The Mechanic’s You Keep Can Cost You Dearly

Hey Cool Car Fans,

I’ve been meaning to discuss this topic for sometime now and figured that since I’ve been behind at writing articles for my visitors, I might as well take the time to talk about the 800 pound Gorilla in the room – mechanics!  If you’re an automotive mechanic let me first say that I really appreciate what you guys do and I wouldn’t want to turn a wrench everyday, but I also spend around $60,000 a year fixing vehicles, so I have a slightly different perspective than most people.  Over the past 8 years, I’ve spent close to $500,000 fixing cars and trucks, with a variety of mechanics, so I think I’m qualified to write about this particular topic.

Let me share with you a few stories though, so that you can get an idea of some of the things that I’ve had to deal with over the years as The Cool Car Guy and hopefully it’s entertaining as well as educational.


THE LITTLE OLD LADY
Lexus-ES-330-008I met an elderly woman a few years ago who had asked me to sell her vehicle for her.  She had her “favorite mechanic who always took care of her” that she used in Cherry Creek to service her Lexus ES 330 and she told me that her car needed nothing.  I still went ahead and had a safety inspection done on the vehicle, the oil changed and delivered it to another client of mine in good faith, since it only had 110,000 miles on the vehicle at the time.

It was only about two weeks later that I got a phone call from the Dad of the young guy who purchased the vehicle and he was irate that I had sold his son a lemon with the transmission having problems.  Needless to say, I was caught off guard, since I paid a mechanic to look at it and her “favorite mechanic” had done all the maintenance on the vehicle.

Well, I got the vehicle back and took it to a third mechanic, who I was using at the time as well, who specialized in transmissions and he was a very good mechanic.  He called me up and said, “John, did this lady ever change the oil or transmission fluid on this thing?  I don’t think she ever had the thing serviced!”  Now, keep in mind that she had showed me receipts from her service work, so the big question for me was if her “favorite mechanic” ever did anything to the vehicle or took the money and went on vacation.  It was my word against his, so I just paid to get the transmission fixed and the Dad agreed to pay for part of it too, so that his son would get a rebuilt transmission at a huge discount and it all worked out.  Once the engine had been cleaned out and the transmission had been properly rebuilt and put back together the vehicle ran great and the Dad actually called me about a year and half later to tell me how great that vehicle had been for his son.  The bottom line is that you always need to trust, but verify and make sure the work you’re paying for is actually being done.

THE BRAKE CLAMP
I had a service center that I was working with a few years ago and sending quite a bit of business do the brakes on my personal 2007 Subaru WRX.  I had the tires done at the same time at a different company because the cost savings on the tires covered the brakes at the other place.   I often will get repair work done from multiple sources that I trust because you can sometimes cover the cost of getting some other work done by using multiple sources.  However, if it’s not done correctly it can be a nightmare too and be careful who is working on your vehicle.  Seriously, this one almost cost me my life and the life of another driver.  Here’s what happened.

I had my new set of tires put on and went to the second place the same day to get the brakes done.  What I didn’t know was that they had a new guy putting on the brakes and they didn’t have someone supervising what he was doing.  He wasn’t a Master Technician and was just starting as a technician.  It was a busy Saturday, which I’ve since learned to get my cars repaired during the week, on a Tuesday or Wednesday, if possible when they are not super busy.

Anyway, I’m driving down Highway 85 toward Castle Rock at about 60 mph and I get near the stoplight that is near Sedalia and I put on the brakes.  Suddenly my car pulls hard to the left into the oncoming traffic!  I immediately let up on the brake, cranked right on the steering wheel and downshifted (I was so glad I had a manual transmission) and then slowly applied the brakes as my heart was coming out of my throat.  The person in the other car coming toward me gave me the sign of the Evangelist because they saw their life flash before them.  I was thankful that I didn’t hit them.  I pulled into Sedalia and tried to figure out what was going on with my car.

Subaru-WRX-concept-new-york-auto-showI turned around and drove back to the shop that had put on the tires and told them what had happened and asked them to check out my brakes because I knew the guy there was experienced.  I didn’t want to have the other shop find something and try to cover it up.  The lead mechanic took me into the shop and showed me a clamp that had been left on my brake line by the rookie technician at the other store that he had used when he was bleeding the brakes.  I’m not sure why he even had used it.  He said, “I don’t know how he could put a tire back on and not see this clamp staring right at him.”  Crazy!  He asked if I wanted him to take pictures, etc., but it was an honest mistake that could have been deadly for me and someone else.  It wasn’t as if it was intentional or malicious and accidents happen, but thank God one didn’t happen for me.  I went back and explained to the Manager what had happened, the guy who worked on my car felt terrible and I’m sure he’ll never do that again.  When it comes to getting brakes done though, I make sure that the people who are doing it are experienced technicians after that experience.

THE ALL IMPORTANT OIL CHANGE
2010MBC300FilterWe’ve all heard nightmares of the people who have gone in to get an oil change only to have the technician leave the drain plug out and blow a motor.  If you haven’t heard that story, just ask around or I’m sure you can find one on the Internet.  I have one that didn’t end that bad, but it was still a mishap by a mechanic that wasn’t paying attention.

Recently, I had my 2010 Mercedes C300 4Matic in for an oil change at a local shop that I’ve used for many years.  A few days later, my wife Becky called to tell me that there were oil spots on the garage floor, which was not normal.  I parked the car and noticed that the spots were sporadic in nature, unlike a drain plug, but I took it in to get it checked out at another shop.  As you’re probably catching on, unlike what most people do when they have a problem and take it back to the same shop that did the work, I take it somewhere else and pay for a quick diagnosis of the problem.  I’ve been doing this too long and I know that mechanics, just like anyone else are going to want to cover their butts, so I prefer to get an opinion from a third-party.  It turned out that they forgot to put a gasket on the oil filter, so the filter was spraying oil.  It didn’t do enough damage to cause problems, although it had gotten all over the engine that needed a good cleaning and the Serpentine Belt  had started to fray and was needing replacement as well, so just $167 later and my car was back on the road.

These are just a few of many stories that I have accumulated over the years, that illustrate the many situations that you can find yourself in depending on who is working on your vehicle.  It’s a good idea to get a second set of eyes on your vehicle whenever you get work done.  This is why I always pay for a Frame and Mechanical inspection when I purchase vehicles for clients at a Dealer Auction and then I get a second safety inspection and oil change done after the first inspection.  It costs a little more, but in the end it can save time and headaches.

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John Boyd

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy

John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

The Insurance Industry’s Dirty Little Secret

2013CamaroMunchedBEWARE OF THE INSURANCE COMPANY YOU KEEP

Hey Cool Car Fans,

Each year I get calls from clients who have gotten in an accident and their car is getting repaired or totaled by the insurance company, but they have questions for me about getting a replacement vehicle.  However, what I’ve discovered is that the insurance company is more often than not pulling a fast one on them for replacement cost on their vehicle.  What people don’t realize is that insurance companies used to be able to do a scheme called “title washing” on vehicles, which means that they would take a vehicle that was a total loss and send it to another State to get registered and presto change’o it would have a clean title.

Wikipedia explains it like this…

“In North America, vehicle licenses are normally issued by individual provinces and states. Each operates under different regulations.

In some cases, the criteria to define a “total loss” vary – some base the cutoff amount on the nominal value of the vehicle in working condition, others look instead at the value of a working vehicle minus the value of a collision vehicle as scrap, salvage or parts. The percentage of the original value at which the “total loss” label is applied also varies.

These differences are sometimes exploited by schemes such as “title washing“, in which a vehicle branded as ‘junk’ in one jurisdiction is registered in another, moving from state to state until one state with slightly different regulations brands the same vehicle as ‘salvage’ but repairable. A vehicle with Arizona registration and a ‘salvage’ title for salt water damage would, for instance, represent a red flag as a vehicle possibly once affected by environmental conditions and events elsewhere such as Hurricane Katrina. Vehicles with salt water or hurricane flood damage often have severe corrosion and electrical problems which cannot be properly repaired, so are best avoided.”

2013EquinoxBEWARE OF DIMINISHED VALUE

This is much more difficult to do today with the introduction of CARFAX, AutoCheck and State Laws that have changed.  The rising costs of vehicles has created a situation where insurance companies are much more reluctant to total out a vehicle that has been damaged.  I had a neighbor a few years ago, who was in an accident with her Ford Explorer and the vehicle had over $24,000 in damage that the insurance company did in repairs instead of calling the vehicle a total loss.  When my neighbor came to me because the vehicle had major problems to trade it there was no way that I could get her near Market Value for her vehicle.

Who would want to buy a used Ford Explorer without a clean CARFAX and that had $24,000 in repairs?  So the insurance company got a great deal by not totaling out her vehicle for her, while my neighbor got screwed and lost thousands of dollars when she eventually traded her vehicle.  This happens more often than people realize and many States no longer will allow you to go back to the insurance company and ask for diminished value.  It’s nice that the Insurance Lobby has done such a great job getting our politicians to represent their best interest instead of the consumer.

Another example recently was a client of mine who had a Scion XA that was in an accident and in this case the insurance company did total out their vehicle.  There was a problem though because their nice little car that they had purchased new and barely drove only had 50,000 miles on the vehicle.  In order to replace it for the amount of money the insurance company had given them, they had to find one similar with 80,000 miles on it.  When they contacted me, I showed them that the insurance company had only gave them 5 cents a mile for the low mileage on their vehicle!  If you leased a vehicle and went over the miles you would pay anywhere from $.15 to $.25 per mile, which at 30,000 miles would cost you a minimum of $4,500 in depreciation at the low end.  The insurance company though made out on that deal and only paid them $1,500 for having a vehicle with low miles.

2013CamrySmashMAKE SURE YOU HAVE GAP INSURANCE

I had a client a few years ago who purchased a really nice loaded vehicle from me.  They ended up getting in an accident and the insurance company pulled a fast one on them and told them that it was worth less than what they owed on the vehicle.  There was absolutely no way that was possible and they only contacted me after they had already settled with their insurance company, so they were totally screwed over.  The insurance company didn’t include GAP insurance to pay off the loan and they had declined it when they purchased the vehicle from me, which I usually offer for a few hundred dollars at the time of the purchase.  However in this case, they should have been fine because of the value of the vehicle compared to their loan and the insurance adjuster had booked the vehicle out wrong and gave them trade value instead of retail value on the vehicle.

The insurance company shorted them and they ended up owing several thousand dollars after their “budget” insurance company refused to pay off their vehicle.  They were upset with me for their choice of a terrible insurance company as though I had ripped them off, when it was their insurance company!  I’m writing this article to let people know that you had better know whether or not you have GAP insurance on your insurance policy or what their idea of “replacement cost” is if you do need to replace your vehicle.  If your insurance company doesn’t offer it – find a new company that offers GAP or refinance your loan and add it onto your loan through the lender or a car dealership.  A few hundred dollars in your loan could save you thousands if your insurance company refuses to pay.

One more story that illustrates the benefits of having GAP insurance.  I have a great client who is a lawyer and I leased him a new Nissan Maxima a few years ago.  He was in an accident shortly after he had leased the vehicle.  He called me first and I reminded him that he had GAP insurance built into the lease to cover the cost of the vehicle and pay off the loan since the vehicle was seriously damaged.  I suggested he let his insurance company know this and that he didn’t want to have this vehicle going forward because of the damage and it was a new car.  That’s a benefit of leasing a vehicle by the way because had he owned it, he would have had a vehicle that was smacked for resale and it could have been a problem down the road.  Since he leased it, he could give it back to Nissan at the end of the lease period and walk away unscathed.  Anyway, he worked with his insurance agent and the vehicle ended up being totaled and he called me back and had me get him a new BMW.  That was pretty cool.

2009BMW6SeriesWHAT SHOULD YOU DO AS A CONSUMER

Just be sure you understand what kind of insurance you have because if you end up having to use it you can find yourself in deep water.  Also be aware that looks can be deceiving.  This photo of this 2009 BMW 6 series is of a vehicle that was rebuilt from a salvage title, which means the vehicle was totaled by the insurance company like the vehicles above.  An insurance company isn’t going to stroke a check for a vehicle and lose thousands of dollars, unless the vehicle was whacked.

The money you save on premiums for cut-rate insurance you could very quickly lose and then some and I see it more often than I would like.  It could be even a big name company, so know what they are doing before you have to use the insurance you are paying for.  This is one of the benefits of knowing this industry.  Also, not every manufacturer lease includes GAP insurance like they used to, so make sure you understand what you have in the way of insurance, financing and leasing structure, so that you don’t get burned.  If you don’t have GAP on your lease then check with your insurance agent how to cover a potential loss on a leased vehicle you have insured with them.

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John Boyd

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy

John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

 

Should I Lease A Vehicle Or Buy A Vehicle In 2013?

red-queen-402x500SHOULD I LEASE A VEHICLE?

I get this question all the time from my clients about whether it makes sense to lease a vehicle or buy a used vehicle.  I decided to address this issue this week on CoolCarGuy.com and give the pro’s and con’s to both since there is so much misinformation on the Internet about this topic.  Especially, from the famous “financial guru’s” who for the most part know nothing about the automotive industry other than that they drive a personal vehicle themselves.  However, if you structure a lease wrong it can be a bit like Alice in Wonderland doing business with the Red Queen.

First of all, a lease is nothing more than a way to drive a vehicle for less money by paying for the “depreciation” that the leasing company believes is going to take place on the vehicle.  That’s it.  What does this mean?  It’s pretty simple actually.  When you drive a new or a used vehicle off of the lot, it immediately starts to depreciate.  This is the only industry that I know of where a ”third-party” in the way of Kelly Blue Book, NADA or a number of other “experts” determines that your product is going down in value each month, but that can benefit you with a lease since you’re paying for that depreciation.

The computer I’m typing this on is a Toshiba laptop that I bought a few years ago and at the time it was “state of the art”, but today who knows what it’s worth.  It’s depreciated down to next to nothing, it’s like a paper weight on my desk, but I can’t pull up the ”book value” of this computer model this month and see what it’s worth.  You can do that with an automobile though and it’s needed for banks to put a value on a vehicle they are going to loan money on.

The real reason why these automotive value based books exist is not so that you as a consumer can know what a car is worth.  You may think that’s the case, but they really exist for the banks and lending institutions.  It’s so that a bank, leasing company or credit union doesn’t get burned loaning money on a vehicle that they haven’t had a professional appraisal done on, like you have to have done when buying a home, a business or other types of real estate.

What does this have to do with leasing?  Everything!  There are a number of components involved to leasing a vehicle:

  1. The retail price.
  2. The capitalization cost
  3. The money factor
  4. The residual value.
  5. The miles per year.
  6. Your credit rating.

All of these factors come into play when leasing a vehicle and you have to watch out because you can get stung on a lease the same as you can on a purchase.

2012-Fiat-500WHAT ABOUT THE MONTHLY PAYMENT?

Miles are what cause a vehicle to depreciate the most, which is why you see so many vehicles advertised on television with a low payment showing the fine print at the bottom of the screen.  If you look closely you will discover that you have to put a huge chunk of change down on the lease they are advertising and then they are basing the payment on as little as 10,000 a year!  12,000 miles a year is usually the standard and some manufacturers and leasing companies even put 15,000 miles as the standard, but many of the ads are showing 10,000 miles a year for that really low monthly payment.  This is because if someone puts on 30,000 miles in three years, the car is worth more than if they put on 45,000 miles in three years.

Used Vehicles Leases:  The benefit of a lease is that you are only paying for the depreciation of the vehicle and not for the full amount of the car or truck you’re driving.  If you lease a low mileage vehicle that already has a great deal of depreciation that has taken place and may still be under warranty, you can really save some money depending on the vehicle and the lease structure.  I expect that at least 30 people will contact me this year about how to do a Used Vehicle Lease, since few people really know how to structure them and most dealerships won’t touch them.  A used vehicle lease can give you equity at the end of the lease term compared to a new vehicle lease and they are simple interest leases that also come with GAP insurance.

Manufacturer Leases:  There are some great manufacturer leases and there are some nightmares!  I recently looked at a lease for a client of a high-line SUV vehicle, which I won’t say what the company is here, but their lease was terrible.  The money factor was high, even though my client thought it was low and the residual was terrible.  I was able to structure a lease through a third-party leasing company for her new vehicle and save my client, get this, $5,750 over the three years she was leasing the vehicle.  That’s $159.72 a month over three years, which many people do not investigate what their total cost of leasing is for a vehicle.  The manufacturer still sold a new vehicle, but we structured it to favor my client, rather than the new car leasing company.  Keep in mind too that many new car leases are actually pushed through third-party banks anyway.

Auction Vehicles:  Each year I have quite a number of clients who contact me about having me find them a vehicle through the Dealer Auction.  Last year, I was able to get a number of great vehicles here in Colorado and around the country from Dealer Only Auctions and ship them in for my clients and save them thousands of dollars.  This can work great for certain vehicles that are selling for too much money in this market.  I recently saved a client thousands of dollars on a 2010 Mercedes-Benz ML350 that was still under the MB warranty with great options and miles.  This is something unique to The Cool Car Guy experience since most Auto Brokers and Car Dealers are not experienced in this type of service.  Auto Buying Agents do not have access to dealer auctions by the way, which is one difference between a Auto Buying Service and a Car Dealership.  They have to get the vehicle from a car dealer rather than going directly to the auctions for additional savings.

Financing, Special Financing And Refinancing:  Last year, I had several people contact me who had credit challenges. One client of mine filed bankruptcy two years ago and couldn’t get financed through VW, Nissan or a number of other dealerships.  I was able to lease him a brand new Toyota through a special program I knew about at a price that fit his budget.  He told me that he used to work in accounting for a dealership that worked with people with bad credit and he saw how bad these people got ripped off with super high interest rate loans.  It’s all about the structure and relationships and knowing how to do what others can’t do.

Camaro4Another client had found the car of his dreams on Craigslist and he couldn’t get the financing done on his own, while trying to buy it from a private party hundreds of miles away.  He asked me to assist him, so we marked the vehicle up to compensate me for my time and I arranged to have him pick the vehicle up at a dealership on the other side of Colorado, even though it was being sold by a Private Party.

The bottom line is that leases can be a great option for people, if they know what they are doing with the proper structure.  You can get burned with a lease as the experts often tell people, but that’s because people do not understand what they are getting into from the beginning.  If the residual is too high for the marketplace and they go over their miles they can really get burned, even though they have a lower payment during the lease term.  If the charge for miles is too high on the back-end they can get pounded as well, if they turn it back into the manufacturer.  I even know of manufacturer leases that will charge you for excess miles if you buy the vehicle out and most people are not aware of this scheme, so it’s always buyer beware when you purchase or lease a vehicle.  The automobile industry is fluid and what was the situation three years ago, may not be the same today.

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John Boyd

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy

John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

 

The Benefits Of A Used Vehicle Lease

One of the cool things that I can do as The Cool Car Guy is track down a really cool pre-owned car, truck or SUV and then assist my client in getting the vehicle on a long term or short term lease.  I recently did this for clients of mine who wanted to drive a manual transmission 2012 Mini Cooper Coupe and they were not sure if they wanted it for more than a couple of years.  A used vehicle lease was the perfect option!

2012MiniCoupe1I was able to track down a super cool black and red 2012 Mini Cooper Coupe, out of Portland, Oregon with only 3,900 original miles on it through the Dealer Auction.  By getting it through the Dealer Auction I was able to save some money on the price of the vehicle and structure a great lease for them.  The Mini Cooper Coupe they were able to get was similar to the one pictured here, only theirs was black on red with some really sweet red accented mirrors, instead of red and black.

We shipped it to Colorado and then structured a simple interest 24 month lease at 18,000 miles a year and with only $1,000 down, plus the first payment.  They were able to get a killer lease payment on a super cool little turbo-charged car.  At the end of the lease term, they can buy it out at a great price, turn it into a simple interest loan through the leasing company or drop the keys off with me to return it and get something else.  If you own a business, like they do, there can often be tax benefits to leasing over purchasing as well.

That’s The Cool Car Guy difference!  Try doing that at a typical car dealership.  It’s not going to happen.  The salesperson is going to try to sell you “what’s on the lot” or get you to lease a new vehicle for around 10,000 miles a year with a bunch of money down, instead of what you’re probably going to actually drive each year.  The reality is that it’s too much work for most dealers to do what I do for my clients and there isn’t enough money in the transaction to make it worth their time.  Not for me though – I get a kick out of it.  I know how to structure leases, use creative financing and get more money out of a vehicle for my clients than most guys, who try to do what I do.

USED VEHICLE LEASE ON A SECOND VEHICLE:  I can’t tell you how many parents contact me about tracking down a $5,000 vehicle for their son or daughter, who is has just started driving.  They often get frustrated when they discover that every other parent in America has the same idea and they have to pay way too much money for the “kid car”.  Is there another option for them?  I decided I would give a hypothetical example of how this can work for someone who needs another set of wheels, but has a limited budget.

2012SentraLet’s look at a 2012 Nissan Sentra with power windows, locks, a rear spoiler, steel wheels and a 2.0l motor that gets great gas mileage with about 30,000 miles on it.  Like the one on the right as an example.  A brand new 2012 Nissan Sentra had an MSRP of about $19,000, but with 30,000 miles on it, you can pick one up for around $15,000 to $15,500.

I grabbed one online with a photo from the dealer auction for this example to give people and idea of how a used vehicle lease works.  I figured the price would be $15,300 for the Capitalization Cost, plus the lease acquisition fee for a total of $16,095.  This is with nothing down, but the first payment, and you can see the base payment and full payment based on a 7.6% sales tax rate and 12,000 miles a year below based on several monthly term options.

The residual value is what you could buy the vehicle for at the end of the lease, so someone could have a very reasonable payment on a vehicle and buy it out at the end of the lease or even before than less than if they tried to find a similar vehicle in the marketplace.  You can see that someone could lease this vehicle with good credit (Colorado Residents Only) for as low as $198.84 a month plus sales tax.

Term Adjusted Cap Cost Residual Base Payment Sales Tax % Sales Tax Amount Total Payment
24 $16,095.00 $9,749.00 $299.31 7.60 $22.75 $322.06
30 $16,095.00 $8,958.00 $271.72 7.60 $20.65 $292.37
36 $16,095.00 $8,166.00 $253.00 7.60 $19.23 $272.23
42 $16,095.00 $7,549.00 $235.40 7.60 $17.89 $253.29
48 $16,095.00 $6,908.00 $222.45 7.60 $16.91 $239.36
54 $16,095.00 $6,441.00 $209.20 7.60 $15.90 $225.10
60 $16,095.00 $5,950.00 $198.84 7.60 $15.11 $213.95

I need to put in a legal disclaimer here for this lease calculation, even though this is just an example and I’m not selling this particular car.  This information is strictly for “informational and educational purposes only”, don’t call me on this particular vehicle please.  Here’s the disclaimer: All quoted lease payments and down payments are (1) Excluding sales tax, tag, title and registration fees, (2) With approved credit, (3) Subject to price correction, (4) Subject to vehicle availability, and (5) With down payment (cap reduction) and first payment due at lease signing. Offer ends 03-31-2013 and is available to Colorado residents only.

Now let me explain the benefits of this type of a lease.  First of all, there are vehicles that will lease for less than this and we would just have to run specific scenarios on each vehicle to see what makes sense, but a 5 year lease for example at 12,000 miles a year is going to get a kid through High School and College for around $200 a month, plus sales tax.  At the end of the lease, you have your $5,000 to $6,000 vehicle that everyone is looking for and at 12,000 miles a year times five years this vehicle would have 60,000 miles, plus the 30,000 initial miles for a total of around 90,000 miles on the vehicle.  You can sell it and cash out or buy the vehicle at the end of the lease and give it to the next kid in the family and have them drive it until the wheels fall off.  You can also just give it back to the leasing company and be done.  This vehicle lease has GAP insurance built in as well to protect you and the leasing company, if the vehicle were in an accident and totaled out by the insurance company.

The problem with a new vehicle lease compared to this is that the Residual at the end on a new car is often much higher than the marketplace, so you end up trying to buy it out early and you can get creamed, so your only option many times is to give the keys back to the dealer at the end.  I have seen that happen many times, where someone leases a new vehicle with a low payment, they decide to buy it out and they have to pay more than what they are selling for in the marketplace.  Their financial situation may change too in three years and then they can’t get financed, unless they go for a high interest rate.  This lease allows you to convert it to a conventional loan (subject to credit approval) at anytime during the lease with no penalties.  You’re getting to buy a vehicle, if you do select that option, that has much more depreciation that has taken place on the vehicle, so it’s what I like to call an “equity lease”.

I’ve done this for families many times over the years and it’s a cost effective way to solve an additional automobile problem for people without having to put out a great deal of cash upfront or have the expense of financing a newer vehicle over a long term.  Keep in mind that the example above was with just the first payment down, so you can keep the cash you were going to spend on a “beater” in the bank or put a little cash down to lower the payment even more.  I’m a big fan of the Used Vehicle Lease when structured properly with the right vehicle.  I’m shocked that more people don’t do these type of leases and my guess is that they just don’t know about them.  After all, most franchise dealers want to lease new vehicles, instead of pre-owned vehicles to people, so they can sell a low payment instead of looking at the complete package.

Cool Car Guy Rating: A Used Vehicle Lease Can Totally Rock!

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John Boyd

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy

John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

Manufacturers Are Finally Looking At Stick Shifts Again

0409p10-mini-stick-happensHey Cool Car Fans,

Get On The Stick!

Many of my readers are car enthusiasts and you know that I’ve always been a fan of driving a stick shift vehicle.  The driving experience is so much better than driving an automatic.  Yeah, I know I’ve had the car geeks tell me that an automatic transmission is faster at shifting now than a manual transmission.  Who cares!  It’s not just about speed, it’s about the experience of pushing down on the clutch, putting the vehicle into gear and controlling the transmission as you drive, instead of feeling like you’re in an airplane that is on automatic pilot.

Granted it’s much harder to text and drive, talk on the cell phone and drive or do other distracting things when driving a stick shift, which is why every teenager in America should be forced to drive a stick.  Now, I don’t want to be called a hypocrite since I’m not currently driving a stick shift in my 2010 Mercedes Benz C300 4Matic, but that’s not by choice.  Mercedes-Benz doesn’t offer that vehicle in a stick or I would drive a manual transmission.  What really shocked me was when BMW quit offering a stick for their 3 series and I have had a number of clients ask me to find them older 3 series just so they could drive a stick shift.

ONLY 10% OF SALES

I understand that manufacturers have looked at the fact that only 10% of the population wants to drive a stick shift.  I get it, but that’s still millions of potential drivers and Mini is taking advantage of this, which is strange since they are owned by BMW that is moving away from the stick shift.  That’s when you know that they are really two different car companies, when the left hand is going in one direction and the right is going in another direction.  Again, it’s all about the experience!

Cadillac gets it with their new line of sports vehicles like the ATS that you can get in a stick.  Toyota Scion, Ford, Fiat and Mini all have strong sales of the stick shift, but more companies are doing away with the stick shift as an option in their new vehicles.  Driving schools don’t even offer it as an option anymore, which is crazy to me.  Everyone should learn how to drive a stick shift, it’s simply not American!  I can’t tell you how many people I meet each year who do not know how to drive a stick shift.  They wouldn’t be able to buy that classic VW Beetle and experience the fun of kicking it into gear or rolling down a hill to jump start it.

Instead, many of the people today are looking for an iPod connector instead of under the hood, let alone for a manual transmission and that’s really sad.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been saved from death by driving a manual transmission, which I really miss in my Mercedes-Benz.  How you ask?  Those who have had to downshift to avoid a hazard in the road, a stupid driver or to pound the gas for immediate acceleration to avoid being creamed by a Mac truck, you know what I’m talking about.  I’m sure you’ve had those days as well.   I think teenagers are the best candidates for driving a stick shift and contrary to the opinion of most parents, they are actually much safer than an automatic because they have to learn how to actually control the transmission that drives the vehicle.

I hope that more manufacturers bite the bullet and make an investment in the stick shift and it’s super cool to see that some of them are catering to the niche’ market.  This is a great article with more information on this topic that I recently read at Ad Age magazine.

Cool Car Guy Rating: Long Live The Stick!

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John Boyd

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy

John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

 

The Cool Car Guy Delivers A 2013 Ford Escape

2013FordEscapeHey Cool Car Fans,

2013 Ford Escape Ecoboost®

Earlier today, I delivered a 2013 Ford Escape with AWD to a client with the new 2.0 liter Ecoboost motor.  I wanted to write a quick post about this vehicle because it is a great value for a small SUV and I think it’s going to give the Toyota Rav4 and Honda CRV a serious run for their money.  It has a sleek new design that looks quite a bit like a Honda CRV.

Be aware that this vehicle comes with two different Ecoboost engines, the 2.0l with 237hp and 250lb of torque and the smaller 1.6l with 173hp and 177lb of torque.  The standard engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder also mated with a 6-speed automatic. and I wouldn’t recommend looking at that one because you’re going to really notice a difference in performance.  The Ecoboost is definitely the way to go here.

There are a number of options you can add to this vehicle, such as the hands free motion-sensor power lift gate, a MyFord Touch System, Curve Control, Torque Vectoring Control system and several other options.  The one that I delivered had Sirius Satellite radio, bluetooth and some other cool benefits that were standard, including it’s new aerodynamic design and Active Grille Shutters to help cut through the wind for better fuel economy.

esp13_feat_green_ecoboostECOBOOST® IS SUPER COOL

I really like what Ford has done with this engine.  They describe it on their website as follows…

“ EcoBoost® technology helps produce a cooler, denser fuel injection charge that generates more power per every drop of fuel. Twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) maximizes performance, while two different technologies – turbocharging and direct injection – combine to deliver the performance of a much larger engine with the efficiency of a smaller one.”

The 2.0l is super fast and fun for a small SUV.  My client hopped out of a Jeep Wrangler that he traded for this vehicle and the ride is smooth, it’s fun to drive and super responsive.  It also came with Ford’s “Intelligent 4WD System”, which is designed to monitor traction and cornering conditions every 16 milliseconds and then it will automatically adjust torque distribution where needed. It’s pretty cool technology built into this vehicle.

The Ford Lease: Ford is promoting a pretty aggressive lease on this vehicle with a monthly payment that looks good on their website, but I’m not a huge fan of the Ford lease program.  I lease vehicles to clients all the time and I’ve seen too many people coming out of Ford leases over the years and these leases drive me crazy!  Ford may have great technology in their vehicles, but their leases are “old school”, where they send you back to the original Ford dealer where you leased the vehicle to figure out how to turn your lease back-in at the end of the term.  My advice is skip doing the Ford lease and go for the financing or get a used 2013 Ford Escape with low miles and I can structure a lease for you, so call me for details.

I really like this vehicle for it’s great new technology and as a solid competitor for other small SUV’s in this class.  Definitely put it on your list, if your in the market for this kind of a fuel efficient SUV.

Cool Car Guy Rating: Eco Cool

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John Boyd

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy

John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

 

Happy New Year From The Cool Car Guy

2013JeepWranglerHey Cool Car Fans,

2012 RECAP

I hope you had a great 2012 and that you have a blessed and prosperous 2013!  Last year was great and I was able to assist a great number of my clients buy, sell, trade and lease their vehicles.  I had the opportunity to drive some really cool cars last year and do some really cool things with financing and leasing that many people didn’t know that they could do, including refinancing vehicles, financing vehicles, putting together new and used vehicle leases, special financing options and locating some very unique cars and trucks for my clients.  There were some really good incentives on vehicles this past year, including some spectacular lease programs.

In addition, I was able to finish eight Marathons last year, including one in San Francisco and Tucson and the Rim Rock Marathon in Fruita, CO that was a really great run.  I logged almost 3,000 miles in running last year, which is something I’m passionate about and a great way to stay in shape.  As The Cool Car Guy, I have clients from all walks of life in different professions from all over the United States.  One of my clients started RunningGuru.com, which is a cool site to locate running events in Colorado.

Rim Rock Marathon

Rim Rock Marathon

My wife and I saw some good movies last year, some really stupid movies as well, which you can read about at Boydflix.com.  I  setup that site years ago where I write movie reviews since my wife and I go to the movies about every week.

I started to launch a website called ShareMerchant.com in 2012 that didn’t have enough time to work on since I was too busy with my business as The Cool Car Guy.  I anticipate getting it going in 2013, so be on the look out for that website as a way to earn some additional income and have someone else make your car payments for you.  It won’t be for everyone, since many of my clients have great financial resources, but I have quite a few clients who are looking for a way to earn more money in 2013.  I’m always looking for ways to save my clients money and earn them more money.  All in all, 2012 was another great year!

WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2013

New Referral Program:  In the past, I’ve sent movie tickets to people for sending me a referral.  The majority of my business is repeat and referral, so I’ve decided to put together something new for 2013.  Each time someone sends me a referral of a person or company who purchases a vehicle from me, they will receive $100 referral fee.

High Mileage Leases:  Many people are driving vehicles much longer or putting many more miles than they used to in the past.  If you’re putting 20,000 miles or more on a vehicle each year, than you may want to consider doing a high mileage lease and you can do this with both new and used vehicles.  It’s all about the proper structure though and I anticipate that I’ll be doing about 30 of these this year.  If you know someone that drives a ton of miles for their business or job, have them contact me.  It can work really good for Real Estate agents or other sales professionals.

Used Vehicles Leases:  The benefit of a lease is that you are only paying for the depreciation of the vehicle and not for the full amount of the car or truck you’re driving.  If you lease a low mileage vehicle that already has a great deal of depreciation that has taken place and may still be under warranty, you can really save some money depending on the vehicle and the lease structure.  I expect that at least 30 people will contact me this year about how to do a Used Vehicle Lease, since few really know how.

Auction Vehicles:  Each year I have quite a number of clients who contact me about having me find them a vehicle through the Dealer Auction.  Last year, I was able to get a number of great vehicles here in Colorado and around the country from Dealer Only Auctions and ship them in for my clients and save them thousands of dollars.  This can work great for certain vehicles that are selling for too much money in this market.  I recently saved a client thousands of dollars on a 2010 Mercedes-Benz ML350 that was still under the MB warranty with great options and miles.  This is something unique to The Cool Car Guy experience because of my relationship with JFR & Associates and since most Brokers and Dealers are not experienced in this type of service.

Financing, Special Financing And Refinancing:  Last year, I had several people contact me who had credit challenges.  One client of mine filed bankruptcy two years ago and couldn’t get financed through VW, Nissan or a number of other dealerships.  I was able to lease him a brand new Toyota through a special program I knew about at a price that fit his budget.  He told me that he used to work in accounting for a dealership that worked with people with bad credit and he saw how bad these people got ripped off with super high interest rate loans.  It’s all about the structure and relationships and knowing how to do what others can’t do.

Another client had found the car of his dreams on Craigslist and he couldn’t get the financing done on his own, while trying to buy it from a private party hundreds of miles away.  He asked me to assist him, so we marked the vehicle up to compensate me for my time and I arranged to have him pick the vehicle up at a dealership on the other side of Colorado, even though it was being sold by a Private Party.  I don’t won’t to go into all the details since the Wizard doesn’t reveal all of his secrets.  The bottom line is that I was able to get him financed on the vehicle and handled it for him, so that he was able to get his dream car without a tremendous amount of brain damage.  When he’s ready to refinance the vehicle at a lower interest rate in six months, I’ll be handling that for him too.  I have access to a great resource of lenders and I’m able to do things that many others can’t do on their own.

Consignments and Trades:  This year I did a large number of consignments for clients and I anticipate that quite a few people will contact me to have me get them more money for their vehicles again by helping them retail them.  However, consignments can be difficult to sell since people typically want more money for their vehicles than they are worth or they have unrealistic expectations.  There are number of dealers and brokers now offering this service for free or for a discount and I’m of the belief that you get what you pay for when it comes to vehicles.  I really prefer to shop my clients trade when possible and get them more money that way, so that they are not waiting for their vehicle to sell.  Last year, I was able to get people hundreds and even thousands of dollars more than they would have gotten on their own, which is another reason why people use my services as The Cool Car Guy.

Weekly Cool Car Guy Updates:  By popular demand I’m going to be updating CoolCarGuy.com on a weekly basis with stories and information about the automotive industry and what’s happening with The Cool Car Guy and my business this year.  I also hope to have some stories about some of my clients and their vehicles, businesses, etc.

Have a great and prosperous 2013 – drop me an email or come pay me a visit, if you’re around my office this year.

________________________________________________________________________

John Boyd

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy

John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

 

2000 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe – Consignment

JB116205c

Hey Cool Car Fans,

How about this 2000 Chevy Corvette Coupe that I have on consignment for a client?  It’s a pretty sweet ride.  This vehicle is quickly becoming a classic as the first Corvette of the new Millennium assembled in Bowling Green, KY.  This coupe body style was available from 1997–2004, so it was right in the middle of the production run years.  In 1998 they put out a convertible and in 1999 the hard top was introduced.

This is a six speed manual transmission with the LS1 345hp V8 motor for the serious speed demon and that is a reliable.  This is known as the C5, which was a departure from the C4 to give a more aggressive look than the

JB11620c

previous version, along with a much stronger frame, without the rattles and clangs of the previous body style and a top speed of 175 mph.  This baby will move out with a fairly light curb weight of 3,245pounds and is a hoot to drive.  The real shocker for many Corvette enthusiasts is that this vehicle gets 19/28 mpg with the manual transmission, which allowed it to avoid the unfriendly “gas guzzler” tax that most other high-performance vehicles in this class get hit with from the government.

As far as speed goes, one of the attractions of the Chevy Corvette is the C5 is capable of matching or besting the 0–60 mph acceleration times of some of the world’s premier sports cars, including the BMW Z8, Ferrari 360, and Porsche 911 Turbo (Type 996).

 

I call it massive performance on a budget!  You can’t buy these other vehicles for $22,500 with 24,000 miles!

JB116205

A collection of published performance numbers for the base-model coupé and convertible gives a 0–60 mph time of around 4.7 seconds.  That is throw your head back in your seat and listen to your passenger scream performance .  Once you hit 60 mph, this vehicle will do a standing quarter-mile time of around 13.2 seconds at 109 mph (both times were for this particular vehicle, that is equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission).

If you’re looking for a cool car that is fun to drive with amazing performance, you should check out this ride.  I’m surprised that more fans of the BMW and Porsche are not buying a Corvette like this and saving a bundle.

 

2000 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe

Year: 2000
JB116c03Make: Chevrolet
Model: Corvette
Trim: Coupe
Mileage: 23,909
VIN #: 1G1YY22G3Y5116205
Trans: 6 Speed
Color: Red
Interior: Leather
Vehicle Type: Coupe
State: CO
Drive Train: RWD
Engine: 5.7L V8 OHV 16V

Price: $22,500

Cool Car Guy Rating:  Need For Speed

________________________________________________________________________

John Boyd

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy

John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

 

1977 Jeep Cherokee Limited – Consignment Vehicle

Hey Cool Car Fans,

I recently consigned a client’s 1977 Jeep Cherokee 2 door 4WD that he’s been restoring and it’s a pretty cool ride.  It’s amazing how many “experts” there are on this classic Jeep Cherokee and how many people who rode in a friend or family member’s back in the late 70′s, 80′s and 90′s.  There are not thousands of these vehicles still being produced at the local “1977 Used Car Factory”, so they are becoming much more difficult to find.  Especially, in good condition and since President Obama’s famous or rather infamous “Cash For Clunkers” program, there are even fewer of them.  Too many people took classic vehicles that they were told were only worth $4,000 or less and had them crushed for an additional Government incentive – brilliant!

When you look at classic cars, whether they are a Jeep or a Corvette, you have to look at the number of vehicles that were produced and the age of the vehicle.  This 1977 beauty is almost 35 years old and it was a Jeep and not a Corvette or a Mustang that was sitting in a car collectors showroom, but a vehicle that was driven.  It has 144,000 miles on odometer, which over 35 years is under 4,200 miles.  It’s being sold “As-Is”, but the current owner did quite a bit to this vehicle to warrant the $9,500 price tag, including:  Fully rebuilt engine with a 3yr 100,000 mile warranty.  New pumps, belts, and hoses. New ball joints, axle U joints, sway bars, and wheel bearings. He installed Hella Vision Plus Headlights and Kenwood Stereo.  This is an extremely rare 1977 Cherokee Chief S Wide Track with an automatic transmission.

There was not a huge production run for this vehicle back in 1977, especially as a Limited and you can see the Limited badge right on the vehicle.  I even had a Jeep enthusiast write to tell me that he has owned 70 Jeeps over the years and he didn’t believe that they made a Limited.  They actually did, but they are not very common, which is why he hasn’t seen one before.  According to Wikipedia they did indeed make a limited for this vehicle, along with a number of other versions, which is another reason for why it’s priced at where it is priced.  Supply and demand always affects the price of vehicles and this was a very small production run compared to other Jeep models.

“Based on the Wagoneer, the Cherokee was marketed as the “sporty” two-door variant of Jeep’s station wagon. The term “Sport Utility” appears for the first time in the 1974 Cherokee sales brochure.[1] A four-door was not added to the lineup until 1977. Other than the base model, the trim levels of the Cherokee included the S (Sport), Chief, Golden Eagle, Golden Hawk, Limited, Classic, Sport, Pioneer, and Laredo.” – Wikipedia

Like any older Jeep, this vehicle is still going to need additional reconditioning, but the motor and important components of the vehicle have already been taken care of by the current owner.  The body is in excellent condition, but the headliner, carpeting and some of the interior will need some TLC.   These vehicles were beasts and you can find quite a few photos online of people using them off-road.  A friend of mine in Wisconsin’s Dad had one of these when we were growing up that he would use for duck and deer hunting and they were bullet proof and would go through just about anything.  It didn’t matter how cold it was outside, it always seemed to run and the great thing about these older vehicles if that you can still pop the hood and work on them!

Don’t buy this for your teenage son or daughter, as their first vehicle, though because it’s not going to drive like your wife’s modern SUV, even though Jeep invented the term “sport utility”.  These older vehicles do not drive the same as what they may have learned to drive on and they will get confused when they can’t find the iPod jack!  I can’t tell you how many young people buying cars do not even bother looking under the hood anymore, let alone know how to drive a manual transmission or engage the four-wheel drive on a vehicle that doesn’t do it automatically for them.

This is a great second or third vehicle for a Jeep enthusiast to tinker with or a fantastic vehicle for someone who has driven older vehicles and knows how to drive them and properly maintain them.  These Jeeps were built to last, which is why this one is still going strong 35 years after it came off the assembly line.

1977 Jeep Cherokee Limited 2 Door 4WD

Year: 1977
Make: Jeep
Model: Cherokee
Trim: 2-Door Limited
Mileage: 144,191
Stock #: JB091558c
VIN #: 22222222222222222
Trans: Automatic
Color: Red
Interior: Cloth
Vehicle Type: SUV
State: CO
Drive Train:4WD
Engine: V8

Price: $9,500

Cool Car Guy Rating:  Ain’t Your Mamma’s SUV

________________________________________________________________________

John Boyd

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy

John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

 

2001 GMC Yukon SLT Consignment Sold

Hey Cool Car Fans,

As The Cool Car Guy, I have a large number of people who consign their vehicles with me.  I probably do more consignments than anyone in the Denver area, but the vehicles don’t always make it up here at CoolCarGuy.com.  This is not because they are not worthy of being listed or they are not really nice vehicles, but it’s because I am extremely busy and it takes time to manage this website.

I just had to post this 2001 GMC Yukon that I just delivered to a young couple that needed out of their 2005 Subaru Legacy Outback XT, after sinking thousands of dollar into a new motor, turbo and rebuild.  I was able to wholesale their vehicle for them and get them out of it and into a much nicer vehicle.  That’s what I do.

It only took a week for me to move this GMC Yukon for a couple that was referred to me by another client of mine to help them sell their vehicle.  I had numerous calls on it, but the people who I was able to deliver it to needed financing and I was able to make it happen.  The previous owners had taken such good care of this SUV that I had to put some photos up here at CoolCarGuy.com to give my visitors an idea of what a really nice, well maintained vehicle looks like.  I had a similar Buick earlier in the week, that I ended up wholesaling, but that will be going on to a new owner soon through another dealership.

I often hear people talk about how great Toyota’s, Nissans and Honda’s are and they are good vehicles, at least some of them, if they are well cared for are.  However, when I delivered this sweet GMC Yukon and had a safety inspection done on it, which I always do for my clients before delivering their car, the only thing this Yukon needed was an air filter and a cabin filter.  It didn’t even require an oil change, which was pretty cool.  Check out the photos and if you know someone looking to buy, sell, trade or lease a vehicle, new or used, have them contact me.

2001 GMC Yukon SLT 4WD

Color:  Silver
Transmission:  Automatic
Year:  2001
Engine:  5.3L V8 OHV 16V
Make:  GMC  Drive Train:
4WD  Model:  Yukon
Mileage:  59,048
Trim:  SLT 4WD
State:  CO
Interior:  Leather
Price:  $13,500
Vehicle Type:  SUV

I really enjoy being The Cool Car Guy, but especially when I can buyers and sellers to create a great experience for both parties.  It’s really cool when it works out for everyone involved and especially when it’s a great used vehicle for a new family.

Cool Car Guy Rating:  Nice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

________________________________________________________________________

John Boyd

Auto Consultant – John Boyd: The Cool Car Guy

John is an auto consultant with his license at a car dealership in Denver, Colorado. He can help you save time and money on any make or model, new or used, lease or purchase – nationwide! Call or email John about your next vehicle! jboyd@coolcarguy.com or Twitter @coolcarguy

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