Posts Tagged ‘Auto Buying’

With thirty percent of used vehicles sold by car owners directly, AAA Auto Buying experts provide tips for selling your car yourself 

ORLANDO,Fla., (September 26, 2012) – There are many different ways to buy and sell a vehicle.

With approximately 33 million used vehicles sold annually, people planning to upgrade their vehicle have many options for getting rid of the old one– trade in, sell it to a dealer, give it to a family member, donate it to a charity or sell it directly. And while selling a vehicle independently may seem like more work, 30 percent of used vehicles in 2011 were sold by car owners directly says AAA.

“Selling a vehicle yourself is not difficult, but it does take time and effort,” says John Nielsen, AAA director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “Pricing the vehicle properly and preparing it for sale are keys to quickly selling the vehicle for a reasonable amount.”

When selling your vehicle yourself, AAA recommends the following:

  • Prepare Your Vehicle for Sale. Prepare your vehicle for a buyer by having it professionally detailed. Remove any personal items from your vehicle, including any stickers you have placed on the exterior. Have your vehicle inspected by a repair shop prior to the sale and ask for a detailed report, which can be shared with perspective buyers. AAA Approved Auto Repair shops can complete this task and can be located by searching online at AAA.com/Repair. 
  • Determine a Price.  Determining the appropriate selling price is a critical step to selling your vehicle independently. Be realistic in the condition of your vehicle, very few vehicles are in “excellent” condition. Do your homework and keep a list of comparable prices from various vehicle pricing sources for any potential buyers to take with them.
  • Spread the Word. Marketing your vehicle for sale is another important step to successfully selling your vehicle independently. Use today’s social media technology and online websites to let others know you are selling your vehicle. Facebook, Twitter, AutoTrader.com, Cars.com and eBay Motors are all great examples of electronic resources. Colorful photos and diverse images can help support the description and features of the vehicle. Be sure to include contact information and any other important details pertaining to the sale.
  • Showing Perspective Buyers the Vehicle: Once you prepare, price and market your vehicle for sale, you should receive inquiries from potential buyers. Use common sense and caution when showing your vehicle. Meet potential buyers in a public location and do not let them test drive the vehicle by themselves. Be ready for questions, have detailed information readily available, include a CARFAX vehicle history report and keep repair and maintenance documents compiled and organized.
  • Securing a Payment. Once you have found a buyer for your vehicle, AAA recommends creating a bill of sale that both parties can sign and have it notarized. Notaries can be located at a bank or any AAA office. Always secure payment before you transfer ownership. Options for payment include certified checks, cash or money order. AAA suggests completing a transaction at a bank to verify the payment is legitimate.  If a buyer is uncomfortable with any part of the agreement, be cautious and use good judgment to avoid the possibility of being scammed.

AAA’s tips for selling your vehicle independently are provided by AAA Auto Buying experts who test drive and evaluate hundreds of vehicles each year. AAA provides free vehicle reviews, localized pricing information and more for consumers online at AAA.com/AutoMaker. Additional information on AAA Auto Buying is available at AAA.com/AutoBuying.  You can also download the AAA Auto Buying Tools App here and through the Apple app store and access information on the go.

 As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.


Top Cars for Teens driven by safety, reliability and price suggests AAA Auto Buying experts

ORLANDO, Fla., (June 14, 2012) –  For most new teen drivers buying a car is likely influenced by  speed, style, color and brand. For teen parents, it’s a focus on safety and reliability while not breaking the bank.  Unfortunately, like settling on a curfew, finding a happy medium is not so easy. AAA understands finding the right car for your teen can be a big decision and hopes to simplify the process by releasing their list of top vehicles for teens.

Safety, style and reliability make this list of cars top picks by AAA Auto Buying experts:

Volkswagen Golf/Rabbit TDI: Despite having compact exterior dimensions, these hatchbacks are roomy and flexible. Handling is predictable and stability control has been an option since 2003. The TDI (Turbo Diesel) is the diesel option, with lower horsepower and much better fuel economy ratings than the gasoline powered versions. Teens should avoid the speedier GTI (Grand Tourer Injection) edition; it can be too powerful for less experienced drivers.  The TrueCar national market average* of the 2012 Volkswagen Golf 4 door hatchback is $20,096, 2.3 percent less than the MSRP.

Ford Focus: In addition to being pleasant to drive and a solid performer with good handling, the latest Focus models also give parents the MyKey feature, which will limit speed, radio volume and prevent teens from turning off safety systems. The Ford Focus provides good fuel economy advertising up-to-40 hwy mpg on the SE with SFE package The TrueCar national market average* of the 2012 Ford Focus 5 door hatchback SE is $17,395, 8.9 percent less than the MSRP.

Honda Civic: A perennial and parental favorite, the Honda Civic offers solid handling, a stout structure, easy maneuvering and good fuel economy. When shopping around, do note model types, as the Si model may be too powerful for younger drivers. The TrueCar national market average* of the 2012 Honda Civic 4 door LX is $18,695, 4.6 percent less than the MSRP.

Hyundai Sonata (2011+): This newest Sonata is offered only with a four-cylinder engine. Handling is secure and the ride is comfortable. Beware of the turbocharged version; it is unnecessarily powerful for teenage drivers. The TrueCar national market average* of the 2012 Hyundai Sonata 4 door sedan 2.4L SE is $23,253, 3.0 percent less than the MSRP.

Ford Fusion: The Ford Fusion features secure handling and a comfortable ride. Increasing safety, upper trim levels in recent years can be equipped with an optional cross traffic alert feature, which makes backing out of a parking space with limited visibility safer.  Choosing the four-cylinder motor or gasoline-electric hybrid are better choices for teen drivers. The TrueCar national market average* of the 2012 Ford Fusion SE is $21,292, 10.4 percent less than the MSRP.

Kia Sportage: The Sportage, one of Kia’s midsize crossover utility vehicles, handles well and received 4 stars and a “no tip” evaluation in the NHTSA New Car Assessment Program. The Sportage is economical, dependable and comes with a wide range of safety features. The TrueCar national market average* of the 2012 Kia Sportage 2-wheel drive SX is $26,563, 4.1 percent less than the MSRP.

“Teen drivers see their first vehicle as a step toward independence; parents and teens seeing eye to eye on the best vehicle can be tough” says John Nielsen, director, AAA Automotive Engineering. “Safety behind the wheel should be a priority. Finding a reliable vehicle that has top safety features and fits into the budget will make you and your teen’s vehicle ownership more enjoyable.”

AAA’s top picks are selected by its AAA Auto Buying experts who test drive and evaluate hundreds of vehicles each year. AAA provides free vehicle reviews, localized pricing information and more for consumers online at AAA.com/AutoMaker. Additional information on AAA Auto Buying is available at AAA.com/AutoBuying.  You can also download the AAA Auto Buying Tools App here and access information on the go.

TrueCar, Inc. is the AAA preferred supplier for new and used car pricing information for the motor club. TrueCar is an online automotive information and communications platform focused on creating a better car buying experience for dealers and consumers. Consumers want a hassle-free car buying experience and dealers want high-quality sales velocity. TrueCar helps achieve these goals by providing unbiased market information on new and used car transactions and by supplying an online communications platform through which dealers and consumers can communicate with each other. TrueCar’s market-based information provides both consumers and dealers with an accurate and comprehensive understanding of what others actually paid recently for similar vehicles, both locally and nationally.  If you are in the market for a new vehicle, you can configure a virtual vehicle with the specifications you want, see the Estimated or Target Price for that vehicle in your area, and then connect directly with local TrueCar Certified Dealers at AAA.com/AutoMaker.  Once you submit a request, TrueCar Certified Dealer representatives will get in touch with you to discuss vehicles in their inventory.

*Market Average is estimated based on the national average of recent vehicle transactions, including destination and delivery charges after incentives that are subject to change, but does not include tax, title, licensing, documentation or processing fees, other state and governmental charges and/or fees, or any other charges or fees allowed by law. Percent discount is rounded to the nearest tenth.

AAA offers a wide variety of resources to guide parents through the process of their teens learning how to drive through its teen driver safety website—TeenDriving.AAA.com. This interactive site provides parents and teens with specific information based on where they live and where they are in the learning process— a downloadable brochure on a parent’s guide to choosing a vehicle “So Your Teen Wants a Car” can also be found here.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

 

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With more new car choices than ever, AAA helps simplify the process for consumers to find and finance the ‘right’ car for their lifestyle and budget 

ORLANDO,Fla., (March 28, 2012) – Buying a new vehicle takes time, research and eventually money.  So when the occasion comes to purchase a new car, it’s not a choice that should be made lightly. To help consumers, AAA offers a checklist of factors to consider when looking for the ‘right’ new car.

“Today’s consumers have more choices than ever when it comes to picking a new vehicle, but that also means the selection process can be much more difficult,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s Director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “There are numerous factors to consider, many of which take place long before a buyer ever hits a car lot.”

When shopping for a new vehicle, AAA recommends the following:

  • Determine What Is Affordable. Before considering any specific makes or models, sit down with the household budget and determine what is affordable before visiting a car lot. AAA’s financial services experts advise that no more than 15 percent to 20 percent of your total monthly budget should go to all car-related expenses. Consider the value of your trade-in and how much cash you want to put towards the vehicle purchase. Consult with an insurance agent to get a rough estimate of premiums on the type of vehicle being considered. AAA insurance agents can be located at AAA.com.
  • Evaluate Driving Habits. Take a realistic look at how the vehicle will be used. What types of trips will it be used for most frequently? How many passengers will the vehicle need to carry? How long of a commute will it need to accommodate? Will the vehicle be driven on the highway? Will you need extra cargo space?
  • List Needed Features (Current and Future). Make a list of all required features the new vehicle should include, being careful to separate ‘wants’ from ‘needs.’ How much seating? How much cargo? Minimum fuel economy? When making the list, think about needs today and those several years down the road. Could children be in the future? Could the commute lengthen?
  • Consider Depreciation Costs. The biggest yearly expense to new cars is depreciation. Research how much the models being considered depreciate within the first few years and consider a model that has a track record of holding its value longer. The new AAA Auto Buying Tools App can assist consumers shopping for a new vehicle by providing all of the information they need to make an educated decision by visiting AAA.com/AutoBuying or by downloading the AAA Auto Buying Tools app from the iTunes App Store. The app can build the car you want, including options and available incentives, while viewing pricing information, crash safety ratings, AAA reviews, images and more.
  • New or New to You. Look at pricing options for both new vehicles, as well as models that are one to two years old. There are benefits to both new and slightly used models. New vehicles typically come with longer warranties, buying incentives from the automaker, the latest features and are widely available. Slightly used vehicles might offer a price break, but it can be more difficult to find the ‘perfect’ vehicle with the exact features a buyer is seeking and does not have buying incentives from the manufacturer.
  • Review Warranty and Maintenance Costs. Review the length of the warranty of vehicles being considered and exactly what it covers. Investigate the maintenance costs associated with the car by reviewing its recommended maintenance schedule and calculating new costs of regularly needed maintenance items. If the buyer consistently uses the same repair shop, ask how the cost of maintaining the new vehicle will compare with the current vehicle.  AAA Approved Auto Repair shops are located across North America and are excellent sources of trusted maintenance information.  The nearest shop can be located by visiting AAA.com/repair.
  • Investigate Safety Ratings and Features. Check the safety ratings of all models under consideration from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Evaluate the safety features available on each model. If using a car seat for a child, check the accessibility to the vehicle’s LATCH system and the ease of installing a child passenger safety seat.
  • Seek Recommendations and Reviews. Ask friends, family and colleagues for feedback on their vehicles. Read professional reviews provided by AAA’s Auto Buying experts at AAA.com/AutoBuying, and feedback from current owners of the models being considered. These can often be found on web forums.
  • Don’t Limit Choice to One Vehicle. Narrow the choices to two or three vehicles that meet all the criteria, but do not narrow it down to only one. By allowing flexibility, buyers have more negotiating room and a better chance of finding the best possible price.
  • Financing is Key. AAA financial services experts advise that consumers gain a distinct advantage in the car buying process by arriving at the dealership with financing in hand.  Carefully and thoroughly shop loan options and available interest rates in advance. Inching down a loan’s interest rate even a percentage point or two can save hundreds of dollars over the life of the car loan.  Match the length of the loan to the length of ownership.  Select your loan term based on how long you plan to own the vehicle and make sure your loan has no prepayment penalty.

AAA can help consumers save for major purchases like buying a new vehicle.  Building a sound savings strategy is the best way to prepare for the future and different savings options offer different benefits to help you reach your goals.  AAA members can learn more at AAA.com/deposits.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

ORLANDO, Fla., –  April 15, 2011

As fuel prices continue to climb, drivers pushing gas tanks to their limits could end up with costly repair bills in addition to putting themselves in potentially dangerous situations

Christie HydeWith gas prices nearing record levels, motorists who attempt to stretch a tank of gas too far could end up stranded at the roadside. AAA cautions drivers that allowing their car to run out of fuel can not only put them in a potentially dangerous situation, but also could result in costly repair bills.

“We realize some motorists are trying to be resourceful and delay fuel expenditures by driving their car until the gas tank is nearly empty, but this can sometimes do more harm than good,” said John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Repair, Buying Services and Consumer Information.

Additional Resources

Potential Costly Repairs from Running on Empty

Running a vehicle extremely low on fuel may cause sediment in the bottom of the tank to clog the fuel pump pickup, the fuel filter or even the fuel injectors. In addition, when a minimum level of fuel is not maintained it could cause the electric fuel pump inside the tank to overheat. The cost to replace that one component alone can be $500 or more in parts and labor.

Dangers of Running Out of Gas

Running out of gas also can put the personal safety of a motorist and their passengers in jeopardy should the vehicle suddenly become immobilized on the roadway. “Power steering and brakes can be lost when the engine dies, and drivers can end up stranded in the middle of a busy highway without the ability to move their vehicle. Fortunately, out-of-gas situations are completely avoidable just by keeping an eye on the fuel gauge,” noted Nielsen.

Finding the Lowest Priced Gas before Hitting E

AAA recommends drivers always maintain at least a quarter tank of fuel. “We understand everyone today is looking to save money by finding the lowest priced gas before they fill up. AAA can help in that quest with several free tools drivers can use to plan their fill ups in advance so they both save money and avoid running out of gas,” explained Nielsen.

Both the TripTik Travel Planner on AAA.com and the free AAA TripTik Mobile iPhone app can help drivers plan efficient routes for errands and locate the best places to stop for gas along the way. And on the go, AAA TripTik Mobile provides motorists with turn-by-turn navigation and audible directions. Both tools allow drivers to compare frequently updated fuel costs at gas stations near their location.

Safe, Smart Ways to Save on Gas

Rather than stretching their fuel supply too far, AAA urges motorists to make a few simple changes in their driving habits that can greatly improve fuel economy.

“Instead of making quick starts and sudden stops, go easy on the gas and brake pedals. If there is a red light ahead, ease off the gas and coast up to it rather than waiting until the last second to brake. Once the light turns green, accelerate gently rather than making a ‘jack rabbit’ start,” said Nielsen.

The U.S. Department of Energy reports aggressive driving can reduce a car’s fuel economy up to 33 percent.

Speed also is a key factor in conserving fuel. The fuel efficiency of most vehicles decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. “Every additional 5 mph above 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.24 per gallon for gas. Take it easy on the road and you’ll see a tremendous savings at the pump,” added Nielsen.

AAA offers more than 40 ways motorists can reduce the amount of fuel they consume in its “Gas Watchers Guide” available online at AAA.com/PublicAffairs.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Erin SteppORLANDO, Fla.,  April 5, 2011

Notable increases in gas, tires and depreciation drive up average costs for sedans to $8,776 yearly, 58.5 cents per mile; SUV costs up to $11,239 yearly, 74.9 cents per mile

AAA released the results of its annual ‘Your Driving Costs’ study today revealing a 3.4 percent rise in the yearly costs to own and operate a sedan in the U.S. The average costs rose 1.9 cents per mile to 58.5 cents per mile, or $8,776 per year, based upon 15,000 miles of annual driving.

“Despite seeing reduced costs for maintenance and insurance this year, there is an overall increase in the costs to own and operate a vehicle in the U.S. this year,” said John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Repair, Buying and Consumer Programs. “The 2011 rise in costs is due to relatively large increases in fuel, tire and depreciation costs as well as more moderate increases in other areas.”
The overall findings of the 2011 ‘Your Driving Costs’ study include:

Based on Driving 15,000 miles annually Small
Sedan
Medium Sedan Large
Sedan
Sedan Average SUV
4WD
Minivan
Cost Per Mile 45.1 cents 57.3 cents 73.2 cents 58.5 cents 74.9 cents 63.3 cents
Cost Per Year $6,758 $8,588 $10,982 $8,776 $11,239 $9,489

 

In-depth findings of this year’s study, including a breakdown of specific costs for each category of vehicle and costs at different annual mileages are available at select local AAA branch offices or may be downloaded at AAA.com/PublicAffairs.

Tire Costs Up 15.7 Percent

Addition Resources

The cost of tires had the largest percentage increase, rising 15.7 percent to 0.96 cents per mile on average for sedan owners. The rise in costs of raw materials, energy and transportation has led to notable tire price increases in recent years and 2011 is no exception. Also contributing to higher average tire costs is a trend by automakers to equip their sedans with premium grade tires as original equipment.

Improved Fuel Economy Can’t Counter Increased Gas Prices

While several vehicles included in the ‘Your Driving Costs’ study had increases in fuel economy, it was not enough to offset the rise in gas prices which caused fuel costs to increase 8.6 percent to 12.34 cents per mile on average for sedans.

The 2011 ‘Your Driving Costs’ study began in December 2010 and calculated fuel costs when the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline was $2.88 per gallon at that time. “The study is meant to provide an overview of the yearly costs involved in owning and operating a vehicle. Some of those costs can fluctuate greatly at different points during the year, such as what we have experienced since the middle of February with the price of fuel, however these figures can still be used to compare categories of vehicles,” explained Nielsen.

“AAA understands that higher fuel prices have many concerned, and consumers in the market for a new vehicle may want to be cautious and determine its operational costs based on higher fuel costs. To assist them, AAA provides a worksheet in the ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure that can be filled out to determine their personal costs for a specific vehicle.”

Depreciation Continues as Highest Annual Cost, Most Overlooked

Depreciation continues to be the largest cost for vehicle owners, and yet it is frequently the most overlooked by consumers determining the cost of owning and operating a vehicle. The 2011 AAA study found a 4.9 percent increase depreciation costs, averaging $3,728 yearly for sedans driving 15,000 miles annually.

Maintenance, Insurance Costs Fall in 2011 Study

Both maintenance and insurance costs are lower in the 2011 ‘Your Driving Costs’ study. Maintenance costs dropped 2.2 percent to 4.44 cents per mile on average for sedans, reflecting a trend by automakers to include some portion of scheduled maintenance in the purchase price and extending recommended maintenance intervals. All categories had lower costs for maintenance, but the minivan category had the largest drop with a 7.4 percent decline to 4.5 cents per mile.

Average insurance costs for sedans fell 6.1 percent (or $63) to $968 yearly. Insurance rates vary widely with driver, driving habits, issuing company and geographical region. AAA insurance cost estimates are based on a low-risk driver with excellent records, and for 2011, this group was rewarded with premium decreases that offset increases that took place in 2010. While all categories experienced declines, the large sedan and minivan categories had the largest cost savings.

61st Year of ‘Your Driving Costs’ Study

AAA has published ‘Your Driving Costs’ since 1950. That year, driving a car 10,000 miles per year cost 9 cents per mile, and gasoline sold for 27 cents per gallon.

AAA’s ‘Your Driving Costs’ study analyzes the cost to own and operate a vehicle in the U.S. Ownership costs factored into the study include the cost of insurance, license and registration fees, taxes, depreciation and finance charges. Operational costs in the study include fuel, maintenance and tires.

To conduct its study, AAA’s auto buying and auto repair experts compiled detailed driving costs for small, medium, and large sedans. Driving costs in each category are based on the average costs for five top-selling models selected by AAA. By size category, they are:

  • Small Sedan – Chevrolet Cobalt, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla.
  • Medium Sedan – Chevrolet Impala, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry.
  • Large Sedan – Buick Lucerne, Chrysler 300, Ford Taurus, Nissan Maxima and Toyota Avalon.

Though not part of the AAA composite average, SUV and minivan information is also included in ‘Your Driving Costs’ to help buyers estimate operating costs for these types of vehicles. Selected models include:

  • SUVs – Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota 4Runner.
  • Minivans – Dodge Grand Caravan, Kia Sedona, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

ORLANDO, Fla., March 25, 2011

With more choices than ever for new cars, AAA helps simplify the process and narrow the field to help consumers find the ‘right’ car for their lifestyle and budget

Christie HydeFor many Americans, their vehicle is one of their largest financial assets. So when the time comes to purchase a new car, it’s not a choice that should be made lightly. To help consumers, AAA offers a checklist of factors to consider when looking for the ‘right’ new car.

“Today’s consumers have more choices than ever when it comes to picking a new vehicle, but that also means the selection process can be much more difficult,” said John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Buying, Repair and Consumer Information. “There are a myriad of factors to consider, many of which take place long before a buyer ever hits a car lot.”

When shopping for a new vehicle, AAA recommends the following:

  • Determine What Is Affordable. Before considering any specific makes or models, first sit down with the household budget and determine what is affordable before visiting a car lot. Consider how much a trade-in is worth and how much savings you want to put towards the vehicle. Investigate financing options available to you in advance. Speak to AAA or another insurance agency to get a rough estimate of premiums on the type of vehicle being considered. Take time to sit down and crunch the numbers to determine how much can be comfortably afforded without overextending.
  • Evaluate Driving Habits. Take a realistic look at how the vehicle will be used. What types of trips will it be used for most frequently? How many passengers will the vehicle need to carry? How long of a commute will it be used for? Will the vehicle be driven on the highway? Will you need extra cargo space?
  • List Needed Features. Make a list of all required features the new vehicle should include, being careful separate ‘wants’ from ‘needs.’ How much seating? How much cargo? Minimum fuel economy? When making the list, do not just think about needs today, but look several years down the road. Could children be in the future? Could the commute lengthen?
  • Consider Depreciation Costs. The biggest yearly expense to new cars is depreciation. Research how much models being considered depreciate within the first few years and consider a model that has a track record of holding its value longer.
  • New or New to You. Look at pricing options for both new vehicles, as well as models that are one to two years old. There are benefits to both new and slightly used models. New vehicles typically come with longer warranties, buying incentives from the automaker, the latest features and are widely available. Slightly used vehicles might offer a price break, but it can be more difficult to find the ‘perfect’ vehicle with the exact features a buyer is seeking and does not have buying incentives from the manufacturer.
  • Review Warranty and Maintenance Costs. Review the length of the warranty of vehicles being considered and exactly what it covers. Investigate the maintenance costs associated with the car by reviewing its recommended maintenance schedule and pricing out the cost of several of the regularly needed maintenance items. If the buyer consistently uses the same auto repair shop and has a relationship with one, such as a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility, they should talk to them about maintenance costs to see if maintenance and repairs would be similar to the current vehicle or different due to special types of fluids, parts or other items required to work on the car.
  • Investigate Safety Ratings and Features. Check the safety ratings of all models under consideration from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at SaferCar.gov and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) at IIHS.org/Ratings. Evaluate the safety features available on each model. If using a car seat for a child, check out if it is easy to access the vehicle’s LATCH system and installation of a car seat.
  • Seek Recommendations and Reviews. Ask friends, family and colleagues for feedback on their vehicles. Read both professional reviews, such as those provided by AAA’s Auto Buying experts at AAA.com/AutoBuying, as well as feedback from current owners of the models being considered. These can often be found on web forums.
  • Don’t Limit Choice to One Vehicle. Narrow the choices down to two or three vehicles that meet all the criteria, but do not narrow it down to only one. By allowing flexibility, buyers have more negotiating room and a better chance of finding the best possible price.

AAA can assist consumers shopping for a new vehicle by providing all of the information they need to make an educated decision by visiting AAA.com/AutoBuying.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Erin SteppORLANDO, FLORIDA, April 8, 2010

Higher fuel prices among leading factors to drive increase in average cost for sedan owners to 56.6 cents per mile, $8,487 per year

AAA released the 2010 edition of its annual ‘Your Driving Costs’ study today revealing the average cost to own and operate a sedan has risen 4.8 percent to 56.6 cents per mile, or $8,487 per year, based on 15,000 miles of annual driving.

“Rising fuel prices are a key factor in this year’s ‘Your Driving Costs’ study. Paying more at the pump is not only increasing the operational costs of vehicles, but it’s also affecting depreciation values,” said John Nielsen, director, AAA Auto Repair and Buying. “With the growing appeal of more fuel efficient vehicles, small sedans are experiencing less depreciation and holding their value longer while we’re seeing notable rises in depreciation costs with categories of less fuel-efficient vehicles.”

Based on driving 15,000 miles yearly Small  Sedan Medium Sedan Large  Sedan Sedan Average 4WD SUV Minivan
Cost per mile 43.3 cents 56.2 cents 70.2 cents 56.6 cents 73.9 cents 62.0 cents
Cost per year $6,496 $8,436 $10,530 $8,487 $11,085 $9,301

The 2010 edition of AAA’s ‘Your Driving Costs’ brochure includes in-depth information on five categories of vehicles and is available at select local AAA branch offices or may be downloaded at AAA.com/PublicAffairs.

Rising fuel, tire and insurance costs contribute to increase in overall costs

Increases in the costs of fuel, tires and insurance were the primary factors causing a rise in all categories of vehicles. At the time of the ‘Your Driving Costs’ calculations, the AAA Fuel Gauge Report listed the national average cost of regular unleaded gas as $2.603 per gallon, 12.7 percent higher than the cost of fuel in last year’s study.

The average costs of full coverage insurance on sedans also rose 5.7 percent over last year, while tire costs increased an average of 8.7 percent.

Small Sedan Category Sees Smallest Increase in Costs

The small sedan category experienced the smallest increase of the five categories of vehicles, rising only 2.9 percent from last year to 43.3 cents per mile or $6,496 per year, based on 15,000 miles of yearly driving. The minimal increase was primarily due to the increased popularity of small sedans led by higher fuel prices. It resulted in the small sedan category being the only one where depreciation costs were lower than last year, falling 1.9 percent.

Rises in Depreciation Drive Up Ownership Costs for Large Sedans, SUVs and Minivans

As more consumers seek fuel efficient vehicles, categories of vehicles not known for good fuel economy were hit with sizable increases in deprecation. The SUV category experienced the largest increase with yearly depreciation rising 10.7 percent, or $484, to $5,003 yearly, based on driving 15,000 miles annually. Large sedans had a depreciation jump 6.1 percent to $4,828 yearly, while minivan depreciation increased 4.6 percent to $3,995 yearly.

60th year of AAA’s ‘Your Driving Costs’

AAA has published ‘Your Driving Costs’ since 1950. That year, driving a car 10,000 miles per year cost 9 cents per mile, and gasoline sold for 27 cents per gallon.

AAA’s ‘Your Driving Costs’ study analyzes the cost to own and operate a vehicle in the U.S. Ownership costs factored into the study include the cost of insurance, license and registration fees, taxes, depreciation and finance charges. Operational costs in the study include fuel, maintenance and tires.

To conduct its study, AAA compiled detailed driving costs for small, medium, and large sedans. Driving costs in each category are based on the average costs for five top-selling models selected by AAA. By size category, they are:

  • Small Sedan – Chevrolet Cobalt, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra and Toyota Corolla.
  • Medium Sedan – Chevrolet Impala, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry.
  • Large Sedan – Buick Lucerne, Chrysler 300, Ford Taurus, Nissan Maxima and Toyota Avalon.

Though not part of the AAA composite average, SUV and minivan information is also included in ‘Your Driving Costs’ to help buyers estimate operating costs for these types of vehicles. Selected models include:

  • SUVs – Chevrolet TrailBlazer, Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota 4Runner.
  • Minivans – Nissan Quest, Dodge Grand Caravan, Kia Sedona, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 51 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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Media: Find and Download AAA Videos and B Roll.