Every aspect of auto ownership costs money. The upside is that there are countless establishments competing for your cash, with myriad incentives to get business. Take advantage of how low they are willing to sell themselves to call you their customer: also included in this article, the five worst car ‘deals’ to watch out for while shopping this season.
FIVE OF THE BEST CAR DEALS OF 2010
1. Toyotathon Shareathon
If you’re buying a new Toyota, tweet it! Tweeting about a new Toyota during their Toyota Shareathon can score you a $500 debit card. You gotta tweet by December 15th, and you have to pick up your new ride by January sixth, but it’s the easiest $500 you’ll ever make.
2. Enterprise Weekend Rental
Okay, you probably won’t get to warp speed, but Enterprise Rent-A-Car has weekend rental deals for just $9.99 a day. Go to that garlic festival the next county over, and get your hummus on. Go see a Danish art house film. Go camping and sing kumbaya. Just get off your ass and GO somewhere! With prices this low, you can’t afford to miss another opportunity for travel.
YourFreeOilChange.com will take your info and match you to a local dealership service department that wants fresh business. They’ll service the hell out of you for free the first time you visit, in hopes of making you a regular. Savvy shoppers know that this one-time wonder is worth the short registration.
4. Whistler XTR-265 Laser Radar Detector
A radar detector will likely pay for itself in a few years, that is, if you are still pre-Social Security. The Whistler XTR-265 regularly goes for $89.99, but Amazon is letting them ship out at $39.99. It comes with VG-2 cloaking technology so the detectors that detect detectors don’t detect you.
5. Firestone Tires
Firestone is promoting Affinity Touring Tires now by giving the fourth tire free when you buy the first three. If you’re looking to replace only two tires, you can get your second one at half price when you pay full price for the first. If you need new winter tires, you might as well get the equivalent of 25% off.
FIVE OF THE WORST CAR DEALS, EVER
Every so often companies jump off the deep end looking for the ever-elusive dollar. While the workplace philosophy that “No idea is a bad idea” promotes creativity in brainstorming sessions, one has to wonder, who approves these ideas and lets them go public?
1. Assault Rifles
Max Motors in Missouri thought more people needed handguns to deal with road rage, so they included a free one with purchase. They wanted to think bigger, for 2010, so now they offer a voucher for a free AK-47. Nation’s Trucks in Central Florida thought it was such a good idea, they quickly followed suit. Luckily for the ladies of Florida and Missouri, they pimped an AK-47 with Hello Kitty and a tea cozy.
The people of Guam love them some SPAM. Only Hawaiians eats more per capita than the Chamorro (which is a $5 proletariat scholar word for “Guamanian”). Spam is even available on McDonald’s breakfast menus in Guam and Hawaii, but would you buy a car to get a free year’s supply of SPAM? Car dealers in Guam seem to think so, even though the AK-47 owners seem to disagree.
3. Ford F-250 Lariat (Diesel)
It doesn’t matter what you paid to own a Ford F-250 Lariat, it’s gonna cost you big time to keep it. It is among the very worst cars to own when it comes to mileage, getting a mere ten miles per gallon. If you want to spend your time getting to and from your destination, instead of looking for yet another gas station, walk on by when the dealer tries to sell you this incognito lemon.
4. Kia Spectra
If you intend to drive the same car forever, then the residual value of your car may not matter. But if you want to upgrade, need to trade in your car at some point, or realize no one is immune to a recession, you want to maintain as much of your car’s value as possible. The Kia Spectra is one of the worst options when it comes to holding value. After five years, assuming you drive 15,000 miles per year and keep it in perfect condition, your Spectra will only be worth 25.89% of what you paid for it.
5. Cash for Clunkers
An Edmunds study reports that Cash for Clunkers ended up costing the program $24,000 per car—more than many of the new cars were worth. The scrap yards got cheated, and weren’t able to recycle parts from the clunkers because the program rules stipulated that the engines needed to be destroyed, leaving a surplus of cars to rot in junk yards. Bad for the planet, bad for the budget, and when it costs the program $24K per car, consumers should see more than a $4K rebate.
While the Christmas season is an excellent time to do a little research and end up saving big bucks on car deals, it’s also a time to be wary of scams, and those who know you need to buy gifts. Think of all the awesome gifts you can buy when you save money on your car. With a little research and due diligence, you can ensure that Christmas day will be special, and that the New Year’s Eve bill from your creditor will be as small as possible.