Assess Your Needs for Optimal Selection of a Used Car

Walking onto the lot and looking at all of the choices of used cars you could buy, is equal parts exciting and overwhelming. There are so many important factors that go into choosing the perfect vehicle including your budget, the make and model, and even cosmetic things like the exterior color. However, assessing your needs is a critical step to take when narrowing your options. We hope to help you make the best decision by offering these suggestions for things to think about when selecting a new vehicle.

Cargo Space

Cargo space is the area you have to fill with various types of freight. This could be anything from groceries, to a stroller, to hiking and camping gear. For many buyers, cargo space is an important aspect to consider especially when the vehicle will serve as a mode of transportation for a family.

Fuel Economy

Long distance commuters are often inclined to look for used cars that have a considerable fuel economy. This gauge helps define a car’s ability to be efficient when traveling on the highway, especially during periods of heavy traffic. If you are looking for a commuter car to take you to and from work each day, fuel economy is an important factor you may wish to consider.

Safety Features

Many individuals with children seek vehicles that have certain safety features including child locks and back-up cameras. If there are specific features you wish to have in your vehicle, tell us about them and we can show you the used cars we have that meet these expectations.

Driving Conditions

Where do you drive and what is the weather like? Do you drive in a lot of stop-and-go traffic? Do you live in a place where ice and snow are prevalent? These factors are important to think about when making your selection.

By considering factors such as those listed above, you can have a solid idea of the kind of vehicle you want to buy. We are eager to show you our selection of used cars and to help you find something that is perfect for you.

How to Obtain the Best Car Loan Rates

When looking to buy a car at our dealership, we want you to get the best rates available for your loan. You can do this by following these tips and knowing what to ask for when you get here. These factors matter when trying to get the best rate on car loans.

Look for a Low Annual Percentage Rate

APR is the rate of interest that is added on top of your loan payments. The lower your APR, the less money you’ll pay back over the term of your loan. Negotiate for the lowest APR based on your credit history and consider deals we might be offering. For example, sometimes paying low interest with a large rebate might be better than taking zero-interest APR. Do your research.

Make a Down Payment

By making a down payment or trading in your previous vehicle, you won’t need as much financing as those who don’t. This obviously lowers the amount of money you need to pay back. Also, those looking to obtain car loans with bad credit can sometimes get a better APR by making a down payment because it’s less risky for us as your lender. It also shows us that you’re serious about paying in full.

Negotiate a Shorter Loan Term

We often offer car loans varying between 3 – 7 years. While taking a longer term may decrease the amount of your monthly payments, it also adds to the number of payments you make and how much interest you pay over time. By taking a shorter loan term, you’ll repay it faster for less money, so consider paying a bit more monthly to disburse less money over the term of your loan.

Following these four tips will help you gain the best rates for car loans when you buy from our dealership. By negotiating for a lower APR and shorter loan term as well as making a reasonable down payment, you can shave a large amount off the money you owe and the total of each payment.

Helping Used Cars Last Longer

Used automobiles are the most common mode of transportation for most people. The individual life of any used automobile can be dramatically extended if you give it a little TLC and proper maintenance.

Follow the Maintenance Schedule

The owner’s manuals for used cars will give you a guideline for how often you should get an oil change and when it needs to be serviced. Don’t skip the routine stuff, it’s what keeps most vehicles running smoothly for years.

Replace Parts Before They Become a Problem

If your mechanic tells you the brakes will need replaced soon, go ahead and get them replaced now. Most people who start out thinking, “I’ll do that in the next few months,” forget about it until they’ve burned through their brakes or damage has been done. Preventive care is much less expensive than repairs.

Minimize Short Trips

Every time you start your engine, it takes a toll on gas mileage, your muffler and the engine itself. If you have errands to run, combine them whenever possible. If you have a short commute to work of just a few miles, see if you can carpool with someone or rideshare. A few longer trips are better for your car than a lot of short ones.

Check the Fluids

Regularly Oil, antifreeze, transmission fluid and power steering fluid should be checked and either topped off or changed regularly. The time to add more fluids is not after you’ve burnt up the oil and incurred expensive repairs.

Rotate Tires

Rotating the tires on used cars helps lengthen the life of both the car and the tires. Tire rotation reduces uneven tread wear and improves the vehicle’s ride. In most cases, you should rotate them every 8,000 to 13,000 kilometres or twice a year.

Change the Air Filter

Whether you do it yourself of have it done by a mechanic, changing air filters prolongs the life of used and new cars, improves acceleration and ensures better gas mileage.

Used cars can last for years if you take care of them properly following the above recommendations.

How to Inspect a Used Car

Before signing your financing papers with us at Gateway Auto, it is imperative that you are happy with the car you are getting. The buying process encompasses finding the right car, test driving it and figuring out how to pay for the vehicle. One key aspect of purchasing used cars is running a thorough inspection to be sure you are satisfied with the quality of the vehicle.

One of the first steps is to obtain a vehicle history report from us. This will clue you in to any accidents in which the car was involved as well as the repairs that were made. The more comprehensive these reports are, the better you may feel about buying a used car.

Before you take the car for a test drive, conduct a visual inspection. Look over the vehicle at the paint job and feel free to note any imperfections. Some vehicles are sold as-is, but most are certified to get the car into prime shape. Note that the tires should be properly inflated and headlights and taillights should be intact and working properly.

Get in and out of the car multiple times to assess your comfort level with the height of the seat. You should also test out all of the vehicle’s systems, such as the heat and the air conditioning. Turn on the stereo and any other amenities such as a GPS system to ensure they are all working properly. When you start the car, note that it should start smoothly and easily.

Buying used cars can be a pleasant experience if you work with the right dealership and know what to look for in the vehicle. We want to ensure customer satisfaction, which is why we allow you plenty of time to inspect the car. Make sure all the vehicle’s systems are working properly and that you have an accident report for the car. Taking these measures will mean you can drive off the lot a happy, satisfied customer.

What to Look for in a Used Vehicle

Buying a used vehicle is a good way for you to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a car or truck. Used vehicles are less expensive, but may have hidden problems that the previous owner conveniently “left out” when selling you the car. Because of the lemons that are on the market, you should take some time to research the vehicle that you are considering and give it a thorough inspection before you make the purchase. There are a number of things that you should check to ensure the quality of the vehicle. Use the following list as a guide, but not as your only guide for making a purchase.

Mileage is one of the most basic things you will look at when making a used vehicle purchase is the mileage. The mileage is a guide to show you how much wear the vehicle has. It does not mean that all vehicles with high miles are bad and all that have low miles are good, but it will give you an idea of how much usage the vehicle has been subject to. Typically, vehicles get about 20,000 kilometres put on them each year so try to calculate the mileage per year the vehicle has.

The next thing that you should look for is rust. Rust is one of the most debilitating things that a vehicle can be subjected to. Body panels can crumble, frames can be weakened, and floors can rust out. If the vehicle you are considering has rust, you want to ensure that you are know the extent of the damage to the vehicle. If you feel like the damage is excessive, don’t buy the vehicle.

Before you even step on a lot to look at vehicles, check the price using an online pricing guide. These guides allow you to input the make, model, and options to find out what a vehicle is actually worth on the market. Once you know the price, you will have the upper hand negotiating when the time comes.

Truths About Car Loans

When it comes to car loans, many people have reservations. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about vehicle financing. Owning a car can be a big step. With a purchase of that magnitude, it’s important to look at all of your options. After all, you want to get your money’s worth without breaking the bank. Financing options can be more beneficial than paying off a car at once. Here are three truths about car loans that you should know.

Easy Application Process

If you apply for a car loan, the process is often more simple than a standard bank loan. Not only is it easier to apply, but the rate of acceptance is also higher. If you don’t have a high credit score, it isn’t usually a problem.

Low Risk Option

With standard loaning options, your assets can be at take if you default on your payments. This can affect your home. With a car loan, often, your assets are better protected.

Fixed Loans

Most people fear loans because of the APR rate. On standard loans the interest rates can go up and your payments may turn out to be higher than you hoped for, months or years down the line. With car loans, the rate is often fixed. Your payments will be the same throughout the life of the loan.

Dealership Perks

If you go with a bank loan, then odds are you won’t be offered many benefits from the dealership in the same way that you might if you take out a loan with them. Sometimes this may come in the form of an inspection or road service that adds value to the loan.

Purchasing a new car can be a big commitment. Often though, it is more than worth it. How you decide to finance your vehicle is important. When people think about loans, sometimes it’s a daunting concept. However, car loans tend to be easier, lower risk and help car owners understand exactly where they stand with the loan.

Tips on Buying Used Trucks

There are many things to consider when poring over a wide inventory of used trucks in hopes of finding the right one. The most common stream of thought to have is how the truck will be utilized. Is the truck going to be driven for commercial use, or for basic daily driving? Are you looking for something more rundown for off-roading excursions, or is an upgraded and comfortable model more your speed? Knowing the answers to these questions will help to set you on the appropriate path to finding the perfect truck.

It is safe to assume that people who prefer to drive trucks over cars are not afraid of getting their hands a little dirty. Being unafraid of grease and grime will come in handy at the car lot when looking underneath the truck. Inspecting the truck yourself is a step that should not be neglected when searching for a new truck to buy. Oftentimes, some places will hoist the truck in the air for you to inspect, or will do a complete inspection themselves for little to no additional fee.

If you are unsure of what to check, make sure an experienced technician conducts a thorough inspection of the truck and provides you with a very realistic assessment of required repairs along with the cost of each one. The main issues to check are the brakes, steering components, possible leaks, weak metal, and damage.

Additionally, try not to be distracted by a truck’s outer appearance. A new paint job adds a nice touch, but it is important to find out what the motivation was behind that fresh coat. Make sure to find out if it is covering scratches, rust, a dull surface, or any other possible defect. When it comes to used trucks, the goal is to find all about the history.

Once you have found the right truck to purchase, try not to second guess yourself. If you did your research, got the right price, and are happy with the outcome, do not worry that you missed out on something better.

How to Pay for a Used Car Without Breaking the Bank

Sometimes it seems like cars break down at the worst times. You might not be in a great place financially when your car becomes inoperable, and buying a new car is not always possibly. When you need a car, and you have limited funds, a good used car might be the best thing for you. There is a wide-variety of used cars on the market. With a little bit of research, you might find a used car will work well with your current lifestyle.

Know Your Budget Before You Begin

Before you start your travels to dealerships, you need to consider how much money you can afford to spend on a used car. You could save a lot of money, if you pay for the car in full. If this is not possible, consider making a large down payment. Obviously, when you finance your car, the cost is more because you are paying interest each month when you make your payment. Traditionally, when you purchase a used car, rates are higher and the financing periods are usually shorter compared to purchasing new cars. One tip most financial experts offer is to never spend more than 20 percent of your take-home pay on a car.

Estimate Future Expenses

Always do research on the car you want to purchase to see if certain parts need to be replaced more frequently. You might have a particular car in mind that you’d like to buy, but if the water pump in that model has a history of failing, than you might want to consider another car. When you purchase a used car, there’s always a chance you will have to forgo funds for maintenance and upkeep. An older car obviously has more wear and tear on it than a new car. Having savings put aside is important, since you don’t want your car to cause you unnecessary debt.

Types of Car Loans for People with Bad Credit

Sometimes in life, unfortunate things can happen that keep you from having stellar credit. You may rely on credit cards for a few months to get you through a difficult situation, for example. While a not-so-great credit score may keep you from securing certain types of loans, you have options when it’s time to purchase a car.

There are two main types of bad credit car loans: secured and unsecured. We can accept either to help you buy the vehicle of your dreams. However, it’s crucial for you to understand the difference before you make your decision.

Secured Car Loans

This type of loan can be beneficial for people with bad credit who have collateral to offer. You put up some insurance that guarantees payment to the bank, and in return, the bank can offer lower interest rates. This type of bad credit car loan has about a 95 percent approval rating.

Furthermore, there is often little or no down payment required to get a secured auto loan. Typically, the interest rate is fixed and can be as low as four percent. Be sure to speak to our financial team about this option.

Unsecured Car Loans

This type of loan requires no collateral, which can mean less risk for you. However, the less risk you take, the more the bank makes. As a result, unsecured car loans can be more expensive.

To get an unsecured car loan with bad credit, you may need a large down payment or trade-in value. Furthermore, these loans usually have an interest rate of seven to 10 percent, sometimes even higher. These interest rates can be fixed or flexible, depending on the bank.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether you feel comfortable putting up collateral for your car loan. Talk to our lending team to set up your investment and get in a great car. We can help you no matter your credit score.

How to Pay Off Your Car Loan Early

You have just chosen your new car and negotiated the terms to pay for it. You may be content at first, but that five-year note may take the edge off your excitement after a while. You may begin to feel as if there is no end in sight, but there are some practical ways you can shave quite a few months off the life of your loan and pay less interest overall.

Make Payments

The simplest way to pay off car loans in a timely manner is to make payments on time and never skip a payment. If your payment is late, the lender might tack on a fee to your loan principal. Not only does this increase the amount you owe, you will also be paying interest on that fee. Your lender may occasionally offer you the opportunity to skip a payment as a reward. While this may be tempting, fight the urge to skip. Skipping a payment only adds time to the life of your loan.

Round Up

Paying a little extra than the contract terms require each month is another good way to pay your loan off early. If you budgeted for $300 a month, but your finance plan only requires you to pay $250, go ahead and pay the higher amount that you planned every month. This not only takes months off the terms of your loan, it also lowers the amount you pay in interest.

Pay More Often

Some lenders charge penalties for making extra payments, but if your contract terms will allow for it, try to make an extra payment every once in a while. An easy way to do this is by making a half-payment every two weeks. Over the course of a year, instead of the 12 payments you would have made if you had paid once a month, you will make 13 full payments.

Your car loan may seem like it lasts forever. With a little extra effort, however, you can pay it off faster than you originally planned.