Many prospective car owners know that SUV's don't get the best mileage, but what about auto service and repair costs? Well, if you are thinking of buying an SUV, it's probably a good idea to look at the total picture. Here are 7 positives and 7 negatives to consider if you are thinking about purchasing an SUV.
- Higher Driving Position - The seats on SUV's are much higher than a standard auto. You will have a much better view of road.
- More Comfortable Seats - The seats on many SUV's are better. You will sit more like you do in a normal chair.
- 4-Wheel Drive - Most SUV manufacturers offer a 4-wheel drive (4WD) option. This can be an advantage on slippery roads that you might come across in bad weather (e.g. snow or rain) or if you are driving across rough terrain (e.g. mud, gravel, dirt roads, etc.)
- Added Protection - SUV's offer more protection than a small car in an accident.
- Better for Towing - If you are thinking of towing something, you are more likely to find an SUV that offers the tow capacity you are looking for.
- Ease of Loading - It can be a lot easier to load (and unload) things in the back of the vehicle. Plus, most SUV's offer more practical space than a standard trunk.
- Statement Vehicles - Some of the larger vehicles make a statement about the driver, and if you want to stand out when you are on the road this may be a positive for you, for example the Hummer.
- Purchase Price - The prices for SUV's start higher than a standard vehicle, so they can cost more to buy.
- Lower MPG - SUV's typically get lower gas mileage than standard cars, so they can cost a lot more to run.
- Higher Maintenance Costs - SUV's can cost more to maintain. Things like tires and brakes are typically more expensive.
- More Complex Vehicles - 4-Wheel Drive SUV's are more complicated, as a result there are just more things that can go wrong. The transmissions are more complicated, and they have an extra axle.
- More Difficult to Park - Larger SUV's are more difficult to park and in general are not very practical for use in crowded or older cities where parking spaces are at a premium or streets are very narrow.
- 4WD Option Not Really Needed - Many SUV owners lament that they never use the 4WD. Whereas this may not be a common complaint in Syracuse, NY, owners of SUV's in the Baltimore/Washington metro area may only use the 4WD a few times a year. It may not be worth the added cost.
- Handling Issues - Higher vehicles have a higher center of gravity. As a result, in emergency driving situations, SUV’s do not handle as well as a car that has a lower center of gravity.
After performing preventive auto maintenance on your car for many years there comes a time when we say "It's time to buy a new car" or change to a good used car.
While the economy is still slow the automakers are offering special incentives to tempt us to buy a new car. Very low interest rates and discounts are being offered to get us to spend and help with the re-growth of the economy, but buying a new car is an important decision. Whatever car you choose, buying a new car is a major step, and you should take time to make the right decision. Here are a few tips to help you with that decision.
1) Start by making a list of the essential features that you need, and then make a list of the features you would like. By having a list already prepared, it will be much easier to make a decision when it comes to choosing between two cars you like.
Thinking about an SUV? Although it is great to drive a larger vehicle with plenty of metal around you and a high seating position that gives you a commanding view of the road, there are some downsides to these vehicles. They have greater stopping distances, higher costs to maintain and low miles per gallon - and no excuses for not going to work when it snows!
Is an alarm system on your list of features? Recently we have had several customers come in with intermittent starting problems that we have traced to faulty alarm systems installed after the car was built. In many cases, the companies who made or installed the alarm were out of business. Since we had no way to repair them, we had to remove them. If you buy a new car and you want to add a special alarm system, buy the system made for the car by the manufacturer.
And what about undercoating? I don't think extra undercoating is a good investment. Most new cars come with great body protection warranties. One popular national undercoating company requires you to have yearly inspections to keep the warranty in place. Miss one and the warranty is void! We have one customer who faithfully took her Chevy Nova for inspection for 16 years. Then this year, we found rust under the car -- and when she took it back to them, they came out with a lame excuse about a drain plug had not been removed to let out water in the chassis. Definitely not her money's worth!
2) Read consumer reports and other non-manufacturer associated magazines and websites that provide information about the vehicle you are interested in. They can provide you with an objective perspective on the car you're considering.
Is a hybrid car on your list? More and more people have started to ask what hybrid to buy. Check out gogreencarcare.com for more information on buying a hybrid.
3) Visit different dealerships and test drive different models so you can accurately compare features. You are the only one who knows exactly what "feels" right to you.
4) Talk to people who have the same model vehicle that you are considering buying, and find out what their experiences have been. This can help to uncover some things you might not have thought about.
5) And, lastly talk to a good independent auto service repair facility. If you live near Howard County or work in Howard County call us for our opinion. Independent repair shops service hundreds of vehicles every month, and that means they see first hand which makes and models are more reliable, with less repeat problems. Tell them what you are considering and they should give you an honest opinion
Whatever vehicle you end up buying, remember that anyone can maintain it. In fact, it is a good idea to have someone independent look after your new vehicle during the warranty period. Using an independent shop will NOT invalidate your warranty. Independent shops will keep an eagle eye out for possible warranty concerns. Manufacturers typically allow only half the retail repair time to fix problems that are brought in under warranty? That's right - no wonder it can be so frustrating to get warranty repairs done! The dealer technicians have no incentive to point out warranty problems. As most dealers pay technicians for the hours they produce, they are getting half pay for warranty jobs.
Getting a new car is exciting! If that's coming up for you, Congratulations! And remember that you can keep it looking and running like new for many years to come with regular check-ups and preventive maintenance at British American Auto Care the best auto service in Howard County.