NHTSA Launches VIN-Searchable Recall Finder

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Used-car shoppers: Want to know if your prospective car has any recalls that haven't been done? After all, about 1 in 4 recalled cars never get their recall work done, which could stick future owners with potential safety hazards.

More Recall Coverage

Now there's a place you can find this information. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration just launched a tool on its website where you can look up a car by its vehicle identification number to view its recalls. It's at www.safercar.gov/vinlookup. You can find the VIN at the base of the driver's side of the windshield, just beneath the glass.

It isn't just a tool to see what recalls have been announced on a prospective vehicle; it also shows you if those recalls have been completed or not on that specific car.

By Kelsey Mays | August 20, 2014 | Comments (0)

What Does 'All-New' Really Mean?

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By Ali Oswald

If you've spent any time looking for a new car, you've probably noticed that some terms keep popping up again and again. Phrases like all-new, redesigned or even refreshed may seem like variations on the same theme, but these terms actually mean different things.

Related: The Business of Redesigns

"All-new" is widely used, but not always in the same way by car manufacturers.

"Automakers like to use all-new all the time," said Dave Sullivan, an analyst at automotive research firm AutoPacific. It's used in car commercials to generate interest among buyers who want a new car, Sullivan said, but it has another meaning, too.

All-new models have been created from a blank sheet of paper, said Chrysler spokeswoman Wendy Orthman. Honda spokeswoman Jessica Howell adds that all-new models can be ones that haven't been seen before. Two examples are the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C sports car and the 2015 Acura TLX luxury sedan.

Confusing matters, all-new and redesigned are sometimes used interchangeably.

By Jennifer Newman | August 18, 2014 | Comments (0)

Chevrolet, Ford Kick Off Labor Day Sales Early

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It's still a couple weeks before you can fire up the barbecue and watch your alma mater get steamrolled by the Southeastern Conference, but some car dealers are kicking off Labor Day early — on the sales front, that is. Automotive News reports (subscription required) that Ford launched its Labor Day sale on July 29. The sale, which runs through Sept. 2, includes most of its lineup save the 2015 Mustang, F-Series and commercial vans, according to Automotive News.

Related: July's Fastest- and Slowest-Selling Cars

We checked the offers, and most involve zero-percent financing for as long as 72 months, or offers of up to around $3,000 off an Escape, $3,500 off an Edge and $3,500 off a Fusion (all 2014s). That's more than what Ford offered on the Fusion a year ago, but incentives don't appear to have increased a great deal in the past month, so this summer sale could mostly be a new name for existing spiffs.

GM, meanwhile, started its Chevy Labor Day Sale early because, as GM spokesman Jim Cain told Automotive News, "Ford started its Labor Day sale a little bit early." The brand's sale includes three months' deferred payments on the 2014 Silverado, Traverse, Cruze, Malibu, Camaro and Impala. Cash incentives on those models amount to $2,500 on the Cruze, $2,000 on the Malibu, $1,000 on the Impala, $2,000 on the Camaro and $2,000 on the Traverse (all 2014s). Chevrolet is GM's only brand that's offering the 90-day deferrals, Cain told us. GM isn't offering the deal for its Buick, Cadillac and GMC brands.

By Kelsey Mays | August 15, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Hyundai Elantra Sedan: What's Changed

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Most significant changes: New option packages for the sedan; Elantra Coupe discontinued for 2015

Price change: Base prices are $50 higher on the base SE and top-shelf Limited models and $100 lower on the Sport

On sale: Since early July

Which you should buy, 2014 or 2015? 2015

The compact Elantra is Hyundai's best-selling model but was last redesigned for 2011, so its sales are falling at the same time that the midsize Sonata (redesigned for 2015) is on the upswing. That and the competitive nature of the compact car market mean that suggested retail prices on 2015 models are about the same as comparable 2014s.

Starting prices are $17,250 for the SE, $21,600 for the Sport and $21,700 for the Limited, not including the $810 destination charge (unchanged from 2014).

By Rick Popely | August 15, 2014 | Comments (1)

Iowa Tops List of 'Cheapest' States for Car Ownership

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The Midwest is home to some of the cheapest states in which to own a car, according to Bankrate.com. Wyoming and much of the South, meanwhile, are the priciest. The personal-finance website analyzed average repair, insurance and gasoline costs to rate all 50 states plus the District of Columbia from the cheapest to the most expensive, in terms of annual vehicle-ownership costs.

Related: What Are the Most Common Car-Insurance Discounts?

Iowa took top honors, with an annual driving bill of just $1,942. It's one of three states where annual driving costs total less than $2,000; Ohio ($1,973) and Illinois ($1,999) were the other two. Conversely, Wyoming ran $2,705 per year. Louisiana ($2,555), Florida ($2,516) and Mississippi ($2,487) joined the Cowboy State as the nation's priciest places to own a car. Curiously, fourth-cheapest Idaho ($2,001) was $704 cheaper than its neighbor to the east, but $600 of that was because of Wyoming's sky-high gas prices.

Get the full list below.

By Kelsey Mays | August 11, 2014 | Comments (6)

Video: Used-Car Buying Tips

Buying a used car in many cases can actually be a better deal than buying a new car — if you play your cards right. In the video above, Cars.com's Joe Wiesenfelder coaches shoppers on what to look for, what questions to ask and how to play the odds in order to make the smartest gamble on a used-car purchase.

By Matt Schmitz | August 11, 2014 | Comments (0)

GM Prices 2015 Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon

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GM has announced pricing for the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, and it's safe to say that direct-competitor the Toyota Tacoma can expect to face some challenging terrain in the midsize pickup landscape. The 4x2 extended-cab Colorado starts at $20,995, including destination charge, and comes equipped with a 200-horsepower, 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Meanwhile, the nearly identically equipped Canyon starts at about $1,000 more.

Get the preliminary pricing details at PickupTrucks.com.

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By Matt Schmitz | August 6, 2014 | Comments (0)

Study: 46 Percent of Drivers Admit to Driving When They Shouldn't

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Nearly half of all drivers admitted to driving when they shouldn't have. That's one finding in a poll of 2,000 licensed drivers from December 2013, which CarInsurance.com released Monday. The website found that 46 percent of respondents admitted to driving once or twice in the past year when they knew they shouldn't have.

Related: Survey: A Third of Drivers Lie in Car Insurance Applications

Eleven percent admitted to driving when they shouldn't have from three to 10 times in the past year. And 3 percent were serious repeat offenders, admitting to driving when they shouldn't have at least 11 times in the past year.

"I'm glad I don't know any of those 3 percenters," said Michelle Megna, managing editor at the Foster City, Calif.-based insurance advice website. Other survey results had no date attached, Megna told us, which means respondents only admitted to having ever done it.

By Kelsey Mays | August 6, 2014 | Comments (2)

Mercedes Prices All-New 2015 C-Class at $39,325

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Mercedes-Benz announced pricing for its all-new, larger 2015 C-Class, with a rear-wheel drive C300 costing $39,325, including a $925 destination fee. The 2015 C-Class hits the road on Aug. 25, though you won't be seeing any on dealerships lots with the entry-level price until the first quarter of 2015.

Related: 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class: First Look

Going on sale first are all-wheel-drive versions (4Matic) of the 241-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder C300 and 329-hp, twin-turbocharged V-6 C400, priced at $41,325 and $49,515, respectively. The 2015 C-Class brings big changes to the sedan with new powertrains, a new interior that wooed our editors on the auto-show floor and a longer wheelbase for additional backseat passenger room. Mercedes' transformation of the C-Class is much needed against competitors like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4.

By Joe Bruzek | August 1, 2014 | Comments (0)

July's Fastest- and Slowest-Selling Cars

Want to buy a small luxury SUV? You're not alone. Two of the fastest-selling cars in the country last month were the all-new 2015 Porsche Macan and the pretty-much-unchanged 2015 Audi Q5.

Related: Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: July 2014

The Macan regains the top spot it held back in May, taking just eight days from the day it arrived at a dealer until the day the keys were handed over to a lucky buyer. Ten of the 22 fastest-selling cars were luxury SUVs, while SUVs overall made up 14 of the 22.

While our top cars sold on average in just 12 days, the overall average for all cars in July was 68 days. That's up from 64 days in June and 62 days in July 2013.

By David Thomas | August 1, 2014 | Comments (2)

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