The Right Financing For You

The right auto loan can help you own the car of your dreams, or obtain the vehicle that you need on a short timeframe. Unfortunately, the wrong auto loan can quickly turn into an expensive burden. Here are a few commonly made mistakes to watch out for when you are looking at your auto financing options.

First, it’s important to come up with a budget well before you set foot near a dealership. It’s easy to forget about other financial obligations or convince yourself that you will be able to handle a high monthly payment when you are looking at a car that is perfect, if a little pricey. Having a concrete number in hand is a good way to stay grounded and avoid buyer’s remorse.

You should also be very careful about the repayment terms that you commit to. General wisdom holds that it’s best to pay a higher monthly over a shorter term so that you pay less interest in the long run. However, this can be a burden in the case of unexpected expenses or life changes. If you’re expecting some instability over the next few years or if you don’t have a financial cushion, you should stick to a more conservative monthly payment, and pay extra whenever you are able to.

One final thing to check is whether there is a penalty for paying off your loan early. A few lenders will do this to recoup the profit made on interest that they would otherwise lose. If this is the case, then a long-term, low monthly payment loan will not make as much sense financially if you are probably capable of paying off the loan more quickly.

Basically, you always need to read the fine print when you are considering auto financing. Many people are reluctant to ask questions and sound uninformed, but it’s only fair that you have a clear understanding of what you are signing up for. Avoiding these common mistakes will help you save money as well as months or even years of stress.

How Does Trading In a Car Work? What You Need to Know First

How to trade in a car

Steps to trade in a car

1. Find out what your trade-in is worth

Dealers use a variety of different references to determine what your used vehicle is worth. They can use the Black Book or Blue Book to find wholesale values. To get a good idea of what they might offer you, it’s best to use an industry guide like Kelley Blue Book (KBB) to find out what your trade-in is worth. You’ll need to know the vehicle make, model, mileage and condition. KBB says that about 54% of trade-in vehicles qualify as “good condition.” Here are the four most popular industry guides for vehicle appraisal. The first three are free for the public to use online. Black Book is an industry guide that dealers can access for a fee.

Kelley Blue Book
Edmunds
National Automobile Dealers Association Guide
Black Book

“When you’re trading in a car, the dealership that [you] trade to will not be offering any more than the rough- to average-wholesale price for the vehicle,” says Steve Lang, a longtime auto auctioneer and car dealer out of Atlanta who co-developed the Long-Term Quality Index. Expect the dealer to offer a low value, and aim to get at least trade-in value for your car. The only common reasons you wouldn’t be able to get trade-in value are if your car was in a major accident or if it has a salvage title.

What’s my truck worth?

If you’re wondering how much your truck is worth and you have a commercial vehicle, you could:

Buy a Price Digests report. Formerly known as the Truck Blue Book, it allows you to find out what a truck is worth by searching its vehicle identification number (VIN) or by searching the year, make and model. Unlike passenger vehicle appraisals, though, the Price Digests report isn’t free. It costs $29.95 for one report. If you’re in the business and frequently need truck appraisal reports, subscriptions start at $419.95 for truck valuations and go up to $999.99 if you also want to value trailers, RVs, powersport vehicles and more.

See what similar vehicles are priced at. Look at dealers’ online inventory and at ads in industry papers to see the asking price for vehicles similar to yours so you can get an idea of your truck’s retail value.

2. Find out how much you owe on your car

If you have a free and clear title with no lien on it, you’re in business. If you still owe money on your trade-in, find out how much. You could still sell or trade-in a car with a loan. Contact your lender and ask what the payoff is on your auto loan. Compare what you owe on it to how much it’s worth as a trade-in.

If your car is worth more than what you owe, then you have positive equity and can use the difference as a down payment on your new car, which could lower your monthly payments. For example, if you owe $10,000 on a car that’s worth $15,000, you would have a $5,000 credit toward the purchase of your new car.

If your car is worth less than what you owe, don’t despair, you could still trade-in your car, but you’ll need to cover the difference with a down payment or roll the difference into your new car loan. If you add it to your new car loan, know that your payment and interest can increase. For example, if you owe $25,000 on your car and it’s worth $20,000, then you could roll $5,000 into your new car loan. Here’s more on how to get out of an upside-down car loan.

3. Shop around for trade-in quotes

Be sure to get all offers in writing. Here are some places you could go:

A different brand dealership. Take your car to a dealer that does not sell your car’s brand. An example would be taking your Ford to a Nissan dealer because a non-Ford dealer may offer you more. The reasons behind this are that there are fewer Fords with which to compete and “If the car you are driving was a popular rental, lease or fleet model, they also transact at lower prices,” says Matt DeLorenzo, managing editor for Kelley Blue Book. If you go to a dealer of the same brand, you could be “competing against those depressed prices with your privately owned vehicle.”

A used-car-only dealership. Places like CarMax advertise fast, free quotes on trade-ins, so stopping by maybe a pretty painless way to get a written trade-in offer.

Online services. Some sites offer to buy your trade-in online. Whether you trade-in your car for a new one or sell it using an online site, an offer from an online service might be useful. KBB Instant Cash Offer is one example of a site you could use.

4. Gather documents

To officially trade in the car, you’ll need the following documents.

  • Car title. If you own the car, bring the title. This proves that you legally own the car and that you are authorized to transfer ownership. If you lost the title, don’t sweat too much. Dealerships usually keep a form on hand that you can sign requesting a lost title replacement. But you still need to prove ownership, which you could do with your car registration.
  • Car registration. Whether you paid off the car or not, the registration could serve as proof of ownership.
  • Loan information. If you’re still paying off the car, you should bring your loan information with you, including the lender, the account number, and the amount you have left to pay off the loan.
  • Maintenance records. Bringing these could help prove that you’ve taken care of the car and that it deserves a higher price for being in a good, if not prime, working condition.

5. Negotiate

“Come into the dealership with a good idea of what your vehicle is worth and what you’d be willing to settle for,” says DeLorenzo. Dealers will often make a low offer, expecting you to negotiate up. But you shouldn’t take less for your trade-in than what an industry guide says it’s worth.

Getting Approved with Bad Credit

Getting approved for an auto loan can be a challenge if you have a questionable credit history. Even though most lenders use your credit profile as a means to measure your worthiness, it is not always an accurate indicator of how financially responsible you are. We know that sometimes bad things happen to good people, and we do not believe in penalizing you for those situations. That is why we offer bad credit car loans to all of our customers.

Interest Rates

Having bad credit does mean that you are subject to higher interest rates. Higher interest rates will result in you having a higher monthly payment. The best way to get this factor to work in your favor is to choose your vehicle carefully. Know how much you can afford to pay for a monthly payment before you come down to our dealership. If you are not sure of what you can afford to pay, let us know and we will work with you so that you get a vehicle that fits within your budget.

Bring Your Paperwork

To make the financing process go smoother, bring in your paperwork. We need hard copies of your income, bank statements, and bankruptcy discharge orders. Bring us your last three to five check stubs, a copy of your last two bank statements, and your driver’s license. We will make a copy of those documents and get you approved for an auto loan. Once approved, all you will need to drive away is auto insurance. We can also assist you with getting a good policy, if you do not already have one. We have tons of cars for you to choose from. Do not feel pressured to make a decision right away, take as much time as you need. Our sales staff will actively work with you, so that you choose a vehicle that you love.

Even though you have bad credit now, we can give you the opportunity to get your credit history back on track with our car loans.

Find Your Quality Used Car Here

Shopping around for used cars is an exciting time for most people, but it can also be stressful and confusing. How are you sure to find the best deal? What if the car you’re considering has problems you don’t know about? Will you be pressured to buy a car before you’re ready? Fortunately, the knowledgeable staff at our dealership is qualified to answer these questions and more that you may have. We’re happy to walk you through each step of the used car buying process, whether you’re ready to make a purchase or just looking around for now.

What about pressure?

High-pressure tactics are one of the things that intimidate a lot of people looking for cars, even if they’ve bought a car before. Our sales team is against these types of tactics that only make potential buyers feel uncomfortable and give them a bad feeling about the car buying process. Instead, we want to make you feel comfortable and welcome at our dealership. We will spend the time to show you cars you’re interested in and answer your questions, but will never make you feel like you’re required to make a purchase.

Are our used cars reliable and in good condition?

Our experienced mechanics take great pride in the work they do on each car that comes into our lot. We never sell a car with known issues to customers – each vehicle on our lot is thoroughly inspected and repaired before becoming available, so you know you’re driving off with a car you can rely on. If on the off chance an issue does arise, we will do everything we can to make it right.

Come into our showroom today and ask us to show you around. We’ll be happy to give you a tour of the many quality used cars in our stock, as well as discuss affordable financing options. We’re prepared to answer any questions you have. You’ll soon discover why we’re known for making the car buying process enjoyable and easy for all our customers.

Do You Drive All Seasons or Winter Tires?

If you frequently drive on snow or ice you have probably wondered which type of tire is best for your car. Tires are very important, especially when it comes to driving in dangerous, cold weather conditions. You have two different options when it comes to purchasing tires. All-seasons tires stay on your car during the summer and winter and are supposed to perform well in all conditions. Winter tires, on the other hand, should only be used during the cold months and are specifically designed to handle low temperatures. Keep reading to decide if you should buy all seasons or winter tires.

One of the major benefits or all-seasons tires is that you do not have to change them twice a year. You can put them on your vehicle and leave them there year round. Additionally, they are designed to handle both warm and cool temperatures. They are reliable on dry and wet roads. Due to the fact that all-seasons tires are not designed to focus on one specific condition, however, they do not perform as well on cold winter roads as winter tires. If you do not do a lot of driving on ice or snow and you do not want to be burdened by changing your tires with the seasons, all-seasons tires are right for you.

Despite the reliable nature of all-seasons tires, winter tires are undoubtedly better about performing in cold weather. Winter tires are made of a special rubber compound that allows the tires to grip to the road even when it is covered in ice and snow. This makes them handle much better, especially when making sharp turns. For this reason, winter tires may be the safer option. Winter tires can be a hassle, however. The soft rubber used to make winter tires wears down easily, and therefore should not be used during the summer months.

Still wondering whether you should purchase all seasons or winter tires? Do some more research on the topic to find out which is a better fit for you. You can even contact a tire company to get their recommendation.

Bad Credit Car Loans Can Save You

When you need to buy a car fast, but your finances are not in the order that you wish them to be, it can seem like you are in something of a difficult situation. This is made even more true if you do not have a credit score that allows you to take out the loans that you require. Luckily, all hope is not lost. The best way for you to move forward at a time like this and still get what you need is by researching bad credit car loans. There are many ways that these financing options can help.

The Basics

Essentially, these loans are exactly the same as any other kind of loan that you might take. The main difference is that your credit score will not be the same obstacle that it is when you are trying to take a loan out from other institutions. Instead, the score will be factored into the terms and conditions of your loan. Typically, the lower your score, the higher the interest rate will be. While this might seem daunting, it is important to understand that bad credit car loans are short term, and the interest rates reflect the schedule of repayment.

The Benefits

The one benefit that rises above all others in regards to this type of loan is that you are able to get the car that you need without much of a hassle. Instead of having to spend years getting your score back in a good place before purchasing a car, you are able to expedite the process by finding a financing option that works with you. This means that you will be able to get your bad credit car loans, get your car and get to repaying your loan in no time at all.

Though you might not always be able to get ahead the way that you wish in life, there are still plenty of options worth considering. Take a look at what bad credit car loans can for you and get ready to make a huge change in your life.

Explore Financing Before You Start Vehicle Shopping

Once you determine which dealership to get your next vehicle at, talk to them about their financing options before you start to browse the vehicles on the lot. This is especially important if you have bad credit because it allows them to look specifically for bad credit car loans that they may offer in house.

Know What You Qualify For

If your credit is not great, the dealership financing options could be more limited compared to a shopper with an excellent score. When you talk to the finance department first, they can run your information and crunch the numbers. This gives you a better look at the total loan amount you may be able to get. Once you know this, you can stick to looking at vehicles at this price or lower on the lot.

Clean Up Your Credit or Get a Cosigner

If your credit situation means that your financing options are a bit dim, you will know in advance if you should work on your credit before buying. It also lets you know if a cosigner could help you to get better terms and a larger loan amount.

Speed Up the Process

When you pick out a vehicle first, if you do not qualify for a loan large enough to cover it, you have to go back to square one. However, when you get your financing options first, you can work within the financing parameters that you qualify for, eliminating the possibility of not qualifying for the vehicle that you choose. So, you simply pick out one that works, finish the paperwork and drive off the lot.

When you get the financial stuff out of the way first, it makes shopping for a vehicle a bit less stressful. You will know what you are working with and if there are any limitations with factors, such as the loan size, as you are exploring the available vehicles.

Keep Your Investment Running Great

While many used car owners take their vehicles in for routine maintenance, such as oil changes and tire rotations, it is important to perform your own inspection checks as well. Proper car maintenance and DIY tips are easy to follow. Engaging in simple vehicle checks regularly may help to prevent an accident from occurring. Here are some easy Do-It-Yourself tips that you can look for in your vehicle.

Checking your oil on a routine basis will help to extend the life of your car. If you happen to be going on a long drive, be sure to check the oil before you go. Most vehicles need to have their oil changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. Missing an oil change can damage your car’s engine.

Another maintenance check that you can do yourself is the battery inspection. Check your battery to make sure all cables and connections are free from corrosion and are securely attached. Car batteries generally last for three to five years.

Routinely test your headlights to make sure they are working properly. Head and tail lights are cheap and easy to fix. Repairing them as needed may prevent you from being pulled over because of a headlight outage.

Be sure to check your tires for any wear in tread or damage to the sidewall. If you notice one of your tires is getting low, check the pressure and fill it with air. Continue to keep an eye on it in order to avoid getting stuck with a flat tire. Bald tires will need to be replaced as soon as possible as they are a danger on the road, especially in bad weather conditions.

A common maintenance issue involves trouble with the brakes. Listen for any screeching sounds that occur when you apply your brakes. Replacing your brakes quickly upon hearing the noise will prevent them from damaging your rotor blades.

Knowing how to care for your car properly will not only increase the life of your used car, but it will safeguard you from other dangers on the road as well.

Finding the Best Pre-Owned Vehicle

Next to your house, your car is probably one of the most substantial investments you will ever make in your life. It’s important while car shopping that you explore all of your options and choose the absolute best vehicle that meets your needs without draining your budget in the process. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind as you shop.

With the cost of gasoline continuing to increase, you may wish to explore a more fuel-efficient model of car for your next vehicle. The cost of gasoline can make a substantial difference in the overall affordability of your car, especially if you have a longer commute or have other duties and activities that keep you driving around a lot in your free time. Some individuals can save hundreds of dollars each month by trading in their older, gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks and switching to a hybrid, compact car, or model designed for enhanced fuel efficiency. If you are tired of constantly stopping at the gas station and watching the numbers on the pump creep up and up as you refuel, it may be time to make the switch to a more economical used car.

Speaking of used cars, it is no secret that pre-owned cars are a great value—the consumer demand for affordable cars is partially why the pre-owned vehicle market is as robust as it is today. It’s critical when selecting a car that you choose one that fits well within your monthly budget. You also need to take other vehicle costs into consideration, including insurance, gas, tune-ups, and maintenance.

If you do a substantial amount of driving every month, you’ll need to keep a particular eye on maintenance due dates to ensure you keep your ride driving perfectly season after season. It can be easy to fall behind on routine maintenance like oil changes without adhering to a schedule or paying close attention to the odometer every month, so it behooves you to create a way of reminding yourself when maintenance is due.

Getting the Best Interest Rate on a Used Car

You’ve narrowed down your search for the perfect used car for your needs and budget and are ready to address your finance options. If you won’t be buying the car outright, you’ll need to finance it, which means paying interest. To avoid paying more than necessary for used cars, you’ll want to keep your interest rate as low as possible, which you can easily do with a few good tips.

Think About Financing Through the Dealer

While you might think financing your car through a dealer is automatically more expensive, the truth of the matter is that doing so could net you a pretty solid deal. This is because dealerships can offer incentives like zero-percent financing and other specialized low rates. Check to see what’s on the table before you think about financing elsewhere.

Consider a Certified Pre-Owned Car

It seems counterintuitive, but older cars usually come with higher interest rates when compared to newer models. Instead of thinking you’re better off with a new model, consider the fact that dealerships sometimes have zero-percent interest specials on their certified pre-owned cars. Be sure to ask about them as you’re walking up and down the aisles checking out cars.

Consider Your Term Length

If it’s at all possible, get a car loan with the shortest term length possible. The reason for this is that a shorter term length equals a shorter repayment length, which means a lower amount of interest paid over the life of your loan. Another great thing about getting a term length as short as possible is that you don’t have to worry as much about being upside down on your loan, which is what happens when you owe more on your car than it’s worth.

As you can see, there are several things you can do to keep the interest rate low on your used car. Be sure to put these tips to good use.