Category Archives: Tips & Insights

When NOT to Cosign an Auto Loan

To cosign, or not to cosign. That is the question. While cosigning an auto loan for a friend or family member can help them get a car they might not be able to afford on their own, you could be taking on undue risk. As the cosigner, you’re agreeing to pay the amount due and perform all the agreements stated on the contract if the borrower fails to meet contractual obligations. You’re on the hook for the loan payments if the other person stops making them for any reason. Even if they die.

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As the cosigner, you’re essentially the loan company’s Plan B.

Sometimes, the risks of cosigning for someone don’t outweigh the rewards, even if the person is your [insert relationship here!]. Here’s when you should think twice about cosigning an auto loan.

Think twice about cosigning a loan when…

You’re planning on making a major purchase soon.

Considering renovating your home, buying an investment property, or purchasing anything that might require credit? Then be careful. Being a cosigner could ding your credit in two ways.

First, if the other person fails to make their auto loan payments on time, your credit could be damaged right along with theirs.

But let’s say they never miss an auto loan payment. There’s another risk to consider, too.

Cosigning an auto loan will increase your debt-to-income ratio, which is the percentage of your debt payments in relation to your income. Any auto loan you cosign for will show on your credit report, even if the financed car isn’t yours and you never get to drive it. New lenders will review your debt-to-income ratio when you apply for financing, and they might not be too excited when they learn you could be on the hook for someone else’s auto loan.

“Because you’re liable for [the loan’s] balance in the event of a default, being a cosigner can decrease your ability to get new credit,” says Money Crashers.

It doesn’t matter if the other person makes their payments on time. “Cosigning a loan can also lower your credit score because the amounts you owe makes up 30% of your FICO score,” adds Money Crashers.

According to Smart Assets, a debt-to-income ratio of 36% is generally accepted as good. The closer you get to 36%, the more your credit score could drop and the more hesitant a potential lender might be. Keep your debt-to-income ratio low for less stress and more credit opportunities.

Your relationship with the borrower is rocky.

You may feel tempted to cosign for a loved one to show them you care, to help them out of a tough time, or because you feel guilty for things that happened in the past. These feelings are completely normal and understandable.

Keep in mind, however, that cosigning a loan could make your relationship worse, not better. When you turn a personal relationship into a financial relationship, you put a lot of undue stress on the personal relationship.

“You’re putting your relationship in real jeopardy,” Megan McArdle, business and economics editor for The Atlantic, told NPR.

McArdle explains, “If you become this person’s primary creditor, which is what’s going to happen if they default, that really damages the relationship. And even if you don’t, you know, as Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, likes to say, Thanksgiving dinner tastes different when your father-in-law is asking – is looking at you across the table and wondering why you couldn’t pay off your car loan and yet you have a TV or whatever. Keeping those kinds of decisions outside the family, outside of relationships is usually better for everyone in the long run.”

There are libraries of information about the psychology of money, and especially around money and family. Don’t put your most important relationships at risk by cosigning a loan.

Remember that cosigning a loan means:

  • You’ll be responsible for the loan.
  • Your credit could take a hit.
  • You’ll have difficulty financing your own purchases.

Are these risks you’re ready to take?

You can help in another way.

Having a friend or family member cosign is one way many drivers are able to get car loans with little to no credit, but it’s not the only way. You can help a loved one get behind the wheel of a new or used car by:

  • Helping them build better credit. Can you help them set a budget, stick to it, and improve their own credit situation? It might not take as long as you think. Teach your loved one how to build their own credit and you’ll be doing them a favor for years to come.
  • Gifting them money for a bigger down payment. Making a bigger down payment means they’ll need to borrow less, and this could make a car loan easier to get with poor or no credit.
  • Comparing auto financing options. Their first option might not be the best financing option, especially if they’re trying to get a car loan with minimal credit. Different lenders offer different loan terms and interest rates. Encourage them to shop around. Another lender may not require a cosigner!

If you have a friend or family member asking you to cosign a loan with them, there’s a chance they simply haven’t done their research. Have they compared all available loan options? Have they researched how to qualify for an auto loan? We can help. Encourage your loved one to try myAutoloan, where we present applicants with up to four auto loan offers at once. We even work with applicants who have bad credit… which could help keep you out of a bad cosigning situation.

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.