Category Archives: Tips & Insights

Car Loan & Car Buying Tips

Get the best price and best car loan on your next car

The auto finance world is changing and finding a competitive loan is getting a bit tricky.  If you’re like many people, you may find the car buying and car loan process confusing and intimidating.  Sometimes the dealer rep is a bit aggressive, and they may use car buying and car loan terms you’re not familiar with.  It just gets difficult to see what is the best for you so we put together a list of car buying tips that will help you make a smart choice when you start shopping.

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Understand Your Car Loan Options

We have all been to dealerships that often treat the financing of an auto loan as an afterthought.  They would much rather sell you a car first and then discuss the terms later.  Happens all the time.  

However, that approach puts you at a disadvantage and it often results in buyers agreeing to finance terms that aren’t right for them.  So here are some tips for getting the right car loan for you.

1. Determine Your Budget & Car Loan Payment Limits 

Before you apply for a car loan, it’s essential to know exactly how much you can afford to borrow, and what your monthly payments will be.  To make it easy to determine your budget, myAutoloan.com offers two convenient tools: A Car Loan Payment Calculator and a Car Loan Rate Calculator. By using these car loan calculators, you can easily determine what kind of car you can afford and have a good idea of the loan payments with your trade in.

2. Understand the Components of Your Car Loan

The key components of any car loan are:

  • Vehicle Price
  • Down Payment
  • Interest Rate
  • Length of Car Loan (Term)
  • Monthly Payment Amount
  • Fees: Taxes (government fees)

Frankly, understanding these components and knowing that only the Government Fees are not negotiable is important.  Everything is negotiable as it relates to the vehicle and add-ons.  For an overview of how to get a good deal, check out this finance guide – knowledge is power so check it out as you prepare to finance your car.  

Whether you get a car loan through myAutoloan.com or through a dealership, always review and understand each point on this list.  Don’t become so preoccupied with your interest rate or monthly car loan payment that you agree to a higher vehicle price or additional products such as service contracts or other “back-end” products that you may not want or need.

3. Shop around for a Car Loan Before Going to a Dealership

Car financing options are available to consumers – having a choice is a powerful thing.  At myAutoloan.com, you can get up to four loan offers from which you can choose the best one for you.  You are not limited to loans offered only through auto dealers.   Having your financing approved before you go to the dealer gives you more leverage when you start negotiating on the price of an auto you are interested in.  Being a “cash buyer” is a great way to keep your costs low on financing and negotiate a great price for the auto you want.

Today, there are many car loan sites offering a range of new and used car finance solutions.  Online car loan companies like myAutoloan.com offer some of the most competitive APR’s in the market, because their loans are not “marked-up” like dealership car financing.

4. Negotiate Your Price & Get Your Car

Okay—you’ve secured your car loan, done your research, and found a car that fits both your budget and your practical needs. It’s time to get yourself to a dealer, find the car you want and begin negotiating a sale price. Many auto dealerships have internet departments that will provide a price quote via e-mail.  Start by contacting a local dealer and request a price quote or, go directly to a local dealer’s website.

You’ll find it’s possible to save hundreds if not thousands of dollars from the MSRP before ever stepping foot into a dealership showroom.  Next, go to the dealership, take a test ride, with your financing already taken care of you can then drive home in your next new or used car!  

By using these resources mentioned above, you can and will find competitive financing and save on the car that you decide upon.  Good luck and happy shopping.

4 Ways to Feel More Confident Buying a Car

Buying a new lawnmower. Buying groceries. Even buying new curtains. There are some things in life you’re confident about purchasing. But buying a new car?

Most consumers are not confident when it comes to understanding the purchasing process, finds a recently released study from Capital One. And few folks feel like they’re getting a good deal when buying a car.

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Capital One’s survey of 1,000 U.S. adults found:

  • Only 20% of consumers feel sure of themselves when buying a car.
  • Even fewer respondents (16%) feel like they’re “a boss” when it comes to negotiating.
  • And just 6% of consumers think car buying is a transparent process.

When it comes to getting the best price, most people feel like they just can’t hit the mark. Capital One reported that:

  • 62% of consumers feel they didn’t get the best price on their last car.
  • Yet, 47% of consumers noted “finding a deal” as the most important part of the car buying process.

So, what can you do to feel just as confident about buying a car as buying groceries? myAutoloan has the info you need (and a free eBook about the auto buying and financing process).

Know what kind of vehicle you want to buy.

Knowledge is power. Start with a plan! Before you head to the dealership, research the make, model, and style of vehicle you want to buy. The information available to you online is nearly limitless.

Think about the features that are most important to you in a car, like safety, storage, tech compatibility, and gas mileage.

Make a list with three columns: your “must-haves,” “nice-to-haves,” and “can-live-without” features. This foundation can help you feel surer of yourself when you walk into a dealership. You won’t be swayed by flashy marketing or dealer inventory!

Bring insurance and vehicle information with you when shopping.

Bring your research to the dealership with you, just like you would go to the grocery store with a list, coupons, and maybe the week’s meal plan.

Your research includes your feature list, some potential makes and models to test drive, and yes—car insurance estimates!

“Even the savviest car shoppers often forget to estimate car insurance costs before buying,” notes USA Today.

But the type of car you drive is one of the most important factors in determining the cost of your car insurance. Even if you estimate potential fuel and maintenance costs, you need to evaluate the price of car insurance to know the long-term cost of owning a car. The same driver could end up paying hundreds of dollars more depending on the vehicle.

Read up on basic negotiating techniques.

Only 16% of respondents in Capital One’s survey reported feeling like “a boss” when it comes to negotiating, yet 82% believe negotiating price is still necessary.

Here, we have two things to say: 1) Negotiating is a necessary evil, and 2) The internet is your friend! Check out NerdWallet’s car negotiating secrets for people who hate haggling or Forbes’ punch list of good tactics to use to lower the price of a car.

Recurring themes include:

  • Knowing your numbers and the real price of a car.
  • Timing your purchase based on the day of the month and the weather.
  • Securing auto financing ahead of time.

Get pre-qualified for financing before going to the dealership.

Securing auto financing beforehand is one of the best ways to make the car buying process smoother. It also takes control away from the dealership and puts it in your hands. But buyer beware! The dealer will likely claim that they can beat your other financing deal. They’ll do this by lowering your monthly payments but increasing your term, the sales price, or the interest rate (APR). Focus solely on your monthly payment amount and you could overlook an increase elsewhere, then end up paying more for the car or auto loan. Know your numbers, and you won’t fall prey to this trick.

You can feel more confident about buying a car, and you can do so today. Prequalify for auto financing now!

How to Make Your Tax Refund Check Go Further When Buying a Car

You already know you can use your tax refund check to buy a car. But you may not know that doing certain things can help you avoid more fees or get a nicer car with that very same check. One check. Different (and better) results for you when buying a car. So, how do we recommend you go about doing this? Check out myAutoloan’s strategy for stretching your tax refund check when buying a car.

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Take your time.

From the bank to the grocery store, every business knows it’s tax refund check time. And they all want a piece of your check. If you jump on the first flashy deal you see, you may miss out on an even better one a few miles away. Do your research and avoid acting impulsively to help make sure your tax refund check is wisely spent.

Stick to used cars.

Buying a used car means less of your tax refund check will be eaten up by depreciation. According to CarMax, cars lose about 10% of their value within the first month of being driven. After 12 months, their value has decreased by more than 20%.

Let another driver eat the biggest dip in depreciation. Analysis from U.S. News & World Report shows that the best way to find the cheapest car is to buy the oldest modern card you can find in good condition. Models that are 2012 and newer will have more safety features, as that’s the year electronic stability control became mandatory for all cars. Buying a rental car is another great option for saving money on a newer, reliable ride.

Buy from a private party seller.

When you have cash in hand, buying a car from a private seller can be one of the best ways to save money. Absolutely $0 of your tax refund check will go toward sneaky dealership fees. As Consumer Reports warns, dealership fees can include:

  • A destination charge: The cost to deliver the car from the factory to the dealership
  • Title and registration fees: The price to have the dealership handle ownership transfer, temporary tags, etc.
  • A documentation fee: $150 to $300 for processing title and registration documents
  • An advertising fee: A fee sometimes tacked on by regional dealers to help cover marketing expenses
  • A dealer markup: The additional price you have to pay to drive away with a car that’s in really high demand

Together, all of these fees could total thousands of dollars and consume your entire tax refund check. Go with a private seller and you won’t have to pay any of them, as private sellers are not dealers and have no overhead costs.

Don’t go with your first financing option.

Instead, compare auto financing options to make sure you’re picking your best loan offer. We know it’s tough to wait when you have a cashed refund check in hand. You want to buy a car fast, and you don’t want to wait. But comparison shopping doesn’t have to take more than a few minutes. You can submit one auto loan application through myAutoloan and quickly receive compare up to four loan offers. There’s no need to navigate to different websites, submit different forms, or even drive to various places around town.

Shop local around tax time.

Buying a car around tax time has two benefits. One, you likely have a tax refund check. Two, the auto industry tends to see a slowdown around tax time, which is good negotiating leverage for you.

“Ask any small business owner who is not in the tax business and they will tell you that business always sees a cyclical slowdown in April. The reason being that plenty of people owe taxes by April 15,” says the Financial Samurai.

While other folks are pulling from their savings account to pay Uncle Sam, you can use your tax refund and savings to put down a sizeable down payment on a car—assuming you don’t owe a hefty amount of taxes, too.

Start with myAutoloan.

We’re all about getting you more financing for less hassle. Fill out a quick auto loan application for a used car and get ready to enjoy a newer car, all thanks to your tax refund check and money-savvy research!

Basic DIY Car Maintenance You Can Learn to Do at Home

Struggling with a streaky windshield? A heater that smells stinky or dim headlight bulbs? You got this. We’ll walk you through easy DIY car maintenance you can do at home in the comfort of your own driveway or garage–and mostly without tools. You’ll save money on simple auto repairs and drive into the sunset feeling accomplished!

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Replace windshield wipers.

Replacing your windshield wipers is one of the easiest DIY car maintenance activities you can do. There’s no way you can accidently render your car inoperable. Plus, wiper systems don’t involve a lot of pieces or technology and no special tools are required.

When your view starts to get streaky, head to your local auto parts store and tell the associate your car’s make and model. They’ll show you the wiper options for your car. You can also find this information in your owner’s manual.

To replace your windshield wipers:

  1. Consult your owner’s manual to learn how to remove the old wipers. You’ll likely need to lift the wiper arm away from the windshield, and then press down on a small tab on the underside of the wiper. The wiper blade should slide off the arm when the tab is pressed.
  2. Slide on the new wipers. Slide the new wiper blade onto the arm. You’ll hear a clicking sound when the new blade locks into place. Gently lower the arm back on the windshield and repeat this process on the other wiper.
  3. Double check your wipers. Once you’ve replaced both wipers, turn them on! Test that they’re securely installed and working properly. You don’t want to try your wipers for the first time in a downpour, only to find out that they’re loose or the wrong size.

Change your car battery.

Most of us have experienced the dreaded “click” of a dead battery on a cold morning. Avoid getting stranded by replacing your battery before it’s DOA. You’ll need pliers or a wrench for this bit of DIY car maintenance.

To change your car battery:

  1. Buy a new car battery. Consult your owner’s manual to learn which battery size and type is best for your vehicle.
  2. With the engine off, pop your hood. Detach the black (negative) battery cable from the old battery. You might need a wrench or pliers to loosen the nut.  
  3. Detach the red (positive) battery cable using the same method.
  4. Remove the battery “hold-down” clamp with a wrench.
  5. Remove the old battery. This will likely be the hardest part of the process, says Pep Boys, as batteries can be heavy.
  6. Place the new battery in the battery tray. Secure it with the “hold-down” clamp.
  7. Attach and tighten the red cable.
  8. Attach and tighten the black cable.
  9. Check that the new battery is securely attached. Does the new battery jiggle or move around? If so, you might need to tighten the “hold-down” clamp or cables.

Do not throw your old car battery in the trash. Batteries are loaded with chemicals that can harm both you and the environment. Instead, bring your old car battery to a recycling center near you. Turn to Pep Boys for an in-depth explanation of how to replace your battery.

Replace the cabin air filter.

Your cabin air filter helps keep the air inside your car clean. Its job is to filter all of the air that comes through the car’s HVAC system to prevent pollutants, such as dust, pollen, smog and mold spores from entering, says Angie’s List.

The air filter is an easily accessible part, too. You can usually access it through the glove box or just under the hood of the car.

To replace your cabin air filter:

  1. Buy a new air filter. Consult your owners manual or ask an associate at a local auto parts store. They’ll direct you to your air filter options. Cabin air filters cost about $15 to $25.
  2. Again, turn to your owner’s manual to find out how to access your air filter. You can also search online for “how to replace cabin air filter” + your car’s make and model. DIY car maintenance videos and instructions with pictures are widely available.

NAPA Filters has a great general step-by-step guide for replacing cabin air filters.

Replace headlight or tail light bulbs.

Bulbs only cost about $15 to $20, but you can expect to pay upwards of $50 if you have your headlight or tail light bulbs replaced by a mechanic. Replacing a bulb is a simple DIY car maintenance item you can take care of in 20 minutes! It’s just a matter of buying the right bulb and consulting your owners manual.

Note that on some vehicles, like various Subaru Outbacks, you have to remove the wheel to get to the headlight. If this is the case for your car, you might want to take it to a professional.

Take advantage of free car repairs and services!

If there’s a particular check or repair that you’re not comfortable doing solo, go online and start researching where you may be able to have it completed for free. Many part shops and nationwide service centers offer free inspections, tests, and repairs.

  • AutoZone offers free battery charging, oil and battery recycling, and loaner tools to complete DIY repairs.
  • Pep Boys offers free battery testing and installation, tire pressure checks, code retrieval, brake inspection, windshield wiper installation, and free tire rotation.
  • Discount Tire offers free tire rotations, flat tire repairs, and air checks–even if you purchased your tires elsewhere.
  • Firestone Complete Auto Careoffers free tire pressure checks and refills, brake checks, battery checks, and code scans.

Big or small, car repairs can quickly get annoying. Please consult a professional if you’re uncomfortable performing any of these fixes at home. And remember, nothing lasts forever… including your car. If all signs are pointing you in the direction of a new car, check out today’s new car loan rates and apply for a car loan today. myAutoloan will connect you with multiple auto loan offers in just minutes.

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.