Category Archives: Tips & Insights

Shopping for Used Cars? Consider Buying a Rental

If you’re in the market for a used car, don’t discount buying a rental car. One of the biggest perks of buying a rental car is that you can get a newer model for less than you would at a typical dealership, plus transparent (and complete) maintenance records and zero haggling. While buying a rental car is a lot like buying a used car from a dealership, there are still some benefits you might not be aware of.

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Rental cars are like new

Rental cars aren’t brand new, but they’re pretty close to it. Rental companies buy brand new cars to rent out to consumers and then sell the vehicles when they’re about a year old. Enterprise vehicles spend an average of 12 months in the fleet. Some rental cars are so new that they’re still under manufacturer warranty.

To keep inventory up-to-date, rental companies will auction off some cars or sell directly to dealerships and consumers every year. If you shop at a used car dealership, you might test drive a former rental car and not even know it!

Yes, rental cars tend to clock more mileage than a similar used car of the same age. But with many cars lasting well over 200,000 miles nowadays, mileage shouldn’t be your biggest concern if the vehicle has been cared for properly. It’s all about maintenance over mileage!

Rental cars are well maintained

If you buy a rental car from a big company like Enterprise, Hertz, or Avis, you can count on a transparent track record of preventative maintenance and regular service.

At Enterprise, each vehicle receives regular maintenance and scheduled service while it’s in the fleet. Before heading to a Car Sales dealership, a vehicle must pass a rigorous inspection – all performed by an ASE-certified technician.

Avis vehicles for sale receive the same treatment. They undergo factory-recommended preventative maintenance and must pass a thorough multi-point inspection process completed by certified mechanics, including ASE-Certified and ASE Master Technicians. Avis won’t sell a vehicle with an open recall or safety campaign, which is a benefit you won’t typically find if you buy a used car at a local lot or from a private seller.

Rental cars are priced low, with no haggle pricing

Not looking forward to playing the “hurry up and wait” game at your local dealership? Forget about negotiating tricks and tips when buying a rental car. Rental car companies offer no-haggle pricing and generally price their vehicles below market value.

For example, a 2017 Hyundai Sonata 2.4L with 41,557 miles is priced at $14,198 at Enterprise.* That’s $543 below Blue Book value. Even popular cars like the Nissan Rogue are priced below Blue Book value.

A 2017 Nissan Rogue FWD S with 49,751 miles is priced at $15,698 at Enterprise, which is $1,599 below Blue Book value. That’s over $1k in savings, and all without negotiating!

Rental cars are easy to buy

With the biggest rental companies, you can shop rental cars for sale online or in-person. Enterprise, Aviz, and Hertz all have intuitive online platforms that make it easy to view prices, pictures, and vehicle details, and to schedule a test drive. Purchases can sometimes be made by mail or completely online.

Avis even offers an “Ultimate Test Drive.” You get to drive the car for up to two hours for free. If you want the test drive to last longer, you can keep the car for up to three days for a small fee.

Smaller rental car companies, like Fox, also offer an online inventory, but their technology is out-of-date. Fox lists little more than the car’s make, model, color, year, and price – no pictures. For this reason, you might want to stick with the larger, more well-known rental companies.

Ready to buy a rental car?

While car rental companies usually provide financing options, it’s a good idea to shop around and compare loan options (just like you do when shopping for cars). Rental companies will only provide you with one financing offer. myAutoloan, however, can provide you with up to four financing offers at one time. You compare at your leisure and pick the best one for your needs.

Buying a rental car is a great move when it comes to saving money. Using myAutoloan for auto financing is a great move when it comes to saving time. Apply for a used car loan today and compare your financing options!

*Prices may vary based on zip code and time of search.

4 Ways for Getting Out of a Car Lease (Plus One to Avoid!)

Life is full of changes… and surprises. Maybe the spacious, gas-guzzling SUV you’re currently leasing isn’t well suited for the long commute to your new job. Or, your slick two-seater sports car doesn’t have room for a car seat. While leasing a car can come with plenty of rewards, it’s not the most flexible way to have a vehicle.

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So, when life throws you a curveball, can you terminate your car lease? You have options for getting out of a car lease, including paying the penalty to cut the lease outright, buying out your lease, finding someone to take over your lease payments, and transfering the lease to a new vehicle. We’ll walk you through the pros and cons of each.

Option 1: Pay the penalty and cut your car lease short.

Every lease agreement includes an early termination clause. The clause outlines how you can terminate your car lease on the leasing company’s terms. Contracts vary, but in general, the termination clause outlines:

  • Fees for early termination, mileage, and wear and tear
  • How your security deposit will be applied to the termination
  • How you’ll need to satisfy payments still owed on the vehicle

On the upside, terminating a car lease early by following this process is less damaging to your credit than defaulting (when you stop making payments altogether). If a financial hardship is the reason you need to get out of your car lease early, however, paying all of the car lease termination fees is going to be hard.

Option 2: Get a car lease buyout loan and then sell the car.

Most lease agreements include a buyout amount in case you want to buy your leased car. The buyout amount decreases as you make payments.

A lease buyout can help save you money and protect your credit. Contact your leasing company to find out the buyout amount and ensure that it includes any additional fees, if applicable. With this amount in mind, you can get a car lease buyout loan and pay off the leasing company. You now own the vehicle and can sell the car at or near the payoff amount. After you sell the car, you can turn around and pay off your loan.

This option for getting out of a car lease requires some elbow grease and a little financial finagling. It’s not a quick fix, but it will help safeguard your credit.

Option 3: Find someone else to take over your lease.

If your lease agreement allows for it, you can transfer your leased car and its payments to someone who’s looking to lease a car. This process is called a lease assumption or lease swap. The process is simple, but requires some work on your end.

First, check your leasing paperwork to ensure lease assumptions are allowed. Some contracts forbid it. If your lease agreement says lease swaps are A-OK, then check out a website like SwapALease.com or LeaseTrader.com.

You’ll pay a fee to list your vehicle on the site. You’ll then build an ad just like you would if you were selling your car. Add pictures, a description of the vehicle, and information about the mileage and usage. Be enticing! If someone wants to take over your lease, you’ll pay a fee to the website to facilitate the transaction. You may also have to pay a lease transfer fee to your leasing company.

Option 4: Transfer your lease to a new vehicle.

Transferring your lease to a different vehicle can be a smart move if you’re not dealing with a financial hardship—for example, you originally leased a luxury convertible but would now prefer a 4WD SUV or truck.

Contact your leasing company to learn more about rolling your current lease into another one. You’ll still pay early termination fees, but they’ll be added to your monthly payments for the new car.

Option 5: Stop making car lease payments. (Avoid this one!)

Do your best to avoid this option for getting out of a car lease. If you stop making your car lease payments—which is called defaulting—your credit will take a nosedive, the car will be repossessed, and you could be sued. Yikes. Contact your leasing company if you can’t afford to make your payments anymore. They may be able to work with you to lower your monthly payments by extending the lease.

As you evaluate these options for getting out of a car lease, consider how much longer you have left on your contract. Are the fees and finagling worth it? You may be better off finishing out your lease if it’s only a matter of months.

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!