Used Car Buying Guide

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Know what to look for in a pre-owned vehicle

When you decide to buy a used car, you’ll need to consider a tremendous variety of features and specifications. Is age or mileage more important? How about reviews or Carfax reports? This guide will help you answer these and other important questions.

Determining What You Need
Choose a vehicle that meets your daily needs. If you rarely want to transport more than two people, it’s probably not worth spending extra cash on an SUV, minivan or station wagon. You can borrow or rent a larger vehicle when necessary.

Vehicle Mileage and Age

As you compare different cars, don’t let high-mileage vehicles scare you away. It’s normal for modern autos to travel 200,000 miles without many major problems. Well-made cars remain desirable to numerous buyers even after they exceed 150,000 miles, according to Time.

Although a vehicle’s mileage generally holds greater importance, you should also consider its age. Sunlight, rain and temperature fluctuations can cause gradual decay as an automobile sits unused. Rubber may deteriorate more quickly if a motorist rarely drives a car.

Evaluating a Vehicle

When you want to learn more about a certain model, look at online reviews, crash test results and recall information. You can also benefit from researching specific cars. Many dealers offer free Carfax reports; they can alert you to accident damage and other problems.

After you narrow down your choices to a few vehicles, take one for a test drive. Set aside enough time to travel on city streets as well as the nearest highway. Look at a different car if you hear strange noises or the vehicle performs erratically.

When you need a dependable used auto, be sure to browse Greg Chapman Motors in Cedar Park. We’ve served Central Texas motorists for over a decade. Many drivers appreciate our low-pressure approach and economical pricing. To learn more, please contact Greg Chapman today.

Top 5 Traits of the Perfect Used Truck

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The Benefits of Buying a Used Truck and a Few Things to Consider

It might seem strange, but you get a lot more bang for your buck when you buy a pre-owned truck versus a new one. Trucks lose up to 20% of their resale value when they are driven off the lot. This means that a used truck that’s a few years old is going to be much more affordable than a brand-new model.

It’s also true that you’re less likely to run into manufacturing problems when buying a used truck. When you buy pre-owned, some kinks will have been worked out, and some problem parts will have been replaced.

1. Towing Capacity

Are you planning on towing a mobile home or other vehicle with your truck? If so, you’ll want to check out the tow capacity on every vehicle you’re looking at. It’s easy to find a solid used truck with an excellent tow capacity, and it’s a good thing to look into, even if you aren’t currently planning on towing. You never know what the future will bring.

2. Interior

The outside of a truck can be washed and waxed to perfection, making it look brand new. However, the inside is often where the wear and tear begins to show, especially if the truck was owned by someone with a labor-intensive job. When looking at used trucks, be sure to give the interior a thorough inspection.

3. Performance

A vehicle’s performance won’t change much in years after it’s manufactured. Researching engine and performance should therefore be pretty easy. You can find out a lot by simply looking the truck’s make and model online. Every vehicle is slightly different and comes with its own quirks, so be sure to take your desired truck on a test drive before you take it home.

4. Proper Maintenance

It’s a good idea to buy a used truck that’s been maintained, and checking a Carfax report is important before making a purchase. Did it only have one previous owner? Did it change ownership multiple times? Was it ever a rental vehicle? All of this information should help you gauge the amount of wear and tear that might have taken place.

5. Safety

Always take a look at the safety features when examining a used truck. You’re probably a safe driver, so this might not cross your mind, but it’s very important. Check safety ratings and make sure the truck comes with all basic safety features, including airbags.

If you’re ready to start shopping for a used car or truck in the Austin/Cedar Park area, visit Greg Chapman Motors today.

Stop Making These 3 Auto Maintenance Mistakes

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Most people know that simple automotive maintenance performed properly can add years to the life of a car and keep it running smoothly. However, even among those who consider themselves to be great DIY mechanics, there are some who are doing it all wrong and creating new problems instead of solving old ones. The following three maintenance errors are surprisingly common, and they can be costly if not corrected. Be sure to avoid making them.

1. Inadequate Use of Lube During Brake Repairs

Your brakes rely on friction. The moving parts required to make your brake system work smoothly need lubrication. Without it, they could seize, and you could be in big trouble. When replacing or servicing brake components, be sure to use lubrication products specifically designed for brakes. Also, be careful to keep lube and grease away from parts that it could damage. Axle grease on your rotor or brake pads will cause them to fail.

2. Forgetting to Tighten or Over-tightening Lug Nuts

Having a wheel fly off of your car while you’re driving isn’t a pleasant experience. After a tire replacement, repair or rotation, you must be sure that your wheels are bolted onto your car. Over-tightening lug nuts also causes problems. Under an undue amount of tension, the lug nuts or wheel studs may pop off.

3. Forgetting to Tighten Your Oil Filter

A loose, leaking oil filter results in engine oil spilling all over your car’s engine and components. The oily mess and the fact that your engine is being deprived of oil could result in fires under the hood, a seized engine and a lot of headaches. Prevent this common problem by using the right size and type of wrench to remove and replace your oil filter. Make sure that it’s tight before you drive anywhere.

To learn even more about the maintenance and upkeep requirements of your vehicle, visit DMV.org.

Maintain Your Budget With Help From Greg Chapman Motors

If you live in the Austin/Cedar Park area and you’re looking for an affordable used car, truck or SUV, Greg Chapman Motors is ready to provide friendly, knowledgeable, pressure-free assistance. We’ve been matching Austin and Cedar Park drivers with the cars of their dreams since 1959. Come see Greg Chapman in person, or visit us online to learn more about our selection and exceptional service.

Are You Treating Your Used Car Right?

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Proper Maintenance: How Used Cars Can Save You Money

Some people struggle with the idea of buying a used car. There’s a common misconception that buying used isn’t worth it because you’ll have to put all of your money back into maintaining the car. This simply isn’t true. While it’s certainly possible for older cars to suffer major breakdowns that require costly repairs, it’s easy to avoid most of these problems if you care for the car. A properly maintained older car can save you a lot of money in the long run. Not only will you pay off your loan much faster, but you’ll also be able to pay a lower insurance premium as soon as you’re out of debt.

1. Take Care of Your Brakes

Your brakes are crucial, yet the fact that you need to care for them isn’t that obvious to a lot of drivers. Brake fluid tends to attract moisture. This dampness can then get into your engine and cause corrosion. You probably already know that you need to regularly replace your brake pads, but you should also have your brake fluid drained out and replaced at least once per year.

2. Change Your Oil

This one is kind of obvious, but you’d be surprised at how often drivers neglect their oil. Changing your oil regularly is one of the most important things you can do if you want to keep your car running smoothly. Always change your oil and filter every 3000 to 5000 miles.

3. Protect Your Interior

Part of keeping an older car looking young is maintaining the interior. The sun’s rays are often the most damaging, so you can guard your plastic and vinyl by wiping all surfaces down with a product designed to protect against UV rays.

4. Handle Your Coolant

Checking the coolant is another important aspect of caring for your car. Your engine gets very hot, and without the proper fluid to cool it down, you’re likely to overheat or even damage parts of the motor. It’s a good idea to flush and replace the coolant at least once a year.

5. Love Your Transmission

This one is a pretty big deal, because a failed transmission is perhaps one of the most expensive repairs a vehicle owner could face. Luckily, major transmission problems can usually be avoided with maintenance. Talk to your mechanic about having a transmission flush. This doesn’t need to be done anywhere near as often as changing the coolant or oil, but it should be performed on a regular schedule that’s recommended for your particular vehicle.

If you’re in the Austin/Cedar Park area and are ready to begin looking at used cars, please contact us at Greg Chapman Motors today or view our inventory.

How to Beat Your Financing Fears

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Curious About Your Options for Used Car Financing?

Some people experience a lot of fear at the idea of financing a car. Financial situations can change quickly, so it’s important to make sure you can actually afford to pay off the debt you’ll be taking on. It’s also crucial to understand the financing process.

If you want to finance a car, you can choose between direct lending and dealer financing.

1. Dealer Financing

Most dealerships offer financing to help customers pay for their new or used cars. When you decide on a vehicle you like, you and the dealer will sit down together and work out a contract. This allows you to agree to set payments over a certain term. Financing fees and interest do apply. The benefit of this option is that you don’t have to prepare in advance. You can simply go to the dealership, pick out a car and discuss your options.

2. Direct Loans

This option involves taking a loan from your bank, credit union or a private finance company. One benefit of going with this route is that you will be able to plan your finances in advance. If you decide to go with dealer financing, you won’t be able to work out an agreement until you’re at the auto dealership. Getting a direct loan will allow you to keep your interest rate and terms in mind while shopping for your car. However, it eliminates the convenience and one-stop-shop method of dealer financing.

Tips for Applying for Dealer Financing: What Will You Need?

If you choose dealer financing, you’ll pick out your car first. Next, you’ll go with the dealer into the office to sit down and discuss financing. The first step is usually filling out a credit application, so you’ll want to make sure that you have all the important information you’ll need on hand. This includes your social security number, income, employment records and any important financial important related to your debts or other obligations. The dealer will also likely run a credit report, so it’s best to be honest about whatever you have on your plate.

If you’re ready to purchase a used car in the Austin/Cedar Park areas, contact us at Greg Chapman Motors today. We finance! Let’s discuss your plans and get you on the road as soon as possible.

8 Fuel-Saving Tips for Busy Families

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If you and your family spend a lot of time on the road, you’re probably familiar with the demanding cry of a low-fuel alarm paired with the pitiful whine of an empty bank account. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice life’s little luxuries just to be able to keep a few gallons in your tank; there are many ways that you can save money on gas. The following tips from the U.S. Department of Energy can substantially decrease your fuel costs and help you get the best gas mileage your car can deliver.

1. Don’t Drive Like a Maniac

Aggressive driving and rapid acceleration and braking wastes gas. If you can’t control your impulses, try using a driver feedback device. They’ve been shown to improve gas mileage by 10 percent.

2. Pay Attention to the Speed Limit

In general, gas mileage decreases quickly when you drive at speeds above 50 mph. Don’t drive faster than required.

3. Don’t Weigh Down Your Car or Its Roof

Fuel economy is also affected by wind resistance. Carrying cargo within your car or on its roof can reduce your fuel economy by as much as five percent on the highway. Lighten your load.

4. Use the Cruise

Driving at a constant speed saves gas, so don’t hesitate to use your cruise control on long trips.

5. Keep Your Car in Top Shape

Keeping your car well-maintained results in better fuel efficiency. Use the oil recommended by the car’s manufacturer. Keep your tires inflated properly, have your emissions checked and get regular tune-ups. Be sure to fix any mechanical problems promptly.

6. Combine Driving Trips

Warm engines use less fuel than cold ones. Group as many errands together as possible; this ensures better fuel efficiency and reduces driving distance.

7. Find Cheap Gas

To get the best prices on gas, keep an eye on all your local gas stations. Stations in affluent areas and near major freeway exits tend to charge more. Drive a few extra blocks if needed, but remember that the farther you go for gas, the more gas you’ll use on the way there.

8. Get a More Fuel-Efficient Car

Fuel economy is largely dependent on the vehicle you drive. A difference of only 10 MPG can save you more than $500 a year in fuel costs. FuelEconomy.gov provides gas mileage estimates and other data about current model year vehicles and those dating from 1984.

Let Greg Chapman Motors Help You Find a Money-Saving Model

When your vehicle is the root cause of your high fuel costs, Greg Chapman Motors can help. Our Austin/Cedar Park location has a fantastic selection of models known for their efficiency and reliability. We enable many drivers to obtain fuel-efficient cars while improving their financial profiles. Visit us online to learn more about our quality used cars and our great benefits like in-house financing, credit reporting and Carfax reports.

Is it Time to Trade In Your Old Car?

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Is it Time to Trade in Your Used Car in Austin/Cedar Park?

Figuring out when to trade in a used car can be tricky. On the one hand, you’ve worked hard to pay off your car, and you’d like to get as much use out of it as possible. On the other, you know that waiting too long to trade in your car could result in receiving much less for it. Therefore, the key to trading in a used car is to do it at the right time.

1. How Old is the Car?

You can trade in a car at any time, but it’s a good idea to trade in a used car when it has about 50,000 miles. At this point, most cars are still fully functional and haven’t required any major repairs. This means that you will have avoided pumping more of your hard-earned cash into the car, and the dealer will be more likely to give you a fair price. This isn’t to say that you can’t get a fair price for a car with more than 50,000 miles. That’s just a measurable point where the average car will offer the greatest return on investment. Vehicles with more than 50,000 miles depreciate in value faster than cars with lower mileage.

2. How Much Do You Owe on the Car?

If you owe a great deal of money, you might not get enough back to cover both the remaining loan and the payments on a newer model. However, there might be a point when you still owe a small amount of money, and you find that it’s otherwise a good time to make a trade. If so, it will probably save you money to go for it now. By trading the car in at its optimal time, you’ll get the most money back, and this can cover the remaining balance on the loan.

3. What’s the Trade-in Value?

Aside from knowing the mileage on your car, you can also find the trade-in value by searching for your make, model and year in the Kelley Blue Book. Once you have a ballpark figure for your car, you’ll need to discuss the specific amount that’s being offered to you. While most dealers stick close to the Kelley Blue Book price, there is always room for negotiations. There are also circumstances that might earn you a better deal. For example, perhaps a local car dealer is keeping an eye out for your specific model. You never know until you find out.

If you’re ready to trade in your used car in the Austin/Cedar Park area, Greg Chapman Motors has you covered. We have a wide selection of used cars, and we’re always looking to add to our collection. To get the best value for your used car, come talk to us about making a trade in today.

The Secrets of a Successful Test Drive

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Are you itching to try out a different set of wheels? Shopping for a used car is a fun but serious task that goes far beyond checking Kelley Blue Book values and getting a Carfax report. It’s easy to be star-struck by a shiny paint job or a prestigious brand, but before investing in any used car, it’s essential to do your homework and take the vehicle for a test drive. To find out if a car is a perfect fit for your family, your lifestyle and your budget, you’ll need to see for yourself how it handles and how comfortable you are with its features and mechanical performance. Before taking that important first spin, arm yourself with knowledge. Listed below are a few must-know tips to help you properly evaluate a vehicle during a test drive.

Your Essential Test Drive Checklist

•    Before you drive, determine if the car meets your personal comfort and safety needs. You should have plenty of legroom and hip room, and both the seat and steering wheel should adjust to the proper height and angle to ensure that you can drive comfortably. The seat belts should fit securely and comfortably, and you should be able to reach the pedals easily. Check all mirrors for potential blind spots and adjust accordingly. Don’t forget to check the back seats for passenger comfort and security.

•    After starting the car, turn the radio on to check the car’s sound system, but turn it off after you have evaluated the quality. You should be able to hear the engine and any unusual noises the car might make during the drive. If you do hear an unexplained noise, try to isolate it by changing speeds or road surfaces. Make note of any and all sound or performance irregularities.

•    If your salesperson tells you to drive along a predetermined route that doesn’t include left turns, highway driving or inclines, request to change it to one that covers all types of driving situations.

•    During your drive, evaluate how the car’s various systems perform. It should downshift quickly and smoothly during acceleration. Brakes should be stable; note any grabbing or brake noise. Steering should be responsive and consistent. Be aware of excessive tire noise, rough idling, wining or squealing noises while making tight turns and unexpected losses or gains in power.

•    Either before or after the test drive, open the hood to visually inspect the car’s components and check for general maintenance issues. Be on the lookout for dirty oil and transmission dipsticks, strong odors, grimy deposits, dirty or old fluids, cracked belts and hoses and signs of fluid loss. Check tires for uneven wear, which could indicate worn suspension. If possible, inspect brake pads and rotors for wear.

Try Your New Test-Driving Skills at Greg Chapman Motors

If you’re looking for quality used cars in the Austin/Cedar Park area, Greg Chapman Motor Sales is your prime resource. Our knowledgeable and friendly sales associates are ready to help you find the ride of your dreams. Come by to test drive your favorite models from our incredible selection, or visit us online to learn more about our convenient in-house financing and trade-in options.

4 Reasons Choosing a Used Car is a Smart Financial Move

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If you need a new car, you might be debating with yourself over whether or not it’s worth the money to buy new. You’ll be happy to know that purchasing from a used car dealership can pay off in a number of ways.

1. The Car Will Be Yours Sooner

Paying off an auto loan and becoming the official owner of a vehicle is a huge accomplishment. Buying used gives you the option of paying cash or taking out a loan, same as a new car. If you can pay cash, you’ll become the new owner right away. If you choose to finance, you’ll likely need a much smaller loan than you would need for a new car. This will make it easy to stay on top of your finances and ensure you get your car paid off as soon as possible.

2. Depreciating Value

If cars had the potential to grow in value like houses do, it might be worth it to invest in a new model. However, unless they are completely restored, cars always depreciate over time. A typical vehicle loses about 20% of its overall value each year. Considering that the value of a new car will go down so much during the first five years, it makes much more sense to go with a used car and save a lot of your hard-earned money.

3. Insurance Costs

Buying used can save you on insurance costs in a number of ways. First of all, the insurance costs for an older car are generally much less. On top of that, buying used will allow you to pay off the car sooner, which will give you the option of dropping full-coverage insurance in favor of liability. Liability insurance offers the minimum coverage required by law, and it’s a much cheaper option.

4. Avoiding Useless Extras

It can’t be denied that some of the new features on today’s vehicles are cool. However, many of them are essentially useless frills. A lot of salesmen will try to get consumers excited about useless features, such as pin striping. When you buy used, you can’t custom-design your car, but some thoughtful examination will show you that you didn’t need any of that stuff anyhow.

If you’re interested in buying a used car in the Cedar Park/Austin area, come see us at Greg Chapman Motor Sales!

Why it’s Smart to Buy a Luxury Car Used

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Get the benefits of new at bargain prices

With their eye-catching designs and top-of-the-line features, luxury cars draw admiration from enthusiasts and laymen alike. From a practical standpoint, luxury cars provide superior performance and access to options that other cars don’t offer.

If you have your heart set on a luxury car but know you can’t afford the high price tag, buying used can get you the perks you’re dreaming of along with several other benefits for your budget and your driving experience.

You’ll Pay Less

When you buy a luxury car, you don’t need to have the latest model to enjoy all the best that these vehicles have to offer. A luxury model that’s several years old can still have more features and provide a smoother ride than a brand-new compact or sedan, and going for used means getting it all at a fraction of the original price.

The Extras are Better

Luxury cars started coming equipped with all of the “bells and whistles” that make driving fun long before the same options appeared on other types of vehicles. That means even an older luxury car may have a sunroof or moon roof, climate control, heated seats, Bluetooth connectivity and GPS. High-end safety features are also standard on most luxury cars, allowing you to enjoy your ride knowing that you’re protected.

You Can Still Get a Good Warranty

Some luxury car manufacturers offer extended warranties through certified pre-owned programs so that you can obtain the same kind of coverage that you would if you bought a new car. It may be possible to get additional coverage from the dealership or another third party to ensure that all potential problems will be taken care of.

The Car Retains More Value

When you buy any type of car new, the value drops significantly within the first few years of ownership. After that time, however, luxury cars tend to retain their remaining value better than other vehicles. This makes for a fairly stable investment that you should be able to recoup most of if you decide to sell the car in the future.

At Greg Chapman Motors, you’ll find a full inventory of used cars that includes luxury vehicles and specialty models including BMW and Mercedes with all the features you’re looking for. Check out our collection online to discover how much you can save by buying used. When you find something you like, head over to our Austin/Cedar Park dealership to see it in person and talk with one of our sales representatives about financing and payment options. Let us set you up with the luxury car of your dreams today.