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Everything You Need To Know About Car Lease Agreements

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While many people are currently choosing to lease a vehicle over owning one, quite a few people still don’t fully understand what they’re agreeing to when they sign the dotted line. It is very important for a customer to understand what a car lease is, and discuss the details of their specific agreement with the dealership prior to agreeing to a term and specifics.

Leasing a car is the act of renting a vehicle for a set period of time at a fixed or agreed price, after which the car is returned to the dealer upon expiration of the lease period. It is considered the alternative to physically buying a car.  Below we’ve compiled some frequently asked questions that each person considering car leasing versus buying should know.

Which is better—buying or leasing a car?

For many individuals, leasing versus owning is the better choice. They believe it has more advantages than outrightly purchasing a car. One of the greatest of these advantage lies in the fact that a person will always be driving a current model of a vehicle for half the actual price they would pay if they were to purchase a vehicle outright. To this set of people, the ability to drive state-of-the-art vehicles alone makes it worthwhile.

For how long can I drive a leased vehicle?

There is no straightforward answer to this question because leasing periods differ from one dealer to another. However, the most popular leasing agreements are for a period of six months to five years, including the option to buy upon the expiration of the lease period, if the customer wishes.

What are the conditions and terms for leasing a vehicle?

While the terms and conditions for leasing a vehicle are pretty extensive, one that should not be overlooked, apart from the most important time period agreement, is the speed limit or rate of fuel consumption aspect of the agreement. This implies that the consumer is required to make a security deposit in case of damage to the vehicle resulting from driving over the speed limit. This security deposit is returned to the consumer if the vehicle is in a good state at the end of the lease period, but it is important to be aware of this from the get-go to curtail any potential problems from the start.

Would there be any consequences if I exceed my mileage allowance?

Exceeding your mileage or fuel consumption rate will produce an extra charge based on the amount of miles exceeded. For this reason, car leasing may not be the best option if you are a person who drives many miles on a regular basis. There are various online car lease mileage calculators, which can assist you in predicting any mileage exceeded and the fees you will be charged.

What does a lease vehicle residual value mean?

The predicted value of a leased vehicle at the end of a lease period is considered its residual value. This residual value of your leased car is what determines or decides the monthly payment on your lease since you only pay for the period you use the car.

According to the lease agreement, will I be rewarded for returning my lease car before the expiration of the lease period?

Returning your lease car before the expiration of the lease period may actually have a negative effect on your credit score, and this is because most car dealers see the act as repossession. To this end, several dealers ensure that the lease agreement includes sanctions and fees when your lease car is returned before the lease period is over.

What does the lease agreement say about a wrecked or stolen car?

Every lease agreement stipulates that you will pay the residual value of your lease vehicle in addition to making a complete payment of your incomplete payments in the event the vehicle gets stolen or damaged. The GAP insurance is utilized by several lease vehicles, and this provides the difference between the vehicle’s main cash value and the balance left on your lease.

While there are obvious benefits to purchasing and owning a vehicle, leasing is also a great option! Regardless of what you decide, always research your options and know what exactly you’re signing before you make a final decision.

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How-ToLifeStyle

Get More Money When You Trade-in Your Vehicle

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When it comes to buying a new vehicle, having an older vehicle to trade in could give you a leg up on the negotiation. If your car has a high resale value and you’ve taken great care to keep it in good condition during your ownership, it could mean more cash in your pocket when driving off in your new vehicle.

Of course, purchasing a new vehicle can be stressful, and cause one to wonder if they really are getting the best deal, both with the new car and their trade in. By following these simple steps and tricks we’ve put together, you’ll feel more confident that you’ve gotten a good deal driving off of the lot.

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LifeStyleTrending Automotive News

Is Car Ownership Actually Decreasing In The U.S.?

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The first half of the twentieth century witnessed the domination of Americans in the automobile industry, with three big auto companies (Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler) emerging by the 1920s. History has shown us that automobiles had their greatest economic and social impact in the U.S. in 1980, when about 87.2 percent of American residents owned one or more vehicles, 51.5 percent owned more than one, and 95 percent of domestic car sales were for a replacement.

Recent studies and trends, however, indicate that Americans won’t be needing or purchasing as many automobiles in the future. But why is that?

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LifeStyle

Ways to Liven Up Your Long Commute

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It’s no surprise that in many cities, traffic is getting worse— much worse. You get out of the house on time and start your commute to work only to be held up in a traffic snarl long enough to count to a ten thousand, recite all the nursery rhymes you know, write a four page essay, and memorize your to do list for the coming months. And still have time to kill.

Being stuck in traffic during your commute can be incredibly and mind-numbingly boring. It can seem as though your wasting your life away spending hours sitting in the car, and trying to configure a different route to work to hopefully avoid some traffic, while praying you get a work-from-home job as soon as possible.

According to a 2017 Traffic Index study by TomTom, a navigation company, Los Angeles is the worst gridlocked city in the U.S., followed by other congested cities such as San Francisco, New York, Seattle, San Jose, Miami, Portland, Honolulu, Washington DC, and Boston, among others.

While you may not be able to avoid the traffic, you can avoid putting yourself through a torturous commute by adding a little spice to your drive.

Try an Audiobook

While audiobooks are convenient to listen to during your commute since you don’t need your hands or eyes to listen to them, audiobooks also make for great companions when you are stuck in traffic. You can grab one that interests you from companies such as Audible, or even rent one from your local public library, and transport yourself to a more enjoyable time period, helping you escape from the tensions and frustration building up inside of you.

Listen to a Cool Podcast

There number of available, FREE podcasts on a wide range of eclectic topics that are informative, educative, interesting, and entertaining is almost too many to count. Take time during your commute to laugh, educate yourself on a topic that interests you, or get caught up in a mystery. Some podcasts that have garnered attention publicly that may be worth checking out are: Serial, Tim Ferriss Show, The Splendid Table, and TED Radio Hour.

Make Use of Technology

Use innovative sites such as iTunes to listen to new music and change up your playlist, especially if you find that you have stuck to the same playlist or radio station for a while. Use this commute as an opportunity to discover new artists! And make sure you pick music that’s upbeat and positive, rather than cathartic, to avoid any road rage incidents.

While moving away from a busy city is always an option, most people would choose to stay put, even if that means a longer commute! So take time to find an outlet that works for you. Happy cruising!

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LifeStyle

After 24 years, Tent City is Officially Closing

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Maricopa County’s newly elected sheriff, Paul Penzone, is making major moves in Arizona. After opening in 1993 by then-sheriff Joe Arpaio, Penzone has decided to officially close the doors on Tent City.

The open-air enclosure was originally used to house overflow from local jails. However, it quickly became a sideshow, with different antics popping up each year. Housing as many as 1,700 inmates at a time on this seven-acre plot of tents, inmates were required to wear stereotypical black-and-white striped prison uniforms and pink underwear, and were served two meatless meals daily.

Beyond the circus antics, those who opposed Tent City believed the prison had inhumane conditions. Located in the Arizona desert, temperatures could reach 110 degrees daily, with temperatures inside of the tent reaching close to 125 degrees. Additionally, many prisoners complained of expired food and water too unclean to drink.

“The image of the tents as a deterrent to recidivism, and as a symbol of being tough on crime may have been true in the past, “ Penzone stated. “Today it is only a myth. Tent City is no longer an effective, efficient facility. It has been effective only as a distraction. The circus is over; the tents are coming down.”

Supporters of Tent City, however, see it a different way. Penzone himself even stated that many prisoners chose to go to Tent City voluntarily because they preferred the outdoors. They also state that very few complained of inhumane conditions listed above.

Regardless of differing opinions, it became clear to the new sheriff that the outdoor prison must close when he realized closing it would save the county about $4.5 million per year. It currently costs the county $8.7 million annually to run the facility regardless of the number of occupants.

According to Penzone’s plan, half of Tent City’s current inmates will be moved elsewhere in the next 45 to 60 days, and he expects to shut down the facility completely in the next six months.

The facility only houses sentenced inmates rather than those who are awaiting trial. An overwhelming majority of those inmates, as well, are DUI offenders.

With Arizona having some of the harshest DUI laws in the nation, many wonder if Tent City was a helpful deterrent for those thinking of drinking and driving, and if there will be any increase in those instances now that the jail will be closed.

Penzone, however, doesn’t think so. He explained, “We’re going to give the criminals what they don’t want, which is detention inside jails in isolated areas, that are more safe for our detention officers. And we’re going to give our taxpayers what they do want, which is an organization that runs efficiently.”

As shifts in power continue on the local and national level, only time will tell as to how these major changes will impact Arizona and its residents.

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LifeStyle

What are Your Irrational Driving Fears?

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When it comes to getting behind the wheel of a car, many drivers are buckling up with an intense amount of anxiety building inside. There’s a name for it, actually. Vehophobia is truly the fear of, or the phobia of, driving.

While this is something that likely plagued all of us as first-time drivers, it is unfortunately something that sticks with some drivers for life, ultimately steering them toward not driving at all.

Just like vehophobia can range from the phobia of driving on highways or specific routes to the fear of driving altogether, there are a variety of other fears many drivers claim to have when they’re in control of a vehicle. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common ones below.

Dystychiphobia: Fear of Accidents

Kicking off the list is one that most drivers can likely relate to. Dystychiphobia is the scientific name for an excessive fear of accidents. While everyone on the road should have a healthy respect for auto accidents, those suffering from this phobia become obsessed with the idea that their actions will cause an accident, thus forcing them to alter life decisions and actions.

Ophidiophobia: Fear of Snakes

If you’re thinking the fear of snakes isn’t related to the driving world, think again. According to a survey completed by Jalopnik, some drivers have such an intense snake phobia, they refuse to drive over a snake in the roadway, dead or alive, for fear of it biting them. While driving over any wildlife isn’t recommended, it’s also not a great idea to swerve out of a lane and potentially cause an accident to avoid a snake. This is what many with a snake phobia are doing.

Semiochophobia: Fear of Semi-Trucks

Another common phobia found among drivers is the fear of 18-wheelers and other semi-trucks on the road. Speeding up to pass them, staying in a slower lane to avoid driving behind them, and holding your breath when around one are all signs you might have this fear, too. Even if you can remain calm, cool, and collected around one semi, doesn’t everyone feel nervous when they’re trapped by semis on all sides?

Vehicle Ekrixiphobia: Fear of Car Explosions

Have you ever been driving somewhere and began to smell something questionable coming out of the air vents? Or maybe you even begin hearing something that you haven’t heard before? If you suffer from ekrixiphobia, then you’ll immediately assume that your car is going to explode. Pulling off to the side of the road and jumping out may be your next step. While the chances of your car blowing up are pretty slim, your better course of action is to look up a GarageFly shop near you on your mobile device and head straight there.

Gephyrophobia: Fear of Bridges

While drivers living in Arizona don’t have to worry about this fear as much, many drivers have a fear of driving over bridges, especially when they’re being used to cross over a body of water. Those struggling with this phobia will search endlessly for a different route to avoid crossing the bridge, or may become frozen behind the wheel when faced with driving over one.

Can you relate to any of the phobia listed above? Or do you have your own irrational driving fear that you could add to the list? Regardless of what you may be stressed about, it’s always best to remain as calm as possible before hitting the open road.

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LifeStyleSafety

The Harsh Reality of Teen Drivers

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When it comes to teen drivers, it’s no secret that they have a bad reputation. All one has to do is type “teen driver” into a Google search and find dozens of articles related to texting while driving, accident statistics among younger drivers, and the list goes on.

Car manufacturers and independent companies alike are creating software to be installed in new vehicle models to help combat the dangers that come with a teen behind the wheel of a car. For example, General Motors recently released their active safety technology called Teen Driver. This software allows parents to view their teen’s driving habits and use the information to continue to coach their new drivers, even when they can’t be in the car.

Producing a report card at the end of each ride, Teen Driver reports the maximum speed reached, stability control events, forward collision alerts, and more. These categories touch on the biggest issue teen drivers face: inexperience.

While distracted driving does play a role in many of the teen-related accidents, inexperience is the underlying cause. According to a study done by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, lack of scanning the roadway, driving too fast for conditions, and distraction by something inside or outside the vehicle were the most common errors leading to a crash involving a teen driver.

With motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, this is something that parents, fellow drivers, and industry leaders alike must be looking into. And while campaigns like “Don’t Text and Drive” and innovative technology such as tXtBlocker have begun to chip away at the problem, in 2014 alone, 2,270 teens in the U.S. ages 16-19 were killed and 221,313 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes.

So what can parents do to help change the harsh realities of teen drivers on the road? First, they must take time to actually teach their child to drive. Studies show that the more the parent is involved when a teen is learning, the lower their chances are for a crash. While many states only require 50 hours or drive time before obtaining a license, parents should be striving to log more hours of time spent with them in the passenger seat, and their teen in the driver seat.

Secondly, both parents and non-parents alike can support local legislation to help achieve better road safety for everyone. AAA Arizona is advocating for Senate Bill 1080, which would prohibit teen drivers from the use of all wireless communication devices.

Arizona and Montana are the only two states that do not ban texting while driving for all or most motorists, so drivers can also rally for safer roads by pushing to eliminate texting while driving for all drivers, not just those in the teen age bracket.

Recent studies have found that teens who have been involved in a severe collision—defined as “police-reportable” and causing major damage, airbag deployment, injury or a rollover— experience an immediate change in their driving habits. In some cases, risky driving dropped by 34 percent.

The focus now, however, is to change the mentality of teen drivers before an accident ever occurs, and better teach and prepare them for the responsibility of operating a vehicle. Only then will we see a decrease in vehicle-related deaths for drivers of all ages.

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LifeStyleTrending Automotive News

When It Comes to Ride Sharing Apps, You Have More Options

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When Uber hit the scene in 2009, they had truly created an innovative, one-of-a-kind product. With over 40 million riders in 528 cities around the world using the app monthly, it wouldn’t be long before competitors entered the picture.

Lyft made their grand debut in 2012, and quickly became Uber’s biggest competitor. Valued at $5.5 billion, they not only transport riders from point A to B, but have also joined Uber in services such as delivering food, and ordering puppies to your office to give employees a needed break.

While the two companies easily dominate the game, others have begun to pop up to make a name for themselves. So if you’re someone who doesn’t like the mainstream option, read on to find other ride sharing options in your neighborhood:

1. Flywheel

If you think taxis are dead, think again. Flywheel has created the disruptive technology that allows the taxi industry to compete. By replacing the outdated hardware in a cab, Flywheel allows riders to hail a cab using an app on their iPhone, and track where the cab is.

Flywheel has also replaced the outdated pricing approach most taxis use, and even avoids surge pricing often found with Uber and Lyft. With Flywheel, passengers get the same low rate every hour, every day.

2. Ruby Ride

Founded in Phoenix, AZ by architect Jeff Ericson, Ruby Ride allows you to schedule rides in advance—even recurring trips! Going beyond the typical personal travel plans, Ruby Ride targets individuals who need assistance with medical transportation, such as going to and from doctor’s appointments.

They also focus on business plans, which allow business owners to arrange rides for out-of-town guests, and even reduce crowding in company parking lots by organizing carpools. Ruby Ride solely serves the Phoenix metropolitan area, and meets the requirements of Maricopa County’s Travel Reduction Program, adding a green flare to your transportation needs.

3. Blacklane

Looking for a more luxurious way to get around? Then Blacklane is for you. Unlike other ride sharing companies, all of Blacklane’s employees are professional drivers who are licensed, insured, and regulated by the company. Drivers do not provide their own vehicles, but drive cars provided by local partners.

Offering Business Class, Business Van, and First Class service options, Blacklane includes 60 minutes of free wait time when picking up from the airport, and 15 minutes of free wait time for all other rides, adding another layer of relaxation to your trip.

While Uber and Lyft continue to dominate in the ride sharing space, it’s important for riders to know that other options are available. Find the company that fits best with your transportation needs, and sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!

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LifeStyleTrending Automotive News

Car Insurance Premiums on the Rise in 2017

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If you’ve purchased car insurance in the last few years, then you’ve likely noticed increasing rates that don’t match inflation. Unfortunately, this is likely to remain the same in 2017.

As has always been the case, drivers can expect their costs to rise due to how old they are, what kind of car they drive, where they live, and their driving record. However, there are now factors completely out of a driver’s control that will skyrocket premiums, as well.

According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2016, the number of fatal traffic accidents rose by nearly 10 percent, the greatest year over year increase in the last 50 years. While that proves to be a devastating statistic, it is also a costly one for car insurance companies.

As medical costs in the U.S. are continuing to rise, car insurance companies find themselves footing much heftier hospital bills than ever before. Additionally, technology found in newer vehicles has proven to be more costly to repair and replace, further hiking the costs paid by the insurance companies.

In fact, the largest U.S. auto insurers have suffered from years of higher-than-expected claims. Industry wide, companies are paying $1.05 in costs for every $1 in premium revenue. Compare that to a decade ago when insurance companies were paying just 95 centers for every dollar in premium revenue.

“Where a normal repair 10 or 15 years ago from an accident cost $1,500, now that same bumper with all the technology is $3,500,” President of Kulchin Ross Insurance Services Derek Ross said.

Ironically, the technology often most expensive to replace is the technology meant to minimize accidents, such as driver-assistance technology and cameras.

Another reason for rising costs has to do with distracted driving, specifically as it relates to drivers and smartphones. According to Allstate’s chief executive officer Tom Wilson, there is a “striking correlation” between the rise in smartphone use and crashes.

The pace of premium increases has hit a 13-year high, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s consumer price index. While insurance companies feel the hikes are necessary, many drivers are seeking out insurance options in other areas, especially when they feel they are being penalized for issues out of their control—which they are.

New research released by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) found that safe drivers who are in accidents caused by others often see auto insurance rate hikes.

“Penalizing safe drivers hit by another car is not only very unfair; it also discourages them from filing legitimate claims. Lawmakers and regulators need to protect consumers from being punished when they’ve done nothing more than use the policy they have already paid for,” CFA’s Director of Insurance Robert Hunter said.

While CFA is urging lawmakers around the country to prohibit such penalties for innocent drivers, drivers can use third-party sites such as Zebra and CoverHound to compare quotes from different insurance companies.

Drivers may also look into Metromile, a company backed by billionaire Mark Cuban that has raised over $192 million to take on car insurance companies. Metromile allows motorists to pay for coverage based on how much they drive. Typically charging a flat fee of $35 a month and then five cents per mile, Metromile is setting out to be a cheaper option than traditional car insurance companies.

Regardless of the type of driver you are, it’s important to be aware of the rising car insurance premiums and ensure that you are receiving fair pricing to accurately reflect your level of safety on the road.

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LifeStyleTrending Automotive News

New Year, New Car | Updating the Old with the New

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When it comes to cars, there’s nothing like the super old or the super new. Driving away from the dealership in a new car is enough to make anyone excited. On the other hand, finding that perfect vintage vehicle on Craigslist can send adrenalin pumping through your veins.

What about everyone else in the middle, though? What about the cars that aren’t nearly old enough to be considered classic, but haven’t seen the parking lot of a dealership in upwards of a decade.

Worry not. We’ve scoured the Internet and compiled a list of new technology you can add to your old ride to give it an updated look and feel.

  1. Heads-up Displays
    If you’ve been paying any attention to newer Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Land Rover models, to name a few, then heads-up displays (HUDs) should be familiar to you. HUDs show navigation for drivers as a transparent image projected on the windshield. Notifying drivers of an upcoming turn, it can also monitor elements such as speed, mileage, engine warnings, and more. Ranging from $100 to $300, HUDs are a surefire way to make your vehicle feel new.
  2. Parking sensors
    Is there anything more frustrating than dinging the car next to you when you’re pulling in to a parking spot? You’re sure you know your car and its turn radius well, and then Nearly every new vehicle model comes with, or has the upgrade option of parking assist. For those with older models, however, you’re now in luck. Parking sensor kits can be purchased online for as low as $20. Equipped with four weatherproof sensors and a colored LED digital display, these sensors can be easily installed at home.
  3. Remote Start Systems
    For individuals living in hot, desert climates, remote start systems can be a lifesaver. Gone are the days of running out to your car to start the engine ten minutes before leaving the house to get the AC pumping. With remote start systems, individuals can now download a smartphone app that allows them to start and control their vehicle right from their phone. Leading the charge on this is SmartStart by Viper, an all-encompassing tool that includes a parking meter reminder, a vehicle locator, and a programmed schedule minder that starts the car based on commuting habits.

    This app is also great for any parent looking to keep tabs on their teen. SmartStart allows you to track your vehicle’s location and speed via GPS tracking, alerts you if your car has left a certain “safe zone,” and can even put a “lockdown” on the car when your child is grounded.

  4. Rear view camera
    Backup cameras are all the rage right now. While car manufacturers insist that drivers don’t rely solely on the technology, many drivers find that the camera allows them a smooth backup without ever turning around. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will require rearview cameras in all new vehicles after May 1, 2018. For those with older vehicles, however, you can get all the same benefits. A quality backup camera can be purchased online for less than $150 and be easily installed, with the live stream appearing directly on your rearview mirror.

  5. Smart Driving Assist
    Thanks to Automatic, drivers will now have access to vehicle information on their smartphone. With the use of their device, which runs for $100, drivers can monitor the car’s fuel efficiency, engine diagnostics, and provide advice on how to improve in those areas. Automatic is also equipped with a scanner capable of translating engine codes into something that is understandable to the average driver, and clearing codes once the problem is resolved.

While these driving gadgets may not be the same as the keys to a new vehicle, they will surely hold you over until you have enough in your bank account for the next make and model!

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