Monday, November 16, 2015
Thursday, November 12, 2015
When it's time to buy a vehicle, one of the big issues to deal with is how to handle financing. Here are four key questions that you can use to help put yourself in the best buying position.
1. What's the right amount of cash to pay upfront?
Buyers with substantial savings sometimes decide to pay cash for their vehicles to avoid car payments or interest. But kicking out $30,000 or more may not be the best idea. If paying cash leaves your emergency fund depleted and something bad happens, you may have to borrow money at much less favorable terms. Many buyers need a loan just to afford a car. But financing the entire purchase also may be unwise.
Taxes and fees add to the sticker price, so with no down payment, you'll owe more than the car is worth as soon as you drive off the lot. And depreciation could leave you further "upside-down" on your loan. If you need to sell the car or if it's totaled in an accident, you'll get less money than you need to pay off the loan and may have to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket.
Many financial experts suggest making a down payment of 15 to 20 percent of the purchase price.
2. What's the best place to get a loan?
The dealership is one place to secure vehicle financing, but experts say it's good to shop around.
It's possible that you'll get lower interest rates at your credit union or other lending organizations where you're a member and they might be more likely to work with you on the terms.
It can also be helpful to get preapproved for an auto loan before you're ready to buy. With a loan lined up, you can focus on negotiating the price and not fall prey to slippery sales tactics. If the dealership offers you a better financing deal, that's even better. Make sure you look for application fees, other miscellaneous fees and your loan term so you are making an apples-to-apples comparison between loans.
Be on the lookout for offers to lower your interest rate through a lender, vehicle manufacturer or dealership.
3. What length of time should the loan be for?
The longer the loan period, the smaller the monthly payments will be. That tempts many car buyers to finance their cars over five, six or even seven years. But that's not always the best choice, experts say.
Choosing a vehicle that you can pay off in three to five years is preferable, they say.
Longer term loans are risky for two reasons. First, stretching out your payments means you'll pay more interest and typically, a longer loan term comes with a higher interest rate. Second, since new vehicles typically depreciate quickly, a longer loan increases your likelihood of being upside-down. It's not a good idea to finance a vehicle for longer than you plan to own it.
4. What incentive should I look for?
Many dealers will offer either low-rate financing or a hefty cash rebate on a new vehicle. Which is better?
Basically, choose the one that will most lower your payments.
Use this auto loan payment calculator to guide your decision. And if you can take the dealer's rebate and find a low-rate loan from a third-party lender, it might be possible to have your cake and eat it, too.
-With contributions from USAA
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Thursday, October 8, 2015
If your organization is in the market for a passenger or cargo van, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter comes with a choice of diesel engines and is available in three lengths. Our tester was a 12-passenger people hauler that was comfortable and provided a surprisingly smooth ride.
The available diesel V-6 engine can be paired with four-wheel drive instead of just rear-wheel drive, as was previously the case. Mercedes also offers a super high roof on the Sprinter.
The Sprinter features 16-inch steel wheels with 16-inch aluminum wheels available, optional fog lamps and headlight washers, a sliding passenger-side door and dual hinged doors in back with a 270-degree opening.
On the inside, there is seating for up to 12 people, air conditioning, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, multimedia system with 5.8-inch screen, Bluetooth, an SD card slot, a USB port and an MP3 jack and an available navigation system.
The Sprinter is powered by a turbo-diesel 2.1-liter four-cylinder that makes 161 horsepower with 265 pounds-feet of torque mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. But also available is a turbo-diesel 3.0-liter V-6 that makes 188 horsepower with 325 pounds-feet of torque and is linked to a five-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard; four-wheel drive available with V-6.
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015
The price you pay for auto insurance can vary by hundreds of dollars, depending on what type of car you have, where you live and how much coverage you need.
There are many ways to save on insurance, but make sure you don't cut too many corners. The appropriate policy can potentially save you plenty of money should you face liability for an accident.
The minimum liability requirements mandated by each state may not cover personal injury claims or claims resulting from damage done to other's vehicles or property. Don't get such a bare-bones policy that you put your financial assets at risk. You're basically spending money to prevent a financial catastrophe, so don't skimp.
That said, check out these money-saving tips from the Insurance Information Institute.
1. Before you buy a car, compare insurance costs.
Whether considering new or used cars, check into insurance costs. Your premium is based in part on these factors:
- Make and model of the vehicle.
- The cost to repair it.
- Its overall safety record.
- The likelihood of theft.
Insurers generally offer discounts for features that reduce the risk of injuries or theft.
2. Ask for higher deductibles.
Deductibles represent the amount of money you pay before your insurance policy kicks in. By requesting higher deductibles, you can lower your costs substantially. For example, increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your collision and comprehensive coverage cost by 15 to 30%. Savings can be even higher for selecting a $1,000 deductible.
3. Reduce your coverage on older cars.
It may not make sense to keep collision coverage on low-value cars because the insurance costs could exceed anything you get back on a claim.
4. Take advantage of other discounts.
Many insurers offer savings if you have more than one policy. You may also be able to find additional discounts for accident-free drivers and some defensive-driving courses.
5. Maintain good credit.
In some states, your credit score could impact your auto insurance rates. While good driving habits are the best way to keep your insurance costs low, repairing a damaged credit rating through consistent bill paying and responsible use of credit can help you on and off the road. Examine your credit report for any mistakes and fight to fix them.
Monday, August 31, 2015
With back to school season in full swing, Georgia’s Clean Air Force (GCAF), a partnership with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD), reminds motorists of some easy tips for saving time and money on their commute, while contributing to cleaner air in the Atlanta metro region.
“Parents who drive their children to and from school, and even commuters who don’t have children, are impacted by the changes in traffic whenever a new school year begins," said Pamela T. Earl of the EPD. "And this year is no different. Fortunately, there are ways that motorists can save time and money, while also curbing the impact that their driving habits have on the environment.”
Using the acronym “GA AIR,” the experts at Georgia’s Clean Air Force offer five simple tips for motorists during the back-to-school season:
§ Get Your Trunk Cleared. Late summer is a good time to evaluate what you have in your car and remove any unnecessary items. The heavier the vehicle, the more fuel it consumes. Dropping 100 pounds from your car can increase your fuel economy from two to five percent. Don’t carry bulky items like sports equipment unless you need to, and remove the roof rack unless you plan on using it.
§ Alter Your Commute. Inevitably, high traffic areas become even more congested as the school year begins. Drivers can avoid getting stuck in traffic by altering their commute. Ask your boss if you can arrive for work later in the morning, when school related traffic is minimal. Or even better, look into whether your company allows telecommuting, and skip the traffic entirely.
§ Avoid Idling. For parents who are waiting to pick up their children from school, it may seem convenient to keep the car running, but it is not. Not only does it waste gas, but it is extremely harmful to the environment. For every 10 minutes of idling you cut from your commute, you can save one pound of harmful carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. The general rule is to turn off your engine if you’ll be idling for more than 30 seconds.
§ Initiate Carpools. Consider setting up a back-to-school carpool with the parents of four other kids in your neighborhood. This way, you only have to make one trip to school a week, instead of five. You can save even more money by carpooling to work on the days that you don’t lead the kids’ carpool.
§ Ride the Road Less Traveled. Many commuters get stuck in school traffic while traveling to work. To save gas and time, research some additional routes to your workplace to avoid school traffic. Google Maps and MapQuest offer interactive mapping options to explore alternate routes that bypass school traffic.
For additional information or to download an infographic with back-to-school commute tips, visit Georgia’s Clean Air Force website atwww.cleanairforce.com or contact the GCAF Call Center at (800) 449-2471.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Last week, gasoline prices dropped again, to their lows not seen since April, as a result of declining oil prices. In Georgia on Sunday, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $2.39, down 4 cents from the prior week, according to AAA. Analysts have said low fuel prices are likely to remain in effect through the end of the year.
Friday, August 7, 2015
The Dunwoody Police Department’s Certified Child Safety Seat Technicians will help you safely and correctly install your child's safety seat FREE! The event takes place Saturday August 15 from 10am to 2pm at Freedom Orthopedic and Rehab located at 6840 Peachtree Industrial Blvd (SOUTH ACCESS ROAD) Atlanta, Ga.
It could save your child’s life. Enjoy free refreshments, bounce house, music, a visit from the Chick-fil-A cow and more fun activities!
Please bring the following items with you:
• Child safety seat
• Child (if possible)
• Child safety seat manual
• Vehicle in which child safety seat will be installed
• Vehicle manual
Click here for more information on this beneficial program.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
By Brian Rose
With one of the biggest travel weekends of the year upon us, it’s officially summer road trip season! This Fourth of July weekend, AAA projects over 41.9 million Americans will travel for the holiday – the highest number since 2007. Of those, over 85 percent of Americans will be traveling via car.
Before you brave the holiday traffic, make sure your car is road-ready with these tips from Brian Rose of Kaufmann Tire
1. Penny Test: Start where your car meets the road, your tires! Proper tread depth is crucial to maintaining control on the road, particularly during unexpected summer downpours. Testing your tread depth is quick and easy, and all you need is a penny. With this video demonstration from Michelin, simply hold Lincoln’s body between your thumb and forefinger and stick the penny upside down into the grooves. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, you’re below the legal and safe tread amount, and it’s time to get new tires.
2. Pressure Check: Tires don’t carry the weight of your vehicle, the pressure inside them does. Underinflated tires offer less traction, can reduce fuel efficiency and wear out prematurely. Don’t forget to check the air in your spare!
3. Check your fluids: A quick look under the hood can go a long way to ensure your car stays healthy. Be sure to check all fluids, including your engine oil, coolant and transmission fluid.
4. Test your battery: According to AAA, dead batteries are one of the most common reasons for stranded motorists. The intense summer heat can kill an older battery, so be sure to test it and make sure it’s in working order.
5. Carry an emergency kit: Even the most experienced drivers will come up on unexpected detours, especially with summer road construction. Carrying an emergency kit in your car with items such as jumper cables, a first aid kit, flashlight, batteries and extra water will ensure you’re prepared for any unpleasant surprises on the road.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Auto dealerships are still trying to figure out how to handle the Internet's impact on the car-shopping process.
It's estimated that about four in five shoppers now do most of their preliminary car browsing online, and many of those try to secure the best price on their vehicle before they even set foot in a dealership.
That presents a challenge for dealers who need to keep the bottom line as high as they can on their inventory of vehicles.
How much of your vehicle shopping process is handled online?
For more information, check out: