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5 Top 2018 Car Trends & 5 Trends That Must End

2018 Car Trends

88 million cars were sold globally in 2016, a 4.8 percent rise from 2015. That same year, according to accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the profit margins for car manufacturers and parts suppliers were higher than they have been in 10 years.

 

Those high profit margins for multinational auto industry companies are, of course, nothing for the consumer to celebrate. However, people have still managed to keep their transportation costs down in recent years, as indicated by data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

 

Amounts spent per consumer unit on transportation and subcategories of transportation for 2014 / 2015 / 2016:

 

  • Total – $9,073 / $9,503 / $9,049
  • Car purchases – $3,301 / $3,997 / $3,634
  • Fuel & motor oil – $2,468 / $2,090 / $1,909
  • Other costs (including repair and maintenance) – $2,723 / $2,756 / $2,884.

 

One major assumption that can be made from the fact that the bottom category is rising while the others are falling is that people are maintaining and repairing cars rather than getting new ones.

 

Since the automotive market is such a massive business, and because the car impacts our lives so substantially, it makes sense to understand trends – and to view some of them through a critical, humorous lens.

 

Autonomous driving

 

The self-driving car has made headlines since Google started aggressively testing its version. The driverless car would create car market opportunities globally.

 

Among the benefits listed by advocates for autonomous cars are that they:

 

  • limit the chance of a collision by removing driver fatigue as a factor;
  • give the car owner the option to perform activities other than driving; and
  • create the possibility for safer social interaction.

 

The self-driving car is a massive game-changer that will have a ripple effect beyond the car market itself; the assumption is that they will ease insurance prices due to the absence of human error.

 

While these promises are bright, the driverless car should still be considered a long-term development. Kelley Blue Book executive publisher Karl Brauer noted in 2015 that this technology would be on the rise through 2020 but would not be implemented broadly even by that point. By 2020, we should have cars that can be completely autonomous (with no need for a human engineer) under certain conditions, such as rural interstates with clear weather, suggested Brauer.

 

A Digital Trends forecast from 2016 had the same basic projection – that autonomous driving would continue to develop as a number of independent autonomous “driver-assist” capabilities (self-braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, etc.), rather than as an immediate transition to 100% self-driving. Automakers have taken steps to blend these different elements into more comprehensive systems; a high-profile example is the Tesla autopilot system, which allows for semi-autonomous operation but still requires the driver’s attention.

 

V2V

 

One autonomous feature that is critically important is vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication, a technology that will be a standard feature in all models in the years to come. This feature makes it possible for different vehicles on the road to share data with each other such as speed, weather conditions, unexpected braking, and collisions.

 

The Trump administration has had an especially significant impact on connected cars as it has turned back Obama-era developments. On December 13, 2016, the US Department of Transportation announced a potential rule it was advancing related to V2V within US light vehicles. The rule suggested by Obama’s DOT suggested that cars should be standardly capable of connecting via V2V, “enabling a multitude of new crash-avoidance applications that, once fully deployed, could prevent hundreds of thousands of crashes every year.”

 

Well, like that idea or not, kiss it goodbye for now. The Trump White House and DOT are dropping the rules, which would have made it necessary for newly released cars to have dedicated short-range radios for data transfer (weather, accidents, and similar details). Now, that is according to the Associated Press. As soon as the AP report hit the newsstands, the DOT said that it had not made “any final decision” on the V2V rules and that “[a]ny reports to the contrary are mistaken.”

 

One thing is clear: an all-inclusive V2V mandate is not being actively advanced by the DOT at present.

 

Blockchain becomes prevalent

 

One of the primary issues that has been facing the car industry over the last few years has been that counterfeit parts are being sold to unsuspecting people rampantly. One strategy that could be effective is the use of blockchain for verification. Pricing should become more efficient for legitimate parts as the counterfeit ones are removed from the market.

 

Multi-terrain cars

 

Many baby boomers are retiring and planning adventures. Some of these people are investing in vehicles that will function well on different terrain and surfaces, leading to higher sales of multi-terrain cars.

 

Rise of the crossover

 

SUVs have been a point of confusion for many families: their space is appreciated, but they do not offer the maneuverability or fuel-efficiency of smaller cars. The crossover is a vehicle design that is midway between a sedan and an SUV. Autotrader analyst Michelle Krebs has noted that sales of these cars are rising, with almost 6 million of this type purchased in the United States in 2016.

 

5 automotive trends that must end

 

Trends do not always lead in the right direction; they are in part a matter for debate, and some people within the industry will openly criticize how it is developing. Here are 5 car trends that must end from New York-based automotive writer James Derek Sapienza (somewhat humorous because it is basically a list of his complaints):

 

  1. Fading colors – An interesting note Sapienza makes is that car colors have become boring. Automobile hues are now within a tighter band of the color spectrum, as they have been since about the late 80s. Urging drivers to look into vinyl wrapping or painting options, Sapienza writes, “Many experts say this soul-crushing conformity has a lot to do with customers being worried about their car’s resale value.”

 

  1. Poorly designed autonomous features – While it is understandable that self-driving features are a point of obsession and that carmakers want to increasingly include them within their cars, Sapienza notes that these components are often not able to deliver smoothness and stability, leading to frustration.

 

  1. Design that’s a tearjerker – Sapienza is not buying into the PR charm of the carmakers. Apparently an overused buzz term when new cars are released is that they have “emotional styling.” Suffice it to say that the writer is not impressed with this turn of phrase.

 

  1. Wi-Fi – Just about every car writer is excited about connected car technologies such as Wi-Fi. Sapienza sees things differently because of the subscription model through which Wi-Fi is delivered. “After the first few months with your new car, the honeymoon period ends,” he writes. “And you’re left paying yet another bill.”

 

  1. Shhhh – Finally, cars have been getting quieter over the years as automakers have sought to separate the occupants from the car’s movements. The problem, says Sapienza, is that cars have become so quiet that it is difficult to immediately tell if they are running – which clearly is not safe.

 

Honest car repair

 

One trend that you can see above in the BLS statistics is that people are turning from purchasing new cars to maintaining ones that they already own. Whether you are for or against the development of any of the above areas within the automotive field, you need an honest mechanic for your car. At Independent Motors, 90% of the auto repair we do is repeat business. See our history and beliefs.

14 Top Car Maintenance Myths

Top 14 Car Maintenance Myths

If you want to keep your car operational as long as possible, you must give it proper care. However, it is possible to incur unnecessary expenses or make other mistakes because of persistent maintenance myths. Here are 14 of the most common myths in Boulder and throughout the U.S.:

 

1.) For optimal fuel efficiency, choose to roll down your windows over the AC.

 

Having the AC on will make a car consume fuel faster. However, rolling down the windows is also problematic because it increases wind resistance, which counteracts the car’s aerodynamic design. To overcome the resistance, the car will need additional fuel. Approximately the same amount of gas is used if you roll down the windows or use the air conditioner, according to the Automotive Training Center (ATC).

 

Consumer Reports has the same basic findings. The consumer advice publication noted that the impact of air conditioning on fuel economy is minimal. Since the difference is negligible and it yields improvements in driver comfort and alertness, the magazine recommends using the AC without reservation.

 

2.) Use laundry detergent or dishwashing soap for car washes.

 

Any of the household detergents you use are dangerous to your car because they will wear away the wax finish, notes Machine Design. The soaps that are specifically designed for car washes will keep your wax safe.

 

3.) You want your tire to have the same pressure that is listed on its sidewall.

 

On the sidewall of your tire, you will see a pounds-per-square-inch number that represents the most the tire could contain for safe driving; in other words, it is not the PSI that is recommended in order to standardly get the best comfort, fuel economy, and handling. The ideal PSI for the car should be available on your fuel-filler door, within your glove box, or on a doorjamb sticker. If you take the maximum PSI and reduce by 10, you will get a 1 mpg improvement in your efficiency on average, per Consumer Reports tests.

 

However, the key concern – where the difference in pressure can be even more valuable – is in its impact on tire wear, braking, and handling. To stay on top of pressure, use a tire gauge once per month; the best time to check is when the car has been sitting for several hours.

 

4.) It is prudent to change oil every 3000 miles, regardless the vehicle.

 

The traditional model of car could use an oil change every 3000 miles. That truism has been outgrown by developments in engine operation and design. You will not cause damage with additional oil changes, but you may only need one every 5000 or 7500 miles. See your owner’s manual for advice specific to your model.

 

5.) You will get better fuel economy if you fill up your car each morning.

 

Often people will advise to get your gas in the morning rather than later, so you can benefit from the greater density of cooler temperatures. This piece of advice fails to take into account that the gas is stored in tanks underground; because of that, you won’t see much temperature fluctuation throughout the day. The fuel will not typically get hot while it comes through the pump as long as business is relatively steady. Simply changing your route to get gas when it could be slightly cooler will outweigh any gains you might see by giving preference to morning fill-ups – so effectively, time is irrelevant. Just get gas whenever you drive by a station.

 

6.) When you run over a nail, you need a new tire.

 

An auto repair shop will be able to fix a nail or other small puncture with a patch, rather than having to replace the whole tire.

 

7.) Don’t ever just replace a single tire.

 

(Note that the following does not apply to all-wheel-drive cars, for which you must replace all tires at once). Typically the recommendation is to get two tires at a time so that you keep the tread even and the car is not imbalanced. Actually, it is all right to replace a single tire, particularly if the additional tire still has plenty of tread. The key point is that the new tire you get is an identical match (tread pattern, speed rating, brand, and size) to the other half of the pair. Bumper to Bumper Radio co-host Matt Allen says putting on unmatched tires is “like wearing a running shoe and a heel.”

 

8.) Once you jumpstart your car, you can then recharge the battery in a quick drive.

 

It actually takes hours of driving for a complete battery recharge, particularly if it is colder. Your alternator can only use extra power that is available to recharge after supplying it to music systems, heated seats, and other auxiliary components. Get a load test at a gas station to make sure that the battery is capable of maintaining a charge. Once you know the battery is still functional, you can use a battery charger for a few hours to give it a full charge.

 

9.) You will help any car by giving it premium gas.

 

In most situations, a car will perform just as well on standard, 87 octane gas. Premium-octane fuel will not cause any problems but will typically not improve how it operates. As the octane number rises, you become less likely to experience pre-ignition issues with the gas – for which reasons it is suggested specifically for use with engines that are high-compression and run hot. If you have a car that is not high-compression and that can use any octane of unleaded fuel, the low-grade version will be fine. When the manual recommends a higher octane but does not require its use, standard octane should still work fine. The manual will make it explicit if high-octane gas is needed, in which case you will have to buy it.

 

10.) Octane ratings do not matter.

 

While there is no advantage to using premium fuel in a car designed for regular, there is a reason the premium fuel is there: some models do require it. You could cause engine damage if you use standard gas in a premium-fuel car.

 

11.) Coolant should be flushed every time you change the oil.

 

Generally, an owner’s manual will advise to switch out the coolant every 60,000 mile or 5 years. If you keep having to refill the coolant reservoir because the level drops, you may have a leak.

 

12.) It is important to make sure your car is warm before you drive it.

 

Warming up the car applied to older engines. Today, you will have the most success getting your engine temperature up by driving; once it is warm, you will get stronger performance and efficiency. Be careful about not revving the engine until you have driven the car for a few miles.

 

13.) The car should be fine if you cannot see or hear a problem.

 

If there is an issue with your car, it will not always be apparent. Drivers often do not notice problems. Bringing the car in to get it checked by a technician can help uncover any issues.

 

14.) If you want your warranty to stay active, you need to use the dealership for all maintenance.

 

You don’t need to have the job completed at a dealership. You simply need to follow the schedule in the owner’s manual to determine that work is performed at the listed intervals.

 

Conclusion

 

There are many myths about car maintenance. However, the reality is that you could easily lose 50,000 of the life of a car by not maintaining it properly, according to Edmunds.com senior consumer advice editor Philip Reed.

 

Are you looking for honest auto maintenance and repair in Boulder? At Independent Motors, 90% of the work we do is repeat business. Meet our staff.

 

Top 12 Mistakes of Auto Maintenance

Top 12 Mistakes of Auto Maintenance

With 16 cents of every US household dollar going toward transportation, you owe it to yourself to be careful that you spend wisely and do not make any car maintenance mistakes. Here, we look at 12 of the most common errors that are made by car owners.

 

Getting from point A to point B may sound simple, but it is certainly costly. In fact, 2016 figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveal that transportation accounted for an average of $9,049 out of the $57,311 in costs incurred by each consumer unit. In other words, transportation represented nearly 16 cents out of every dollar (15.79%) spent by each household or financially independent individual. Of that $9,049 figure, $3,634 went toward buying cars; $1,909 went toward oil and fuel; and $2,884 went toward other expenses, such as maintenance and repairs.

 

Since transportation expenses are such a substantial chunk of a typical budget, it is important to make sure that this money is being spent in the correct ways. Plus, maintenance is about preserving your car – so avoiding common mistakes will allow you to spend less on automotive purchases by extending the life of your vehicle.

 

CarMD: 10 top car maintenance errors

 

Let’s countdown, in David Letterman fashion, the top ten most common car maintenance mistakes provided by CarMD in its annual analysis of car data from mechanics and car owners, the 2017 Vehicle Health Index (released in April). Then we will go through a couple other common problems not listed in that study.

 

#10. Attempting to perform the maintenance oneself. The more sophisticated technologies of newer models often require professional expertise for proper care, per CarMD.

 

#9. Foregoing original equipment manufacturer (OEM) components. Generic parts are inexpensive upfront but can have a greater risk of failure.

 

#8. Choosing a mechanic that is inept to service the car. We know that it can be tricky to vet mechanics if you are unfamiliar with car repair. However, you can look for strong reviews and credentials to guide your choice.

 

#7. Not switching the fuel and air filters on a regular basis. In Mandi Woodruff’s analysis of this list in Business Insider, she noted that the failure to replace an air filter is a particularly key point since dirty filters can have a domino effect, leading to failed oxygen sensors. The failure of an O2 sensor can, in turn, lead to fuel inefficiency (i.e. higher costs at the pump) and possibly the need for a new catalytic converter.

 

#6. Staying on the road after the car begins to overheat. An important thing to ask yourself in life is, “What is the worst thing that could happen?” In the case of staying on the road after your car begins to overheat, you could end up with expensive problems such as a cracked or warped head; blown head gasket; cracked engine block; or engine bearing damage.

 

#5. Not paying attention to the levels of fluids. Beyond oil, be sure to regularly check transmission, brake, and coolant levels.

 

#4. Skipping gauges of the tire pressure. Your tires will gradually lose their pressure as time passes. When there is not enough air in them (whether you can see it yet or not), your fuel-efficiency gets worse. More gas means car ownership costs you more each year; plus, you will have to switch out the tires more quickly. You should be able to stay on top of tire pressure well by checking once a month.

 

#3. Neglecting to get the oil changed at carmaker-recommended mileage intervals. There is a reason that there is so much talk about the need to get oil changes before road trips and on a regular basis. The CarMD report, referencing the survey of mechanics that made up part of its study, said that oil changes are at the top of the list as the “most damaging car maintenance item that their customers neglect that they wish they could change.” When the oil is not changed regularly, it gets dirtier – which could eventually cause engine failure. Now, you don’t need to overdo it with oil changes. Rather than simply changing oil every 3000 miles, use the specifications from you owner’s manual.

 

#2. Failing to respond when the “check engine” light appears. Why do you need to worry about that “check engine” light? For the same basic reason as you want to pay attention to the air filter: you could end up with a broken sensor and a misfiring engine. Again, if the oxygen sensor goes down, so could lose your catalytic converter – which is one of the most expensive repairs you can encounter.

 

#1. Delaying maintenance beyond the owner’s manual schedule. There are many reasons why people do not keep up with a routine car maintenance schedule, especially when the replacement of a part is involved. According to automotive market research firm IMR, the top two reasons for not performing maintenance are that the car owner could not find time (33%) or that they did not have funds for it (31%). Other reasons are that failing to get the repair was not impacting their ability to drive (14%); they would soon be selling the car (4%); the person could not be without the car (3%); their mechanic did not immediately have the part (2%); and they were getting a second opinion (1%) – while 14% gave other explanations for their delays.  Almost all vehicle owners (91%) see themselves getting the work conducted eventually. Unfortunately, it can be incredibly costly to delay these tasks (as discussed in our article “Skipping Car Maintenance Can Be Expensive”). The nonprofit Car Care Council lists the top maintenance issues to protect yourself and your investment are oil and other fluid checks; filter, hose, belt, and tire replacements; and air conditioning checks.

 

2 other mistakes people often make with car maintenance

 

Beyond those mistakes provided in the CarMD report, here are a couple of additional maintenance mistakes to avoid if you want to make the best use out of your car maintenance budget:

 

Failing to replace burned-out lights. Putting new lightbulbs in your car is fairly simple and affordable. You will know if your headlights or high beams go out pretty quickly when you drive at night. However, other lights such as taillights and brake lights may not be immediately apparent. Check them occasionally. If one of your lights burns out, it is straightforward to replace it using your owner’s manual. If you do not want to do it yourself, you can have a mechanic that charges fairly do it for you. Make the switch one way or another, because when lights go out, you increase your likelihood of getting pulled over by the police or getting into an accident.

 

Trying to jumpstart the car incorrectly. Jumpstarting the car is a task that people often find themselves performing without necessarily feeling confident doing it. Actually, before you even get started, be certain that you are safely out of the roadway. You also should not be smoking, and you should be wearing eye protection. The cars obviously have to be close (assuming you’re jumping from another car and not from a portable jumpstarter), but you do not want them to be touching.

 

Conclusion

 

Are you currently delaying maintenance or otherwise concerned that you are doing the right things at the rights times? Preserve the life of your car by speaking with an honest auto shop today. At Independent Motors, we charge fair prices and pay our crew fair wages, keeping everyone happy. Meet our staff.

What Auto Makes Cost the Least to Maintain?

Low Maintenance Vehicles

There are many different factors the typical person takes into consideration when looking to purchase a new vehicle. Everyone has their own individual needs, but it’s safe to say we all generally look for the same things: space/size, mileage, durability, able to withstand local climate, price, and work-related needs. We want to get the most bang for our buck, so to speak, and a big factor in the decision we have to make when purchasing a vehicle is how much it’ll cost us over the course of the vehicle’s lifetime. After all, a relatively low price upfront can easily be offset over the years if you’re in constant need of repairs and costly ones at that.

 

There are two things to keep in mind when trying to calculate how expensive a car will be to maintain over the years you plan on keeping it: the frequency of repairs and how much these repairs actually cost. Repairs are inevitable, though of course, you want to keep them to a minimum. However, it’s important to acknowledge regular maintenance is what will keep your vehicle running well for longer. Secondly, some vehicles cost more to repair than others due to the specific parts, complexity, etc. You could find yourself in a scenario where a similar repair in two vehicles could cost more for one of them due to the nature of their build.

 

No one but you can say what motivates you the most when buying a vehicle. It could be status and luxury. But if you’re like many people, the bottom line is what will motivate you to make your decision. The question then becomes what brands cost the least to maintain? How about which ones are the most expensive? Do Honda repairs cost less than Lexus repairs on average? How about Toyota repairs? Are Audi repairs as expensive as one would think? We have a fairly good idea of what the answers are to those questions due to the wide variety of vehicles that have come through the shop over the years.

 

If you’ve been wondering which auto makes will help you stretch your dollar the most, we’ve got the information you need. Let’s take a look at some brands.

 

The Most Expensive Auto Makes to Maintain

 

In the grand tradition of the “bad news or good news first?” conundrum, we’re opting for the not so great news first so we can soften the blow in the next section. Now, if you own a vehicle by one of these brands, we’re not saying you’re going to need to dip into your children’s college fund to keep them running. But, know that on average these auto makes tend to cost a bit more to maintain relatively speaking.

 

If you have a preference for German cars, unfortunately, you’ll also be dealing with high repair costs due to German cars in the aggregate costing the most to maintain overall.

 

BMW tends to lead the pack here when talking about costs in the long term. It is true that maintenance and repair costs are low for BMWs if you’re talking about the first five years. During this initial period of ownership, the company offers free maintenance under warranty. However, once that warranty expires, you’ll begin to see costs pile up. On average, BMWs cost significantly more per year to maintain than other brands.

 

Mercedes-Benz and Audi are up there as well. But, not to pile too much on German manufacturers, Cadillac is high up on the list as well.

 

What luxury car models all have in common that make them so expensive to maintain is that they are more complex in their construction, making parts and labor more costly. For example, in the case of Audis, consider that while many cars allow you to replace the brake pads with minimal issues, an Audi model will have computerized sensors on the brakes which require a longer amount of time to navigate. Making this repair is more complicated.

 

Another important thing to note is that it’s not just luxury models. While nowhere near the highest in terms of cost, in fact it’s in the middle of the pack, brands like Kia can cost a good amount to maintain overall despite being some of the lowest cost vehicles up front. In fact, it’s the brands with the lowest sticker costs that cost the most to maintain after the luxury brands.

 

The Least Expensive Auto Makes to Maintain

 

If you didn’t see your particular auto make in the above section, you might be lucky enough to find it in this one. Here are some of the more cost effective brands when it comes to repairs. It may not surprise you to hear that Japanese cars tend to cost the least to maintain.

 

Honda repairs make the list for the least costly. Interestingly it isn’t so much because the parts and labor are extraordinarily cheap when it comes to the competition. Rather, Honda makes the list because of their remarkable durability and less of a need for repairs overall throughout their life cycles. Hondas are known to not only be durable but also great at retaining their value. This is why you can find even older Hondas with some clear wear and tear on them still fetching some incredible prices on the independent seller market.

 

Toyota repairs also cost less overall. In fact, they are considered one of the cheapest auto makes to maintain over a period of ten years and beyond. The reason for this is threefold. They consistently get high marks for the fewest incidences of “check engine” related lamp problems, their repairs aren’t as involved as some of their luxury counterparts, and generally, the parts needed aren’t very costly. Less of a need to perform repairs combined with lower repair costs when they do happen, make Toyota a popular brand with the budget conscious.

 

Nissan, while not in the lowest priced tier, is still relatively cost effective. It approaches Kia territory of the middle of the pack, while not being quite as expensive to maintain during the advanced years of ownership. As a brand, what makes them not quite as competitive as Honda or Toyota is the increase in repairs needed in some of the older Nissan models that are still on the road which aren’t quite as durable as models from recent years.

 

Conclusion

 

Whether you have a vehicle that is on the most expensive least or the least expensive, a big contributor to keeping costs down in the long run is performing regular preventative maintenance. By being serious about the upkeep of your vehicle, you can mitigate some of the bigger expenses that come up down the road with years and miles of wear and tear.

 

At Independent Motors we value our ability to deliver professional auto services at a fair price. We know that saving money when possible is important to you as a customer. We specialize in many different types of auto makes and we’ll perform the repairs needed to keep your car running reliably. Call us today and schedule a time to bring your vehicle in. Our experienced technicians will give you honest answers about the kind of repairs your vehicle needs and will perform them at competitive prices.