How To Buy A Car

Easy-To-Follow Tips For Choosing A Reliable Auto Shop

Auto repair shops come in different shapes and sizes, and you can find them just about anywhere in your town or city. Some offer minor body repainting and dent scraping jobs, while others offer more specialized vehicle restoration services.  Choosing a trusted and reliable auto service shop though can be a tedious process, as some shops have been noted to offer shoddy, sub-standard work.  To find a reliable auto service shop, follow the tips outlined in this article.  

Get Estimates From Several Repair Shops First
If, for example your car figured in an accident, or someone scratched off your car's paint accidentally, the first thing on your mind would be to quickly have it fixed in a vehicle repair shop.  However, to be able to get the best possible service, you first need to seek out estimates from not just one, but several repair shops before deciding on whom to hire.  Always insist on getting a detailed written estimate from the mechanic or shop owner, and  ask them what repairs will need to be done, as well as how long will it take to finish the repairs.  The estimates that you get may vary in price, depending on whether the shop uses brand new or surplus parts.  The estimates for labor and paints will also vary, depending on the number of workers, or the painting methods used. 

Visit The Shop And Check The Facilities
The process of finding a trusted auto repair service will most certainly entail doing an ocular visit to one or two auto shops in your neighborhood or community.  A repair shop which takes pride in its work will most likely have a clean, spacious and well-equipped work area, and it may even have a reception or rest area where customers can comfortably sit while the repairs are being done.   

Ask The Shop Owner Or Mechanic About Insurance
After looking, and sifting, around a particular shop's equipment and facilities, it would now be a good  time to ask the shop owner or chief mechanic about details like insurance. A reputable auto repair service facility will have no qualms in providing you proof that it has the correct credentials and insurance coverage. And once you get to meet the shop owner face to face, remember to ask smart questions.  You could ask them  "do you provide written warranties?", and "what does you warranty cover?", as some warranties have stipulations or conditions that are too restrictive for automobile owners.  Also find out whether the auto service shop carries updated fire and theft insurance, as you'd like to guarantee that your vehicle is fully covered just in case it's destroyed, burglarized or stolen.

Lastly, don't forget to ask how long the auto repair shop has been in business, as well as politely insist that the owner to show you their updated business license.  If the shop owner can't show you his business license, then you better find someone else to entrust your vehicle.


Helpful Tips For Buying Second Hand Cars

The market for second hand, or previously-owned cars, is  a thriving one today, as more and more people are cutting costs, and are going for well-maintained but cheaper second-hand motor vehicles.  However, buying a used car can be as treacherous as treading on a mine field.  You need to keep in mind that there a lot of factors to consider, and there a lot of details that you need to have a keen eye for.  Here are some helpful second-hand car buying tips to ponder on.  

Decide On Which Vehicle Model Is "Right" For You
In buying pre-owned vehicles, it pays to be patient, because if you become an impulsive buyer, you might just end up with getting the wrong vehicle, at the wrong price. To get the right pre-owned motor vehicle, try checking out helpful resources like the Consumer Reports Buying Guide, where you can freely read through their comprehensive guides on buying new or used vehicles.  To make the shopping  process a more relaxing one,  just relax, take your sweet time, and drop by each auto  dealership in your area.  Once you visit a certain showroom, talk to the salesperson, get inside the vehicle and get a feel of the interiors, as well as the tires and engines.  Some auto dealers even allow their customers to test-drive the vehicles.

Determine How Much You Can Pay
In the used-car shopping process, it would be helpful if you first determine how much money you can safely pay out for the vehicle's monthly installments.  You'll also need to get a complete breakdown of the down payment and monthly terms, as well as determine the total insurance premiums.  And apart from considering the vehicle price, it would be helpful to ask the dealership if they offer realistic and easy to manage in-house financing schemes. But if you don't feel like getting financing from the auto dealer, there are a lot of other flexible financing options to choose from.  You could visit the local commercial bank, credit union, cooperative, as well as check out the different auto-financing companies on the Worldwide Web.     

Lastly, never, ever forget to ask the auto dealer a host of pertinent questions.  Make sure you thoroughly grill them with questions regarding the vehicle's history, so you won't make the mistake of buying a flood or hurricane-damaged car.  Also politely inquire from the auto dealer if they can provide copies of the previous owner's  documents, it's repair and maintenance records, as well as obtain the VIN, or Vehicle Identification Number.  Also conduct a test drive of the motor vehicle. Run the vehicle through different road conditions. Once you bring the vehicle to a full stop, open the hood and listen to the hum of the engines.  You may even ask a mechanic to check on the brakes, suspensions, oil gauge, air conditioning unit, tires and other components.


The Pros Of Getting Auto Finance From The Dealership

Getting your dream car should not literally cost you an arm or leg, nor should it lead you to a state of bankruptcy.  The good news is that there are actually a lot of auto financing options to choose from today. From the bank, credit union, online financing firm to the auto dealership, the choices are aplenty. The only thing you  need to do is to carefully analyze each option, and determine which financing mediums offer the most flexible and competitive rates.  Here's a no-nonsense look at one of the best financing options – the auto dealership.  

Auto Dealers Offer Fast, Convenient Service
One of the best things about getting an auto loan from a dealership is that they offer fast, convenient service.  When negotiating with an auto dealer, you can seek as many quotes and interest rates as much as possible, and auto dealers also offer faster application processes. Some dealerships will be more than glad to provide you with extended warranties and special incentives like zero-percent interest and $2,000 rebates, so that they'll be able to lure more clients away from rival dealers. 

Car Manufactures Also Offer Factory-to-Consumer Rebates
Signing an auto finance deal with a dealership also allows buyers to take advantage of what are called "factory-to-consumer" rebates.  These are actually rebates that vehicle manufacturers directly offer to buyers, as an incentive to them for purchasing a specific car model.  The auto manufacturer usually offers this whenever they see a large number of particular car makes sitting idly on the dealer's display lot, in order to quickly move off the excess inventory. A factory-to-consumer rebate though is not a part of the auto dealer's package, therefore this should not even be discussed when negotiating the sales price.          

Zero Percent APR
Auto dealers are also best known for offering "zero percent" APR or interest to their customers. For you to avail of zero percent financing, you must agree to a shorter-term loan, which usually goes for 24 to 36 months only. And though this will mean that your monthly payments are going to be quite high, the good thing is that you'll pay off the loan more quickly, as compared to agreeing on a 48 to 60-month term. To qualify for a zero-percent loan, your credit score should be higher than 680. But with getting zero-percent loans, you'll only be limited to purchasing from what's on the display lot, rather than get the car with the exact features you like.  And with opting for zero-percent financing, you also won't be getting any cash rebates.  

In addition, one of the best things about getting a loan through the auto dealership is that you will have the opportunity to get free or discounted undercoating, fabric protection, rust-proofing and paint protection services.  These jobs are often applied in the factory or display lot, so there will no longer be a need for the buyer to have it done elsewhere.  Before buying a car, make sure you verify the vehicle's factory warranty, to determine if it already has a rust perforation warranty. 


Auto Auctions: How Do They Work?

What is an auction? In conventional terms, an auction is a process of selling or buying goods and services. In auctions, a particular item or service is offered up for bidding, and bids are placed by individuals or companies.  The person or firm that posts the highest bid usually wins the item being auctioned.  Among the hottest auction items of late are cars, as millions of vehicles are sold each year at insurance auctions, government biddings and private dealer auctions.  Here are a few important insights on how auto auctions work.

What Are Sold In Auto Auctions?

According to automobile enthusiasts and industry analysts, an auto auction is one of the best ways for quickly disposing off different types of vehicles.  Among the items sold in these bidding activities include slow-selling vehicles which were traded at an auto dealership, classic collector-style vehicles, used rental cars and other vehicles that were returned once their leases have expired.  Whenever customers and auto dealers attend a car auction, they carry along a book (the type of which depends on the organizer), which lists the make, model, current condition and suggested price of the vehicle.  Dealers and consumers then choose the vehicles that suit their budgets, especially if the money they bring fits the levels on the final bid. Many used auto auctions also offer previously flooded, damaged or fully rebuilt vehicles.  Because of this, it's important for buyers to do research on the previous owner or the former condition of the vehicles, before they place any bids.  In some car auctions, the bidder is permitted to even drive the unit before the actual activity has even started.  Some car auctioneers also post photos on their web sites, so that bidders will be able to view the cars weeks in advance of the actual bid date. Through the posting of car photos online, the bidder can call the auctioneer in advance, and get all the information he needs with regard to the price, model, make and condition.

What Are The Different Types of Auto Auctions?
There are different types of automobile auctions today.  These include online auctions, public auctions, insurance auctions, wholesale auctions, police and government vehicle auctions. Online auto auctions are popular today, as more and more people prefer to shop for different vehicles on the Internet.  On sites like eBay for example, the bidders are required to place bids;  however they cannot personally see the vehicles in advance to check on them. Wholesale vehicle auctions on the other hand, are open only to licensed vehicle dealers, and the public is not permitted to join them. In police and government auctions, the public is allowed to place bids on the vehicles offered.  Insurance auto auctions are events that are open only to licensed vehicle dealers.

Whatever type of auto auction you join, always make sure you fully check on the vehicle's repair and maintenance history, and always carefully analyze your bids, so that you won't be getting a car that's way below the real value of price you've paid for.


Low Interest Auto Loans: How And Where To Get One

If you're planning to get  a car loan, the good thing is that there are a lot of options to choose from today.  You can visit a commercial or thrift bank, the local credit union, an online lender or other legitimate loan entity.  However, the key to acquiring the right auto loan lies in reading the fine print, as well as in properly negotiating with lenders.  Here are a number of helpful hints on how and where to get a flexible auto loan term. 
Review Your Credit Score
One of the first items you need to sort out before considering an auto loan, is to analyze your crediit score.  Carefully check your credit scores to see if there any innaccuracies posted there, as these can certainly affect your overall credit rating.  One way for improving your credit score is by paying unpaid credit card bills, or by paying water, gas and light bills on time. By improving your credit score, you will have improved chances of getting a better car loan rate. 

Obtain Financing From Independent Lenders
Before signing up with any auto dealer, try talking to a number of independent lenders first.  Compare and study each auto lender's terms and conditions, so that you'll see which option is the right  one for you.  Also take note that dealer financing is far more costly than getting a loan through the bank or credti union, as auto dealers are known to get bonuses each time their customers opt for in-house financing. One of the drawbacks of in-house financing is that this leaves room for dealers to hike the interest rates with each monthly payment.  The dealers will then sell the loan to another lending institution, for which they'll recieve a commission based on the remainder between what the customer is paying in interest, and what the bank charges.  Take for example you buy a car worth $20,000 and you agree on a 48-month loan payment scheme from the auto dealer, at 9 percent interest.  The auto dealer then offers the loan to a bank, and in return he could get as much as $900, which would be taken from your payments of course.   

Try Tapping Your Home Equity
To make things much easier for you, why not try tapping your home's equity, so that you'll pay lower interest payments on the auto loan.  According to automobile loan experts, a Home Equity Line of Credit as well as a home equity loan, offers lower interest rates as compared to traditional auto loans, as  these are safely pegged against the current value of your home.  However, some loan experts agree that if the car loan is 36 months or less, it would be better to sign up with traditional auto loan instruments. 

Car buyers should also be wary of so-called "zero interest" loans from auto dealers, as these may contain hidden riders and conditions.  For example, you buy a car worth $16,000, and you're told to pay "zero" interest for 36 months.  To sweeten the deal, the dealer will then offer you a $2,000 rebate. After factoring everything, the monthly payments are set at $444. However, if you took the rebate, and got the loan from the bank instead, you could pay as low as $420; hence you could have saved $25 per  month.  


Negotiating With An Auto Dealer:  What's The Best Step?

Most of us often feel jittery and scared whenever we do something for the very first time. This feeling also applies each time we shop for used cars for the first time, because we may be afraid of saying the wrong thing to a car dealer, or we might feel unsure about signing up a financing deal.  However, shopping for a second hand car should not be a nerve-wracking experience.  Here are a number of helpful hints on how to negotiate with a second hand auto dealer.   
Never Tell An Auto dealer You're "Desperate" For A Car
In negotiating with auto dealers, it would be a bad move to tell dealers that you're desperate for a car, as this may bring out the "devil" in them. Auto dealers, just like any other business men, are certainly out there to make a profit.  And while not all auto dealers are bad, the shrewd ones will surely do their best to squeeze out any extra cash from unsuspecting car buyers.  Some car dealers also have the knack for  getting their customers lost in the numbers, like when they shove a heap of in-house financing papers which may contain confusing data and conditions.    

Use The Internet To Sharpen Your Judgment
One of the best weapons that used buyers can arm themselves is the Internet.  The Worldwide Web  allows used car shoppers to acquire extra information about different types of vehicles.  On the Internet, a car buyer can read independent auto reviews, get insights from auto industry analysts, and view feedback from other buyers. And as there are more second hand car auto dealers today, car buyers will now be able to enjoy extra leverage, since they can cross-shop and even pit car dealers against each other, hence making the environment advantageous to them. 

Learn The Art Of Haggling
Shopping for second hand cars can be a tricky process, especially if you don't know a thing or two about haggling or negotiating. According to auto  industry experts, car buyers should not start the negotiation process with talk of monthly payments.  Instead, they must set their sights on negotiating purchase price first. Should an unsuspecting car buyer allow himself to be dragged into lengthy discussions regarding in-house dealer financing, things may get confusing, as the buyer will be dragged into talk of additional terms and conditions, riders and penalties and stuff.

Although most auto dealers are reputable, a few bad eggs are likely to insist that buyers go for a so-called "low interest" in-house financing scheme. Some dealers will even tell you that they can get you a car for "only" $200 or $300 a month, but  they won't say how long will you be paying for it. Second hand car buyers need to complete their homework before going inside a  car dealer's showroom.  They need to ask a lot of questions, find out what incentives are offered, and use a payment calculator to determine which car is best for them, at the price they're willing to pay.    


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