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Car Shoppers Can Expect Bigger Discounts than Usual this Memorial Day Weekend

As shelter-in-place orders are eased and dealerships across the country begin to reopen, experts say Memorial Day presents an opportunity for the auto industry to capture some deferred demand

SANTA MONICA, Calif., May 20, 2020 -- Consumers in a position to purchase a new car can look forward to bigger bargains than usual this Memorial Day weekend, according to the car shopping experts at Edmunds. Edmunds' experts say that prior model year selldown efforts were severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic: Edmunds data shows that 1 out of 10 new vehicles on dealer lots in May were 2019 model year vehicles, which means that shoppers can find more clearance vehicles to choose from this holiday weekend compared to years past.

Edmunds analysts also note that since this is the first big holiday shopping event since the outbreak of coronavirus, and it's happening as states begin to ease up on shelter-in-place restrictions, Memorial Day weekend presents a good opportunity for automakers and dealers to attract buyers after bleak sales numbers for the industry in April.

"We're seeing far more generous incentives and deals out there than we typically would for Memorial Day weekend, and since more consumers might be looking at vehicles for summer road trips instead of airline travel, things might look up a bit for the industry," said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds' executive director of insights. "We're optimistic that sales could improve after the record lows we saw in April, but there's still a layer of uncertainty around whether consumers will really show up en masse to shop given the severe effect that the pandemic has had on personal finances and the economy."

All’s Fair In Love, War, and Auto Repairs – Or Is It? | Good Works Auto Repair

Sadly, not everyone has an honest mechanic that they can trust with their auto repairs. And, not everyone has a trustworthy auto repair shop servicing their vehicle. That brings us to this question: how do you know if you’re getting a fair price for auto repairs?

The short answer is … sometimes, you DON’T know. But, by asking some questions and doing a little research, you can certainly find out.

Tips for getting the best price on auto repairs

There’s no question that vehicle maintenance and repairs can be expensive. That’s why it’s so important to plan ahead and ask the right questions. Here are some great tips to follow:

Avoid surprise auto repairs when possible.

Often, the most expensive auto repairs are the ones that catch you by surprise and become an emergency. You know, when you get stuck beside the road because something breaks and you just can’t drive your vehicle any further. In addition to a potentially large repair bill, you’re also hit with a towing bill to get your vehicle to the repair shop. Or, you only have one vehicle and need it repaired ASAP.

But, how do you prevent surprise repairs? The truth is, they can’t always be prevented. However, if you pay attention to how your vehicle looks and sounds, you may be able to detect small problems before they become big ones. Solving the problem before your car breaks down means no tow truck bill. And, you can choose which auto repair shop you use instead of having to settle for one that’s simply nearby.

Practice preventative maintenance.

There are some vehicle parts that are meant to be maintained and/or replaced on a regular basis, even if they’re not broken. This is part of a regular or preventative maintenance schedule. When your vehicle is in the shop, your mechanic may notice something that is starting to wear or hear a sound that you never noticed. These can be clues that further investigation and/or repair may be warranted. By taking heed to these warnings, you can plan for upcoming repairs.

How does this help you get the best price? Well, you can budget for repairs if you know about them … and that means that you can potentially pay cash and not have to finance the repairs or put them on a credit card with high interest rates. Also, it means you have the chance to …

Your Nose Knows: Six Vehicle Warning Signs You Can Smell

Most vehicles start out with a “new car smell,” but there are other specific odors that motorists should never ignore. Identifying these suspect smells early on can help car owners be car care aware and avoid the hassle and expense of an unexpected breakdown, says the Car Care Council.

“Unusual smells can be the sign of serious, and potentially costly, trouble for your vehicle. By acting quickly and making necessary repairs, you’ll be able to breathe easy knowing there is no harmful damage to your car,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.

The Car Care Council recommends a sniff test of your vehicle to identify any unusual smells, including the following six warning signs:

1. The smell of burnt rubber could be slipping drive belts or misplaced loose hoses that might be rubbing against rotating accessory drive pulleys. Do not reach in if the engine compartment is hot.

2. The smell of hot oil could mean that oil is leaking onto the exhaust system. To verify the leak, look for oil on the pavement or smoke coming from the engine area.

3. The smell of gasoline is likely the sign of a gas leak in some area of the vehicle such as a fuel injector line or the fuel tank. Any smell of fuel can result in a possible fire hazard, so immediate attention should be given.

Motorists to see Cheapest Memorial Day Pump Prices in Nearly Two Decades

Pump prices continue to increase across the country with nearly every state’s average pushing more expensive on the week, on average by four cents. At the start of the Memorial Day work week, the national gas price average is $1.87.

The last time the national gas price average leading into the holiday was under $2/gallon was 17 years ago in 2003. That year motorists paid, on average, $1.50 to fill-up. Gas prices this year won’t be as cheap as 2003, but today’s national average is a dollar cheaper than one year ago.

“Gas prices around Memorial Day have not been this cheap in nearly 20 years. However, as the country continues to practice social distancing, this year’s unofficial kick-off to summer is not going to drive the typical millions of Americans to travel,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Despite inexpensive gas prices, AAA anticipates this year’s holiday will likely set a record low for travel volume.”

For the first time in 20 years, AAA will not issue a Memorial Day travel forecast due to COVID-19 impacts on the underlying economic data used to create the forecast.

Americans can expect gas prices to continue to push more expensive, possibly hitting $2/gallon in the next few weeks. This is mostly due to demand increasing as states re-open. This week will also bring the Environmental Protection Agency’s waiver on the sale of winter-blend gasoline to an end. Stations will switch over to summer-blend gasoline, which has a lower Reid Vapor Pressure to prevent excessive evaporation when outside temperatures rise. Reducing the volatility of summer gas decreases emissions that contribute to unhealthy ozone and smog levels. Typically, the switchover to summer-blend can cause gas prices to spike during the summer driving season, but that will likely not be the case this year due to the impact of COVID-19 on demand and crude oil prices.

Quick Stats

The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases are: Idaho (+17 cents), Pennsylvania (+8 cents), Wisconsin (+7 cents), Iowa (+7 cents), Colorado (+7 cents), Kansas (+7 cents), Maryland (+6 cents), Utah (+6 cents), Nebraska (+5 cents) and Minnesota (+5 cents).

The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Mississippi ($1.51), Arkansas ($1.52), Oklahoma ($1.52), Missouri ($1.54), Texas ($1.56), Alabama ($1.57), Kansas ($1.57), South Carolina ($1.60), Louisiana ($1.60) and Tennessee ($1.62).

West Coast

Pump prices in the West Coast region are among the most expensive in the country, with more increases expected as states in the region ease restrictions this week. When compared to a week ago, California (+4 cents) and Nevada (+4 cents) saw the largest increases in the region. Arizona (-1 cent) saw the only decline. Hawaii ($3.17) and California ($2.80) remain the most expensive markets in the country. Washington ($2.45), Oregon ($2.38), Nevada ($2.35), Arizona ($2.07) and Alaska ($2.05) follow.

According to EIA’s latest weekly report, total gas stocks in the region decreased from 31.2 million bbl to 30.8 million bbl last week. As more motorists take to the roads in the region this week, gas demand is expected to continue to grow. Higher gas demand, amid falling gas stocks, will likely lead pump prices to increase this week.

Check Engine Light On? Could Be A Faulty O2 Sensor

According to the annual CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™ one of the most common check engine light repairs is replacing the oxygen sensor. This relatively minor repair can be costly if neglected, leading to as much as 40 percent lower fuel efficiency, causing further damage to your vehicle’s exhaust system and adversely impacting the environment.

“Vehicles with faulty oxygen sensors typically seem to drive and handle well, but the malfunction can dramatically decrease fuel efficiency and lead to costlier repairs if ignored,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “A faulty oxygen sensor means your vehicle is emitting more pollutants and if the check engine light is illuminated, it may not pass vehicle emissions testing in those states requiring it for vehicle registration.”

A vehicle’s oxygen sensors are mounted in the exhaust system; they monitor the catalytic convertor’s operation and the level of oxygen in exhaust gases to maintain efficient engine operation. The best way to prevent an oxygen sensor failure is to follow a regular service schedule, including routine oil changes.

Unlike the past nine years of the annual CarMD report, costly catalytic converter replacement edged out O2 sensor replacement as the most common check engine light repair. Catalytic converters do not typically fail unless maintenance and other repairs are ignored or the vehicle is older. Average vehicle age has increased from 10.6 years to 11.7 years over the past decade, contributing to this outcome.

As States Re-open, Motorists See Pump Price Increases

State gas price averages increased for less than a dozen states in the last week, but they were large enough jumps to push an increase to the national average. At $1.78, today’s average is a penny more expensive than last week, 16 cents less than a month ago and $1.11 cheaper than last year at this time.

“As some states begin to re-open businesses, those states will likely see demand increase and pump prices will likely follow suit,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Although U.S. gasoline demand has incrementally increased, it remains below 6 million b/d.”

On the week, the Great Lakes and Central region saw double-digit increases in a few states, but the bulk of the country saw decreases of a nickel or less. Pump price fluctuation will continue across the country in coming weeks, especially as more states re-open and motorists begin driving more.

Quick Stats

The nation’s top 10 largest weekly changes are: Wisconsin (+27 cents), Ohio (+19 cents), Indiana (+16 cents), Michigan (+13 cents), Iowa (+7 cents), Illinois (+6 cents), Kentucky (+6 cents), Utah (-6 cents), Montana (-6 cents) and Wyoming (-5 cents).

The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Oklahoma ($1.37), Arkansas ($1.39), Missouri ($1.44), Kansas ($1.46), Wisconsin ($1.46), Mississippi ($1.48), Kentucky ($1.49), Texas ($1.49), Michigan ($1.53) and Tennessee ($1.54).

West Coast

As some regions are seeing prices increase, all states in the West Coast region continue to see pump prices decline, albeit slower than a month ago. On the week, Oregon (-4 cents) and Arizona (-4 cents) saw the largest declines in the region. Hawaii ($3.15) and California ($2.74) remain the most expensive markets in the country. Washington ($2.44), Oregon ($2.38), Nevada ($2.31), Arizona ($2.10) and Alaska ($2.00) follow.

According to EIA’s latest weekly report, total gas stocks in the region decreased from 34.7 million bbl to 32.7 million bbl last week. Refinery utilization also dropped in the region to 59 percent, which contributed to the decline in gas stocks and is the lowest rate in the region since 2010, according to EIA’s data. Although stocks have decreased, low gas demand in the region is expected to bring continued lower pump prices.

I-17 Collision and Campus Body Salon are Expertise 2020 Best Auto Body Shops in Phoenix

Expertise looked at 345 Auto Body Shops serving Phoenix and Picked the Top 17. 

Their goal was to connect people with the best local experts. Auto Body Shops were scored on more than 25 variables across five categories, and analyzed the results to give you a hand-picked list of the best Auto Body Shops in Phoenix, AZ. Bumper to  Bumper shops Campus Body Salon and I-17 Collision were bother honored to be included.

Selection Criteria:

1. Reputation
A history of delighted customers and outstanding service.

2. Credibility
Building customer confidence with licensing, accreditations, and awards.

3. Experience
Masters of their craft, based on years of practical experience and education.

4. Availability
Consistently approachable and responsive, so customers never feel ignored.

5. Professionalism
Providing service with honesty, reliability, and respect.

Only 12 States Carry Gas Price Average of $2/Gallon or More

As gas prices continue to push cheaper across the country, only one dozen states carry an average of $2/gallon or more. Today’s national average is $1.77, which is four cents less than last week, 28 cents cheaper than last month and $1.11 less than a year ago.

Crude oil prices were extremely volatile last week, pushing negative for the first time ever, but they did make significant gains to end the week in the positive. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported demand at 5.3 million b/d, a slight increase, but still an extremely low rate compared to last April’s 9.45 million b/d average. Low demand pushed gasoline stocks to increase for yet another week, this time by 1 million bbl to put total U.S. stock levels at 263 million bbl.

“AAA forecasts that the national average will continue to decrease into next month, possibly dropping as low as $1.65,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “We haven’t seen gas prices that cheap since January 2009.”

Some states could see minimal fluctuation at the pump in coming weeks if demand jumps as businesses are given the green light to re-open. However, this will not have a large impact for the majority of the nation’s motorists.

Quick Stats

The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases are: Alaska (-9 cents), Idaho (-8 cents), Arizona (-7 cents), Utah (-7 cents), Montana (-6 cents), Oregon (-6 cents), Michigan (-6 cents), Missouri (-6 cents), Washington (-5 cents) and South Dakota (-5 cents).

The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Wisconsin ($1.19), Oklahoma ($1.36), Ohio ($1.38), Michigan ($1.40), Arkansas ($1.42), Kentucky ($1.43), Indiana ($1.44), Missouri ($1.46), Iowa ($1.47) and Mississippi ($1.49).

West Coast

The West Coast region continues to see significant decreases despite carrying some of the most expensive averages in the country. On the week, Alaska (-9 cents) saw the largest decline in the region and the country. Hawaii ($3.18) and California ($2.76) remain the most expensive markets in the country. Washington ($2.47), Oregon ($2.42), Nevada ($2.33), Arizona ($2.14) and Alaska ($2.02) follow.

According to EIA’s latest weekly report, total gas stocks in the region decreased slightly from 35 million bbl to 34.7 million bbl last week. Low crude prices and gas demand will likely help to push pump prices lower in the region this week.

Keep Maintaining Your Vehicle Even If It Sits Idle

With a majority of vehicle owners living in areas of the country that have stay-at-home orders, many vehicles may be sitting idle for days or weeks at a time. The non-profit Car Care Council recommends starting your car at least once a week and keeping up with routine auto care to help prevent potential maintenance issues.

“Just as it is recommended that people stay active during this time of social distancing, your car should get some activity as well,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “If your vehicle sits idle for too long, the battery could die, the tires can develop flat spots and the engine oil may start to deteriorate. Just a short solo drive once a week and a little car care will keep your car running efficiently and safely.”

When starting your car weekly, let it run for at least five minutes. If the vehicle is started in a garage, make sure the garage door is open and there is plenty of ventilation. In addition, the Car Care Council suggests monitoring the following areas of your vehicle if it sits idle for long periods of time.

Battery – Today’s vehicles have several computers that are always in operation, so if a car sits too long without recharging, the battery could die within a couple of weeks.

Tires – Maintain proper tire pressure to improve vehicle performance and gas mileage. Doing so is also important for vehicle safety. Checking the tire pressure frequently is more important if the car is parked for long periods of time. Vehicles that sit idle too long can develop flat spots, so taking a brief drive every once in a while will help prevent bald spots, and recharge the battery, too.

Advice on How to Look After a Car Battery Even if a Vehicle Has Not Been Used For Weeks or Months

In times like these when many of us are in quarantine and cities are in lock-down, you would think that our vehicles are naturally not the first thing on our minds. CTEK, a leading global brand in the care and maintenance of vehicle batteries, is however reporting an unprecedented number of inquiries from people all over the world, asking for advice on how best to look after their battery when their vehicle is parked for a long period of time.

Tony Zeal, Global Training Manager at CTEK said "We have taken so many questions from people wanting to make sure that they protect against a flat battery – a hassle they could do without – so that when they are able to use their vehicle again the battery is charged and the vehicle is ready to go."

Tony shares information and tips on what you need to consider and how best to look after your vehicle battery when your vehicle is not being used for longer periods of time.

A CTEK study has identified that as many as 51% of vehicles on the road today has a battery that requires attention – by that we mean it needs charging or replacing

Modern vehicles have lots of on-board computers and security systems such as alarms, immobilizers and trackers which means the battery can quickly die – by simply sitting on a shelf, a standard 12 V lead-acid battery will be unable to start a battery after just 6 months*, so imagine how much more quickly this will happen with all of those additional vehicle electronics!

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