Should You Buy a New Car?

hondaWe’ve had our 2011 Honda Odyssey van for 4 years.  It came straight from the factory and had 4 miles on it when we drove off the lot.

With a very little interest rate, about $12 of each payment is now going to interest and the rest is going to principle.  It will be paid off soon and that’s a great feeling.  We haven’t had any issues with the vehicle and we weren’t considering trading it in until we received an offer in the mail from the dealer.  It seems this model is popular on the used car market and they are eager to get us into a new vehicle ($$$).  I gotta say, it’s tempting.

However, no car payment is tempting too.  We feel we’re in a good spot with a relatively “new” vehicle but when should we buy a new car?

I did some research and Edmunds.com says it’s almost always less expensive to repair a car than buy a new one.  They say a new car typically loses an estimated 22 percent of it’s value in the first year and your existing car has already taken that depreciation hit.

On the flip side, if trips to the mechanic are costing you too much money and time from your work or family and you don’t want to worry constantly about future break downs, a new car may be worth the investment.  New cars are safer than ever with many safety equipment becoming standard on new vehicles.

Edmunds formula to making a decision is if the cost of repairs is greater than either the value of the vehicle or one year’s monthly payments, it’s time to buy another vehicle.

I asked Pat about the cost of insurance on an older vehicle v. a new one.  Would our insurance premium go up or down if we bought a new vehicle?  Of course all rates depend on the driver’s driving record and the type of vehicle (sports cars really do cost more to insure) but he said a newer car would cost more to insure (there are reasons and I’ll let him break it down for you).  But if you are in the market for a new care, the good news is, it’s also true that newer vehicles may have newer safety features that can lower your premium.  It’s important you research what your rates may be on a vehicle you are interested in purchasing before you buy.

IMG_4744In our case, the van isn’t that “old” and we have the most recent safety features such a side air bags, the back up camera and a lot of what I’d call bells and whistles on it: Navigation, DVD player, bluetooth, auto start = all awesome features when toting around kids (and when I want to learn my Jazzercise routines on long road trips).

Not having a car payment soon and keeping our premium low is more attractive to me right now than a new vehicle that’s going to depreciate thousands of dollars the minute I drive it off the lot.  And, according to Kelly’s Blue Book, if I wanted to sell the van to a private party, I could expect to receive just over $21,000.  Not a bad chunk of change should I change my mind in the near future!

Are you in the market for a new car?  Call us and ask what your insurance premium would be so you can factor the total cost of a new vehicle into your budget.  We’d be happy to assist you.

-S.O.
The Patrick D. O’Brien Agency

 

 

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8 Important Winter Driving Tips

Living in the midwest, it’s no surprise to us when it gets cold in Winter and snows.  But, currently we are experiencing extremely cold temperatures and more snow and ice than the past few years.

Follow these important tips from amfam.com to keep your car, and your passengers, protected during inclement winter weather.

Snow-covered highway during rush-hour1.  Keep your gas tank at least half full to reduce condensation buildup that can lead to gas line freezing.

2.  Charge your battery.  To start your engine in cold weather, you’ll need your battery to be in good condition and fully charged.

3.  Check your brakes Have a professional inspect your brakes to make sure they work properly and apply smoothly. Properly functioning brakes can prevent wheels from locking on slick surfaces.

4.  Change worn windshield wipers and fill your washer reservoir with a winter solvent that won’t freeze.

5.  Keep tires inflated Under-inflated tires can be dangerous. And the air pressure in your tires will decrease 1-2 psi for every 10-degree drop in outside temperature.

6.  Drive slowly When roads are wet or covered with snow, accelerating, stopping and turning take longer. By driving more slowly, you’ll have more time to maneuver.

7.  Increase your following distance On dry pavement, your normal following distance should be about three to four seconds. But on wet or snowy roads, you’ll want to increase this time to 8-10 seconds.

8.  Have an emergency kit in your car.

  • Blanket, warm gloves and winter hat – If you run out of fuel or if your battery dies, your  vehicle won’t be able to provide heat. A blanket and hat can help keep you warm  if you have to wait for help in cold conditions.
  • Chemical hand warmers – These small, inexpensive  packets are available at sporting-goods stores and provide instant heat.
  • Small folding shovel – If you get stuck in snow, this can help clear snow  away from your car’s tires.
  • Windshield scraper – Keep this handy at all times to  remove ice buildup from your car’s windows. A long-handle brush is also helpful  to remove snow.
  • Cat litter – Spread under your tires, this substance can help provide traction on slick road  surfaces.

One more important tip – keep your eyes on the road and distractions at a minimum.  Even if you are being careful, others around you may be driving unsafely and you need to be on high alert to react.  NO TEXTING while driving, please.  (Sending a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road an average of 4.6 seconds).

If you do have an accident, please contact us and call a claims specialist immediately at 1-800-MYAMFAM.


S.O.
POB Agency

Why you Should Never Let A Candle Burn to the Very Bottom of a Glass Pillar

It’s amazing how the Midwest weather can change in just 10 days.  Two weekends ago we were sitting in shorts and tank tops watching our son’s baseball game under the sun on an 80 degree day.  Today – the temperature maybe topped at 45 degrees.

We turned our heat and fireplace on and the candles came out.  Don’t ask my why, but I typically only burn candles in cooler weather.  It makes me feel more “cozy”.

CandleWhen I dug out our glass jar candles, I noticed I held on to a couple that were almost burned to the glass bottom.  I’m not sure how much life they have in them but surely they’d be okay for just tonight.  Right?

WRONG!  You should never let the candle burn to the very bottom.  No matter how tempted you are to get the very last scent from the remaining wax, you should toss the candle once the wax drops below half an inch.

Candles cause nearly 10,000 house fires a year (35% from candles in the bedroom) and those candles I just mentioned, are a fire hazard.  Without enough wax in my pillar as a buffer, the flame can ignite debris (like a match particle that’s been left in the candle) and cause a blaze to flare up.  Even if a fire doesn’t ignite, the low-level of wax in the jar increases the likelihood of the flame brushing against the sides and the bottom.  If the glass gets hot enough, it could shatter.  In any case, if you let the wax burn lower than half an inch, you are putting your home at risk.

Although most of the time, the candle I’m burning is close to us like on a shelf or an end table, why risk it?  They’re going in the trash.  And, while I’m at it, I’m going to purge all other kinds of candles that are shorter than two inches.  It just gives me more reason to buy some pretty fall scented new ones!

Where should my first stop be on my candle shopping spree?

– S.O.
POB Agency