1. SUVs tend to be pricey for their relative condition and age. If an SUV has some form of four-wheel or "all-wheel" drive, it will be a great deal more expensive yet to purchase. It will tend to get poorer fuel mileage, have a poorer ride, be less safe and cost a great deal more to repair than a 2-wheel drive model. We ask you to seriously consider if you have a real need for 4-wheel drive that justifies all the above compromises. When we put a 4-wheel drive model on the lift it is obvious 95% of the time that the 4-wheel drive has been used rarely if ever. Now if you are planning a new career herding cattle in Wyoming it might be different matter!
2. Beware of "we tote the note" type car lots. In order to offset the cost of covering poor credit risks the vehicles are invariably priced at 2-3 times their value or more. They have likely been through a few repos already.
3. Never go car shopping desperate to buy a car immediately. If you cannot avoid this situation at least do your utmost to conceal the urgency from the seller who will invariably turn it to his/her advantage and your disadvantage. If you have to rent a crappy little sub-compact for two weeks to alleviate the pressure this expense will likely be more than offset by your being able to make a better choice in your new car.
4. With the possible exception of an almost new car still under factory warranty, or a car that is almost free, there is no situation that does not need a buyer's check. This is no less true between family and friends. Should a problem arise later it is important to know that it was unforeseeable. Perhaps the seller honestly thinks he/she is helping a friend and does not have the car savvy to know that a major headache is about to change hands! Anytime a seller impedes a buyer's check it is time to walk away! If the seller attempts to pressure you by telling you about all the other people in line eager to buy the vehicle it is probably not meant for you!
5. There is an underground industry that consists of buying cars that have been totalled by an insurance company due to a major wreck or flood. These cars become the property of the insurance companies when the loss is settled and then go to a "salvage pool" auction. In Texas such a car has its title branded with the term "reconditioned"--a mark of Cain! The car will sport a fresh paint job but have all manner of overwhelming problems underneath the shine. Don's Automotive does not waste the time to perform buyers' checks on these and cannot recommend their purchase at any price. You have to be careful because often these cars are offered for sale by a family member--often a UT student--who fronts for the operation to make it appear like an innocent private sale. The key is to ask if the car has a "salvage title" and unless the answer is an offended "absolutely not" walk away or hang up the phone.
6. Extended warranties are not recommended. Consumer Reports has estimated they pay an average of 11 cents in claims for every dollar spent. This means that on the average you will come out ahead only if you buy a car with 9-10 times the industry average of anticipated service trouble! The "bumper-to-bumper" extended warranties are hardly that and are full of loopholes and the insurers practice all manner of devious methods to avoid paying claims. The extended service policies sold by new car dealerships are frequently no better than any other.
7. Toyota Corollas are famous for their trouble-free longevity. If you buy one that says "Prizm" it came off the same assembly line in California as the Toyota Corolla and can be purchased for considerably less.
1. Personal attention and recommendations offered as if the car belonged to one of us or a family member
2. No sales quotas imposed by a corporate office, so no dubious "upsells" are pushed. Many "flushes" are known in the trade as "wallet flushes." Special oil for vehicles with over 75k miles is a fraud.
3. Coolant checked in radiator -- not just in the reserve bottle.
4. Tires properly inflated to vehicle manufacturer's specs for make, model, tire size, front and rear position etc. rather than some arbitrary figure. Please note the inflation pressure printed on the tire is a MAXIMUM SAFE INFLATION and not a recommendation. Proper tire inflation is dependent on many parameters of which the tire selected is only one. The rest are specific to the vehicle. The information is placed on the doorjamb by the vehicle manufacturer but, unfortunately, rarely heeded.
5. We have NEVER stripped out the drain plug threads on a Honda oil pan. We HAVE replaced lots of Honda oil pans stripped out elsewhere.
6. We recommend an oil and filter change interval of every 5000 miles -- just fine for Texas which does not subject vehicles to the prolonged warmup that cold climates do. The lube franchises are pushing for every 3000 miles -- which if followed will eat up much of the perceived savings.
7. We stock the proprietary Honda and Toyota transmission fluids and differential fluids need to properly service these vehicles.
8. We will not cause a "check engine" light on your vehicle by improperly servicing the air filter. We frequently fix "check engine" lights when wiring or vacuum hoses were not properly reattached to the air intake.
9. We respect factory service recommendations as opposed to writing our own for no reason other than to boost an oil and filter change from "loss leader" to profitable status.
10. We will check your service history regarding all aspects of the vehicle's needs when the oil and filter change is performed.
1. Significantly higher price -- varies according to exactly what is performed, cost of lubricants specified for your car etc.
2. The convenience of while-you-wait, no-appointment service at locations all over town is NOT offered. The vehicle will need to be left with us. We are a small shop.