The Off Road Choice The Best Suvs Under 20 000 Combined Motor Trade Insurance Why It Works And How It Can Save You Money Auto Enthusiasts Ditch Horsepower For Gas Mileage Auto Repair Estimates And Car Repair Prices The Real Information To Avoid Car Repair Scams

A compact crossover SUV from Land Rover, the Land Rover Freelander had its humble beginnings in the year of 1998 when it was officially introduced to the automotive world. This vehicle was designed so as to compete with the Jeep Liberty, the Toyota RAV4, and other similar vehicles. When this vehicle came to North America, it served as a pioneer for the premium compact SUV segment.

This vehicle is powered by a V6 engine. The Land Rover Freelander is a vehicle that has been designed for moderately rugged roads however its abilities do not include serious inclines and broken terrain.

This vehicle has been made available in three body styles that comprise of the Station Wagon sporting five doors, the Hardback that has three doors, and the Softback containing three doors as well. It is a multi-functional vehicle so much so that it could not only be used for moderate off roading but also could be utilized for town driving as well.

The Land Rover Freelander is protected by tough yet stylish polycarbonate bumpers and body trim. It has a tough but sophisticated appeal making it adventurous yet easy to find on urban streets. It exudes a bold and distinctive look that makes it stand out from among the rest, yet it still bears the heritage and overall fascia of the Range Rover, the Range Rover Sport, and the Discovery 3. Colors and hues are carried on with a variety of shades that includes Rimini Red, Java Black, Bonatti Grey, Cairns Blue, Chawton White, Giverny Green, Atacama Sand, Tonga Green, Vienna Green, Zermatt Silver, Arctic Frost, and Belize Green. This vehicle also benefits from alloy wheels that come in 16 inch, 17 inch, and special 18 inch varieties. It also sports high-strength polycarbonate bumpers that provides a tough and firm stance for the vehicle. Helping to minimize the effect of any scratches from off roading are body-colored sections and a self-colored skid plate. Added in are integral fog lamps and a stylish mesh grille. As per the Land Rover Freelander’s interior, the vehicle holds premium materials that give a quality feel for the vehicle. It has a distinctive interior that is luxurious and inviting.

This vehicle offers a wide range of features for itself. The list includes glass roof panels, electric sunroof, rear mudflaps, a soft or a hard top, powerfold mirrors, a privacy glass, tinted glass, roof rack, roof rails, front fog lights, and park distance control. For entertainment, the vehicle has a single-slot CD player, a six-speaker sound system, a 6-disc CD player, and a Harman/Kardon
Looking for a Midsize SUV but want to stay on a budget? No problem! Who said SUVs have to be a drain on your pocketbook? We don’t think so. To prove our theory, we decided to look at available Sport Utility Vehicles that can hold their own against other top-selling SUVs, but can also be as easy on your finances as the payment for a mid-size car.

First, let’s consider what you should look for in a Midsize SUV. Most people prefer SUVs for cars for two reasons: more cargo space and better safety features. If you’re looking for an SUV at any price, you should make sure it meets your needs. Cargo space first. An SUV should provide you with enough space to haul the type of cargo you typically need to take with you, as well as seat the correct number of passengers. This is the reason, in and of itself, many people decide on a Midsize SUV over a Compact SUV. If it doesn’t meet your needs, it’s not a good value at any price.

Second, safety is important. An affordable SUV doesn’t mean that you should compromise on basic safety features. After all, what’s going to be more important in an accident – leather seats or well-designed airbags? Make sure your SUV offers what you need. Need a 2-wheel drive vehicle? Get one. Do you deal with snowy conditions several months out of the year? If so, then you’re better suited for a 4-wheel drive SUV. Do yourself a favor and get a 4-wheel drive. If you don’t, you’re sure to regret scrimping on the features that make handling the vehicle easier and safer.

So what are the options? We found three dependable Midsize SUVs that start at under $20,000. Each has impressive features, but we found the one we thought was the best value.

Dodge Nitro. A four-door wagon style SUV with a base price starting at $19,225. Although it’s smaller than the other two, its boxy design gives it a bit more accessible cargo space and seats four adults comfortably. The Nitro’s body style is trendy but functional – the scaled down exterior dimensions makes negotiating traffic and getting in and out of tight spaces easier than many compact SUVs.

Kia Sorrento. A four-door wagon style SUV with a base price starting at $19,995. Available with an impressive amount of features even on the base model, the Sorrento is more enjoyable to look at than to drive. On bumpy roads, the ride and handling can be frustrating and the resale value is nothing to write home about. The warranty, however, is generous meaning Kia stands by the quality of the parts they use. Always a plus.

Isuzu Ascender 5-Passenger. Our favorite Midsize SUV choice with a base price starting at $19,459. With room for five adult passengers and impressive amount of cargo space, you’ll feel like you’re driving a full-size SUV. Several standard features are worth mentioning: the hydraulically assisted rack-and-pinion power steering system, the anti-lock brake and traction control systems, and its efficient inline 6-cylinder engine. And of course, it comes with Isuzu’s famous warranty: 7-year/75,000 Mile Powertrain Limited Warranty and Isuzu’s 7-year/75,000 Mile Roadside Assistance Program. Nice.

If you work in the Motor Trade, you more than most will know that customers nowadays are demanding more, for less. And if you’re a Motor Trade who also demands this from your suppliers and service providers, here are some ways you can get it from your Insurance Broker.

Depending on which part on the Motor Trade you work in you will no doubt have your own individual needs, concerns and worries.

For car manufacturers these could be falling sales, competition from abroad or Government policy changes over CO2 emmissions.

If you are an MOT Station you may still be coming to terms to computerisation.

And for body repairers, bodyshops and garage servicing units your focus maybe on gaining accreditation to the BSI Kitemark scheme or making sure your staff are trained to a certain standard.

The bottom line is you are a Motor Trader you have numerous issues to deal with on a daily basis before you even start to think about your customers and suppliers.

And yet despite this apparant need for people in the Motor Industry to make their lives easier it is suprising to see many traders still choosing to have their Motor Trade Insurance policies with many different insurance brokers and companies rather than under a single Motor Trade Combined Insurance policy.

The result of this is that many Motor Traders pay too much for their insurance and they spend time (that they simply cannot afford to waste) on looking after them.

Here a just a couple of reasons why Motor Traders should seriously consider a Combined Motor Trade Insurance policy when their insurance is next due for renewal:

1. All your risks together. By opting for a Combined policy your vehicles, your staff, your premises and your profits can all be protected under one policy. No longer do you need your buildings insured with one Broker, your Business Interruption and Liabilities with another and your Road Risks with yet another. Just all your risks under a Combined Motor Trade Insurance policy.

2. Time Savings. Gone are the days of many different types of cover with different renewal dates and provided by different companies. Just your Combined Insurance policy with a single renewal date. If you need to make a change you just need to ring one broker rather than hunt around your paperwork to find out who it is insured with. And if you chose the right broker they should ring around all the main Motor Trade Insurance companies to find you the best deal.

3. Money Savings. By putting all your risks under a Combined Motor Trade Insurance policy you can very often benefit from savings on your premiums as many providers offer discounts. At a time when getting value for money from your service providers then making savings by getting a policy that is easier to administer could be just what you need.

Combined Motor Trade Insurance can save you time and save you money and that is why it works.

America’s hotrod scene has been one of its most unique features and subcultures since the earlier 1900s, and most notably in the 1950s. Enthusiasts would spend countless time and money modifying, tuning, and driving their cars so that they could be the fastest, the most dangerous, and gain the most respect. A resurgence of this culture appeared when small economy cars were modified, and in the 1990s, the “Tuner” crowd was born.

Now the same enthusiasts are shifting from speed and power to efficiency and distance.

One-by-one, back yard mechanics and former racers are beginning to modify their cars for gas mileage instead of horsepower. In this game, less is more, and the person with the smallest car, the smallest engine, and the fewest horses powering their vehicle usually win. Surprisingly, it’s not just the fiscally responsible adults that are concerned about fuel economy, but young enthusiasts are also jumping on the bandwagon.

A quick look at websites like will show you hundreds of people all interested in modifying their cars to make them more efficient. That is where Matt Todhunter, who at one time spent more than $12,000 to make his car fast, now goes to talk about making his car efficient.

“I wanted to be unique again,” says Todhunter, “…and I wanted to straighten up my finances. I knew that I’d never be able to stop modifying cars, so I figured I’d do something that was much less expensive yet still goal oriented. I still get to tinker with my car, it’s ALWAYS a challenge, and I haven’t gotten a speeding ticket in a long time.”

Enthusiasts like Matt Todhunter are becoming more and more common, and they are even beginning to earn the respect of the hotrodders, who are often amazed by the accomplishments these fuel economy fanatics are capable of achieving.

Many of the crossovers from the racing crowd are able to apply the same principles to fuel economy. “Most of the modifications are the same,” says Joe Gardner, another fuel economy enthusiast. “Racers and people interested in fuel economy both want lighter, smaller cars that are aerodynamic and ultra efficient. The only major difference is that we want small engines and they want big ones.”

Considering the similarity in process, procedure, and mentality of modifying for speed and gas mileage, it is also no surprise that many speed enthusiasts are beginning to have two cars: one car modified for fuel economy as their daily driver, and another car modified for speed for their “fun” car.

While America’s obsession with speed will most likely never end, this new breed of auto enthusiast will most certainly be a driving force in their future choice of transportation. As the fuel economy movement gains more momentum, it would be no surprise at all of this became the next “big thing” for car lovers.

Worrying whether or not you were overcharged for your car repair is an awful feeling. There’s tons of advice on how to avoid getting ripped-off, but few discuss the actual car repair prices. We really need to look at the charges on a car repair estimate or auto repair invoice to determine if we’re paying too much.

The focus needs to shift from giving outdated and ineffective advice to addressing the “actual” and “specific” charges. Are they legitimate charges? Can they be justified by industry guidelines?

Now car repair estimates can be confusing. So let’s break it down to get a better idea if your auto repair shop is billing you appropriately.

First, a glossary of terms is in order, as the auto industry has a language of its own…

Aftermarket Parts: parts not made by the manufacturer.

MSRP: Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price

OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer. Manufacturer approved parts designed specifically for your vehicle.

TSBs: Technical Service Bulletins. Notes and instructions provided by the manufacturer for known and specific concerns(they are not recalls).

Flat Fees: services such as alignments that don’t get broken down into parts, tax, labor

Miscellaneous Charges: these can include, but are not limited to shop supplies – rags, chemicals, hazardous waste disposal fees, waste oil …etc.

Labor Rate: a repair center’s hourly charge to service your vehicle

Labor Time: the amount of time or hours determined that it will take to fix your vehicle

Labor Description: the step-by-step written details of repairs and/or services

Ok, let’s look at the Anatomy of an Auto Repair Estimate:

There are six basic components to a car repair estimate

1) Customer/Vehicle Information

2) Parts

3) Labor

4) Miscellaneous Charges

5) Flat Fees

6) Summary of Charges

Customer and Vehicle Information

Using a generic “top down” style estimate, the top portion simply contains your personal information and your vehicle’s specifics: year, make, model, mileage…etc, as well as your request or concern.

We also want find the shop’s labor rate. The labor rate is critical in determining if you paid too much. Most repair centers don’t list the labor rate. We’ll discuss why shortly.

Auto Parts

Parts are listed usually with a brief description, as well as the quantity, and the price. There are three types of parts: OEM (parts made by or for a manufacturer). These are the parts installed by a dealer, although many local shops use OEM parts too.

Aftermarket parts are non OEM parts, and there are various degrees of quality, depending on the brand and where they’re made – China versus USA, for example.

Then there are Used parts purchased from a salvage yard.

To determine if you paid too much for parts, first find out what type of parts are being used. With OEM parts, you don’t want to pay more than MSRP, although most people do without realizing it. Premium aftermarket parts are similarly priced across brands, although beware not to pay more than MSRP, which again, many folks do. Used part prices are all over the place, so pick the price in the middle.

Auto Repair Labor

Labor is billed in tenths. So 1.0 equals 1 hour. 1.5 equals an hour and a half.

Labor rates range from $60 to $100 per hour at local repair shops and $80 to $140 per hour at the dealer level. Labor times are based off established industry guidelines, which are frequently abused.

If you don’t see the shop’s labor rate posted on the car repair invoice, ask your service center for the rate. Repair shops can manipulate the labor rate (among other things) with a labor matrix. Matrix pricing is a complicated and ethically questionable practice discussed at length in RepairTrust literature. What you need to know is that you can pay as high as $150 per hour rather than the posted labor rate of $105 per hour.

To ensure that you’re being charged properly, you’ll want to multiply the number of hours billed (which is also often not posted) by the shop’s labor rate.

Most labor descriptions are poorly written and difficult to understand. So ask questions.

Here’s a “clear” labor description for a 30,000 mile service on a Toyota Camry.

Performed 30,000 mile service per customer request, and in accordance with manufacturer guidelines. Changed oil and filter, installed new air filter, cabin filter and performed all necessary tests, checks, and procedures, including road test (miles 30,123 – 30,125). Performed lubrication services and confirmed proper vehicle operation. Set tire pressures, and checked fluids, belts and hoses. Note: vehicle is pulling slightly left. Needs alignment

Miscellaneous Charges

The bulk of your car repair invoice will be parts and labor, but we can’t forget about Miscellaneous Charges. These charges can include, but are not limited to, shop supplies – rags, chemicals, hazardous waste, disposal fees, waste oil …etc. The latter of these may be billed out separately in a summary at the bottom of your repair invoice.

Very few of these “extras” are actually used during regular repairs. Miscellaneous charges are calculated off the amount of labor hours billed, not the amount of miscellaneous items used.

Flat Fees

Flat fees can be another very tricky area. Flat fees are services, such as an alignment, which don’t get broken down into parts, tax and labor. This makes it difficult to determine the real and fair price. On the plus side, most flat fees are competitively priced.

Be warned however, another term for Flat Fee is called Menu Selling. In other words, you might see Tune Up: $99.99 or Transmission Flush: $89.99. Follow your manufacturer’s recommendations only, not a dealer’s or repair shop’s menu.

Summary of Charges

The last part of an auto repair estimate is the summary of charges. It’s usually found in the bottom right hand corner of the invoice. Check it against the charges above to ensure that it all adds up mathematically, as well as logically.

This basic estimate outline may differ from your particular invoice, which may have other categories such as “Sublet” or “HazMat.”

A sublet charge is added when your auto repair shop uses another vender to fix or repair your car, such as a glass company that replaces your windshield.

A HazMat charge may include waste oil or other disposal fees. Just make sure that the charges are warranted, as again, they too are often calculated off the labor time rather than actual need.

In sum, understanding the “actual” charges, asking the right questions, and breaking down your auto repair costs is the best way to avoid paying excessive car repair prices.

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