On this episode of How To Money, Matt and Joel get the scoop from “The Car Chick,” LeeAnn Shattuck, about everything automotive: How to find a good mechanic, how to make sure you can trust their diagnostics on your car, how to get the best deals on a vehicle, and if buying used is all it’s cracked up to be. If you’re in the market for a new car (or just new to you), it’s best to be prepared – and this information can get you where you want to go. First, LeeAnn explains the changes the auto industry has gone through during and even before the pandemic that have changed car buying. For example, some people really like to work on their cars themselves to save money on repairs, but with newer vehicles, it’s nearly impossible to do so because cars are more computers than mechanical machines now. If you don’t have the computers required to communicate with your car, then even something simple like an oil change can become quite difficult.
Finding a mechanic you trust can be really challenging because there’s a lot of turnover in the auto industry, LeeAnn explains. That’s because mechanics are financially incentivized to go faster – they only get paid for however long the industry thinks a job should take, regardless of how many hours they have to put in. If they’re getting paid for a 40-hour work week, it’s likely they’re working closer to 60 or 65 hours a week. So they’re actually incentivized to cut corners. It can be really frustrating, but just remember to ask questions. If a mechanic tells you your transmission fluid needs changing, ask to see it. Or if they suggest new brake pads, ask them how much friction material is actually left on the pads. If they’re willing to show you, it’s more likely that they’re on the level. And if they’re pushing an expensive repair, there’s nothing wrong with getting a second opinion.
When it comes to buying, it’s important to figure out your top priorities. Are you someone who likes a new car every few years? Then leasing a vehicle might actually be a good option for you. If your main priority is to not spend much on maintenance costs, a Japanese car like a Honda or Toyota is what you want, rather than a German, European, or American model. What about features? If you’re looking used, the car might not have the driver safety or entertainment technology you want, and you’d be better off looking at newer models. And it’s important to do your homework on inventory; if you’re looking for a specific model of car, supply and demand is going to make a big difference in price. And buying online can be nice, but if you don’t do a pre-purchase inspection, you’re likely in for an expensive surprise. Hear all this great information and much more on this episode of How To Money.
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