Noisy Car? This Is Why!

noisy cars

Most of us are oblivious of the idiosyncrasy we face on a daily basis with our vehicles, a squeak here a rattle there. We just chuck it up to “I told the mechanic about this when I took the car in and it didn’t make the noise, not even once!” We have all been there, but here is a quick solution guide to deciphering what these mystical noises can be and where they originate.

Sometimes that little buzzing or rattling might be annoying, but it does not suggest that this might not be the preamble to a bigger issue down the road. Repairing cars can be inexpensive if you catch the problem in the early stages, once the engine has fallen apart, it gets very costly. Would it surprise you to know that a large percentage of car crashes are by faulty machinery, everything from transmissions going out to breaks failing and tires being a top contender.

Lots of cars on the road today have hydraulic steering such as the Jaguar X- type from 2004. When this needs more fluid it begins to squeak and whine when the steering wheel is turned. It is almost like the car is whinnying and complaining that it has indeed taken this long.

I order to keep your car running smoothly, in order to get the most resale value on your vehicle, you should become familiar with preventative maintenance. Preventative/routine maintenance like oil changes and brake adjustments and tire rotation and balancing. It is not every Dick and Harry that can understand the complexity of a car engine, but suffice it to say that there are many parts. Parts that need special oils, filters, belts and have to work with a sort of process to propel moment forward.

If you regularly take your car to get the oil changed, if your tires are wearing in a balanced way, then you can even extend the life of your tires a little longer.

What to look for and listen for:

A whislte of a hissing sound, will probably occur after the car is started, maybe even some smoke.
The next time this happens, ditch your date and your plans and take your car to the mechanic, this is not a good sign and could end up being very costly in the future.

If you are in Houston and your car is growling, you might be revered as a tough guy. Unfortunately, you might hear this because of some lose thread on your tires, which can be very scary if you are not expecting it. When it is safe pull over and call AAA, get someone to help you with your tire change if necessary.

When the breaks are on their way out they are squeaky and annoying. Grinding under the hood means that something is not right and that some lubrication is needed. I would take it to your local auto supply place, in Houston, they are everywhere.

Save Gas With These Tips

Car Engine

If you are like most of us here in Houston, we are constantly keeping an eye on the price of gas. When it goes up we start to worry and we start to drive less, we are more aware of our route only trying to use the gas necessary to get you from point A to point B.

What we have learned and what we will be sharing with you are techniques to put into play that will allow you to drive your car like the gas prices do not matter. These are some great gas saving life hacks.

We can all agree that even thought there is a lot of oil in Texas, most of us cannot affect its ascent of descent in price. Having said that what option does the average person have to enjoy this liberty as much as the next guy?

You might be surprised to know how inefficient your car becomes when it is not regularly maintained. How about that if your tires are under inflated or over inflated it can affect the drag, suspension and the efficiency of the engine. Thus making the car perform worse and worse and that great engine that you were so proud of is now just working to get by.

If your car is maintained perfectly it can increase your gas mileage by a minimum of 4%, change the filters to everything! And save every more MPG’s, If your timing belt looks like it is on the fritz, then change it. Since you probably live near or around Houston you know that a major component to any vehicle in this heat is A/C. Ensure that your AC is working properly and not straining and draining energy from the car.

Something so trivial, but if your gas cap is not tight fitting because of the mere nature of gasoline that it fumes up and is very volatile it can begin to dissipate and evaporate right out of your loose fitting gas tank.

Drive the speed limit, it is just good form. When you do not need to weigh your rig down, then do not.

The Inexpensive Car Lease?

the right lease for you

So, you have probably seen the commercials! Heard it on the radio, that you can lease the car of your dreams for less than $200 a month! WHAT? That is right, that is what the claims seem to be. Let us take this opportunity to share some insight into this type of car leasing opportunity. If you live within the 50 continental U.S. states, you might have some version of this deal available in your area, let’s take a second to analyze what this means for you.

Leases contracts are not standardized, they come in all different shapes and sizes like the cars they represent. Some leases will ask for money up front, some are based solely on your FICO score and your credit rating to even be accepted into such an agreement. Some leases offer you a small amount down and then your monthly payments are a tad bit higher than lets say a lease that has a larger money down at signing but for the most part depending on the percentage interest.

Let us further discuss what leases are and what they can mean for you:

You might be surprised to know that over half of the luxury cars in the U.S. are leased? What might be the advantage you may ask, well if you plan on changing vehicles often, then you will not take a hit on the depreciation as much because as long as you stay within the allotted mileage agreement stipulated in your lease you should be just fine.

The reason people lease varies, it could be that your stay in a city or office has a shelf life until you move somewhere else. Also leasing allows you to afford a much better car than you might otherwise be able to afford if you were to purchase it outright.

Leasing has two main benefits – Leased vehicles can allow you to have a newer/nicer vehicle and they are always under warranty. If your budget for buying a car outright is $20,000 cash, but you are able to lease a $50,000 car for about the same amount, you get your cake and are able to eat it to.

There is a clear divide between people who lease vs buy as there are of people who rent vs own. Each has its pros and cons, it really just depends on what you hope to attain and get out of your vehicle and wallet at the end of the day.

Leasing is not for everyone, it can be risky as well. You need to be good with math to ensure that you are not paying what the car is worth in the monthly payments and money down.

If you have a business or work for a business and you can write your vehicle off as a business expense, then leasing might be a good option. Almost all the expenses involved with leasing a car can be written off as a business expense if your business involves a lot of travel and driving.

The downside to leasing is the same as renting, once the lease is done you have paid money for the use of something and do not own it, you do not have any equity in the car, only the status it helped you attain. Since you do not own the car, when the lease is up unless you are very good at pinching your pennies you may find yourself in another lease and for some this perpetual cycle is a Godsend. Nothing to worry about really, every check up, is accounted for and it makes “having a car” a really pleasant.

The restrictions with leases come in the form of mileage caps. Usually between 12,000 – 15,000 miles a year. If you go over this amount you can be penalized which could turn out to be quite a lot depending on the terms of your lease.

In order to lease a car you must have some vague idea of what your financial future looks like. It is similar to paying a cell phone, you would not take out a cell phone, sign a two year contract without even having a job, would you?

Here are some basic comparisons to set your mind at ease when it comes to leasing that car you want.

The price between leasing and owning a car is usually the same. The biggest difference is how much money you have to put down for one or the other. In order to lease it is usually a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. When it comes to buying unless your credit is a 900 – you would have to consider getting at least 20% of the value of the car as a down payment.

Lease payments also tend to be less than outright car payments when purchasing. The reason for this is because most leases are 36 months and most car loans are about 60 months or more. Over time you pay more, but then again, over time you get to keep your rig.

When the lease agreement is up you would have invested about half of the money it takes to buy the same car depending on several factors such as base price and depreciation.

Now in 2015 you will see that there are great deals for leases in Houston. Take your time, take your calculator and get the deal that is best for you.

What Can You Afford In A Car?

hand on steering wheel

What kind of vehicles are you eligible for?  Most likely a used vehicle below a certain price, for example under 20,000 and you can expect to pay interest rates between 15 to 18%.   Obviously this is much higher that a person with excellent credit would pay.

The FICO credit score is the way the lenders decide if one is a good credit risk or not.  The numbers run from 300 to 850, this is as true here in Houston as it is in Honolulu

Your interest rate for a car is directly tied to their arbitrary score.  Someone with a score of 720 or higher might be charges 3.80 for a 36 month car loan.  A similar car loan for a lower scoring person, between 500-589, might be 17.02 %.

While it does take years to get your credit back on track, it is much easier to accomplish this after several years have passed and your finances are looking better.

Time will heal your poor credit rating and once you do qualify for a new car loan, things will look up. Due to the fact that the car loan has collateral, it is easy to see how making good on the new loan will better your  credit rating post-bankruptcy.

The bank will go back and check your mortgage payments and check to see if their are any missing payments, especially as so many homes are now below water in regard to the value of the home and the mortgage owed.

There is a formula they use to see if your take- home  or net income is large enough to support this new expense.  If they feel it is fine, mostly likely they will allow the loan to be processed.  If not, they may offer you a smaller sum of money in order to minimize the delinquency possibility, or they may require a larger down-payment.

If you have a history with the Credit Union, they are more likely to be willing to work with you.  They are most likely to give you the benefit of the doubt.

Beware the auto companies who offer you better than usual auto financing. Most of these places are very aggressive in their marketing approach, and at the end of the head spinning ordeal you are even further into debt.

There are car companies that say that no credit check is needed, but why? Well, people who have not taken as many courses in finances as others still deserve another chance. Burn me once, shame on me? Burn me twice, shame on you. People deserve a second chance and these smaller dealerships might be the solution you are looking for.

No one likes to feel “judged” and to avoid that, some people may jump at the first company to appear the least bit sympathetic to their situation.

Sometimes the most obvious issue is not really apparent at first. If a dealer only has cars with very high mileage and you are to buy one of these cars. Cars with several hundred thousand miles, then you might end up with a car that you cannot afford to maintain and to keep running smoothly. So what is worse, paying too much down for a car or paying just as much over time? You decide.

Roadside Assistance –

Tow Truck
What a wonderful experience in car sales that in the United States, almost all of the vehicles come with not only one, but two warranties to make our lives less stressful. Oftentimes this includes roadside assistance, which minimizes our dependence on AAA. Along with that, many of the new hybrids and electric cars also offer warranties on batteries.

Your basic warrant will cover all except wear and tear, which includes wiper blades and oil changes. Most of our tires and batteries have their own individual warranties. You will find all of this information in your owner’s manual. According to the Federal government, emission equipment must be covered for 24,000 miles or 24 months, whichever comes first. There are certain components which has an extended warranty of 80,000 or eight years.

One of the most critical components of any car is the drive train, which covers most of the moving parts except hoses and and belts. Most of the tome this includes the transmission, the engine, the drive shaft and the drive axles. Many of the internal parts of the engine, such as the pistons and bearings are also covered, in spite of wear and tear. You need to check your specific owner’s manual to see what your car covers.

In some parts of the country it is important to consider rust and corrosion coverage. This can happen due to excessive salting during the winter. Once the rust becomes an actual hole, it is covered.. It is important to maintain your car by consistent washing and waxing . This will minimize rusting problems.

It is very common for manufacturers to offer roadside assistance to their clients. usually it will cover you even if it is your fault., Whenever you are locked out or run out of gas and perhaps even have a flat tire, there is help available. Always check your owner’s manual.

As far as hybrids go, they are pretty standard. Since the hybrid’s purpose is to minimize air pollution, the batteries are considered an essential part of the emission control. Usually these are covered for 100,000 miles or eight years. California and several other states have extended the zero-emission to a minimum opt 10 years/150,000 miles for the batteries.

Because the batteries are high voltage, the cooling systems are also covered, and the battery modules and the variable transmission or high energy converters. Once again, check your owner’s manual for individual coverage.

Those vehicles which are pure battery are not covered by any federal or state emission regulations. As their batteries are essential for the running of these vehicles, they are pretty standard: eight years or 100,000 for batteries and any components which are associated with the batteries.

Of course you must check your individual manufacturer to see what is covered or not. Each model may have differences.

Ford has some obvious differences from Tesla but all the information is available to you on their websites.

Tire Warranties


Think for a second about what might be the most important safety item to keep a constant eye out for, you guessed it, your car’s tires. There are companies that state that their tires have a shelf life of this or that, but the cold hard truth is that cars are susceptible to all kinds of perils on the road in regards to their tires. There could be road debris, nails, or they could just wear out and break apart.

What solutions can you think of in order to achieve this? Having a spare – this is a great solution in the short run. But let’s dig a little deeper, let’s dig into the actual functional life of a tire. First of all most tires are made of rubber and some have fiber, some are smooth for racing or city driving while some are knobby for gripping wet mud and climbing you up the side of a hill.

The rule of thumb is that the tire will last for six years from when it was purchased and installed. However if you have a good eye you can check to see when most of the tread is gone, then it is time to upgrade tires. Luckily for us most car tires sold in the U.S. have thread indicators on them and once these start to peek through the rubber, then it is time to change your tires.

Regardless of what type of tire you buy, the manufacturers offer what is known as tread life warranties. There are a stipulated amount of miles that a specific tire should run smoothly, under normal driving conditions. Two exemptions to this rule must be made, off road vehicles or extreme performance tires like race tires. The normal rules of wear and tear do not apply in these cases.

If the tire has worn out evenly way before the tires life is up, then you may be able to get the tires replaced under the tread – life warranty. This requires proof of purchase so keep onto your receipts.

Some tire companies add a road hazard warranty, in the case that you get a flat, you can take your tire to the company and they will fix it free of charge, if you can prove that you bought the tire there.

When it comes to warranty, tire warranties are like car warranties, there are certain things that you can do that can void this additional perk. If you think of the most important part of your vehicle to check periodically, your tires are it! Maintain them properly, ensure that they are wearing evenly and if not get them rotated. Each tire comes with specific volume limits when it comes to filling the tire with H20 or Nitrogen.

Rotate your tires periodically, do not drag race or spin out with them or go drifting unless you are Kenny Block.