Pilson Auto Group

Check Your Tires Before the Snow

Winter Tires for sale

Winter is around the corner whether we like it or not. The cold is coming and snow will soon be falling. That means it is time to check your tires. It is very important to do car maintenance before winter hits, so you know your vehicle is ready to take on the winter weather.

Your tires are your connection to the road, so it is important that they are in good shape for when winter weather conditions become snowy, icy and slushy. Below are some important things to consider about your tires before winter.

You will want to be sure you don’t need to replace your tires before winter weather hits. With less tread on your tires it is easy to slide even with not very much snow. To decide if you need to replace your tires, you will want to check your tread depth.

USA Today tells us how to check tread depth, “Stick a quarter into the tire grooves at several spots with George Washington's head upside down. If you can see the top of Washington's hair, you have 4/32 of an inch of tread or less. That means it's about time to replace your tires. You may have a little time left in warm, dry weather, but tires with less than 4/32 won't grip well in ice and snow.”

If you realize you need new tires before winter hits, you will need to decide if you want winter or all-season tires. According to experts like Woody Rogers, the director of tire information for Tire Rack, your decision will be based on whether or not you will be likely to have heavy snowfall. If you live in the North, you may want winter tires, but if you live farther south, all-season should be fine.

Are your tires prepared for winter? Use the tread depth check to find out. Then, if they need to be replaced, decide if you will need winter tires or all-season tires.

If you need your vehicle serviced before winter, you can set up an appointment here. The Pilson Pre-Owed Super Center will get your vehicle ready to rock for winter. Check out our service specials so you can save on your car maintenance.

Also, if you are looking to upgrade, the Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center is the used car dealer near you. Stop in today or call us at 217-718-6895 to see how we can help you.

Charleston Used Car dealer

Don’t Make This Expensive Mistake When Buying Used

Buying a used car can be a stressful and expensive process. Questions about price and reliability of used cars can flood your mind. The following list will help you get the most bang for your buck.


Know Your Options

Anyone wanting to buy a used car should know all of their options. Calling local dealerships, like Pilson Used Cars in Charleston, Illinois, can lead to successfully finding the perfect used vehicle for an affordable price. Flipping through your local newspaper and searching online are some other ways to know exactly what cars are available to you. As you find the used cars that are available for purchase, you should make a list. This list should include the make and model of the car, the price and where it is from. Listing cars from lowest to highest price will clearly show you all the option that you have.



Finding a price range and sticking to it is a guaranteed way to stay on budget. Once you find a used car you are interested in, it is important to look up what the price the same car goes for when it is brand new. Comparing the asking price of the used car to the new car can help determine if you want to continue pursing it.


Test Drive

Test driving a used car should always be done before making a purchase. Sitting behind the wheel and getting a feel for how the used car drives is important. Take note of the brakes and any emergency lights that pop up on the dashboard.



Inspections are absolutely necessary when buying a used car. Having a qualified mechanic do a full inspection of the used vehicle can help you save money over time. Hiring a mechanic will cost money, however he can end up saving you money by finding any detrimental issues with the vehicle. Getting a full inspection of the used car will give you peace of mind.


Click here or visit your Charleston Pilson Used Car dealer today!

What are the Fastest Selling Used Cars?

Used cars are a great option for people who are looking to spend a little less on their vehicle. You can get quality used vehicles at a significantly lower price than if you were buying these same vehicles new.

According to Thomas Lee and iSeeCars, the fastest selling used cars in 2017 are as follows:

  1. Fiat 500e (electric)
  2. BMW i3 (plug-in hybrid)
  3. Lexus IS 200t (gasoline)
  4. Toyota Plug-in Hybrid (plug-in hybrid)
  5. Hyundai Veloster Turbo (gasoline)
  6. Nissan LEAF (electric)
  7. Scion FR-S (gasoline)
  8. Mercedes-Benz GLC (gasoline)
  9. Ford Fusion Energi (plug-in hybrid)
  10. Tesla Model S (electric)

As you can see from these rankings, there are 3 electric vehicles, 3 plug-in hybrid vehicles and 4 gasoline vehicles that make up the top ten fastest selling used cars. That means alternative-fuel cars make up 7 out of 10 of these fastest selling vehicles of 2017.

Why are these alternative-fuel cars selling so quickly? It may have something to do with the prices.

For example, according to Doug DeMuro at Autotrader, “The current MSRP of the Nissan Leaf is $31,700, including shipping. But that's before a federal government tax rebate of $7,500, which effectively lowers that figure to $24,200. Then there are other incentives in addition to the federal tax rebate.”

Now, that is a new electric vehicle, but if you can get a new one for a great price, you will also be able to get a used electric vehicle for a great price. With the tax incentives these vehicles start lower and stay lower. This is probably why they are selling so fast. People may be more willing to try hybrid and electric technology if it comes at a lower price tag.

At Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center, we have a wide variety of makes and models of all types including electric and hybrid models. However, according to research, these vehicles won’t last long, so stop in and see us soon!

Used vehicles can give people a shot at a dream vehicle for a great price. At Pilson, we have our Pre-Owned Super Center location that provides you with used and certified pre-owned vehicles at great prices. You can even find vehicles that are under $10,000.

Come down to Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center at 1506 18th street in Charleston, IL or call us at (217) 718-6895 for more information. Don’t miss out on electric and hybrid cars because they are going fast.

Commercial Ford Trucks

A Little Slice of Expert Advice for Choosing the Best Modern Commercial Vehicles

As automakers continue to focus plenty of fresh effort on expanding the range of commercial fleet vehicles for sale to include plenty of new varieties of cars and trucks with wider degrees of features and capabilities, there’s never been a better time to refine your company’s approach to managing this essential aspect of logistics. With choices ranging from simple sedans to heavy duty, rugged worksite-ready trucks and even surprisingly luxurious cargo vans, those in the market for business vehicles will do well to take some solid shopping advice. That’s exactly what we’re here to deliver at Pilson Used Cars, and today we look to share some ideal expertise on navigating the fleet vehicle landscape from the fleet leaders at Ford.


More Choices Than Ever 

To get started, the experts at Fordfleet.com recommend taking a close look at exactly what you need your fleet to provide. Don’t be afraid to be detailed in noting more than just expectations for regular use scenarios and standard cargo, as it will help to narrow down your search by taking into account the large variety of features, accommodations, and capabilities available in fleet vehicles these days. What kind of experience do you envision from your ideal fleet vehicle? The more details you can include in your answer, the more likely you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for.


Getting Down to Details 

In parsing out the details, Ford recommends thinking about a few specific categories. First, how important is efficiency in regard to power, toughness, or space?  By keeping the efficiency capabilities of modern vehicles in mind, large amounts of money can be saved by being sure to focus on the right aspects of performance. Secondly, how important is image? Are you looking to present a uniform fleet, or will each vehicle be used in a more individual way by employees? Once again, this choice can make a big difference in your bottom line by helping to guide you to the best outlet for your vehicles of choice.


Stop By Today for More Expert Fleet Assistance!

By keeping some of these basic checkpoints in mind, you’re much more likely to come away with a fleet of commercial vehicles that will serve you beyond your expectations for years to come. While new fleet vehicles come with their own benefits, especially new Ford commercial vehicles thanks to a legacy of reliable excellence, there are also a wealth of outstanding and accommodating used fleet vehicles for sale right here at your reliable Mattoon commercial used dealer, Pilson Used Cars!

Best Family Cars

Every family is different. So is every family’s needs.

There’s no right or wrong choice when it comes to finding the best vehicle for your family. Initially, the search can seem overwhelming. You know you need something that’s good on gas and has enough space to accommodate three kids, a dog, hockey sticks, helmets and tutus, backpacks, groceries and whatever else you haul around with high safety ratings.

But where do you start? 

First, decide what type of car you want.  There are a number of different models made to accommodate families, so we wanted to break down the numbers and find the best in each class. 

Every year, usnews.com comes up with its list of Best Cars for Families by looking at more than 200 new vehicles - choosing its top picks. 

To help narrow down your choices, Pilson Used complied the vehicles in a list below.


Compact Cars

For those who need more space, but aren’t looking for a large vehicle, compact cars are small, but mighty. They offer ample room for back seat passengers, plenty of cargo space and great gas mileage.   

According to usnews.com the best compact family car of 2017 is the Kia Soul. Out of 24 other cars in its class, the Soul offers the best in cargo and cabin room, performance and design.

Other compact vehicles to be on the look for are the Honda Civic and the Volkswagen Golf.


Midsize Cars

Maybe you need a bit more room than what a compact vehicle has to offer. Midsize cars offer just that. One model that comes to mind is the Chevy Malibu. This year, it came in first place for both best hybrid and fourth place for best midsize car in usnews.com’s 2017 rankings.

With optimal power, acceleration and class-leading excellent fuel economy, the Chevy Malibu for sale at Pilson Pre-Owned Supercenter is a vehicle that can’t be beat.

The Finalists in this category are the Chevrolet Bolt and the Honda Accord Hybrid. 


Large Cars

One step up from the midsize range is the large sedan. A lower profile makes this car lighter and more aerodynamic than an SUV. While the market for these vehicles are competitive, they do provide large trunks, roomy cabins and great gas mileage.    

For 2017, the Kia Cadenza won Best Large Car for its smooth ride, great styling, rich amenities and affordability. Other cars that made the list in the same class are the Chevy Impala and the Buick LaCrosse.     



Wagon are becoming popular family cars again. They're more maneuverable than an SUV, provide loads of cargo space and offer better fuel economy. 

The award for 2017’s Best Wagon by usnews.com’s is the Subaru Outback. The finalists for this category are Audi Allroad, Volkswagen and Golf SportWagen.     



SUVs offer the most space out of all the categories, plus a higher profile.  They're some of the best family cars in Charleston, IL because they offer greater towing capacity, power and versatility.        

There are so many options this segment that usnews.com split up the winners for 2017 in various categories.

Here are a few that we found: Ford Edge, Honda Pilot, Honda CR-V, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Chevy Tahoe, Lincoln MKX, Infiniti QX60, BMW X3, and Cadillac Escalade.

Once you decide on the type of car or SUV you’re looking for, other things we suggest you consider are safety and reliability ratings, vehicle views, and family-friendly features.         


Once you decide which vehicle is right for your family, stop in and visit us at the Pre-Owned Supercenter in Charleston, IL!

Unexpected Benefits to Used Vehicle Market

It’s not every day that you get to look back on one of the low points of the modern economy and think happy thoughts, but nonetheless we’re here to give you a timely opportunity to experience that unlikely circumstance today! To be more specific, we’ve got some surprisingly good news about how recent dips in auto industry sales have contributed to a cycle that is now coming back around into a positive light for those seeking used cars for sale soon. So it is with the auto industry, and the economy in general, as it is with physics, but rather than that which goes up coming down in this case, drivers in the market for an unusually low-priced and high-quality used car this year can count on many of vehicles with falling sales in previous years to be coming back up into a very attractive boom for the pre-owned market this season.

The Cycle Comes Around

It’s required a bit of long-term evolution to go from recession to boom in this case, but the results are clear. After sales dropped precipitously three to four years ago in the wake of temporary economic decline, many automakers invested heavily in marketing attractive lease deals to maximize profits in a difficult climate. Now that these reasonably used vehicles are being pushed out of the lease cycle after doing temporary duty, there aren’t many better places for them to move but onto the lots of many a used car dealer, likely already doing their best to make these vehicles as enticing as possible.

A Tidal Wave of Fresh Stock

Expert estimates anticipate that approximately 3.5 million cars will be coming out of the lease cycle this year, transitioning from a drought climate to a very different one indeed, as the auto industry continues to push forward into a dynamic new era. With all of these details in mind, you can bet that used car dealers like Pilson Used will be looking to increase turnaround in many interesting ways, offering lots of exciting deals, extra support, and an even better selection than ever. Be sure to keep an eye on us right here to stay up to date on everything that we’re doing right here at your dedicated Central Illinois used car dealer.

Come Visit Us for Our Best Summer Ever!

It’s going to be another blistering summer here at Pilson Used Cars, but you can bet that we’ll be doing everything we can to make your used car shopping experience an enjoyably breezy one. As suggested by these shifting industry dynamics, there’s been no better time to get in touch with us in quite a few years, and you can bet that we’ll have plenty of deals popping up to make the season even more inviting than anticipated! Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us anytime.

Certified Pre-Owned cars for sale

Trustworthy Advice About Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles from Kelley Blue Book

As the automotive market continues to evolve, details can sometimes get a bit foggy when it comes to the terminology used to distinguish new classes of vehicles from the familiar general categories. Over the course of the last couple decades, the prevalence of the Certified Pre-Owned tag has become a good example of one such distinction, standing as an increasingly relevant and economically important sub-category of the used car market. Though ‘CPO’ has been on the rise for some time, it’s entirely understandable that you may not know exactly what sets it apart. If you do, you may still be surprised to learn about how significant the Certified Pre-Owned class is today, and how you may be able to make the most of it next time you’re looking for a vehicle.

What’s CPO All About?

 Today we look to one of the most trusted names in the automotive world, Kelley Blue Book, for some straightforward information on the Certified Pre-Owned market, as well as some well-founded advice on how to make it work for you.

Whereas the term ‘used vehicle’ was once used to describe everything other than a brand new vehicle, the distinctions between used and Certified Pre-Owned have become increasingly pronounced at your average used car dealer in recent years. First and foremost, Kelley Blue Book imparts, drivers can anticipate that Certified Pre-Owned vehicles share a few basic characteristics, including low age and mileage, no major maintenance history, and a professional ‘refurbishment.’ It isn’t just a difference in title for image’s sake, though, as Certified Pre-Owned vehicles can make claim to one other major distinguishing factor: the CPO vehicle program.


The All-Important Plan

 Under the terms of Pre-Owned vehicle program, drivers can often benefit from a combination of the dealer’s desire to sell more afforable vehicles while also upholding their reputations for quality and integrity. Under program terms, a CPO vehicle can bring with it some serious cash bonuses, special, low-interest loans, and even an exchange policy. Ultimately, these plans, backed by established and reputable dealers, are what make a Certified Pre-Owned vehicle more than just a used car in ideal shape.


Stop By to Learn More Today!

 It’s a bigger time than ever for Certified Pre-Owned vehicles, as major off-loads of leased vehicles and other varieties of lightly used vehicles with reputable credentials make their way onto the lots of dealers of all kinds. Learn more about CPO at Kelley Blue Book, and remember: for your ideal approach to the best used cars for sale in the local area, you can always count on your leading Central Illinois used car dealer, Pilson Used Cars!

Tire Maintenance Charleston, IL


Proper tire maintenance is one of the most overlooked aspects of vehicle safety for people today.

And with more than 44 million Americans traveling during the summer months, knowing how to effectively care for your tires is essential - not only for the safety of your passengers, but others on the road too.

According to AAA, it’s recommended that yourcar’s tires be checked at least once a month and again before long trips.  In areas where the climate’s colder and lots of potholes and debris,tires should be inspected more often.

But tire inspection is just the beginning.  In order to keep your wheels in tip-top condition, it helps to understand the role they play in the functionality of your vehicle.  

Your tires are the only part of your car that comes in direct contact with the road and without the right air pressure, tread depth and alignment,they can’t perform at their maximum potential.  And when not functioning properly, tires can affect the braking, ride and handling of your vehicle.   

With this in mind, take a look at some of the tips Pilson Used found in order to stay informed, while handling the upkeep on your carin the process.

Regular TireInspection and Maintenance Can Help You Save a Lot of Money 

Your tires will last a long time with routine care.  When over or under inflated,tires lose their longevity and can easily go from lasting 60,000 miles to 48,000.

You also save money on fuel. Believe it or not, underinflated tires not only affect your fuel consumption, but require the most effort to move your vehicle forward.

So check the pressure of your tires often. Sites like michelin.com offers complete details on just what to do.  

Many people may not realize it, but the alignment of your vehicle also affects your tire tread. When they’re out of alignment, the wheels of your car can cause rapid and uneven wear. And because each side of your car wears them down differently, rotating your tires is a must.  

Be aware of the balance of your tires. Improper balance can cause irregular wear and vehicle vibration. 

Heat is Not Your Car’s Friend

Tire blow-out is a reality when the temperature starts to rise. The combination of heated road surfaces and under inflated or overloaded tires can lead to overheating and blow-out. Be sure your tires maintain the same temperature as their surroundings when parked in the heat for more than 3 hours.    

What Your Cargo Capacity?

Before you set out on your next road trip, be sure you know just how much cargo your vehicle can haul. Check your tire information placard for the maximum weight of both passengers and cargo to avoid overloading your tires and your vehicle. 

Do You Have a Spare?         

Today, most new cars don’t come with spare tires. It’s possible though that they may include a run-flat tire or a tire-inflation or sealant kit. While these can be helpful when you can’t get to a tire shop right away, they’re not a replacement for a spare.


So you’ve gone long enough without a vehicle and you’re ready to buy a new car.

If this is your first purchase, you probably feel like most people; it’s a pretty big deal.  And you’re right.

Whether your teenage son or daughter is just starting to navigate the roads or you’re a veteran driver who’s looking for some brand new wheels, Pilson Used’s  tips will steer you in the direction you need to go to find the best deals at the right price.

One of the very first things experts recommend to new car buyers is sitting down and hammering out a budget.  Ideally this should happen before looking for a vehicle – that way; you don’t start focusing in on something that might be out of line with what you want to spend.  

One thing to consider is looking for a vehicle that is roughly 20 percent of your annual salary – after all, this is your first car purchase.  Start off modest – small sedans, hatchbacks and mid-sized vehicles are all great choice for the first-time buyer – and then make a goal to get that shiny, red sports car later on down the line.      

After you’ve determined your budget and you’ve found a few cars within your price range, think about some of the other things you want in a vehicle like good gas mileage, reliable safety features, ample interior space, functional technology, etc.

Many car buying websites including Edmunds.com and Cars.com will do most of the initial legwork for you. Just plug in your criteria and they give you a list of vehicles to match. Some will even offer reviews and point you to a Mattoon used car dealer.         

When you’ve narrowed down your list of choices, do a side by side comparison based on pricing, options and design. Which ones offer more of what you want? Be sure you’re clear on which features you prefer before going to the dealership. Sometimes vehicles have more options than you need at a price you don’t want.                           

So you’re at the dealership and you’ve decided on a model. Before sitting down with a salesman, ask to take the car on a test drive.  Use the online reviews as a way to gage the positives and negatives about the vehicle. Does more than one review mention the lack of truck space? Do other reviews praise the manufacturer’s use of technology? Compare this feedback to your likes and dislikes.

Buying a new car is kind of like finding “the one.”  You know it when you see it. So, when you’re ready to make a deal, be sure to bring a trusted friend along with you. Car buying can be an emotional decision and its helps to have someone to bounce thoughts off of.      

When speaking to the salesman, try to negotiate the best price for your car. You should be able to find out the current wholesale price of your vehicle online. Between that and the amount you’ve budgeted, that should be your target price. You should account for taxes, fees, licensing and insurance when making your purchase.

Lastly, effective negotiation can get you into the car of your dreams at just the right price. Once you’re ready, stop by Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center for a great deal!

Charleston, IL Used Car Dealer

Research is a Must for Buying a Used Car

As we often say here at Pilson Used Cars, there’s never too much time that you can spend researching the used vehicles you’re interested in. When looking for the best option, it’s important to get to know your prospect inside and out on both general and specific terms. By exhausting the resources that are readily available to everyone these days, you only stand to be better equipped to know exactly what to expect when it comes to important details like price vs. condition, service history, and average longevity.


Starting with the Basics

In taking a multifaceted approach to learning as much as you can about your prospective used vehicle, it only makes sense to start with the big picture and work down to the small. The internet makes resources like Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book easier to use than ever before, helping you to familiarize yourself with the basic details including a model’s overall reputation, common issues, recall history, and average longevity, as well as presenting customer reviews and professional analysis for review without asking much time or trouble.


Digging Deep on the Details

Moving on to the specifics, the particular history and characteristics of the vehicle you’re considering should be examined as closely as possible. Sellers should always be willing to provide a title and receipts for any major service, and resources like Carfax and AutoCheck, though often asking a nominal subscription fee, provide extremely valuable information on the individual history of many vehicles, organized by their vehicle identification numbers. If you’re keen to be certain of a vehicle’s health, and depending on how much you’re looking to spend, it can also be very worthwhile to arrange to have a mechanic of your own choosing provide a pre-purchase examination.


Risky Business

Should relevant records either be exceptionally hard to come by or otherwise not available, or if a professional identifies any glaring issues, we definitely recommend reconsidering the choice, as reports still go to show that it’s entirely too common for used car buyers to file official complaints with agencies like the Better Business Bureau in regard to unexpected difficulties with a recently purchased ‘lemon.’ Nearly 26,000 reports were filed with the BBB last year alone in regard to used car purchases, so it’s undoubtedly important to protect yourself.


Let Us Make It Easy!

Naturally, the more research you have under your belt, the better prepared you’ll be to know the relevant details on your next prospective used car, and the better prepared you’ll be to spot anything out of order. Of course, there is always one place that you can trust to reliably provide everything you’ll need to feel entirely secure in your purchase of a high-quality used vehicle, as well as making it a priority to provide you with the ideal shopping experience. It’s right here at your local Charleston used car dealer, Pilson Used Cars, where we’ll be ready anytime to help you to find exactly what you’re looking for!

Certified or Used: What Should You Do?

When people are in the market for a used car, but want to get the best automobile for their money, they generally tend to search for certified pre-owned vehicles.

But just how much better are vehicles that have been stamped, “certified” than a non-certified vehicle? Pilson invites you take to compare the two before you make your next purchase.      

Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles

A certified pre-owned vehicle is a car that is only a few years old, has low mileage and has been given a thorough inspection at the dealership. Once it passes inspection, the car or truck then gets an extended warranty. While it’s possible to get bumper-to-bumper coverage on a CPO, it does cost extra to do so.    

Some programs will even extend the car’s original powertrain warranty.  With a manufacturer’s CPO warranty, the vehicle can be taken to any dealer for repairs.         

Many certified-pre-owned vehicles are late model trade-ins or lease returns. They typically go through a 160-point inspection process.  CPOs also offer things like free maintenance, satellite radio subscription, trip interruption coverage and roadside assistance.  They might also come with low finance rates and other promotions exclusive only to certified pre-owned vehicles.     

If you sell your vehicle, the CPO warranty could also be transferred to the buyer. Free vehicle history reports should be available, as well. And if a buyer finds out that their CPO automobile had a salvage title, in some cases, CarFax could buy the car back.         

When dealers certify a vehicle, they pay the manufacturer a fee to certify that it performed has done a comprehensive inspection and repairs.  Just be sure that the dealership isn’t offering a “certified” vehicle that has gone through basic inspection or reconditioning. These cars haven’t met the standards outlined by the manufacturer and most likely won’t come with a factory extended warranty.  

Also beware of dealers who claim to certify their vehicles after purchase. In this case, you’d be buying an extended warranty.

Used Cars

Edmunds.com reminds us that while a CPO vehicle offers more protection and peace-of-mind than a non-certified used car, it’s not new.  Not all of the parts are replaced even though the car has gone through a 200-point inspection.            

Used cars are generally less expensive than CPO vehicles.  In fact, manufacturers often mark up the price on a certified pre-owned car about 2-8 percent higher than normal.  Because CPO’s are so popular, experts say prices could continue to go up, depending on demand.        

In other cases, you’ll find a CPO being sold at the same price as a new car, while a used car can save you thousands of dollars.  You also have more negotiating power with non-certified used cars. 

Some experts say there’s no huge difference a certified pre-owned vehicle and a good used car.

If you have the vehicle checked out by a mechanic, you’re likely to find a reliable vehicle at a great price. It’s actually not that difficult to “certify” your vehicle yourself. According to Tom Kontos, VP of online vehicle auction site Adesa Corp.  Simply have it inspected by a reputable mechanic and then get an extended warranty.                 

With any vehicle you buy, do the research ahead of time.

Stop by Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center. We’ll save you time and money on your next used or certified pre-owned vehicle.


Best Used Cars for Teens

Choosing a new car for your teen river can be a daunting task. You’re mainly concerned about safety and reliability, while your teen may be want a vehicle looks cool and that’s fun to drive.

In this instance, finding a middle ground can go a long way in making the best decision possible for everyone.

So what are some of the things that you as a parent should look for in a used car without having to necessarily compromise on aesthetics or coolness?

Fortunately, because of government mandates, most late model used cars come equipped with standard safety features like dual airbags and passive restraint systems, inside trunk handles, tire pressure monitors and electronic stability control.

But nowadays many manufacturers go above and beyond the minimum standards instructed by the federal government.

Pilson did some research and came up with some of the safest and most affordable vehicles for teens according to usnews.com.

The website created its own ranking system for new and used automobiles in 2007 and each year it compiles a list of the safest, most reliable cars that people can afford.  The information is gathered from top automotive experts and third party providers. Each vehicle is then given a score based on critic’s opinions, performance, interior, total cost of ownership, safety and reliability.

The cars represented in usnews.com’s study are at the top of the list when it comes to ranking. There a number of other great choices that might be a better fit for your family.   Ultimately it’s up to you to decide.  

The 2010 Ford Fusion receives 9.6 out of 10 – one of the highest ratings for safety and reliability. Its roomy interior also provides your teen with enough space to a haul their stuff in.    

The 2012 Chevrolet Malibu scored 9.3 out of 10 for balanced handling and an interior that is teen driver-friendly.  

The 2010 Toyota Prius got a 8.9 out of 10. It may not be the coolest looking car on the road, but Toyota’s has a solid reputation of reliability.  This energy efficient model is only capable of about 100 horsepower – eliminating the worry about your teen speeding around town.

The 2011 Ford Taurus received 9.3 out of 10 in usnews.com car rankings. It’s known for its affordability, safety and reliability.    

Touting a perfect score, usnews.com says the 2012 Honda Accord is “one of the most fun-to-drive used cars in its class.” It dependable, provides great handling, is affordable and will probably outlast your teen’s teenage years.       

Here are a few other things to think about when you’re scouting out used cars for sale:  

  • Check crash results as you look at safety features
  • Be sure the vehicle has anti-lock brakes
  • Never choose large SUVs that have the tendency to roll-over
  • Check for recalls of your model 


How's the Used Car Market

Though we’ve certainly moved past the worst of the ill effects of the automotive recession of a decade past, the far-reaching consequences are definitely still having a serious impact on certain aspects of the automotive industry. Beyond causing a crisis of identity that set the industry on some new evolutionary paths, a scenario that may have been necessary but which certainly would have been more welcome in a less damaging form, those difficult years remain a strong influence over the state of the used car market in particular.


Understandable Shortfalls

It’s understandable if that doesn’t seem like a very direct correlation, especially after nearly ten years have passed. Considering the logical details, though, it’s clear why the market for used cars and trucks is still working through these long-term consequences. Understandably, since few people had the disposable income to buy new cars from 2008 to 2010, quality used versions of new cars from that era are still surprisingly hard to find. When one can be found, it’s usually closer to new and pricier for it, than most comparable choices available at any other point in time.


Shifting Trends

Analysts from a variety of well-known automotive organizations seem to be in agreeance lately: if you’re looking for a used car from one of these years, you can definitely expect a tougher time than most. In a statement made to the Detroit News recently, Senior Analyst Ivan Drury of Edmunds highlighted this issue, also noting that a surprising upturn in leased vehicles during the years since the recession has presented another difficulty to the recovery of the used car market’s multifaceted market, “flooding” used car dealers with younger, more expensive vehicles.


Nothing Lasts Forever (Thankfully)


The combination of these two factors – the lack of used vehicles from 2008-2010 and a flood of newer used cars taking their place on lots – has presented something of an unprecedented interruption to the used market. In terms of identifiable benefits, this has also made trade-ins and used sales from that period a bit more valuable from a seller’s perspective. Still, though analysts don’t seem entirely sure about when things will even back out (leasing of new vehicles is still up significantly), it would be inconsiderate not to remember that things are always changing in the automotive market, and that it’s proven many times in the past to be capable of adapting to difficult circumstances.

Causes Clear, But What Next?

Though it’s still tough out there, we’re confident that things are on the way back to relative normalcy in the used car market. But, we would also be remiss here at Pilson Used Cars if we didn’t make it our mission to do our best to mitigate some of the tough aspects of the modern automotive landscape. To that end, you can always count on finding straightforward, knowledgeable people here at Pilson Used, where we make it a fundamental priority to stay on top of current issues and to work directly with customers in helping them find something that will still serve them well. When it’s time for your next vehicle, you can be sure that everyone here at Pilson Used Cars will be ready, with all of the facts on hand, to make the process as easy as possible no matter what the hurdles may be!

Used Car Dealer Charleston, IL

Detect Water Damage When Buying Used

Each year, flood waters from major storms around the U.S. cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to vehicles. In many instances, automobiles are left beyond repair, while others are able to be salvaged and resold.

That’s exactly what people in the business of selling water-damaged used cars count on. When a car or truck loses 70-90 percent of its retail value due to damage, it’s labeled a salvage title.

These vehicles are then sold at auctions to buyers who fix and resell them - full disclosure or they're bought by others who rebuild and sell them without informing the buyer of their salvage title.

If you’re considering purchasing a vehicle and you suspect that it’s been damaged by water, here are a few tips Pilson has come up with to help you avoid becoming a victim of salvage title fraud.

Know the Risks of Buying a Salvage Title Vehicle

One of the problems associated with buying a vehicle that has undergone extensive water damage is that when it’s sold under false pretenses, it’s very difficult to sell again.

Even if the seller provides full disclosure, flood damaged vehicles are subject to corrosion and other   serious defects making them potentially hazardous to drive.      

A reputable dealer will tell you if the car you're interested in has been in a flood. Inquire about the vehicle's title so that you know whether it’s come from an area that is prone to flooding. It’s also a good idea to get a CarFax report so you have all of the details about the vehicle's history.

Some cars may have only sustained minor flood damage and still be a good investment. Knowing how much damage was done to the car in the storm can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

Check for Signs of Damage

If there’s been significant water damage to a vehicle, it will be obvious. You just have to know where to look. Start by checking under the car, inside the trunk or glove compartment, above the gas tank, and through all electronic components.   

Be aware of any odd smells. Flood damaged cars often have a strong, moldy aroma. Some sellers will try to cover it up by using air fresheners or deodorizers.   Mold has a very distinct scent. Don’t ignore it.     

Talk To a Professional

If a vehicle you’re considering has sustained some water damage and isn’t raising any red flags, have a mechanic check it out. They can tell you to what extent any parts have been damaged and how much it would be to fix them. It’s also helpful to have the car’s damage report. That way, you have a better idea of exactly what you’re dealing with. 


We are ready to help at your Charleston, IL used car dealership.  Stop in today and rest assured to find a used vehicle that is for you!

Best Used Trucks

Today’s Best New Vehicles are Tomorrow’s Ideal Used Buys

You can bet that we’re always keeping our eyes on the best-of lists from trustworthy sources around here, as today’s top-rated new vehicles are, naturally, only destined to become some of tomorrow’s best used cars as well. As certain highly-populated and competitive segments of the automotive market become increasingly difficult to wade through when considering the best used options (particularly trucks and SUVs), it’s also becoming more and more helpful to look to the advice of quality reporting on which vehicles are being best reviewed by both critics and everyday drivers. With the help of some detailed analysis presented by the trusted reviewers at U.S. News and World Report, we’ve got some updated details on this year’s best new and used trucks.


Cross referencing the best-reviewed trucks of 2017 with those of 2014, we present a look at the accomplished entries that continuously top U.S. News’ rankings.


Ram 1500

First is the Ram 1500, which, after earning accolades for a quality ride, fuel-efficient diesel option, and spacious cabin, continues to find success in 2017. Just in case you’re only just beginning to consider a quality used vehicle for sometime down the road, you’ll find it helpful to know that reviewers found the current model to expand on these standout features, with more comfort, a notable turbodiesel option, and friendly pricing.


Chevy Silverado 1500

Next is the Chevy Silverado 1500, a popular choice that has consistently earned high marks largely by offering a lot of well-designed options. The 2014 model impressed U.S. News’ reviewers with standout comfort and noticeable power, even at the base level. This year’s model steps things up with a range of engines including a powerful V6 and two beefy V8s, as well as featuring more user- and family-friendly interior options than ever, like a top-of-the-line video entertainment system.


GMC Sierra 1500

The GMC Sierra 1500 rolls in on both lists with a wealth of reliable strengths, focusing on a considerate balance of style and performance. Rated highly for quality materials and luxurious features, as well as leading V8 power, the 2014 Sierra 1500 is improved this year with a wider expansion of trim options and some even more powerful engines.


Ford F-150

Rounding things out as usual is the perennially superlative Ford F-150, which seems to only keep finding new ways to improve on success. After leading the pack time and again, and standing as a reliable used purchase at just about every turn, this year’s redesigned F-150 brings some considerate new details to the table. A fresh, aluminum-centric architecture lowers total weight and reportedly lends a surprising amount of new maneuverability. Increased fuel efficiency, new engine options, and plenty of cutting-edge tech features make it an easy candidate for a used purchase in the near future.

Check Back Soon!

For more advice and tips on finding the best used cars on the market, be sure to stay updated with our regular news here. With all the extra work we put in to keep you informed, you can be sure that Pilson Used Cars has more to offer than any other used car dealer in the area!



According to experts in the industry, there's never been a better time to buy used than now. As the seven-year automotive industry recovery continues, more and more used cars are being sold over new cars as the supply is greater than the current demand. Analysts also predict that this same trend will continue through 2019, leading to lower pricing for used vehicles overall.


The Forecast for Pre-Owned Vehicles

Last year, used cars sales hit a record high at 17.5 million – the forecast for 2017 makes an increase to 17.6 million. For total light vehicle sales, that number has risen over the past three years. The deregulation of policies previously put in place, in addition to an expected fiscal stimulus are said to be two things that will further drive the economy.  Jeff Schuster, head of forecasting at LMC Automotive says these factors should lead to another year of record U.S. auto sales.

It’s predicted that this year, off-lease supplies will increase by 285,000 units to 3.4 million and by 2018, rise again as new leases are taken out in 2017.


What Does This Mean for Used Car Buyers?

Some of the most popular consumer leases are the compact car; midsize car, compact SUV and midsize SUV.  And with more vehicles coming off lease over the next few years, there will be a larger selection of cars and trucks. For buyers, this means less money out-of-pocket.

If a dip in pricing isn’t enough incentive for buying off-lease late model vehicles, here a few other things to consider before you make your next purchase.

Off-lease cars and trucks are “near new” vehicles with low mileage and good maintenance history. Some may even still be under factory warranty, which means much of the repair work is already covered by the manufacturer.

You can usually expect off-lease cars and trucks to be in good condition inside and out with many having gone through an intensive, multi-point inspection process. Normally, off-lease means there hasn’t been any body work or customization done to the vehicle - some may even come from corporate fleets.

Purchasing an off-lease vehicle is about as close as you can get to buying new and if you’re in the market to buy, Pilson is your one-stop shop for the best deals on a great used car.

Don’t Forget to Put Recall History at the Top of Your Used Car Research List!

You don’t have to tell us that sometimes the need to research many aspects about a potential vehicle purchase can often seem like an intimidating thing. General pricing, consumer and critic reviews, and individual vehicle maintenance history are only the beginning when it comes to protecting yourself and getting a fair value for your money. Especially when it comes to purely private sales, though, the importance of research becomes particularly undeniable. Today, we’d like to bring up a topic that often goes overlooked in that process, one that, with a little willingness to dig, can end up saving you from lots of possible difficulty after your purchase.


Hidden Dangers

Though there’s not really such a thing as too much research, there are definitely things that can come back to haunt you if you decide to cut it short. One of the most commonly overlooked of these is a model’s recall history, which represents an elusive list of possible difficulties in the event that previous owners haven’t been considerate in keeping up with recall orders. This is often more than just an issue when it comes to the soundness of the vehicle in question; it also presents major potential issues for driver and passenger safety. If only for that reason, it’s definitely important to make sure that checking the recall history for any used vehicle you consider is high on your list of necessary research steps.


Open Recalls

Of even more immediate concern to anyone looking to buy a used car is the possibility of open recalls, such as the one still currently affecting the passenger side airbags in many common vehicles and stands as one of the largest recalls in automotive history. While it’s certainly and inarguably best practice for sellers to make such things known to buyers, there are currently no laws in place to require private sellers to make open recall information known to buyers, no matter how much danger such issues may pose. For your own safety, it’s very important to double check the recall information for each vehicle under consideration. This information can easily be found on manufacturer websites or explained in person by a manufacturer representative over the phone, so don’t hesitate to add it to your list.


Let Us Make It Easy!

Recall information stands as only one of the undervalued aspects of researching a used car purchase, but that’s exactly why we consider it our duty here at Pilson Used Cars to help equip drivers to make the best decisions that they can for themselves. Be sure to check in regularly for more tips and worthwhile reminders, and remember that our policies of support extend to every aspect of our business, particularly when it comes to selling used vehicles. With that in mind, you can always expect to get the most for your money right here at your local Pilson Used Cars!

Used Car Dealer Mattoon, IL

Don't Forget to Make the Most of Depreciation When Shopping Used

It’s not a secret for anyone with any experience shopping for cars that immediate loss of value is something that always has to be factored into the consideration of buying a new car. With an estimated 22 percent of value lost at the time of purchase, the fact of depreciation is a difficult thing that makes buying a new car something a bit trickier than buying used.

 Surprising Results

When it comes to shopping used, however, it’s important to remember just how much the fact of depreciation can become a positive element in the process. With new cars all but guaranteed to lose so much monetary value as soon as they’re bought, the advantage clearly falls to those who are willing to take on some of the self-directed effort required to make the most out of shopping for a used car. Considering the numbers, it’s not unreasonable to assume that a huge price break can be had on a vehicle that’s new in every way except on paper, and letting this fact guide your used shopping efforts can definitely produce some downright surprising results.

In an article compiled for USA Today, experts mention that the recent rise in two and three-year leases has provided the used market with a wealth of prime young vehicles lately. By jumping on some of these post-lease options at the two or three year mark, used shoppers stand to come away with good deals on like-new vehicles that are still at the height of their popularity.

 Resale Value

Further, automotive industry analysts do well to point out that the resale value of used cars is much better retained in relation to their purchase prices. Since the brunt of depreciation has already been dealt with by the initial purchase, second or third-hand used sellers can hope to do much better in recouping their investments. By looking for a used car that’s only about a year old, savvy shoppers can also look forward to getting a very solid three to four years out of their top choice before continued depreciation or increased maintenance requirements take a serious toll on resale value.


When taking the fact of depreciation to heart, the wide variety of benefits in buying used is made more than clear. Add to that the idea that new car depreciation can make it so buying used doesn’t have to look or feel like it, and we think it’s pretty hard not to look favorably on buying used at any level. For more tips on buying used and information about the evolving used car market, stay tuned to our blog, and for the best advice and selection of used cars in the local area, don’t look any further than Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center!


Buying a used car

How Many Miles is Too Many When Buying Used

Trying to determine if whether the mileage on a used car is too high is not so cut and dry anymore.

There are a number of things that consumers should look at before searching for a previously owned vehicle and deciding if it's a good buy or not.

Along with mileage, consider this before your next used car purchase.

Pilson came up with a list below.


Should You Go By The Brand

In the past, you could tell a lot by brand of the vehicle and its mileage, but nowadays, that's not always the case.

Even though you might be looking at a high mileage Japanese vehicle (considered more reliable than another brands) the potential for problems is still there.

Low Mileage Good - High Mileage Bad

Sometimes low mileage is not an accurate indication of the quality of used vehicles.

A car that has low mileage, but in poor condition is usually not a better option than a vehicle that has high mileage and in good condition.

Experts say that when cared for properly, a car with low mileage will heed longer life, have lower ownership costs and higher resale value.

On the other hand, if you find a low mileage car that may be ten years old or more - there's a possibility that it could have been sitting in the previous owner's garage and hasn't been driven as much as it should.

Drivetrain components and other car parts need to run regularly for a smooth ride. And if the car hasn't been driven on a regular basis, it probably hasn't had much maintenance done either.

City Miles vs. Highway Miles

Autotrader.com suggests also considering whether the used vehicle you want has been driven mostly in the city or on the highway. City driving is harder on a car than highway driving. So, it's good to know how the car's been handled.

Have An Inspection Done

The general rule of thumb when buying a used car is 'never judge a book by its cover.' So it's a good idea to have a qualified mechanic on hand to inspect the vehicle you want to purchase.

A good inspection usually runs about $75-$125 and can tell you what kind of condition the car is in, how well it's been maintained and if there could be any potential problems down the road While it may not seem like it at the time, It’s well worth the money in the long run.

Obtain A CarFax

A vehicle history report is another valuable method of protection when buying used.

A CarFax can tell you what kind of condition the car is in, the service history, as well as the mileage.

Get A Warranty

Some dealers offer certified used vehicles, which usually guarantees that the car has gone through a multipoint inspection, while offering a limited warranty on the powertrain and non-powertrain components.


Don’t forget to stop in to Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center to find the used car you’re looking for!


Used Cars Mattoon, IL

Top All-Wheel Drive Vehicles to Consider Before another Winter Season Hits

If there’s any most important time of year be able to rely on the safety and all-weather capability of your vehicle, it’s definitely the winter season. Though regular attention to vehicle maintenance is an essential part of owning a vehicle in any climate or terrain, it’s undeniable that in most of the United States, the winter season poses the most adverse challenges to driving and safety on the road.

Thankfully, some vehicles are just better at handling these challenges right out of the gate, with built-in capabilities that lend them serious advantages for folks who regularly face difficult cold seasons on the road. Of all of these features, one of the oldest, simplest, and most valuable in terms of all-around utility is certainly all-wheel drive. Lending an extra hand when the road gets rough, an all-wheel drive vehicle often still makes the difference in whether or not a vehicle can safely travel at all when the worst of winter hits.

Today, with some help from the New York Daily News, we look to share a concise list of some of the most consistently high-rated all-wheel drive used vehicles around, including some enduring favorites from recent years as well as some relatively new arrivals to the used market. Whether you’re looking to get better equipped specifically for a harsh winter season in your area, or just looking for a vehicle that offers a bit more security in more driving circumstances, these suggestions provide a good entry point.

It won’t surprise many that the longtime all-wheel drive compact favorite, the 2002-2006 Subaru WRX, tops this shortlist of vehicles to look for. Following it up, though, is an unexpected entry from Suzuki, the SX4 Hatchback, which became an unusual but well-received option during its 2006-2013 run. Another relatively “underrated” entry comes next in the form of the 2001-2007 Volkswagen Passat 4Motion, which showed off some truly astounding all-weather capability as well as a wide variety of configuration options. The often-overlooked Toyota Matrix, with its tough, efficient hatch-wagon combo design, rounds out the first portion of the list.

Topping the list in the final three slots, the short-lived 2005-2007 Mazdaspeed6 starts things off, standing alone as a stylish and powerful sports sedan that also offers exceptional AWD capability. For those looking for an option that also focuses on efficiency, the 2005-2015 Ford Fusion brought the company’s best AWD technology to the driver-favorite compact platform. Finally, another longtime Subaru favorite closes things out, as the 2003-2009 Outback still stands as one of the category’s best regarded classics.

If you’re in the market for a top-quality used vehicle to help step things up when the snow starts to pile or when the ice starts to creep up,  there’s no better place to get started with a personal introduction to an all-weather capable all-wheel drive vehicle right here at Pilson Used Cars today. Keep an eye out here for plenty more tips on making the most out of buying used!


2016 Jeep Wrangler

Used Jeep Wrangler Buyers’ Tips

The used Jeep Wrangler has a long history steeped in American culture and traditions.

Since the WWII-era Willys MB, the Wrangler has been a four-wheel drive favorite for off-road utility vehicle enthusiasts in America and beyond.

With such a well-documented past and unequivocally rugged performance, there should be no question about the reliability and dependability of the Wrangler nameplate.

But as with all used vehicles, if you're in the market for a good pre-owned vehicle, there are certain criterion that even Jeep lovers can’t afford to bypass.

Here are a few tips Pilson Used found that might prove handy if you’re looking specifically to purchase a used Jeep Wrangler.


1. Research Your Jeep Model Options

To many people, this might seem pretty obvious, but if you’re just starting out and don’t know much about the history of the vehicle you’re considering, this is a good place to start. Get familiar with different models and their engines - find the one that will be best meet your needs.  


2. Are You Looking For A Hard Top Or Soft Top? 

It’s important to note, that even though there are hard tops designed to endure the cold winter weather, there are also soft top models that offer the same protection during the off-seasons.


3. Inspect the Truck for Any Kind of Damage

This is especially true when looking at older model vehicles. Check under the carpet, floor mats and drain plugs, the master brake cylinders and mounts - especially around the fender and logos. Also check for rust in any of the compartments.


4. Check The Battery and Fluids


5. Do An Engine Check 

Different Jeeps, like those made from 1997-2000 have a 4.0L six-cylinder engine. Some models were switched from plug wires to a coil-on-plug ignition system. Others, like the 2005 version, gained un upgraded throttle body. Inspect the exhaust manifold, catalytic converters, and plastic tank radiators.


6. Inspect the Rest of the Vehicle

Can you unzip the soft top? Are their rips? Is the stitching coming undone? Check all electronics, Are the window frame and seal crack free? Do the pedals and brakes work? Make sure the battery is not eroded.


7. Check the Transmission

Is it working properly? Find out if the vehicle is manual or automatic transmission and check the fluid levels and clutch fluid reservoir levels, respectively.


8. What is the Condition of the Steering, T-Case and Axles?  

Examine the steering linkages to be sure they are not broken or worn out. Check for leaking in the slip yoke output or binding in the T-case linkage.


9. Check the Vehicle’s Suspension H

This is important if you plan to do a lot of off-roading. Examine the arms, bushings, and plastic fender flares on your Wrangler.

If you’re buying your first Jeep, find someone who is familiar with the brand to take with you before you make your purchase. It will make your job finding the best used Wrangler that much easier.               



Pilson Used Car Center

Avoid Vin Cloning When Buying Used

VIN cloning is a lot like identity theft.

Criminals take the vehicle identification number (VIN) of a legally owned vehicle and place it in the window or body of one that has been stolen.

VIN cloning is considered a form of title fraud. And according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau and other sources, it's a sophisticated scheme that has cost more than $36 million in fraudulent vehicle transactions since 2001.

Pilson obtained specifics from fbi.gov, stating that many of these cloned vehicles are luxury automobiles and fully-loaded SUVs that have not only been stolen, but have had the VIN plates switched with the legitimate numbers of similar vehicles.

Thieves register the stolen cars under the new VIN and then sell them to (usually) unsuspecting customers.

One of the FBI's largest VIN cloning cases occurred in Florida where more than 1000 vehicle identification numbers were replaced and passed off to buyers in 20 states and several different countries.

And the effects of title theft often affects more than just the criminals who do the cloning.

If the vehicle is sold to an unsuspecting party, police can seize it, leaving the victim with no car, no money and a list of fees associated with the car to be paid off.  A buyer could also be accused of other offenses by purchasing a cloned vehicle with a checkered past.

In some cases, statutory law will mandate that the dealer who sells a car with a stolen VIN, has to pay the customer back.

While the incidents of title theft and VIN cloning have increased over the past 15 years, consumers don't need to fall victim to these crimes.

There are ways you can prevent purchasing a vehicle that has been cloned.

  • Choose a reputable car dealer like Pilson Used Auto.
  • If you plan to buy an older model luxury vehicle or SUV, find out if it's being sold for significantly less than similar models.
  • Get a copy of the car's vehicle history report. Sites like com offer free reports.
  • Check the VIN number in the dashboard, inside the door jamb and under the hood for signs of scratches or tampering. Make sure the numbers match the vehicle title and registration and any other records or documents.
  • When buying from a private owner make sure the name of the seller is listed on the title, registration or insurance.
  • If you receive notice of unpaid parking tickets or if you think your car has been cloned, contact your local authorities.

We invite you to our showroom in Mattoon, IL to get a reputable used car.  Stop in or check out our wide selection of used vehicles here!


best used cars young driver

For Back to School, A List of the Best Used Cars for Your Youngest Driver

Naturally, with the return of the school season comes the return of so many young drivers to the ranks of workday traffic. Of course, that also means there’s a whole new set of worries for the parents of young drivers to consider. While the usual things, like developing safe habits and learning to take on the responsibilities of owning a vehicle, are sure to top the list, there remain many other considerations that can also help to make the most out of a young driver’s first steps. When it comes time to buy a car for this purpose, the choice can certainly make a big difference in how well things work out. Today, we look to some advice about which vehicles critics and analysts believe are the best options for young drivers, and, in an indirect way, for their parents, too!

When considering the purchase of a vehicle for a young driver, buying used is a particularly ideal choice. With some extra consideration of the details, a lot of money can be saved while still giving a first-timer all of the experience needed to develop good habits. In addition, mindful shopping can assure that a young driver spends their amateur years in the safest and most reliable vehicle possible, which is ultimately the most important factor at hand. Here’s a quick look at exactly what to look for when making a wise decision for you and your new amateur pilot.

First, it’s smart for a number of reasons to avoid cars that are defined by performance or styling characteristics alone. Insurance on sports cars can certainly cost more, and many style-focused small vehicles aren’t able to provide the kind of safety that a young driver needs. Be sure to research the history of any model you consider, to find out about past recalls and any other safety concerns that may inform your choice. Investigate the standard safety features of your prospects, too. In this day and age, a wide variety of high-tech options are available and shouldn’t be overlooked as credits to a possible purchase. Keep an eye out for things like stability control and collision alert, which are increasingly common in newer used models and will only add to your young driver’s ability to stay safe on the road.

As far as recommended models go, the Chicago Tribune recently compiled a list of ideal first-time used vehicles, all of which are Insurance Institute safety picks that all cost less than $12k on average and still feature cutting edge safety technology. What’s more, the list demonstrates that high-tech efficiency also need not be sacrficed, as a variety of used hybrids with solid safety records are becoming increasingly affordable choices lately. The list includes the Hyundai Elantra (2011 and on), the Chevy Volt (2011 and on), the Mazda 3 (2014 and on), Subaru Outback (2010 and on), and the Kia Sportage (2011 and on). Watch us here for more news, and don’t hesitate to visit us in person at Pilson Used anytime for plenty more advice on the best vehicles for you and your newest driver alike!

small used car

Small Cars Offer the Best Deals for Used Vehicles

If you're in the market for a used car, right now, then you might be surprised to find out that prices on subcompact vehicles are at their lowest while the rest of the used car segment is at its highest.

According to Edmunds.com the used car market is hot right now and prices on most pre-owned vehicles are rising each year.

In fact, the price for a used car on average is about $19,300. And, at this rate, as the overall lease vehicle inventory grows, its demand that’s actually driving the used car price hike.

What those of us here at Pilson are seeing lately is that buyers are choosing newer used cars with more options for better prices.

Certified pre-owned programs are becoming increasingly popular with buyers, while leased vehicles that are returning to dealerships are providing more opportunities for shoppers to purchase near-new used cars.  

Last year, certified pre-owned vehicles sales made up 22.7 percent of total used sales by dealers.

During the second quarter of the year, they sold more than 600,000 cars through certified pre-owned programs.    

In 2016, 9.8 million vehicles were sold in the used car market, while franchise dealers’ used car sales were up more than 4 percent.  

Simply put, buyers are looking more toward trucks and SUVs as the price of gas continues to remain within reasonable limits.

“There are also lots of smaller cars coming back to the used car market as people trade up into larger vehicles. So not only are prices low on used small cars, but there's also a wide selection available," says Edmunds.com Sr. Analyst Ivan Drury.

And while prices for used vehicles are up 2.7 percent year over year, subcompact vehicle prices are down 6.3 percent, compact cars are down 2.0 percent and mid-sized car prices have fallen 1 percent.    

Also contributing to the continuing vehicle price hike is the fact that a three year old used car is less expensive this year than it was a year ago – where a vehicle more than eight years old has seen an increase in price of more than 11 percent.

The Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center offers the best deals on qualitypre-owned vehicles. Visit us today!

The Importance of Basic Used Car Inspection

If there’s one thing that we hold to be an indispensable fact around here, it’s that it’s never too soon to reiterate the essentials of inspecting a used car before purchase. Now, with a little help from a very considerate and much more detailed guide from trusted independent product review agency Consumer Reports, we’d like to remind our customers and neighbors of some of the guidelines that are most crucial to the process of getting what you pay for when you choose to buy used. Before we address a focused list of hands-on inspection tips, there are also a few things to keep in mind to help maximize the effectiveness of your own personal inspection.

First and foremost, remember that the process of inspecting your vehicle of choice doesn’t have to be one that only starts once you see the vehicle in person. Do as much research as possible beforehand on the generalities of your prospective choice or choices, checking to be sure of model history, reliability, and good reviews from actual owners.

Secondly, don’t be afraid to employ some backup throughout the process of inspection. For the sake of safety in an independent buying scenario and for the added benefit of a second opinion, it’s recommended that you bring a friend along. Further, the help of a mechanic is, of course, a great addition to your own inspection. Bring along a knowledgeable associate if necessary, or don’t be afraid to ask if you can bring the car to a mechanic otherwise.

When it comes to the details of your own hands-on inspection, here’s a good shortlist of what to be sure to check. On the exterior, basics like body condition, glass quality, lights, and tires should be first on your tour. Look for signs of larger problems, like rust, fogged lenses, or uneven tire wear. On the interior, don’t forget to take note of details including seats, pedals, all dials and instruments, and even the trunk, which can all hold signs of true age. Take note of any signs of water damage, especially in terms of odor, and be sure to test all dashboard functions, taking note of smell here, too. Anything unusual may indicate deeper or more serious issues.

Moving into the more detailed areas of the vehicle, be sure to come prepared with some basic knowledge of what a well-serviced engine looks like. This includes checking the status of components like hoses, belts, radiator, and battery, as well as looking at fluids to help reach a deeper diagnosis. Put your hands on rubber components to see that they are firm but pliable, and not hard, cracked, or too soft for wear. Check all fluids for signs of engine trouble, being sure to inspect closely for signs of leakage.

Under the vehicle, be sure to take a moment to test the response of the suspension by applying some pressure to each corner of the car. A vehicle with healthy suspension should spring right back into place with no bounce Similarly, apply some pressure to each wheel to be sure that no sounds from the bearings or axle are apparent. If you do hear something, it could be a sign of trouble. Take a final moment to check the tailpipe as well, where any excess moisture or black residue may indicate other oil-related engine issues.

With this quick reference on hand as a good starting place for your personal used car inspection process, you can be sure that you’re doing the best you can to get your money’s worth. You can also be sure that we’ll be coming to you with more valuable tips, worthwhile reminders, and plenty of news, right here at Pilson Used Cars, so check back soon!


Why Your Next Car Should Be a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle

Finding a reliable used vehicle can sometimes be a daunting task. 

Fortunately, there are programs that offer certified pre-owned vehicles that often eliminate many of the unknown variables associated with buying a used car.

Pilson Used did a little research and came up with several compelling reasons why you should consider purchasing a CPO car the next time you’re in the market.

  1. You’ll Get a Newer Used Car in Great Condition – Manufacturers that offer this program often adhere to strict age and mileage standards for their cars. Many cars that qualify as CPO are inspected by a mechanic, refurbished and offered with a service contract backed by the manufacturer.
  2. They Offer Many Perks Found in A New Vehicle –Automobiles that have been factory certified often come with a warranty, extended service contract and things like a vehicle history report, roadside assistance and even a car rental allowance.
  3. CPO Vehicles Undergo A Comprehensive Inspection Some manufacturers are known to put their cars through the ringer when it comes to testing. Chrysler subjects its cars to a 125-point inspection and an exhaustive reconditioning process that includes Mopar Parts.  Other companies conduct a 200- point check before putting their cars on sale.      
  4. You’ll Avoid The High Up-Front Depreciation – As soon as you drive a new off the lot, it begins to depreciate. And over the next two to three years, your vehicle will probably suffer a 20-40 percent depreciation.
  5. Companies Offer Lower Finance Rates –While the sticker price of a certified pre-owned car (compared to many similar used vehicles), dealers may offer buyers a lower finance rate – almost equivalent to a new car. This translate to lower monthly payment and out-of-pocket expenses.
  6. You Enjoy Universal Coverage –If your car requires repairs or maintenance, you have the luxury of taking in to any franchised dealership to be serviced by trained mechanics. Some manufacturers even provide free maintenance within a certain number of miles or a given time frame.
  7. You Can Swap Out Your Car For A Better One – Under certain stipulations, some companies will even allow customers to exchange the one they bought for a different one if they’re not completely satisfied.  

 Looking to get a certified pre-owned vehicle?  Stop in or give us a call for more information on our certified program we offer at our Pilson Pre-Owned Supercenter!


Don’t Forget: Safety Still Comes First When It’s Time to Sell Your Car

In continuing our series of tips to help you to make the most of your used car-buying and selling experiences, we look now to something that’s less an automotive specific issue than it is something common that can easily be overlooked when one is immersed in the details of buying or selling a used vehicle. Of course, ‘safety first’ remains an ideal mantra in the used car market, particularly when it comes to working independently to sell your own vehicle without the help of a vetted, authorized, or licensed dealer like Pilson Used Auto. Today, we’ve got a solid rundown of some of the best ways to stay safe the next time you’re looking to put your vehicle on the public market, and we hope they’ll help you to feel more confident through the process.


First, be sure to take very special care with your personal information when advertising your car for sale. Whatever route you choose for that purpose, do your best to limit any shared information to the strictly necessary details. Include standards like make, model, condition, mileage, maintenance history, and so on, while excluding things like your full name and address as well as personal aspects of your vehicle such as license number or VIN.


Your potential buyers will, of course, need a reliable way to get in touch with you, but don’t hesitate to take an extra moment to limit the options to an email address that you can set up specifically for the sale. This will allow you to forego any perceived risk of giving your personal contact information to strangers, and is often an automatic feature of online market services such as Craigslist.


Next, take the opportunity to use modern technology to help you to screen your potential buyers. It’s not entirely necessary that buyers provide professional references or an online presence to help you to verify their identities, but it can certainly make the process much faster and easier. Facebook, LinkedIn, and other common social networking sites are often a good starting point. Of course, it’s always best to show buyers the same courtesy as you would have them show you, and limiting your screening to a verification of basic information is plenty to help you in the context of making your sale on reliable terms.


Further, when selling to strangers, many law enforcement authorities suggest meeting potential buyers in a public place rather than at the home of either participant. In the very least, this provides a setting in which any potential malfeasance can be deterred or witnessed by the presence of other people and/or security monitors. In an address of the same kind of professional attitude, be sure to join your buyers on their test drives, if only for the sake of being there in person to answer any questions or address any issues at the moment of occurrence. At worst, someone with a plan to steal your car will be thinking twice with you in the passenger seat! And finally, when it comes to every aspect of meeting in person, there’s nothing but confidence and an extra degree of safety to be gained by bringing a friend along for the ride.


Keep an eye on us here as we continue to look for the best ways to get a leg up when it comes to buying or selling a used car, and for the best selection of quality used vehicles in the area (without the worries), don’t waste a moment getting in touch with us here at Pilson Used!


When Should You Trade In Your Used Car?

How do you know when to trade in your used car for a new one?

While there may be no one thing that yells “trade me in”, there are a few tell-tale signs that we came up with at Pilson to help you along in the decision-making process.

You’ve owned your car for the past ten years. It’s been a safe, reliable and fairly inexpensive way to get around.  But soon the engine goes out and it needs to be repaired.

Don’t’ panic. It may not be time to chuck the vehicle just yet.

Depending on how much it costs to have it fixed, you might benefit from simply having the repairs done and holding on to your old car. Most cars that have hit 100,000 miles, if well-maintained, still have plenty of life left.

Experts say that paying higher repair costs may be a better choice long-term than a new purchase.  Consider higher insurance premiums, registration fees and taxes that you’ll likely pay by trading in your old vehicle.  

If, however, more than one part needs to be replaced and you’re spending more time at the repair shop than on the road, it could be time to consider the pros and cons of buying new.     

Many new cars are equipped with advanced safety features that an older car may be missing. Things like tire pressure monitors and electronic stability control might be two important features that you don’t want to do without.

If you feel unsafe for any reason behind the wheel of your vehicle, it could be time to get a new one.

You and your partner just had a baby. Although you love driving around town in that classic two-door sports coupe, you’re going to need a little more room.  This is a good time to consider a larger sedan or even a compact SUV.

If you’re communing long distances to and from work each day in a gas-guzzling vehicle, today, with so many auto companies going “green,” you have more environmentally friendly options than ever before.

You don’t want the hassle of a making new car payments.

You’re fond of your old car and haven’t had any major issues, but you realize it’s time for an upgrade.  But you don’t want the hassle of making payments.  

Kiplinger.com suggests purchasing a certified used vehicle. This way you get the peace-of mind of having a car under warranty, without the price of new car. 

Many programs offer a 100-point inspection and is backed by the original manufacturer.  A certified pre-owned vehicle may cost a little more than the average used car, but the benefits in the long run are worth it.    

There’s no one-sized fits all solution for when to buy a new car.  Pilson Used provides some options for when you do.   


Patriotic car

There’s More Than One Time of Year to Get A Great Holiday Deal!

Here at Pilson Used Auto, we certainly strive to do our best to document the many values of buying a used vehicle in addition to the many ways in which used shoppers can make their money go as far as possible when doing so. In that task, we hope to provide information on both the common basics of shopping for a reliable used car as well as some not-so-common tips on how to go beyond the basics of getting a fair deal.

Today, we look to something that’s generally not first on the minds of most used shoppers, something that definitely pushes beyond the basic standards of getting a fair deal and moves toward the higher ideal of getting a great one. Of course, taking full advantage of some of the lesser-considered details often requires a bit more patience and planning, but when it comes to getting a deal that can make a financial difference for years to come, we think it’s worth it. Today’s tip has to do with the task of biding your time specifically, and focuses on some helpful analyses of the best times of year to get a better-than-average deal on your next used vehicle.

According to information from automotive industry analysts at iSeeCars.com, there are a wide variety of holidays every year that mark significant rises in the amount of available deals and significant drops in the price of used cars specifically. Some of them are easy to predict, since big holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving (with Black Friday lurking nearby) are strongly characterized by traditions of sales and deals. These are definitely recommended shopping times, particularly if you’re confident that you can properly prepare for a long line or an early store opening. Most of these pop up around the end of the year during ‘holiday season,’ and definitely include New Year’s Eve and Day, but you might also be surprised about some of the other more unassuming holidays that nonetheless mark big sales pushes for most businesses during other times of the year. 

In analyzing tens of millions of used sales from 2013-2015, however, the staff at iSeeCars also found that holidays like Columbus Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Veteran’s Day, and Memorial Day all stand as similar occasions in the minds of retailers. That is, these are the days that mark focused sales periods during seasons that are generally less characterized by such occasions than the winter holiday season. In comparing these holidays to those in November and December, though, it seems that most shoppers don’t realize that each season is marked by its own similar attempts to liquidate unsold stock and to entice buyers with special deals.

This year, be sure to plan your approach to buying a used car accordingly in order to make the most of your money, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at Pilson Used Cars. We’ve got great deals going on in honor of the Fourth of July! 

Getting A Good Deal on Your Used Car

Out of all of life's most basic necessities, most people would probably agree that a car is at the top of the list.  And what could be better than buying a new car? Buying one used, in great condition at a better price! Studies show that almost half of all adults that bought a vehicle, purchased it used.  What we've noticed here at Pilson is that used cars are more reliable today and last a lot longer than they have in the past.   According to Consumer Reports, a newer used vehicle in good condition with up-to-date safety and tech features, would actually be your best buy.  And the price of a used car is less likely to be set in stone. There are a number of factors that can determine its selling price such as the year, make and model, mileage and features. The area that the car is purchased in makes a difference, as well. Because more people are buying used means that they're also haggling more often for a great deal.   And it turns out that in a Consumer Reports survey, 70 percent of people who haggled over the price when they bought used, got a better deal more than 80 percent of the time.  The survey also showed that the better your negotiating skills are, the greater the savings.  If you're wondering how to get the best deals on your next used car, experts say asking the dealer for a lower price works surprisingly well.  If you still prefer to price haggle, Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor for Edmunds, came up with a few strategies that could be very useful at the lot.


Make Sure the Other Guy Names the First Price  

You want the salesman to be the one to name the price. This way, you’re not offering a number that’s too high, allowing you to negotiate down from there.


Let Them Know You’ve Done Your Homework

By letting the salesman know that you did some research and found out the vehicle’s estimated value and history, he’s more likely to meet you at the price you quoted. If he doesn’t, he knows you can take your business elsewhere.


Shop Different Dealerships

Visiting several dealerships will help you get a better feel for the price of your car. This way, you don’t get attached to one car too quickly.  And by letting each salesperson know that you’re shopping around, they’ll be more likely to want to retain your business.


Settle On a Price

Negotiating the dealer down should result in a lower purchase price.  If you have an amount in mind and it’s pretty close to the vehicle’s estimated value, tell him you want to try to stick as close to that number as possible or you may have to look elsewhere.         



Don’t Be Afraid to Get a Leg Up On Shopping Used With Some Automotive Study Skills!

Though there are few who can manage not to cringe simply at the sound of the word ‘homework,’ the benefit it provides when seeking out the best possible value for your money is something that can’t be denied. Though it’s a fact that’s true when approaching a purchase in just about any industry, it’s also a tenet that goes further than usual when it comes to buying a used car, both in how much there is to be saved and in the volume of information that can sometimes seem overwhelming. With a little advice, however, some basic study skills can help you to make the most of, and spend the least on, an ideal used car.

First and foremost, it’s important to lay out the exact parameters of your search. This includes budgeting in detail, comparing makes and models in terms of specs and reliability, and making sure that you match your precise needs with the right car as closely as possible. For example, you might create a list of the most important priorities of what you need in your new vehicle, and then start comparing your available options in those finer terms. When beginning your search, remember to keep in mind the difference between retail pricing from licensed pre-owned dealers and private pricing from individuals. The range between these two average prices is essentially the ideal pricing zone for a used car shopper considering all of their options.

When it comes to budgeting, expert analysis goes a long way in helping to understand exactly what it is you can expect to afford, both in terms of immediate details and in longevity. A wealth of internet resources, including trusted organizations like Edmunds and Carfax, are readily available to offer information and large-scale industry analysis that can help you to know exactly what it is you should expect for your money. Of course, it’s important to look at budget from every angle, but making priorities can help to narrow the context of your search in what can rightly seem like a bottomless well of information.

With used cars still outselling new cars in the U.S. by almost three times, it’s understandable that the used market can seem a bit imposing or chaotic. While there are definitely many more variables to consider, there are also many more available resources to help guide your search toward a considerate purchase. For plenty of continuing advice on how to improve your used car shopping skills, and, better yet, to get better acquainted with the perfect used car for you today, keep up with us right here at Pilson Used Cars. We’ll be ready to help you out in any way we can!


Flood waters can be devastating - the effects are often long-lasting, well after the rains dissipate.

Unfortunately, when the flood waters come into contact with a vehicle, they have the potential to cause complete damage – leaving behind corroded metal surfaces, faulty electrical wiring, and the traceable scent of mold and mildew.

In the aftermath of a natural disaster, like what recently occurred in Texas, vehicle damages are reported to insurance agencies by owners in order to try and recoup their losses.    

In some cases, damaged vehicles are dismantled and unaffected parts are resold. In other cases, these cars are fixed up and sold again with full disclosure of their condition. They are classified as damaged and given a salvage title by state agencies.

Dishonest companies and individuals sometimes try to take advantage of unsuspecting buyers by concealing the flood-damaged car’s history through “title washing” - reselling the vehicle in a state unaffected by the flood.

So what do you do when you’re in the market to buy a used car and you want to protect yourself from buying a flood damaged vehicle?

Pilson Used Auto offers a few tips below that you might find useful before you make your next purchase.

Trust Your Sense of Smell

Once in the car you notice a moldy or mildew-like scent, it could be that the vehicle has been exposed to water over a certain amount of time. Strange odors emanating from the vents of the car’s climate control system could also be another sign of flooding.

Smells that indicate heavy traces of air freshener or cleaning solution, may mean that the seller is trying to cover something up.  

Look for or Wet or Damp Spots

Give the car’s interior a good inspection. Check areas underneath seats and pull back the carpet to expose damp padding.

Remove the spare tire from the truck and look for any moisture or water from where the tire was sitting. It could point to sustained damage from a flood.        

Check Under The Hood

Sometimes floating debris can plant itself in the engine bay, while water mixed with engine oil can also be signs of significant mechanical damage.

Start the Car

When you turn on the engine, what do you hear? Does everything on the instrument control panel work properly? Do you notice any dimming lights or non-functioning turn signals, windshield wipers or radio knobs?

Check the NICB Database

Go to the NICB’s website and look for its VINcheck database. There, you’ll find lists of cars have been reported as a salvaged or stolen, but not recovered. This information coincides with many insurance companies in the U.S. have on file.

The NCIB offers this as a free service and could help you avoid any potential problems before you buy a used car.

Differences Between Trading In and Selling Your Used Car

A Slice of Expert Advice


Though selling a car is often something considered to be a pretty common and familiar part of driving in general, there’s still a lot that goes into the process that’s worth some extra thought. In the end, it’s worth considering all of the options at hand, especially when it comes to getting the most for your effort. While there are plenty of ways to approach the sale of a used vehicle, in attempting to take as much of the big picture into account as possible, we’ve collected a little bit of advice from some of the industry’s used car leaders to make the selling process a bit easier to wrangle. Whether you’re looking to simplify things or to do whatever you can to make the most of your sale, these tips are sure to help out.


First of all, the simplest approach is almost always represented by the option to trade your old car in to a dealer. By taking the marketing stage out of the equation, this is clearly an ideal choice for someone looking to make things as easy as possible. More details emerge once you decide to do so; however, it’s worth taking note of what to expect. Dealers are sure to offer a lower price than consumers, as the necessity of resale profits has to be factored in to the dealer’s buying price. In short, you’ll definitely be paying for the simplification that comes with trading in. If you’re planning to buy new and to put your sale price down on that new car, you may earn a bit more maneuvering room. Plus, in the end, there’s a bit of a tax break in that most states only tax the price difference between the new purchase and the trade in value of your old car.


On the other hand, there’s much to be gained from putting in the extra time and effort to sell your old car on your own. While there’s certainly a lot more energy needed and a longer process to dig into, those looking to make the most on their sale will undoubtedly find this to be the best option. Much of the related effort comes in the form of serving as your own sales and marketing staff, as you’re responsible for listing and dealing with any interested parties who may be interested in haggling or testing. The overlap of a necessary new vehicle to replace the old one may become a factor too, so experts recommend waiting to sell until you’ve paid off the old vehicle, or at least making sure to be prepared for two car payments if that isn’t convenient. Taxes will be larger on your replacement vehicle when bought outright without trading in, it will likely be mediated by the extra money made by the independent sale. For these reasons, most used car experts recommend at least attempting to sell your car independently before looking to trade in.


All in all, it’s clear that up-to-date research toward current market values, actual completed sale prices and buyer trends can go a long way in making the hurdles of either process much easier to anticipate, and will make you more confident in getting the price you deserve for your used car. If you’re considering the process, we hope these basics can help to point you in the right direction. As always, we’ll be giving plenty more advice on buying and selling used, and if there’s anything more you’d like to know, you can stop in here at Pilson Used Cars!

Buy Used for your grad

The Perfect Grad Gift

Buying a Used Car For Your Grad


Transitioning from high school to college is a big deal and those of us here at Pilson Used Auto realize that one of the most popular gifts for graduating students is their very first car.

Not only is a car a great way for teens who have come of age to celebrate their independence, but also a practical way for them to get back and forth minus the parent chauffeur.

Most teens have certain ideas about what their first car should be like, that’s why it’s a good idea to sit down and talk about what to actually expect.

Come up with a list of cars you think are reasonably priced and ask your son or daughter whether they prefer a coupe, sedan or crossover and then shop around to find the best price on a vehicle you both feel great about.

If you plan to keep buying a car for your grad a surprise, comment on a few vehicles that you see in passing to get an idea as to what your teen likes or dislikes.

Finance experts suggest parents consider current and future expenses before purchasing - like how much you can afford to pay each month and the estimated insurance premiums on another car.

Opt for the least expensive vehicle, which is typically cheaper to insure.

Experts also suggest deciding ahead of time if you'll be paying the premium on the car or if your teen will share that part of the responsibility.

Then there's the question of whether to buy new or used.

What grad wouldn't love a new car?

But for most families buying new isn't the most feasible option.

While a new car would provide you with greater peace-of-mind, it usually comes at a greater expense with higher insurance costs.

According to Kelley Blue Book executive editorial director, Jack Nerad, opting for a certified pre-owned vehicle offers you both "the advantages of a new-car like warranty, and perhaps, better financing rates."

Whatever vehicle you purchase be sure to check reliability ratings before you're ready to drive off the lot.

Sites like Consumerreports.org have a list of "Best Used Cars for 25,000 or Less" with the excellent reliability ratings for cars, trucks and minivans in their class.

While you're at it, research how well the car you're interested in does in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash test.

If you determine that a used car is the best way to go, finding a good fuel-efficient model is also important, especially if your grad will be putting long-distance miles on the car.

Small cars are traditionally better on gas than larger ones - and the less cylinders, the better.

Check out how well the car functions when you test drive it and make sure all parts are in working order do that your grad's first driving experience is one of their best.


Reasons to Shop Used Continue to Stack Up As the Auto Industry Evolves

When it comes to reasons to buy used, a topic we’ve certainly covered before, we here at Pilson hold to the idea that there’s no shortage of justifications to do so. In making the most of that fact, we’re here again to continue to detail the increasing number of reasons why buying used can do you some favors that you may not have thought of before. As things continue to change in the auto industry, the values of buying used continue to provide plenty of new inspiration to take the idea a bit more seriously.

First, in this time of greater concern for efficiency and enviromental impact, is the fact that when it comes to considering the entire process involved in the creation of a vehicle, the green benefits of buying used suddenly become much greater. The manufacture of a car is certainly no minor task when it comes to impact and resources, and more than a quarter of the emissions generated in a vehicle’s lifespan can occur during this time. So, when considering personal impact in that regard, it can go a long way to take the manufacturing line out of the process. Even when it comes to hybrid and electric vehicles, which are definitely great green choices in their own more obvious ways, the process of creating lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries must be taken into account for a new vehicle, which is a process that is, conversely, definitely not very green. With all of these factors taken into account, it simply can’t be denied that buying used has some very real, and inherent, environmental assets.

Another thing to take note of in searching for used vehicle these days is that the nature of what ‘used’ means is always changing. As things evolve in the auto industry and new vehicles continue to be outfitted with more and more accommodating features, those things soon make their way to the used world, usually with little to show for it other than a few extra ticks on the odometer. In essence, as the new car world advances, so does the world of used cars that is always there to absorb them and continue offering their value to drivers. In this way, the used cars of today are already miles ahead of the previous generation, and so continues the process. Pretty soon, you may be downright surprised at what kind of up to date and cutting-edge technology is actually available with a very affordable used vehicle.

As it’s certain that good reasons to shop used aren’t likely to stop stacking up, you can bet that we’ll be staying on it right here at Pilson Used Cars to keep providing you with all you need to know to make the wisest choice in shopping for your next vehicle. And of course, there’s no better place to start than Pilson, where finding a better used car than you thought possible is an everyday option!


Tips For Buying Your Next Used Vehicle

Buying a used car doesn't have to be an overwhelming experience.

If you do your research and gather all of the necessary information you'll need before you buy, you should find a good, reliable car for less money than you expected.

Here are a few tips that Pilson Used Auto came up with to make sure you steer clear of any lemons, while guaranteeing that you're getting the right car for the best price.

How Reliable is the Vehicle?

Consumer Reports suggests checking to see if the car or truck you're considering has a good reliability record.

Their website, consumerreports.org, provides buyers with reliability ratings on how well a vehicle has stood up over time, plus real-world feedback from people who have owned a similar model.

Obtaining this information beforehand could help determine how satisfied you are with the vehicle you want to buy.

Know the Maintenance and Repair Costs

Determining what it might cost you to maintain your used car is almost as important as buying the car itself.

Sometimes people upgrade from a mainstream model to a luxury vehicle, but don't necessarily take into consideration the $100 oil change or the $500-600 dollar tune-up.

By the same token, it could cost considerably more to repair a higher end vehicle.

Are the car parts readily available or do they need to be shipped from overseas?

Look for the Window Sticker

Reputable dealers post a Buyer's Guide in the window of each of their used vehicles.

This sticker includes information such as whether the car is being sold "as is" or with a warranty.

It should also let potential buyers know if the dealer is required to pay any of the repair costs.

Have the Car Inspected

Your mechanic should give any car you purchase, a thorough inspection.

If the mechanic isn't present when you're ready to buy, try to look the vehicle over yourself to assess its condition.

Check the car's body to make sure it's free from major damage, along with the engine, parts, interior and exterior. 

Do a Test Drive

Be sure to let the dealer or seller know you want to test drive the car before you drive it off the lot.

When you do, try to travel on local roads and highways, up and down hills, and in stop-and-go traffic situations.

Listen out for any unusual noises.

Also, on the test drive pull over and let the car run for about 30 seconds. Move the vehicle, stop and then check for any fluids that may be leaking.

Leaking fluids could signal needed repairs.

Keep in mind that the whole idea of buying a used car is to save money and following these important tips could not only help you make a wise investment, but keep you from paying more in the long run.

6 Things You Should Do Before Buying a Used Car

There are a lot of emotions that go along with purchasing a new car.

But it’s best to think smart and plan ahead before you set foot on the lot in order to get the best deal possible on your new vehicle.

Pilson Used Auto came up with a few tips to help make your car buying experience not only easier, but one that can benefit you and your family in the long run.


Do Your Research  

This may seem like a no-brainer, but we can’t stress the importance of this first step.

When you look at a vehicle as an investment, it becomes just almost as important as buying a house. Especially if it’s something you plan to keep years down the line. 

Edmunds.com suggests listing on paper some basic essentials like how many people does the car seat? Do you want a car or SUV? How fuel-efficient is it?

Find a reputable site like Kelley Blue Book and search for the vehicles that match what you’re looking for.


Create A Budget  

Decide how much you want to spend by using an online calculator like the ones found on Edmunds.com or Carmax. These are simple tools that are easy to use and will help you find a price range to shop in.

Some calculators will offer suggestions for you to consider that also mesh with your budget.

Establishing how much you want to pay will also help you work out the best deal for you when you’re in the process of buying the car.

Experts suggest sticking to that number and not revealing it to the seller. This way, you have more room to negotiate before you make a purchase.        


Check Out the Vehicle History

This is probably one of the most important things you’ll do before buying a used car.

The history of a vehicle will tell you if it has a salvage title, whether or not the insurance company considers it a total loss, open recalls on the car, and if the odometer has been rolled back.


Get an Inspection and Written Repair Estimate

 Mechanics live by this rule.  If you’re in the market for a used car and you have a mechanic that is willing to go with you, print out an Inspection Checklist and Repair Estimate to take with you to the dealership, and have your mechanic fill it out before you purchase.


Do a Test Drive

This is the next logical step once you find something within your price range and that checks out with your mechanic.

Ask the dealer if you can drive the car on the freeway, up and down hills, and places where you have to stop and go.  If you suspect a problem, let the dealer know your concerns before you buy it.


Finish the Deal

If you’re buying from a dealer, close the deal in the finance and insurance office.  You’ll need insurance before you can take the vehicle off the lot.

One thing Pilson suggests that you might want to consider when buying a used car, is a warranty.

If it’s a private party, then be sure that what you pay is final and the title and registration is transferred over to you.

Review your contract and request the pink slip if it’s a private seller.


Advantages of Buying Used Remain Reliably Constant In An Ever-Changing Industry

If there’s one thing that tends to remain the same in the tumultuous automotive industry year after year, it’s the common benefits of shopping for a used car. That fact doesn’t just come as our own opinion, either, as some of the biggest names in the automotive media have made something of a regular habit of backing up our claim. Many pillars of the industry, including Car and Driver, J.D. Power, and AutoTrader, all continue to tout the undeniable sense of including ‘pre-owned’ in your browsing criteria. Corralling some of the shared points among them, we’ve got a breakdown of some of the most common of these benefits to make it easy to see what buying used can do for you.

Naturally, the cost savings of buying used is an easy first on the list. Considering this factor, it’s worth noting that the savings offered by a pre-owned vehicle can make it a much more reasonable option to step up to a higher-priced model than that which might be afforded when shopping new. The options certainly begin to open up when more is available in the ideal price range.

Beyond the basic financial advantage of initial cost, used car buyers can also look forward to doing themselves the favor of avoiding the steepest part of the depreciation of their car. Though most cars lose value over time, the majority of this occurs quickly after the initial purchase and during the vehicle’s early life, slowing down over time. In that fact, a used car can offer its owner a much larger relative return on their investment if the car is sold again. Relative to this benefit is also the fact that buying used allows customers to avoid the fees often associated with buying new.

In the consideration of longterm benefits, a used car is, on the whole, also less expensive to insure than a new one. Comparably, the familiarty of the vehicle to the market in terms of performance, safety, and similar characteristics is a fact that makes it much easier to gather information on firsthand driver experience. And in today’s high-tech day and age, when it comes to many new technologies that are yet to be accessible to the average driver or may provide few maintenance options, a used car is much more likely to come with a wide network of support, making it easier to maintain, even in a home garage.

Of course, another obvious point is the fact that, sometimes, great vehicles simply pass out of production in the face of necessary evolution. There are certainly plenty of vehicles in recent history that were retired not for deficiency, but rather for the sake of passing their legacies of success on to a new generation of creative endeavors. Many of these proven successes populate the fertile world of used cars, and often in better shape than you might expect, especially thanks to the many pre-owned programs that help to make used vehicles look and act like new. For any and all the information you might need to make the best possible choice when considering a used car, don’t forget to make a point of checking in with us here at Pilson Used Cars! We have a large inventory with something for everyone! 


Help Your Car Put Its Best Face Forward With Some Advice On Getting Headlights Shining Like New

At Pilson, we’re strong believers in the idea that the start of a new year doesn’t have to leave a used car feeling left behind. In comparison to the lofty ambitions of many turn-of-the-calendar resolutions, there are many simple things you can do to help your car feel revitalized with relatively little difficulty (and cost), and a lot of them also help to contribute to safer driving conditions, too. As usual, we’re keen to help spread the word about some of the things that don’t always come to mind right away when thinking of ways to get your car working as well and looking as good as new, and today we’ve got some advice to offer in taking care of a particularly common affliction to many vehicles that often keeps them just a few easy steps away from feeling refreshed in a big way.

As cars age, a number of factors can contribute to the degradation of elements of the front fascia, which always stands as the ‘face’ of the car and understandably one of the first things that people notice no matter what the condition may be otherwise. In this sense, a little bit of upkeep on the front end in simple, everyday ways can go a long way in making cars look and feel better, as well as to become safer in general. One of the most common and easiest things to address is the common clouding of headlamp lenses, which can arise for a number of reasons, most of which can all be easily addressed at home.

The first step is to determine what the nature of the clouding, fogging, or damage is to begin with, and to choose a method that suits you from a number of suggested options. The first, which will help with basic issues like fogging from moisture or smudging from other natural substances on the road, is to use to a normal household glass cleaner to clean the headlamp lens by hand. In some cases, this may require the removal of the lens, the process of which should be carefully referenced in your car’s manual, online, or with a professional.

The second method, and providing a light abrasive with which to aid in the removal of tough film and light scratches, is to scrub the lens with toothpaste. Whitening toothpastes, which often contain a higher amount of abrasives, make for a good choice. After a thorough washing with soap and water, the toothpaste should be applied in small amounts to a soft, damp towel and rubbed into the necessary areas on the lens with a circular motion. Increasing the amount of water until the damaged areas have cleared up, finish with a plastic polish or wax to seal the lens for longer clarity.

Finally, the most heavy duty option, for lenses with excessive scratching or oxidation, is to use a graded series of sandpapers to wear down and buff out the scratched or damaged lens surface. This option, and the one previous to a less severe degree, should definitely be undertaken with serious caution, including the application of paint-safe masking tape as a buffer around the lens. After a basic cleaning, apply a suitable plastic polish to the entire lens surface. Moving down a series of sandpapers – four total steps, starting with 600-grit and ending with 2500-grit, are recommended – carefully buff out the lens surface while being sure to keep the sandpaper actively covered with soap and water with the aid of a sanding sponge or hand pad and regular submersion. With a last round of polish and a final wash, things should be looking seriously fresh and clean again, and your lights will be doing a better job keeping you safe on the road.

It only goes to show that with a little bit of effort, things can be looking brighter than ever. Keep an eye out here at Pilson Used Cars for more good advice on some more worthwhile do-it-yourself auto projects soon!

Six Things To Remember Before You Trade In Your Vehicle

If you're in the market for a new car, or just a pre-owned car that's new to you, then you probably realize the importance of knowing your car's trade-in value. According to Kbb.com, the trade-in value of a car is the amount of "credit that a car dealer is willing to offer you toward the purchase price of a new or used car in exchange for ownership of your old car." And the more your car is worth at trade-in, the lower the car payment will be on any new vehicle you purchase. While you're doing your research for the specifics on the car you want, it's also a good idea to put as much effort into getting the vehicle you have in the best shape possible in order to maximize its trade-in value. So those of us here at Pilson put together a list of ways to get the most bang for your buck when you want to sell your car.

1. Know Your Car's Worth

Check out sites like Edmunds.com that offer a car appraisal tool to find out your vehicle's True Market Value. With some basic information about your car, this feature will give you a pretty accurate price for your vehicle. Edmunds also suggests being realistic about the actual shape your car is in. Not every car will be in "outstanding" condition. If it's well-maintained and well-kept, there's a good chance that a dealer will consider it to be in "clean" condition. If you want to find the true valuation of your vehicle:

2. Have Your Car Appraised

Take your vehicle to a professional appraiser to fully inspect and provide you with the true value of your car. An appraisal, done along with any necessary repairs, could land you top dollar for your car.

3. Customize Only If You Plan To Keep Your Car

Many people don't realize it, but that upgraded sound system or those sweet whitewall tires may not serve you well in the long run. Customized features can actually take away from the car's value, when the goal is get the most for your vehicle. While those cool after-market accessories might help beef up your car, it's a good idea to remember that with customization, not everything appeals to everyone.

4. Maintain Vehicle Records

Carfax is a good way to obtain your car's history. Experts suggest documenting your car's service record - noting everything from oil changes to servicing. Dealers and private owners want to know that the vehicle's been well maintained.

5. Clean Your Car

It goes without saying that a clean car is a sign of a car that’s been well cared for. Protect the paint by washing and waxing on a regular basis, that way you'll eliminate the need for an expensive detail when you want to sell it.

6. Find The Best Offer

Shop your car around to different dealers for the best offer. The first offer may not necessarily be worth your investment. And remember - reputable dealers like Pilson are also looking for great trade-ins. So it's ultimately in everyone's interest to get most out of the deal.

Some of the Best Picks for a Fuel Efficient, Pre-Owned Luxury Vehicle


The assumption that roomy, comfortable vehicles must necessarily have poor fuel economy is one of the main reasons why drivers pass up on buying affordable pre-owned luxury cars. Fortunately, this assumption is entirely without merit, as there are many recent luxury models that are not only fuel efficient, but also offer all the features one rightfully expects from a premium automobile. To help our customers out, the experts at the Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center have compiled a quick list of some of these great vehicles. Though there are many models on our lot that are also budget-friendly and reflect a high degree of craftsmanship, we thought these examples would be an interesting starting point for anyone who is taking their first steps into the luxury market:

2014 Lexus CT 200h

Like many cars on the list, the 2014 Lexus CT 200h is a hybrid, as it features a powertrain that incorporates a 1.8L I-4 gas engine, permanent magnet electric motor, and 1.3 kWh battery which, when working together, generate a net 134 horsepower and ability to attain up to 42 city-highway MPG. Fuel economy is only where the advantages of this compact tourer begin, however, as its 5-door hatchback body layout allows for easy cargo off-loading, while its agile handling and electronically controlled continuously variable transmission ensure a smooth, effortless ride. A standard six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth® music streaming, and individual driver/passenger controls for heating and air conditioning are among the other features that also contribute to the CT 200h’s driving experience. As Kelley Blue Book currently lists its expected price under $25,000, it’s no wonder that a U.S. News and World Report survey found that the 2011 Lexus CT 200h was ranked second for used upscale cars over $20,000 by drivers across the country.

2014 BMW 328d

Like its fellow 3 Series stablemates, the 2014 BMW 328d is known for its nimble handling and overall craftsmanship. Though its roomy interior — the model is often praised for its expansive rear seating area — and athletic acceleration may seem like they should go hand in hand with low gas mileage, the precision-engineered turbo diesel on this executive sedan can attain up to a combined 37 city-highway MPG. Given its user-friendly BMW iDrive infotainment system, which has been praised for sharp graphics, and all-around quality, this Bavarian import is a steal when sold in mint condition.

2014 Lexus ES 300h

Another quality hybrid from Lexus. In this case, the ES 300h sports an impressive city/highway combined fuel economy of 40 MPG, which, while already impressive, is essentially unheard of for a full-sized executive sedan. Its roominess even extends to the trunk, which offers more overall cargo space than comparable areas on non-luxury hybrids. Standard features like satellite radio capability and Bluetooth® music streaming are among the other touches that make it another great buy for anyone who’s budget-conscious.

2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250

Sleek lines, an aggressive fascia, and detailed trim accents make the 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 an obvious beauty, however people who have driven this luxury German sedan insist that its real charm comes in the form of rapid acceleration and responsive handling. Though powerful, the turbo-charged 4-cylinder engine that powers it is capable of sipping out 38 MPG highway, which is an unusual number for a motor that generates more than 200 hp. Advanced features that include a driver drowsiness warning system and forward collision warning technology are among the other factors that add up to making the CLA 250 a truly impressive car.

2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

Clean lines, the distinctive Lincoln split-wing grille, and a mellow, breezy sound are the first things someone notices about the 2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid as it passes by on the street, making it the perfect luxury sedan for drivers who want a vehicle that is elegant, understated, and in command of classic beauty. It’s also a true marathon runner, as well, as its 2.0L 4-cylinder engine and electric motor pairing can attain a combined 38 MPG city/highway fuel economy. Given its advanced suspension system and comfortably seats, the MKZ Hybrid is another interesting choice for anyone who is searching for a used luxury auto.

For The Most Varied Selection Of Premium Pre-Owned Cars, Visit The Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center

Ultimately, there are a number of exceptional used luxury cars on the market that are characterized by impressive fuel economy ratings. Due to our immediate proximity to Eastern Illinois University and other dealers within the Pilson Auto Centers dealership network, the Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center at 1506 18th Street in Charleston has access to the widest selection of such pre-owned luxury cars in the area, while our pre-owned specials and customer-friendly financing services make getting into one easy and budget-friendly. Call our sales professionals at 844-602-1582 to learn more about the latest cars, including fuel-sipping luxury models, to enter our inventory.

Tips for Better Fuel Economy

Drive More Economically – Tips and Tricks

Who wants to spend more money at the pump? Not us. With summer vacations, commuting, and every driving, the average American car owner spends between 500 to 1,000 hours a year in their vehicle. There are many ways to cut back on the gas bill during that time.  Here at Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center, we are glad to share some tips with you!

Choose a Fuel Efficient Vehicle.

The most obvious answer to saving money in the fuel department is to purchase a fuel efficient vehicle.  Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center has a wide selection of vehicles to choose from. Make sure to research the EPA and mileage ratings of a few vehicles to compare before you make your final decision. However, if you are not currently in the market for a new vehicle, there are still several things you can do to boost fuel efficiency with your current car.

Get Routine Oil Changes and Tune-ups.

Maintenance is crucial for a fuel saving vehicle. Keep your car on a regular schedule for oil changes and tune-ups. This also includes checking the tires regularly.  Driving on under-inflated tires can not only reduce fuel efficiency, also can cause damage to the tires –making it dangerous to drive.

Don’t Weigh Down Your Car.

Plan what you are packing for your summer trip. The more weight you add to your vehicle, the less distance it will get out of a tank of gas.  Make a list of things you have to pack from your home, and if possible, wait to buy things like food and drinks when you arrive at your destination.

Avoid Rooftop Cargo Racks.

Studies have shown that a rooftop cargo carrier can be a drain on fuel economy.  The aerodynamic design of your vehicle is compromised with a cargo carrier on the roof.  If you drive an SUV and still need some additional cargo space, you may want to consider getting a rack for the back of the vehicle.

Steer Clear of Rush Hour Traffic.

Planning when you drive can be important too. Leaving a little early or late can make a big difference to keep you from burning gas while waiting in rush hour traffic.  When you finally move past the traffic jam, be sure to cruise down the highway with the windows closed.

Windows Down Only When Necessary.

Running the air conditioner lightly is still more fuel efficient than driving with the windows rolled down.  A vehicle’s maximum aerodynamic capacity cannot be reached unless all the windows are closed. When the air is turned on full blast, this will also cause your vehicle to use gas more quickly.

These are just a few of the ways to make your dollar stretch further this season. Whether you are looking to purchase a more fuel efficient vehicle, or just make your current car as efficient as possible, Pilson Pre Owned Super Center is here to help.  Contact us today if you’re interested in taking a quality pre-owned vehicle for a test drive, or getting a tune-up for fuel efficiency! Browse our used car inventory online here, and be sure to stop over and visit us.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Auto Brands Like Jeep Point to Campaign Success Using Native Videos

Native videos: they seem to be popping up everywhere - Facebook, Twitter, and now mainstream advertising. And they have proven to be pretty successful, as the number of people watching native videos has grown from 1 billion video views per day, to more than 3 billion since June 2014.


According to San Jose-based tech company Cisco, internet videos will account for about 84 percent of U.S. Internet traffic in the next three years. Those numbers are said to be on the rise and brands like Jeep are sweeping target audiences through native videos. So, Pilson asked - "What is it about native videos that generate a higher click-through rate or illicit greater engagement from their audiences?"


According to AdWeek, an advertising trade publication, people prefer native ads and videos over banners because they're viewed as being more contextual, while containing quality content. Jeep can also testify to the positive response experienced from the brand's target audience after launching its recent native campaign on Yahoo. The American automaker used 15 and 30 second ads to promote the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV - specifically reaching out to people who were already in the market for a new car and those doing research for a car online.


Jeep narrowed its audience down to people who were looking for SUV content using their mobile devices and created a sub-profile for those who were interested in technology/gadgets and lifestyle content. According to Amy Peet, senior manager of digital marketing at FCA U.S. "It was a little more than a native ad [buy]—it was the targeting behind it on the actual humans we were reaching out to. The creative is very prescriptive to [specific] people." What we found is that people seemed to respond most to videos that established the Jeep Grand Cherokee as a luxury vehicle.


From the research Jeep gathered, their target audience preferred travel and shopping content and since the company narrowed down who it wanted to reach, its campaign had a completed-view rate 50 percent higher than average for the auto industry. Yahoo also reported that the cost per completed view for the car maker's campaign was 60 percent lower than the industry average.


But don't take our word for it. Yahoo says it's witnessed the kind of success some advertisers have had with native ads and videos using its platform. "What's powerful about these ads is that they bring together two very engaging formats," said Brad Piggott, vp and industry lead of autos at Yahoo. "Native video ads are proven to drive results, including high view rates, as well as boosting brand metrics such as favorability and purchase intent."


Used, Full-Sized Cars May Be A Better Pick For Teen Drivers


Those of us here at Pilson Used Autos know how stressful it can be to get behind the wheel when you're an inexperienced driver. And it's especially tough for teenage drivers who are bound not only by the rules of the road, but a few of the ones parents have in mind as well. As a parent, your number one concern when your kids are driving, is safety.

But with so many distractions that are constantly competing for attention and technologies that aim to keep your teen "connected", how can you as a parent ensure your son or daughter's safety while driving?

Contrary to what most people think (and what many teens might actually believe) used cars are the top pick for young inexperienced drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) because they're typically less expensive than a new one. And if you're like most budget conscious families, most used cars not only offer the benefit of lower pricing, but more safety features for less money.

When researching the safest used cars for your new driver, it's helpful to know that organizations like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and National Highway (IIHS) and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) conduct separate independent crash tests in order to determine the safest model vehicles on the market. IIHSA's evaluations includes front, side, rollover, and rear crash tests.

From there, the best performing cars and trucks are given five-star ratings and designated the IIHSA's Top Safety Picks for the year. Because the IIHSA knows that teen drivers probably won't be taking a $40,000 car for a spin around the block, it's devised a list of safe and affordable vehicles ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 in order to fit most budgets.

A recent study conducted with 500 parents, showed that 28 percent bought smaller cars. But the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that smaller cars and subcompacts didn't stand up as well in their crash tests. "Smaller, lighter vehicles - even those with good crash test ratings - didn't provide as much protection as bigger, heavier ones," said Anne McCartt, Senior Vice President for Research at the IIHS.

While compact models may not provide the extra cushion needed for beginning drivers, larger cars, even small SUVS are less likely to rollover and provide the bulk needed to protect in the event of a crash. Most organizations, from AAA to the NHTSA recommend that parents also look for must-have safety features like electronic stability control ESC. ESC helps keep the driver from losing control of the car in wet or slippery conditions, while it detecting and preventing skids.

Front and side airbags are also a must in whatever used car you choose for your teen. In fact, federal law mandates that all new vehicles come standard with key safety features like front and side airbags and electronic stability control. Other things to look for - but may come at price - are forward collision warning with automatic braking, lane departure warning and blind zone detection.

Some newer models even provide parents with the ability to limit your teen's vehicle speed and reduce distractions like texting while driving. Like you, safety is Pilson Used Auto's number priority. We're committed to helping you find the vehicle that best fits the needs of you and your family.

Buick LaCrosse

New Research Shows That Shopping Used Doesn’t Have to Mean Giving Up the Best of Modern Auto Technology!

Though shopping for a used car may have once meant accepting the necessity to forego the latest technological add-ons, it seems recently that more used shoppers are coming to a different conclusion altogether. With the pace of automotive technology moving faster than ever along with the rest of the technological world, those folks beholden to staying on the cusp of the new are leaving more, and more recent, technologically-enabled vehicles to the used market, much to the satisfaction of used shoppers in search of something with some unusually up-to-date tech savvy.

In response to the growing trend of used car buyers making more effort to catch great deals on modern technology, popular automotive sales and research website Edmunds recently decided to present a helpful list of where to find which features in the used market as these newer vehicles become more widely available. Thanks to their efforts, you’re likely to be surprised at just how much leading-edge technology can be expected to come with a very competitively priced used vehicle these days.

Citing a specific list of technologies paired with the models in which they were first included, Edmunds has made it easier than ever to seek out high-tech features in the most affordable packages. Including technologies ranging from Bluetooth connectivity to smart cruise control systems, the list certainly makes it clear that top dollar isn’t required to put the newest innovations to work. Naturally, by seeking out the earliest (and best-rated) instances of on-board technologies, Edmunds’ list shows consistently that even a little ripening time on these models can save buyers huge amounts, sometimes as much as half of the price of a comparable, current model-year version of each.

Included in the feature are five specific vehicles that demonstrate this emerging trend, and the availability of tech-capable vehicles in the used market in general. First on the list of popular alternatives is the 2010 Buick LaCrosse, which helped to bring Bluetooth connectivity to the forefront of entertainment and voice utility in the modern driver’s seat, followed by the 2011 Chevy Equinox LT2, which made assisted visibility a must-have in the crossover and SUV segments with the inclusion of a rear-mounted backup camera. Touching on the 2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring model as a worthy early entry that includes an increasingly popular blind-spot warning system, and on the 2010 Honda Accord EX-L’s quality pioneering efforts in including a dual-zone climate control system, it’s definitely clear that this list is just the tip of the iceberg.

In following through with what Edmunds has put forth, it’s definitely safe to make the general observation that used cars are offering more to buyers than ever before, giving consumers a little consolation in a world that seems at times almost overwhelmed with the imperative to ‘keep up’ with technology. Now that it’s clearly been shown that top dollar isn’t required to put leading automotive innovations to work for you and yours, it’s definitely a perfect time to come see the rest of what buying used can do for you, right here at Pilson Used Cars!

Care Tips for the Winter Months

The winter season is fast approaching which means now is the time to the necessary prep work to make sure your vehicle is ready for the drop in temperatures. A good car care plan can help. Experts say that regular maintenance of your vehicle can protect your car from rough idling, stalling, reduced power, and hard starts.


A good winter check can also help improve gas mileage, reduce pollution, and add years to the life of the car. Pilson offers a few tips to help prepare and keep your car in top condition beyond the winter months. Typically, car care specialists will want to check the basics, like the heater and defroster to make sure they are working properly and for the safety of your vehicle’s passengers. Other things like making sure windshield wipers have sufficient fluid and working headlights and backlights are essential to the driver’s visibility and are part of the car’s winter check-up.


Colder temperatures can lead to thicker oil, making it harder for the battery to start your engine. So, one of the most important aspects of any maintenance plan is a battery cable check. Early cleaning of battery cables not only helps prevent corrosion, but also unnecessary headache from dealing with a car that refuses to start. Your maintenance professional may suggest adding a bottle of fuel de-icer to your tank once a month when temperatures drop below freezing. This prevents moisture from freezing in the fuel line.


Year round oil checks are always a good idea especially if you’re constantly in stop-and-go traffic. This way you are protecting your engine, filtering debris from the crank case and oil galleys and keep the internal moving parts of your engine moving more smoothly and quietly. 


Periodic checks should also be done to the cooling system. An expert will look at the level, condition, and concentration of the coolant in your car’s system. They recommend a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water to keep the mixture from freezing when it’s cold.              


Tires should be examined for wear and rotated when needed. It’s also essential to check the pressure in your car’s tires on a regular basis. A maintenance professional will also make sure your tires are aligned properly and usually suggest snow tires and all season tires depending on whether you live in colder climates.  


Your safety is our priority at Pilson Auto; not just during the winter months, but all year round.                


The Best Buying Tips for Pre-Owned Vehicles

This is the perfect time of year to buy a pre-owned car. Right after Labor Day and Thanksgiving most dealerships have great price incentives and sales that make it possible to afford the car you’ve been eyeing all year long. This year however here at Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center we are excited share that there is an even bigger incentive to purchase a vehicle this fall, and with that a few buying tips to make the process even easier.

From 2005 to 2007 there was a high increase in vehicle production in the auto industry. This overproduction then could mean big savings to you now. Back then automakers were required to pay non-working UAW members a percentage of their salary not to work, and this higher cost structure thus resulted in an excess of vehicles being built. While many of these vehicles were used for fleet purposes or sold at used car lots, some ended up at wholesale auctions. Now a few years later these vehicles are becoming available on the pre-owned market and can offer you a top performing automobile at bargain pricing.

Here are a few tips from us to assist you in buying the best pre-owned vehicle today.

· Drive a Stick

If you are one to break with convention and are willing to shift your way through the morning commute then a stick shift vehicle would be a great fit. Models like the Honda Accord or Hyundai Elantra wagon are available and prime purchase priced due to the lack of demand. You could save thousands just by choosing a manual transmission of a non-sport model.

· 100,000 Mile Club

When it comes to car buying this number tends to be a big old stop sign, but for buyers who dig a little deeper this can be an incentive not a roadblock. The truth is that most powertrains are designed to last between 250,000 and 275,000 miles with proper maintenance. Vehicles with this mileage in the 8-10 year old mark tend to hit a lower price point that can be right within your budget.

· Orphaned Brands

Vehicles that are no longer currently manufactured or less popular brands like Suzuki, Pontiac, Isuzu, SAAB, Saturn, and Mercury can be thousands less than current models. Don’t shy away from looking at one of these vehicles that may still be a quality ride for you.

· Defunct Models

Sometimes auto makers miss the mark on what is currently popular with consumers. These vehicles may still be quality machines, but were just released at the wrong time or in the wrong area. You can take advantage of this by scooping one up for thousands less. Whatever vehicle you choose to purchase, when buying a pre-owned vehicle it is always best to do your research and talk to a reputable dealer like all of us here at Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center!


Millennials Demonstrating Surprising Shifts in Used Car Buying Trends

Certainly, the habits of car buyers at every level are something that are always of great value to makers and retailers in their constant search for the inspiration that goes into making better vehicles. Especially in today’s data-dependent world, serious effort is always being put forth to gather informative specifics on the subject. As with all things, of course, consumer habits change with time and the passing of generations that comes with it, and recently, some interesting research is starting to make the habits of the youngest demographics of modern car buyers in particular clearer than ever. Part fashion and part economics, it’s always a helpful insight into the state of the automotive industry to understand how young and first-time buyers are spending their money.


Released by automotive retailer and researcher Edmunds, a recent survey of the buying habits of so-called ‘millennials’ definitely finds the young crowd turning their eyes toward some surprising choices. On the whole, the survey found, millennials are strongly interested in a selection of used vehicles that includes a remarkable amount of out-of-production SUVs and crossovers, most of which have generally been considered and marketed in the past as family vehicles. Including such surprising entries as the Chrysler Pacifica and the Pontiak Aztek, the list of the top-selling used vehicles in the millennial demographic is definitely showing some unusual shifts in attitude, which nonetheless also reflect much of the industry’s own shift in focus in recent years.


Relatively, many analysts have been pointing to the clear increase in value that overall utility has recently had for car buyers on the whole. While even such coveted demographics as luxury sedan buyers have been turning themselves toward tougher, more practical vehicles like luxury pickups, it’s clear that style and basic efficiency aren’t the only things driving consumer appeal these days. It seems that car buyers, and particularly the youngest among them, are turning toward vehicles that offer as much in practical characteristics like interior space, all-terrain capabilities, and all-weather reliability when looking for a deal.


Similarly, another recent report by Edmunds found that many young potential buyers are actively turning toward leasing options. As many lease options provide access to vehicles with higher value than those being financed to own, many millennials seem to be eager to take advantage of leasing higher quality vehicles on their finance budget instead of looking to own in the long term. It certainly comes as something of a window into the average consumer’s impression of the pace of change these days, when it seems that more new models than ever are emerging at all times. In those terms, and considering the speed of technological development in recent years, it seems to make sense that young buyers may be more keen to keep up with the changing times than to go in on the long haul of owning a new car.


As always, buying used remains an ideal option for finding value without the burdens that buying new can bring. With a selection that’s ready to cater to the discerning young buyer as well as anyone else in the market for a reliable used vehicle, Pilson Used Cars is always on hand to make things easy!


Used Hybrids Are Cheaper Than You Think

According to a recent report by Edmunds.com, used car prices jumped by 7.6 percent in 2015, reaching a record average of $18,800, making the market a bit harder for drivers hunting for a deal. Unless, however, they're looking for electric and hybrid vehicles.

According to the NADA Used Car Guide’s recent Electric Vehicle Retention Report Card, trade-in values of two-year-old hybrid and electric vehicles have plummeted in recently, making them surprisingly the best used deals on the market. So if you're penny-pinching, try the Nissan Leaf, the Ford Focus Electric, and the Smart electric Coupe. (Sorry, all Tesla models are excluded from these statistics.)

To help you hunt, Forbes released a slide show of the 15 best deals in used hybrids, plug-in cars, and all-electric cars from the 2013 model year. Forbes notes that the vehicles selected are estimated at "fair puchase price" value and in good condition, with average mileage on them (around 22,000 miles for all-electric and around 37,000 for hybrid cars).

Writing for Forbes, Jim Gorzelany estimates that the lower costs of gas prices are partially behind the drop. "The demand for the most fuel-frugal rides on the road has softened considerably," he writes, adding' that "it’s good news for budget-minded used-car shoppers, especially those with an ecological bent and/or who believe gas prices are still too high."

Fortunately for consumers, hybrid and electric vehicle battery packs are usually guaranteed for eight years or 100,000 miles after initial purchase, which means a three-year-old used Nissan Leaf will still have five years of coverage left on the battery. And even though the cost of replacing electric batteries can be high, Gorzelany expects them to drop in the next few years.

So if you're thinking about going electric or are simply curious about the cost of doing so, or if you're looking for a used car in Mattoon come visit your auto specialists at Pilson Used and we'll be happy to answer your questions!

The Finale of Summer: A Checklist for Your Last-Minute Road Trip

Summer is coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean the fun is over! Break out your old copy of The Most Scenic Drives in America to find a fun nearby road trip or head over to roadtrippers.com and plan one last end-of-summer getaway. But before you head out on that open road, make sure your car is in tip-top shape - no one wants to start the school year with a busted ride. Here are a few things to get checked out.


Cars are like people: full of fluids, none of which you want to spill out. You must make sure that there's always enough juice in every part so that your car can function as well as you (hopefully) do.

  • Engine oil and filter
  • Transmission fluid and filter
  • Gasoline and filter
  • Antifreeze/coolant
  • Radiator coolant
  • Brake fluid
  • Windshield washer fluid
  • Power steering fluid

Hoses and Belts

Make sure all hoses and belts are tightly secured; they connect the entire system. If there's a loose connection, you might find yourself hitchhiking before you know it.


At any given time, your vehicle is touching the pavement only through a few square inches of rubber. Therefore, it's important that your treads are deep enough to ensure adequate traction.

Don’t forget to check your tire pressure, and bring a gauge with you on the road. The number on the tire's side is the maximum pressure it can withstand, not the recommended amount. They should be closer to their maximum in summer, but not so hard they blow out. And don't forget to bring a spare, just in case.


Check the headlights, the blinkers and the interior lighting. Faulty lights can be very dangerous - for other drivers and for your wallet! No one needs a ticket at this time of year - or, let’s be real, any time of year.


Summer rains can be unpredictable: you don’t want your wipers to be unpredictable, too. Check them out and replace them if need be.


Even if you don't hear them squealing yet, have a mechanic inspect your brakes. This would be a great reason to come on down to our service center in Charleston. If you feel that your brake pedal is softer than usual, it might be a sign of deterioration, so make sure to have that checked too!

Air Filter

An engine needs air to operate. The air filter keeps bad particles from entering, but over time, it becomes dirty and ineffective. Check it regularly, especially before a road trip.


You don't want to hit up some weird stranger to help jumpstart your car, do you? Check the battery before you go, especially if it’s been awhile since you replaced it. While you're at it, make sure that the electrical and ignition systems are as good as new.


Besides your car breaking down, the second worst thing that can happen on the road is having gauges and instruments that make you believe it's about to, when there is, in fact, nothing wrong. Ask your mechanic to examine your gauges.

Simple car maintenance should be a priority to ensure your road trip goes smoothly. Once your car is in check, turn up your summer playlist, throw your bathing suit in the backseat, and enjoy soaking up the last rays of the summer. If you 

Is Your Engine Burning Extra Oil?

The Consumer Reports’ 2014 Annual Auto Survey has found something uncouth: several auto manufacturers are building engines that require an oil top-off between the recommended changes – costing drivers extra money.

A long-standing rule is that you should change your oil every 3,000 miles, but most car manufacturers have recently stretched that number from 7,500 to 10,000 miles. This is allegedly because refinements in engine manufacturing and oil technology allow engine oil to last longer.

But the Consumer Report survey, which surveyed nearly one million vehicle owners, found that certain models are requiring top-offs as frequently as every month.

The report focused on 498,900 vehicles from the 2010 to 2014 model years, many of which were still under warranty. It became clear which ones were draining wallets: Audi’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and 3.0-liter V6, BMW’s 4.8-liter V8 and twin-­turbocharged 4.4-liter V8, and Subaru’s 3.6-liter six-cylinder and 2.0- and 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines. These engines are found in the Audi A3, Audi A4, Audi A5, Audie A6, and Audi Q5; the BMW 5, BMW 6, and BMW 7 series, and in BMW X5; and lastly the Subaru Forester, Subaru Impreza, Subaru Legacy, and Subaru Outback.

Despite the evidence, Audi, BMW, and Subaru claim that excessive oil consumption is a normal part of their vehicles’ operation. Subaru considers a quart burned every 1,000 to 1,200 miles reasonable, while some Audi and BMW standards claim that a quart burned every 600 to 700 miles is normal. That's 7 to 9 quarts of extra oil between changes.

Of course, having to add extra oil isn't a life-threatening problem, but it's something that automakers should address. Not all engines have this problem. Consumer Reports data shows that nearly all owners of 2010 – 2014 year vehicles did not have to add extra oil.

Audi, BMW and Subaru have continuously denied the extra consumption is a problem at all. Audi has recommended that “the customer always have a spare quart of engine oil in case the engine oil needs topping off while on the road," while BMW outlines extra oil consumption as part of its vehicle specs. “Oil consumption is normal on all engines,” BMW spokesman Hector Arellano-Belloc said in an e-mail. “BMW vehicles have long intervals between oil changes (10,000 miles). BMW engines (excluding the BMW M) may consume up to one quart of engine oil per 750 miles under certain driving conditions.”

If your vehicle seems to be burning extra oil, come in and talk with us at our service center in Charleston. We'll find the best solution to meet your needs. Thanks for trusting Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center with all your auto needs.

Three Tips for Tire Maintenance

Summer is in full swing, and for most this means BBQs, trips to the beach, and plenty of miles driven for weekend getaways. Racking up all those miles can ultimately put some serious wear and tear on your tires, and here at Pilson Auto we thought it would be helpful to share a few tips with you for keeping your tires and you safe on the road.


1. Check your tire pressure.

This is an easy one! Maintaining the proper pressure in your tires can help you avoid an accident. A tire gauge is an inexpensive tool that can be used to test the pressure levels of your vehicles tires on a regular basis. We recommend checking your tire pressure at least once a month, especially in the summer when the temperature can fluctuate up and down altering pressure levels.


2. Inspect your tire tread.

This is something everyone can do at home in a pinch. There are several methods to checking your tire tread, but a simple tool can be purchased or even a penny can be used easily. To do so, take a penny, point Lincoln’s head down, and place between several different tread grooves. If you can always see the top of his head, your tread is worn and it is probably time to replace your tires. The trick is to check on a regular basis, this way you will be able to avoid the hazards of driving in inclement conditions like heavy rain.


3. Have your tires rotated.

We recommend you have your tires rotated based on your vehicle’s use and whether it is front or rear-wheel drive. If this type of maintenance is above your current DIY skill set, you can easily make an appointment and have a professional access your tires and perform the rotation if needed. The preventative maintenance can save you money in the long run as well as keep your vehicle in safe working condition and possibly increase your car’s average MPG.


Here at Pilson Auto, we are committed to the continued support and safety of our customers. We welcome you to make an appointment for a thorough inspection of not only your tires, but any other maintenance service as well. Think of it as a routine checkup!


Call us today to schedule an appointment with one of our certified technicians, and you’ll be back on the road in no time enjoying the summer sun!

How to Know if a Used Car has Flood Damage

It has been an incredibly wet summer here in Chicago! This June almost broke one of our records for most rain.

For all of the outdoor activities destroyed by the rainy weather, it can be safe to say that it can also take a toll on your vehicle. But what about those dreaded extreme circumstances like a flood? Sometimes when buying a used car, it can be extremely difficult to tell if a car has flood damage. Sometimes, flood damaged cars can be sold after just a few quick surface touch-ups, simply masking the problems that could mean future electrical, computer, airbag, or even brake problems later on.

In an interview with ABC 15 News, Frank Luetz at Desert Care Car Center says that “[People] can buy these vehicles—as flood damaged vehicles—for eight, nine hundred, maybe a thousand dollars and flip them, quickly, for three thousand.” Leutz also suggested a few telltale signs to look for to make sure you don't become victim of a flood damaged car.

1. Beware of new headlights on old cars: This could be a sign that the seller is trying to trump up the look of the car in order to pass it off on you as better than it actually is.

2. Look for new patches ontop of aged or worn paint: “If the rest of the body has some worn paint, that’s a telltale sign,” Leutz says.

3. Check behind seats and other hard to reach areas: These are target areas where the cleaning process may not have been as thorough. Most of these sellers are looking to do this business quickly, so the cleanup is not necessarily as in depth as it could be, which means that there are usually missed spots in areas that are not immediately focused on. These spots are all but a giant red light pointing to some sort of damage.

Of course, as with any used car you are thinking about purchasing, make sure that you have a certified mechanic check the vehicle out before you buy it. Also, you can always run a free check over at Carfax in order to see if the VIN shows up as flooded.

It's also a good idea to buy pre-owned from a reputable dealer in the area, and all of us here at Pilson Pre-Owned Supercenter are ready to help you find the perfect used car for you. So come by for a test drive, and don't forget to keep checking in here with us for more information for all your pre-owned car needs. We're also one of the best service centers in Mattoon, so come pay us a visit if you ever get any water damage in your car.

used cars

The Verdict Is In! These are the 10 Best Road Trip Vehicles for Summer 2015


Heading out onto the open road is an American tradition. But the next time you hear Walt Whitman in your ear saying, "Go forth, Western youths!" you might glance nervously at gas prices or your limited trunk space. Thankfully, the folks at The Street have compiled a list of the 10 best road trip vehicles for your solo quest or your family road trip this summer. Luckily for you, Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center, your used car dealer in Mattoon, has a few of these used cars available! 

1. 2015 BMW 3 Series wagon

If you're watching your wallet, the new BMW wagon gets 33 miles per gallon on the highway and has a button that shuts the engine off when idling — a smart choice for people looking to spend on vacation stuff, not gas.

2. 2015 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen

Similar to the Jetta Sportwagen, but with more fuel-efficiency. This one has spacious seating and 66.5 cubic feet of cargo room and gets 42 miles per gallon on the highway.

3. 2015 Toyota Prius V

With 42 miles per gallon, the new Prius V lags somewhat behind its predecessors. But it beats them with 67.3 cubic feet of cargo room — perfect for all your luggage.

4. 2015 Honda Odyssey

Before the minivan got a bad rep, its usefulness was undeniable to soccer moms everywhere. Now the minivan is back, with a removable center console that becomes a trash bag holder along with rear-seat, 16-inch DVD players — perfect for the kids.

5. 2015 Mazda MX5 Miata

Trunk space is small, but if you're going solo (or with one buddy), the Miata is a great option. The engine is 167 horsepower with acceleration from zero to 60 in 7 seconds, which matters when you’re trying to cross Texas.

6. 2015 Corvette Stingray

The lavish interior is matched by a 6.2-liter small block V8 engine and 455 horsepower. The optional Bose 10-speaker surround-sound system and Sirus XM satellite radio make the miles pass faster.

7. Ford F-150 with EcoBoost V6

The F-150's turbocharged EcoBoost V6 manages 22 miles per gallons and holds up to six people. Why a truck? Bed space is ideal for tents, fishing poles, oars, canoes, and anything else you might need for a rugged journey.  

8. Mini Cooper Roadster

The new Mini roadster is highly customizable. You can change the colors, re-arrange the interior, and bedazzle it with features — including Sirius satellite radio and Pandora.

9. Ford Flex

The Flex has room for seven with 44 inches of second-row leg room. The MyFord Touch screen has a navigation system so you don’t get lost en route, and the kids in back get a DVD player. Did we mention there’s a backseat fridge? Perfect for road sodas.

10. 2015 Volkswagen Passat TDI

At 37 miles per gallon, this Volkswagen has the passenger space of a full-sized sedan with 16 cubic feet of trunk space, so you don’t feel cramped all the way to Tucson.




Signing on the Pre-Owned Dotted Line


Buying a pre-owned or “used” vehicle can be a challenging process if you have never done it before. From brakes to bumper, the best to way to see if this vehicle is the right one for you is a thorough inspection done by a licensed professional. Here at Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center we inspect all of our used vehicles before offering them to our customers. We strive to do the due diligence so that you can focus on finding the right vehicle for you, rather than finding the wrong one.

In the past, buyers have found out the hard way that purchasing a used car can be a huge problem if you don’t do your homework. In recent years, sources like Carfax have increased customer awareness and have been very helpful in determining a cars history. We recommend doing research when purchasing your new car, before you sign on the dotted line. The best way to do this is obtaining the Carfax report, and having the vehicle inspected by a licensed mechanic.

When purchasing a vehicle from a private party there are so many options for error and the easiest way to avoid such traps is by purchasing your next vehicle from a professional source. When purchasing a pre-owned vehicle from a trusted source like Pilson we do the work for our customers. We are happy to assist and offer guidance to our customers to find the best vehicle for them. With some simple questions you can select the best car available for the best price. Here are a few things you need to focus on when shopping for your new car:

Confirm all information. Check the title, VIN number, and Carfax report. Checking this off your list means all the paperwork is in order for your vehicle, and that you have a good idea what the history of repairs done to the vehicle is. Ask questions! If the person you’re buying from seems in a hurry or is pushing to make a deal, take some time to evaluate the transaction you are about to make.

Check the mileage. A vehicles mileage can not only tell you if it has been fraudulently altered but also give you some insight as to what use the car has had before.

Is the vehicle certified? Many automakers now offer certification programs that can offer more peace of mind

Has the vehicle been inspected? Here at Pilson we inspect our vehicles, but others may not. It is always a good idea to inspect a vehicle before purchasing, especially from a private party.

Looking to find the best pre-owned vehicle available for you or someone in your family? Stop in to see us today here at Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center and take a look at our vast selection of cars, trucks, and SUVS.


Questions to Ask When Buying a Used Car


When most people think of buying a used car, some of the very first things that come to mind are shoddy salesmen, unnecessary haggling, and potential lemons. You can avoid a lot of the headache and hassle of buying a used car by asking reputable dealers like Pilson Used a few simple questions before making the trip to the lot.

What's the mileage?

Probably one of the most important questions to ask when considering a used vehicle. If you're looking online you don't really have the luxury of knowing how many miles are on the car. Many dealers will list the mileage on their websites, but in some cases, you'll need to ask. If you find that a vehicle has high mileage or even low mileage, it is important to find out why. Low mileage may not necessarily be a good thing. If the vehicle has less than 5,000 miles, but has been in a lot of stop-and-go traffic or on a delivery route, there could be a little more wear-and-tear than you might actually be comfortable with. On the other hand, high mileage may not be good either. It's best to do some digging and find out the car's history and prior care.

Has it been in an accident?

If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. If a car has low mileage and is at a much lower price than others similar to it, chances are the vehicle has been totaled. Asking for a Carfax or detailed history will likely reveal the extent of damages, cost of repairs, and where the body work was done. Even considering a vehicle that has a few nicks and scrapes over one that's had damage to the body could be more of a payoff for you.

Has the car been certified?

Once upon a time, only select manufacturers offered certified pre-owned vehicles. Now, just about every automaker has some form of the program. Many times, these automobiles are trade-ins or come from auctions or lease programs, with the potential to provide greater piece-of-mind. Certified pre-owned cars may cost a little more on the front end, but the peace-of-mind these vehicles provide can potentially keep you from spending more money in the long run.

Can I have a mechanic take a look at it?

When in doubt, ask. If it’s in the budget to have your own mechanic inspect the car, then it could be well worth the investment.

Has the vehicle been recalled?

When a car has been recalled, there should be records of safety-recall work that has been or needs to be done. Ask the dealer. You should be well aware of any issues affecting your vehicle. See a pre-owned vehicle you’re interested in? Call Pilson Used for more details!


Green Car Care

Who says green car care has to be a complicated process? If you're like most people, you might be wondering how much of a difference green car care actually makes.

With a few simple tips, Pilson Used Auto provides cost-effective steps for protecting both your car and the environment before your vehicle reaches its breaking point.

Recycle your car’s oil. 

According to the EPA, if all of the oil was recycled from oil changes that aren't performed by a lube station, there would be enough oil for more than 50 million cars a year. After refilling the oil in your car, pour the old oil into an empty container and take it your local auto parts store or repair shop. Since your car's antifreeze is highly toxic to humans and animals, proper disposal is important. Because the amounts of lead, cadmium, and chromium in antifreeze are high, it's also considered hazardous waste and many places have tried to regulate its disposal.

Recycle your car’s parts. 

When the fender or the frame of your car door gets dented or bent or your alternator or starter can’t be repaired, then recycling is the best option for these parts.


Here’s a few interesting facts that Pilson Used Auto found out about reused or remanufactured auto parts:

- You spend about 50 percent less on used or remanufactured parts than you spend on new ones.          

- Investing in used or remanufactured parts helps reduce the number of raw materials needed during production, while lessening the amount of harmful emissions created.

- It takes less energy to remanufacture an old part than it would to make a new one.

- A little bit of preventative maintenance goes a long way to help save money, increase gas mileage, and protect the planet.


Tips to help keep your car in tip-top condition so it stays mechanic-free:      

- Getting regular tune ups while checking spark plugs, and replacing the ignition system and fuel and air filters, before repairs are needed, goes a long way to keep your vehicle in top condition.

- Most people don't realize it, but extra weight in the truck of the car can cost you at the pump.

- You use more fuel if you're vehicle runs on gas. That translates into more emissions.

- When cleaning your car, consider an organic, biodegradable car detergent or a do-it-yourself cleanser.

- Hand-made cleaners are free from toxic fumes and help promote a greater environment.

- The usual car cleaners sold in stores runoff into the sewage system, contaminating wildlife adding to the number existing residential pollutants.


Following these simple steps will not only add to the lifetime of your vehicle, but help contribute to well-being of the planet as well. Come into Pilson Used Auto today and view our used car models


April is National Car Care Month


When was the last time you changed your oil? Topped off your windshield wiper fluid? Checked your tire pressure? Can’t remember? Luckily, Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center is here to remind you that April is National Car Care Month! It’s officially time for some spring vehicle maintenance.

According to the non-profit Car Care Council, more cars than you might imagine suffer from maintenance neglect. The results of vehicle inspections held at community car care events across the country during Car Care Months in April and October of 2014 revealed that 84 percent of vehicles needed service or parts. That’s up 5 percent from the previous year.

“Neglected vehicle care almost always means much higher costs down the line in the form of more expensive repairs or lost resale value. These results show that the majority of vehicle owners could save money by being proactive in the maintenance of their second largest investment,” explained Rich White, Executive Director of the Car Care Council.

Reportedly, the most common problem areas include dirty or low engine oil, dirty or restricted air filters, and low or leaking coolant. When checking lubricants and fluids, the top three failure rates were: low washer fluid (27 percent of vehicles tested); low or dirty motor oil (25 percent of vehicles tested); and low, leaky or dirty coolant (17 percent of vehicles tested). Power steering, brake and transmission fluids were also checked and failed the test in 13 percent of vehicles.

Nearly one in five vehicles (18 percent) needed a new air filter and 13 percent had their “check engine” light on. At least one belt was reported as “unsatisfactory” in 17 percent of the vehicles inspected, and 8 percent required at least one new hose. Battery cables, clamps and terminals needed maintenance in 14 percent of the cars tested, and 9 percent of the batteries weren’t properly secure. The litany of issues continued with 16 percent of vehicles exhibiting windshield wiper failures and 11 percent of vehicles needing light replacements, including brake lights, headlights, and license plate lights. Improperly inflated tires were found on 10 percent of the cars and 14 percent had bald tires in need of replacement.

All of these issues are relatively quick and easy to fix, but if ignored can become huge safety hazards. Regular maintenance and repairs are critical when it comes to getting the best performance and longevity out of our car, regardless of the make or model. You can take care of plenty of maintenance yourself for a low cost, but leave the bigger jobs to Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center’s service department. Make sure your car is ready for the upcoming spring and summer travel season by scheduling a service appointment today! Our certified and trained mechanics will find and diagnose any issues quickly and efficiently, getting you back on the road ASAP.



Used Car Ads Have Upped Their Game


If you’ve never had to endure the adventure of searching for a used car, you’re really missing out. You can find huge rip-offs, great deals, and sometimes just a plain ol’ nothing special used car. However, amidst the legions of boring, ho-hum Craigslist and other similar types of online ads, you’re bound to find a few gems out there. Maybe it’s the blatant honesty, or the sleek graphic design, either way even if some of these ads don’t convince you to buy their car, they’ll probably make you laugh. If you’re trying to sell your car, you might want to take a few hints from these impressive ads to get some attention.

1. 1995 Pontiac Grand AM GT

Even with that gigantic price cut (what?!), and the fact that manliness apparently “emanates” from every loosely coupled piece of sheet metal, the real selling point here is “every previous owner has had a beard”. The promise that “never in your life has a car made you so appealing to the opposite sex” is a close second, though. If you’re looking for a date, and you totally rock teal, this my friend is the car for you.

2. 2003 S-10

You’re not going to see a deal like this again for a long time, folks. Plus, the guy just put new snow tires on it! You’d have to be blind to pass this sweet deal up, not to mention making this car invisible (Wonder Woman inspo) apparently cost $20,000. Why would he even be selling this rare vehicle?

3. 2002 Ford Taurus

This guy went above and beyond. He used a drone and the original audio from a 1987 Taurus commercial to basically make this car look significantly cooler than it ever has since 2002. The video went viral, for obvious reasons.

4. 1996 Nissan Maximum

Here is yet another fantastic example of what a suave voice-over and snappy video editing can do for your Craigslist ad. This guy is not only honest, but hilarious. Don’t get too excited, though, reportedly Nissan was so blown away by the creative, now viral, video that they decided to buy it. They even offered more than the asking price and threw in an additional $1000 to go to whatever charity he chose. Sweet deal, huh?

5. 2001 Honda Civic

Is this guy a graphic designer? Because those Photoshop skills are definitely on point! This Los Angeles Craigslist ad wasn’t going to settle for some standard photos of his beloved Civic, oh no, he wanted to make sure you knew everything this reliable piece of machinery could handle. This includes clearing rivers and looking awesome next to explosions. According to the ad, you’re welcome to test drive it, but you do have to provide your own explosions.

Want to buy a car without sifting through Craigslist ads? Visit Pilson Used Cars for more information and to see our used models


The Best Car Models to Buy Used

Pilson Used Cars has an extensive inventory. We want a variety on hand to give our customers an array of options at unbeatable prices. As always, there have been arguments in cases for and against buying a used vehicle, and sometimes it can be hard to know which vehicles are a better value to purchase used. But here's some information to get you started.

First - why buy a used vehicle? Cars made in the past several years are more reliable than ever. We see cars built in the last five to seven years last an upwards of 200,000 miles. And while the lack of warranty tends to scare car-buyers away from used vehicles, in actuality the money you will pay for any repairs that are commonly needed as cars get older usually don't outweigh the sticker price of paying for a brand new model. Having a car thoroughly inspected by a reliable mechanic can help spot any major issues before you purchase the car, and many companies offer vehicles that are certified at the time of purchase. At Pilson Auto, all of our used vehicles come with the Pilson Pledge, and pass a thorough inspection before we hand the keys off to you. Interest rates for used cars are not significantly higher than those of new cars, and insurance companies typically offer a lower interest rate on a used vehicle.

So what vehicles should you be on the lookout for if you are buying used? If you want to get a great deal on a reliable vehicle under $10,000, Consumer Reports recommends certain models. The 2008 Mazda 3 is a great small car option, and any Pontiac Vibe from 2005 to 2008 are known to be very reliable. If your style is more European, try looking for a Volkswagon Rabbit in the 2007 to 2009 year range, or a few economic four cylinder choices including the Hyundai Sonata or the Kia Optima. For SUV shoppers, stick with the Honda CRV (2005 model) or the slightly larger 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander. For sedans, shop for the Acura TL, Acura TSX or the Toyota Avalon. Finally, Honda Pilots from 2005 are a great deal worth looking at.

There are even more options for buying used if you want to expand your price range up a few thousand, so come see some of the options at Pilson Auto, browse our used car inventory or stop by and test drive one of our Pilson Pledge used vehicles.

The Most Effective Ways to Research a Used Car

Buying a used car can actually help you understand how to choose the right vehicle for your needs. Once you really know how to look for the best used car available, you immediately take the guesswork out of finding a great car, at a great price.

Come up with a budget.

How much are you willing to spend on a reliable used vehicle? Decide what you can afford monthly. A good rule of thumb is no more than 20 percent of what you make each month.

Keep long-term in mind.

Although it's tempting to focus more on the way the car looks and feels when you drive it, it might be a good idea to also think long-term about your personal needs. Are you single? Do you have a family? Do you want a car, truck or crossover vehicle? Do you drive in the snow? Will you be off-roading? How much can you spend on gas each day?

Figure out of whether you want to buy or lease.

Want lower monthly payments with little money down? Then a lease might be the way to go. On the other hand, if you're looking to own the vehicle and can afford to put a little extra down upfront, then buying a car would be your best bet. One other thing to think about is how much the car you want will depreciate over time and how much you’ll end up spending on maintenance. Who doesn't want the newest model available for the money? But what are the costs associated with buying parts when you need them and keeping your car running at its optimal best?

Decide what you want and start by researching the different makes and models available in that class.

In the age of the Internet, you can search online and find out almost anything you need to know about a vehicle. Besides the color or type of car, you can determine if what you’re looking for is in inventory on most used car dealer sites without moving a muscle. Reputable dealers like Pilson Used Cars can help you find the car or truck that fits your budget and your lifestyle.

Set up a test drive.

Once you've settled on something that you like, make an appointment with the dealership to drive it. Many places are eager to accommodate people interested in their vehicles. When you're doing the test drive, try to drive like you would on a normal day. Pay special attention to the car when you stop or go, back up, or drive up and down hills or inclines.

Inspect the vehicle.

Test the brakes, listen to the engine, check the mileage and look for wear and tear.

As always, be sure to do a thorough inspection before making a commitment! At Pilson Used Cars, you’ll find great deals on the vehicle of your choice for the right price, come down to our store and we'll be sure to find you the best used car with the peace of mind you've come to expect from Pilson.

Meet One of Our Many Great Sales Consultants, Randy McDonald

Here at Pilson, our employees are like our family, and we like to take the time to make sure the community knows all about the great people that are here to serve them. This month, we’d like to tell you a little bit about one of our best Sales Consultants, Randy McDonald.

Randy is from the small town of Ashmore, and currently resides in Charleston. He is a graduate of Charleston High School, and started his sales career after he was introduced to customer relations and account managing at a local retailer. He realized how important his customers were to him, and since then they have always been his number one priority. Now with his position at Pilson, helping customers find the right car at the best price is his passion:

“I want to be sure I do what I can, when I can, and to match my customer's needs and wants to a vehicle that fits their budget. This challenge is what drives me and excites me about the business of sales. I am not only selling vehicles, I’m a person who helps families stay on the road when they have challenges, I’ve helped students who are first time drivers get their first ride, I have helped businesses expand and grow, finding them exactly what they need to continue servicing their own customers. I am helping folks meet goals, helping them obtain the reward for their sacrifices. Anyone working their way through life deserves to have a professional get them what they want and treat them with respect.”

Randy considers himself both a sales consultant and a personal buyer. It’s not just about finding the right model, it’s also about finding the right price and doing as much as possible to help with finance. Many of Randy’s customers have told him how much they appreciate how hard he works for them, and he treats every day as a new challenge to be conquered.

Outside of work, Randy is a family man and an outdoorsman. His wife is a domestic engineer and they have three children ages 14, 9, and 2, with two dogs. There’s a running joke in the McDonald household that from October 1st to January 15th Randy will be unavailable. Archery is his number one form of enjoyment, but he also gets his kids outside whenever he can to explore, hike, and fish-- though he jokes that he spends more time baiting hooks for his children than actually fishing.

“Teaching the kids about the outdoors and hiking with them in the summer has been enjoyable. To watch them learn and light up when they find something of nature in nature, it puts a satisfying smile on your face. My children are my life and my motivators, and I would not be here in this position without my little drivers. My wife has provided 3 beautiful reasons to live life to the fullest. I want them to be as proud of me as I am proud of them. I love being a father and I’m happy that I can give them the life they live and I only want them to have more. It pushes me to do the impossible sometimes, just to be sure that I can give them all that they deserve.”

Take Care of Your Windshield Wipers This Winter


You’ve changed your oil, checked your brakes, replaced your antifreeze and triple-checked your tires — your vehicle seems ready for the cold, snowy months ahead. But did you check your windshield wipers? Often overlooked, windshield wipers make all the difference when it comes to driving through ice, sleet and snow. Remembering to inspect and maintain your wiper blades can seriously effect your driving visibility and safety.

Wiper blades deteriorate due to environmental factors like ultraviolet light from the sun, airborne debris like dust, mud, oil, and moisture (especially acid rain and salt water). Naturally, these things are unavoidable, so it’s important to watch out for the signs of blade deterioration before they strike a serious blow to your visibility. Keep an eye out for any streaking or skipping and inspect your blades regularly for bent frames that can cause inconsistent contact with the glass.

According to testing performed by Consumer Reports Magazine, most wipers deteriorate after six to nine months. That means if you last replaced yours in the summer, it’s just about time to do it again. But if you’ve changed your windshield wipers more recently, here are some tips to help you care for them this winter:

1. Check their condition.

Start your care regimen by gently lifting each wiper arm off the glass and running your finger along its rubber edge. If you feel any ragged, ripped or chipped areas then it’s definitely time for new wipers.

2. Keep them clean.

Dampen a sponge or rag with windshield wiper fluid or mild dish soap and gently wipe the rubber and glass where the wiper rests. This will get rid of any debris or oil that might cause streaking.

3. Keep them free.

Pull your wipers away from the windshield during the winter months to stop ice build up on the rubber squeegee to prevent them from sticking to the windshield. It's also important to never use them to de-ice your windshield! If you find that your wipers are frozen to the glass, use an ice scraper and set your defroster to ‘high’ before turning the wipers on. Consumer Reports also suggests using a windshield washer fluid with antifreeze.

4. Replace them in pairs.

If one wiper is worn out, then it’s safe to assume that its mate will need replacing soon too. Don’t wait! Replace both at the same time and prevent streaking, skipping, or smearing before you’re on the road.

5. Get the correct size and shape.

Be sure to double check your owner’s manual before purchasing replacement wipers. Some vehicles require one blade that is longer than the other, and cars with rear wipers may need a special size.

6. Rethink refills.

Replacing only the rubber part of the wiper may save a few dollars but requires careful installation, usually with needle-nose pliers. It’s often safer and faster to replace the whole blade.

These DIY tips should help you keep your wipers in working order this winter. But remember - you’re not on your own! Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center has a fast, friendly service department that is always ready to do the work for you. Don’t put your safety at risk, take preventative measures to winterize your windshield wipers today.

How to Care for a Clunker

First of all, let us express our condolences. You’re driving a beater (hey - we’ve all been there!) and whether it’s by choice or necessity, you know that keeping it in working order can be a challenge. Even though you may save by not investing in a new car or by continuing to drive one that’s all paid off, you’ll have to spend a bit to keep your beater on the road. Here are our suggestions for extending the life of your beloved junker:

1. Prioritize.

You don’t want to sink more money than necessary into a car that regularly teeters on the edge of dead and alive. Maintain the things that are most important: the parts of the vehicle that keep you (and others) safe on the road. That means checking the brake system, tires, steering system and anything that affects your visibility. Make sure that the engine, radiator hoses, fuel lines, CV joints, and fan, accessory, and timing belts work well enough to not leave you stranded on the side of the highway. Lastly, just like people, cars need fluids to function, so don’t forget the engine oil, transmission fluid, and coolant.

2. Have the tools for the job.

Most of the repairs you’ll need to do can be performed at home and, most importantly, on the cheap. You’ll need a jack stand, a jack, some basic tools, and a repair manual for your vehicle. Most of these can be borrowed from friends or found used on Craigslist. The repair manual could be borrowed from a library or maybe even found for free online depending on the make of the car.

3. Be proactive.

Don’t wait until your brakes make grinding noises or your radiator overheats on a back road at night - check the vehicle’s problem areas before there’s a serious issue. Checking your brake pads, for example, only requires a jack stand, a jack, a lug wrench and about fifteen minutes of your time -  but could save hundreds of dollars in repair costs later.

4. Perform cost/benefit analysis.

When money is tight it can be very tempting to forego expensive repairs and just keep pushing your car onward, hoping it will hold out until the next paycheck. This kind of thinking turns a benevolent clunker into an enormous risk. Neglected tires (often a $200 - $400 repair) cause more accidents than record-keepers can keep track of and overlooked timing belts (a $500+ repair) can destroy a vehicle’s engine. Obviously, you don’t want to put too much money into an already run-down car, but weighing the risks before you put off repairs can not only improve your safety, it could actually save you money in the future.

Even the best cared for beater won’t last forever. But that doesn’t mean you have to buy new - especially if you’re on a budget! Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center is guaranteed to have an affordable vehicle to suit your needs and even offers financing and leasing options. When you’re ready to lay your junker to rest, we’ll be here to help. Check out our pre-owned models today.

How to Buy the Best Used Car

Not everyone needs the latest set of wheels to complete their dream garage. For many, a used car with a moderate amount of miles will suffice just fine. However, finding that perfect used car can be a bit of a challenge, especially when financing the purchase, which has increased over the last several years.

“Auto lending continues to thrive, accounting for more than 50 percent of all new non-mortgage lending through April 2014,” said Dennis Carlson, deputy chief economist at Equifax. “Lenders are responding to record low delinquencies by offering great rates and terms, while consumers are responding to the improving economic conditions by making the decision to purchase newer vehicles.”

According to Calypso, a San Carlos, California used car services company, the best things to do are:


1. Act fast on good deals

2. look at cars under $20,000

3. Be careful with Kelly Blue Book

4. Buy in green red or blue to save.


Here's why:

If costs, particularly low costs, are a priority, be sure to keep a keen eye out for cars below market value. These are hidden gems in the used car marketplace. According to Calypso, cars priced below market value can usually sell within only 10 days of sitting on the lot.

If you are on the other end of the spectrum, and have found a specific car that you feel is priced too high, wait it out. Data from Calypso shows that dealerships will often drop prices of used cars or trucks three times before the vehicle sells. Saving you, on average, about 10 percent simply by waiting.

While we mentioned earlier to ignore Kelly Blue Book, maybe that wasn't exactly fair. What we mean is, don't take it as the ultimate truth. So, by all means, use it, but as only one source in your multitudes of research.

“Kelly Blue Book is a great reference," Calypso sites, "but ultimately your local dealerships are more versed in the market prices of their cars."

The last thing to consider when buying a car is how much the color means to you. Surprisingly, colors such as yellow, red, green and blue can sell as much as 2.1 percent less than vehicles that are either black or silver. So get a flashier car for a discounted price, not a bad deal at all.

Here at Pilson, we want to help you find the best used car possible. So for more information on the used cars in the area, or our latest used car inventory, be sure to contact Pilson Auto Centers today.

Why Buy Certified Pre-Owned

In our automotive misadventures we’ve all had to buy a used car at one point or another, and apprehension and anxiety always runs high. You don’t know where the car has been, the things it’s done, or the people it’s been with. For many, it’s like a mechanical game of Russian roulette.

While a CARFAX can be helpful, it’s only as reliable and honest as the previous owner. And let’s not kid ourselves, who turns in their misdealing to the police whenever they step out of line? Not everybody.

So, what’s a used-car buyer to do? Well, in the 1990s, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus began “certifying” used cars on their dealership lots. This not only gave the vehicle a sense of reliability to potential customers but also gives them peace of mind.

What Does CPO Mean?

When a vehicle is certified pre-owned, it means it has been inspected, refurbished, and certified to a certain standard by a dealer or independent company. There is also usually special financing available, extended warranties offered, and even pre-paid maintenance schedules as well. However, this can vary greatly from dealer to dealer and manufacturer to manufacturer. In the CPO game, CPO is the greatest variation.

Now, dealers don’t go tossing CPO on any hunk of metal in the lot. CPO is reserved for the most special of vehicles in their inventory. This usually refers to vehicles that are five-years-old or newer and have less than 80,000 on the clock. This isn’t a rule, but a suggestion—not every dealership is the same.

Not All CPOs Are Equal

This really is understood, but we’ve all seen it. 50- 100- 250-point inspections splayed across windshields hoping to entice would-be buyers are far from comparable.

What points have been inspected? Is four points alone dedicated to making sure all four tires are inflated? A car has more than 250 parts? These are all great questions that need answered.

Ask to see the inspection list and see how the vehicle faired. See if the dealer will back the vehicle with a warranty if it does not already have one, and always take it for a test drive.

Even the savings on different makes and models can vary greatly. Hondas are known for retaining their value, so savings from a new to CPO model is slim. Be sure to shop around for the best available CPO package—meaning look at the cost, warranties, and incentives before making your decision.

Types of CPOs

Most CPO programs are authorized by the dealership franchise, like Ford, Porsche, or Honda. These are called manufacturer or factory CPOs.

There are third-party authorizers like National Vehicle Certification Program (NVCP) and Carmark. Sometimes, independent inspections do hold the vehicle to a higher standard than a dealer or manufacturer, but this goes back to asking to see the inspection before buying.

Pros and Cons

While most of us are looking for a great deal when buying a used vehicle, CPO programs offer benefits at the cost of price. Factory CPO vehicles will always cost more. This makes independent CPO vehicles a great alternative if you are looking to save money with initial cost and long-term maintenance costs. It’s a give and take.

It’s always good to be realistic as well. A CPO Porsche will always be a better buy than a CPO Ford. Porsche commands higher and more complicated repairs and maintenance and could be significantly harder to fix on a dime, where Fords are simpler and can more easily be fixed with relatively cheap and available parts.

But no matter what your situation, CPO is usually a better buy. Look at your budget, compare the pros, cons, to be sure to buy something you will be happy with long term, and not something you’ll want to enter into a LeMons race in a year.

For more information on the latest CPO deals here at Pilson Used cars, contact us today.

9 Steps to Make Sure Your Vehicle is Ready for this Winter

Whether it’s a Snowpocalypse, a Winter Vortex, or just low temperatures, Chicagoans know that winter is nothing to flinch at. And with temperatures already dropping, you need to make sure your vehicle is ready for the snowy months ahead.

Rich White, the executive director for Car Care Council said, “Winterizing your vehicle before the temperatures drop is a wise idea. An investment of an hour or two to have your vehicle checked is all it takes to have peace of mind and help avoid the cost and hassle of car trouble during severe winter weather.” He also recommended 9 steps to make sure your vehicle is ready for this winter:

1. If an oil change or basic tune-up is scheduled to happen in the middle of the winter, get it done early – According to the Car Care Console, winter magnifies existing problems such as fuel pings, hard starts, sluggish performance, or rough idling. Have the oil changed, your spark plugs and wires inspected, and even replace your air filter if necessary.

2. Check your battery and charging system – The primary reason a battery goes bad is because of drastic changes in temperature. And while the battery is used for starting purposes and the alternator charges the battery, if one is not operating properly, both can fail.

3. Check your tire pressure, tread, and condition – Just like with batteries, the weather impacts your tire pressure. In the cold, your tires could lose a few pounds of air pressure, and when it’s warm, they could over inflate. When you/re filling up at the gas station, check your tires visually or with a tire gauge for a more accurate reading.

4. Clean and flush your radiator and use new antifreeze – While this should be done as preventative maintenance every two years, if you’re worried about this winter, have your radiator cleaned, the fluid flushed, and replaced with new antifreeze. With new fluid, your vehicle could start and run easier since there will be no icing within the cooling system.

5. Make sure your heater, defrosters, and wipers are in proper working condition – While an ice scraper and snow brush should be standard equipment for all vehicles in Chicago, make sure your interior heater operates properly once your vehicle is warm, defrosters can melt that stubborn ice, and your wipers can push the snow off the windshield. Also, check your wiper fluid and replace with cold weather wash fluid if possible. Cold weather wash fluid could help break down the ice easier than generic wash fluid.

6. Check your brakes – When snow and ice cover the roads and your wheels are spinning, but your vehicle isn’t moving, you need to make sure you can stop in all situations. At your next oil change or service, have the technician visually inspect your brakes. If there is an issue, fix it sooner rather than later.

7. Inspect the exhaust system – Even though rush hour happens on the nicest days, your vehicle will idle longer during winter months due to slower moving traffic and toxic gases could get trapped inside your car since your windows are up. Also while getting your vehicle serviced, have the tech look at the exhaust system for leaks or damage, and fix or replace if possible.

8. Check all exterior and interior lights – In the winter, nighttime comes quickly, and in a large snow storm, visibility could be nonexistent. To check all your lights, ask a friend or family member to brave the cold weather and check each light one by one. If you don't have any help, you can drive your vehicle as close to a garage door or wall as possible and watch for the reflection of the given light you’re trying to operate.

9. Keep your gas tank at least half full – Though this may be slim if you operate your vehicle on a daily basis, allowing your tank to drop below half full may cause moisture to form inside your tank which could result in iced gas lines causing potential no start scenarios or major damage. By making sure your tank is above half, you will drastically lower your chances of this happening.

While these nine steps are to make sure your vehicle is ready for this winter, the Car Care Council also thought about you. In case you are frozen on Lake Shore Drive again, you should have a first aid kit stashed away in your trunk including jumper cables, a flashlight, road flares, blankets, extra clothes, matches, dry food snacks, and a bottle of water.

Pilson Pre-Owed Super Center wants you and your car to be ready for this year’s winter. If you feel your vehicle is not up to par, come down to our dealership and see our winter ready vehicles today. From trucks and SUVs, to compacts and convertibles, we have a vehicle for all your wants and desires.  

turkey leftovers

Tasty Thanksgiving Turkey Leftover Recipes

At Pilson Auto Centers, we are gearing up for Thanksgiving! We love a lot of things about the holiday, from family time, to football, and of course– the great food. Perhaps the best thing about Thanksgiving dinner, is that it keeps giving… with leftovers!   No matter how many people you might be feeding over the holiday, there always seems to be some extra fixins.

This year, Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center has some great leftover turkey recipe ideas for you to make the most out of your hard work cooking!


1. Turkey and “Dumpling” Soup 

According to Kraft, Turkey and “Dumpling” soup is one of the most delicious ways to utilize leftovers. While the ingredients call for three tablespoons of KRAFT Zesty Italian Dressing and four cups of chopped cooked turkey, you might need to add some extra veggies including onions, carrots, and celery.

Preparation takes just 30 minutes. Combine the stuffing mix, oil, and eggs, heating the dressing and then adding the vegetables. Heat up the turkey, broth, and water separately. Keep in mind that the recipe calls for rolling 12 stuffing mixture balls. Be sure they are not too large.

If you prefer, substitute three cups of leftover prepared STOVE TOP Stuffing mixed with two eggs to make the 12 stuffing mixture balls. Make sure to refrigerate after mixing to allow for easier preparation of dumplings.


2. Creamy Corn and Turkey Soup 

Looking for a proven five-star soup recipe? Try Kraft’s Creamy Corn and Turkey Soup. By using leftover turkey and PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, your Creamy Corn and Turkey Soup will be the talk of the weekend.

You will need onions, red pepper, butter, cream corn, chicken broth, milk, and black pepper along with your leftover turkey and Neufchatel Cheese. If you do not have any cheese, you can use cubed cream cheese instead.

Start by cooking the onions and half the red peppers with butter in a large saucepan on medium heat and then add the Neufchatel or cream cheese. Once melted, stir in the turkey, corn, broth, and milk.

For great taste, prepare the soup and then refrigerate it for up to two days. Reheat and serve for instant deliciousness on a cold day!


3. Crunchy Holiday Turkey Salad 

After stuffing your face with stuffing, a nice salad is a perfect way to get back into the healthy swing of things. Using leftover turkey, you can make a Crunchy Holiday Turkey Salad.

To make this salad, you will need ¼ cup of MIRACLE WHIP Light Dressing, ¼ cup finely chopped green onions, ¼ cup finely chopped celery, ¼ cup shredded carrots, 2 tablespoons dried cranberries, and 2 cups chopped cooked turkey. Once all the ingredients are collected, mix everything but the turkey in a large bowl. Next, add the turkey, mix lightly, cover, and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

For extra flavor, add 1 tablespoon of GREY POUPON Dijon Mustard and ¼ cup of chopped water chestnuts. You can also add eggs, blueberries, or other nuts based on your preference.


4. The Ultimate Leftover Turkey Sandwich 

With all the usual leftovers from Thanksgiving, you can truly have the best turkey sandwich ever. Introducing the turkey sandwich to end all turkey sandwiches.

On top of the leftover turkey, you can also use leftover dinner rolls or bread, leftover stuffing, and leftover cranberry sauce. Just add some MIRACLE WHIP Dressing that you likely already have in the fridge. For even more creamy flavor, substitute mayo for cream cheese.


5. Zippy Turkey Pot Pie 

If you’re up for just a little more cooking, try adding some leftover turkey in to make aZippy Turkey Pot Pie.

Start by mixing milk, dressing, and flour into a large microwaveable bowl.  Heat on high for 2 to 3 minutes or until sauce is thickened. To help with the process, take the bowl out at each one minute interval and stir. Once done, stir in the cheese, then microwave for one more minute.

Stir one more time and then add turkey, mixed vegetables and onions. Toss all the ingredients together and then spoon into a 9-inch pie plate. Go with the read-to-use refrigerated pie crust for an easy meal.

Finish by covering the filling, flute the edge, and seal to the rim of the pie plate. Then cut several slits in the crust to permit steam to escape, or you’ll be cleaning the oven instead of enjoying your dinner. Place on a baking sheet and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is golden brown.


Pilson Auto wishes you a safe and happy Thanksgiving! We are thankful for our customers, friends and family, and of course– all of the possibilities for delicious Thanksgiving leftover meals. What are you thankful for?


7 tips to improve your credit score

7 Easy Tips to Improve Your Credit Score

Have you recently looked at your credit score or have you been turned down for a loan? While there is not an easy method of boosting your score overnight, with a few simple steps, you can easily make sure you’re on the right track to a better score. Even though these steps maybe easy and push your score higher instead of lower, this process could take months if not years. However, it is never too late to start. At Pilson Auto Centers, we are here to help. We take pride in helping you get into a car, regardless of credit, when the other dealers may turn you down. Read more about our financing options here, or fill out our simple, secure pre-approval financing form!

1. Keep an eye on your current credit card balance

One of the biggest issues that might lower your score is how much revolving credit you currently owe compared to how much you are using. If the percentage is small, the better your score will be, but if you are using a high percentage of your available credit, your score could be drastically affected.

According to Anthony Sprauve, senior consumer credit specialist at FICO, it’s best to keep your debt-to-credit ratio at 30% or lower. He continued by saying the lower the better!

To boost your credit score, Pamela Banks, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, said “pay down your balances, and keep those balances low.”

While you might be paying your balance in full every month, you could still have a higher utilization ratio than you expect because some credit issuers use the balance on your statement as the one reported to the bureau and not if you paid it off. One thing you can do is to ask your credit issuer if they accept multiple payments through the month so you can constantly lower your balance before the bill is due.

2. Get rid of “nuisance balances”

John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at CreditSesame, says a great way to raise your credit score is to get rid of balances on cards you barely use.

“A good way to improve your score is to eliminate nuisance balances,” Ulzheimer says. He explained that those are the small balances you have on a number of credit cards, and, based on one of the ways your score is calculated; it could affect your score.

Ulzheimer suggests that if you have two cards and one is being charged $50 a month while the other is getting charged $30 per month, by consolidating those charges onto one card with a lower interest rate could impact your score within months.

“That way, you’re not polluting your credit report with a lot of balances,” he said.

3. Leave old good debt on your report

According to Ulzheimer, some people erroneously believe that old debt on their credit report is bad, but in reality that is not true. While negative items are bad and will lower your score, they will disappear over time.

Good debt is considered debt that you have paid as agreed and is good for your score. The longer your good debt is listed on your report, the better your score could be. “To improve your credit score, leave old debt and good accounts on as long as possible.” Ulzheimer said. He also said that getting rid of old good debt is “like making straight A’s in high school and trying to expunge the record 20 years later. You never want that stuff to come off your history.”

4. Use a calendar to your advantage

If you are ready to commit to a mortgage, car note, or student loan, do your shopping in the shortest amount of time because every time you apply for credit, it could cause your credit score to dip. While these dips are very minor, they can last up to one year on your report.

While your FICO score, which is the most commonly used scoring system for lenders, ignores such applications made 30 days before scoring, if they do find older ones after 30 days, FICO will publish all inquiries within a typical period as just one inquiry. The time frame varies between lenders.

“If lenders are using the newest forms of scoring software, then you have 45 days,” Ulzheimer said. “With older forms, you need to keep it to 14 days. Older forms of the software won’t count multiple student loan inquiries as one, no matter how close together you make applications.” He continued, “The takeaway is, don’t dillydally.”

5. Pay your bills on time

Just because you’re making a big purchase like a car or a house, do not stop paying your other bills to make that purchase happen. The last thing that a credit report wants to see is a late payment or delinquent notification.

“Credit scores are determined by what’s in your credit report,” said Linda Sherry, director of national priorities for consumer Action. She continued, “If you’re bad about paying your bills, or paying them on time, it damages your credit and hurts your score.” This issue can extend to scenarios that do not even involve a credit card or physical bill. For example, if you have a past due library book, your local library might obtain a collection agency for your unpaid fines and that agency has the ability to list your debt on your credit report.

Saving money is not a bad idea; just don’t compromise your current bills.

6. Don’t risk it if you don’t have to

Want an easy tip? Don’t risk your score if you do not have to. “Two of the biggies are missing payments and suddenly paying less (or charging more) than you normally do,” says Dave Jones, recently retired president of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. Jones continued, “Other changed that could scare your card issuer, but not necessarily dent your credit score, include taking out cash advances or even using your cards at businesses that could indicate current or future money stress, such as a pawnshop or a divorce attorney.”

Remember, if you are watching your report, so are the banks you’re doing business with.

7. Don’t let your score run your life

While you should be focused on taking care of your credit by paying your bills and lowering your bad debt, don’t drive yourself crazy on a daily basis about how to change your score.

Linda Sherry said if you are getting ready to make a big purchase, such as a home or a car, be prepared months ahead of time. While your credit score a few months ahead of time might not be the same score lenders view the day you apply for a loan, it will at least guide you on your way.

“The score when you can buy may not be the exact same one your lender uses, but it will grade you on many of the same criteria and give you a good indication of how well you’re managing your credit,” she said.

One way to track your scores is by obtaining one free credit report from each of the big three credit bureaus every 12 months through AnnualCreditReport.com. While you can get all three reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion at one time, Sherry says to stagger each of the three reports. By looking at one every few months, you can track your credit for free.

Pilson Used Car Supercenter in Charleston has vehicles available for every budget and we have the ability to finance practically everybody. While a higher credit score is in your favor to obtain a better loan and lower payments, we will not turn you away and help as best we can. Stop by today!

chili recipe

Football Sunday Chili Recipe

Prep Time: 30 mins

Cook Time: 45 mins

Read in: 1.25 hrs

Check out this recipe we found on recipetips.com! This is a great chili recipe for a chilly fall sunday filled with football games. We're confident it will soon become one of your favorite fall recipes!


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 onion, medium, diced
  • 3 cans (14 oz each) Del Monte Stewed or Diced Tomatoes, Original or Italian Recipe
  • 2 cans (14 oz each) Joan of Arc Mild Chili Beans
  • 3 cups tomato juice
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 dashes salt and pepper

Container: 8 quart pot


Brown ground beef in a large skillet with onion and celery, a dash of salt and pepper, and about 1/2 a tablespoon of chili powder. While the beef is browning, add tomatoes (but NOT tomato juice) and chili beans to the pot. Use diced tomatoes for smaller chunks and stewed for large chunks, or chop up the stewed if you like smaller chunks but prefer the taste of stewed. When the beef is finished browning, drain off grease and add to the pot. Now add tomato juice. For chunkier chili, add less, and vice versa. Now add the remaining chili powder and another dash of salt and pepper, but DO NOT add brown sugar until after the chili is finished simmering. Simmer on medium low for 45 minutes. When done simmering, add the brown sugar and stir well. Serve with milk and crackers, or top with sour cream and cheese. Enjoy. Note: For spicier chili, omit brown sugar. Chili can also be simmered in a slow cooker for parties.

prepare car for winter

Preparing Your Car for Cold Weather Conditions

Driving in harsh winter weather is oftentimes dangerous and unpredictable. We here at Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center want you to be protected and prepared for the upcoming and likely brutal winter season. We have compiled a list with helpful tips to best prepare for driving in the rain, sleet, snow and ice this fall and winter.


This may seem like a no brainier, but driving in bad weather can be stressful. Relaxing behind the wheel can make you less likely to make a mistake while being ready to avoid any obstacles in your way.

Slow Down

This is another easy one to forget, but a slow speed means you will be able to maintain better control over your car if something goes wrong or if you need to stop quickly. If you don’t feel comfortable with the speed traffic is going, slow down to a speed you feel safe without compromising the traffic around you. Move into the far right lane and make sure you are comfortable. You also want to make sure you are a safe distance from the car in front of you. You may have control of your car, but you have no control over the car in front of you.

Smooth Motions

Quick, jerky motions can spell disaster when behind the wheel of a car during dangerous road conditions like rain or snow. Yanking at the steering wheel too fast can put the car into an unrecoverable slide. Slamming on the accelerator or brakes can cause the tires to lose traction, and you could lose control of the car. Make slow and gradual motions when turning so you can keep your tires gripped to the road.

See and Be Seen

Make sure all of your vehicle’s lights are fully functional. This will allow you to see other drivers and the road, while being clearly seen by other cars around you. This only works if you turn them on though, so be sure to do that even in the mildest of driving conditions. Even if you can see okay, turn your lights on when there is fog, rain, or snow. That way it’s easier for those around you to be aware of your car. Also, make sure your car has a good set of wiper blades to clear the windshield of any ice, rain, or snow. Buy replacement wiper blades before winter sets in to avoid any visibility issues.

Watch Tire Spray

This is a nice tip that truck drivers use when driving in bad weather. Look at the tire spray coming off other driver’s tires. The less spray you see, the more slick the road surface is likely to be.

Try Not to Pull Over

Even in the worst winter driving conditions, fight the urge to stop along the road and wait for the storm to blow over. This could be deadly as cars are passing along next to you. Creep along until you find an exit or a parking lot to pull into. With visibility usually dangerously low, a collision is always possible if you stay on the side of the road. Just keep a safe distance between you and the car in front of you and take your time. Go as slow as you need to, but inch along with everybody else. This is much safer than pulling over.

Technology Won’t Save You

While many of today’s cars have stability and traction control, along with anti-lock brakes, they work well in most winter weather driving conditions, but you still need to be cautious. A patch of ice can derail any such technology. With all of the most advanced technology features for harsh driving conditions, it does not make you immune to any dangers such as sliding or losing control of your vehicle. You should still drive carefully, especially because the vehicles around you may not have the same advanced technology as your vehicle.

For more safe driving condition tips, please feel free to contact Pilson Pre-Owned Super Center at (217) 717-4517. Our certified service technicians would be happy to check your car before the winter and make sure it is ready for the upcoming cold weather. Schedule an appointment right from our website!

FFA Cody Morris

Pilson Auto Centers Sponsor Illinois FFA President, Cody Morris

Pilson Auto Center is proud to announce their plans to assist newly elected Illinois State FFA President, Cody Morris of Mattoon with his travel needs during his 2014-15 tenure. Morris, 18, of Mattoon and the Mattoon High School FFA Chapter was elected as 2014-2015 Illinois State FFA President on June 12, 2014. Pilson Auto Center of Mattoon and Charleston, knowing that Cody would travel more than 30,000 miles during his year of service stepped forward to support Illinois FFA and the travel associated with Cody’s year of service.

To support Morris and Illinois FFA, Pilson Auto Center will provide a vehicle to support Morris' work. Pilson Auto Center reported that it wants to help Morris succeed as he visits FFA chapters throughout the state, conducts workshops and meetings for FFA members, represents Illinois FFA at meetings and conferences, and promotes agricultural education.

“We were pleased to learn of Cody’s election as state FFA president," said Jamie Pilson, owner of Pilson Auto Center in Mattoon and Charleston. "As a local business, we want to help recognize Cody for his accomplishment as a member of our community, and at the same time support his level of commitment to service.”

Morris is the son of Rodney and Cathy Morris. He is a 2013 graduate of Mattoon High School and was enrolled at Lake Land College as an agriculture transfer student this past year. He will serve the Illinois Association FFA for the next 12 months.

Pilson Auto Center of Mattoon and Charleston followed its goals of “doing whatever it takes to create one great experience” to help FFA.

The Illinois Association FFA is part of the National FFA Organization, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America. More than 17,500 students are in enrolled 326 different FFA chapters in Illinois.

FFA is a national youth organization of 557,318 student members -- all preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business, and technology of agriculture. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Visit illinoisffa.org for more information.


Jobs at Pilson Auto Center

Pilson Auto Center is Hiring! Earn a $500 Referral Reward!

Business is booming at Pilson Auto Center, which means we are looking to add to our team! We are currently hiring full time Automotive Technicians at all skill levels for all 3 of our dealerships.

Know someone who would make a good Service Technician at Pilson Auto Centers? Now you can earn $500 from us for your referral! Remember to have candidates mention your name during the hiring process! Pilson Auto Centers will pay YOU $250 up front if your referral is hired on, then another $250 after they have been employed for 90 days.  Now hiring Service Technicians of all skill levels:  Journeymen, Apprentice, and Lube/Tire Techs! 

Automotive Technician Responsibilities and Duties include:

  • Diagnose and repair vehicles with excellence in quality
  • Perform inspections and preventive maintenance of vehicles
  • Communicate with service advisors and managers with progress of repairs and diagnosis
  • Possess a strong desire to achieve exceptional customer satisfaction

At Pilson Auto Center, we offer some great employee benefits, including:

  • Competitive pay
  • Sign-on bonus (based on qualifications)
  • Full benefits package (401k, health insurance)
  • Paid holidays and Vacations
  • A mentoring and training program
  • Relocation assistance
  • Scholarship program available
  • Stable work place and friendly work environment
  • The opportunity to launch or expand your career

We'd love to hear from you! Those interested in applying for the Automotive Technician openings can email resumes to jcoari@pilsonauto.com or mail them to: Pilson Auto Center 2212 Lakeland Blvd Mattoon, IL 61938 Attn: John Coari, Service Dir.

Please call 888-4Pilson (888-474-5766) for more information.


Support the Mattoon Green Wave Football Team!

It’s that time again, time to support the Mattoon Green Wave Football Team

The Mattoon Huddle would like you to join the team! The Mattoon Huddle financially assists MHS Football in attaining first class facilities, equipment, player recognition, coaching support, increase school pride and spirit, and training materials.

Brochures and membership enrollment will be available soon! Be on the lookout!

Pilson Pre Owned Super Center is a proud supporter of the team, and wishes all players a safe, fun, and great season!