teen driver fixing her rearview mirror

How to Properly Position & Use Car Mirrors

Mirrors aren’t a major discussion point when learning how to drive or when taking your driver’s test, and yet they are the main cause behind merge and lane-changing accidents. Sometimes they are talked about, but often the wrong instructions are provided.

If your mirrors aren’t positioned properly, you could have huge blind spots, big enough for a truck to fit into. Luckily, you can eliminate blind spots completely by learning how to properly position and use your vehicle’s mirrors.

Are your mirrors positioned correctly?

How to Properly Position Vehicle Mirrors to Remove Blind Spots

Many drivers think that they should be able to see the side of their car when driving. While you may have a better view of the area right next to your car, your side-view mirror should show you what’s in the lane next to yours. You should not be able to see the side of your car while driving.

Following these steps will eliminate most, if not all, of your vehicle’s blind spots; however, you may still have a blind spot. After adjusting your car mirrors to the correct position, check to see where your blind spot is.

DRIVING SAFETY: Mirror adjustments will improve your ability to see the road, however, it should not replace checking over your shoulders for traffic. You should always glance over your shoulder when merging, changing lanes, or making any lateral movement.

  1. Adjust Your Seat

Before adjusting the vehicle’s mirrors, make sure you are sitting in the proper position for driving. Refer to your owner’s manual if you don’t know where your seat adjusters are located.

Move the seat forward and back, and up and down (if your car has this adjustment option). You should be able to comfortably reach the gas pedal, brake pedal, and if necessary, the clutch pedal.

Once you have adjusted your seat, buckle your seatbelt before positioning your mirrors. This ensures you are in the same position as when you are actually driving.

DRIVING SAFETY: Always buckle up when driving.

  1. Adjust Rearview Mirror

Check the rearview mirror positioning every time you get in the car and every time you change seat adjustments. Since vehicle vibrations can cause the mirror to move in small increments, you may also need to adjust the rearview mirror after you start driving.

DRIVING SAFETY: Only make rearview mirror adjustments when the vehicle is stopped. Check your rearview mirror every time you time you get in the driver’s seat.

When using this mirror, you want to be able to see as much of the back window as possible, using only your eyes, not your head. Sit in your normal driving position and adjust the rearview mirror in small movements until you can see clearly out of the back window.

For drivers taller than 6 feet: You may want to flip the mirror upside down. This can raise the bottom edge of the mirror a few inches, helping to eliminate a major blind spot.

What you should see:

  • The road behind you.
  • The horizon line.
  • A little space above the horizon line.
  • Try to see the entire rear window.

Do not angle the mirror so you can see more of one side of the road. If you are trying to see more of one side of the road, use your side-view mirrors. The rearview mirror should show a straight, even image of the back window.

DRIVING SAFETY: Check your rearview mirror every 5-8 seconds. By constantly referencing your rearview mirror, you’ll know who is passing you, who has already passed you, and who is acting sporadically or dangerously behind you. Check your mirrors often!

  1. Adjust Side-View Mirrors

You don’t want to see the side of your car; you want to see the car in the lane next to you. Adjusting your side-view mirrors in the following fashion will show you more of the lanes next to you.

Driver’s Side Window:

To adjust the driver’s side-view mirror, lean your head over to the driver’s side window until it makes contact with the glass. From there, adjust the driver’s side-view mirror until you can barely see the back corner of the car.

Passenger’s Side Window:

To adjust the passenger’s side-view mirror, lean the same distance toward the passenger’s side window (about as far as you can lean comfortably) and adjust the side-view mirror the same way—make sure you can see a little bit of the back corner of the car.

Side-View Mirror Adjustments:

Once you have adjusted your side-view mirrors this way, sit back in a normal position and make small changes from there.

Set your mirrors so that as soon as the passing car disappears from your rearview mirror, it shows up in your side-view mirror. You may need to make some small adjustments to get everything lined up.

This new position may take some time getting used to, but hopefully it greatly expands your vision of the road and eliminates all of your blind spots!

How to Properly Use Your Mirrors 

  • Look in your mirror every time you stop or start, pass a car, turn, merge, switch lanes, pull over.
  • Check your rearview mirror every 5-8 seconds.
  • Check your mirrors every time you get in the driver’s seat and readjust (if necessary)
  • Use your mirrors more often in irregular and high-traffic situations. The mirrors will help you navigate a difficult driving situation.
  • If you have an anti-glare function on your rearview mirror, consider activating it at night to reduce the glare effect from headlights behind you.

Remember M.S.M.O.G.

When changing lanes:

  • Mirror (rearview mirror)
  • Signal
  • Mirror (side-view mirror)
  • Over your shoulder
  • Go 

With these settings and instructions, you shouldn’t have any blind spots. Test your blind spot while driving to see if cars transition seamlessly from your rearview mirror to your side-view mirror.

Always check the mirrors before driving. You never know if they have been moved or if you were sitting in a different position since the last time you drove.

Remember, even perfectly positioned mirrors sometimes cannot eliminate all blind spots. Make sure you look over your shoulder before making any lateral moves.

Auto Simple wants to help you find the perfect vehicle.

With locations in Cleveland, Chattanooga, Dayton, and a new store in Dalton, GA, we make it easy to drive away in your dream car.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our Online Specialists or give us a call:

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 472-2000

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-2277

Follow us for more useful information on buying, selling, and maintaining cars: FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Google+.

a smiling man standing next to a car

What Should I Name My Car? List of the Best Car Names

Why do we feel the need to name our cars? Is it because they have distinct human visages?

With headlights that leer and a grill that seems ready to snap or laugh, it’s hard not to see faces and personalities in cars and automobiles. In fact, the personality expressed in a vehicle’s “face” is often a huge reason why we choose to purchase one car over another.

Car designers know this too, which is why you see meaner, more aggressive faces in trucks and sports cars, and milder, more friendly faces in SUVs and family vehicles. Anyone who has seen the Cars movies knows that not only do the faces match the cars’ personalities (think of Lighting McQueen and Mater), but their names do as well.

What should I name my car - Lighting McQueen, Mater, Cars

Source: Roderick Eime (Flickr)

Cars really do resemble people. Our brains cannot help but anthropomorphize them. It’s a psychological phenomenon called pareidolia. So why shouldn’t they be given names?

Besides, it’s your chance to go crazy with names that you might not otherwise use for your children or pets.

So, What Should I Name My Car?

“Box with Wheels” and “Mr. Car” won’t work. Sure, you can call it that, but you’re probably looking for something a bit more creative. Since naming your car is a big decision that you’ll live with for a long time, don’t rush it.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when naming your car:

1. Consider the Car’s Personality (Make and Model)

What does your car look like? This is the biggest factor to take into consideration. Does it look like a boy or a girl? Old or young?

Is it a sports car, a large car, a classic car, or a new car? Think of any distinctive character traits that it has. Does it make a lot of noise or barely none at all? Is it large or small? No matter what make or model you have, you can find something that will help you in the naming process. In fact, that’s how the Volkswagen “Beetle” got its name. The car was originally just called Volkswagen, but the obvious resemblance to a beetle or bug gave it its lasting nickname.

If you are a person who likes rhymes and puns, you can use the make/model as inspiration for a fun and quirky name for your car:

  • Rhonda the Honda
  • Jack the Cadillac

But be weary of names that get old quick. Try to stick with ones that aren’t so obvious:

  • Vlad (Chevy Impala)
  • Lux (Fiat)
  • Stacy (Chevy Malibu)
  • Frank (Hyundai Sonata)

2. Consider Your Personality

You don’t want to name your car Lighting, Dash, or Speedy if you are the kind of person who likes to take it slow. If you are shy, think of a more laidback name. If you are an extrovert, a quirkier name will be more suitable.

Are you a history buff or a big fan of a certain sports team, movie director, or author? Get creative! Just make sure the name matches your personality as well.

3. The License Plate

The letters in your license plate might give you a good idea for a name. For instance, if your license plate has the letters SDE, you might want to call it Sadie. MDN could be Madonna. You get the idea. It’s also a great mnemonic for remembering your license plate.

4. Consider the Color of the Car

The color of your car can put you in the right direction.


  • Black Beauty
  • Black Cat
  • Black Stallion
  • Black Widow
  • Blackhawk
  • Blade
  • Crow
  • Dahlia
  • Dark Knight
  • Delirium
  • Delirium
  • Dementor
  • Doom
  • Drusilla
  • Grimm
  • Jet
  • Lilith
  • Mamba
  • Midnight
  • Moan
  • Night
  • Nightrunner
  • Nitro, Zorro
  • Nyx
  • Sirius
  • Tarantula
  • Wednesday
  • Wolf


  • Casper
  • Diamond
  • Falkor
  • Fang
  • Frost
  • Ghost
  • Jon Snow
  • Marshmallow
  • Moby
  • Noise
  • Powder
  • Princess
  • Snow White
  • White Rabbit


  • Alchemy
  • Amber
  • Bert
  • Big Bird
  • Blondie
  • Bumble Bee
  • Champagne
  • Cleo
  • Cyrus Gold
  • Dawn
  • Divine
  • Ducky
  • Finch
  • Fleur
  • Gatsby
  • Gold Bug
  • Goldfinger
  • Goldilocks
  • Grimm
  • Honey
  • Knox
  • Lemon
  • Luigi
  • Midas
  • Ponyboy
  • Rumpelstiltskin
  • Scorpion
  • Sol
  • Sunshine
  • Tweety
  • Wiz
  • Wolverine
  • Yellowjacket


  • Annie
  • Ariel
  • Blood
  • Carrot Top
  • Cheeto
  • Christine
  • Chuckie Finster
  • Chucky
  • Clifford
  • Crimson
  • Crush
  • Diablo
  • Elmo
  • Fern
  • Fireball
  • Ginger
  • Holloway
  • Kenny Mc”Car”mick
  • Ladybug
  • Lola
  • Molly
  • Mushu
  • Nemo
  • Nightcrawler
  • Orange Crush
  • Pebbles
  • Pony
  • Raggedy
  • Red Claw
  • Robin
  • Ron Burgundy
  • Rose
  • Ruby
  • Scarlet
  • Shaggy
  • Star Fox
  • Starsky
  • Tang
  • Tiger
  • Weasley
  • Willow
  • Yosemite Sam


  • Baby
  • Baloo
  • Betty
  • Blue Beetle
  • Blue Devil
  • Blue Velvet
  • Bluebird
  • Boy
  • Celeste
  • Crush
  • Dolphin
  • Dory
  • Gonzo
  • Grover
  • Heaven
  • Ice
  • Ice Cube
  • Jasmine
  • Freeze
  • Johnson
  • Mystique
  • Poseidon
  • Sam Eagle
  • Saphira
  • Sky
  • Smoke
  • Smurf/Smurfette
  • Sonic
  • Streak
  • Thunder


  • Alien
  • Booger
  • Clover
  • Dragon
  • Dragonfly
  • Elliot
  • Flash
  • Frogger
  • Gable
  • Gawain
  • Godzilla
  • Green Arrow
  • Gumby
  • Hulk
  • Kermit
  • Mike Wazowski
  • Toad
  • Poison Ivy
  • Poison Ivy
  • Puff
  • Ribbet
  • Scales
  • George
  • Yoshi 


  • Amethyst
  • Barney
  • Cheshire
  • Crimson
  • Dark Wing
  • Dino
  • Dizzy Devil
  • Gengar
  • Harold
  • Haunter
  • Hawkeye
  • Maleficent
  • Nebula
  • Pandora
  • Rain
  • Saturn
    • Stella
    • The Joker
    • Tinky Winky
    • Twilight
    • Twilight Sparkle
    • Ursula
    • Weezing
    • Willy Wonka


  • Bullet
  • Dorian
  • Grayson
  • Iron Man
  • Magneto
  • Mercury
  • Onyx
  • Oracle
  • Quicksilver
  • Raiden
  • Scythe
  • Silver Dagger
    • Silver Fox
    • Silver Surfer
    • Cloud
    • Storm
    • Titanium
    • Tron

5. Consider Celebrity Babies’ Names

When you are a famous celebrity, it’s hard to name your kid Martha or Mike. Take inspiration from some of the most creative baby names:

  • Apple
  • Axl
  • Blue
  • Cash
  • Cosimo
  • Dream
  • Gunner
  • Jada
  • Jagger
  • Jax
  • Jett
  • Lolita
    • Miley
    • Mowgli
    • Seven
    • Taj
    • Zeppelin

6. Consider Fictional Character Names

These movie, book, video game, and myth-inspired names can also work for children and pets.

Game of Thrones:

  • Arya
  • Cersei
  • Drogo
  • Gilly
  • Hodor
  • Khal
  • Khaleesi
  • Osha
  • Sansa
  • Shireen
    • Sparrow
    • Stannis
    • Tyrion
    • Tywin
    • Varys

Harry Potter:

  • Albus
  • Amos
  • Bellatrix
  • Charity
  • Cho
  • Draco
  • Fleur
  • Ludo
  • Luna
  • Millicent
    • Minerva
    • Phineas
    • Remus
    • Severus
    • Sirius

Superheroes and Villains:

  • Astro
  • Bane
  • Black Widow
  • Deadshot
  • Manhattan
  • Dredd
  • Galactus
  • Gambit
  • Harlow
  • Judge
  • Kahlo
  • Katana
  • Lex Luthor
  • Loki
  • Maxx
  • Mingus
  • Mystique
  • Nightwing
  • Onyx
  • Oracle
    • Ozymandias
    • Rocket
    • Rorschach
    • Spectre
    • Steel
    • Storm
    • Thor
    • Warlock
    • Wildcat
    • Wolverine

The Sandman Series:

  • Alianora
  • Azazel
  • Barnabas
  • Basanos
  • Constantine
  • Corinthian
  • Death
  • Delirium
  • Desire
  • Despair
  • Destiny
  • Destruction
  • Dream (Morpheus)
  • Duma
  • Foxglove
  • Goldie
    • Lucien
    • Mazikeen
    • Nuala
    • Odin
    • Remiel
    • Thessaly
    • Titania

Greek and Roman Names:

  • Aphrodite (Venus)
  • Ares (Mars)
  • Artemis (Diana)
  • Athena (Minerva)
  • Dionysus (Bacchus)
  • Hades (Pluto)
  • Hera (Juno)
  • Hermes (Mercury)
    • Hestia (Vesta)
    • Poseidon (Neptune)
    • Zeus (Jupiter)


  • Balthasar
  • Cassius
  • Oberon
  • Patience
  • Perdita
  • Portia
    • Silvius
    • Tarquin
    • Tylbalt (Tyl”bolt”) 

Additional Names Inspired by Movies, TV Shows, and Video Games:

  • Akasha
  • Amidala
  • Astaroth
  • Azrael
  • Bloodrayne
  • Cloud
  • Cortana
  • Domino
  • Elektra
  • Jinx
  • Kage
  • Kain
  • Lara
  • Link
  • Lux
  • Maximus
    • Neo
    • Niobe
    • Pluto
    • Raiden
    • Rygar
    • Samus
    • Trinity
    • Xena

You can also look at various card games for inspiration, such as Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Magic: The Gathering.

7. Consider Names Inspired by Athletes and Sports

If you have a favorite sport or athlete, this may be the perfect time to show your allegiance:

  • Agassi
  • Ali
  • Blitz
  • Bolt
  • Brady
  • Cal
  • Colt
  • Darko
  • Dexter
  • Dodger
  • Early
  • Ewing
  • Falcon
  • Fisk
  • Hunter
  • Kareem
  • Kobe
  • Magic
    • Manu
    • MJ
    • Peyton
    • Priest
    • Spike
    • Tiger
    • Tyson
    • Venus
    • Yogi

Naming your car should be an enjoyable experience. You’ll look back fondly on the day when it clicked and you found the perfect name for your new baby.

You Might Also Enjoy:

Auto Simple wants to help you find the perfect vehicle, give it a name, and bring it to its new home.

With locations in Cleveland, Chattanooga, Dayton, and a new store in Dalton, GA, we make it easy to drive away in your dream car.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our Online Specialists or give us a call:

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 472-2000

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-2277

Follow us for more useful information on buying, selling, and maintaining cars: FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Google+.

instrument cluster of a car

Extend Vehicle Lifespans and Detect Odometer Fraud | National Odometer Day

May 12th is National Odometer Day. While you may not be familiar with National Odometer Day, you probably know that the odometer in your car measures the distance traveled by the vehicle.

But did you know that the invention of the odometer predates motor vehicles by over 2000 years? First described by Vetruvius in 27 BCE, it is widely accepted that odometers were first used by the Ancient Greeks and Romans. Some say that the odometer was invented by Archimedes during the first Punic War (Scientific American).

While no one can say for sure who invented the device, there has always been a great desire for such a device. Odometers were and remain a great way to measure distances between two places. They literally paved the way for modern road building and travel.

How Does an Odometer Work?

An odometer (aka a roadometer) works by counting the number of wheel rotations and then multiplying it by the circumference of the tire, which is the diameter of the tire times pi (3.14…). Leonardo Da Vinci’s odometer (seen above) works by collecting small stones into a dedicated holder, which can then be counted to accurately measure the distance traversed by the wheel. Click here for more information on how odometers work.

Keep in mind that heavily worn tires and under-inflated tires can cause errors in odometer readings.

Why Are Odometers Useful?

Odometer readings are important because they give you a general sense of the value of the car. This simple number indicates:

  • When it’s time for an oil change (about every 3,000 miles, but double-check your owner’s manual)
  • When expected repairs and maintenance are due (check owner’s manual for maintenance schedule)
  • How well the vehicle was taken care of
  • If any vehicles warranties are still in effect
  • The life expectancy of the vehicle
  • The value of the car (when it’s time to sell or trade up)

How to Keep Your Odometer Going

If you want to rack up 300,000 miles or more and extend the lifespan of your vehicle, here are a few tips:

  1. Buy the right vehicle

Some common 300,000+ cars include Toyotas, Fords, and Hondas. According to Consumer Reports, these sedans, SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks are most likely to get to 300,000 miles and beyond:

  1. Never ignore strange sounds, smells, or vibrations 

If you notice anything strange or wrong with the vehicle, take it in for a professional inspection. Similarly, never ignore your dashboard warning lights.

  1. Change the oil every 3,000-3,500 miles 

Regular oil changes are probably the best way to extend the lifespan of your vehicle. While 3,000 miles (around 3 months) is a safe bet, check your owner’s manual for the proper oil change schedule.

  1. Avoid lots of starts and stops

If you mostly drive on the highway, you have a better chance of passing the 200,000-mile mark. If you can’t avoid a lot of local start-and-stop trips, try to coast as much as possible. Sudden starts and stops will diminish your vehicle’s lifespan. Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Try to drive on the highway at least once a month.

  1. Don’t turn your heating or cooling on right away

Allow the vehicle to warm up for a minute or two before turning on the heating or air conditioning. This helps everything get lubricated first, reducing the load on your engine.

  1. Don’t make these manual transmission mistakes 

Use your brakes rather than the gears to slow the vehicle down. Shoot for 2,000-3,000 revolutions per minute (RPM) to avoid stressing the engine.

Don’t depress the clutch pedal more than necessary. While it may seem cool and comfortable, don’t rest your hand on the gear shifter.

  1. Fill your tank up with the correct gas

 Check your owner’s manual to know the proper octane level for your vehicle. Filling up with the wrong octane level can diminish your vehicle’s lifespan.

For additional ways to extend the lifespan of your vehicle, avoid these common bad driving habits.

How to Detect Odometer Fraud

Unfortunately, odometer fraud is a common problem in the car buying and selling process. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 450,000 vehicles are sold each year with false odometer readings! That’s is one reason why it’s so important to purchase a vehicle from a trusted source (learn about the risks involved when buying from a private seller).

Before changes in how odometers were made, they could be easily tampered with. Sometimes, the cable could be reversed so that the numbers ran backwards instead of forwards. While odometers in newer vehicles have many safeguards in place to prevent this kind of tampering, older vehicles are still susceptible to odometer fraud.

 Luckily, consumers have a few options to detect odometer fraud: 

  1. Check CarFax Vehicle History Report 

The CarFax reports will give you mileage records, inconsistencies, and other odometer problems. Compare the mileage on the odometer with the reported mileage on the vehicle maintenance and inspection reports. Since inspections normally record the mileage number any inconsistencies are a clear red flag. Make sure the odometer reading is higher than the latest record.

If the seller does not provide a Vehicle History Report, order your own using the car’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number).

  1. The numbers are not lined up straight, contain gaps, or jiggle

Sometimes, if the odometer has been rolled back, the numbers will not line up straight. Unaltered odometer numbers are perfectly aligned. Look carefully at the 10,000 place number. This digit is the one most commonly tampered with. If the numbers jiggle when you hit the dash, contain gaps, or are misaligned, there’s a high chance they have been tampered with. Walk away from the purchase.

  1. Estimate the odometer reading by calculating the age of the car

The average car puts on about 12,000 miles per year. If the car is 7 years old, it should have around 84,000 miles on it. If not, there is cause for concern. Investigate the causes for lower than average mileage, such as if the car is a backup or the owner has a reason to rarely use it.

  1. Look for inconsistent wear and tear

Look for inconsistent wear and tear in the interior of the vehicle. Pay special attention to the gas, brake, and clutch pedals. Make sure they are consistent with the odometer reading. Examine other high-touch areas, such as the steering wheel, seats, and arm rests. If you are unsure, take the car to a mechanic for an inspection (you should conduct your own vehicle inspection regardless).

  1. Check the tires

If there is less than 20,000 miles on the car, it should still have the original tires. Inspect the wear of the tires by asking a mechanic to check the depth of the tread. If there is 20,000-25,000 miles on the car, the tread should be deeper than 2/32 of an inch. If the vehicle has new tires or the tire tread is significantly deeper than 2/32 inch, then there is cause for concern. You can also measure tire tread depth yourself with the penny test.

Finally, take the vehicle to a mechanic and ask them to specifically look for signs of odometer fraud. This includes inspecting the vehicle for replacement parts. If the odometer has a low reading, there shouldn’t be many replacement parts. They will be familiar with other fraud detections as well.

Learn more about odometer fraud by visiting nhtsa.gov.

Happy National Odometer Day!

Auto Simple wants to make sure you drive away in a vehicle you love and can pay for.

With locations in Cleveland, Chattanooga, Dayton, and a new store in Dalton, GA, we make it quick and convenient to drive away in your dream car.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our Online Specialists or give us a call:

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 472-2000

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-2277

Follow us for more useful information on buying, selling, and maintaining cars: FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Google+.

Best Tips for First-Time Car Buyers and New Drivers

Learning how to drive and buying a new car are major life milestones. Perhaps you’ve landed a new job? Maybe you’ve just received your admissions letter and need a car for school?

Whether you are young or old, your first time on the road can be scary and dangerous. If you aren’t inheriting the family clunker and need to buy a car yourself, this adds another level of intimidation.

That’s why we’re sharing some of the best tips for first-time car buyers. While everyone dreams of driving a Ferrari or Lamborghini, we all know it’s not the best first car purchase. Regardless, a first car is your ticket to freedom.

But before we share our favorite cars for new drivers, here are some tips for finding the perfect vehicle:

1. Do your research before and during the car-buying process

Car-buying research includes searching for the make and model of your desired car and making sure there aren’t any major consumer complaints, recalls, or safety-related defects. Just because you like the look doesn’t mean it’s a good first-time car. It’s important to keep your emotions at bay when researching your ideal first vehicle.

Just because there is a new pickup truck on the market doesn’t mean it’s the best car for your day-to-day needs. If you don’t have a family, an SUV or minivan may not be the best choice either. Research the costs of fuel, maintenance, and repairs.

2. Establish a budget

Be realistic with your car budget. If you have to pay for the car yourself, this is an important time to demonstrate responsibility and potentially save hundreds (if not thousands) at the dealership. While the best option is to pay for the entire vehicle in cash, sometimes that’s just not possible. Most car buyers need some sort of financing.

Follow the 20% rule and make sure your car payments and all automotive expenses don’t exceed 20% of your monthly income. For instance, if your take-home pay is $2800, then your total auto expenses should not exceed $560. Take into account gas, insurance, maintenance, registration, and repairs. It may take you some time to figure out what car you can afford, but it’s definitely worth it.

One of the biggest mistakes that first-time car buyers make is getting a car they cannot afford. Don’t make this mistake. If you are considering purchasing a car for $18,000, set your budget around $3,000-$5,000 less than that to account for taxes, registration fees, insurance, options and add-ons.

Don’t forget to take into account your down payment and the length of your loan when determining which car you can afford.

3. Don’t buy a used car from a private seller

Unless you have a family member or close friend of the family who is willing to give you a great deal, stay away from private sellers. There’s a lot of risk involved and it can add a lot of extra time, money, and energy to your car-buying journey. Buying and selling a car at a dealership is a lot easier and more secure.

4. Look for Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles

Certified pre-owned vehicles are the best kind of used car you can buy. Instead of buying a new car, which can lose about 60% of its value within the first five years, look for CPO vehicles, which are often in “like-new” condition.

5. Get a CarFax report (includes vehicle history and inspection reports) 

Never purchase a vehicle without first viewing a CarFax report. If you know the vehicle’s VIN number, you can look up its vehicle history report on CarFax. However, if you buy a vehicle from a dealership, they will most likely have a CarFax report available for free.

This report provides essential information on the vehicle’s past life, including accident reports, emissions results, service records, title information, and history of previous owners.

All Auto Simple pre-owned vehicles go through a rigorous 180-point inspection and come with a free CarFax report.

6. Locate a respectable dealer

When looking for a responsible and reliable first car, such as a Toyota CorollMazda3, or Honda Civic, make sure you do your research into the dealership first.

Learn what separates Auto Simple from the rest:


7. Inspect the car, inside and out

It’s never been easier to know what to look for when inspecting your potential new vehicle. In addition to a visual inspection of the inside and outside of the vehicle, you’ll want to take it for a test drive. Read our Used Car Buyer’s Guide to find out exactly what you should be paying attention to.

8. Secure financing (if necessary)

When financing your new vehicle, try to put at least 20% percent down. This makes it a lot less likely that you will default on your loan. The more money you put down, the more secure your purchase will be. For instance, if the car gets totaled, you could end up owing more money than the car is worth.

Before you approach a bank or credit union for a loan, check with the dealership. They often have better financing options if you are purchasing the car from them. And since all the payments and purchases come from one place, it makes things a lot simpler.

If you have bad credit, don’t worry. You may be able to get a co-signer so you can piggyback off their good credit. Learn How to Buy a Used Car on Bad Credit.

9. Look for deals and special promotions

Often, dealerships will offer specials and promotions, so be on the look-out!

Right now, Auto Simple is offering one of the best promotions you’ll find anywhere!

Refer a friend to Auto Simple you get $200! And now, you could Get Your Car Paid Off too!

For example, in the last three months there were 90 referrals. So, you could have a 90 to 1 chance to win The Free Ride. That’s pretty good odds!

Offer ends 7/1/17

Finally, enjoy this car-buying experience. Buying and owning your first car is a great experience, one that you hopefully remember fondly for the rest of your life. As promised, below are our favorite cars for new drivers.

The Best Cars for New Drivers

  1. Chevrolet Malibu
  2. Honda Civic
  3. Toyota Camry
  4. Toyota Corolla
  5. Mazda3 and Mazda6
  6. Ford Focus
  7. Kia Soul
  8. Pontiac Vibe
  9. Scion xB and Scion xD

If you are buying from a dealership, the payment and purchase should be very easy. After all questions are answered and the paperwork is signed, you will receive the keys and copies of all the documents. It’s that easy.

In fact, you can leave the Auto Simple lot with a new pre-owned vehicle for as low as $500 Down!

To ease your worries about purchasing a preowned vehicle, all Auto Simple cars go through a 180-point inspection and come with a free CarFax report. We do our best to bring the vehicle back to the level like-new conditions, including touching up paint and removing dents.

Plus, we offer a 6 Month/6,000 Mile Powertrain Warranty on all of our Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles. If for any reason you are unsatisfied with your purchase, you can return the vehicle within 48 hours—no questions asked.

Here are some more tips for buying a used car:

Once you find the perfect vehicle, avoid common driver mistakes by establishing good habits at the beginning of your driving career: 

Auto Simple wants to find you a car you love at a price you can afford. We carry a large selection of hand-picked, Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, all of which come with a free CarFax report and a 6 month/6,000-mile powertrain warranty. We also own a private track for test driving!

With locations in Cleveland, Chattanooga, Dayton, and a new store in Dalton, GA, we make it easy to walk away with your dream car.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our Online Specialists or give us a call:

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 476-4600

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-CARS (2277)

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