Archive for December, 2011
- Car Dealers and Manufacturers are trying to meet their end of month sales goals.
- Car Dealers are also trying to sell their cars from 2011 so as to make room for the new models.
What happens is that the Volvo sales manager is not only trying to hit the end of month sales targets but also the end of year sales goals.
So, if the Car Dealer is running short of their sales goals, they will add additional incentives to sell their products, such as increased cash incentives or cash rebates with attractive financing.
CAR BUYING ADVICE: 5 key Meterics to look for when buying a new car are:
- fuel economy
- Insurance cost
usaa:Helps you find the vehicle that’s right for you
Beware of dealers trying to sell you extra features like rust-proofing, fabric protection or windshield etching of the vehicle identification number.
The financing guy tried to pull a fast one on me about paint protection and all that mumbo jumbo while I was in a daze, flying high in new car-heaven.
What I can tell you is that, protect the new car shine by hand washing your new baby — I mean new car — and wax it two or three times a year. I discovered to my horror that when you go through a car wash you will discover new tiny scratches or swirl marks on your baby. If you love your car DEARLY, hand wash it and dry it with a good quality shammy (made of soft lamb skin leather). Don’t let the wet car dry out by itself, it will look really ugly. It’s a sin to leave a new car out in the sun to dry. The sun oxidizes the paint and soon it will have a faded look, yuck.
After drying your baby, rinse the shammy thoroughly with clean water, squeez out the water gently and fold or roll it up to keep it soft and pliable. Don’t let the shamy dry up like a piece of wood.
Extended Service Contract
It often cheaper to purchase your extended warranty when the car is new, just have it rolled into the car note (monthly payment). The business manager or financing guy will be able to help you with purchasing your extended warranty.
Know your credit score before you go car shopping
The easiest way for dealers to pad an invoice is by bumping up the interest rate on your loan by suggesting you didn’t qualify for a better rate. Get your credit report and use it to shop around, you don’t want every dealership pulling your credit report, and if they do just make sure to do all your shopping in one month. That way you won’t take a hit on your credit score after several pulls because it will count as one pull.
Go to bankrate.com and shop for the best loan for you. Credit Unions will most often give you the best deals.
At MoneyAisle.com, consumers can watch as up to 150 banks and credit unions bid on their loan in less than a minute
Another dealer tactic that could wind up costing you more money is negotiating the monthly payment rather than the price of the car. If you tip your hand about what kind of payment you can afford, the dealer could steer you toward a long-term loan with a very high interest rate, and a $199 monthly payment.
You should always be prepared to walk. Don’t become emotionally invested in the deal. If you feel pressured, that’s when you want to step away.
Do your due diligence at Edmunds.com, and find out how much other folks are paying for new cars in your area, for the same make and model.
What is the www.kbb.com:Blue book value for your used car?
Like I mentioned in the beginning of this post, dont lose money on your trade in, like I did for my trusty old beat up Volkswagen.
I was hoodwinked and bamboozeled, but you don’t have to be.
Dealerships will often give you a wholesale price or try to roll your trade-in as part of the down-payment for the new car.
Trading in your car could mean losses of hundreds if not thousands of dollars of hard earned money. You are better off selling your on craiglist.org or cars.com.
Another strategy to get more for your old car is to look for a dealership that sell cars of the same make as your used vehicle to find out what they’d pay outright. They may offer more because they specialize in that make and have the know-how to get the car ready for a quick sale.
How to Maximize the value of your trade-in:
- Make sure your car looks clean and well maintained: Appearance is important
- If your car needs repairs, it could help to get an estimate to take with you so that the sales guy won’t pull a fast one on you by overestimating the repair bill.
- Try to sell your car to a used-car dealer. This is if you have a clean, well maintained low mileage vehicle that is in popular demand. Personally, I would sell to an individual next time around, no more trade -in’s for me. I learned my lesson.
A high Customer Service Index score (CSI) is very important for a Volvo dealership. This score is most important to Service Advisors Car Dealerships, and Car Manufacturers.
Anything other than completely satisfied in the first question under Service Experience is an F — failure for the Volvo dealership. None of the other questions hold more weight that this one question. So, if you are happy with the work done on your vehicle, please give your service advisor a completely satisfied rather than very satisfied answer.
Dealerships are ranked according to CSI scores, often this is correlated with profitability. High scores (800 -1000 points) means that a dealership retains at least 79% of returning customers while below 800 points means that only 69% of returning customers are retained.
Low CSI scores also means that dissatisfied customers are likely to take there business elsewhere, like independent shops.
Luxury Brand vehicles also compete for high CSI scores (see J.D Power Ratings). For example, in the Luxury Brand market Volvo competes against Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, Cadillac, Audi and Acura among others.
Providing excellent service is not only good for customers, but it also benefits dealers and automakers in terms of income from future service visits and sales.
Seven measures of customer satisfaction with your dealership service:
- Service Experience
- Service Initiation (Bringing vehicle in for service)
- Service Advisor
- Service Quality and Value
- Vehicle Pickup
- Treatment and Follow-Through
- Survey Process
These measures assume that service work performed on the vehicle is also satisfactory.
Technicians are evaluated based on fixing the car right the first time. Come-backs or returned vehicles are looked at negatively; therefore, qualify for a poor CSI score.
5 Dealership practices that lead to consistent high performance, thus elevating customer service satisfaction to the next level, include;
- Providing prompt service appointments.
- Greeting the customer immediately on arrival.
- Knowing the vehicle’s service history.
- Returning vehicles to customers in a clean condition — car wash and no grease marks.
- Offering alternative transportation to customers leaving their cars for service — shuttle service and loaner cars based on availability.
Look for consistency in quality service, this practice is what makes a good Car Dealership stand out from the crowd.
Most people don’t know how to get their car towed correctly, even the tow truck driver can screw up your Volvo. You risk severe transmission damage by towing your Volvo with all four wheels on the ground.
Always consult your owners manual when in doubt.
Your Volvo is either a front wheel drive or all wheel drive (AWD), and in this case Volvo recommends the use of a flat bed tow truck. Never use tow bars especially for automatic transmission vehicles, because this means that you will be towing the car with all four wheel on the ground. If a tow truck driver even mentions a Tow bar (triangular looking device) just look at him like he’s crazy and ask for a flat bed tow truck.
If, the car is being towed on a flat bed truck, the towing eyelets MUST NOT BE USED to secure the car on the flat bed. Towing eyelets should also not be used to pull the car onto a flat bed truck.
If the option of a flat bed tow truck is not available, then your plan B should be a tow dolly (wheel lift equipment). With this option, the front two wheel are lifted up, while the rear trailing wheels remain on the ground.
- The steering wheel must remain unlocked. Turn the ignition key to position I or II.
- The gear selector must be in position N.
- Maximum speed: 50MPH (80 KPH) when using towing dollies.
Towing Services I recommend
- Volvo Road Side service: 1-800-638-6586
- Triple A (AAA) 1-800-222-4357
- Asikin Towing (301)530-2888
- Henry’s Towing (301)555-0709
- Bobby’s Towing (301)493-4686
Tip – For Free Body Damage Assessment — call Volvo/VW Auto Body – (301) 770 6867. And let them know that volvoservicetips.com referred you.
Your local weather conditions determine when you should install your Volvo Snow Tires.
However, don’t wait until it’s too late. If you live in the Washington DC Area, what are you waiting for? Get it done. Get snow tires now as a gift for someone you love. Perhaps a Wife, Husband, Son or Daughter and keep them driving safely.
The biggest advantage of winter tires, is that you can feel optimized levels of traction during all maneuvers including acceleration, braking, and handling. Don’t think that just because you drive a 4WD or AWD car that you are safe – that is a myth.
Don’t drink the cool aid, get winter tires my friend, before you loose control and end up in the ditch.
The rule of thumb of when to install and remove the winter tires is plus or minus 7 degrees Celsius (44.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Consistently 7 degrees Celsius or less — install Volvo Winter tires (Winter Season).
- Consistently 7 degrees or more — remove Volvo Winter tires (Spring Season).
Volvo recommends using suitable winter tires on all four tires to ensure your safety and when you do replace your tires with winter tires ensure that the new tires are of the same size designation, example 215/55R16
215 – Section width (mm)
55 – Relationship between section height and width
R -Radial tire
16 -Wheel rim diameter
The tires should be radial and preferably from the same manufacturer on all four tires, for example Pirelli, Michelin or Continental (please don’t mix and match). if you do mix and match you run the risk of altering the Volvo’s handling and road holding characteristics — believe me, you do not want to do that.
To save money, you should consider purchasing separate rims for your snow tires. This will save you the time and costs involved in changing over and balancing the winter tires onto your existing rims. To mount and balance of a tire on a rim will costs you about $37 per wheel at our dealership, and you will have to bear these costs all over again, when you switch back to all season tires in summer.
Remember that Volvo Tires like all other tires are perishable good, and therefore, have a shelf life. Read the expiration date and get rid of stale tires (look out for dry rot on the side walls).
Tip – When storing wheel/tires assemblies (e.g. winter tires fitted on rims), either stack the assemblies, or suspend them off the ground. However, do the opposite with tires not fitted on rims, store upright and turn the tires every four weeks. Store your tires away from the light:ideally in a dry cool place because sunlight degrades rubber.
With winter driving comes potholes, some are the size of craters on the moon. Your wheel/tire will suffer irreprable damage as a result of hitting a curb and crashing down into a pothole. In cold weather, all tires tend to form a flat spot when the vehicle is parked. Depending on the type of tire and these may cause temporary vibration, untill the tire warms up. And sometimes the tire pressure is affected by cold weather and you will see the – low tire pressure light illuminated on the dash — when tire pressure drops. Upon driving for a while, the tires will warm up and the low tire pressure light should disappear. If not add more air.
Tip — If you wish to rotate your tires, ensure that the tires remain on the same side of the vehicle so that they revolve in the same direction as before the rotation.
- Note the position of the tires before you remove them from the car, so that next winter season you can simply swap the front tire with the rear tire. But maintain the same direction of rotation. For example, swap right front tire with right rear tire and so forth.
- Before you have last season winter tires installed, have a technician measure the remaining tread depth, and tire pressure checked.
- Buy tires that will provide you with winter traction for three winter seasons. Tirerack.com will help you select the correct tires for your vehicle at a good price.
If you decide to install snow chains, install them on the front wheels only and use only Volvo approved snow chains.
- Do not use snow chains on aftermarket tires.
- Always FOLLOW THE CHAINS MANUFACTURER’S INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS. Install chains as tight as possible and retighten periodically.
- Do not exceed 31 MPH or 50 KPH (kilometers per hour) when driving on snow chains.
- Avoid bumps, holes or sharp turns when driving with snow chains.
When technicians need tires for their personal cars they order them online from Tirerack.com and have them shipped by FedEx or UPS. But when you are looking for convenience, simply purchase your tires directly from the Volvo Dealership and have them mounted, balanced and also get a front wheel alignment (front tires) or an all wheel alignment for four new tires.
Volvo recommended tires:
Tip – After getting four new tires mounted and balanced, you will also require an all wheel alignment.
Tirerack.com is a great website and I recommended it because it has great prices for tires. And you can also get quality performance tires, expert advice, and fast shipping by FedEx or UPS to your door step.
Tip – When replacing tires, the tires with the most tread should be mounted on the rear wheels to reduce the chance of over steer during hard braking.
Mounting and Balancing new tires
Unbalanced tires will result in noise and vibration problems and will affect the speed, handling and mileage of your vehicle.
Balancing is done by a computer that spins the wheel / tire assembly. The spinning assembly senses uneven spots, so that the technician can apply weights to counter balance those uneven spots. The best type of balance is a dynamic balance, and this should be performed whenever possible, if not, a static balance will do the job.
Wheel alignments should be done every time you install a new set of tires, and any time you hit a bone jarring pot hole, curb, or other obstacle.
A warning sign that your car is out of alignment is that your car will pull to the right or to the left, leading to irregular tire wear.
So, when you purchase four new tires, you will also require a four wheel alignment. But if you are replacing just the front tires, then you only require a front wheel alignment.
Do not mix tires from different brands
It is not advisable to mix tires on any vehicle.
For maximum safety and performance use the same brand of tires on all four tires. Make sure that every tire is identical in size, brand, model, rating etc. The only exception is when the front and rear wheels are different sizes like on BMW’s or Porsche’s and other high performance vehicles. The rear wheels on these vehicles are usually very wide.
Replace old tires as soon as possible because they degrade over time due to climate conditions.
It is recommended to replace tires after 6 years of normal service. However, I have seen tires with good tread on cars that are hardly ever driven with cracks on the sidewall due to DRY ROT. Dry Rot erodes the structural integrity of the tire wall.
Tip – A tire with visible cracks on sidewall or discoloration should be replaced immediately.
Heat caused by hot climates, frequent high loading conditions or Ultra Violet (U.V) exposure can accelerate the aging process.
So, remember that tires are perishable goods and a tire’s age can be determined by the DOT (Department of Transportation) stamp on the sidewall.
Example of DOT stamp located on tire sidewall:Stamp 1502 (1502 means that the tire was manufactured during week 15 of 2002)