A Vehicle History Report Won’t Tell You Everything

Alfa Romeo Spider
Alfa Romeo Spider

I have gotten a few emails about this so I thought I would talk about what a Vehicle History Report will and won't tell you.

I am sure most people have seen information and advertisements for a Vehicle History Report, such as Carfax and Autocheck, but are they worth it and can you trust what they say? Well … the answer is bit mixed.

In my opinion you should it is always good to try to get all the information about a used car before you buy it. These Vehicle History Reports hardly give you the whole story of a used car most of the time though.

Let's say you are looking at a used car, such as a Honda Accord.  This Honda Accord looks fine and good to you and you can't see anything wrong with it.  Hell mechanically the car seems to be running fine and the Carfax or Autocheck report come out clean.  So should you buy it?  My answer to this question, “Hell NO!”  You should ALWAYS get a used car checked out by an independent mechanic before you hand over any cash, check, credit card, money order, wire transfer, etc.  Even if that report comes out clean.

The reason?  What you may not realize is that a vehicle history report takes data mostly from insurance companies and dealerships.  That means only cars that have been fixed via an insurance company claim will show up on a Vehicle History Report.  Sooo, it can tell you data that is useful but you must realize something.  Body shops are not required to report to any state agencies or databases the work they perform.  That means it is easy for a body shop to repair a car and sell it to you even if you check a vehicle history report.  Dealerships and body shops do it all the time actually.

I have a friend and his dad used to paint cars in NASCAR back in the day.  If I took a car that I had to him that needed some bodywork or had been in an accident, he could make my car look like new.  It would be hard to tell if the car had been painted and it wouldn't be reported to anywhere and therefore wouldn't show up on a Carfax or Autocheck report.  

Besides most vehicle history report systems can never keep up with the amount of cars getting into accidents.  (That sounds unfortunate but true!)  Bottom line, cars should be checked out by a professional mechanic before you bu no matter what.  

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Important Tips when Buying a Used Car

Alfa Romeo Spider
Alfa Romeo Spider

Important Tips when Buying a Used Car

With 2013 bringing so many great new cars to the market and with new car sales trending upwards for 2013, many people are getting into new cars while selling off their old cars. This has made a great opportunity for used car shoppers since these used cars typically are only owned for a short period of time (1-5 years).

However buying a used car it can be challenging for first-time drivers or people who have a limited budget to spend. A few good tips can help in making a wise decision and choice when shopping for that perfect used car.

Budget

Figuring out how much you can spend on a used car is the first step you need to make before take the plunge into shopping. Have you checked you credit scorce? Do you know a reasonably amount you can borrow? This will ensure that you do not get swayed by a salesman who will try to lure yo to buy a used car, or even new car, you might not be able to afford.  Please read my article “The DOs and DON'Ts of Car Financing” to get a better idea of what you need to do and think about.

The Right Fit

Just like a baseball glove or sweater the you car buy should be a suitable fit for, your lifestyle, and preferably style. Though you need to be flexible about the color of the car and features when buying a used car, looking through all the car options that fits within your budget including contemplating on the pros and cons, will help you make the best choice when selecting a used car.

Test Drive

Obviously before you buy a used car make sure to test drive the car you will be purchasing. This will give you an exact idea about the way your potential “new car” works and how you like driving it. While test driving, particularly look for how it feels on the road and how the mechanical systems works such as the brakes, transmission, suspension, etc. Does the engine make any abnormal sounds and vibrations? Are there any general rattles when the car is moving?

Check it Out

Getting a used car inspected and checked by an independent trusted mechanic is a must. Consider what you found on the test drive an d let them know. With the help of a mechanic, ask them to help you inspect the chassis of the car, if the headlights and indicators are working, the battery condition, any repainting or bodywork signs, air conditioning, HVAC, electrical systems, etc. If the car needs repairs it might be fine, but it will allow you to negotiate a much better deal.

If you are not a member of a credit union I would highly recommend joining one in your area. Credit Unions are non-profit and owned by the members who are part of it and not shareholders. This allows them offer much lower rates on loans compared to traditional banks. Many credit unions charge have the same interest rate on new cars as used cars, which is unheard of at traditional banks.

After you have found the best used car for you needs and feel comfortable moving ahead, make sure to negotiate the best possibly deal. Try to make it reasonably for both you you and the seller of the car. Confirm that the paperwork is in place and properly filled out and being transferred to you the new owner and that the current owner actually owns the car. You should be good to go.

Buying a used car for a first-timer or a veteran can still be a challenging and frustrating experience. Used cars can vary widely in condition but if you follow these tips you should be good.

If you have any questions about buying a used car please contact me and I would be happy to help you out.  If you have find this article and information useful please follow Adam’s Auto Advice on Facebook and Twitter.

The DOs and DON’Ts of Car Financing

Maserati GranCabrio
Car Financing for a Maserati!

Bad Credit Score Doesn’t Have to Stand Between You and Your Dream Car 

There is no better feeling than having a hot new car, ready to ride in your very own garage. However, with car prices still high, and the economy still in bad shape achieving the goal of new car ownership is not very wallet-friendly. On the other hand, when you set your mind on your new must-have vehicle, you don’t have to stop pursuing it just because of the price tag or your credit score.  With some knowledge about car financing, you can have your car on your driveway while staying well within your financial limits.

DOs and DON’Ts of Car Financing

Car financing is the art of purchasing a car by borrowing money from banks or other sources. It is the ultimate solution that demolishes the distance between your garage and your new car. It grants you the purchasing capacity even in a very tight budget

To gain the freedom to buy the car of your desire, there are several DO’s and DON’Ts that you have to keep strictly in mind before and throughout the whole process of car financing as they will enable you to get the best car finance rates even with a with a bad credit history.

  • Do Research the Amount of Money to be BorrowedBefore applying for car finance, do some homework and determine the exact amount that you will require. It will enable you to determine the additional costs that the dealer is imposing in the form of hidden interest rates and additional costs at the time of car financing.
  • Do Pre-determination of the Loan Repayment Schedule Make a draft schedule for repayment, be precise about the schedule and the total time period of the loan. Keeping in mind your desired repayment time period will play a significant role in selecting the best plan during the car financing process.
  • Do Know Your Budget and Stay Within its Limits Always be within your budget limits, exceeding the budget limit will throw a curse of bad credit score on you. For avoiding this tremendous curse, pre-determine the budget precisely and choose the car within its limits.
  • Do Find Out Your Credit ScoreThere are numerous credit score calculators online; use them and find out your credit score. Your credit score history will be researched thoroughly during the whole process, and it is very good to know the facts upfront.
  • Do some simulations and prepare possible scenarios It is not as technical as it sounds. All you need to do is to jump on the car finance calculator and input the amounts related to your car loan, such as car’s price, desired interest rates, and down payment, and find out the simulated results. It will give you a taste of the general loan amount that you will have to pay per month for the specified car.

The above DOs will greatly broaden your with regard to car finance, but in order to make your purchase as smooth as possible, there are DON’Ts to be kept in mind, as well.

  • Don’t Disclose Your Monthly Payment Capacity The dealer would try every sugar-coated tactic to make you disclose your monthly payment capacity, but at this point you need to be focused on the total amount of the loan and then afterwards determining the monthly payment schedule. If you somehow disclose your monthly payment capacity, there is a greater possibility that you will lose your chance of getting a lower purchase price at lower interest rates.
  • Don’t Let the Dealer Determine Your Credit ScoreBefore approaching the dealer, you should know your credit score (as mentioned earlier in the “DOs” section of this sheet). If you don’t know your credit score, the dealer can tell you almost anything, and you would have to believe them, and proceed with the loan according to the credit score provided.
  • Don’t Go for the Most Expensive CarNever exceed the limits of your budget, always remain within it. However, if you choose to do so, it will only result in rolling the negative equity forward to your upcoming deals or it might even downgrade your credit score. Negative equity means the difference between the amount you own to the borrower for the car and the car’s total price.
  • Don’t Accept to Finance Additional Options for Your CarYou generally don't need the add-ons, such as extended warranties, fabric protection, rust protection.  Most new cars come with these things nowadays anyway. Simply refuse to get or finance the add-ons, when the dealer offers to add them to your existing borrowing amount; you will save yourself a significant amount of money.

Along with all the above mentioned DOs and DON’TS, there is a common fear related to bad credit score that exists among many borrowers. However, there is no need for that fear to get between you and your dream car, because you can get car loans with a bad credit history from many sources easily. All you need to do is to stay calm during the complete process of car financing and thoroughly follow the tips provided. As a result, you can drive your dream car into the New Year with the best car finance rates and without the hazards of car financing.

2 Free Auto Show Tickets!

I have 2 Free Tickets to the 2011 Motor Trend International Auto Show, that I won't be using. They were given to me by my friend Sam. Thanks for tickets Sam. I don't need them and would be happy if someone else could use it though. Please email me with a phone number if interested.

Leasing… Not a Good Deal!

Leasing is one of those To Good to Be True deals. It's actually one of the worst financial decisions for a person to make.  It's very enticing because you get into a new car at minimal cost.  Leasing just isn't a good deal!  There are many factors you need to consider.

If you lease cars for 10 years, it might seem like you are making a smart financial decision.  People think to themselves “Well… I only have a small monthly payment every month!”  That's not true!  Instead of your car costs going down over say a 10-year period, they will stay high.  Many people only look at their monthly payment, but you need to consider insurance.  You will always be paying for  for new car insurance.  Also when you go to turn in your leased car, they take a microscope and go over every little possible defect the car could have.  If you read your contract carefully…. you will see it clearly says that you are responsible for paying for anything they deem they want to fix.  You would be surprised they deem need fixing, but it it's totally within their right to charge you for it.

Your better off buying a new car and driving it until the wheels fall off.  Your maintenance costs will level-off over a number of years.  Many studies have shown this.  Also your insurance costs won't be as great over the same period of time.

If you plan to get a new car, just buy it and don't get a lease!

Don’t Get Taken Everytime

If you feel clueless about buying a car, which most people are, then I would highly suggest buying Don't Get Taken Everytime by Remar Sutton. It's a great book that explains dealership gimmicks and tactics used to confuse consumers. It will help you understand the mindset of an auto salesman and dealership, and make you an informed car buyer. I had heard of some of the tactics in the book before, but the things that some dealerships do is eye-opening! If you get the book be sure to read as much as you can. However, it is long so I would pick and choose which chapters apply to you. I wouldn't even think about buying a car unless you read Don't Get Taken Everytime!