How to Safely Wash Your Car in Winter

Temperatures are dropping but spirits are high. Don’t let the last thing on your New Year’s resolution list be washing the car. If left untouched, road salt, snow, and mud can do serious damage to your car’s appearance and resale value. Moisture and road salt mix together to speed up corrosion! Keep your car in fighting shape and help protect its resale value. Learn how to safely wash away winter grime in cold temperatures.

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8 Steps to Wash Your Car in Cold Weather

Step 1: Watch the forecast.

Avoid washing your car when the temperature is below freezing. If you wash your car at home, the water will immediately freeze in your driveway and create a dangerous slip ‘n slide. Your doors, locks, and windows will freeze shut. If you drive through a car wash, the water will quickly freeze on your car and you’ll be driving around in an icicle on wheels.

Wait for the temperature to rise above 32 degrees F, preferably to the high 30s or 40s. This will help prevent pieces and parts of your car from freezing when wet, and save you from slipping and sliding away.

Step 2: Assemble your materials.

Let’s say it’s 40 degrees outside. Snow worries! If you’re headed to a touchfree car wash, all you’ll need is a microfiber towel or two to dry your car before getting back on the road. If you plan on washing your car at home, read on.

According to Meinke, you’ll need the following items to properly wash your car:

  • Multiple buckets filled with warm water; one for plain water and one for soapy water
  • Car wash soap (NOT dishwashing soap)
  • Sponge or washing mitt made of sheepskin or microfiber
  • Wheel cleaner
  • Microfiber drying towel
  • Bug and tar remover
  • Wax, either spray or rub-on (optional)
  • Polish (optional)

Read the instructions on the bug and tar remover, wax, and polish. These solutions may not work properly at certain temperatures.

Step 3: Wash the wheels first.

Your wheels will require the most scrubbing. Wash behind the mud flaps and clean between the spokes. Refill your buckets with fresh soap and water after you wash the wheels.

Step 4: Wet the entire car.

Rinse off the entire car to remove surface debris. This is a great time to use your garden hose if it’s warm enough to do so. You can spray the hose into the wheel wells and underneath the vehicle to loosen grime.

Step 5: Soap the car one side at a time.

Turn to your bucket of soapy water and get out the washing mitt! Work on one side of the car at a time. Rinse off the mitt in the clean water bucket every now and then to avoid accumulating dirt. Move the mitt in straight lines, not in a circular motion. Circular movement can creates swirl marks in your car’s paint job.

Rinse off the side you’re working on before soaping up another side. Once all four sides have been soaped up, scrubbed, and rinsed, it’s time to dry!

Step 6: Dry the car.

Properly drying your car can help prevent frost and water spots from forming. Move your microfiber drying towel in straight lines, not circular motions, to dry the car. Remember, circular movement can leave swirl marks on your car! Angie’s List even recommends leaving the doors open so that any trapped water can dry out and moisture won’t pool.

Step 7: Clean the interior.

Stepping in and out of your car is one of the most common ways to track in salt, dirt, and grime. Pull out your rubber mats and hose them off. At a minimum, wipe down rubber mats with a rag. Vacuum cloth floor mats, as well as your seats, upholstery, dash, and trunk. If your cloth mats are moist, let them dry before putting them back in the car. Doing so can help prevent mold growth.

Step 8: Keep it smelling fresh!

Want your car to smell as good as it looks? Once the interior of your car is clean, keep it smelling great with laundry scent boosters or your own fabric refresher spray. Sprinkling baking soda on upholstery and vacuuming it up can help get rid of tough pet, baby, or smoke odors.

Washing your car in winter is important, as it can help protect your car’s resale value by preventing rust and body damage. However, it’s not more important than your safety. Curl up with a cup of hot cocoa and wait for the temperature to rise if it’s simply too cold to wash your car. And if you find yourself daydreaming more about a new car than achieving your New Year’s resolutions, check out myAutoloan. Shine your ride and get it sold, then compare new car loan offers online at your convenience.

Getting a Car Loan?

Here are a few ideas to help you save money!

When you are looking to purchase a car, the one of the first things to do is apply for and get pre-approved.  That means looking at financing before you step on the dealers’ lot.  The loan process can seem challenging but it’s really much easier than you think. Here are a few ideas to assist you to get pre-approved for a car loan.

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1. Check Your Credit

When shopping for a car loan, check your credit report. The better your credit, the cheaper it is to borrow money.  With a higher credit score, you may be entitled to lower loan interest rates and APR%, and you may also qualify for lower auto insurance as well.  There are now free credit reports available just by going to any of the credit bureau’s online site and requesting one.  It is just that easy!

Review your credit report to look for unusual activity.  There are a number of companies that provide your credit score for free in addition to the bureaus – many credit card companies now provide them so just be aware.  Dispute errors such as incorrect balances or late payments on your credit report.  If you have a lower credit score and would like to give it a bit of a boost before car shopping, pay off credit card balances or smaller loans.  Be sure to make on time payments for all you credit balances.

If you have a low credit score don’t worry about it.  A low score won’t prevent you from getting car loan financing.  But depending on your score, you may end up paying a bit higher interest rate but it’s certainly not a deal breaker.  You do what you need to do to get your credit back in line.  If you have a low credit score and want to shoot for lower interest rates, take some time to improve your credit score, and make sure you have on time payments before you apply for the car loan.  You might also read a guide on auto financing – it can really help you understand the process and things that are important in obtaining a car loan.

2. Establish a Budget

Having a budget and knowing how much car you can afford is essential.  You want to be sure your car payment fits in line with your other financial goals.  If you don’t already have a budget, start with your monthly income after taxes and subtract your usual monthly expenses.  It’s easy to jot the expenses down so that you can easily come up with a total.  For bills that don’t come every month, such a credit card fee, take the yearly charge and divide it by 12.  Then add the result to your monthly budget.  If you’re worried you spend too much each month, find simple ways to whittle your budget down.

You’ll also want to plan ahead for new car expenses, such as auto registration, auto insurance, and regular car maintenance, such as oil changes and basic repairs.  If you purchase a new car many dealerships now provide free maintenance for the first 2 years or 25,000 miles.  Be sure to check that out when you shop.  By knowing your budget and what to expect, you can easily see how much room you have for a car payment.

3. What Can You Afford

Once you understand where you are financially, you can decide on a reasonable monthly car payment.  A good rule of thumb is to not spend more than 10% of your take-home income on car loan financing.  In other words, if you make $50,000 after taxes a year, you shouldn’t spend more than $500 per month on a car.  But depending on your budget, you might be better off with a lower payment so consider extending the length of your loan term.  It might work out that 72 months is better for you than 60 months of payments.  It’s important to try and understand how the number changes if you can afford a higher down payment.

With a possible payment in mind, you can use an auto loan calculator to figure out the largest loan you can afford.  Simply enter in the monthly payment you’d like, the interest rate, and the loan period.  Again you must be aware that making a larger down payment can reduce your monthly payment.  You can also use an auto loan calculator to break down a total loan amount into monthly payments.

You’ll also want to think about how long you’d like to pay off your loan.  Using a car loan estimator might be beneficial to you.  Car loan terms are normally three, four, five, or six years long.  With a longer loan period, you’ll have lower monthly payments.  But beware—a lengthy car loan term can have a negative effect on your finances.  First, you’ll spend more on the total price of the vehicle by paying more interest.  Second, you may be upside down on the loan for a larger chunk of time, meaning you owe more than the car is actually worth.  Knowing this actually helps you in determining how much to borrow and what type of auto you can afford.

4. Get Pre-approved – Real Offers

Before you ever set foot on a car lot, you’ll want to be pre-approved for a car loan. This can be done by using an online lending platform that permits you to see real loan offers that you can choose from.  As you research potential loan options, compare the terms, lengths of time, and interest rates to find the best deal.  A great place to shop for a car loan is at myAutoloan.com where you have a choice.

The loan with the best terms, interest rate, and loan amount will be the one you want to get.  Just know that pre-approved loans only last for a certain amount of time, usually around 30 days, so it’s best to get pre-approved when you’re nearly ready to shop for a car.  Note that most lenders will run a credit check – but know that multiple credit checks for an auto loan only count as one if within 14 days.  That’s right, keep your process within a two week time frame as you shop for the best car loan provider – that way all inquiries count as one.  Smart people shop for the best rates and credit bureaus know that.

Let me say that differently – when you apply to get pre-approved, up to four lenders evaluate your application and it’s possible to get four offers.  Now you get to decide who of these lenders is making you the best deal on APR% and terms.  They’ll present to you what interest rate you qualify for, and the maximum amount they will lend so you’ll know what you have to work with before you even walk into a dealership.  Selecting an offer from the myAutoloan.com lending platform means you do not have to go through the penalty box of car financing.  You are already approved and you know for how much you can go when dealing with the salesman at the dealership.  Depending on the car you buy, your cost of the car loan could be less than what you were pre-approved for.  You don’t have to use it all so it actually reduces your payment each month.

In most cases, if you are pre-approved, you shouldn’t have any problems getting a final loan.  It’s never a deal until it’s a done deal.

5. Go Shopping

Now you’re ready to look for a new ride.  Put in a little time for research, and find cars that are known to be reliable and fit into your budget.  

You’ll also want to consider size, color, gas mileage, and extra features.  Use resources like Consumer Reports to read reviews and get an idea of which cars may be best for you.

Once you have narrowed down the car you are interested in, investigate how much it’s worth so you aren’t accidentally duped.  myAutoloan.com can help you figure out the going rate for your ideal car.  Check out the free tools for rate and payment calculations.   After you’re armed with this information, compare prices at different dealerships in your area.  And don’t forget to check dealer incentives and rebates to get the best possible price.

By following these steps, you’ll be ready to make the best financial decision when getting a car loan.  Even if you aren’t ready to buy a car right now, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Good luck and happy shopping!

Can You Refinance Car with Bad Credit & Late Payments

Your credit score is a work in progress. It goes up, and then it goes down. Life always seems to get in the way of your next credit card, rent, or car payment. What if you could lower one of these bills, even a little bit? Would it help you catch up and stay ahead of the game? There might be a way you can refinance your auto loan despite bad credit and late payments. We’ll show you how.

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First, refresh your memory on what it means to refinance.

When you refinance, you essentially get a new loan to pay off the existing one. The new (refinanced) loan is a new contract between you and the lender.

Refinancing allows you to get a new loan with a different interest rate, term, and monthly payment. People refinance their auto loan for many reasons, but usually to get a more favorable interest rate and lower monthly payment.

Our goal is to help you refinance your auto loan, even with bad credit and late payments. If you can lower your monthly loan payments, you might find it easier to stay on top of them and save money in the long run.

Next, double check your credit score.

It may be higher than you think, or at least higher than when you first applied for a car loan. If so, you’re in for a pleasant surprise! This is also the time to look for discrepancies in your credit report. Make sure all of the information is correct, including accounts open/closed, judgements, and credit inquiries. Disputing any errors could give your credit the boost it needs to get beyond that “bad credit” label.

Get your credit scores and reports from all three credit bureaus within seconds.

Talk with your current lender.

If your credit score is higher than when you first applied for a car loan, call your current lender! This is a great time to ask them about refinancing, especially if you can prove that your credit has improved or your situation has changed for the better.

Like with most things in life, you never know unless you ask. And what do you have to lose? Lenders don’t like losing customers, since losing customers means they’ll also miss out on interest payments. They may work with you to modify your current loan or help you refinance, despite your credit or payment situation.

When you talk to your lender, ask if they’re going to run a hard credit check. Then be prepared to apply for refinancing elsewhere. Hard credit checks can lower your credit score by a few points, but you can avoid multiple “dings” by applying for auto refinancing within a short timeframe. The major reporting agencies roll multiple auto inquiries into one inquiry on a continuous 14-45 day cycle.

Or, turn to a company that understands you.

We believe that refinancing isn’t a luxury that’s reserved for people with perfect credit scores; however, this belief isn’t shared by everyone in the industry. It may not even be a belief that’s shared by your local bank.

You’ll save yourself time and frustration if you turn to a lender that works with everyone who wants financing and offers you options from the very beginning.

myAutoloan has a proven history of working with people who have bad credit. Just check out our customer reviews!

Direct Online Automobile Loan

Direct Car Loans: The Process

Taking out a car loan for the first time can feel overwhelming.  You might also feel some uneasiness if you are using the web to search for an auto loan.  It is different but it is also much simpler and less stressful than going to a dealership for financing to get a new car.  We will try to provide you with some more information about the process so that you see that this online process is easier and takes far less time than you might think.

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Evaluate Your Finances

With a direct from lender process for obtaining automobile financing, you can find opportunities available across the full financial credit spectrum. Still though, it is good to know what to expect.  Take a look at your credit score to get an idea of where you fall. Also, you should start considering how much of a loan you will need.  By searching online for cars in which you’re interested and figuring out how much money you can pay down on the vehicles will help you to determine how you want to proceed.  Keep in mind that while the process is designed to help you get an automobile loan, higher credit scores and a higher down payment can assist you in obtaining a higher priced vehicle.

Know that Opportunities Exist 

As you’re taking a look at your financial situation, you might start to feel as though you won’t qualify.  Remember that myAutoloan.com offers potential lenders for people in all different financial situations.  Even if you have a low credit scores, you can apply with us for a loan.  The point is it does not matter what your score is, we will have a lender that can help.   Be it excellent credit or damaged credit, we have an answer for you.  Knowing that opportunities exist for you to obtain an automobile loan, we sincerely hope that you will be encouraged to fill out the application and see how great a feeling it is to have a choice of lenders.

Review the Possibilities

You might think that you’ll get only one offer presented to you – that’s what happens at a dealership.  Fortunately, myAutoloan.com works to provide you with up to four direct loan offers from national lenders and specialty lenders willing to finance your car purchase.  Once the offers are presented to you online an within minutes, take the time to review the components – (rates, months, and APR%).  Thoroughly reading through each offer lets you know more about how to utilize the choices that are being presented.   Also, make a note of any questions that you have.  All of our lenders call to verify the application is from you and it gives them the chance to answer any questions that you might have.  Speaking with a direct loan representative to fully understand the loan offer is a smart decision.

Get Your Loan

A major benefit of an online lending platform like myAutoloan.com to finance your automobile loan is that you do not need to go through the dealership. You can actually go car shopping with your financing already in hand.  You just finalize the loan amount at the time of closing.  In a long term, you can save your valuable time by doing so.  Also, you can save money by using the online direct loan process.   When you get a car loan from the dealership, remember that the dealership has to make money too. You are likely to encounter fees that you wouldn’t if you were to take out a loan directly from one of our direct lenders.  Being directly connected with the lender in charge of the automobile loan gives you empowerment!  It’s very good thing to have when you are shopping for a new or used car.

Pay Your Loan

Once you have accepted an offer of financing from a direct lender, you will know the terms of the agreement and make the payment date any day of the month.  Opting for a direct auto loan is actually a great way to build up your credit score.  You might be working on bringing you score up or just building your score to improve your credit worthiness.  By paying back a loan, with on time payments, means that you’re adding to your credibility as a borrower. In addition to getting a new vehicle that you love, you also have the opportunity to improve your credit rating – It’s a great win for you!

Give us a try!  That’s also a smart move if you like choice!  Good luck and good hunting.

Best Car Color to Buy: Your Car Color & Its Value

Roses are red.

Violets are blue.

Which color car

Is the best one for you?

Didn’t think we’d write you a poem, huh? As much hassle as buying a car can be, it can also be fun. You can bring your dog along to find a pet-friendly ride, test drive coupes and convertibles, and even pick from a rainbow of car colors, especially if you’re looking to buy a new car. Choose the color wisely and you could even help maintain your car’s long-term value.

So, what’s the best car color to buy?

If you’re shooting for resale value, the best car color to buy is the one that’s currently most popular. The more popular the color, the more attractive your car will be to potential buyers down the road. Of course, we know you don’t want to sell your car right now. But according to Kelley Blue Book (KBB), it’s safe to assume that today’s most popular car color will remain in demand for at least five years.

Researchers at automotive paint powerhouse PPG report that monochromatic colors such as white, gray, silver, and black continue to dominate globally. They’re crowd pleasers across the board.

Consumers will likely stick to the established trend for the remainder of 2018 and into  2019, finds coatings supplier BASF, with shades of gray, blue, and green emerging as favorites. According to BASF, these colors appeal to people because they replicate the aesthetics of digital gadgets and technology.

Some of the most popular colors in BASF’s library of hues include “metal’s mettle,” a shade of metallic gray, “kleur,” a deep red, and “centripetal blue,” a subdued dark blue color.

Buy the most popular car color in your state

It’s safe to say that neutral car colors like white, silver, gray, and black are good bets whether you live in Florida or Oregon, Italy or Spain. Other car colors, like orange and purple, are risky bets… unless you happen to live in an area where these colors are highly coveted or hold some level of symbolism.  

If you plan on living in the same general area for a while, you might want to consider buying a car that’s one of the most popular colors in your city/state.

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For example, if you live near James Madison University in Virginia, you can’t go wrong buying a purple car. The city of Harrisonburg, VA has the highest percentage of purple cars in the country. And in Tennessee, orange is the car color of choice. Almost the entire state shows that orange cars are the most popular color cars, likely in support of the University of Tennessee Volunteers.

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Explore car sales trends by color and state using CarMax’s interactive map. What color car is most popular in your state?

Buy the most popular car color for your vehicle type

If your city/state isn’t known for any particular car color or you know you’ll be moving in the near future, consider buying a car color that’s popular for the vehicle type you want, like an SUV, sedan, or sports car.

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According to KBB, the top five colors for SUVs, minivans, and trucks are:

  1. White – 19.3%
  2. Silver – 18%
  3. Black – 12.4%
  4. Medium Dark Blue – 11.4%
  5. Medium Dark Gray – 7.5%

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Silver also tops the list for luxury vehicles, followed by white and dark blue. And while black used to be the most popular color for luxury cars, KBB says black has hit its lowest market in years.

  1. Silver – 32.1%
  2. White Metallic – 17.7%
  3. White – 11.8%
  4. Medium/Dark Blue = 8.6%
  5. Black  – 8.5%

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If you’re shopping for a sedan, wagon, or hatchback, keep an eye out for silver cars, too. Drivers just can’t get enough of silver colored cars!

  1. Silver = 28.1%
  2. White – 11.8%
  3. Light Brown – 11.6%
  4. Black – 11.2%
  5. Medium/Dark Blue = 9.5%

Buy your favorite car color

Green, yellow, red, and blue! Which car color is right for you? In the end, the best car color to buy is the one that makes you happy. You spend about 300 hours a year in your car, so you might as well like what you drive! Shop around and when you’re ready, apply for a new car loan through myAutoloan. We make it easy to compare car loans just as easily as you compare car colors!