The Ultimate Checklist for Buying a Used Hybrid Car

Since the introduction of the Toyota Prius to North America in 2000, a portion of the general public has had a fascination with the hybrid vehicle. With impressive gas mileage and environmentally-friendly features, it’s not hard to see why.

Now, almost a decade later, there are more hybrids on the market, and interest among car buyers continues to grow. For those who are interested in purchasing a used hybrid car, what exactly goes into researching this type of automobile? And for those who have purchased used cars in the past, can their prior knowledge be used toward a hybrid purchase?

Here are some things potential hybrid owners should consider when looking at used cars.

Used Hybrid Car Buying Checklist

Get the history

As with all used car purchases, it’s still important to run the history of a car — be it hybrid or not. It’s worth knowing what kind of work has been done and whether or not the car was involved in an accident. It may also be a good idea to get a pre-purchase inspection from a dealer who is authorized to sell the same make of the used car you’re looking at.

Factor in the mileage

In the past, people who were looking to purchase a used car usually paid attention to the mileage of the vehicle. High mileage meant there was most likely more wear and tear on a car. However, this way of thinking may not apply to used hybrids.

These cars are meant to have higher mileage, so it may be typical to see cars with 80,000 miles on the odometer. In fact, there have been reports that some hybrids in the market have already gone past 100,000 miles

Understand the hybrid battery

Part of the reason hybrid cars get such good mileage is that they partially run off a battery, which also helps owners save on gas (a full tank of gas in a hybrid can go much further when compared to a standard gas-powered car). But like all batteries, there may come a day when the one in an older hybrid model needs to be replaced. 

It’s important for used car buyers to get a full understanding of what a battery replacement may entail. For example, those looking into a used Toyota Prius should conduct research and talk to dealers so they understand how they should replace the car’s battery if it should come to that.

Learn how to drive

Finally, keep in mind that hybrids are a different kind of car and that just turning them on may confuse some consumers who have spent years driving gas-powered vehicles. Doing the necessary research on how to operate a hybrid car will help buyers be more comfortable during and after the process of buying a used car.

Shop Used Hybrid Cars in Jersey City, NJ

Now that you’re equipped with your checklist, it’s time to check out some cars. We stock several options in our inventory of used hybrid cars for sale in Jersey City, New Jersey. Visit NJ State Auto Used Cars to see which is the best fit for you.

NJ State Auto Used Cars Ranks the Top 4 Car Rivalries Ever

Like many of you, we recently saw the trailer for the highly-anticipated Ford v. Ferrari, which is set to hit theaters this November. That got us thinking: What other matchups do we consider among the greatest car rivalries in history? 

You’ll have to keep reading to find out.

Our Favorite Car Rivalries

Toyota vs. Honda

The two big Japanese manufacturers have a long and turbulent history together. Sub5Zero explains that Honda was founded in an act of seeming defiance — Soichira Honda went his own way and created the company’s first car, the T360 pickup, despite the protestations of Japan’s manufacturing leaders. 

The two brands bump heads frequently with their sizeable control of the family sedan market, though their supercars like the NSX and Supra sometimes scuffle, too. Maybe there are good feelings underneath it all, though: Honda’s founder shared pistons with Toyota prior to World War II.

VW GTI vs. Ford Focus ST 

These two hatchbacks both bring the heat. The VW GTI has the street cred, according to Popular Mechanics:

“For hot-hatchbacks devotees, the VW GTI is as revered as the Porsche 911 or the Chevy Corvette. This is the car that defines the segment.”

Pretty high praise, to be sure. But Ford brought its A-game with the Ford Focus ST, generating more than respectable horsepower and torque to surpass the GTI in engine performance. However, the Focus ST is a bit heavy and doesn’t have the GTI’s torque.

The verdict: Tie. Popular Mechanics decided that the two cars are rather evenly matched — a perfect opportunity for Ford and VW to raise the stakes in the coming years.

Nissan GT-R vs. Porsche 911 Turbo

Speaking of the Porsche 911, it’s caught up in its own little rivalry. Perhaps “little” isn’t the right word — Jalopnik readers named this feud as one of the top ten most vicious car rivalries of all time. Nissan threw some serious shade back in 2008 when it decided to start setting some lap records on the tracks in Nürburgring, Germany, also known as The Royal and Impenetrable Kingdom of Porsche (unofficially).

Of course, Porsche went into full get-off-my-lawn mode and took its 911 model to Turbo status. Nissan boosted its GT-R, Porsche responded with their own updates, and the two cars took the track to see who reigned supreme.

According to Raphael Orlove in a post for Jalopnik:

“Sure, the monomaniacal focus on lap times got a bit silly, but it was an epic battle for sports car dominance nonetheless.”

Ford Mustang vs. Chevrolet Camaro 

The Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro have been fighting since they were first introduced. The Mustang shook up the U.S. car market when it arrived on the scene in 1964, and Chevrolet knew it had to up the ante, Sub5Zero explains.

Thus were the competitive circumstances of the Camaro’s birth on a fateful day in 1967. Did the Camaro bow under the weight of the pressure and all the hopes and dreams riding on it? No. It rose to the occasion, proving a formidable opponent to the Mustang in the ensuing decades.

There may be a whiff of change in the air, though. USA Today reports that the redesigned Mustang has set itself apart as the favorite, with its updated engine and suspension. The proof is in the numbers: Ford sold 113,607 Mustangs in the first 11 months of 2015 — a 55.4% increase in sales, while Camaro sales were down 9.5%. 

Don’t think this fight is won, though — it’s very possible the Camaro will make an epic comeback.

Shop Used Cars for Sale in Jersey City, NJ

If you’d rather take a break from all the competition, head to NJ State Auto, where you can find the best car to suit your needs, at an affordable price. We feature many of the above automakers in our inventory of used cars for sale in Jersey City, New Jersey.

15 Things You Should Always Have In Your Car

You’re speeding along the highway, singing to your favorite song on the radio, when all of a sudden your tire blows out. Hope you didn’t have any upcoming appointments because now you’re going to be late. Very late.

Accidents always seem to happen at the worst possible moment. You never know when an emergency will happen, but if you’re prepared you can save yourself a lot of time and headaches. If you come prepared with an emergency kit, you will be in control of the situation, and you could even save your life and the lives of your family and friends.

The Top 15 Things to Pack in Your Car’s Emergency Kit

1. Cell phone charger

We all use our cellphones all the time, and yet we never seem to remember to bring our chargers with us. Avoid being thrown back to the dark ages by keeping a car charger with you. You’ll definitely be grateful for it when the tow company puts you on hold for the third time.

2. Tool kit

How do you expect to change that flat tire if you don’t have a tool kit? A tool kit with a Phillips head screwdriver, a flathead screwdriver, vise grips, an adjustable wrench, and a pair of pliers will come in handy if your car breaks down so you can fix things immediately. 

3. First-aid kit

Dad thinks he can change the tire by himself, even though it is pitch black outside. While Dad did successfully do that, he also cut his hand in the process. Now is not the time to say I told you so. Better to just keep a first-aid kit in the trunk with bandages, gauze pads, adhesive tape, aspirin, antiseptic wipes, and antibiotic ointment. This way, Dad can change the tire, and get his bandaid too.

4. Flashlight

You’ve seen that horror movie, right? The one where the couple’s car breaks down at night and they are stranded in the unknown woods, hearing the sounds of snapping branches and animal howls? Avoid becoming the star in your own horror movie and keep a flashlight in your glove compartment, as well as some extra batteries. 

5. Multi-tool

It fits in your pocket and it has so many uses! A standard multipurpose knife will come with a bottle opener, a flathead screwdriver, a wire cutter, a rescue blade, and a glass breaker. It’s a useful tool in any situation. 

6. Rain gear

Is it fashionable? Eh. Is it useful? Absolutely. If you’re fixing that flat tire and it suddenly starts pouring, you’ll be happy to keep dry with a poncho. But what about an umbrella? If you’re driving alone, who is going to hold the umbrella while you loosen the lug nuts? No-one, exactly. You’ll drive home completely drenched with your useless umbrella. Just keep a poncho in your car, or be ready to take an unexpected clothes-on shower in the rain.

7. Comfortable shoes

These boots are made for walking, but if you walk too far in them you’ll get blisters. Maybe we should change that phrase to these boots are made for limping. If you happen to run out of gas on the middle of the highway, you’ll need to walk somewhere to refill the tank. And you’ll probably have to walk farther than you’d like. Comfortable walking shoes, like sneakers or hiking shoes, will make the trek more bearable. 

8. Jumper cables

There’s a major sale going on at the mall. The parking lot is totally full. Suddenly a spot opens up, and you’re so excited that you snatch it and run into the store. But you forgot to turn your lights off. And when you come out with your newly bought packages, your battery is dead. Leave jumper cables in your car so a nearby vehicle can help get your ride running again. This could also be very useful if your car doesn’t start because the weather is too cold.

9. Fire extinguisher

Are you really hot, or is that smoke coming from your front hood? Whether from overheating or from a spark caused by an electrical problem, a fire extinguisher can prevent a very dangerous situation from getting worse. Make sure the expiration date on the fire extinguisher is current too. There’s nothing worse than having a fire extinguisher that doesn’t work when you need it.

10. Reflective barriers

Cars are whizzing past you, practically clipping your side mirror, but your engine just won’t start. Place some reflective warning triangles around your car to notify oncoming drivers that your car is stationary. It will also signal them to slow down. LED flares are another good option to prevent roadside mishaps and alert drivers to use caution as they pass you.

11. Non-perishable snacks

This is the most fun item to keep in your car. Everybody loves snacks! If your car breaks down and you’re far away from civilization, your pre-packed snacks can help stave off hunger. Just make sure that you don’t eat them all during regular road trips.

12. Bottled water

Along with snacks, keeping bottled water in your car is vital. Snacks are delicious, but water is practical. Especially if your snacks are salty. If you get stuck somewhere overnight for some reason, you will stay hydrated and much happier. We need water to live, so it’s worth it to bring it along.

13. Cat litter

You decided to finally visit those distant cousins in Minnesota for Thanksgiving. Hooray! You drove through the snow to see them, but you parked your car on a patch of ice and now you’re stuck. Boo! You press the gas pedal, but the tires just spin. Use cat litter as a replacement for sand to create traction beneath the tires if you happen to get stuck. It really does work, and it will save you an a-meow-zing a-meow-nt of time.

14. Radio handset

Video killed the Radio Star, but radios are a great tool for communication and information. Leave a battery-powered or hand crank radio in the car to listen for weather warnings and other important news if your vehicle’s radio or your cell phone stops working. Why would your cell phone stop working? Well you definitely listened to my sage advice and brought a power charger, but perhaps you decided  to forego that poncho after all and your cell got drenched in your back pocket. Or perhaps you’ve driven into the horror movie where cell service stops working. Either way, going old school with a radio will help connect you to the outside world.

15. Blankets

Storing a fleece blanket in the trunk of your car could save your life. Remember those cousins you visited in Minnesota? So you had your cat litter and you were able to get your car out of that icy patch, but now your car has broken down completely, very far from their house. Too far and too cold to walk with your walking shoes. And yes, it has started snowing again. The blanket will help keep you warm as you wait for help to arrive.

Get Your Car Inspected Before a Road Trip

Prevention is always the best plan. If your car is due for an inspection, make sure to have a certified mechanic look at it before you embark on a long journey. 

For more advice on cars or trip planning, come chat with us at New Jersey State Auto Auction in Jersey City. We can get you set up in a pre-owned vehicle that is ready for any excursion. Browse our inventory of used cars for sale now.

What You Need to Know About Your Used Car Warranty

When looking to buy a pre-owned car, researching the vehicle you are interested will help you decide what is the best option for you. Knowing about the warranty of the car you want is especially helpful so you know what kind of coverage you can expect to have. Most used car dealerships, like New Jersey State Auto Auction, will have information ready for you, but it’s a good idea to do your homework before taking the next step.

What’s the Difference Between a New and Used Car Warranty?

Car manufacturers offer certain warranties on their new vehicles that tend to expire after a certain period of time or once the car reaches a certain mileage. These warranties are different for each vehicle and can protect new cars from costly problems. Many people believe that buying a used car voids these benefits, but that isn’t true.

A certified pre-owned vehicle protection plan begins once the original warranty ends. Different brands have different benefits, but car manufacturers like Chevrolet extend their bumper-to-bumper warranty. Other companies like Honda, adds years to their powertrain protection. BMW goes as far as extending their new car warranty, offering owners roadside assistance and emergency services to their pre-owned car drivers. 

Knowing what warranty and options you have is important and can influence your decision when purchasing your new pre-owned car.

Make Sure Your Used Car Is Covered in Jersey City

At New Jersey State Auto Auction, we can help you look at your options and determine the best fit for you. Doing your research and knowing what you want before you look is very important and will make the buying process much easier. 

If you are ready to start looking for your next car, visit New Jersey State Auto Auction to view our inventory of used cars for sale. Reach out to us to schedule a visit or learn more about the car you’re interested in.

4 Tips for Protecting Your Car Against Rain Damage

Spring showers bring May flowers, but they can also bring a whole lot of damage to your vehicle. Everyone knows the harm snow and ice can do to their cars, but many people don’t consider the effects of rain. The excess moisture can degrade paint jobs and cause mold to grow if water leaks inside the vehicle, so it’s a good idea to know what to do to keep your car in top shape, despite any showers.

 

Follow these tips to make sure your car is high and dry this season.

Protecting Your Car From Rain Damage

Rain, rinse, repeat

There’s a new mantra you should adopt this season: When it rains, get a car wash. Now, it may not be economical to head to the car wash after every little shower, but if there’s a big rainstorm it’s vital to make your way over there as soon as possible. 

 

According to Auto Detail Doctor, one of the most important times to wash your car is immediately after it rains. Contrary to popular belief, rain is not giving you a free car wash by clearing away dirt and grime on your car — it’s actually adding more pollutant-filled soot and sediment to your car’s surface. The contaminants in this caked-on layer of yuck actually wear away at your paint job, and a professional scrub can help clear away all this nastiness. At the very least, give your car a rinse in the driveway.

Close your windows

This one might seem obvious, but how many times have you walked out to your car after a rainstorm to realize you left the windows open the whole time? Everyone’s been there. If water leaks into your car’s interior, it can damage the fabric and cause a buildup of mold. This spring, make it a habit of always shutting your car windows, especially if rain is in the forecast. Don’t forget about closing sunroofs and rear windows, too.

Target moisture

If the last tip failed to make an impression on you and you find yourself staring at an inch of water on the floorboards and spongy seats, it’s time to get serious about drying out your vehicle. This is a multi-step process. If you’ve got an inch or more of standing water on the floor of your car, use a wet/dry vac to suck out as much of it as you can, followed by using thick cloth towels to absorb any water that collected on seats or carpets.

Next, use heavy airflow to dry out the interior of the vehicle. Open all doors and windows and then place a large fan on the ground near the car, setting it at an angle so that the air blows through the inside of the car. It’s most effective to do this drying-out procedure inside your garage and letting the car sit for at least a day. If you’re pressed for time or on the road, you can also use your car’s heater to dry out the vehicle, but it’s less efficient and should only be used as a temporary solution. Finally, spot-dry any remaining damp areas with a blow dryer.

Out, dang spot

Getting a car wash immediately after a rainstorm will help prevent most water spots and paint damage, but if you live in an area where the rain is more acidic, it could be a good idea to invest in a paint cleanser. The product will decontaminate the surface of the car’s exterior to prevent damage from the rain. Use the paint cleanser after getting a car wash for best results — it removes extra grime and helps protect your car against the next downpour.

Find Out More About Maintaining Your Car in Jersey City, NJ

Taking steps like these to protect your car from preventable degradation is key to preserving the value of your car. For more tips and advice on how to maintain your vehicle, reach out to us at NJ State Auto. When you shop here, you know that our inventory of used cars for sale is well taken care of.

So, Your Car Got Towed. What’s Next?

It’s every driver’s worst nightmare: You walk out to the parking lot from the grocery store, library, or the office, only to discover that your car isn’t where you left it. Then the reality of the situation hits — you’ve been towed.

 

Despite your best efforts, getting your car towed is an unfortunate reality for a surprisingly large number of drivers. According to Statista, the instances of cars being towed are actually on the rise. Whether you miscalculated your time at the meter, didn’t see that “no parking sign,” or just suffered from plain old bad luck, getting your car towed can be stressful and expensive.

 

Here are a few basic steps to guide you if you find yourself in this position.

Steps for Getting Your Car Back After a Tow

Get the facts

Walking out to a parking lot only to find your car missing can trigger a cascade of worry and panic, but it’s important to stay calm while avoiding assumptions. Unfortunately, many towing companies aren’t obliged to inform you that your car has been removed, which leaves it up to you to figure out if your ride has been hauled away in the first place. 

 

The first thing you should do is call your local police department. They should be able to inform you if your car has been registered at any of the local impound lots, indicating that it’s been towed instead of stolen. Even in this stressful situation, knowing that your car has only been towed is something of a silver lining.

Don’t wait

You may be tempted to wait until the weekend or your day off next week to retrieve your car, but that could have disastrous consequences. Impound lots charge you a fee for every day your car sits there. That means the longer you wait to pick up your car, the more you’ll end up paying to bust it out. 

 

If you wait too long, the lot may simply auction off your car. Towing companies may not even call you to tell you your car is about to be auctioned. Instead, they’ll print the announcement of the auction in the local newspaper. 

 

Remember those? Didn’t think so. It’s definitely worth the minor inconvenience to avoid a major headache later.

Know your rights

Fortunately, you aren’t without rights in these situations, and it’s imperative that you keep these in mind so you can avoid being taken advantage of. For example, many towing companies will insist that you pay the required fee in cash, which can put a damper on many people’s plans of reclaiming their rides. However, even though it’s standard practice, towing companies can’t legally obligate you to pay in cash. They have to accept debit or credit transactions. 

 

Similarly, some cities and states allow drivers to take their cars home from the tow lot without having to pay the fee up front — all that’s required is that you provide proof of ownership.

Inspect your car

You may think that tow truck drivers are obligated to take care of your car in the process of towing it, but this isn’t the case. In fact, in many instances, operators who are in a hurry, late for another appointment, or simply absent-minded may make careless mistakes that can result in things like scratches or even dents to your car.

 

Most of the time these issues are strictly cosmetic, but if you notice particularly egregious damage to your car’s exterior, it may be worth it to get it inspected to ensure there isn’t any more significant damage that’s been done. 

Learn

As they say: To err is human. Mistakes are an inevitable part of life, even those that result in your car getting towed. But the important thing is to use the process as a learning experience. If your car was towed due to illegal parking, be sure to only park in spots that you know you’re permitted to do so. Similarly, avoid racking up parking tickets. They may seem like little more than a nuisance, but if amounts accumulate, you can find yourself making another trip to the impound lot. 

 

If you’re in the market for a high-quality used car, head to NJ State Auto Used Cars in Jersey City, New Jersey. Here, you’ll find hundreds of Carfax-certified cars on the lot, ensuring that you’ll drive away in the ride of your dreams.