Where You Live Affects Insurance Rate Hikes for Traffic Violations

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Car insurance can be an expensive part of the family budget, especially when you start talking about adding a teen driver to your plan, as my family and I will be doing every two years for the next six years (wish me luck). Moving violations can cause those rates to skyrocket, but to exactly what degree may vary based upon where you live.

Related: Detroit Tops U.S. In Car Insurance Costs

InsuranceQuotes.com found that some of the most drastic rate increases are in North Carolina, where a DUI conviction might result in an average insurance rate increase of a whopping 337 percent. Compare that to an average rate increase of only 15 percent in Maryland.

Driving recklessly in Hawaii may make your insurance rates spike around 287 percent, compared to only 24 percent in Alaska. And my coworkers at our Cars.com headquarters in Illinois better watch out when "testing out" the latest and greatest. Getting a ticket for going more than 31 mph above the speed limit can increase their insurance rates by 103 percent, whereas in Missouri you might only see a rate increase of 9 percent for the same violation.

So what do you do if you're stuck with a massive rate increase? Well, drive safely and avoid additional violations to begin with. InsuranceQuotes.com offers some more detailed advice:

By Kristin Varela | February 20, 2015 | Comments (1)

#FirstTimeBuyers: How Much Should I Spend on My Car?

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As a first-time buyer, how much car can you afford, and what's a responsible price target?

Related: More #FirstTimeBuyers Advice

Budgets are important, especially when you're buying a car. As with all things financial, of course, there's a debate over how much of money you should spend on your next car. Roughly 40 percent of consumers try to stick within 15 percent of their budget, according to CNW Research, while about half want to stay within just 5 percent of their budget. You should check with a financial planner to determine what's right for you; you don't want to become "car poor" because you don't have anything left for the month after making your car payment.

By Kelsey Mays | February 18, 2015 | Comments (6)

Why Do My Car's Windows Fog Up?

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We've all been there. You jump into your car and within a few minutes of driving the windows are so fogged up inside that you're looking at the world through a murky layer of moisture. How did that happen?

For the inside story, Cars.com spoke with Mike Hoppe, an engineer for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in charge of climate control systems, who said windows fog up on the inside when warm, moist air in the car meets colder glass surfaces, causing condensation.

Related: Why Do Only Some of My Car's Windows Get Condensation on Them?

"In its simplest form, it's too much water in the air, and it condenses on the glass," Hoppe said. "It condenses on the inside because the outside is colder, and when it's colder outside that lowers the relative humidity point.

"It's like when you see your breath when it's cold outside. Your breath generally has 100 percent humidity in it, but you're only seeing it when it's cold outside because that's when it's reaching the point where it's causing fog."

By Rick Popely | November 5, 2014 | Comments (1)

Why Do Only Some of My Car's Windows Get Condensation on Them?

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It usually happens on a morning when you're already behind schedule: As you approach your car you can see that the windows are covered with frost or condensation, and you have to spend time — almost always time you don't have — clearing it off to drive safely.

In another of life's mysteries, at times only some of a car's outside windows may have frost or condensation, not all. What's up with that?

Related: Why Do My Car's Windows Fog Up?

Condensation on the outside of a car is caused when warm, moist air (often present in early morning hours) condenses when it hits the car's colder window glass. That's also why on warm, humid days condensation may form at the base of a windshield, where outside air encounters cooled air from the car's air-conditioning system.

By Rick Popely | November 5, 2014 | Comments (2)

Seven-Year Car Loans More Popular, but Beware

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Those loans, they're getting awfully long. Experian Automotive says that in the first quarter of 2014, 24.9 percent of all new-car loans were 73 to 84 months long. Four years ago, less than 10 percent of loans were that long. In fact, such lengthy terms have pulled the average new-car loan to 66 months. That's an all-time record.

Related: Deferred Car Payments: Read the Fine Print

As credit continues to open up — and, some argue, automakers try to maintain the past year's sales growth — car loans continue to lengthen. But make sure you consider the terms carefully, because even if you can get a longer loan it doesn't mean you should.

By Kelsey Mays | September 5, 2014 | Comments (5)

Video: Five Tips to Avoid Labor Day Travel Trouble

Amid an improving economy, motorists are hitting the highways again in droves for the three-day Labor Day weekend, with AAA forecasting the greatest number of travelers since 2008. Watch the video above for some road-trip tips from Cars.com's Kelsey Mays to help avoid making your Labor Day getaway a laborious experience.

By Matt Schmitz | August 29, 2014 | Comments (1)

It Pays to Be Gray: Senior Driver Discounts

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Everyone wants to reduce their auto insurance premiums, right? Well, in 34 states and the District of Columbia getting older can be the ticket to cheaper car insurance. All you have to do is pass an approved driving class that aims to improve your driving skills. If you do, you can lower your insurance by as much as 10 percent in some states.

Related: More Seniors, More Meds, More Driving and What It Means

Rules vary by state, but typically the discount is offered to folks 55 and older who take a state-approved class (ranging in price from $17.95 to $41.25) and meet all other state requirements. The classes cover safe-driving strategies, rules of the road, proper use of new technology and how health issues can affect driving ability. AARP, AAA and the National Safety Council are among the organizations that offer classes for mature drivers. They can be taken in a classroom or online; however, some states and insurers require that drivers take the class in a physical classroom with an instructor in order to get the discount.

By Jen Burklow | August 27, 2014 | Comments (2)

First-Time Car Buyers: So You Think It's Time to Buy

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It's an inevitable point we all reach. Your hand-me-down car from high school is now older than most Rihanna fans, and you'd love to stop making rent-sized payments to your auto mechanic. Or maybe you fancy yourself a proud urbanite, but the bicycle and bus pass don't exactly cut it when you land that new job in the suburbs.

Related: Quick Start Guide to Buying a Car

Either way, it's time to pony up the cash for a new — or less-used — car. Not to worry: We have you covered with dozens of stories for first-time buyers. Check them out below.

By Kelsey Mays | July 22, 2014 | Comments (1)

Does the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST Have Recaro-Brand Seats?

"Does the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST have Recaro-brand seats?"

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By Rick Popely | December 8, 2013 | Comments (0)

Will the 2014 Ford Transit Connect Have a Tall-Roof Option?

"Will the 2014 Ford Transit Connect have a tall-roof option?"

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By Rick Popely | December 7, 2013 | Comments (4)

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