‘Knowledge is power’; Automotive experts at Findlay Hyundai have advice for owners and new buyers

Stock image, St. George News

CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Whether you are a current vehicle owner or someone getting ready to make a new purchase, automotive specialists say there are several important things that people need to keep in mind.

Be the best buyer you can

Stock image, St. George News

Scott Freeman, sales consultant at Findlay Hyundai St. George, said the most important thing to know before buying any vehicle is that knowledge is power.

These days you can find out just about anything about a vehicle’s history online, and arriving at a car lot without first doing a little research on the vehicle you want can often be a huge mistake.

Websites like Edmunds, Consumer Reports and Kelley Blue Book are great places to start researching cars within any price range.

In addition, after arriving at the dealership, the goal is to find the invoice price of the car — what the dealer paid the manufacturer — not the manufacture’s suggested retail price, or MSRP. This research will come in handy once the price negotiations begin.

On the other hand, when thinking about buying a used car, it is vital to research the recent resale prices for that specific car model. This data gives the buyer major bargaining power. If the plan is to trade in a current vehicle, a buyer should research market values for that vehicle, as well. Knowing the value of your trade-in can be a powerful negotiating tool.

Freeman also recommended checking the Carfax website, especially for consumers considering a pre-owned vehicle, so that buyers can “get the full information on the car.”

Ninety percent of people who buy a new car test drive it first, and they advise people to never be among the 10%. Test driving a car is important for many reasons, but comfort should be foremost on the mind.

“If you have children, bring them along on the test drive,” sales consultant Garrett Thayer said. “Their comfort level is important too, and trust me, they will give you their honest assessment of the car.”

In addition to comfort, potential buyers should look for the following:

  • Idle — The car should be smooth and quiet.
  • View — Make sure the view from each of the mirrors is acceptable, and you have a straight line view of all dashboard gauges.
  • Controls — Flip on the air, locate the turn signals and turn on the windshield wipers. Ensure that everything is easy to use. Some people find that their fingers are too big to handle certain switches, buttons or levers.
  • Handling and brakes — Make sure the car responds when you push the accelerator or brakes. Cars vary significantly in terms of sensitivity, and you want to choose a car that best fits your preferences.

“Before your test drive, be sure to adjust your power seat and your side and rearview mirrors for optimal safety for you and your passengers,” Thayer said.

Once you got it, keep it running smoothly

For owners trying to maintain their investment for as long as possible, Findlay service expert Koa Tomerlin recommends getting a regular check-up every 3,000 miles and to keep a close eye on the vehicle’s tire tread.

“The most important reason to worry about tread wear is safety,” Tomerlin said. “When your tire treads are worn, your car may respond poorly in adverse weather conditions like rain and snow. With good treads, your car will grip the road better.”

The easiest way to check your tread at home is by performing the “penny test.”

A tire tread is composed of several ribs – the raised portion of tread that spans the circumference of the tire – and the way to check wear is by placing a penny between the tread ribs and turn the penny so that Lincoln’s head points down into the tread. If the top of his head disappears between the ribs, the tread is still above 2/32-inch and is safe, but if you can see his entire head, it may be time to replace the tire, because the tread is no longer deep enough.

According to Tomerlin, with St. George’s severe weather conditions, oil changes are also very important.

“It gets really hot. We recommend 3,000 mile oil changes,” he said.

Findlay Hyundai is located 1405 S. Sunland Drive, St. George. For more information, call 888-770-1870  or visit the website.

Written by ANDREW PINCKNEY, St. George News.

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