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What's That Noise - Your Safety Depends On It

Your Brakes Are Telling You Something!

Brakes are an essential part of every car, helping you to slow down and stop when needed. Generally, if your brakes are making a high-pitched squealing noise when you first step on them, it's an indication that the brake pads need to be replaced.

What causes that noise when you brake?

This can be due to a number of different factors - worn or dirty brake pads, issues with the rotors or calipers, or even something as simple as dirt or debris caught in the brakes.

If you're noticing a strange noise coming from your brakes, it's always best to have them checked out by a professional mechanic to ensure there isn't a bigger issue at play.

What are the different types of brakes, and how do they work?

There are many different types of brakes, each designed to perform a specific function and work in a particular way. Some common brake types include disc brakes, drum brakes, and vacuum brakes.

Disc brakes use a system of pads that press against a spinning metal disc to slow or stop the vehicle. Drum brakes consist of two brake shoes that press against the inside of a stationary metal drum. Vacuum brakes use suction to slow or stop a vehicle, drawing air from the atmosphere into chambers

How can you tell if your brakes need to be serviced or replaced?

If your car is making a noise when you brake, there's a good chance that something is wrong with your brakes. There are several things you can do to check your brakes and see if they need to be serviced or replaced.

Another way to tell if your brakes are in need of service is to look at your brake fluid levels. If the fluid is low or dark, it could be a sign that your brakes need to be flushed and refilled.

What does turning the Rotors mean?

If you've ever had your car's brakes serviced, you may have heard the term "turning the rotors." But what does that actually mean?

Rotors are the metal discs that your brake pads press against to slow or stop your car. When they become worn or dirty, they can cause a number of problems with braking performance. Turning the rotors means machining them down so that they are smooth and clean again, allowing for better braking. If they get worn down below a certain point, they will need to be replaced entirely by a mechanic.

 

As a driver, it's important to be aware of any issues with your car's brakes, as this can have serious implications for your safety on the road. Some common symptoms of worn or faulty brakes include a high-pitched squealing noise when braking, low or dark brake fluid levels, vibrations or shuddering when applying the brakes, and poor response time. If you notice any of these issues, be sure to have your brakes checked by a professional mechanic as soon as possible.

Don't Get Burned - Beat The Summer Heat

5 Tips To Keep Your Parked Car Cooler

Summertime is approaching fast, and with it, soaring temperatures. The last thing you want to do is climb into a scorching car and wait for it to cool down.

Did you know "When temperatures outside climb range from 80 degrees to 100 degrees, the internal temperature of your car can reach a scorching 130 to 172" (actionnews)

What Can You Do To Lower The Temperature In Your Car?

• Tip 1: Park in the Shade

If you have the option to park in the shade, take it! In many parking lots they will have trees or other natural shade options, Also try to park so that the sun is not shining on the driver's side. Even a few minutes in the shade can make a big difference.

• Tip 2: Use Your Visor And A Sunshade

You can find a sunshade for your windshield at most auto stores. Sunshades are especially useful if you have to park in the direct sun. They will help keep your car cooler and make it more comfortable to get in. Your windshield visor can also help keep the sun from entering your car

You could also fit a visor to your rear window as well as invest in window vent visors to keep individual passenger windows shaded.

Tip 3: Let Your Car Cool Before Getting In

Does your car have a remote starter? You turn on the air conditioning to full blast, shut all the doors and give your car a few minutes to cool down before driving. The other option is Leave the doors open for a minute to let most of the hot air out before getting in.

Tip 3: Cover Up Steering Wheel

No one wants to try to dive with a hot steering wheel. Consider placing a light-colored terry cloth towel over the steering wheel before you leave the car. This may reduce how much heat it absorbs

Tip 4: Cover Your Seats

This will protect your seats from the sun's rays and reduce how much heat they absorb. If you have leather seats, this is especially important as they can get uncomfortably hot in direct sunlight. You can buy special seat covers designed to reflect the sun's rays, or just use a light-colored towel or blanket

Tip 5: Tint You Windows

One of the best ways to keep your car cool is to tint your windows. This will reduce the amount of heat that comes into the car, making it more comfortable when you get in.

While you may or may not be able to do all of these things, any combination will help make your car more comfortable in the summer heat. Enjoy your summer and stay cool!

Diesel vs. Gas Trucks Pros & Cons

Decision Time - Should You Choose A Diesel Truck Over A Gas Powered One?

Thinking of buying a truck? Start by choosing the engine type you want! ? Ultimately, your choice will depend completely on your needs. Diesel trucks can generally tow much heavier weights than gasoline vehicles but gas trucks have better acceleration. Diesel trucks also tend to be more expensive than their gas counterparts.

Back To Basics - What is a diesel truck ?

Diesel engines are compression-ignition engines, meaning that the fuel is ignited by compression of the air in the engine. This makes them extremely efficient, and they can run on a variety of fuels, including biodiesel, ethanol, or even straight vegetable oil!

Diesel trucks are more fuel efficient than gasoline powered vehicles because diesel engines create more torque, which allows the truck to move more weight with less power. Although diesel fuel is often more expensive than gasoline, the fuel economy of a diesel truck can offset this cost over time.

What are the pros of buying a diesel truck

  • Diesel engines have a longer lifespan than gasoline engines

  • Diesel engines are less expensive to maintain than gasoline engines

  • Diesel trucks are more fuel efficient than gasoline powered vehicles

What are the cons of buying a diesel truck?

  • They are more expensive to buy than gasoline trucks

  • They are more difficult to start in cold weather

  • Diesel engines are noisier than gasoline engine

What are the pros of buying a gas powered truck?

  • Gasoline-powered trucks have better acceleration than diesel..

  • The engines are typically less expensive than diesel engines.

  • They are easier to start in cold weather.

  • Gasoline engines are generally less expensive to maintain.

  • Trucks with gasoline engines can run on other fuels, such as ethanol, which is becoming more common.

What are the cons of buying a gasoline powered truck?

  • Gas powered trucks are cheaper to buy, but diesel engines have a higher resale value.

  • Diesel engines also offer better fuel economy and typically produce more torque than gasoline engines.

  • Gasoline engines experience engine problems more frequently. This means that you may end up paying more for repairs down the road.

The Bottom Line:

If you're frequently towing large trailers or hauling heavy loads, a diesel engine is likely a better choice. They have much more torque than gasoline engines and can handle more weight. Gasoline engines are better for acceleration and everyday driving, making them a good choice for people who don't need to tow or haul a lot of weight. Diesel trucks tend to be more expensive than gas trucks, so if you're on a budget, a gasoline engine may be the best option for you.

 

How Trim Level & Options Affect Trade In Value

What Is My Car Worth?

When you go to trade your car at a dealership, some of the more obvious things to consider is the condition of the vehicle, trim level and options of your car. The dealer looks at its resale value which is driven by factors such as how popular the model is, how much demand there is for that model and what the going rate is for similar models.

How does the condition of the vehicle affect trade in value?

Mechanical and cosmetic conditions are the two biggest factors that affect a car's value. If your car is in good mechanical condition, it means that it doesn't have any major problems and is safe to drive. A car in good cosmetic condition will have a clean interior and exterior with no major dents, scratches or rust.

Cars that need mechanical work means the dealer will likely have to spend money fixing it before they can sell it, so they'll give you a lower trade-in value. Likewise, if your car has cosmetic damage, the dealer will want to repair it or discount the price to sell it as-is.

How does mileage of the vehicle affect its trade in value?

According to an article on KBB

The United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration said that the average person drove 14,263 miles per year in 2019. That’s roughly 1,200 miles per month per driver or about 39 miles per day. By comparison, the DOT said the average annual miles was 13,476 in 2018.

If your car has more than that, it may have a lower trade-in value because it has been driven more than average.  A car with low mileage is typically worth more than a car with high mileage.  The reason for this is that cars with low mileage are less likely to have mechanical problems.

What are trim levels for a car?

The trim level of your vehicle can play a role in trade-in value because it indicates what features are included. For example, a lower trim level may not have certain features like power windows and locks, while a higher trim level will have all the bells and whistles. When it comes to options, things like a sunroof or navigation system can add value to your car.

The base model is usually the cheapest because it has the least amount of features. As you move up in trim levels, the price of the vehicle will increase because there are more features included. The most expensive trim level is typically the luxury model or the performance model.

How do options affect the trade in value of a car?

Options can add both practicality and luxury to a vehicle, making it more desirable and, as a result, increasing its resale value. Luxury models will have features like heated seats, leather upholstery and a premium sound system. Performance models will have a more powerful engine and better handling. 

Options that come standard on a particular trim level will usually have less of an effect on resale value than options that are available as upgrades. This is because cars that come with certain options already included are more common, so there is less demand for them.

How does demand affect the trade in value of a car?

The demand for a certain model can play a role in its trade-in value. If there is high demand for a certain model, the trade-in value will be higher because dealerships know they can sell it quickly. On the other hand, if there is low demand for a certain model, the trade-in value will be lower because it will take the dealership longer to sell.

What is your car worth?

Trade in value can depend on a number of factors such as  condition, mileage, trim level, options and demand. Dealers rely on these factors as well as industry specific resources to establish what they're willing to give you for.

Is it time to trade in your vehicle?

We would love to give you a great offer for your old car. We are always looking for new inventory. Selling a car can be a hassle, so we take care of all the paperwork for you. You won’t have to worry about haggling with buyers or setting up appointments for test drives.

Contact us today to learn more about the process.

Subprime Car Loan

"Subprime" doesn't have to be a dirty word when it comes to taking out a car loan to buy a new or used car.

In a perfect world, everyone benefits from low interest rates on car loans. But for a large swath of the population, that's not an option. Blame it on the effects on your finances of the Great Recession of 2008 or missteps in managing your money. Either way, a subprime credit score is not unusual.

"About 20 percent of all auto loans currently are subprime or deep subprime," says Rick Finch, vice president and general manager at LendingTree Auto Division. "Subprime loans are growing, and auto is the fastest segment."

Compare car loan rates today

Typically, you're considered a subprime borrower if you have a credit score of 619 or lower, Finch says. That doesn't preclude you from purchasing a car, but it will cost more because you're a greater risk in the eyes of the lender.

While everyone has considerations to take into account when buying a car, subprime borrowers have to know a little more. From understanding the ultimate cost of the vehicle to knowing your ability to meet your payments, here's a look at five things to ponder before taking out a subprime car loan.

Many car buyers go to the dealer with a monthly payment in mind and give little thought to what the ultimate cost of the car will be. As a result, the car buyer gets his or her $300-a-month payment, but that could mean a five-year loan may morph into a seven-year one.

"The longer the loan, the more interest you are paying, especially if you are buying a used car," says Chris Kukla, senior counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending. "Let's say you buy a 5-year-old car and slap a seven-year loan on that. Assuming your car can hold up 11 to 12 years, you'll still end up owing money on the car."

Knowing how much you can afford each month is prudent, but you also must figure out the interest you'll pay over the life of the car loan and any fees associated with borrowing money to determine if it's worth it. You don't want to end up in a situation where the $30,000 car ends up costing you $40,000.

"People get in trouble when they focus more on the monthly payment versus what's the total cost of ownership, including repairs, insurance and gas," says Finch of LendingTree Autos.

The phrase "It's all in the fine print" is particularly true when it comes to subprime car loans. After all, you are a risk and the lender is going to protect itself, usually by charging you more in fees. But the discrepancies between those fees can be great from one dealer to the next, which is why you need to know what you are signing.

"You need to be diligent in reading all the fine print and understanding what types of fees you are going to incur," says Eric Lyman, vice president of industry insight at ALG, the automobile industry research company. "There are various ways that lenders get compensation for their risk."

One common fee that lenders charge is a loan origination fee, but what one dealer charges can vary greatly from the next. "One lender's origination fee might be $500 while another might be $1,500 for the same car," he says.

Lyman says combing over all the details of a car loan will ensure that you won't be surprised by any unforeseen costs. What's more, knowing the fees ahead of time will put you in a better position when you are negotiating the purchase price and auto loan terms

Everyone needs a mode of transportation. But before borrowing money, borrowers with credit problems need to think about the ramifications of not paying back an auto loan. After all, you don't want to end up in a worse credit situation because you can't afford your ride.

"When borrowing money, you need to make a realistic assessment of yourself and your capabilities," says Lawrence White, professor of economics at New York University Stern School of Business. "You need to think longer term rather than, 'I need this today and will worry about it tomorrow.'"

Industry experts say that while a BMW may be an appealing vehicle for your commute, your credit history and current household finances may make it more prudent to go with a lower-cost sedan.

"Just because it's a subprime car loan doesn't mean you shouldn't do it," says White. It's more about how much you need the car, did you get a good price on the car and can you afford to pay back the loan, he says.

If you have a credit score over 680, chances are you'll have auto lenders banging at your door to offer you low-interest car loans. Have a score below that and there may be no one calling.

"If you are a consumer with credit challenges, whether that's because you don't have a lot of credit history or missed payments, you have more work to do," says Kukla of the Center for Responsible Lending. "If you have a score below 680, the number of lenders willing to give you a loan decreases pretty rapidly."

While prime borrowers can easily get a low-interest auto loan from the bank down the street, Kukla says consumers with bad credit only have a couple of options: They can turn to the Internet or rely on a dealer.

If the dealer route is under consideration, know that it can be costly.

"One of the biggest misconceptions we see out there perpetuated by dealers is that they do business with dozens of lenders," Kukla says. "Nothing could be farther from the truth. The dealer is looking for the best loan for them, not the consumer."

When it comes to borrowing money when you have bad credit, you have to be able to take rejection. That's because you are likely to be turned down multiple times before you find a lender who will give you the money. On the other hand, you also don't want to assume the lender or bank will say no just because you have credit challenges without giving it a try.

Kukla says he hears plenty of stories of consumers who assumed a bank or credit union wouldn't give them financing only to learn later that they could have gotten it, and gotten it much cheaper, if they had asked.

"Never assume you can't get credit," Kukla says. "The worst thing you will hear is the word 'no.'"


Rebuild Your Credit with an Auto Loan

1. Getting Your Auto Loan

This is the most important step in this process, because your loan choice will determine the success of the strategy. The type of auto loan you can get depends on your current financial situation, especially your credit. There are four choices for vehicle financing: bank, credit union, finance company and dealership.

Many people assume that with poor credit, their options are limited to dealer financing or a subprime finance company (one specializing in consumers with poor credit). However, Charles Bernath, an Atlanta, GA tax and credit expert, says that’s incorrect. “Usually, you can go to a credit union, so check out that option first,” he suggests. Bernath also states, “Only dealers and subprime financing companies benefit from their loans.” Therefore, if you can avoid them and their typically double-digit finance rates, do so.

Michael A. Wishnow, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications for the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association, agrees. Actually, he says, “If you have a FICO score of 600 or better, you can probably get a car loan at most credit unions at single-digit interest rates.” He adds, “However, roughly only 50% of credit unions will write loans for people with FICO scores below 600.”

Banks, while more stringent than credit unions, are still better than dealer and subprime financing. But, says Jason Jewett, Personal Banker and AVP at SunTrust Bank in Laurel Springs, GA, “You’ll need a minimum credit score of 660 and clean credit report to get financed at most banks, and your finance rate depends on your credit score and history.”

Whatever your choice, do not borrow more than you can afford. Your monthly payment should fit your financial reality. So, while you may want that dream car, your vehicle is collateral for your loan. If you can’t pay your car note, you may lose the car and further damage your credit.

In fact, says consumer credit expert and author, Beverly Harzog, “Decide before you go car shopping exactly how much you'll spend, which might keep you from making an impulsive decision and financing a car that you can’t really afford.”

And, remember, the lower your FICO score, the less you’ll be lent to begin with. “With low credit scores, you should focus on a used vehicle and expect to be financed a maximum 80% of its Kelly Blue Book value,” advises Wishnow. 

Your choice of a loan type and amount, therefore, is critical to the success of this strategy.

2. Repaying Your Auto Loan

This is the most important and straightforward aspect of this credit restoration strategy. That’s because when you get an installment loan to rebuild your credit, naturally, you must pay it back. Harzog, whose latest book is The Debt Escape Plan: How to Free Yourself From Credit Card Balances, Boost Your Credit Score, and Live Debt-Free, emphasizes that “It’s critically important to make your car loan payment on time each month.” Even a single late payment can set back your credit rebuilding strategy.

Repaying your loan on time, for at least nine months to a year, will help increase your credit score. But, you’ll also have to pay all of your other bills on time, have the right mix of credit, and not have too much debt. You must manage all of your credit well. Otherwise, this strategy won’t help, and may even hurt, your credit.

3. Refinancing Your Auto Loan

“Sometimes,” says Wishnow, “your payment is affordable, but your interest rate far too high.” This is most often true if you quickly financed a vehicle because you must have one or felt forced to accept a high interest loan because of your credit. Bernath, who has refinanced all three of his daughters’ auto loans, says, “You should refinance your vehicle loan when that happens.”

And, in most cases, while you’ll need to take specific steps, you can refinance much sooner than you think. If you got a double-digit interest loan through dealer or other subprime financing, you’ll want to refinance that loan as soon as you can.

Often, if your credit score is above 600, you can go to a credit union and refinance your loan, even if it’s immediately after getting into the bad loan. But, Wishnow says, you’ll have to become a member of a credit union.

Jewett explains that if you’ve used this approach to successfully rebuild your credit and have no negative entries on your credit report, “Once your score is at 660, you can use a bank to refinance your auto loan.”

All three credit experts agree that refinancing is both a great way to reduce the amount you pay over the loan’s life and also to reduce your monthly payment, in most cases. So, pursue that as part of this plan.

If you apply all three of these steps carefully, using an auto loan to rebuild your credit is one of your fastest and best paths to boosting your FICO score.

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