, which are free dispatches on the cost and incidence of repairs for <em>all</em> cars. For instance, the 2016 VHI says that the typical &quot;check engine light&quot; repair in my region, the West, costs $403.42. Knowing that, I know I would have to get hit with at least two such repairs that were covered by my warranty to make the coverage pay off.</p> <h2>Will the Warranty Even Cover the Expected Repairs?</h2> <p>Up until this point, things have looked good for buying the warranty, because the data predicts that I'd spend a few hundred dollars a year on car repairs. But this is where things get head-scratchy. Some potential repairs would be covered by two <em>other </em>warranties that would come free with my car, and those that aren't might not be covered by the VSA, either.</p> <p>Like many certified used vehicles, my car came with a limited powertrain warranty, which covers &quot;major engine, transmission components, and all internally lubricated parts,&quot; up until my odometer hits 100,000 miles, i.e., for about the same amount of time as the VSA they want to sell me. Because it's a hybrid, Toyota is required by law to also provide a warranty for the hybrid battery, covering about the same period. So, only repairs that don't involve the powertrain or the hybrid battery could potentially be covered by the VSA. Then, of course, the VSA has a specific list of components it covers, and anything not listed there would cost me out of pocket.</p> <p>How do you know what parts are most likely to break? Again, I got help from CarMD's 2016 Vehicle Health Index, which told me that the <a href="https://www.carmd.com/wp/vehicle-health-index-introduction/2016-carmd-vehicle-health-index/#stats">most common check-engine-related repair</a> for all cars was replacing the oxygen sensor (average cost $250), followed closely by replacing the catalytic converter ($1,153!), and replacing ignition coils and spark plugs ($390 for both). Searching for these repairs on the list of items covered by&nbsp;<a href="https://www.sc.toyotafinancial.com/web/tfs/pub/contents/vsa/TFS_VSA_Platinum_VSA_eBrochure.pdf">Toyota's powertrain warranty and the Toyota Extra Care Platinum VSA</a>, I found the O2 sensor listed on neither, the catalytic converter and ignition coils listed on the VSA, and spark plugs listed on neither. The high cost and high ranking of catalytic converter replacement was definitely a point for buying the warranty; then again, even at the second most likely repair, this job only accounted for about 7% of all car repairs. And despite all the data I'd read, I could not really predict how likely it was that my car would need a new catalytic converter during the warranty coverage.</p> <p>After investing multiple hours researching the likelihood of needing the offered VSA, I came to the frustrating conclusion that buying it or not buying it was basically a toss up.</p> <p>My educated guess based on my research is that my car may need one or two of the smaller covered repairs during the coverage period, but that the out-of-pocket cost would be close to what I paid for the warranty. On the other hand, reading CarMD's reports made me feel more secure that the odds of a really expensive repair hitting me in the next few years was probably not very high.</p> <p>One actionable thing I learned from this experience is that if you opt to buy a VSA, you should absolutely not pay the first price offered by the dealership. My dealership's finance guy first offered me the plan at twice the price he eventually ended up offering it at. All it took to cut the price in half was telling him that I didn't want to buy it.</p> <p><em>Have you purchased a similar warranty on your vehicle? Share your experience with us!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-a-car-service-plan-is-worth-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-drop-collision-coverage-on-your-car">When to drop collision coverage on your car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-does-it-cost-every-time-you-get-into-your-car">How Much Does it Cost Every Time you Get Into Your Car?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers">Ask the Readers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-earn-extra-money-with-your-car">7 Ways to Earn Extra Money With Your Car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-car-battery-warmers">The 5 Best Car Battery Warmers</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation car car insurance car maintenance car repair car service plan mechanic saving money service plan Mon, 18 Jul 2016 09:30:37 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1753054 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Jump Starter Kits http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-jump-starter-kits <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-jump-starter-kits" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_car_repair_000013809202.jpg" alt="Couple using best jump starter kits to get car started" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are few things worse than getting in your car only to realize that you can&rsquo;t get it started. While there may be a complicated underlying problem, sometimes, the battery just needs a quick charge. Unfortunately, there isn&rsquo;t always someone around to give your car a jump start when you need it. That&rsquo;s when a good jump starter kit can come in handy.</p> <h2>What Is a Jump Starter?</h2> <p>Whether your vehicle won&rsquo;t start thanks to extreme weather changes, because you left the lights on, or because you just don&rsquo;t drive your car often enough, a jump start kit can help you safely start your vehicle in no time. Some jump starters can also serve as a backup power unit, which you&rsquo;ll be happy to have in the event of a power outage. You&rsquo;ll be able to get the power you need, right when you need it most.</p> <p>If your battery dies, you just need to hook the clamps to your vehicle&rsquo;s battery, turn on the switch to the jump starter, and wait for your vehicle to power up again. You don&rsquo;t need to worry about hooking it up to another vehicle or searching for jumper cables. Everything you need will be included in your jump start kit. Compare that experience to standing on the side of the road waiting for AAA or for another driver to pass by that might be willing to give you a jump.</p> <h2>Top 5 Jump Starter Kits</h2> <h3>Antigravity Batteries Micro-Start Jump Starter/Personal Power Supply</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FDYYK4A/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00FDYYK4A&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=MLDJUGVINDPDXDSD"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/antigravity%20batteries.jpg" width="245" height="132" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FDYYK4A/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00FDYYK4A&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=MLDJUGVINDPDXDSD">Antigravity Batteries Micro-Start Jump Starter/Personal Power Supply XP-1</a> is Consumer Reports&rsquo; top choice for jump starters. The 12000mAh jump starter can start any automobile, truck, motorcycle, ATV, or UTV with ease. Along with getting your battery going again, it can also charge your electronics when you&rsquo;re in a bind. It offers unmatched device charging capacity with two USB ports and several laptop connection options. With dual USB ports, you can charge two electronics at the same time.</p> <p>It comes with 12 and 19-volt DC outputs, battery clips, and a cell phone charging cable, all housed in a small, soft-shelled case. It also includes a set of mini jumper cables, eight different charger tips to fit most laptops, and two tips to fit most 12V accessories. It also has a battery indicator light and a hi-power LED light with two flash patterns, including an SOS pattern.</p> <p>The jump starter and personal power supply is only around six inches long, so you can easily fit it in your glove compartment, backpack, or emergency kit. To preserve the battery life, it has an automatic power off when not in use and built-in over-charge and over-discharge protection. You can also prolong its useful life by recharging it just once every six months when not in use. It has outstanding reviews online, is one of Amazon&rsquo;s bestselling jump starters, and was selected as one of the best jump starters of 2015.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FDYYK4A/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00FDYYK4A&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=MLDJUGVINDPDXDSD"><em>Currently $103.95 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Stanley Peak Amp Jump Starter with Built-in Compressor</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002X6VXL4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B002X6VXL4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=UDQWN5EVZ3LYJIQX"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/stanley.jpg" width="180" height="200" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002X6VXL4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B002X6VXL4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=UDQWN5EVZ3LYJIQX">Stanley Peak Amp Jump Starter</a> will be your best friend in an emergency. With 1000 Peak Battery Amps and 500-Amp Instant Starting Power, it can power a car, truck, motorcycle, boat, RV, tractor, or any other vehicle with a 12V battery system. It holds a charge well and is simple to recharge. You simply pull back the cover on the back of the jumper, plug in any household extension cord, and charge it until the indicator light turns green.</p> <p>It includes a high-powered, ultra bright LED light that rotates 270 degrees, allowing you to safely power your vehicle on the side of the road, in the middle of the night. It also includes heavy duty metal clamps and a top-mounted, easy-grip rubber molded handle. It also features an alarm that will sound if the clamps are not attached properly, making it even easier to use.</p> <p>It features a built-in 120 PSI air compressor with a brass tipped SureFit nozzle, so you can easily inflate your tires or pump up your sports equipment. This will help you better maintain your tires and vehicle over time. Along with serving as a jump starter and compressor, it can also serve as a portable power unit, so you have the power you need in the event of a power outage. It has a USB power port and 12-volt DC outlet, so you can charge whatever you need to, whenever you need to. In fact, you can even charge two devices at once. It offers an incredible value and can even save you money by allowing you to fill up your tires at home, instead of wasting money at the gas station air pumps. The Stanley J5C09 1000 Peak Amp Jump Starter is Amazon&rsquo;s #1 best seller in jump starters, one of the &ldquo;most wished for&rdquo; items on Amazon, and was selected as one of the best jump starters of 2015.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002X6VXL4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B002X6VXL4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=UDQWN5EVZ3LYJIQX"><em>Currently $79.88 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Jump-N-Carry Peak Amp Ultraportable 12V Jump Starter with Light</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000XQ9MGE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000XQ9MGE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=EOPD4SJJMOG3N24V"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/jump%20n%20carry.jpg" width="245" height="179" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000XQ9MGE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000XQ9MGE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=EOPD4SJJMOG3N24V">Jump-N-Carry JNC300XL 900 Peak Amp Ultraportable 12V Jump Starter</a> is one of Amazon&rsquo;s bestselling jump starters for a reason. With more than 1,000 five star reviews on Amazon, it&rsquo;s helped a lot of people out of binds over the years. The reliable jump starter weighs only nine pounds and is very small, so it is easy to store and effortless to use for men, women, and teens. It&rsquo;s very powerful, with 12-volt operation, 900 peak amps, and 225 cranking amps. It can power most vehicles: four cylinders, six cylinders, and larger vehicles. The 12V socket will allow you to easily power a number of accessories. It has an impressive 27&rdquo; cable reach and full size clamps to penetrate battery corrosion. It also has a battery indicator light and a flashlight to help you quickly jump start your car, even on the side of the road.</p> <p>Along with being ultraportable, it is also the most affordable option on our list. It can last for years, as long as you maintain it by plugging it in once every three months, if you aren&rsquo;t using it. This was selected as one of the best jump starters of 2015 because it provides a strong electrical connection and can easily recharge even a corroded battery. If you&rsquo;re looking for something a bit larger, consider other bestselling jump starters from the brand, such as the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000JFJLP6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000JFJLP6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=ZVBHYUQKIMPZXHOI">Jump-N-Carry JNC660 1700 Peak Amp 12-Volt Jump Starter</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000XQ9MGE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000XQ9MGE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=EOPD4SJJMOG3N24V"><em>Currently $64.95 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>PowerAll Rosso Portable Power Bank and Car Jump Starter</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D42AFS8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00D42AFS8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=R6IBG5HQ5WDPEBNA"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/powerall.jpg" width="200" height="183" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D42AFS8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00D42AFS8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=R6IBG5HQ5WDPEBNA">PowerAll PBJS12000R Rosso Red/Black Portable Power Bank</a> is a 400 Peak Amp Jump Starter and 12,000 mAh High Capacity Battery. It can charge your battery in a matter of seconds, while some other jump starters can take up to 20 minutes. This portable battery charger and charging adapter has built-in protection against short circuit, over current, overload, over-charge, and over voltage. At just over one pound and six inches long, you can easily store this in your glove box, backpack, or emergency kit.</p> <p>While it is a very small, portable size, it is powerful enough to jumpstart your vehicle 20 times on a full charge. It includes battery indicating lights and a bright LED light on one end with three different modes: a flashlight, strobe light, and SOS light, which can last for 120 hours. There is also an AC adapter, 12V DC adapter, a set of clamps and jumper cables, and two USB ports, so you can easily charge your devices in an emergency. It also includes eight different charging adapters to fit all your portable electronic devices.</p> <p>This can get you out of a number of jams. Whether your car won&rsquo;t start up or you need to charge your smartphone, this can do it all. With dual USB ports, you can even charge two devices at the same time. After the devices are fully charged, this will enter sleep mode so you don&rsquo;t lose the charge. It can last for years, if you maintain it properly by charging it at least once every three months when not in use.</p> <p>This is one of the &ldquo;most wished for&rdquo; items on Amazon and one of Amazon&rsquo;s bestselling jump starters, with nearly 1,000 five star reviews. Consumer Reports selected this as one of the best jump starters because it offers strong performance and good accessory charging options. It has been selected numerous times as the best compact battery booster, including by CNET, who selected it as one of the best pocket-sized jump starters. It was also selected as one of the best jump starters of 2015.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D42AFS8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B00D42AFS8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=R6IBG5HQ5WDPEBNA"><em>Currently $89.75 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Schumacher DSR ProSeries 2200 Peak Amps Jump Starter and Portable Power Unit</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000N4UQL6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000N4UQL6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=2P2NWIXNQEBE36H4"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/schumacher.jpg" width="198" height="220" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000N4UQL6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000N4UQL6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=2P2NWIXNQEBE36H4">Schumacher DSR ProSeries 2200 Peak Amps Jump Starter</a> portable power unit is one of Amazon&rsquo;s bestselling jump starters, commonly recommended by professionals, used in professional auto shops, and is even used by AAA representatives when you need a jump. It has 2200 peak amps, 330 cranking amps, and 275 cold cranking amps. It also has a three-amp built-in automatic charger, reverse hook-up alarm, heavy duty clamp with replaceable copper jaws, four-gauge 50 inch cables, high impact rubber base, and a durable polypropylene vented case. It&rsquo;s sturdy, safe, and easy to use. Along with serving as a backup jump starter, it can also power 12V DC accessories. If you charge the professional grade, high output battery once you receive it, it can hold the charge until you need it.</p> <p>Most reviewers agree that this durable jump starter will last for years, even if you use it multiple times throughout the year. It can jump several cars multiple times with no problem. If this doesn&rsquo;t provide the amount of power you need, Schumacher offers jump starters ranging from 1800-4400 Peak Amps. Both the Schumacher PSJ-2212 DSR ProSeries 2200 Peak Amps Jump Starter and Portable Power Unit and the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004EIAADG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B004EIAADG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=XNLJPUFNDQDDU4EP">Schumacher XP2260 1200 Peak Amp Instant Portable Power Source</a> were voted some of the best jump starter kits of 2015, so you are sure to love either of these bestsellers.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000N4UQL6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000N4UQL6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=2P2NWIXNQEBE36H4"><em>Currently $150.34 on Amazon</em></a></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best jump starters. As always, be sure to check <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-calendar">Wise Bread's Buying Calendar</a> to learn when and how to buy just about anything!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-jump-starter-kits">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-car-battery-warmers">The 5 Best Car Battery Warmers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-winter-tires">The 5 Best Winter Tires</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-car-parts-that-are-safe-to-buy-used">9 Car Parts That Are Safe to Buy Used</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-windshield-de-icers">The 5 Best Windshield De-Icers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-cast-iron-skillets">The 5 Best Cast Iron Skillets</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Shopping auto repairs car kit car parts car repair jump starter kit product reviews Thu, 21 Jan 2016 10:00:04 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1634657 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Car Battery Warmers http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-car-battery-warmers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-car-battery-warmers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_driving_winter_000017948081.jpg" alt="Couple using best car battery warmers on winter drive" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Winters can be harsh on your vehicle. If you&rsquo;re struggling to battle the cold winter weather, keep in mind that your car is too. It can become more difficult to start your vehicle during these cold months because the battery fluid can freeze over if you don&rsquo;t take precautionary measures now.</p> <h2>What Is a Battery Warmer?</h2> <p>A battery warmer can keep your battery insulated and warm throughout the cold winter months. This will help to prevent the battery fluid from freezing over and will allow you to get your car started much more quickly in the morning. They are very easy to install and should make your life a lot easier. Typically, the warmer can be plugged into any standard outlet and can be easily wrapped around your car battery.</p> <p>Having a jump starter kit can help to get you out of a bind when your car won&rsquo;t start in the morning. However, having a battery warmer in place will help prevent a problem from occurring in the first place. Auto fluids can thicken at cold temperatures, but battery warmers will transmit the heat continuously, to ensure the liquids stay fluid, so you can start your vehicle right away.</p> <p>Along with keeping your battery warm in cold climates, it can even help extend your battery&rsquo;s life, deliver better fuel economy, reduce wear, and protect your engine from cold weather damage. To ensure you choose the correct battery warmer, simply measure the distance around your battery and select the warmer length closest to that distance.</p> <h2>Top 5 Car Battery Warmers</h2> <h3>Kat's 22200 Battery Thermal Wrap</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000I8XD9E/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000I8XD9E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=YSXUVIEMST4XIOAF"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/kat%20battery.jpg" width="245" height="172" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000I8XD9E/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000I8XD9E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=YSXUVIEMST4XIOAF">Kat's 22200 80 Watt 36&quot; Battery Thermal Wrap</a> can help protect your vehicle from the cold weather, and all the associated problems it brings. This is one of the most widely recommended battery warmers and has exceptional reviews online. It offers easy installation and can perfectly fit most batteries. It is also vinyl covered to protect against oil and acid, ensuring a longer life.</p> <p>Kat&rsquo;s offers some of the most popular battery pad heaters on the market, so you really can&rsquo;t go wrong with any Kat&rsquo;s battery warmer. You may also want to consider the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000I8XDAS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000I8XDAS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=L6YXP6NJT6HCNMAA">Kat's 22400 60 Watt 5.5&quot;x 8.5&quot; Battery Pad Heater</a>, which can fit most car and truck batteries.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000I8XD9E/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000I8XD9E&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=YSXUVIEMST4XIOAF"><em>Currently $29.24 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Zerostart 280-0063 Blanket Style Battery Heater</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002UNASS4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B002UNASS4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=3LVQZOAC2UJP7ANU"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/zerostat.jpg" width="245" height="134" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002UNASS4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B002UNASS4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=3LVQZOAC2UJP7ANU">Zerostart 280-0063 Blanket Style Battery Heater</a> is an Amazon bestseller. The 160-Watt heating unit can help you quickly start your car, even in the coldest climates. It features a molded rubber cord, flexible heater sheathing, and is flame retardant and oil and acid resistant.</p> <p>The battery heater is really easy to install on a clean, dry battery with up to a 36&rdquo; perimeter. You simply wrap it around your battery and hold it in place with the included ties. The cord is installed into the blanket with a brass grommet, designed to prevent tearing and prolong the heater&rsquo;s useful life.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002UNASS4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B002UNASS4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=3LVQZOAC2UJP7ANU"><em>Currently $37.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>GM # 10952544 Battery Heater Blanket</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FE7IIS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000FE7IIS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=NVJD2572IZYIGQRP"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/gm.jpg" width="200" height="200" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FE7IIS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000FE7IIS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=NVJD2572IZYIGQRP">GM # 10952544 Battery Heater Blanket</a> is a genuine OEM factory part. You simply wrap this around your battery to help you start your vehicle in no time, even in the coldest climates. It can keep your battery warm year-round and is commonly chosen for snowplows in the middle of winter. The 80-Watt battery blanket fits batteries with a 32&quot;-38&quot; perimeter. It is easy to install and plugs into any standard outlets.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FE7IIS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000FE7IIS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=NVJD2572IZYIGQRP"><em>Currently $25.36 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Kat's 1160 Magnum Handi-Heat Magnetic Heater</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000I8YOR4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000I8YOR4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=ZONMOWHKENJN6AVL"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/kats%20magnum.jpg" width="245" height="203" align="right" alt="" /></a>If you want to protect your vehicle and ensure that it starts up faster during the coldest times of the year, then you need the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000I8YOR4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000I8YOR4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=ZONMOWHKENJN6AVL">Kat's 1160 300-Watt Magnum Handi-Heat Magnetic Heater</a>. It is easy to install and will fit securely, with a universal fit for all cars, trucks, vans, SUVs, farm equipment, snowmobiles, motorcycles, snow blowers, and chainsaws. Along with warming your vehicle battery, it can also warm hydraulic systems or thaw frozen gutters, livestock feeders, locks, and pipes. It heats about 20 square inches of surface area and features two powerful magnets.</p> <p>For smaller applications, such as snowmobiles and small engines, consider the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BOABS6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000BOABS6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=WSAEOUFEUPW4F655">Kat's 1153 Handi-Heat 200 Watt Magnetic Heater</a>. Kat&rsquo;s offers some of the most popular battery pad heaters on the market, so you really can&rsquo;t go wrong with any Kat&rsquo;s battery warmer.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000I8YOR4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000I8YOR4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=ZONMOWHKENJN6AVL"><em>Currently $44.51 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>DEI 010480 Cell Saver</h3> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000MY0MQ6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000MY0MQ6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=H6UVDZVMYPEZ44VI"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/dei.jpg" width="220" height="188" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000MY0MQ6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000MY0MQ6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=H6UVDZVMYPEZ44VI">DEI 010480 Cell Saver</a> can do more than just warm your battery; it can also help to protect it from overheating. With a reflective layer on the outside, it can absorb and neutralize any leaking battery acids and can withstand radiant temperatures of up to 2,000 degrees. It can protect your battery against heat and vibration that could cause premature failure and hazardous leaks during the summer, while keeping it warm during the winter. You can use this on its own or use it along with a battery thermal wrap, if you live in particularly cold climates.</p> <p>It comes with a complete battery insulation kit and everything you need. It is easy to install and should fit like a glove. You can trim the wrap to fit your battery and use the supplied edge sealing tape to secure it in place. It also comes with a base mat.</p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000MY0MQ6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=B000MY0MQ6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=H6UVDZVMYPEZ44VI"><em>Currently $20.28 on Amazon</em></a></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best car battery warmers. As always, be sure to check <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-calendar">Wise Bread's Buying Calendar</a> to learn when and how to buy just about anything!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-car-battery-warmers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-jump-starter-kits">The 5 Best Jump Starter Kits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-windshield-de-icers">The 5 Best Windshield De-Icers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-winter-tires">The 5 Best Winter Tires</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-humidifiers">The 5 Best Humidifiers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-cast-iron-skillets">The 5 Best Cast Iron Skillets</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Shopping car battery car battery warmer car repair product reviews winter Thu, 31 Dec 2015 10:00:02 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1629637 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Used Car http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-buy-a-used-car <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-buy-a-used-car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/8135309893_9a82eb9dc3_z.jpg" alt="car" title="car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Spring is a time when the used car market sees an uptick in activity. Tax refunds are in hand, the sun is shining, the open road beckons, and folks start to stroll through used car lots with a gleam in their eyes. But before you start test driving and haggling, take a moment to prepare and clarify what kind of car you need and what you can afford. Here are five questions to ask yourself before you buy. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/guide-to-buying-a-used-car-without-going-crazy">Guide to&nbsp;Buying a Used Car Without Going Crazy</a>)</p> <h2>1. Have I Done My Research?</h2> <p>There are volumes of information online about specific automobile makes and models. If you have a particular car in mind, check out sites like <a href="http://www.edmunds.com/">Edmunds.com</a> or <a href="http://www.kbb.com/">KBB.com</a> for expert and consumer reviews that include safety features, performance, dependability, fuel economy, etc. Pay close to attention to the qualities that matter most for you and your family.</p> <h2>2. How Much Can I Really Afford?</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-car-can-you-afford">Determine how much you can afford</a> for your new set of wheels. Remember to factor in tax, title, and license fees; costs related to changes in insurance coverage; and any immediate upgrades the car may need such as new tires. Whether you&rsquo;re paying cash or financing, err on the side of a conservative estimate and always leave room for contingencies.</p> <h2>3. What Best Suits My Lifestyle?</h2> <p>A great value is always tempting, but don&rsquo;t lose sight of what fits your lifestyle.</p> <ul> <li>Will you be transporting precious cargo (people, pets, or stuff)?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do you have older parents or in-laws who may need a car that sits a bit higher and is easier to get in and out of?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do you need a hatchback for hauling?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Or maybe a four-wheel drive for steep terrain or challenging winters?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Do you have a small business that might benefit from a mini-van or small truck?</li> </ul> <p>Explore all the available options and find what suits you best now, with an eye toward the future.</p> <h2>4. What Will the Maintenance and Repair Costs Average?</h2> <p>Many people focus only on the upfront costs of buying a used car and don&rsquo;t really consider the unplanned or recurring costs. No car runs perfectly all the time, so factor in repair expenses as you shop for what you can afford.</p> <ul> <li>What are the repair cost averages in your area for foreign and domestic models?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Would finding a regular mechanic for a non-domestic car require a long commute?</li> </ul> <p>Also, earlier model cars typically have fewer frills and creature comforts, but that means fewer high-tech engineering features under the hood that can be expensive to maintain, repair, and replace. Take a comprehensive look at the total cost of ownership and decide what works best for you and your resources.</p> <h2>5. Is the Dealership Reputable?</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-things-car-salesmen-dont-want-you-to-know">buying from a dealership</a>, a bit of research can go a long way. Do some online sleuthing to see what customers are saying about their experiences with a particular used car dealership.</p> <ul> <li>What has the post-buy customer experience been like?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>How has the business responded to customer complaints and helped to resolve issues?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Are there any pending legal issues with the business?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Are customers willing to refer friends and family?</li> </ul> <p>Once you know the answers to these five questions, you&rsquo;re in the driver's seat and in a much better position to make the right choice. Remember, a bit of due diligence and strategy ahead of time will help ensure that your new car is a perfect fit now and still a great value when you decide to sell it later. Drive safe!</p> <p><em>Have you purchased a car from a used car dealership? What was your experience like?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-buy-a-used-car">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-things-car-salesmen-dont-want-you-to-know">17 Things Car Salesmen Don&#039;t Want You to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-used-car-salesman-reveals-dirty-tricks-and-how-to-beat-them">A Used Car Salesman Reveals Dirty Tricks (and How to Beat Them)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-car-battery-warmers">The 5 Best Car Battery Warmers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-jump-starter-kits">The 5 Best Jump Starter Kits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-a-car-service-plan-is-worth-it">How to Tell If a Car Service Plan Is Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation buying a used car car dealerships car repair Mon, 01 Apr 2013 10:24:29 +0000 Kentin Waits 971381 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Sites Every Car Owner Needs to Bookmark Now http://www.wisebread.com/6-sites-every-car-owner-needs-to-bookmark-now <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-sites-every-car-owner-needs-to-bookmark-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/driving_a_car.jpg" alt="Woman driving a car" title="Woman driving a car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="149" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Owning a car is very convenient. From buying groceries to making weekend trips to IKEA, when you own a car, it&rsquo;s a lot easier to get it all done.</p> <p>One thing that does suck is when your car breaks down. Unless you&rsquo;re a car nut, how do you know if you&rsquo;re being scammed? Does a busted Johnson Rod really cost $1,400 to repair? Who knows. That&rsquo;s why so many car owners are at the mercy of unscrupulous mechanics around the country.</p> <p>But if you use these six sites, you&rsquo;ll be able to find someone you can trust and save some money in repairing and maintaining your car. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/disguise-your-stuff-to-prevent-car-break-ins">Disguise Your Stuff to Prevent Car Break-ins</a>)</p> <h2>Facebook</h2> <p>The first thing car owners need is a shop they can trust. You can&rsquo;t stay on top of maintenance and repairs if you don&rsquo;t have a mechanic to take the car to.</p> <p>What better place to start than <a href="http://www.facebook.com">Facebook</a>? Ask your friends and family who they trust and where they&rsquo;ve had good experiences.</p> <p>If a couple people mention the same place, then that&rsquo;s a great place to try.</p> <h2>Yelp</h2> <p>Facebook is a great starting point, but unless you have a million friends (sad trombone noise), the odds are you won&rsquo;t get a ton of feedback on a whole bunch of shops. What <a href="http://www.yelp.com">Yelp</a> does is bring some scale into the equation.</p> <p>Look up each place that&rsquo;s near you or was recommended on Facebook, and see what the rest of the world thinks of it. It&rsquo;s a lot easier to decide between a few places when one has an average of two stars and some horror stories versus another with solid reviews.</p> <h2>Angie&rsquo;s List</h2> <p>I&rsquo;ve never used <a href="http://www.angieslist.com/">Angie&rsquo;s List</a> because they charge a membership fee, but I&rsquo;ve heard good things about them. They&rsquo;re kind of like Yelp in that they compile user reviews on different contractor services (including mechanics).</p> <p>If you want to be really thorough or if you&rsquo;re already a member, definitely check out all the shops you&rsquo;re considering on this site.</p> <h2>Repairpal</h2> <p><a href="http://www.repairpal.com">Repairpal</a> will take your make, model, zip code, and specific type of repair and spit out a range of what it might cost to get the repair done. They also break it down by parts and labor.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s like getting a second opinion in two minutes, and it&rsquo;s awesome.</p> <p>Granted, these are estimates. But they do take your location into account, so they shouldn&rsquo;t be too far off. The way they compile their data is <a href="http://repairpal.com/methodology">pretty thorough</a>, so this is a really good resource.</p> <p>If a shop&rsquo;s estimate is way off, ask them why and mention you&rsquo;ve gotten a second opinion...they may have a valid answer. And they may not...</p> <p>Another cool feature is that you can create an account and save all the information on your car. You can keep track of when your next oil change is due, any work done to the car, etc. Staying on top of your regular maintenance is HUGE if you want to save money by preventing bigger problems from developing.</p> <p>You can also try <a href="http://www.automd.com/">AutoMD</a> and <a href="http://www.driverside.com/">DriverSide</a> to get additional estimates on a repair.</p> <h2>Carmaker&rsquo;s Website</h2> <p>For one reason only &mdash; they&rsquo;ll usually have the car&rsquo;s manual available online. I know people <a target="_blank" href="http://www.thewriterscoin.com/read-the-manual-stupid/">don&rsquo;t like reading manuals</a>, but I recently discovered something pretty interesting when it comes to cars &mdash; everything you need to know is in the manual.</p> <p>I was trying to figure out if some of the repairs the dealership had quoted me were B.S. or not, and everything I read pointed to one source &mdash; the manual.</p> <ul> <li>How often should I change the oil?</li> <li>Do I really need to change the air filter?</li> <li>What maintenance should I do at 90,000 miles?</li> </ul> <p>All this stuff is in the manual. Forget about what the &ldquo;experts&rdquo; say &mdash; don&rsquo;t you think the people that actually built the thing would know better?</p> <h2>iTunes/Android Market</h2> <p>Apps are cool. We love apps. So what better way to stay on top of your repairs and checkups?</p> <p>No one likes spending the time and money to get a car checked out when nothing obvious is wrong, but regular maintenance can keep your car running longer and better. So why not get all your car&rsquo;s information loaded up into an <a href="http://www.apple.com/itunes/">iPhone</a> or <a href="https://market.android.com/">Android</a> app? That way the app can tell you when to get the tires rotated, the oil changed, and all that good stuff.</p> <p>For the iPhone, I like <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/car-minder-plus-car-maintenance/id310809791?mt=8" target="_blank">Car Minder Plus</a>, and for Android <a href="https://market.android.com/details?id=com.zonewalker.acar&amp;feature=search_result" target="_blank">aCar</a> is a good free one &mdash; although I use <a href="https://market.android.com/details?id=com.cooloy.OilChangeSchedulePro&amp;feature=search_result" target="_blank">Car Maintenance Reminder Pro</a> ($1.99).</p> <p>These six sites should help you find a place you can trust and stay on top of your regular maintenance. That alone should save you a fair amount of money and stress. For more ways to save, check out these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-slick-tools-to-save-money-on-car-repairs">six tools to save money on car repairs</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carlos-portocarrero">Carlos Portocarrero</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-sites-every-car-owner-needs-to-bookmark-now">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-car-battery-warmers">The 5 Best Car Battery Warmers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-jump-starter-kits">The 5 Best Jump Starter Kits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-a-car-service-plan-is-worth-it">How to Tell If a Car Service Plan Is Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage">11 Smart Ways to Boost Your Gas Mileage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-still-smart-to-buy-an-electric-car-while-gas-prices-are-low">Is It Still Smart to Buy an Electric Car While Gas Prices Are Low?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation car repair maintenance mechanics websites Thu, 16 Jun 2011 10:24:12 +0000 Carlos Portocarrero 582091 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Household Fixes You Should Stop Paying Others For http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000006796079S.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Spring is right around the corner, and with it comes the season for cleaning, fixing, and repairing things around the house. The problem is that many people simply open their wallets and pay for work that they could probably handle themselves, from leaky faucets and downed tree branches to pest control.</p> <p>You don't have to be a professional handyman to take care of common hiccups. In fact, a little bit of patience and diligence can eliminate repair and maintenance costs and help heal your bottom line. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/diy-home-improvement-10-free-options-for-training-and-advice">DIY Home Improvement: 10 Free Options for Training and Advice</a>)</p> <p>Given that, here&rsquo;s a look at five household fixes and chores you can probably handle solo:</p> <h2>Landscaping</h2> <p>Hiring somebody to rake your leaves, mow your lawn, fertilize, and mulch your shrubbery isn't always worth the cost. Instead of getting an itemized list of tasks done by a lawn service, you&rsquo;ll get physical activity and money to put in your savings. Plus landscaping your yard gives you the freedom to do whatever you want creatively with the peace of mind that it&rsquo;ll be done to your specifications. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-lawn-mowers">The 6 Best Lawn Mowers</a>)</p> <h2>Vehicle Maintenance</h2> <p>Minor car maintenance and repairs don&rsquo;t require a new skill set. Changing your oil, replacing a dead battery, and installing new headlight bulbs all take a few minutes to learn but can save hundreds of dollars in the long run. Beyond repairs, clean your cars at home. Washing your cars inside and out lets you scrub every nook and cranny. Now there won&rsquo;t be anybody to blame if crumbs litter your passenger seat, except your messy passengers.</p> <h2>Plumbing Repairs</h2> <p>Leaks and clogged drains happen. They&rsquo;re inevitable. But don&rsquo;t call a plumber who solves the problem in 10 minutes and charges you for an hour. O-rings, plumbing tape, and clog-removing chemicals easily save you a bundle of money. If trying to fix simple plumbing problems sounds intimidating, at least give it a try before diving for the phone. Worst case scenario, you have to call a professional. At the same time, avoid exacerbating problems by taking on projects beyond your means. There's no shame in knowing your limitations.</p> <h2>Pest Control</h2> <p>Pesticide sells for less than $15 at hardware stores and comes with spraying mechanisms. Pay close attention to the directions and clear areas you plan to spray beforehand. Be sure to mind the pets, too. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pesky-pests-easy-homemade-mosquito-and-insect-traps-and-repellent">Killing the insects</a> yourself keeps the pesky ones away, but you still need a hired hand to take out termites. Don&rsquo;t let a termite bond lapse, and keep a pest-control company under contract for termite extermination if termites are prevalent in your area.</p> <h2>Mending Walls</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s common for drywall nails to pop out, be an eyesore, and ensnare clothes. Use a nail set to hammer obtrusive nails back into the stud. Then, about two inches above or below the loose nail, tap in another nail flush with the wall. Spackle the dents, let dry, and sand smooth. Paint as necessary.</p> <p>These are just a handful of do-it-yourself fixes. Please feel free to share your tips below.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-birk">Chris Birk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cheap-ways-to-dress-up-your-garden">17 Cheap Ways to Dress Up Your Garden</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/like-diy-avoid-these-ten-costly-mistakes">Like DIY? Avoid These 10 Costly Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-diy-backyard-home-improvements-that-save-you-big">8 DIY Backyard Home Improvements That Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home car repair Home repair landscaping Fri, 18 Feb 2011 14:00:08 +0000 Chris Birk 491468 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/broken_car.jpg" alt="broken car" title="so sad ;(" width="360" height="214" /> </p> <p>Usually, I have a lot to write about. But today? Today there&#39;s only one thing I can write about, because this thing is driving me crazy. </p> <p>Dave and I are responsible with our cars. We take good care of them, do all of the maintenance they need, etc. One of our cars, though, is having problems. Now, I know that car problems happen no matter what you do. I know that pieces of the car get older and need to be replaced. However, we spent over $700 on this car last week and it&#39;s still not working. Today, we took it to a different mechanic (recommended by a friend) who tried some things but couldn&#39;t get it to work right. He recommended us to a Honda specialist, who will look at the car on Thursday.</p> <p>At this point, I&#39;m worried. If the easy things don&#39;t fix it, it&#39;s probably going to cost a lot to fix it. What if they can&#39;t find the problem? What if we bought a car that&#39;s a lemon? </p> <p>All of this got me to wondering: what are the best ways to save money on car repairs (short of &quot;knowing people&quot; or doing it yourself)? Does anyone have anything in particular that they would recommend Dave and I do or say to avoid spending all of our tax return on the car? I would really appreciate any input and I think other readers would, too! (I&#39;ve already thought of showing up with puppy-dog eyes, a couple of tears trailing down my face, wearing a string bikini, so that one&#39;s taken!) </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-a-car-service-plan-is-worth-it">How to Tell If a Car Service Plan Is Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-earn-extra-money-with-your-car">7 Ways to Earn Extra Money With Your Car</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-car-battery-warmers">The 5 Best Car Battery Warmers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-jump-starter-kits">The 5 Best Jump Starter Kits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-life-is-wonderful-when-you-swap-your-car-for-a-bike">9 Ways Life Is Wonderful When You Swap Your Car for a Bike</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation buy a new car car car problems car repair string bikini Tue, 10 Apr 2007 22:25:17 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 487 at http://www.wisebread.com