Weekly auto rail, with car-buying tips, Car Q&A with Junior Damato and more.
Tip of the Week
Despite the economic hardships the auto industry has faced, financing a vehicle is still possible. Once you've researched reviews and valuations and decided on the vehicle you want to buy, consider these four tips from Experian Automotive:
1. Check your credit score: Knowing where your credit history falls in the range of risk is more important now than ever before. Auto lenders use scoring models to help predict whether or not you could become delinquent on your auto loan payments. An auto lender typically receives a credit score that emphasizes your current and previous vehicle payment history. While they may use different credit scores for potential buyers than traditional lenders do, that simply means you shouldn't focus on the number, but on your level of risk and what in your credit history most influenced that risk. Knowing where your credit history falls in the range of risk can help you anticipate the interest rates you may qualify for and the amount of the down payment you will need to make. Consequently, knowing where you stand may give you the leverage you need to negotiate for better rates.
2. Know how much you can afford to spend on a down payment: It's important to know how much you can afford to spend on a down payment before you go to the dealer and ask for the keys. If you are able to offer a solid down payment on a car, you will be in a better position to negotiate the final sale price of the vehicle as well as the terms of your loan. And the lower your credit score, the larger the down payment you may be required to make. Being aware of how much cash you have to put down on a car can empower you to secure an even better deal and it can also help you realize what type of car you can truly afford.
3. Research loan options on your own: It's a good idea to get pre-qualified for an auto loan before visiting an auto dealer. Knowing what loan options you have may influence the dealer to beat an offer from your bank with a better interest rate and lower monthly payments. Before heading to the dealership, check with your bank or credit union to see what loan rates are available.
4. Request your vehicle history report: If you decide to buy a used car or truck, you should always have a licensed mechanic physically inspect the vehicle. You should also conduct your own inspection of the vehicle's past by requesting a vehicle history report from your dealer or pulling a report yourself. The report will provide you with all reported events for that vehicle (odometer readings, vehicle registrations, title transfers, accident damage, emissions inspections) in addition to any issues with the vehicle's title, any unexpected odometer readings and whether the vehicle was ever a rental or used as a service vehicle.
According to www.kbb.com, here are five great car deals you can get right now:
- 2010 Infiniti G37 Sedan: Lease for $319/month, $3,499 due at signing (last verified end date: 08/02/10)
- 2010 Mazda MAZDA6: 0 percent, 60-month financing (last verified end date: 08/02/10)
- 2010 Honda Accord Crosstour: Lease for $380/month, $0 due at signing (last verified end date: 09/07/10)
- 2010 Mini Cooper Hardtop: Lease for $199/month, $2,202 due at signing (last verified end date: 08/31/10)
- 2010 Lincoln MKX: 0 percent, 60-month financing (last verified end date: 10/04/10)
Did You Know
Ford announced its Lincoln MKZ hybrid will carry the same price as its gas version, an unusual move in the automotive world, as hybrids generally are more expensive.
Q: I hope you can offer some help on my problems with the trunk closing on a 2006 Nissan Altima. While I was taking out groceries, the trunk would come down. I had gone back to the dealer while the car was under a lease. Each time they said there is nothing wrong. My coworker also had the same problem but was not so lucky and had to get some stitches in her head from the trunk coming down. Is there anything we can do?
A: At this point there are no recalls on the trunk support system. It would take owners of the car to notify the NHTSA and write a complaint on the problem.
- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist
GateHouse News Service