Remember These Factors When Choosing Between a New and Used Car

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When you decide it is time to update your old car or get your first one, you will need to decide whether you want a new or used vehicle. Either option has its benefits, but it is harder to choose today than it used to be.

Considering TechnologyUsed Car Birmingham

One important thing to consider when choosing between a new and used Toyota or another model is the technology. In today’s modern world, technology and safety features tend to advance quickly. This means that if you want to have all the latest features available, you will always need a new car. At the same time, it also means that if you just want the basic technology features, like Bluetooth, USB, and auxiliary audio inputs, you can save a lot of money. Since technology advances so quickly, used models with fewer tech features tend to be significantly cheaper due to depreciation.


Probably the biggest reason Birmingham drivers choose a used model over a new one is the price. You can easily save thousands of dollars simply by choosing a used version of last year’s model as opposed to the newest one. This makes used or pre-owned vehicles the ideal choice for those on a budget. When considering price, however, don’t forget about fuel economy. Newer models tend to do better in this respect, although the difference is not always significant. In some cases, however, you may end up saving enough money on gas over the car’s lifespan to make up the difference you pay. This is only true, however, when the new and used models are in different generations or include major updates.

When you head to Limbaugh Toyota in Birmingham, Alabama, the team can work with you to figure out how a used car is the better choice for you and show you the wide selection of options.

Things to Notice on a Used Car Test Drive

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Choosing to buy a used Toyota as opposed to a new one can be a great way to save money as long as you know what to look for when making your purchase. While a visual inspection of the car is important, the test drive is the best way to get an idea of what components work well and whether a used car is a good option.

Test Drive Used Toyota Limbaugh Toyota

Before the Test Drive

Start any used car test drive with a quick visual inspection. Walk around to look for cracks or chips on the windshield. Open the trunk to make sure it has enough space for your needs. When you get inside the car, take a few minutes to look around before turning it on. Make sure it smells fine, without a hint of smoke or dirt. Glance at the interior to see whether there are any stains that look hard to remove. Check the blind spots and ease of access to the controls.

While Driving

During your used car test drive, try to pick a route with a range of surfaces, such as bumpy roads and smooth ones, and drive through the city and on the highway. Pay attention to the smoothness with which the transmission shifts, how the brakes work, and whether various components work, including the air-conditioning, heating, and wipers. Look out for unusual noises and whether the car pulls to one side or drives straight.

By following the above tips, it should be easy to make sure that the used vehicle you test-drive at Limbaugh Toyota in Birmingham, Alabama, is in good shape and right for you.

Simple Steps to Protect Yourself When Buying Used

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If you aren’t careful when buying a used car, you may find yourself getting a bad deal or buying a vehicle that is in poor shape. Many shoppers fall into the same traps or simply forget a few key things to do, but by being aware of these things, you will already be ahead of the game.

Check for Title WashingTitle Washing Limbaugh Toyota

In title washing, the seller will either forge a car’s title or simply use a blank or stolen title. Frequently, this is done to hide the history of a car if an insurance company declared the car as a complete loss because of damage. The best way to avoid this is to make sure you get a vehicle history report using the VIN. While checking information with the VIN, also double-check that the National Insurance Crime Bureau doesn’t have the car listed as stolen.

Examine for Damage

Although it may seem obvious, taking the time to check a used car for damage is worth mentioning. This crucial step should involve a Birmingham mechanic you can trust and is important because a vehicle report may not include all the paintwork or bodywork. This typically happens if the car was fixed without using insurance.

Avoid Deposit Schemes

You should never put down a deposit on a used car unless you are buying it from a dealership or person you know and trust. Some scam artists request a deposit with a wire transfer so the car can be released from another country or so they can “hold” it for you. This is nearly always a scam.

The best way to protect yourself when buying a used car is to buy it from a trustworthy dealership. At Limbaugh Toyota in Birmingham, Alabama, we have a reputation you can count on as well as a large selection of used models.

Toyota Camry vs Toyota Corolla

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Buying a pre-owned Toyota is always a smart choice. Toyota vehicles retain their quality, reliability, and comfort for years after the competition breaks down. Two of the most popular Toyotas to buy pre-owned are Corolla and Camry. If you are trying to decide between these two trusted sedans, Limbaugh Toyota offers this guide to their differences.toyoyta camry vs toyota corolla


The big picture difference between the Toyota Camry and Toyota Corolla is size. The Camry is a larger, full-size vehicle, while the Corolla is a smaller, compact car. While the two are roughly the same height, the Camry measures about 2 inches wider and about 10 inches longer. Corresponding to this disparity in exterior size is a difference in interior space. The Camry usually offers more legroom than the Corolla, so those who often drive with multiple adult passengers may be more comfortable in the Camry. That isn’t to say the Corolla is tiny inside; the Toyota Corolla regularly offers legroom comparable to larger crossover vehicles like the Honda CR-V.

Performance and MPGtoyota camry engine

Along with the larger size, the Camry often offers larger engines. Most model years see both the Camry and Corolla with a standard 4-cylinder engine. The Camry usually offers a V6 engine as a higher trim option; greater horsepower and torque accompany such an upgrade. On the other hand, greater size and power comes with lower gas mileage. The zippy Corolla usually gets better gas mileage than the same model year Camry. Both are efficient, however, with the 2015 Camry getting up to 25/35 mpg*, and the 2015 Corolla getting up to 30/42 mpg*. Additionally, the Toyota Corolla often offers a manual transmission option, while the Camry sticks with the automatic.

Featurestoyota corolla cockpit

The Toyota Camry is designed to be more luxurious than the economical Toyota Corolla. Often the Camry will have more standard and optional safety and convenience features than the Corolla. The higher Camry trim levels, like the XSE and XLE, taut leather upholstery, driver-assistive technologies, and heated seats. It may be easier to find a Camry with features like a moonroof, blind spot monitor, rearview camera, or navigation system. While the Camry strives for sophistication and premium materials, the Corolla offers functionality and simplicity in its tech systems and interior decor, though many may offer the same advanced features as Camry. As a result of the additional features, greater size, and upscaled interior, the Toyota Camry is typically more expensive than the Toyota Corolla.

Compare the Toyota Camry to the Toyota Corolla in person. Check out the wide selection of quality pre-owned vehicles at Limbaugh Toyota in Birmingham, Alabama.

Here’s What’s Included in Our 160-Point Toyota Certified Inspection

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Before a vehicle becomes a Toyota Certified Used Vehicle, it must pass a comprehensive 160-point inspection. Certified Toyota mechanics checks every inch of the vehicle to make sure that your Toyota dealer has only the highest quality used vehicles available. So here’s what’s on our Toyota Certified Used Cars checklist.


The heart of the vehicle beats in the Engine Compartment:

  • Change engine oil and filter
  • Check for evidence of sludge
  • Inspect for fuel, oil, coolant or other fluid leaks
  • Engine cold high idle correct
  • No abnormal engine noise at cold start
  • Throttle does not stick shut on cold start
  • Drivability OK during warm-up
  • Hot drivability OK
  • Engine reaches normal operating temperature
  • Engine fan functions properly
  • No excessive drone or vibration from engine
  • Drive belts and hoses free of cracks or damage
  • No damage to engine mounts
  • Check under-hood labels and decals
  • Engine compartment is clean
  • Under-hood heat insulator pad is clean
  • Engine free of excessive dressing
  • Inspect air filter
  • Oil, brake, clutch, transmission, transfer case, washer and power steering fluid levels OK
  • Under-hood fluids clear and uncontaminated

The Transmission and Transaxle are evaluated for proper performance:

  • Transmission/clutch operates smoothly
  • Automatic transmission in “ECT” power mode shifts properly
  • Transmission gear ranges engage promptly while shifting when warmed up
  • Transmission shift lock and key interlock system OK
  • Transmission does not shift into overdrive when button is in OFF position
  • Inspect transmission case and pan for leaks
  • No damage to drive and axle shafts
  • Differential fluid level correct

The Engine Coolant and HVAC System keep the car and its future owner cool and composed:

  • Engine coolant at proper hot and cold levels
  • Coolant specific gravity to -31° Fahrenheit
  • A/C cooling operation normal
  • A/C refrigerant sight glass clear
  • Heater operation normal


A thorough inspection of the Braking System ensures everything is in top condition:

  • Inspect brakes, calipers, lines and hoses
  • No excessive vibration during braking
  • ABS operates on “panic stop”
  • Parking brake sets and holds vehicle
  • Brake pads/shoes must have minimum of 50% wear remaining
  • No excessive grooving or heat checking of rotors or drums
  • Parking brake releases completely
  • Brake pedal free play and travel is normal

Each vehicle must be sound in Frame, Structure and Underbody:

  • Frame/Unibody check
  • Inspect body surface
  • Inspect panel alignment and fit
  • Inspect lower body and underbody for damage
  • Check exhaust systems and hangers

The Tires and Suspension System is where the rubber meets the road:

  • Inspect tires for defects, damage and inflation
  • Minimum of 5/32″ tread depth remaining across tread width
  • All four tires must be of same brand, model, size, tread design, speed and load rating
  • Wheels are clean and free of brake dust
  • Tires are dressed, not greasy
  • Wheel cover caps secure with no damage
  • Inspect struts/shocks for leaks and wear
  • No damage to CV joints/boots

A stable Steering System is essential for comfortable driving:

  • Steering has normal feel in lock-to-lock turning
  • Steering wheel centered in straight line driving
  • Vehicle tracks and drives straight on level surface
  • Tilt steering wheel adjustment works properly
  • No excessive wind whistle or buzz
  • No excessive tire vibration or steering wheel shimmy at any speed
  • Interior free of significant squeaks or rattles
  • Inspect steering rack, linkage, bushings, control arms and dust boots

The Trunk Compartment and Spare are in the back of the car, not the back of the mind:

  • Trunk is clean, free of debris, no stains
  • Trunk light and trunk trim appearance
  • Jack and tools are correct, present and secured
  • Fiber board tire cover is not broken/warped
  • Spare tire present
  • Spare tire and storage areas are clean
  • Spare tire is securely fastened
  • No signs of damage to spare tire
  • Minimum 5/32″ tread remaining on spare
  • Spare tire has correct air pressure

Hybrid Components require specialize attention:

  • Hybrid Vehicle Immobilizer System
  • Multi-Information Display
  • Inverter Coolant Level
  • Engine and ECT (Electronically Controlled Transmission)
  • ABS (Anti-lock Brake System)
  • EMPS (Electric Motor Assisted Power Steering)
  • CCS (Cruise Control System)
  • SRS (Supplemental Restraint System) Airbag
  • HV ECU (Hybrid Vehicle Electronic Control Unit)
  • HV (Hybrid Vehicle) Battery
  • Perform “Onboard Equalizing Charge” of HV Battery using Intelligent Tester
  • Fully charge 12-Volt Auxiliary Battery
  • Clean or replace Air Refiner Filter (A/C or evaporator filter)
  • Check Transaxle “Park” Mechanism


A pre-owned vehicle doesn’t mean a second-class Audio and Alarm System:

  • Audio/cassette/CD system working normally, CD cartridge present (if equipped)
  • Antenna is present and functions properly
  • Radio speakers do not rattle at high volume
  • Remote entry system works properly (if equipped)
  • Theft-deterrent system works properly (if equipped)

There are more Lighting Systems on one vehicle than you may realize:

  • Warning lights function
  • High and low beams OK
  • Headlight aim is OK
  • Taillights work
  • Brake lights work
  • Side marker lights work
  • Backup lights work
  • License plate lights work
  • Instrument lights work
  • Heater lights work
  • Dash light dimmer works
  • Turn signals operate correctly and self-cancel
  • Four-way flashers work
  • Defogger indicator light turns on with switch ON
  • Dome/courtesy lights operate with door cycles

Instrument Panel and Electronic Systems are the central nervous system of the vehicle:

  • Master key is present
  • Fuel gauge reads correctly
  • Battery voltage gauge reads correctly
  • Horn works
  • Airbag deployment/replaced airbag
  • Speedometer and odometer work properly
  • Cruise control operation normal
  • Clock keeps time
  • All wiper speeds work correctly
  • Windshield washer operates
  • Wiper blades are in good condition and work
  • Wipers return to correct position when OFF
  • All mirrors have full range of adjustment
  • Windows operate normally
  • Window locks operate normally
  • Power windows operate from master switch and all door switches
  • Memory seat control operates properly

The Battery System must keep the charge to keep you going:

  • Battery in good condition, has proper cold cranking amps and reserve capacity
  • Battery proper size and secure
  • Battery posts free of corrosion
  • Cables in good condition

Overall Quality

A good Exterior Condition and Appearance means a good first impression:

  • Exterior is clean and free of road residue
  • No cracked or broken lenses of exterior lights
  • Outside rearview mirror operates/lens is good
  • Glass free of cracks, stars and large chips
  • Glass is free of improper repairs
  • Bumpers are free of cuts, gouges and scratches
  • Body is free of all dents
  • Body is reasonably free of dings
  • Paint is reasonably free of scratches and chips
  • Vehicle is free of improper paint repairs or mismatched color
  • Hood and trunk latches working
  • Free of water spots
  • Paint is free of swirl marks
  • Paint has even, high luster
  • Paint is free of buffable scratches
  • Free of wax residue
  • Wheelwells are clean
  • Acceptable aftermarket items checked
  • Removal of unacceptable aftermarket items

The Interior Condition and Appearance has to be up to snuff:

  • Day/night mirror operates and lens is good
  • Window tinting clear and free of bubbles
  • Cigarette lighter is intact and operates
  • Ashtrays function and are in good condition
  • Ashtrays and lighter are clean; no evidence of use
  • Headliner, sun visors, dash pad, upholstery, console, cup holders, trim panels, floor mats and carpets are in place and in good condition (if equipped)
  • Cup holder extends completely and sturdily
  • Doors open and close correctly
  • Door locks, including child safety locks, work properly
  • Seats, including all position adjusters, work properly
  • Headrests function properly
  • Rear defogger grid lines intact
  • Interior leather, vinyl, plastic, carpet and fabric surfaces are free of holes, rips, tears, excessive wear or fading
  • No evidence of previous improper repairs
  • Inspect seatbelt condition
  • Seatbelts have full range of extension and smooth operation
  • Seatbelts lock up per specification
  • Inside remote release operates normally
  • Interior is free of debris
  • Dash and vents are clean and properly dressed
  • All crevices are clean
  • Doorjambs are clean
  • Glove box and console compartments are clean
  • Seats, carpets, floor mats and headliner are free of stains (if equipped)
  • Free of odor, including heavy perfume
  • Glass is clean and free of streaks

Every Toyota Certified Used Vehicle must have a clean Vehicle History:

  • Run and print a CARFAX® Vehicle History Report Check for outstanding Special Service Campaigns

Emissions and State Inspection

  • Perform emissions test and/or state inspection, if required

Inspectors evaluate Additional Items, Where Applicable:

  • “Fade-away” dome light works properly
  • Sunroof/convertible top operates normally through full range of positions
  • Convertible top lockout function operates
  • Radio security codes cleared
  • Navigation system works properly
  • Transfer case smoothly switches from 2WD to 4WD and back from 4WD to 2WD
  • Truck bed is in good condition
  • Truck bedliner is in good condition and secured
  • Tailgate functions properly
  • Rear bumper is in good condition and secured

From bumper to bumper, from axle shaft to trunk light, if it is part of a Toyota Certified Used Vehicle, you know it passed the test. Come see the wide selection of qualified vehicles at Limbaugh Toyota in Birmingham, Alabama.

What Makes a Car a Toyota Certified Used Vehicle?

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Toyota-Certified-Used-Cars-BirminghamBuying a used car can be nerve-wracking. You never know what you are getting from private sellers and roadside lots. Forget your worries with a Toyota Certified Used Vehicle from Limbaugh Toyota. Toyota Certified Used Vehicles are part of a factory-backed, certified pre-owned program, which is honored at over 1,400 Toyota dealerships across the United States and Canada. Only the highest quality pre-owned vehicles become Toyota Certified Used Vehicles, and the advantages of owning one are comparable to buying a brand new car.

You will not find an old or overworked car among the Toyota Certified Used Vehicles. To be eligible for the program, a vehicle must have fewer than 85,000 miles on the odometer and be the current model year or six model years back. Once those requirements are satisfied, the vehicle must pass Toyota’s rigorous 160-Point Quality Assurance Inspection. This inspection covers every inch inside and out, from the engine compartment, battery system, and transmission, to the interior condition and appearance, lighting systems, and audio and alarm systems.

Toyota is confident in its Certified Used Vehicles, and it passes that assurance on to the buyer. A CARFAX Vehicle History Report is available for each Certified Used Vehicle. Certified customers are also eligible for standard new-car financing rates. Once purchased, a Limited Comprehensive Warranty lasts for 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever occurs first, and covers any repair or replacement of components that fail under normal use due to a defect in materials or workmanship. A Limited Powertrain Warranty covers major engine and transmission components and all internally lubricated parts, and lasts for 7 years or 100,000 miles, whichever occurs first. Also, for the first year of ownership, Toyota includes 24-hour Roadside Assistance, including servicing flat tires, jump starts, towing, and emergency fuel delivery.

Take the uncertainty out of purchasing a used car. Buy a Toyota Certified Used Vehicle from Limbaugh Toyota in Birmingham, Alabama, and drive home with confidence.