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5 common mistakes car owners make in UAE

Here are the five most common mistakes car owners make:

1) You sit in your car, start it, and immediately put it into Drive (or into first gear, in the case of manual cars) and zip away. AVOID doing that. Once you start your car, let it idle for about 10 seconds, allowing for the revs to come down and reach ideal idling RPMs. Use that time to put on the seat belt or to adjust the seats. Put it into Drive only about 10 seconds after starting the car. These 10 seconds will allow the oil to start circulating to important engine components. The older the car, the more important this is.

2) Accelerating too hard immediately upon starting the car. DO NOT do this. Let the RPMs slowly build up, as the engine is not yet warm. Accelerate in a relaxed manner until you have reached optimum engine temperature.

3) READ the owner’s manual. It’s surprising how few people do this. If you own a car, you should know what every button on the instrument cluster is for. Where is the rear window wiper located? Which button circulates air inside the cabin? The owner’s manual is a treasure trove of information about your car. Which engine oil does the manufacturer recommend? Is it 5W-20 or 5W-30? How long can you go without changing the Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF, commonly known as gear oil)? What is the best coolant to use for your car? The owner’s manual tells you all this, and much, much more.

4) Look under the bonnet once in a while. Just have a cursory glance at the engine bay. This helps you re-acquaint yourself with your car. Locate key, basic stuff, such as the engine oil dipstick, the radiator cap (or the cap of the coolant reservoir in some cars), the washer fluid reservoir, the brake fluid tank, the power steering fluid tank. Should be very easy to do. Once you have done that, pull out the engine oil dipstick and inspect the oil level. When was the last time you changed your oil? Your owner’s manual says it must be done once in 5,000km (or 10,000km or 15,000km, depending on the vehicle). Check the coolant level, too. Is it in line with the marker in the tank? Or has it fallen below, in which case it needs to be topped up? Is there enough power steering fluid? Coolants, brake fluid, and power steering fluid are cheap and available in most petrol stations, not to mention car parts stores. Keep them in small quantities in the boot of your vehicle, along with a small funnel. You can top it up whenever the level goes below the marker in these tanks.

5) CHECK your tyre pressure. You don’t have to wait till your next service appointment or visit to a lube oil garage. Your vehicle’s ideal tyre pressure, for hot or cold weather, is mentioned on the door jam on the driver’s side (a sticker with barcode that has all sorts of important details, such as origins, year of manufacture etc). Once you’ve determined what the ideal tyre pressure is for your car, you can invest a few dirhams in the pencil-style tyre pressure gauge and keep it handy to help you check the tyre pressure from time to time. In many vehicles, this comes with the took kit. So check there first. In many newer, higher end vehicles, sensors display this information on the dashboard. Just keep an eye!

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6 essential tips for buying new cars in UAE

Buying a new car can be hard, especially if you’ve never been through the process before. With around 60 different brands to choose from in the UAE and recent Facebook research revealing that most people only consider three brands to begin with it can be hard to know whether or not you’re making the right decision. The used car market is a great place to look if you want to get the most bang for your buck, but there are a number of uncertain-ties and pitfalls which can be challenging to navigate.

The best way to avoid the uncertainties of the used car market is to buy new – but how affordable is it, and what about depreciation? Read on to discover our six tips for buying a new car in the UAE brought to you by Simply New Cars, and Simply Concierge.

Do your research

Decide on what’s most important to you – are you looking for the height and safety of a large SUV? Or perhaps the comfort and style of a luxury sedan? Deciding on exactly what you want your next new car to have allows you to start defining your choices, and sites like simplynewcars.com allow you to use that criteria to discover the cars that might match your needs.

Look, touch, feel

Just because a car matches your needs doesn’t mean that you will be happy with it. Once you have narrowed your search down to a few cars head out to the dealerships and experience the car in the metal. Sit inside, adjust the seat, think about how you will use the car on a daily basis. Are the cup holders large enough? Does it have handy storage compartments? How’s the visibility from your seat?

Secure your finance

A lot of new car purchases these days are made on finance. With low interest rates this can be an excellent way of levelling up to the perfect car for your lifestyle. Knowing what to expect before beginning the finance process can help ensure you give yourself the best chance of approval. – Some banks have a minimum salary requirement of around Dhs15,000 per month, and require you to have been with your company for at least three months. While this doesn’t apply to all lenders you should be prepared to call around if you fall below these thresholds. – Your DBR (Debt Burdon Ratio) is important. In simple terms this is the amount of debt exposure you have, relative to your salary. Your debt (such as personal loan repayments, mortgage repayments, etc.) should not exceed 50% of your salary each month. – 5% of your credit card limit will be counted as part of your DBR. This means if you have a credit card limit of Dhs100,000 then 5,000 Dhs will be added to any other monthly repayments you have to calculate your DBR. If your credit card limit will put you over the 50% threshold then you can ask your bank to reduce your limit.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate

Dealerships are eager to sell as many cars as possible. Always ask what kind of deal the company is able to offer you to buy one of their cars instead of the competition. They may not be able to take any money off the cost of the car but can possibly throw in extras such as extended servicing packages, free window tinting, or other products that add value to your purchase.

Depreciation matters, but so do your needs

With a few exceptions most cars will depreciate the moment you drive them out of the showroom. However, the rate of depreciation varies wildly from car to car, and is impacted by a number of factors – some of which mean that deprecation may not be as much of a concern as you might think. Generally speaking, the cheaper the car is new, the less you will lose on depreciation. New cars in the Dhs30,000 – 100,000 price range represent excellent value as a 20% depreciation loss doesn’t translate to a huge amount of cash. When this smaller loss is compared to the benefits you receive from owning a new car (such as warranty & service packages, and freebies such as insurance & registration) then a new car purchase becomes a lot more viable relative to buying used. The used car market doesn’t often identify the differences between each trim level very well, so while it may be easier to sell the top spec version, you won’t necessarily receive much more money for it than someone selling a low-mid spec version of the same car.

Think of the long-term running costs

One of the most important questions to ask yourself when buying a new car is, “How long do I intend on owning this car for?”. Combined with that, you need to consider what level of servicing costs you’re prepared to pay for. Once you have made those decisions you should pay attention to the service contracts being offered (or not) by the dealerships to help you figure out how much you may need to pay in the coming years for servicing and maintenance. As a general rule, European cars will be the most expensive to service and maintain in the UAE, followed by American cars, then Japanese cars, with Korean and Chinese brands being the cheapest to maintain.