Categories
Cars

Buying A Used Car: The Ultimate Checklist

Buying a used car can often take longer than expected. Even if you know exactly what it is that you want, finding it at a decent price can be a challenge. Buying used is often advantageous to going for the first-hand option – although that is not to say it is without its limitations. The fact is, the used car market is extremely broad and versatile – but it has its issues. Add to this mix the fact that there are so many models to choose from and suddenly you have a real headache. Nonetheless, it doesn’t need to be like this.

What to Ask When Buying a Used Car

buying a used car
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There are some basic steps you can take to make buying a used car a walk in the park. If that sounds like something you would like to know about, then read on. Here are some unmissable pieces of advice on buying a used car.

1. Set A Budget

It is vital, before you do anything else, to set yourself a budget. It is important to do this first, for a few reasons, most of them obvious. Above all, having a budget in place at the very beginning means that you are structuring your search for a car. This is beneficial, because it means you are much less likely to waste any time. You won’t, for example, find yourself going to a dealership which you know is beyond your range. It also makes researching the potential cars much easier, as you can rule out any outside of your budget. When you set your budget, be realistic, but give yourself some scope. It is more beneficial to have a range than a fixed figure. However, ensure that you have a lower as well as an upper limit. This stops you from settling for something of poor quality.

2. Consider A Dealer

For many people, the idea of buying a used car brings to mind shady private sellers. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. It’s true, there are many private options out there. However, that route is rife with potential dangers and drawbacks. Most people find that, on the whole, they feel safer if they use a dealer. You are not necessarily going to pay any more for your car. However, you will know that you can trust the person you are conducting the deal with. And that is a peace of mind worth any amount of money.

3. Do Your Research

Without anything in the way of guidelines, it is all too easy to find yourself aimlessly searching through reams of cars. This might all be to no avail, in which case it is little more than wasted time and energy. Finding a decent car can take long enough as it is. With that in mind, make the process much easier on yourself – and faster – by carrying out some research first. If you go into the marketplace with a clear idea of what kind of vehicle you are after, that’s great. You will be saving yourself a great deal of time. Then, it’s just a matter of shopping around until you find your dream car. This can take time, so remember to have patience.

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What to Do After Buying a Used Car

What to Do After Buying a Used Car
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To some people, buying a used car is like betting all your money on red at the roulette table. You just don’t know what you could end up with! Of course, plenty of guides online show you how to be a savvy car buyer. There’s even a helpful guide here on this blog!

But, what you don’t usually hear from people is what to do post-purchase. Yes, driving your new (used) car is the obvious answer. But, no-one really talks about how to make the vehicle in tip-top condition.

All too often, people buy used cars and just drive them. They seldom do any exhaustive checks to make sure they are 100% roadworthy. Yes, the car might have an MOT on it. But, that only means it was roadworthy at the time of the test. As you can appreciate, anything could have happened between then and now!

If you ask anyone that knows me, they’ll tell you how I scrutinise the cars I buy. If you want years of trouble-free motoring, you should be doing the same thing too! Here is what I do whenever I buying a used car:

1. Give the car a thorough clean inside and out

Let’s face it. Used car dealers seldom spend much time making the vehicles they sell look like new. They might do a quick wash and rinse, and let nature dry the vehicle. You might even be lucky if they spend some time vacuuming the interior. But, that’s usually as far as things go.

I always give my used cars a comprehensive clean. Why? First of all, I can determine if there is any rust or panel damage. And, inside the car, I can check for any damaged interior trim panels. A thorough clean of the car ensures that you know what you’re working with!

2. Steam clean and degrease the engine bay

Sticking with the subject of cleaning, I turn my attention to what’s under the bonnet. Using a small steam cleaner and degreaser spray, I can wipe off any oil and dirt. I usually attack areas around the engine block. I also turn my attention to the oil sump.

Why do I do this? If there are any leaks, I want to know where they come from. A clean engine bay makes locating the source of a leak easy.

3. Replace the tyres

Unless you’re buying a used car, chances are the tyres on your used vehicle won’t be great. In fact, it’s likely the dealer or seller will have fitted budget brand tyres to the car!

replace the tyres
Image by pixabay

As a rule, I usually get out to fit new rubber tyres for me. The only time I don’t change the tyres is if I know they are new. One way to be sure is by checking the manufacturing date stamp on the sidewall.

4. Replace the brake discs and pads

The thing about vehicle brakes is you seldom know what quality of parts got fitted. In fact, you don’t even know if they got fitted correctly by the previous owner!

replace the brake discs and pads
Image by pixabay

Brake discs and pads aren’t difficult to change. All you need is a few basic tools, axle stands, and a trolley jack. Just make sure you stick to well-known brands. I also recommend “bleeding” the brake fluid for a sharper pedal response.

5. Have a “cam belt kit” fitted by a garage

Now here is one of those mechanical jobs that are best left to a garage. You might not know it, but the cam belt isn’t the only thing you should check. The tensioners (the “rollers” they fit on) and the water pump should also get replaced at the same time.

Whenever I buying a used car, I always get a new cam belt kit fitted. Let’s face it. It’s cheaper to pay £300 for the work and have peace of mind than £1,000+ for a new engine if your cam belt snaps!

6. Carry out a service on the car

At the same time as having the cam belt kit fitted, I usually have the engine serviced too. Believe it or not, it works out cheaper to have all this work done at the same time. Aside from the oil and filter, I like to have the coolant, brake fluid and power steering fluid replaced.

Doing so means that the car will now run on fresh fluids. I don’t have to worry about it overheating or under-performing!

7. Go on a long motorway journey

Today’s modern cars often suffer from one thing. People don’t drive them on long distances! As a result, the upper parts of the engine get coked up with carbon deposits. One way to clear all that carbon is by going on a high-speed motorway journey.

In essence, you are “blowing away” the deposit from the engine. It’s also a good idea to do that in a diesel car. In either case, short journeys can block up parts like the EGR valve. When that stops working, your engine’s emissions will rise. Plus, the car will run rough and use more fuel. And last, but not least, it could even cause the car to fail its next MOT!

Just be sure to fill up with fuel before you set off down the motorway!

8. Get some breakdown cover

The final thing I do whenever I buy any used car is to take out breakdown cover. It doesn’t matter whether you get cover from the AA, RAC or Green Flag. What does matter is that you’ve got some backup should your car stop working on the road.

There’s nothing worse than trying to deal with a mechanical emergency on the roadside. Especially if you happen to have your family in tow with you.

I hope you’ve found this blog post useful today. The points I’ve made might seem a bit overkill to some people. But, they are necessary for trouble-free motoring!

Categories
Finance

Best Cryptocurrencies to Buy

Buying cryptocurrencies are slowly becoming one of the most popular ways to hold assets for technology-savvy millennials. There are currently hundreds of cryptos available to buy in the market, but there are only a handful of coins out there that are really worth anyone’s time or money.

With many first-time investors looking to get a piece of the cryptocurrencies action, most newcomers are confused by the overwhelming options available.

Here are the best and most profitable cryptocurrencies you can buy right now:

Best Cryptocurrencies to Buy
Image by pixabay

1. Dash

Dash is an open-source cryptocurrency that focuses on privacy. It is designed to be a coin to replace Bitcoin’s shortcomings, such as speed and confidentiality. Dash has been holding its value consistently over $500 for the past 2years and looks unlikely to crash.

2. Monero

Monero is another privacy-centric cryptocurrency that has been in circulation in several dark web markets. If you are willing to look aside on the dubious trading that is going on in the dark web, you will see there is a relatively large demand for Monero. Monero prices have been trending upwards in the past few years, so now is an excellent time to enter.

3. Neo

Arguably also known as the Ethereum of China, Neo is slowly getting acceptance in most major cryptocurrency exchanges. The reason for its popularity is because Neo may become the future crypto of choice in the Chinese market, and there are several strong indicators that look to suggest that. Neo prices are also quite stable so it should retain value well into the future.

4. Bitcoin

Even with hundreds of cryptocurrencies and tokens available in the markets today, Bitcoin is still the undisputed king of cryptos. With a high price of nearly $10,000, Bitcoin is the gold standard of cryptocurrencies despite its aging technology. Bitcoin is also the most widely recognized and acceptable cryptocurrency even outside of crypto markets.

5. Ethereum

If Bitcoin is the gold standard, then Ethereum is the silver standard. After the waning popularity of Litecoin, Ethereum has overtaken Litecoin as the second most popular cryptocurrency. With regular support and development from the Ethereum team, most tokens in the market now are created from Ethereum contract technology, which makes it an essential piece of technology for the future of cryptocurrencies.

How to find the best cryptocurrencies

It can be challenging to swim across a sea of different crypto products to buy if you are not familiar with the world of cryptos. Investors need to do their own research into the different types of crypto products before investing any money. Buying cryptocurrencies can be more profitable than mining with computer equipment because there is a lower entry cost to buy than to mine.

Not all cryptocurrency trading markets allow you to buy the type of cryptos that you want either. Some trading platforms such as Bitcoin Trader will enable users to quickly earn profits through trading some of the most popular cryptocurrencies, while platforms such as Binance only offer smaller and more obscure tokens for trade.

Categories
Management

Can an Introvert Become a Successful Entrepreneur?

Most people assume that to be a successful entrepreneur you need to be outgoing, or in other words, an extrovert. When we think of entrepreneurs we picture outspoken, gregarious people who are comfortable standing in front of a room of people, putting their ideas out there and being the life and soul of the party. In reality, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Many well-known entrepreneurs, including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffet and Sam Ovens are all self-confessed introverts. Not one of these people is loud and in it for the personal glory. Instead, like most introverts, they bring to the table a host of other, far more valuable, skills.

Introvert Become a Successful Entrepreneur
Image by tec_estromberg

What Makes an Introvert?

Twenty years ago, introverts were pigeonholed into a box that said they couldn’t possibly be successful in business. Now, modern psychology takes a different view and we better understand that it is impossible to pigeonhole a person as an “introvert” or an “extravert”. The truth is that we all have qualities of one or the other in varying degrees. For example, introverts tend to avoid noisy social situations, but there are very few people who actively go out of their way to avoid the rest of humanity completely. Most people sit somewhere in the middle.

The Qualities of an Introvert

The important thing is to remember how many amazing qualities you have as an introvert.

You are cautious. Instead of leaping head first into a situation, you think about it first. You process the facts, ask questions, and then make a carefully thought out decision. Entrepreneurs tend to be more successful when they think before they act. It gives people like you the time to come up with better working strategies. After all, as the old saying goes, ‘fools rush in where Angels fear to tread’.

Introverts are comfortable being alone. The life of an entrepreneur is not all parties and networking events. More often than not, entrepreneurs have to work alone until they get their business off the ground. Introverts are hard wired to be comfortable spending time alone. Solitude doesn’t scare them. Instead, they are happy to use this time to come up with creative new ideas. They don’t need to brainstorm with others whereas an extrovert would be crippled with anxiety if forced to work alone.

Introverts don’t need the affirmation of others to be successful. For many extroverts, success is all about being in the spotlight. Introverts don’t need to feel the adoration of other people. For them, success is about a job well done. They don’t feel the need to speak to other people about their ideas. They are happy to rely on their own judgement.

You are a great listener. To be successful in business, you need to hone your listening skills. It’s not only important that you listen closely to clients to find out what they want or need; you also need to listen closely to your employees. Extraverts are often bad at listening. They are too busy talking to listen to those around them. This causes them to miss important clues or advice that could help them build a better business.

Entrepreneurship Suits Introverts

Introverts are well suited to entrepreneurship. They often hate working in crowded corporate environments, surrounded by people. Life as an entrepreneur gives them the time and space to forge their own way and be a success on their own terms.

Embrace your qualities as an introvert. You are thoughtful, a great listener, and above all, a realist. This makes you perfectly suited to life as an entrepreneur.

Categories
Cars Travel and Tours

Top 5 Tips for RV Road Trip Preparation

Tips for RV Road Trip Preparation

Recreational vehicles (RVs) are widely used all across the US. Many use them as a mobile home, while others utilize them for what they were made to do; take them across long-distance road trips and explore the world in the most wonderful way. RVs are one of the more affordable means of traveling and vacationing. RV vacations are good to strengthen friendship bonds and family relationships.

Tips for RV Road Trip Preparation
Image by harmon

So, are you planning a road trip in your RV too? Do you want to make traveling as much fun as the destination itself? Following are 5 essential tips for RV road trip preparation you should consider.

Determine Your Budget and Prepare the RV

See how much you can afford to spend on your vacation. It would help you in preparing and booking campgrounds accordingly. Make sure the RV is properly serviced. Have it cleaned and replace the fluids, filters and belts. Inspect the hoses, tire’s health and pressure. Make sure to test the lights and add lubricants. Fill the fresh water tank appropriately, add chemicals to gray and black water tanks and fill black water tank up to the quarter mark.

Plan Your Routes and Schedules

Plan your journey carefully to avoid any inconveniences. Discover the best route offering maximum opportunities to travel around interesting sights in the available time span. Decide places you plan to stop at, and stay along the way. Surf the web and travel guides to find the most suitable campgrounds for reservations. Plan ahead, how long you want to stay at a particular place, how long it will take to reach from one destination to the other and the total available time you have on hand.

Remember to leave some extra time for fun stops and unpredicted breakdowns.

Determine the Electrical Load

Modern day recreational vehicles are equipped with appliances and electronics that make traveling a comfortable and convenient experience. These appliances require electricity and often your vehicle is not able to provide all of it on its own. You should see how much power do these electronics and gadgets consume and should install the best RV generator according to your needs. Make sure you get the RV generator, which provides ample power and also keep track of individual power consumption of the appliances, to avoid generator overload. Marking appliances with the number of amps they draw is helpful in this regard.

Pack Intelligently

It is better to pack in stages. Pack things according to their importance and nature. You should pack all the essential non-perishable items earlier. Be sure to carry a medium sized basic toolkit, so you could fix what needs to be tightened and adjusted along the way. Later, ensure your refrigerator is running properly and can store perishable food items and kitchen supplies. You can plan ahead your meals, so you know the ingredients you will need along the way. Be sure to pack all the necessary cutlery, utensils and containers. When traveling, it is vital to be ready for anything. Pack basic toiletries and medicines in case anyone gets sick. Keep bug sprays and ointments. Make sure to pack maps, Swiss army knife and flashlights if you plan to hike. Do not forget sleeping bags and complete camping kits. Pack card and board games and entertainment devices to keep both children and adults amused on the road. Be sure to keep everything organized and secured in its place, so things do not fall or tip over creating a mess, in case your RV hits a bump in the road.

Check Road and Weather Conditions

Before you leave for the road trip, check the weather conditions of your destinations and the way you will take to get there. Alter your routes if driving conditions are bad. If it seems that you will encounter rain on your way, be sure to pack rain shoes and coats.

Categories
Home Improvement

How you make your house guest-friendly

One of the great things about coming out of winter hibernation is that we can all start inviting friends and family round to our homes to enjoy the sunshine and perhaps have a barbecue or two!

But for many of us, such a prospect can be a little terrifying, especially if our homes haven’t been paid much attention recently. So if you’re anticipating some guests, then it’s a good idea to get things sorted now regarding guest beds, storage areas and even a few extra towels to keep everyone happy!

Guest Bedroom

Image by slocumjoseph

Sorting out the guest room

If you’re lucky enough to have a guest room, then giving everything a quite clean over is essential. Too often our guest rooms can turn into storage areas, so be sure to have a good clear out to get rid of any non-essential items.

The most important part of any guest bedroom is undoubtedly the bed, and you can make visitors feel especially welcome with a simple guest bed from a brand like Bedstar that can even be pulled out to create a twin sleeping area that’s a whole lot more luxurious than making guests sleep on the sofa!

guest bed

Image by My VR

Solving storage issues

Most of our guest areas can also suffer from a lack of storage space which is where multi-purpose furniture can really excel. A nice rustic storage bench from A Place For Everything can go a long way in giving your guests a place to put their shoes, hats and accessories. Whilst a simple chic pull-out clothes rack can help ensure that your visitors can enjoy crease-free clothing during their stay.

One of the biggest storage issues is where to put those bulky suitcases. If you’ve got space under the guest bed, it can be a real lifesaver. But if you’re lucky enough to have living room furniture on castors, then something as simple as swivelling the sofa around can quickly make a discreet screen for any unsightly bags and personal effects.

The finishing touch

Other items to consider include making sure that your guests have lots of extra towels to help them enjoy their stay. One of the worst things you can do is to simply loan your old and hard bath-towels, so investing in some lovely luxury linen towels can really make all the difference!

Further welcoming touches include making sure your guests have enough power points for the variety of digital devices that are such a big part of 21st-century living. And once you’ve got the guest bed, bath towels and storage spaces in place, then a nice vase of flowers wouldn’t hurt either!

Categories
Tech

Enterprise Video Conferencing Allows IT to Show Instead of Tell

Enterprise Video Conferencing

Trying to explain a procedure such as Outlook setup over the phone can be a frustrating experience for everyone, especially an IT professional.

Being able to show a customer how to set up an email account without traveling to his office is one of the many advantages of enterprise video conferencing. The increased efficiency, customer satisfaction and cost savings certainly make a small initial investment in a good webcam worthwhile.

Enterprise-Video-Conferencing

Image by Citrix Online

Interoperability is Huge

Before an IT professional can start helping a customer via video conference, he needs a platform that is compatible. With so many operating systems, software suites and types of equipment available to businesses, it’s up to IT service providers to master interoperability.

Without the flexibility to reach as many customers as possible, IT businesses risk losing customers and will have a hard time finding new ones. The Blue Jeans Network enables enterprise video for IT that is widely interoperable. Being able to connect with more users makes video conferencing a more valuable solution, Chloe Green of Information Age reports.

Cloud-based solutions also can eliminate the cost of purchasing additional hardware to receive video conference services.

Cloud-based software not only saves companies money, it also eliminates the need to continually download and install updates. Coupling those conveniences with the ability to link with customers via cellphone, laptop, desktop or a dedicated video conference suite can give IT service providers a huge boost in sales and profit.

Train Employees

Most people do not enjoy sitting through a long PowerPoint presentation in a dark conference room. With today’s mobile technology, it’s a wonder anyone looks up from their cellphone during a meeting.

Enterprise video can help employees break free from the conference room and view training presentations from their workstations or from home. Because they are not forced to sit in a cold, dark room listening someone drone on, employees are more likely to engage in an enterprise format such as a webinar.

Unlike a traditional teleconference, employees can be more engaged during a live video conference because of the added visual features of the format. This can lead to a more fulfilling experience during the learning process. In a recent survey, 82 percent of respondents said they make more effort during a video conference as compared with an audio-only conference call, James Bourne of AppsTechNews reported.

Instructors are more likely to receive quality feedback from students, and students will not have to suffer through repetitive questions common in traditional classrooms.

Administrators can record video conferences and allow employees access to them for review or to catch up.

Reaching Outside

As the business world becomes more global with more access to high-speed internet, companies  no longer have to restrict hiring to local candidates because of budget restraints. Recent research shows talent acquisition professionals greatly prefer video conferencing for interviews instead of phone interviews, according to Onrec.

The feasibility of employing remote IT professionals is much greater with enterprise video conferencing. Employers have a larger pool of talent thanks today’s technology and don’t have to pay for employee relocation. Collaboration among employees across oceans is now possible with live video conferencing.

On the sales side of the IT market, companies can use video conferencing to demonstrate services, show case studies and engage with prospects. The videos can be recorded and edited into smaller clips for distribution across several social media platforms and embedded in the company website.

Smartphones Lead the Way

The ability to integrate enterprise video with mobile devices is only going to become more important in the coming years. Almost everyone has a smartphone, and people are more likely to forget their wallet when leaving the house than they are their cell phone.

Tablets are great, but most users keep them at home for use as a second screen when watching television. Now that reading apps and audio book apps are available on cellphones, there is less motivation to lug a 7-inch tablet around outside the house. The chances of someone using a laptop during a commute on public transportation are pretty slim.

Like the virtual reality industry surge has proven this year, cloud-based, enterprise video conferencing solutions may be destined to integrate even further with smartphones. The lower the price point, the more likely people are to adopt a new technology, Eric Rachlin of Tech Crunch reports.

Smaller companies are not going to spend a ton of money on hardware when they can achieve the same results with a low-cost, cloud-based solution. Cell phones are so inexpensive nowadays; they tend to be an automatic perk for employees.

Cell phones likely will be the prime gateway for VR and video conferencing in the future. Along with the industry trend to integrate apps with instant messaging and social media platforms, the communications sector is continually becoming more compact and efficient. The most successful IT professionals will fully embrace these trends.