Category Archives: Tips & Insights

5 Best Cars for People Who Really, Really Love Their Dogs

You only eat at dog-friendly restaurants. You have a tattoo of your pup’s paw prints somewhere on your body. Your bumper sticker proudly proclaims that you just want to drink wine and hang out with your dog.

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We get it. You’re a dog person. We’re dog people, too. That’s why we compiled this list of awesome, dog-approved vehicles. These dog-friendly cars will make it easier for you and Fido to travel together in comfort and style.

You’ll notice that while these vehicles are all different makes and models, dog-friendly cars tend to have a handful of things in common.

The best dog-friendly cars all have:

  • Great, versatile cargo space: Seats can fold flat or easily be removed for maximum storage and space for a dog crate.
  • Low floors: Low floors make it easy for your dog to hop into the car, no matter their age or size.
  • Built-in window shades: Tinted windows or built-in shades can help your dog avoid direct sunlight and stay cooler on long car trips.
  • Easy to clean interiors: $%*# happens. Literally. Parents and pet lovers know this to be true firsthand. An interior that’s easy to hose down and vacuum out is a godsend when a long car ride turns into a long day at the car wash.
  • Little space between seats: The less nooks and crannies there are, the less places you have to worry about cleaning up dog hair and losing rouge treats!

5 Best Cars for Dogs & Dog Parents

#1: Kia Soul

The Kia Soul is top choice among dog lovers and even musicians. Its massive, easy-to-clean cargo area makes it easy for you to transport almost anythingGreat Dane or full drum kit. The Soul’s body sits low to the ground, so even if you do have to help an ol’ dog climb in, you won’t have to lift for long. It can easily accommodate a medium-sized crate. One drawback, though? The rear seats fold down, but not completely flat.

Used Kia Souls cost well under $15k. Think $6k to $13k.

#2: Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

As a general rule of thumb, minivans make great dog cars! Thanks to their wide sliding doors, large rear hatches, and low floors, minivans make it easy to travel with dogs and still leave room for passengers and luggage.  

The Pacifica Hybrid rises to the top of the dog pile with its completely flat floors and convenient seat anchors that make it easy to tie down a dog crate. Safety and comfort? Two paws up for that!

A new Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid will run you close to $40k, but you can find reliable used Pacificas for closer to $30k and with fewer than 50,000 miles.

#3: Subaru Outback

No list of dog-friendly cars would be complete without a Subaru! Subaru loves featuring dogs in their commercials and regularly invests time and money in pet causes around the country. They work with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®), The Center for Pet Safety, and Southeastern Guide Dogs. As a company, Subaru is paws-itively passionate for pups and lives out their passion every day!

Drive a Subaru Outback and you can take your dog pretty much anywhere. The Outback’s low height makes it easy for Fido to jump in and out, and the spacious cabin means plenty of room for him and all of his toys and treats. Plus, every Outback comes with all-wheel drive. In an Outback, you can both answer the call of the wild.   

Subaru has an almost cult-like following, so good luck finding a used Subaru Outback. A new Outback costs about $26k.

#4: Honda CR-V

On first glance, the Honda CR-V sits a little higher than the Kia Soul and Subaru Outback. Don’t start sniffing elsewhere just yet. Dogs and people alike adore the CR-V’s spacious cargo area and composed, stable ride. Upgrade to a CR-V EX-L for leather seating, a power liftgate, and additional safety features like automatic emergency braking, lane assist, and adaptive cruise control.

Honda CR-V prices vary quite a bit depending on mileage and year. For the most part, you can find newer-model used CR-Vs with fewer than 50,000 miles for $15k to $20k.

#5: Volkswagen Atlas

The Atlas doesn’t yet have a reputation among pet parents, but we think it soon will. The perks? A cavernous cargo area plus three rows of versatile seating. The CR-V, Outback, and Soul can’t match that versatility.

The third row of seats even features a 50/50 split so you can secure a dog crate and still keep one of the rear seats for passengers. Atlases are also available with tri-zone automatic temperature control, so passengers and pups alike can stay warm or cool no matter where they’re sitting.  

Volkswagen Atlases are still new to the market. A quick Internet search shows that you can find used models for as low as $25k in some areas.

Buy the car your dog deserves!

Your dog deserves the best. So do you. The pawfect dog-friendly car is waiting for you and your fur baby! Compare up to four used car loan or new car loan offers today and choose the best offer for you, then use your extra cash for some sweet dog treats!

Top 4 Mistakes When Refinancing Your Car Loan

Refinancing your auto loan means getting a new loan, typically one with a better interest rate. It could save you hundreds of dollars, maybe even thousands over the course of the loan. Saving that much money is exciting, right? Don’t let that excitement cause you to overlook simple details in the refinancing process. Watch out for these common auto refinancing mistakes to make sure you secure your best refinancing deal yet, all with a little help from myAutoloan.

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1. DON’T: Assume your credit is great

Refinancing is a smart move if your credit score has greatly improved since you first applied for an auto loan. If you’ve been making your car payments on time since you first purchased your car, whether for a few months to a full year, your credit score may very well have gone up. Maybe it’s pushing 700, maybe not. There could be errors on your report that are damaging your credit score, but you won’t know unless you check.

Check your credit with the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Report and resolve any errors before applying for refinancing to help make sure receive your best refi interest rate. Your new lender will run a credit check to determine the conditions of your refinance loan. Beat them to it!

2. DON’T: Go with your first refinancing loan offer

When you’re learning how to refinance a car loan, you might be tempted to think that all loan offers are created equal. Or, that you don’t have enough time to compare more than one auto refinancing offer. Well, you’d be wrong on both accounts.

Refinancing offers vary from lender to lender, company to company. Offers can even vary by day depending on events in the economy. If you take the first offer you apply for, you might not be getting the best loan terms or interest rate.

Do yourself a favor and compare multiple refinancing offers. You can visit multiple websites and financial institutions, fill out multiple applications, and then separately evaluate each offer one by one. OR, you can visit one website (like myAutoloan.com), fill out one application, and evaluate multiple offers side-by-side. Apply to refinance your car loan on myAutoloan and in a matter of minutes we’ll match you with up to four offers from trusted lenders. It’s one application, multiple loan offers.

3. DON’T: Refinance a car you can’t afford

Let’s say you bought a new car that was a stretch for your budget from the get-go. Maybe it’s a luxury coupe or convertible that lightens your mood, every time you hop behind the wheel. You’ve become attached to the car but not your monthly payments.

Refinancing a pricey car may look good on paper at first, but it could end up costing you more in the long run. Do the math. If you need to refinance to lower your overall car expenses, you might want to consider selling the car and buying a car that’s more affordable.

4. DON’T: Overextend the new loan terms

According to Investopedia, “Overextension describes a loan or extension of credit that is larger than what the borrower can repay comfortably.”

Refinancing your current auto loan should make you feel more comfortable, not less. Overextension can happen when you extend the loan terms beyond your means. You pay less, but for longer.

A 36-month loan refinanced to a 60-month loan will lower your monthly payments, but those lower monthly payments will come at a cost. The longer you finance a car, the more interest you’ll pay on it, and that’s on top of more financing charges over time. If you’re in a long loan now, refinance for a shorter term.

Longer loan terms come with more drawbacks than one. Downsides include:

  • Negative equity (and an upside down car loan)
  • Low vehicle resale value
  • Getting tired of the car before your loan term ends

At myAutoloan, we’re here to help you avoid auto refinancing pitfalls by giving you the power of choice–all with no pressure. Compare up to four auto refinancing offers today and make your choice, at your own pace and on your own time.

Buying a Used Car? 10 Best Midsize Cars Under $15k

Are you a bargain shopper? A deal hunter? Then there’s a good chance you’re looking for a practical, midsize used car under $15k. From Toyota to Buick, Honda to Chevrolet, there’s a great midsize car on this list for you. Find a reliable and stylish used car on the list below and apply for a used car loan on myAutoloan. Here we go!

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Which midsize used car is best for you?

#1. 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

Average Price Paid – $5,136*
MPG – 41 City, 36 Highway

If more space for the family and more money in the gas budget sound like big wins to you, then consider a used 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. This smooth-riding hybrid sedan is a crowd favorite, boasting excellent safety scores, a sleek interior, and plenty of room for passengers. The one drawback? The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid is short on trunk space, thanks to its battery pack.

Perfect for drivers who value… safety, fuel economy, and the environment.

#2. 2010 Mercury Milan

Average Price Paid – $4,958 – $6,316
MPG – 22 City, 29 Highway

The year 2010 is a good one for used vehicles! The 2010 Mercury Milan offers discerning drivers the athletic handling of a coupe or convertible, but the spacious interior of a family sedan. Unlike the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, the Milan boasts a big trunk, and it’s available in AWD with a V6 engine.  

Perfect for drivers who value… excellent safety ratings, attentive handling, and ample cabin space.

#3. 2012 Chevrolet Malibu

Average Price Paid – $7,367 – $9,649
MPG – 22 City, 33 Highway

Can you say “Malibu” without thinking of sunshine and palm trees? We can’t, and that’s one reason we love the 2012 Chevy Malibu. This cheery sedan offers slightly above MPG for its class, as well as quality handling and strong brakes. Drivers love the Malibu’s comfortable and expansive front seats, sleek interior design, and smooth ride.

Perfect for drivers who value… balanced handling, an accommodating interior, and great fuel economy.

#4. 2012 Honda Accord

Average Price Paid – $8,264 – $12,261
MPG – 23 City, 34 Highway

Honda Accords have almost a cult following, and for good reason: they’re amazing, especially the 2012 Honda Accord. Boasting excellent safety scores for its class, spacious seats in the front and back, and agile handling, the Honda Accord is crazy fun to drive for a midsize sedan. The 2012 Accord is also available in a coupe body style.  

Perfect for drivers who value… reliability, safety, and fun!

#5.  2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Average Price Paid – $13,110 – $14,228
MPG – 43 City, 39 Highway

The Ford Fusion Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid are equal competition for one another. The 2014 Toyota Camry is known for its quiet ride, comfortable passenger space, and strong acceleration. This last feature is especially important, as hybrids generally have a reputation for lackluster, if not wimpy, acceleration. But the 2014 Camry Hybrid? It drives like a gas-only sedan.  

Perfect for drivers who value… the zippiness of a sedan, but the fuel economy of a hybrid.

#6: 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Average Price Paid – $13,978 – 15,994
MPG – 36 City, 40 Highway

Wowee, does this car have some pep in its step for being a hybrid! The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid ranks in the middle of the pack when it comes to used midsize cars. It boasts comfortable seats, easy-to-use technology, and solid reliability. What’s more, this used car gets extra points for a a great warranty.

According to U.S. News & World Report, “Hyundai offers a long certified pre-owned warranty, and used models are often thousands of dollars less than comparable Toyota Camry and Honda Accord hybrids.”

Perfect for drivers who value… a snappy driving experience and the peace of mind that comes with a warranty.

#7: 2010 Mazda Mazda6

Average Price Paid – $4,786 – $7,093
MPG – 21 City, 30 Highway

Weren’t sure you could afford a car as stylish as a Mazda? Well, you can! The 2010 Mazda Mazda6 stands out from the crowd. With sleek styling that’s downright sexy, athletic performance, and a spacious trunk, the 2010 Mazda Mazda6 has a lot to be proud of. The only thing critics don’t love? The fuel economy. At 17-21 MPG in the city and 25-30 MPG on the highway, this Mazda’s fuel economy leaves something to be desired, especially compared to the Chevrolet Malibu and Honda Accord.

Perfect for drivers who value… sport performance and sleek styling. Zoom, zoom!

#8: 2014 Kia Optima

Average Price Paid – $10,363 – $16,174
MPG – 23 City, 34 Highway

According to U.S. News & World Reports, this sweet ride has one of the strongest base engines in its class. Tall riders may have trouble in the back seat, but they can hop in the front, can’t they? They’ll have plenty of space! The Optima’s limited backseat headroom is balanced by a nice interior, strong engine, and a smooth ride.

Perfect for drivers who value… a powerful engine at an affordable price.

#9: 2014 Subaru Legacy

Average Price Paid – $11,439 – 16,522
MPG – 18 City, 25 Highway

Love. It’s what makes a Subaru, a Subaru, and we’re in love with this Subaru! With standard all-wheel drive and a spacious cabin, you’ll be ready to hit the mountains anytime Mother Earth calls your name. The 2014 Subaru Legacy is one of the only midsize cars with standard all-wheel drive, which makes it an ideal ride for drivers who live in climates with unpredictable weather, snow, or ice.

Perfect for drivers who value… safety and the ability to confidently drive in rough weather.

#10: 2012 Buick Regal

Average Price Paid – $8,634 – $10,966
MPG – 19 City, 31 Highway

The 2012 Buick Regal has won multiple awards. It was voted the 2012 Best Upscale Midsize Car for the Money and 2012 Best Upscale Midsize Car for Families. What a combination! The 2012 Regal boasts a turbocharged engine, great fuel economy (eAssist model), a stylish interior, and a powerful turbocharged engine. Critics love its graceful design, smooth brakes, and luxury-style amenities for the folks in the front seat.

Perfect for drivers who value… the finer things in life, but for less!

Ready to shop midsize used cars?

The key to getting a good deal is shopping around, whether you’re buying a car, a house, or getting an auto loan! Find the best used car for you with help from U.S. News & World Report. And the best used auto loan? Turn to myAutoloan! Apply online with myAutoloan and compare up to four used car loan offers at once. You’ll choose the best loan for your needs, just like you’ll choose the best car for your needs.

*Average price paid based on 32536 ZIP code

What Does It Mean to Lease a Car?

You have to add a leased car to your auto insurance policy. You might have to make a down payment. And you’ll definitely have to make monthly payments on a leased car. Leasing a new car sounds pretty similar to buying a new car with an auto loan, doesn’t it? In a way, yes, but there are some important differences between the two. myAutoloan is here to explain!

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What is leasing a car?

When you lease a car, you do not own it. You do not have any ownership interest in the vehicle. You get to drive a (typically) new car for a few years and you only pay for the depreciation that occurs while you have the car, plus interest.

Leasing a car is a little like renting a car, but for a really long time. Think years, not a weekend getaway. You make payments for the use of the car over a certain time period, then return the car at the end of the period. Most car leases are for 2-3 years. When your car lease is up, you have the option to buy the leased car or give it back to the dealer and walk away.

Why do people lease cars instead of buy cars?

As you can see, buying a car outright isn’t the only way to get a new set of wheels.

According to data from Statista, 28.28 percent of the new cars in the U.S. were on lease in the fourth quarter of 2017. After they weigh the cars, many drivers choose to lease instead of buy. One option isn’t necessary better than the other. In the end, it all depends on your preferences.

Pros to car leasing

  • You can make a lower down payment
  • You could get a lower monthly car payment than buying
  • You can get the latest safety features and technology
  • You can drive a new car every few years
  • You have lower repair and upkeep costs since the car is newer and you’re under the factory warranty
  • From month-to-month, it can be less expensive than buying

Cons to car leasing

  • You can’t modify the car as you please
  • You have to keep  your annual mileage under a certain amount, typically 12,000 miles
  • If you drive hard and fast, you could face expensive wear and tear charges at the end of your lease
  • It’s expensive to terminate a lease early
  • Lease contracts can be confusing and filled with confusing lingo
  • You can’t sell the car or return it whenever you want

Can I lease a car?

Yes, you probably can! You will likely need to make a small down payment, less than the usual 20% of a car’s value if you were buying, and then make monthly payments per the terms of your lease.

Your monthly payments are likely negotiable. Search for carmakers’ “lease specials” and check out dealership websites to learn about special lease offers. You don’t need a perfect score in order to lease a car, but you might need a good one in order to qualify for a lower interest rate. Most low interest and “no down payment” lease incentives are reserved for drivers with admirable credit scores. A credit score below the mid-700s may not qualify.

Can I buy my leased car?

Yes, you can buy a leased car with help from myAutoloan! We can connect you with a competitive lease buyout loan that gives you the freedom to buy your currently leased car. Use the loan to buy your car at the end or before the end of your lease—it’s up to you. Get started by filling out our fast, secure, and cost-free application. You’ll be matched with up to four loan offers from real, verified lenders who are ready to do business with you.  

If you’d rather buy a car, we’re here for you, too. Get ready to buy a car and compare up to four auto loan offers in minutes on myAutoloan.

What’s the Best Age & Mileage for a Used Car?

You’re all about saving money, which is why you’re looking to buy a used car instead of a new car. You’re wondering, though… how old is too old? At what age are used cars more of a financial drain than an asset? The answer may surprise you. (Hint: To some degree, age is just a number.)

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Vehicle age, mileage & depreciation

How does depreciation work?

Cars depreciate. They lose value. Your goal is to buy a used car that’s already done its bulkload of depreciation. Is it possible? Sure is.

First, you’ve got to understand how depreciation works. Let’s say you buy a new car for $34,968, the estimated average transaction price for light vehicles in the U.S. in 2017, according to Trusted Choice Insurance.

As soon as you drive off the lot, the car is worth $31,121. That’s an 11% decrease in value.

When it’s time to celebrate your car’s first birthday, your car will have decreased in value by 25%. It’s now worth $26,226.

At three years old, your car’s value will have decreased by a whoppin’ 46%. It’s worth $18,882.

And five years later? Your precious ride is worth a mere $12,938. It’s value will have decreased by 63%.

Keep in mind that depreciation isn’t an exact science. Some depreciation factors can’t necessarily be measured in dollars and cents. A brand, color, or vehicle type can unexpectedly fall out of favor with the public, making a car that’s only one or two years old unattractive to many buyers.

Gauge the age. Find your sweet spot.

Buying a used car that’s juusstt the right age can help you beat the biggest slump in depreciation. Let another driver take the biggest hit so you don’t have to. According to various car buying and selling resources, including Edmunds, Consumer Reports, and U.S. News & World Report, the “right age” can vary greatly.

One to two years old – Edmunds recommends buying a car that’s one or two years old, driving it for three years, and then selling it before the next big price slump. This might be a good option for drivers who love having the latest gadgets and don’t mind maintaining a car payment.

Two or three years old – According to Consumer Reports, two- and three- year old used vehicles have already taken the biggest depreciation hit. Continuing ownership expenses, like insurance and taxes, are still a bargain, and you still get to drive a vehicle with most new modern amenities.

Up to 10 years old – After gathering data on depreciation, problems, and repair costs for cars from one to 10 years old, U.S. News & World Report found that even 10-year old cars cost more in depreciation than they absorbed in repair bills.

Whoa, whoa. Read that again. They found that even 10-year old cars cost more in depreciation than they absorbed in repair bills. That means to some degree, you don’t necessarily have to worry about a car’s age being a burden.

Their analysis shows that the best way to find the cheapest used car is to buy the oldest modern car that you can still find running and in good condition. For the best safety features, stick to cars that are 2012 and newer. That’s the year electronic stability control became mandatory for all cars.

In the end, U.S. News & World Report suggests “buying as old a car as you’re comfortable driving that’s in good condition and reflects diligent care form the former owner.”

With most modern, relatively well-maintained cars, age is just a number. Ah, thanks for the wisdom U.S. News & World Report.

Want specifics on a used car you’ve been eyeing? You can actually calculate the depreciation of any car using the car depreciation calculator. Just enter in the purchase price of the vehicle, it’s current age, and the number of years you plan on owning it. The calculator will tell you the annual, total depreciation and estimated value of your vehicle at the end of the ownership.

Consider maintenance over mileage.

If age is just a number, is mileage a big deal when buying a used car?

Most drivers average 12,000 miles per year. If the used car you’re looking to buy has far more average miles/year than that, start asking the owner or dealer questions. How and where was the car driven? Why so many miles? Was the vehicle regularly maintained during this time and do you have the service records to prove it?

Typical used car mileages

  • One to two years old: 12,000 to 24,000 miles
  • Three to four years old: 36,000 to 48,000 miles
  • Five to six years old: 60,000 to 72,000 miles
  • Seven to eight years old: 84,000 to 96,000 miles
  • Nine to ten years old: 108,000 to 120,000 miles

If the previous owner can show that the car has been continuously well-maintained, a few extra miles here and there doesn’t need to be a deal breaker. Like U.S. News & World Report said, the best way to find the cheapest used car is to buy the oldest modern car that you can still find running and in good condition “and reflects diligent care from the former owner.”

Find your best used car (and your best used car financing)

There is such a thing as the “used-car-buying-sweet-spot.” It’s just different for different drivers. Once you’ve found a used car you feed good about driving, whether it’s two years old or five, apply for a used car loan through myAutoloan. You’ll receive up to four financing offers and can choose the best finance rate for you.