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What Is an Auto Transport Broker?

December 15, 2017

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Between a car buyer and the motor carrier tasked at shipping the purchased car is an auto transport broker whose primary task is in the shipping and transportation of vehicles. Auto transport falls under the category of “specialized freight trucking” because they additionally deal in boats, RVs, motorcycles, and the many different vehicles.

How it Works

The personal vehicle freight industry is quite big and even includes auto transport brokers. While they cover an integral portion of the industry, all broker companies aren’t legally allowed to operate unless they have a proper licensing from the FMCSA. Brokers are part of the industry because they can access freight load boards where the posting of jobs and location of carriers within a particular locality is done.

A shipper is a term used to refer to the car buyer who needs the vehicle moved. As such, the shipper liaise with the broker to have it transported after purchase. The broker is thus expected to locate the shipping firm (a carrier). The shipping firm will then carry the new vehicle to the buyer.

When they access the freight load boards, brokers can view the current bids from carriers and will have the benefit of comparing them to the best suitable and economical options available for the client. A broker will also verify insurance holding certificates are up to date and carrier operating authority is valid.

Numbers & Figures

It is mandate of the US Department of Transportation to ensure that statistics on cargo shipments are kept. In 2007 alone, over $651 billion worth of vehicles, including the motorized ones were moved by truck. From that cost, a whopping $452 billion of cargo used the for-hire trucks. Of course, the figures have exceeded that right now, partly because of the advent of the internet.

The web has ushered in a lot of avenues and opportunities in the auto transport industry, creating a route for the emergence of new brokers. The influx majorly motivated by the low cost of starting a brokerage firm online means that the cut-throat competition, while encouraging lower expenses in the industry. The practice has also initiated an increase in the number of fraudulent cases and complaints surrounding the entire auto transporters and auto transport brokers industries.

Licensing Requirements

As aforementioned, no single auto broker is legalized to transact without a proper license from the FMCSA. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is a government agency that vets candidates wishing to become vehicle shipping brokers, usually for a small fee. The process ends with the agent getting an Operating Authority number, a permit for the job.

It’s important to mention that Brokers obtain a bond, officially called a Freight Broker Bond, that serves to cushion against any losses incurred by the motor carrier. In case the carrier commits a fraud, the bond will be used to compensate the shipper. Before 2012, the minimum bond was $10,000, although it wasn’t surprising to see a broker choosing higher amounts than that.

The 2012 Regulations

The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act passed by the then President Obama brought in a lot of regulations. The amount in minimum broker bond was raised from $10,000 to $75,000, and currently, the rule applies to all brokers retroactively.

The BMC-84 Freight Broker Bond is annually paid for and the freight broker bond cost calculated as a percentage of the amount in broker bond. The final figure obtained depends on:

1. Years of existence in business
2. Amount of experience
3. Financials
4. The credit of ownership – credit score, the age of any existing records, etc.
Additional Rules

The status of the FMCSA license – it is reviewed after every five years.

The mandatory 3-year experience and certified training requirement prior to getting the certificate. It likens the auto shipping broker qualification requirements to those of the ocean shipping sector.

Tighter rules regarding “interlining” – this is the illegal task of freight carriers hiring other carriers to do part or the entire services the original carrier is entitled to offer. Auto shipping firms wishing to do that must first contact government authorities and procure separate broker authorities. The same carrier will be expected to notify the client and be clear in the role the original carrier will play.

Reactions from the industry…

There’s an Association of Independent Property Brokers & Agents that brings together over 1,400 members in the US. This group has always protested the raised broker bond fees and harshly criticized the new law.

At the forefront of the vehemence are the group’s founder and president, James Lamb who has severally termed the rules an attempt to drive small brokers from the market for the benefit of certain individuals. In support of the criticism is the National Association for Minority Truckers who also disagreed with the new broker bond fees.

But some groups have also supported the new move, including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association that thinks the final rules presents a win-win for legitimate brokers and truckers. Another third-party logistics trade organization called the Transportation Intermediaries Association acknowledged that indeed the costs are way too high, but will keep incompetent and unscrupulous brokers out of the industry.

Are you looking to ship a car, a boat or a motorcycle?

We will help you find a carrier that meets your individual needs, dates and price range.

 

Safety Tips for Night Driving

December 15, 2017

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Night driving can be a lot of fun. You can turn your music up loud, there’s less cars on the road and less distractions. However, driving at night, especially longer distances can be tricky and have more dangers than daytime driving.

Did you know that more crashes and auto accidents happen at night? It’s true, there’s about 1 and a half times more crashes at night than during daylight hours. In addition, nighttime crashes have a higher fatality rate as the crashes tend to be much more severe. In fact, the fatality rate for nighttime crashes is almost 4 times the fatality rate as those that occur in daylight hours.

The main issue that contributes to this is the decreased visibility you have at night. Not only is your depth perception, peripheral vision and color perception less at night, but road markings and signs are simply harder to see at night. The older you get, the more trouble you may have with driving at night, since a 50 year old will need more light to see than a 20 year old driver. Fatigue can also be a factor, for both old and young people.

Here are some essential safety tips to help you drive at night with less worry:

First, always make sure that your mirrors and windows are clean, as any dirt or dust on these areas will increase the glare you get from lights and oncoming cars. Also make sure your headlights and tail lights are clean to make sure others can see you. Whenever you stop for gas, make it a habit to clean your windshield.

Next, make sure to turn your headlights on before the sun sets. You’ll also want to keep them on until at least an hour after dawn.

Speed is a big factor in crashes, so be sure to obey the speed limit at night. In addition, visibility, even with your high beams on, is much less at night so obeying the speed limit is critical to be able to stop for any obstacles in time to avoid them.

Since there’s a lot of glare at night, you’ll want to check your side and rearview mirrors frequently, this can help lower eyestrain and keep your eyes focused.

Never drive when you are sleepy. Drivers who are sleepy are almost as dangerous as drivers who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If you’re sleepy, stop and get a cup of coffee to make sure you stay awake, or take a nap in your car until you feel refreshed enough to drive again.

Should you have car trouble, always pull over to the shoulder of the road and make sure to turn on your hazard lights so others can see you.

Also, be sure to watch the roadsides for the reflection of any animal’s eyes. You’ll be able to stop or slow down more easily if you spot them before they run into the road.

Use your high beams and fog lights only at appropriate times. Don’t use high beams if there are oncoming cars or fog lights if it isn’t foggy.

It’s smart to be a defensive driver at night, especially on weekend nights, due to the higher risk of encountering drunk drivers.

 

Benefits of Recycling a Car

December 15, 2017

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When a car is wrecked or damaged, what do you do with it?

Your options are repairing it and reusing it. Many a time this is not possible. In such cases, you can sell your car to an auto-dismantler. An auto-dismantler recycles the car for repairing other cars, selling used parts, etc.

An auto-dismantler removes all the functional and non-functional parts from a car. It also removes various fluids. The metallic portion that remains is crushed into a small piece and shred into pieces.

Recycling of wrecked cars has become a lucrative business option because the number of users of recycled car parts has increased.

Reasons for users of recycled car parts increasing:

• They are nearly half the price when compared to new parts.
• Manufacturers of car parts make these parts so that they are durable. This ensures that these parts last even after the car reaches its end-of-life.
• Used car parts have a good fit as they have been detached from original vehicles.
• Used car parts market caters to a wide range of cars.
• For cars whose models have been discontinued, the only option to look for spare parts is used car market.
• Vintage cars can find their spares in the used car market.

Besides these benefits, an auto-dismantler benefits the environment also. Imagine if cars were not dismantled and reduced in size, how much of waste we would generate? Cars also contain various hazardous and non-hazardous fluids which can impact the environment adversely.

Let us see what service an auto-dismantler provides to the environment:

1. Recycling of parts:

Various parts are removed from the car. Those that are intact are sold ‘as is’ in the market. Those that can be repaired are restored and sold. Others that cannot be reused as functional parts are used in other applications. This reduces wastage and saves landfill. It also conserves our natural resources by reducing the need to manufacture new parts.

2. Recycling fluids:

A car contains many fluids such as coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, etc. Some of these fluids are recycled and can be reused. While some other fluids can be converted into fuels, etc. and reused. This is beneficial to the environment because some of these fluids contain harmful chemicals. If they are released into the earth, they can be detrimental to the health of animals, aquatic creatures, and humans. Some fluids are inflammable and so cannot be released into the environment.

3. Recycling Steel:

Steel is required for a variety of applications. But its manufacture uses up valuable natural resources. Therefore, recycling steel reduces the need to manufacture fresh steel positively impacting the environment.

 

Recycling Glass From Cars

December 15, 2017

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What do you do if the windshield of your car is damaged? There is no other option but to replace it. But did you know the broken windshield can be recycled? Yes! It is possible to recycle windshield of cars and create numerous useful products from it.

Wondering what products? If you look around, you will realize that you are surrounded by different types of glass products. Although it is fragile, products made of glass add a touch of class. In fact, glass is replacing wood in many applications.

Why recycle windshields?

A shattered windshield is of no use to the car owner. Besides, if it is just abandoned, it will occupy the precious landfill. Our planet cannot afford that. Recycled glass serves as raw material for manufacturing a variety of glass products. The recycling process also reduces the quantity of carbon-dioxide released into the atmosphere thereby reducing the carbon footprint.

How are windshields recycled?

Earlier recycling the glass from windshields was difficult. This is because windshields consist of two layers of glass with PVC membrane between each layer. But the advancement of technology has created machines that can successfully recycle glass from windshields through a crushing process.

The machine for recycling glass is seventy inches long and fifty inches wide. The windshield is manually rolled into the machine. In the machine, the PVC is broken into chunks enabling easy separation. The glass comes out of the machine as a homogenous product. Its thickness is less than a quarter of an inch.

Applications of recycled glass:

1. Glasses and bowls:

It can be used to make a variety of glasses, bowls, vases, pitchers, etc. Since they are made from recycled glass, these products are not very expensive.

2. Dividers and doors:

It can be used for making dividers and glass doors. These can be fabricated for different sizes to suit your requirements.

3. Tiles:

Recycled glass is used extensively in fabricating floor tiles.

4. Windshields:

It can be used to make new windshields. If you ever require a windshield for your car, you can consider a recycled windshield. This is because it will work out to be an economical option for you instead of purchasing a new one.

 

Driving Tips – Courtesy Is Key

December 15, 2017

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Driving is the most common activity people do nowadays. With so many people on the road, we all have to abide by the law and stick to the road rules. This is good, but it you also need to be polite and friendly for a good driving experience..

Driving on highways is more difficult these days because of the amount of cars on the road. This sheer volume of cars causes congestion which brings with it other problems. The easiest way to get the best out of the driving experience is by being courteous and polite.

• Let a driver through – if you see a driver indicating and moving ahead of you to change lanes, let them through. It won’t affect your trip in any way and you will feel better knowing that no one will swerve in front of you.
• Stop at a pedestrian crossing – when you reach a pedestrian crossing and see that people are waiting to cross the road. Do the right thing and stop. Allow them to cross safely then proceed. Do the same at a stop sign. Many people do slow down at the stop sign and proceed when they know it’s their turn. Remember that a pedestrian is allowed to cross the road too. Since they were there first, they have right of way too.
• Move to the slow lane – there are usually three or more lanes on a highway. The lane on the far right side is for cars to pass by. The lane on the far left side where you should be if you driving the speed limit or slower. Usually trucks choose this lane as they do not usually have to pass any cars. If you want accelerate past the car ahead of you, don’t hoot at the car that is in the correct lane or put pressure on them. Simply move to the right lane and pass them. The rule is keep left, pass right.
• Fast lane is for passing – the same applies for the fast lane. Don’t drive half the speed limit of the fast lane. This lane is only for passing other cars. If you tend to pass cars often, you can remain in the middle lane and pass in the right lane when approach other vehicles.
• Own the mistake – if you have made an incorrect manoeuvre, make sure that you apologise to the other drivers that had to slam on brakes not to crash into you. It would also be wise to do the apology sincerely without laughing or smiling innocently.
• Warn people – sometimes people don’t realise that their lights are not on at night. Warn them by simply flashing them with your “brights”. When drivers flash another driver it usually means that there is something wrong or that you need to put your lights on. Also warn people if you brake suddenly by using your hazards. There may be an accident or a wheel on the road that causes congestion.
• Say thank you – if someone lets you through into their lane make sure that you thank them. You can do this either by putting your hand up to show that you have acknowledged their kind gesture or you can switch your hazards on for two blinks.
• Simultaneous stop – this is where your “brights” come in handy again. Not often does it happen that two drivers arrive at the same stop sign at the same time but often a little bright light can indicate that you give them right of way first.
Following the general rules of the road as well as a few courteous one will make the journey more pleasant. Always be polite to the other drivers and they will surely be polite back to you.

Why Recycle an End of Life Car?

December 15, 2017

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The green movement has gathered momentum in the recent years. This has brought automotive recycling ‘industry’ in the limelight. What was once looked on as a salvage yard where cars were dumped has now evolved into a full-blown industry for reusing most auto parts. Car parts are recycled extensively with the help of auto wreckers who salvage each and every part of the car.

Reasons for the growth of auto recycling:

1. Technological Advancements:

Technology has introduced ways to recycle most auto parts that were earlier discarded. There are processes that convert parts that cannot be reused ‘as is’ into other useful products. For instance, tires are now processed for making pavements, etc, glass from cars is recycled to produce products such as tiles, counter-tops, etc.

2. Environmental Pollution:

A car is a large structure and if abandoned it will occupy our precious landfill. Besides a car has parts such as tires, windshields, and others made of non-biodegradable material. These also cannot be allowed to lie as waste material on the land. Cars contain various chemicals and fluids. If cars are not disposed of, these toxic chemicals will seep into the surrounding environment. This will contaminate the water bodies affecting our drinking water and the aquatic life. If cars are not recycled, they will have an overall negative impact on human and plant life.

3. Huge market for recycled auto parts:

Functional parts of cars are carefully removed and are sold in the market. There is a huge market for recycled car parts because these parts serve as spare parts at low prices. Many a time they are the only option for spares (as in the case of vintage cars). Car manufacturers design parts with long life. So, even when the car is discarded, these parts can be reused. Since these parts are extracted from original cars, they provide a good fit.

4. Saves Natural Resources:

Auto recycling drastically cuts down the number of new parts to be manufactured. This has a positive impact on our natural resources. By recycling steel, plastics, etc, we reduce the energy and water consumption to a large extent. Additionally reusing different materials from cars reduces the need to manufacture them from scratch. This reduces the environmental pollution that results due to the fabrication of products from scratch.

 

4 Smart Reasons To Buy A Used Car

December 15, 2017

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Whether you’re a first-time car buyer or a seasoned veteran there’s always the tough decision of deciding if you should go with a new or pre-owned vehicle for your next purchase. New cars have the latest style, tech features, low interest rates, and that much-loved new car smell but are they really the best choice for you and your budget? We’re going to overview some used car wisdom and give you 4 great reasons to go pre-owned on your next car.

1. They’re Less Expensive

Let’s get the obvious out of the way – in most cases you’re going to save money to buy your car used and probably quite a bit of money at that. Once you buy a brand-new car and take it around the block it’s no longer new and that value drops quickly. According to Consumer Reports your car new car on average will be worth 54% of the original purchase after just 3 years – that hurts!

The average cost of a used car is predictably well below that of a new car model and that’s not the only space for savings. Logically you’ll pay less taxes on a lower priced car and it’s often more affordable to insure them as well. However, you should take note of the vehicle’s mileage because the distance driven and the remaining warranty will likely impact your maintenance expenses.

2. Financing Rates & Terms

With low manufacturer financing rates and longer terms available dealers are able to show you some very attractive monthly payments on a new car but don’t forget to do the math. Even a lower rate can really add up over a 7 or 8 year financing term and the growth of certified pre-owned ( CPO ) programs has really narrowed the gap. Not only do banks offer aggressively low used car rates but certified used cars offer even lower rates still plus the added bonus of additional warranty coverage and extensive vehicle inspections. The new car advantage is really starting to fade with exceptional used car financing options available.

3. Vehicle History Reports

Maybe your hesitation about buying a used car is that you just don’t know where it’s been or what you’re getting and that’s understandable, but with transparent reporting using tools like CarProof you get a very good idea of what you’re dealing with. Vehicle history reports might not catch everything but you’ll usually get some essential information like

The number of previous owners
Any accident or damage history with details
Previous registration status ( Personal, Lease, Taxi, Rental etc.. )
Mileage validation and maintenance records

4. Reliability

If you’re thinking it might be a risk to buy a used car because it won’t last long then you should do some research. According to several studies the average vehicle on the road today is over 10 years old and that numbers continues to rise as car manufacturers continue to improve their line-ups. Modern cars, trucks, and SUVs simply have a longer life-span than they used to and that’s great news if you’re in the market for a pre-owned vehicle.

 

10 Signs That a Towing Company Is Reliable

December 15, 2017

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When it comes to choosing a towing company, for whatever reason it is that you require wrecker services, it is important to first review a list of model qualifications to separate the reliable companies from the “here today gone tomorrow” towing companies. If you want to make sure the wrecker company of your choice is a reliable one, then it is best to begin by learning the ten signs that measure a company’s level of professionalism and dependability. These signs can help you to better gauge whether or not a wrecker company is right for your towing needs. Continue reading to learn these ten signs, and be prepared for the next time you need a tow.

Customer Reviews

One of the best places to start is by looking for past and current customer reviews. If a company has nothing but terrible reviews from actual customers, there probably isn’t a reason to continue gauging their credentials. Customer reviews are powerful, and can best identify a company’s business ethics and workmanship. But keep in mind that sometimes, customer reviews are very one-sided. If there are only a few poor reviews, do not let this thwart you from learning more about the company, or using their services.

Full Fee Disclosure

It is important that a towing service is willing and open to disclosing all towing prices and fees before providing their services. This shows that you can trust them and that they are honest. It also ensures that you will not be billed extra charges after receiving their services.

Licenses and Insurance

Always make sure a towing company retains all the proper licensing and insurance needed to be in compliance with your state’s regulations. This is for liability purposes in the case of an accident or damage to the tow truck. This also indicates they are a professional and lawfully-operating business.

Employee Drug Testing

If a towing company employs drivers that are drug-free, you can rest assure that they are qualified, responsible, and capable of providing safe towing services.

Employee Background Checks

It is also important for a towing company to perform state and federal background checks on all drivers before employing them. This ensures that their tow truck operators are reliable and upstanding citizens.

Employee Driving Record Checks

A towing service should be serious about employing drivers with valid drivers’ licenses and good driving records. This is a sign of professionalism and increases customer confidence.

Certifications for Drivers

Certified tow truck drivers indicates a company’s professionalism and driver’s qualifications. Examples of such certifications include Wreck Master, Towing and Recovery Association of America, and State certifications.

Vehicle Security

A towing company should have an effective 24 hour monitoring system for all towed vehicles. Proficient vehicle security thwarts theft and vandalism. You can rest assure your car or truck will still be there when it’s time to pick it up.

Diverse Fleet and Sufficient Equipment

You want to make sure a towing company has a diverse selection of tow trucks, recovery vehicles, and other specialized towing equipment. Not only does this indicate a higher level of professionalism, it ensures they are fully-equipped to handle any towing need or situation.

GPS Systems

If an Indianapolis towing company does not have modern navigational systems in their tow trucks, they are probably a small time company or a fly-by-the-night towing service. A small company is not a bad thing, especially for quick or light-duty towing needs, but if you have an expensive vehicle or a towing need that is complex and difficult, you might want a company with modernized practices, like GPS systems. This also ensures a faster respond time, meaning less waiting times.

 

Need to Recycle Automotive Fluids

December 15, 2017

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Over the years automotive recycling has developed into a big industry. This is because technological developments have given rise to processes which have made it possible to recycle most parts of a car. These days every part such as plastics, glass, different parts, fluids used in a car is recycled.

Most of the fluids used in cars need proper disposal. This is because if they leak into the environment, they can cause serious damage. The reason is that they contain toxic chemicals.

Let us see various fluids that are used in a car and their impact on the environment:

Engine Oil:

Internal combustion engines of automobiles need frequent changes of oil and oil filter. If we consider the number of cars on road, you can imagine the quantity of waste engine oil that is generated. But fortunately, engine oil can be recycled. You can remove used oil from your car and give it away to a recycling center. You can replace used oil with fresh oil.

Antifreeze:

Antifreeze should not be allowed to escape into the environment. This is because it is toxic and it could mix with underground water. The antifreeze water is sweet to taste and can be consumed by children and animals. This is hazardous for health. The good news is that there are processes to recycle antifreeze.

Anti-transmission fluid (ATF):

If this fluid is released into the environment, it causes severe damage. It seeps into the soil contaminating it. Animals and insects consume it and die. This affects the food cycle and negatively impacts the ecosystem. These pollutants make their way into the water supply also. This adversely affects the life of aquatic creatures. Recyclers collect used ATF so that it does not get leaked into the environment.

Brake Fluid:

Brake fluid contains glycols, solvents, and heavy metals. It is also flammable. Hence, it should be carefully disposed of.

Windshield washer fluid:

This fluid is toxic in nature since it contains methanol, detergent, and water. It should not be mixed with other automotive fluids.

Fluids can easily leak into the environment causing irreparable damage. Hence, we should all make a conscious effort to ensure that this leakage is avoided. Since there are recycling centers to recycle most of these toxic fluids, we should do our bit for disposing of them.

 

Top Reasons to Buy a Used Auto

December 15, 2017

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Shopping for a car is a responsible process, which is often associated with lots of challenges. With so many nuances that have to be taken into account, it’s not easy to choose a vehicle, the quality and characteristics of which will come up to your needs and expectations. Many people believe that buying a used car is a bad choice. So, they start looking for a new car, which is always a more expensive solution. If you face the same dilemma, consider the major reasons to buy a second-hand auto.

1. Affordability

Affordability is, probably, the major reason to get a used automobile. Whether you buy a 2-year old vehicle or the one, which is over 10 years old, it will still cost less as compared to a new car. This is no wonder, because autos depreciate with the lapse of time and even those cars, which initially were quite expensive, may cost several times less.

2. Certified Pre-Owned Options

When you buy a used auto, you are always worried about its condition and possible shortcomings you don’t know about. This is quite risky, of course, and this is what often makes customers give preference to new vehicles, even if they are much more expensive. Fortunately, contemporary carmakers start offering versatile Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) options, which make used cars a nice money investment. These programs as well as their terms may differ a lot from each other, which basically depends upon the manufacturer. In most cases, CPO programs imply special warranty terms and some other options depending upon your current needs. This is a pretty nice solution for used car owners.

3. Extensive Choice

Hundreds of new car models emerge in the market each year. This number keeps increasing with every passing day, offering freedom of choice to customers all over the world. However, new cars cost a lot and you have to be sure about your financial abilities, if you decide to opt for the one. When it comes to selection of used automobiles, the variety of models available for sale is much more impressive. This means that your choice is more extensive. This is just the matter of your taste, requirements and budget. You can choose any car models you like – even those, which are not manufactured anymore.

4. Lower Insurance Rates

When it comes to insurance, new cars are undoubtedly more costly. This is because the value of an auto is that aspect, which is primarily considered in the process of insurance rate determination. In other words, the more valuable a vehicle is – the more expensive the insurance policy will be. This is quite understandable, because repairing a valuable car will cost more as compared to a used auto. Thus, when you buy a second-hand car, you will pay less for the insurance policy.

5. Powerful Aftermarket Communities

When you buy a new auto, you will have to look for the aftermarket community to help you solve your problems for quite a long period of time. This won’t happen, if you opt for a used automobile. The older a car is – the more extensive and powerful aftermarket community it has. This is a notable support for any car owner, because there are many questions and answers you can discuss with the owners of similar car models.

6. Lower Registration Expenses

The cost of car registration generally depends upon the location you live in. It may differ even from one state to another, not to mention different countries at all. However, registering a used auto is much cheaper than a new car in any country. This often depends upon the age, power and even weight of a car as well as on other important characteristics. What’s more, some countries charge annual taxes for cars depending upon their age.