Clean up on your trade-in with these 10 easy fixes

BY GERRY MILES

Yeah, sure we never wash the rental car, you don’t spit into the wind, and never mistake someone’s silence as a sign of weakness. You KNOW those things. And you also KNOW that a cleaned, well-prepared car at trade-in time, presents a well-kept image, and returns a higher value at the sale.

With that in mind, the folks at Coverhound put together 10 easy fixes that will erase any concerns about your maintenance habits (you do change the oil and backup your PC every day, too, right?) when you sell your vehicle.

  1. SEE THE LIGHT(S). If the brake lights, headlights and high beams don’t shine, it’ll will make prospective buyers wonder what else you haven’t fixed.
  2. CAR MATS. Replace any floor mats that have seen better days and hit carpeted areas with a upholstery cleaner.
  3. BUMPERS. Back-to-black bumper cleaner will help remove the remnants of bumper stickers past.
  4. DASHBOARD. Wax will help restore some shine to that faded dash. THere’s a number of cleaners in easy to use containers to restore luster and remove dirt and dust. Think of what you’d think if you were seeing your vehicle for the first time.
  5. PAINT SWIRLS. Color polish will help remove those unsightly swirls and restore brightness to sun worn paint.
  6. PAINT CHIPS. Pick up a touch-up kit that includes primer, paint and lacquer that match the color of your vehicle.
  7. DENTS. Rather than doing this one yourself, call a paint-less dent repair service.
  8. SCRATCHES. Scratch repair products can help remove lighter scratches, but deeper ones will need to be filled and repainted by a professional.
  9. WINDSHIELD. Talk to a professional about whether any cracks can be repaired or if replacing the windshield is the only option.
  10. TIRES. Use wax or a paint-on product to get rid of that scuffed-up look. There are many products in an easy to use spray bottle – probably the same stuff the reconditioning shop at the dealer uses to make them look shiny and race ready. Use it, please.

Pre Sale Car Prep

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If Divorce wrecked your credit take these shopping tips to heart: Edmunds.com

BY GERRY MILES

A pothole can do severe damage to your tire, the rim and the vehicle’s alignment, but it’s imminently fixable.

A divorce is a heart-wrenching experience that can exact a devastating toll upon both parties, not to mind your credit report at times. For people who find themselves in that situation, Edmunds.com has collected some prudent shopping tips that appear to be quite helpful.

Last year Credit.com surveyed 526 divorced adults and found that 31 percent suffered a credit score drop following the break-up of their marriage. A poor credit score can saddle a car shopper with a higher interest loan and possibly make it difficult to finance the car at all.

Emma Johnson, noted personal finance expert and creator of the popular blog WealthySingleMommy, covered this topic for Edmunds.com in an article called “Divorce, Credit Scores and Car Shopping.” The article included these tips:

  • Before you step foot in a car dealership, pull your credit report and history and look for any negative scores.
  • Consider working with your ex to remove your name from any outstanding debts that your ex is the one responsible for, as well as the title to any vehicle you are on the title of but no longer own.
  • Be prepared to prove your post-divorce income.
  • Plan to make a decent down payment.
  • Tell your story: Electronically generated credit scores are not the only factor in lending decisions.

“If you understand the details of your credit history before speaking with a lender, you’ll be able to make a stronger case for your qualifications as a borrower,” reports Johnson. “Worst case scenario, if you are forced to accept a loan with a high interest rate, you can always refinance or buy another vehicle under better terms in a few years when you are back on your feet and your credit has improved.”

More information can be found at http://www.edmunds.com/car-loan/divorce-credit-scores-and-car-shopping.html

Honda’s 115 MPGe Accord Plug-In Hybrid Most Fuel-Efficient Sedan in America

2014 Accord PHEV

2014 Accord PHEV

By Gerry Miles

In what may be the all-time MPG top number reached, Honda says its Accord Plug-in Hybrid has a 115 MPGe making it the most fuel-efficient sedan in the USA.

That means, according to the EPA’s consumer Web portal, that MPGe “represents the number of miles the vehicle can go using a quantity of fuel with the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline.” So, it’s the government’s gobbledygook to try to compare fuel-driven engines with hybrids and give consumers a fair comparison.

Those numbers top the Ford Fusion Energi, Toyota’s Prius Plug-in and Chevy’s Volt, according to Honda and the chart below illustrates said claims.

The car went on sale Jan. 15 with an MSRP of $39,780 and a monthly lease price of $429.

The full press release follows below. It’s cool technology and combines gas, electric in a sweet looking ride but at a steep price. Still, it’s nice to have options.

Combining hybrid efficiency with a powerful dose of instantaneous electric-motor torque, the Honda Accord Plug-In is rated by the EPA with a maximum EV Mode driving range of 13 miles and a gasoline fuel-economy rating of 47/46/46 mpg (city/hwy/combined). The 2014 Accord Plug-In earned the highest EPA MPGe rating1 (115 MPGe) in its class4, topping all plug-in-class competitors. In addition to being Honda’s first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the Accord Plug-In is the first production car in the U.S. to meet the new, more stringent LEV3/SULEV20 emissions standard, and will also qualify for single-occupant carpool-lane access in California.

Honda Accord Plug-In Fuel Efficiency Comparison

Model

EPA Combined
MPGe Rating

EPA Fuel Economy
City/Highway/Combined

Honda Accord Plug-In

115 MPGe

47/46/46

Ford Fusion Energi Plug-In

100 MPGe

44/41/43

Chevy Volt

98 MPGe

35/40/37

Prius Plug-In

95 MPGe

51/49/50

The 2014 Accord Plug-in Hybrid is powered by an all-new Honda Earth DreamsTM technology two-motor hybrid system utilizing a powerful 124-kilowatt (kW) electric motor that also acts like a continuously variable transmission (e-CVT) mated to a highly fuel-efficient 2.0-liter i-VTEC, Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder engine. Electric-only operation is supported by a 6.7-kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery, with high efficiency regenerative braking provided by an all-new electric-servo braking system.

To maximize driving efficiency, the new two-motor hybrid system allows the Accord Plug-In powertrain to transition seamlessly between all-electric EV Drive, gasoline-electric Hybrid Drive; and direct Engine Drive. Beyond its function as a full-electric vehicle, owners of the Accord Plug-In will be able to choose two additional driving modes to manage battery capacity and tailor the capabilities of the vehicle to their commute. In its default start-up mode, the Accord Plug-In acts as a pure electric vehicle and will remain in full-electric mode until the battery state of charge necessitates the automatic switch to gas/electric hybrid operation. At higher speeds and engine loads, such as during aggressive acceleration, the gasoline engine kicks in to provide additional power. There is also a button on the center console that allows the driver to manually select EV mode – for example, if they want to utilize EV mode in their neighborhood, or in city traffic on stop-and-go highway driving when regenerative braking potential is increased. In the driver-selectable “HV” mode, the plug-in Accord acts as a conventional hybrid, blending electric motor gasoline engine power to maximize fuel efficiency while maintaining the battery charge level.

The plug-in Accord can be fully charged from a low-charge indication point in less than three hours using the supplied 120-volt charger when plugged into a standard 120-volt household electrical outlet (use of a dedicated GFCI outlet is recommended), and in less than one hour using a 240-volt “Level-2” charger5. The free HondaLink™ EV smartphone application will allow owners to remotely monitor the charging state of the Accord Plug-In.

Based on the Touring trim level of standard Accord Sedan but featuring unique styling cues, the 2014 Honda Accord Plug-In will be available in three exterior colors, including two standard Accord shades (White Orchid Pearl and Crystal Black Pearl) plus a model-exclusive Burnished Silver Metallic. 

Honda Environmental Leadership 
In addition to producing the Accord Plug-In, Honda has developed numerous technologies to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions, including the Honda Fit EV, Civic Natural Gas and the Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV). Honda has also led the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) rankings of overall vehicle environmental performance since 2000, and a Honda vehicle has topped the list of America’s greenest vehicles from the America Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) for 15 consecutive years.