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1/15, Consumer Reports Says: "When its's time to take the car in for routine maintenance and especially for repairs, remember this: . . . independent repair shops continue to get higher marks for satisfaction than car dealers." Ask the Expert! Suze Orman says: "Take care of your car!"

"Dealers don't always represent the best deals for repairs & maintenance, ... Independent mechanics typically charge around 15% less...." - The Wall Street Journal 1/4/2015


things you auto know

Do you know & does it matter?

  • Richter's is the trusted service provider for the Village Icon, Life Opportunities Unlimited.
  • Repairing that older vehicle may be more cost effective than a replacement. If you invest $1,000 in maintenance today and drive 10,000 miles this year, your cost is only 10 cents per mile!
  • "Got your eye on a used car? Have it checked out by someone you trust before you ink the deal"
  • Being Good Neighbors as well as Experts in Automotive Air Conditioning, Richter's has been recycling refrigerant since 1989! Call Dave or Polly for an AC Quickcheck today!
  • Sky-high gas prices getting you down? We can improve your MPG if mechanical problems are wasting fuel.
  • When a headlight is out, you're driving at a disadvantage. When it's your turn signals or brake lights that are out, other drivers are affected. Car Care Council asks, "Have you checked your lights lately"?
  • A cell-phone is no substitute for good vehicle maintenance!

Things Automotive

Looking for a Used Car? These Six Tips Can Help

Does the idea of shopping for a used car make you cringe? You’re not alone. Even among the most experienced auto buffs used car shopping stirs mixed emotions, from anxiety to gusto. Although many shoppers fear ending up with a “lemon”, they still enjoy the anticipation of landing the perfect vehicle at a fair price.
The Car Care Council suggests the following tips for consumers who are eyeing the used car market.

  1. Mind over matter - Finding the right vehicle can be an emotional decision. We tend to fall in love with our cars, a relationship which can become "love-hate" when the used car becomes somewhat of a clunker. For this reason it's important not to let your heart override your common sense. Shop with another person to ensure that a second opinion is close at hand.
  2. Clean out your comb - Used cars are just that...USED. The new car warranty is either gone or waning, so make sure all guarantees are in writing. Go over this paperwork with the proverbial fine tooth comb.
  3. High mileage/high value - Don't be frightened off by high mileage. Shoppers who traditionally have ruled out older cars with high mileage now are discovering that these can be excellent buys. The median age of a vehicle now exceeds 8 years, an increase of 50% during the past decade. Vehicles are more durable, and we're putting more miles on them. Naturally, your planned use for the vehicle should be a consideration.
    "People are keeping their vehicles longer", confirms R.B. Grisham, Executive Vice President, National Independent Automobile Dealers Association. "Add to this the higher price of new cars, and you can see why the used car market is overtaking the new."
    A high mileage vehicle (100,000+ miles) may be relatively trouble free for years, says the Council. If it has had proper care and the maintenance schedule has been adhered to, major components, including the engine and transmission may be good for many more miles.
  4. Don't skip "history class" - A big factor, of course, is the vehicle's service history. Beware of the private seller who boasts, "I never had to do a thing to it." It could be an accident or a breakdown waiting to happen. Sooner or later lack of maintenance will catch up...sometimes with the new owner.
    The service history can also be used to help verify the odometer reading. Although laws and the increasing difficulty of the practice itself have reduced this form of fraud, buyers should still beware. The whole-mile digits of an odometer that has been "rolled back" or otherwise tampered with, may appear out of line with each other. If the brake/clutch pedal pad is worn through but the odometer reads disproportionately low, ask questions.
  5. Play the Price is Right - On line find these appraisal guides: National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), Kelly Blue Book, Edmonds and others, to help determine if the seller's price is in the right range.
  6. A checkup before a check - Used car shoppers should invest in a thorough inspection of any used vehicle. Due to complex systems in today's vehicles, analysis of these sophisticated systems demands more than a trained eye. They may also require specialized equipment for complete evaluation.
    "It's not that the buyer should 'borrow trouble' or look for an Achilles Heel to use against the asking price," explained Donna Wagner, Vice President of the Car Care Council." "But he/she should do everything possible to avoid buying a bomb. A valuable ally in this procedure is a well trained and equipped technician."


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