Posted on August 24, 2016 at 4:13 pm by Robert Ostfield
Some WeeL Members have been shopping for a new family car, and they have turned to WeeL for suggestions on makes and models worth test driving. Our recommendations from small cars to SUVs consistently include models from the Korean manufacturers, Hyundai and Kia. However, we often receive mixed reactions when making these suggestions.
Some people react surprised, saying “Hyundai or Kia – we never thought about them.” Some people are already in the know, saying “Hyundai and Kia – I heard they were good vehicles.” And others are not so receptive, saying “I would never buy a Hyundai or Kia.” For those of people who are not considering models from Hyundai or Kia, you are doing yourself a disservice.
The days of Hyundai and Kia models being “lesser than” when compared to the competition are over. While I maintain some of the fit and finish, engine noise, and general engineering may not be perfect, it’s pretty darn close. Combine that with lower prices, better financing terms, longer warranties, and in most cases, pretty attractive styling, it becomes a winning combination. Yes if you drive a Honda Accord back to back with Hyundai Sonata, you may conclude the Honda is superior. However, you may not find the Honda is that much better to justify the additional premium.
And its not only WeeL who feels strongly about the product lineup from Hyundai and Kia – there are stats to back it up. Korean cars had eclipsed Japanese autos in quality. In 2015 J.D. Power rated the mass-market auto brands tops for initial quality, with Kia just behind No. 1 Porsche and Hyundai, No. 4 behind Jaguar. Porsche and Jaguar are niche luxury brands.
The automotive press has awarded Hyundai and Kia with other top industry awards, including:
2016 Kia Sportage. J.D. Power – “Highest Ranked Small SUV in Initial Quality in the U.S.”2016 Soul.
2016 Kia Soul. J.D. Power – “Highest Ranked Compact Multi-Purpose Vehicle in Initial Quality in the U.S.”
2017 Hyundai Elantra – Top Safety Pick+ – Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
2015 Hyundai Accent – Initial Quality Award – Small Car – J.D. Power & Associates
Everyone’s tastes and preferences are different, and there are no shortage of great new car options. However we highly recommend giving Hyundai and Kia some serious consideration.
And of course if you are having some issues with your current car or if you need a new car, WeeL would love the opportunity to help you! You can also call us anytime at 1 (888) 657-3296
Posted on July 29, 2016 at 4:26 pm by Robert Ostfield
Since WeeL is the “go to” car resource for our Members, we spend a lot of time working with people about potential new car options, along with advising on ways to keep their current vehicle on the road.
I have had recent discussions with Members about choosing their next new car. Not surprisingly, many have expressed interest in Tesla or electric vehicles in general. When asked why they are interested in those types of vehicles, many think the technology is cool, and many indicated they want to reduce their carbon footprint, and an electric vehicle would enable that.
This got me thinking – it’s great that people want to help the environment, and its great that people are interested in electric vehicles, but for most it’s still a very long term solution. In the short term, these same people are all driving gas powered vehicles, and there are steps they could be taking right now to reduce their environmental impact. Here are just some ideas:
Don’t buy more car than you need
It is true, some people legitimately need seven passenger SUVS, and V8 pickup trucks for towing. However some of us purchase vehicles that are overkill. For example, many choose the 6 cylinder option in a Honda Accord, however the 4 cylinder option is plenty good, and costs less to buy and uses less fuel. At the same time there are some people still buying massive SUVs, which might only be utilized on the rarest of occasions. Maybe they are better buying a smaller SUV, and renting a larger car for the rare times they actually need it.
Take advantage of new technologies
Buying an electric car is not the only vehicle type that can help the environment. There are so many advancements in the Internal Combustion Engine that their environmental impact keeps getting smaller. Technology like turbocharged engines and auto start-stop functions are allowing today’s engines to provide great performance, while lessening the use of fossil fuels. Cars are also being equipped with eco settings, which adjusts the vehicle performance to further reduce fuel usage.
Just keep your car maintained
The most simple thing you can do is to keep your car properly maintained. This means simple steps like getting your oil changed regularly, using the appropriate fuel for your vehicle, and even something trivial like maintaining the right tire pressure. These little things start making a big impact on the environment, along with saving you money.
Posted on July 6, 2016 at 6:33 pm by Robert Ostfield
Is your new vehicle warranty about to expire? Or has it recently expired? There are some steps you will want to take immediately, especially if you plan on keeping the vehicle for awhile longer. These steps will ensure your vehicle is running at its best, and save you money in the process.
Most new cars in Canada are equipped with a basic bumper to bumper, 3 year or 60,000 km warranty (whichever comes first), however some manufacturers offer longer warranties. For example most luxury vehicles in Canada are sold with a 4 year or 100,000 km warranty, while Kia and Hyundai offer an even longer warranty of 5 years or 100,000 km warranty.
It’s important to recognize that your engine, transmission and differential (extremely important and expensive components in your vehicle) are usually covered for longer periods of time, and wear and tear items like brakes, windshield wipers and bulbs are generally covered for 1 year or 20,000 kms.
What to do if your warranty is about to expire?
1. If you are having a problem and your vehicle and its still covered under warranty, visit the dealer and get the issue documented and repaired ASAP! Your new car dealer is paid by the manufacturer to repair the vehicle, so they are more than happy to help you. And you don’t need to visit the dealer who originally sold the vehicle. Any dealer who sells the same make of vehicle is obligated and willing to repair the vehicle.
2. If you are planning to keep the vehicle for another few years, it might be worthwhile to invest in an extended warranty. With all the technology going into cars these days, they are getting more and more expensive to fix. If you are visiting your new car dealer, they can provide you extended warranty options from the manufacturer, along with aftermarket suppliers. And just like anything in the car business, those prices are negotiable. Keep in mind the warranty company might require a mechanical inspection of the vehicle before they can offer coverage.
What to do if your warranty has expired but you have a problem?
1. If you are having a problem with your vehicle and its recently out of warranty, you might be able to get coverage. If your warranty just expired, rush over to your closest dealer, and often in the interest of good customer service, the dealer will find a way to cover the repair. Alternatively the issue you’re experiencing might be common with that vehicle and well known by the manufacturer – in this case the dealer and manufacturer MIGHT cover the cost as a “good will” repair, even though the vehicle is out of warranty.
2. If your vehicle has been out of warranty for over 3 months, the dealer and manufacturer have no obligation to cover the repair. Your only hope is a discount from the dealer, which is something you can negotiate if you have been a loyal customer.
3. As we explained above, if you are planning to keep the vehicle for a few more years, an extended warranty might be a worthwhile investment.
And of course if you are having some issues with your current car, WeeL would love the opportunity to help you! You can email us or call us anytime at 1 (888) 657-3296
Posted on July 3, 2016 at 4:04 pm by Robert Ostfield
As many have you seen from our Facebook page, we have been helping our members pick their next vehicle, along with arranging really great pricing from our dealer partners. A common question we have been counselling our members on is whether or not to lease their new car. There is no universal answer to this question, as every person, car, and car deal is unique.
A lease is a different way to finance a car. With a lease you don’t own the car – you are making a monthly payment (which can span anywhere from 12 to 60 months) to use that vehicle. Along with making the payments, you are committing to maintain that vehicle based on the manufacturer’s maintenance requirements, and return the vehicle in a saleable condition at lease end (so if there are scratches, dents, bald tires, or worn out brakes – it’s your job to get that fixed). As the Lessee, you have the right to purchase the vehicle at the lease end.
An important consideration with leasing is to remember that you are paying for depreciation on a new car when it is the most expensive. Those that enjoy the luxury of a brand new car every couple of years with lower payments compared to traditional financing can end up paying much more in the long run as you don’t ever build any equity in your car.
Some people have had really great experiences leasing, while others have had frustrating and costly experiences – as we explained earlier, every situation is unique. The Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council has a quick rundown on the Pros and Cons of leasing.
Need some help buying or leasing your next new vehicle? No matter what car you need we can help get you a great deal. Contact Robert Ostfield at [email protected] or 1 (888) 657-3296 and he would be pleased to help.
Posted on June 23, 2016 at 8:22 pm by Robert Ostfield
The folks at YourMechanic have developed a huge database of common issues and repairs for all major automotive makes and models sold in America. We found this study very interesting and thought it could be useful before you purchase a new car, or for your current car.
Not surprisingly, luxury models like BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac and Volvo cost the most to maintain over a ten year period. However, its unexpected to see value makes like Saturn and Mercury not too far behind in the most costly category.
The Toyota family (Toyota, Scion, Lexus) have demonstrated to be the least expensive to maintain. The Lexus results are notably impressive considering the luxury caliber of the vehicles, and the fact that it cost less to maintain a Lexus over a ten year period compared to a Honda.
And of course if you are having some issues with your current car, WeeL would love the opportunity to help you! You can also call us anytime at 1 (888) 657-3296
Posted on June 13, 2016 at 6:36 pm by Robert Ostfield
If you are venturing out on a long road trip this summer, the success of the adventure highly relies on the cooperation and dependability of your vehicle. As you will be driving long distances at high speeds with a fully loaded trunk, your car or truck will be working overtime. Here are some tips to keep you and your vehicle safe this road trip season.
Before you hit the road, let’s make sure your vehicle is running at its best. Have the vehicle inspected by a certified technician, ensuring:
Your fluids are at the right levels, and your engine oil is good for the trip
The Air Conditioning system is fully operational
The Braking System is in good shape and your brake pads and rotors are not worn out
All the interior and exterior lights are working
The Tire Pressures are set correctly, and there is still sufficient tread left on the tires
The Spare Tire is fully inflated and the tool kit is properly equipped (there’s no worse feeling then having a flat tire and not having the right tools to install a new tire)
One of the advantages of driving in your own car compared to flying is there’s no additional charge for baggage. However, if you are travelling with a group, pack smart so there is room for everyone and their stuff. And if you are driving with kids, make sure the tablet is loaded with content to keep them entertained, and some snacks couldn’t hurt either. And don’t forget the mobile phone chargers and tablet chargers!
Roadside Assistance Coverage
Even with the best planning and vehicle maintenance, things can go wrong. Unfortunately situations like flat tires, dead batteries, and other mechanical mishaps will cause a disruption on a road trip. But what’s worse is being stranded on the side of the road, in the middle of nowhere, not knowing whom to call for help, and how much you should pay for assistance.
Most new cars come with built in Roadside Assistance for some coverage period, however if your vehicle no longer has that coverage, you are best to subscribe for your own Roadside Assistance coverage. Most plans will cover basic mishaps (fuel delivery, flat tire replacement, dead batteries, towing), and with these programs, you know whom to call, and the service is usually free as part of the program.
Posted on March 14, 2016 at 3:04 pm by Robert Ostfield
As a car guy, I am cautiously optimistic about the upcoming reality of autonomous cars. I have spent a considerable amount of time reading and pondering this huge leap in automotive technology, but I worry what this means for the experience of driving.
First, what are “autonomous cars” anyways? Autonomous cars are vehicles that can drive themselves without any human input. It’s very simple: you get in the car and punch in your destination, and the vehicle will drive itself (and yes, you of course) to the programmed destination. With autonomous vehicles, passengers can take a nap, watch a video, or have lunch, all the while the car is driving itself.
We are starting to see the beginnings of this technology being rolled out to the public. For the past ten years or so, car manufacturers like Toyota and Ford have been offering self parking systems. Now, we are seeing new companies like Tesla and Google introducing their own vehicles, touting a total package of self driving capabilities. Even good old General Motors just bought a technology company called Cruise Automation which has expertise in driverless cars.
I understand the potential benefits of driverless cars. In theory, there should be fewer accidents, less injuries, and an overall smaller fatality rate. It’s also no secret that 90% of automotive accidents are caused by human error. Traffic will move faster and smoother with systems linked into cars, meaning less congestion and less pollution in cities. We might even see greater economic productivity as a result; instead of having commuters waste their time driving, they can actually be working during the commute to and from work.
It all sounds great, and I also hate wasting my time sitting in traffic. That being said, I really enjoy driving. Most of the time at least. For most North American kids born before 1995, we couldn’t wait to get our driver’s licenses. Driving used to be, and still should be, a passion point for people.
Driving to me equals freedom! There’s nothing the like feeling of being able to go where I want, when I want, how fast I want (within the legal limits) and by myself. How can one not experience pure enjoyment in the open road on a beautiful day, driving a car with the stereo blaring and the windows down. And I understand everyday driving is certainly not like this, but when these days happen, it is very sweet.
So what am I concerned about? I don’t want cars to become an appliance. If we are never really driving our cars, then cars really become no different than our refrigerators or washing machines. When you buy a BMW, one of the reasons you are buying it instead of, say, a $12,000 Hyundai Accent, is the driving experience. Although the BMW should look nicer and be built with better materials, it is the driving experience that is supposed to truly differentiate the car. If we are never driving our cars, then what difference does any of this make?
I am in favour of progress, technological advancements, and hopefully saving lives, but cars are extremely important to a lot of people, and driving is one the few legal thrills we all have. So bring on the autonomous cars, but there better be an off button and a steering wheel so I can also drive myself.
Posted on January 25, 2016 at 9:41 pm by Robert Ostfield
Here’s A Bright Idea: Turn On Your Headlights!
If you have recently driven at night, you may have noticed a disturbing trend: vehicles are driving towards you, without their full headlights turned on. This is incredibly scary, and can cause harm for both the driver, and oncoming traffic. Here is my unscientific theory about why we are seeing this occur.
Relying on Auto Settings: It’s becoming a fairly standard feature on modern day vehicles where they are equipped with automatic headlights. This enables the driver to “set it and forget it”, allowing the vehicle to determine when the headlights should be engaged. However, this system is not foolproof. Often times, drivers may accidentally turn off the automatic setting while looking for another control on the instrument panel, or potentially, another person driving the same car decides to turn off the auto setting, unknowingly rendering the lights useless at night. Additionally, the systems are limited to only measuring lighting conditions, and not other parameters. For example. it could be mid-day and the lighting conditions are fine, but a major rainstorm is reducing visibility. In this scenario, the full headlight system should be on, but the vehicle might not recognize the need based on lighting conditions. Unfortunately, because drivers aren’t used to turning on their headlights and are overly dependent on the car’s auto features, their vehicles becomes less visible to other drivers.
Bright Dashboards: To make the problem worse, modern dashboards have the dashboard gauges illuminated whenever the car is operational. Of course back in the good old days, vehicles didn’t have this feature, and without the headlights being on, the entire dashboard was not illuminated. Consequently, people aren’t clueing in to the fact that their headlights aren’t on even though the gauges are visible. The only telltale sign that the headlights are not turned on is within most vehicles although the dashboard gauges might be on, the rest of the dashboard should not have any lighting, such as the radio and climate controls.
Yes, there are bigger risks on the road like impaired driving and texting while driving, but this is a simple fix that could save a life. So pay attention to your vehicle and ensure your full lighting system is engaged when the conditions demand it.
Posted on January 6, 2016 at 10:25 pm by Robert Ostfield
Although it’s exciting to see the recent development of electric vehicles and other fuel sources for personal vehicles by companies like Tesla and even General Motors, the majority of us will still be driving vehicles powered by the internal combustion engine for the foreseeable future. This leads to a question many have had for decades – “Which grade of gasoline should we be using?”
If you have visited any mainstream gas station, you have undoubtedly given the following fuel grade options (besides diesel fuel which is another story):
94 octane (available at certain gas retailers)
I will go into greater detail below – but here’s the quick answer. If your car was built in the last fifteen years, you should only be using the fuel grade recommended by the manufacturer. This information can be found in the owner’s manual or sometimes it can be found on the inside of the gas lid or online.
What’s The Difference?
The difference is that premium gas is less combustible. It has a higher percentage of octane (for example, 89%, 90%, or 91%) which is resistant to combustion, and less heptane, which is much more likely to ignite when compressed, according to How Stuff Works.
So Which Gas Should I Use?
You should only be using the fuel recommended by your manufacturer. You can find this information in your owner’s manual, or the US Department of Energy has a handy guide to help you figure it out.
What If I Use Cheap Gas in a Premium Car?
If you are lucky enough to be driving a premium car with a premium engine that recommends premium gas, then don’t cheat yourself by using cheap gas. If you do choose to use the wrong grade, modern engines are able to adjust their compression to accommodate so you are unlikely to cause any major damage. However, you will be sacrificing power and fuel economy, making the vehicle less efficient, and potentially erasing any cost benefit. You may also experience some engine knocking. Plus you spent a lot of money on a premium car, so why not enjoy it to its full potential?
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