6 Signs that Your Car is a Rolling Piece of Junk

6 Signs that Your Car is a Rolling Piece of JunkHow do you know if you’re driving a clunker? If your car’s name includes the words Gremlin or Pacer, stop reading and go buy yourself a new car this minute. You know these cars are bad when Disney calls them out by basing characters called “The Lemons” on these vehicles in the movie “Cars 2.” For the rest of you who need help discerning whether your car is, in fact, a rolling piece of junk, here are your six signs.

Sign #6: A Bucket of Bolts

You say your car makes noises that sound like a bunch of bolts rattling around in a bucket? The crystal ball reveals many visits to an automotive repair shop in your future. Or, perhaps you’ve already spent hundreds of dollars over the past year fixing your fixer-up. If that’s the case, it’s time to re-evaluate your strategy.

Buying a new car isn’t as difficult as you may think. Certainly, getting a new-to-you car is better than pouring money into a losing proposition (i.e. your clunker). Use the Kelly Blue Book or other method to determine the value of your car. If you’re spending more money on repairs than the car’s worth, it’s time to upgrade.

Sign #5: Your Car has a Drinking Problem

Old cars drink too much gas. This drinking problem ends up draining your wallet dry at the pump. If you drive a great deal and have an older vehicle that isn’t fuel efficient, consider the money you’d save with a newer car that has better mileage. In addition, clunkers may have other problems such as bad tires that put a drain on fuel efficiency.

Sign #4: It Plays Cassettes

First, congratulations on knowing what an 8-track cassette is, and double kudos for still owning a device that plays them. What’s that you say? Your car plays the smaller cassettes? While it may be kind of kitsch to have a cassette player, it’s definitely a sign you’re driving a hunk of junk. Dump your mix tape and find yourself a better ride.

Sign #3: The Oh-No Odometer

If that ever-rolling set of numbers on your dashboard has hit 100,000, you’re starting to flirt with clunker territory. A car with that many miles is more likely to need repairs than cars with less wear and tear. While many cars built in the last 15 years can handle six-digit miles, older models don’t have the parts to withstand that level of use. It’s best to evaluate your car’s worth against typical repairs that come post-100,000 miles.

The level of routine maintenance your car has had during its lifespan impacts how well it will fair with this many miles. Hitting this mileage milestone is a good time to evaluate your car and decide if it’s ready for the junk yard.

Sign #2: Undiagnosed Problems

Does your car have chronic warning light syndrome? With this condition, one or more warning lights on the dashboard remain on whenever the car is in operation. When these symptoms first appeared, you took the car to a mechanic who went through the usual check list. However, no one could give you a clear reason why your car was suffering, trying to communicate its need yet failing miserably.

Sign #1: You’re Afraid to Drive Your Car Long Distances

Taking your vehicle out on the open road for any period of time makes you nervous, nervous enough to have the cell phone fully charged and emergency food and drinks on hand. As you click off the miles, you wonder if a serious problem is going to rear its ugly head and leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere. Maybe it’s the car’s age, mileage, clunking sounds, or recent repairs that make your stomach turn. Whatever the cause, if you don’t feel comfortable taking your car beyond the city limits, you may be driving a piece of junk.

Rid yourself of the car that only goes in whatever direction the wind is blowing. Upgrade to a newer vehicle that will save you time, money, and headaches. Sure, you may miss your junker, but in the end, you’ll know you made the right decision.

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Top of the Line: What Makes a Vehicle Luxurious

Few high-dollar items carry the allure and instant prestige that come with luxury vehicles. People achieve instant status and earn envious looks as they sit behind the wheel of a luxury brand car or SUV. What are the characteristics that make a vehicle luxurious? Whether you’re in the market to buy or just like to dream, check out this list of six must-have luxury car features.

Lavish Interior Options

Peek inside a luxury vehicle to see what just how comfortable a ride down the street can be. If you do a luxury SUV comparison, you’ll find most have power driver and passenger seats, many offer heated front seats and leather upholstery, and a select few have built-in massage options to relieve stress. A recent trend among luxury models is the use of suede for the interior. Luxury cars have genuine trim, whether it’s carbon fiber, wood paneling, or titanium.

While heated seats have been available to luxury car buyers for decades, cooled seating is a newer phenomenon. It aims to combat the heat that’s generated between the seat and your body on a warm day by circulating cool air through tiny holes in the upholstery.

Voice Command

Increasingly in need to distinguish themselves from the standard features of high-end mid-range cars, luxury vehicle manufacturers often incorporate technology into their systems. Voice command is a feature that luxury buyers expect. These systems offer directions to an address or change the audio system to play a different song simply by speaking a command. Many car makers tout this as a way to increase safety by allowing drivers to keep their hands on the wheel at all times.

Enhanced Safety Features

Technology gives luxury cars a leg up on safety. Lane keeping is available with some luxury models from brands such as Mercedes-Benz. Though it’s not endorsed as a truly hands-free driving option, this feature does enable a vehicle to stay in its lane with no input from a driver. Feel the added safety knowing a blind zone alert will sound if you begin to veer into another car. Most luxury cars and SUVs have more airbags than smaller, economy vehicles, for a safer outcome in the event of a crash.

An innovative option for luxury vehicles, smart cruise control, increases the safety of driving in this mode. Thanks to sensors, your vehicle adjusts its proximity to other vehicles on the highway to maintain a safe distance behind other cars and set a speed that’s compatible with traffic.

Who doesn’t get a little nervous when they have to parallel park? Reduce the chances you’ll ding your luxury car (or someone else’s vehicle) with the self-parking function. The driver still has to press the gas and brake, but the car uses sensors to move the steering wheel for parallel parking.

Exceptional Interior Lighting

Some luxury models offer LED lights in the ceiling that cast a star-like glow on the interior after dark. Another popular luxury lighting feature is the use of ambient lighting systems. Others boast panoramic sunroofs for other options in lighting the interior.

High Quality Sound

op stereo names such as Bose and Mark Levinson now find their ways into luxury cars. With these systems, drivers know they’re getting top-of-the-line audio in their car. In addition, many luxury models have special built-in noise elimination systems that help shield the interior from typical engine and acceleration noises. Of course, this also enhances the sound of talk or music that’s piped through the stereo surround system.

Additional Storage

Tastefully incorporated into many luxury cars, extra storage space makes it easier to travel long distances. The top luxury cars in the world even include a refrigeration compartment between the rear seats.

At one time, it was enough to have power locks and windows, keyless entry, and a sunroof to put a car in the luxury category. Now, many of these features are standard on more affordable models, meaning the bar is higher for vehicles to earn the distinction of the luxury label. Which luxury features do you think are most useful to drivers?