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10 Tips for Buying Your First Car


10 Tips for Buying Your First Car

 

One of the biggest, most daunting milestones every driver faces in life is buying a first car.

Of course, getting to this point is enough of a challenge; you’ve spent hours upon hours learning to drive, taking your test (likely multiple times), and finally received your license. You’ve observed other drivers, you’ve familiarized yourself with the rules of the road, and you’ve proven to be a safe, reliable person behind the wheel.


However, once all those key steps are out of the way, the process of purchasing your own vehicle can seem long and difficult. If you’ve gotten used to sitting behind the wheel of a parent or friend’s car, having to jump to a new vehicle, one which you’re completely responsible for, might seem to be a big step. It doesn’t have to be, though. With enough research, thought, and help, buying your own set of wheels and hitting the road can be easier, and more fun, than you expect.

 

Following this list of 10 tips will help to make buying your first car simpler than ever.

 

1. Decide on a Budget

This might sound obvious, but if you’re not careful about establishing a budget early in the process, you could end up falling in love with cars you simply can’t afford, but can’t say no to, either. Deciding on a budget means thinking rationally and realistically, focusing on how much you can afford each month, and what impact this additional expense will have on your overall finances.

 

Said impact will vary depending on your current personal and financial situation. Are you still in school or college right now? If so, chances are you’ll be living on loans and/or a part-time job, though money may still be tight. On the other hand, if you’re working full-time, you should have access to a little more cash. But just because you have full-time employment doesn’t mean you can go for the most expensive car at the dealership. You need to also consider whether your circumstances are likely to change in the near future. If you are in a relationship, are you and your partner planning to get married or have kids? Do you want to make sure you still have money to save every month for vacations, house deposits etc., or are you happy to make your car the key expense instead? All of these factors have to be considered, as do other expenses related to the car, such as fuel, maintenance, and insurance.

 

2. Focus on Function Rather than Form

Following on from our first point, it’s vital to limit your focus to the cars your budget will realistically allow for. You might well convince yourself that the flashiest, sleekest, coolest car you’ve seen at a high-priced dealership somehow falls into your affordability range, but you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment.

 

It’s natural to fantasize about cruising in the kind of vehicle a Hollywood star would drive, but you need to focus on the most important features rather than how cool you’ll look. Work out how much you can afford to pay each month, keeping in mind the insurance and upkeep costs, and search for vehicles that fall within this range only. Don’t torture yourself by trying to work out how many other jobs you need to get to afford that lush car.

 

Don’t be afraid to make your first car all about function rather than form; the time may come in the future where you can upgrade to the one you’ve dreamed about. Until then, though, a cheaper, simpler car is the better choice, and it will leave you with more money for other expenses that my pop up throughout the month.


3. Identify the Essentials

To help refine your choice even further, you should spend a little time considering your practical needs compared with your wants. Think about the type of lifestyle you lead, the environments you drive through, and the responsibilities you have. Are you likely to face tough terrain or will you be on smooth highways most of the time? Will you need to drive in wet or icy conditions often, or do you live in a warmer climate all year round? Do you have to cover long distances every day, or make short trips instead?

 

The answers to the above questions will help you determine the type of vehicle you need. If you expect to make long drives on a daily or regular basis, you should invest in the most fuel-efficient car you can afford, rather than a gas-guzzler that’s going to up your monthly expenses. Likewise, if you will be driving on challenging terrain, you’ll need a car that’s built for the great outdoors rather than a less-robust vehicle designed with only the city in mind. This all might sound like a lot of thought for a first car, but once you identify your essentials, the process will get a lot easier.

 

4. Put Time into Your Research

Once you have a fair idea in mind of the kind of first car you need, you should go online and start researching the particulars of your target vehicles. Look at the typical prices you can expect to pay, and what sort of financial plans are available for them. There are plenty of websites that provide these details, like Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds, so take your time and try to find out as much as you can.

 

The more you know about the costs associated with certain types of vehicles and the various models available, the more you can continue to identify possible choices. Don’t be afraid to scour forums to look at the opinions of other drivers, and see how people with similar lifestyles and budgets to yours handle their purchase. If you’re looking into a used car, read up on the information surrounding them and what type of warranty you should expect. If you have a list of potential first car models or styles with you when you start approaching dealerships, you can save time and make the buying process far simpler.

 

5. Find a Dealership You Can Trust

You may have a wide choice of dealerships in your town or city. Perhaps you drive past several on your way to work, or live locally to a number of different businesses. Of course, you might have never been near a dealership in your life and have no idea how they operate. This also, is something you should check out online, to make sure you’re familiar with the buying process.

 

Look up the dealerships local to you, and investigate their customers’ feedback. Have they been in business long? Are there many satisfied buyers sharing their experiences, or do the majority of customers warn others away? Financial plans are another important factor. Certain dealerships provide buyers with instant approval for an auto loan, regardless of your credit rating. The credit score you have will affect how specific lenders see you; if you have a good or excellent rating, there’s unlikely to be a problem, but a poor score could make securing financing a bit more challenging. Look into which dealerships have in-house financing, and whether they accommodate first-time buyers with little or no credit history behind them.

 

6. Request a Test Drive

Taking your potential first car for a test drive can mean all the difference between finding the perfect vehicle versus eventual disappointment. The car may look great and have decent specs, but you won’t know for sure how suitable it is until you actually get behind the wheel for the first time. Most dealerships will allow you to take any car you’re interested in for a test drive; after all, they want to make sure you stay satisfied after you drive away from their dealership, and eventually come back as a repeat customer.

 

Ideally, your test drive should take place in the conditions you expect to be driving in. There’s no use buying a car that doesn’t handle on wet or icy roads too well when that’s exactly why you need it, nor do you want to invest in a model that consumes more gas than you can afford. Your sales person will be looking to help you find the ideal car for your budget and needs, so be honest about your expectations and requirements.

 

7. See if the Price Can Be Negotiated

Don’t be afraid to see how much leeway there is on your preferred car’s price. One useful tactic is to look up other local dealerships and see if they sell the car or cars you’re interested in, and compare the costs. If one is cheaper than the other, you can bring this up and see if they’re open to negotiation.

 

Not every dealership will be willing to take money off, of course, but some may, especially if they can see that you’re serious about making the purchase. If they can’t, or won’t drop the overall price, they may throw in some freebies or discounts to help ease your financial strain. If they are willing to discuss the price, though, just asking may be enough to start making deals.

 

8. Be Curious

Buying your first car is a big step, but be wary of anyone trying to take advantage of your inexperience and make a quick buck. You should be willing to ask questions and ensure you feel completely satisfied with a car before you agree to hand over any money, and sign a contract.

 

If you’re buying a new car, you don’t need to find out about the car’s previous usage and whether any major repairs have been performed, but you do need to get that information if you’re looking to get a pre-owned vehicle. Generally, whether from a used or new car dealership, pre-owned cars are checked and maintained to a high standard before being put out for sale, especially at the most reputable dealerships. And it’s essential to ask important questions about fuel efficiency, key features, and after-care services.

 

9. Ask Someone Experienced to Shop with You

One quick, simple way to make buying your first car much easier is to ask an experienced driver to accompany you on your search; maybe a friend, a relative, or a colleague. Whoever it is should know a thing or two about buying vehicles, about what it costs to keep one running and in good condition, and any potential warning signs to watch out for. If they can bring that knowledge with them to the dealership, you can let them steer discussions with the sales person and learn about the process.

 

Having someone experienced alongside you can be a real confidence-booster too, encouraging you to ask questions, negotiate prices, and generally make sure the car you buy is the perfect one for your needs and budget.

 

10. Take Your Time

When all is said and done, though, you should avoid rushing into buying your first car as much as you possibly can. Depending on your situation and responsibilities, this may be easier in theory than practice. After all, if you have a child on the way, or have other specific transportation needs, having a car may make life much easier, allowing you to avoid the challenges of taking public transportation. And if you have a long commute to and from work every day, having your own vehicle can help you save money and avoid frustrating delays. In cases like these, investing in a first car may be somewhat urgent, but if you can afford to wait until you find the ideal vehicle, do so. If you let yourself get pressured into buying the first possibility you come across, you may find yourself regretting it down the line.

 

Your first car is a special purchase, and you should feel proud and happy with your choice.

Don’t spend any money until you know you have the right car for your budget, lifestyle, and responsibilities. This should be an exciting time in your life, as you discover the independence and convenience that your own set of wheels brings, so try to make the most of it. After all, you’ll only get to buy your first car once.

 

We, at Citi Auto Group, believe these tips should give you all the information you need to make buying your first car much easier. Our staff is always available to answer any questions you may have, and to help you find the best vehicle that fits your needs and budget. Feel free to stop by our dealership, check out our inventory, our financing options, and test drive any cars you may be interested in.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Dinner for a Family in Need

Citi Auto Group to Give Away Thanksgiving Dinner to a Family in Need

 

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 3 – Citi Auto Group, which offers the very best deals on a fine selection of pre-owned vehicles to families across the entire Delaware Valley, is now giving a complete Thanksgiving dinner to a Philadelphia family in need.

 

“As a resident and native Philadelphian, myself and the entire team here at Citi Auto Group are committed to giving back to this great city that we love so much," says Joe, owner, Citi Auto Group. It is the first time the company is making this gift, which they envision as becoming an annual tradition.

 

Anyone can nominate a family this holiday season by sending an email about the family to citiautogroup1@gmail.com. The deadline for receiving the email is November 15. If you know a deserving family, don’t hesitate to email the team at Citi Auto Group. They’ll be waiting for your nomination.


Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles to Meet Anyone’s Budget

Citi Auto Group is proud to offer a wide range of certified pre-owned vehicles to meet anyone’s needs. The company chooses only the finest used cars and sells them at fair prices. The staff is passionate about what they do and their attention to customer service exemplifies this attitude. With every customer’s best interests at heart, you can be certain that Citi Auto values your business.


Besides choosing your vehicle from Citi Auto, there is financing to consider. But that’s never a problem. Citi Auto offers auto loans to customers, regardless of credit history. Financing is important when it comes to purchasing a vehicle, and we make sure that your credit history never holds you back. We’ll be sure to find a solution that works for you. Remember, at Citi Auto Group, we are dedicated to providing you with the right auto loan, even if your credit history is poor or you have no credit. All applications are accepted.


Dedicated to Customer Service

We take customer service very seriously here at Citi Auto Group. Our team of dedicated professionals is among the best you’ll find anywhere. Day in, day out, we work hard to find the right vehicle and auto loan for you. We can be trusted to understand your wants and needs as a driver and customer. As part of our commitment to customer service, we offer complete and comprehensive warranties to all our customers.


Finally, it’s important to know that we accept all trade-ins, making it easy to transition from your old vehicle to a new one from our pre-owned vehicle selections. We’ve already helped hundreds of people find the ideal vehicle for them while also helping them get the right auto loan. Don’t forget: credit history isn’t a factor at Citi Auto Group. Drop by when you can to choose the right car and auto loan from us. We sincerely look forward to meeting you.  

Get a Car Loan - No Matter Your Credit


Getting an Auto Loan with Bad Credit is Easier Than You Think

For most Americans, a car or truck is vital to everyday life. Having your own transportation empowers you to do exactly the things you need to do, from driving to work and medical appointments, to picking up groceries and getting the kids to and from school. It’s all about independence. It’s about having the freedom to come and go as you please, without having to rely on buses, trains, or rides from others. In short, your own vehicle liberates you from depending on the schedules, or in some cases the kindness, of others.

 

However, if you no longer have a car or truck, or yours is no longer useable, getting back behind the wheel can seem like a daunting prospect. After all, buying a new vehicle doesn’t come cheap, and most Americans must secure a loan to finance their new purchase. It should be simple enough to do, but it may not be; your ability to get an auto loan that’s within your individual budget and lifestyle depends on your credit score. Countless banks and dealerships will only provide you with the loan you need if you have a credit score that meets their requirements.

 

At Citi Auto Group, we aren’t one of them. To help you understand how and why we make getting an auto loan so much easier than the rest, let’s explore credit scores, loans, and everything else you need to know.

 

How a Poor Credit Score Affects You

Credit scores and histories are integral to modern life. Even if you have no idea how they work or what they mean, you no doubt have heard of them, and how important they are.

Personal credit information is collected on individuals by credit bureaus, or credit reporting agencies, who then make that information, in the form of credit reports, available to banks, lenders, and credit card companies. Though the United States is home to several credit bureaus, there are three main ones – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. While these aren’t owned or operated by any government agencies, they do have to follow regulations set out by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

 

These bureaus get their information from credit card companies, banks, and companies with which you may hold an account, all contributing to your credit report. Everyone has the right to access their personal credit report, and each of these agencies are obligated to provide one free report to you per year. If you have already requested the free ones you’re entitled to, you can pay a nominal fee to get the latest copy.

 

Credit scores range from between 300 and 850, depending on a number of factors:

  • The timeliness of paying bills
  • Open accounts and the amounts of money owed to each
  • The length of time for which you have borrowed money
  • Types of credit you have in your name (such as mortgages, credit cards etc.)
  • The number of credit applications you make within a short period of time

 

Keeping control of your finances and knowing exactly how your repayments are measuring up on existing loans and credit cards can be difficult, especially if you have many active accounts. However, taking your eye ‘off the ball’ can leave you with late or missed payments, causing your debits to increase over time. You may end up with a poor credit score without realizing it until you apply for a loan. With a low rating, you’ll likely be unable to secure financing for a new vehicle from a bank or most dealerships because they will see you as a high risk. If you have a history of missed or late payments, they will assume you will do the same to them if they give you a loan.

This can leave you without the money you will need for your car or truck purchase, and, as we’ve already discussed, the majority of Americans depend on personal vehicles for their everyday lives. And countless people use their personal cars or trucks for their livelihood too. Perhaps you make deliveries, run a towing business, or something similar; you might not be able to afford to continue your business for too long without your vehicle, so being able to buy a new one can be critical to your livelihood.

 

How Do Credit Scores Work?

Credit scores can be difficult to follow, especially if you’re only provided with the number itself, without any relevant details. Credit scores are the numbers developed by the credit bureaus, based on your specific credit history, that place you in a rating category. The lenders use that score to assess how much of a risk you may be as a potential borrower for them to get their funds back. The credit rating system most people are familiar with is likely to be the FICO score, which is a number between 300 and 850; the higher your score, the more reliable the lenders expect you to be. A ranking is typically assigned to the scores, ranging from bad to excellent:

  

·      Bad – less than 600

  • Poor – 600 to 649
  • Fair/Average – 650 to 699
  • Good – 700 to 749
  • Excellent – 750 and up

  

Obviously, you’re encouraged to have the highest possible score you can, but that’s much easier said than done, of course. Though credit ratings in general have continued to rise, plenty of us may be struggling to get our credit scores under control.

 

How can Getting an Auto Loan Help Boost Your Credit Rating?

Believe it or not, getting an auto loan can boost your credit rating and improve your score over time. But how? Let’s say you take out a loan to make some modifications to your home or to buy new furniture; the amount would be determined by the modifications to be done, or the amount and styles of the furniture. You might need a small loan to cover your costs, but you may decide to take a larger amount to cover the possibility of higher unexpected costs, potentially burdening yourself with payments you struggle to make on time. Being late on your payments could result in late charges and an increase in your interest rate, and your debts may mount up more and more over time.

 

As the costs grow, you’ll find yourself having to measure how your other expenses fit in with this loan; your utility bills, your mortgage or rent, your family dependencies, and more. This can become increasingly stressful, affecting your quality of life, and leaving you with far more money to pay back than you can handle. This isn’t to alarm you, it’s only to illustrate how difficult managing your loan payments can become if you take out an amount that’s too much for your budget and lifestyle. Some lenders may well offer you a bigger loan regardless of how this may affect your personal finances, just so the interest builds, and the payments increase.

 

Assuming your credit score is not very good, but you’re now in a better financial position than you were, taking out an auto loan can be your chance to show how responsible and punctual you can be with your payments. If you could secure an auto loan that’s tailored to your budget, even with that poor credit history, you should be able to keep up with the payments. The number of payments and the payment amount will vary depending on the amount and length of the loan itself, but you must be sure you can meet the payments in a timely manner.

As you continue to make your payments, you will be able to build your credit rating back up. Eventually, you’ll have a repaid loan to your name, a decent score, and a new credit history showing that you’re no longer a high-risk borrower. This will make you far more eligible for other loans and financing plans in the future, establishing a solid foundation upon which to build in years to come.

 

Still, it’s not only those with poor scores who may benefit from an auto loan; it can help people with little or no credit history at all. First-time buyers can find themselves struggling to secure a loan, as they have no way to demonstrate their worthiness or reliability. No credit cards and no charge accounts mean that lenders will have no credit history to draw on. In such cases, they will be unwilling to offer you any financial support at all. Finding an auto loan can be as much of a challenge for those with no credit history, but finding a lender willing and able to help you can make all the difference. Once you have the loan, you’ll be able to build your score with regular, timely payments and showcase your ability to stick to deadlines, meet targets, and manage your finances responsibly.

 

How can Citi Auto Group Help?

At Citi Auto Group, we pride ourselves on providing you with the best possible loans for your current situation. When you come into our dealership, we’ll introduce you to our own in-house financial department. You’ll be able to sit and talk with us about what type of vehicle you need, how much you can afford to pay each month, and more. Once we’re familiar with your expectations and budget, we’ll help you get the perfect vehicle, with a loan that’s right for you. It’s that simple.

 

Citi Auto Group will help you get behind the wheel of a quality used car or truck that’s ideal for your budget. No matter how much your debts may have increased, or your money-worries mounted, we’ll make securing an auto loan quick, simple, and hassle-free. You may think that getting an auto loan is bound to be a major chore, demanding hours to fill in endless forms and subject yourself to all manner of questioning and cross-examination. This may be the case with some lenders, but not us. Don’t let your low credit rating or lack of a credit history put you off coming to us for your auto needs.

 

Our expert team has worked with many customers with poor credit scores; people who initially came to us thinking they would probably be turned away, as they have been elsewhere. Banks and other lenders can be notoriously ruthless, taking your personal financial history as a summary of your entire ability to manage your own money. We prefer to give everyone instant approval and place trust in you to make timely payments that fit your budget. This has proven successful for us and our customers, helping so many people get back on the road without hassle, whether for their personal or business needs.

 

You have a number of options to get started with the application process. You can use the loan calculator on our website, which provides you with a quick, simple way to see how much your monthly payments might be, based on the amount you wish to borrow and the number of years to pay it back. Remember, the longer the term is, the lower your monthly payments will be. Or, you can go right to our application form, which enables you to input the personal and financial information needed for us to evaluate what type of loan would be best for you.

 

Our financial department is experienced helping customers on all budgets, with all vehicle requirements, and can help you get Instant Approval for the financing you need. We have an extensive inventory of quality used cars and trucks from most of the biggest and best manufacturers, with many options available. To learn more about getting a vehicle that matches your needs, and financing you can afford, please feel free to contact us. You can give us a call at 215-744-6901, or drop by our dealership at 4160 Torresdale Avenue, and talk with us in person. Our staff is looking forward to helping you with your new car purchase.

The Benefits of Refinancing Your Auto Loan


The Benefits of Refinancing Your Auto Loan

 

While the term ‘refinancing’ might inspire the dread of excessive paperwork, awkward meetings, and stress, refinancing your auto loan is actually a much faster and easier process than you may imagine. There is usually no need for an in-person appraisal and very little or no charges to consider, making this less daunting than it might appear to be at first.

 

There are a number of reasons you may be considering refinancing your car loan, including:

 

  • Financial challenges: your personal finances may have begun to worsen since you first took out your auto loan. Perhaps you’re now given fewer hours at work, have a new baby to prepare for, or simply have more debts accruing than you did at the time. Monetary strain can cause severe stress and affect your quality of life in an extremely negative way.

 

  • Your credit score is holding you back: your credit score will suffer if you struggle to pay your debts, and may prevent you from taking out loans or securing a mortgage. Your rating may have already been low when you first took out your loan, or it might have been blank entirely if you were a first-time driver. Boosting your credit score is incredibly important to get a mortgage and access other forms of financing in the future.

 

  • You feel you can get a better rate: your lender might not have been able to give you the best interest rate or payment plan possible, or maybe they did, but you feel that you can get a lower one today.

 

Regardless of the reasons motivating you, refinancing your auto loan could be a powerful solution to improve your personal circumstances. Here are the key benefits.

 

Set-Up Lower Payments by Extending the Payment Length

Perhaps the biggest benefit of refinancing your auto loan is securing lower monthly payments by extending the length of the payment itself. Adding an extra year (or two, or three) to your car loan will take the regular repayments down to a level that you can manage with greater ease. This can reduce the strain on your finances overall, allowing this debt to fit in with your others in a more practical way.

 

Of course, you will be agreeing to a contract for a longer period of time, which you may not feel is ideal, but the important thing is arranging payments that can fit more realistically within your budget, whatever that may be. If you find yourself with a shorter loan, then yes, you would be rid of the debt sooner, but the monthly payments would be higher, possibly at a level you simply could not manage. A lender may be able to arrange a deal that leaves you with more disposable money each month to improve your quality of life, while still helping you hit your payment goals. If you can use this extra money to pay off other debts, you can begin to focus more on clearing your car loan sooner rather than later too.

 

Boost Your Credit Rating

Poor credit scores are a source of frustration for countless Americans trying to secure a loan from a bank or car dealership. Some missed payments on open loans, too many loan applications within a short period, or being unable to meet deadlines altogether can cause your credit score to drop over time. However, a car dealership may be willing to provide you with an auto loan regardless of your bad credit history, and trust you to make repayments just as they would a customer with a better rating. Still, if you find yourself struggling to make the payments on your current loan, you run the risk of your credit score dropping again. Refinancing your loan to accommodate payments you are able to manage better reduces the chances of you missing them. The longer you can keep making payments on time, and in full, the better your credit rating can become by the time the loan is paid off. As a result, you may be a better candidate for other loans and finance plans in the future.

 

Reduce Your Interest Rate

This is one of the most compelling reasons to consider refinancing your auto loan. It was mentioned earlier about reducing your regular payments by extending your loan through refinancing, and a lower interest rate takes this even further. Lower interest rates can turn a good deal into a great one, leaving you with less stress and a reduced sense of urgency. Feeling as if you need to pay a loan off as soon as you possibly can to avoid interest can make being in debt more difficult, but if your lender lets you reduce your rate, it becomes much easier to manage.

 

If your credit rating was low before you took out your auto loan, or you had zero credit in the first place, making regular timely payments may have resulted in an improved score. The longer the gap between your first signing on the dotted line and refinancing, the more chance you have to boost your credit score. Lower interest rates may be available if overall rates have dropped since you first took your auto loan out. With a stronger credit rating behind you, you may qualify for a reduced interest rate, and be able to pay it off faster, while saving on the total amount repaid.

 

Take Advantage of Changes in Lender’s Deal

Your lender may well have changed how they handle auto loans since you first agreed to your current financing arrangements. For example, they may have come under new ownership and prefer to keep interest rates lower on loans, or offer longer contracts as a standard policy to keep monthly payments at a lower level.  

 

At Citi Auto Group, we’re dedicated to helping customers get an auto loan that fits your budget and lifestyle, no matter what your credit score! Give us a call or drop in and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have about refinancing your car loan, or finding a new vehicle that meets your current needs.

 

Our special credit financing program enables us to offer our customers instant credit approval on a number of financing options, and our inventory includes a large selection of  high-quality pre-owned cars and trucks. We are located at 4160 Torresdale Avenue, and our phone number is 215-744-6901.

 

 

How to Improve Your Credit Score


How to Improve Your Credit Score

 

You’ve decided to purchase a used car. That’s great. Most people rely on credit and loans if they want to buy a vehicle, and you probably won’t be any different. After all, cars can be expensive and there aren’t many people that can pay the entire vehicle cost up front. So, before you start looking for a vehicle, you should take a good look at your financial situation. If you’re credit score is not good, and you’re obviously not able to buy a car outright, you also may not be able to get the needed car loan to finance your purchase.

 

Even if you are currently in a financial position where you can make reasonable monthly payments, many lenders will simply look at your credit score to decide whether to approve you for a car loan. If you haven’t been good at managing your finances in the past (paying bills late, being in debt or taking out loans that you couldn’t pay back), the lenders may feel you will have a hard time managing your finances in the future. To help you out, here are a couple of ways to improve your credit score.

 

Get A Professional Credit Report

The first thing you’re going to need is a professional credit report so you can see exactly what your current score is. You might find that you already have a good, or at least fair, credit score, and that might be all you need to successfully get approved for a car loan. However, if you credit score comes up with a poor or bad indication, then you can at least see what has caused it and determine how you can improve it yourself, or maybe get some assistance from professionals.

 

There are three major credit report companies out there, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian, and you are entitled by law to get a free credit report every 12 months from each of them. Pick one, or get a report from each and compare them. The first thing you want to look for are errors. It is quite possible that sometime in the past one of your creditors accidently posted an incorrect to one of the credit agencies, or a negative report that long been rectified still shows up. These are thing that can be taken care of by sending a letter to the agency, or agencies, explaining the situation and provided documentation to support your claim. You may have to go back to the original credit to get the proof, but it will be worth the time and effort to get your report corrected.

 

Payment Reminders Can Help Keep Your Record Clean

We’re all forgetful, which is why we have alarms to wake us up in the morning and kitchen timers to ensure we don’t burn our cooking. Since we rely on timers for everyday things, why not rely on alerts to remind you to pay your bills? If you find yourself constantly paying your bills late, then one of the easiest remedies is to set up payment reminders on your cell phone.

 

Lenders like seeing someone that has paid their bills on time. It goes a long way to improving your credit score and it helps when you actually apply for a loan. Whether it’s paying the rent, utility bills or paying off credit card balances, set up reminders so you’re never late on any of them. There are many free smartphone apps that can help remind you when you need to pay, and you can also sign up to have some of your creditors notify you a few days before a payment is required. If you have late payments, then make sure they don’t impact you for too long by quickly dealing with them. Stay on top of your finances and ensure that your past credit problems don’t creep back, because it can have a massive negative effect on your chances of borrowing money for anything.

 

Keep Credit Balances Low

Another good tip is to keep credit balances low. Sure, credit is made to be used, but if you’re constantly using credit cards and your balances are always at the upper limit, lenders might feel like you’re trying to live a lifestyle you can’t afford. Be modest with your uses of credit. Keep the balances low and try to pay them off as soon as possible. However, if you have the cash available for a particular item, you might still put it on a credit card as long as you use that money to pay it off as soon as the bill comes in.

 

High amounts of credit can also contribute to delayed payments if you’re not careful. Manage your money responsibly by juggling the cards you have and using them in the correct places. Fixing your credit score is a lot about your attitude towards spending, so if you find that you have a bad habit of buying random items that you don’t need, try and keep your expenses to a minimum and thus keeping your credit balances low.

 

Consider Getting a Pre-Paid or a Bad-Credit Credit Card

If you’re having a hard time maintaining a good credit history, consider getting a Pre-Paid credit card. These are made for the main purpose of not building up credit card balances, and can be a good means to improving one’s credit score. Even if you don’t have a bank account, most banks make these cards available to anyone.

 

Another option is Bad-Credit credit cards that many credit cards companies offer. The credit limits on these cards are relatively low so they’re worth using for everyday purchases, which will enable you to slowly improve your credit rating by demonstrating you are now able to handle your finances. It’s worth mentioning that bad-credit cards typically have higher interest rates than regular credit cards, which makes it important to pay off the balance every month.

 

If your existing credit balances are so high that you are unable to even make all the minimum amounts, you may be looking to use one of the many credit repair companies that constantly run radio and television ads. In many instances you may be able to do yourself the same things they would do for you, without having to pay the fees they charge. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) offers some very good advice and information on what you can do yourself, and how to find legitimate, non-profit credit counselors if you are unable to do it yourself.

 

Some Final Words

Following these methods can get you on track to improving your credit score, but please understand it will not happen overnight. While that may be fine for those who don’t need a loan to make a large purchase right now, what about those that do need to buy a new car immediately? Does your vehicle need costly repairs that you can’t afford, or has it been totaled in an accident and the insurance payment isn’t nearly enough to buy an adequate replacement? Citi Auto Group can be your answer.

 

At Citi Auto Group, our professional staff will help you pick the right vehicle from our large inventory, with the right price, and financing to make that happen. No matter what your financial situation, we can get you approved for a car loan that you can afford. In addition to our strong relationships with some of the biggest auto lenders, we can help you find bad-credit loans, and can also offer a Buy Here Pay Here option.

 

 

 

The Car Repairs You Can Do Yourself


CAR REPAIRS YOU CAN DO YOURSELF

Maintaining a car can sometimes be expensive. According to data collected by mechanics, the cost of maintaining a car over the course of its ten-year life ranges between a modest $5,500 for a Toyota to a staggering $17,800 for a BMW. Many car owners, however, don’t realize there’s often no need to spend high mechanic charges; there are many repairs that they can quite happily handle themselves, avoiding high labor costs in the process.

 

The following are some of the repair work we at Citi Auto Group feel many of our customers are able to do themselves, without the help of a mechanic.

 

Repair A Chipped Windshield

There’s nothing more annoying than driving along, only to hear that characteristic “click” noise as the vehicle in front of you chips up a stone which strikes your windshield. A chipped windshield is a liability. That chip can soon develop into a crack which means replacing the windshield itself, and that can be quite costly.

 

Most people automatically go to one of those windshield repair companies; you know, the ones that say that the chip in your windscreen needs fixing right now, all paid for by your insurer. There’s only one problem with this; once your insurance company gets charged by the repair company, they may increase your premium, meaning that you could end up paying more indirectly than you would have if you’d just gone to the windshield repair company without the insurance company involved.

 

The good news is that you can buy and use your own windshield repair kit for under $15. Some kits cost under $10, which is a lot less than you’d pay if you went to a window repair company. The kits themselves are pretty self-explanatory. They come with a pin to dig out any loose glass, as well as a pump which pushes resin into the crack, forming a seamless repair. The whole process takes less than an hour, and before you know it, your windshield is back to normal.

 

Replace Your Air Filter

Many garages will suggest having your air filter replacing when you have the car in for an oil change. Drivers think that this is a complicated process, but all it usually involves is opening up the hood, finding the filter, taking out the old one and putting in a new one. No specialist skills required, usually all you need is a pair of pliers.

 

If you do go have a mechanic replace it, you can often pay well over $100, but if you do it yourself, the labor is free and the parts from a retailer usually costs around $25, depending on the manufacturer. To access the old air filter and replace it, all you need to do is open the hood, unscrew a few bolts, take out the old filter and replace it with the new one. The whole process is usually over in around 15 minutes, and pictures showing where the filter is located are usually in the manual, or you can easily find them online.

 

Change The Spark Plugs

If you’ve got a new car, it’s likely that you may never have to replace the spark plugs. If, however, you drive an older vehicle and it’s approaching the 100,000-mile mark, that would be a good time to replace them. If you go down the traditional maintenance shop route, this is something which can cost hundreds of dollars.

 

While changing the spark plugs might sound a little daunting, it’s not very hard to do, it’s actually surprisingly easy, and pretty much anyone who can handle a wrench can do it. To perform this repair, you’ll need a special tool called a spark plug wrench. Although this tool will last you a lifetime, it’s also relatively inexpensive - around $10 for a basic one. Spark plugs themselves are also quite cheap; a non-racing set shouldn’t set you back more than $30. Instructions are easy to follow, and readily available on the internet. Just make sure you replace them one at a time, so you don’t get the wires in the wrong sequence. So, if you replace the plugs yourself, you can expect to save a good amount of money.

 

Replace The Battery

Got a dead battery? There’s no need to call out your mechanic, and using your road service plan is fine if all you need is to get the car Jump started. Batteries usually last between four and six years, so there’s a good chance that at some point, yours will stop working and you’ll need to replace it. Service centers and the road service companies charge often charge as much as $200 to replace a battery, but given that batteries themselves are often only cost around $100 or so, you may be paying as much as $100, or more, for a service you could quite easily do yourself.

 

You’ll need a few tools to perform the replacement, which you probably already have. First, you’ll need the appropriate wrenches for undoing the mounting bolts. And secondly - and perhaps most importantly - you’ll need to be careful about the order in which you disconnect the cables running to the battery. You must remove the black, negative cable first when taking the battery out. And you must replace the same cable last when installing the new battery. If you don’t, you risk shorting out the electrics in your car.

 

Install New Brake Pads

If your brake pads have worn out, you’ll hear a whining or scraping sound every time you depress the brake pedal. Driving with worn brake pads will eventually cause wear to the brake rotor, something which is much more expensive to replace.

 

To replace worn brake pads, you’ll need a jack, some jack stands, a wheel lug wrench, a set of basic wrenches and some pliers. You should always replace both front or rear pads at the same time. First, jack up the car and place jack stands underneath it to prevent it from coming down on you. Then take one wheel off, pull out the caliper, remove the worn pads and replace them with the new ones. Then you replace the caliper, making sure that it’s connected to the mounting hardware correctly. Then repeat the process for the other front or back wheel.

 

A mechanic would usually charge around $250 or more for this job. However, new brake pads only cost around $30 - $50, meaning that you could easily save more than $200 if you do the work yourself. Your new pads should last about 50,000 miles, depending on how much hard braking you do.

 

We hope you find this information helpful, and that you can save money maintaining your new Citi Auto Group car.

 

The Importance of Buying an Extended Warranty

The Importance of Buying an Extended Warranty with your Used Car Purchase

Planning to buy your next vehicle from a used car dealership? You’re not alone; around 41 million used vehicles were purchased in the United States in 2016.


Buying from used car dealerships is continually popular for a number of reasons, not the least because it’s a terrific way to save money. We all know many new vehicles are overpriced, and simply don’t appeal to the countless drivers who just want a solid, reliable car without the added features or gizmos inflating the cost.

 

Purchasing through used car dealerships is also far more reliable and secure than buying from a private individual, with regulations in place to protect consumers. On top of this, their dealers are well-trained, knowledgeable, and will certainly let you take a test drive before you finalize a purchase.

 

Still, one big question you might have about buying a used car from a dealership regards your warranty. Many dealers provide one of several types of standard warranties, varying from partial to full, with or without a co-pay, and within a specific number of months or miles, although this may not offer much coverage in itself. An extended warranty, though, may be available at an additional cost. If so, it is usually well worth choosing one of these to give you assurance that you won’t be faced with unexpected high repair costs during the term of the warranty.

 

What is an Extended Warranty?

An extended warranty (also often known as a service contract) is basically an insurance policy on your used car. Investing in one will provide you with more peace of mind and reassurance in the event of future problems. 

 

The money you spend on your used car is invaluable, and you never know what’s around the next corner. The thought of a breakdown in the middle of a busy highway or a faulty transmission as you’re heading to an important meeting is enough to inspire dread in even the most experienced driver. Not everyone can find the money for a repair or new parts on the spot, especially with other responsibilities and expenses devouring your income.

 

Even if you buy the least expensive vehicle available at the dealership, you should discuss the possibilities of buying an extended warranty for your car. Here are some of the key benefits.

 

Better Coverage Overall

Most reliable used car dealers will give you some type of a warranty on your purchase anyway, but an extended one brings greater protection overall. Should your vehicle experience any mechanical faults, your standard warranty may only cover a small amount of the cost, leaving you to foot the rest of the bill. At times, this is simply impossible, and if you depend on your car every single day, your lifestyle could undergo drastic changes.

 

An extended warranty will normally provide you with much more coverage, and for a longer time than the dealer’s warranty that comes with the car. As a result, you’ll have more money to focus on other areas of your life, or to put aside for an upgrade on future vehicles.

 

Your Contract May be Transferable

Depending on the provider you choose, your extended contract may even have a lifespan greater than the amount of time you expect to own your car. Perhaps you always buy used cars rather than new ones, or you’ve simply invested in a second-hand vehicle to save money until you can afford to upgrade. Either way, you might only expect to have this one for a number of months before moving on to another model. You may even be able to transfer your extended warranty to your next vehicle, if it hasn’t already expired. If you able, this can provide even greater peace of mind in years to come, and save you from having to invest in a second extended warranty (or service contract) on top of the car’s price. This could be a big advantage if you choose to invest in a used car at a low price to cover a short period of time (perhaps while you save).

 

Boost Your Car’s Resale Potential

Selling your used car can bring in some much-needed funds, especially towards your next model, but you can increase the value of the car with an extended warranty. Not only does this provide your buyer with the same reassurance and peace of mind you’ve enjoyed, it also demonstrates that their purchase has been well-maintained during your ownership. You can maximize this selling point by taking them on a test drive to show how well it still performs. An extended warranty may be ideal for potential buyers too, as they could be concerned about costs themselves, and this can help make your used car stand out from others on the market. 

 

Saving Money in the Long Term

You have certainly heard that old cliché about having to spend money to make money. Well, it’s certainly true here. Paying for your extended warranty may be an expense, but it may save you money in the long run. An insurance or service policy on any item, such as your phone or your computer, for example, can seem unnecessary until something goes wrong and you can’t afford a new one. Your extended warranty reduces the risk of finding yourself faced with an overwhelming bill in the unlikely event of a serious problem.

 

Discuss an extended warranty with your used-car dealer to find out your options. They may be able to offer you a special deal depending on the price, and provide you with real peace of mind to help you enjoy driving your new vehicle that little bit more. If you’re unsure how advantageous it will be on your specific car, don’t be afraid to ask, they’ll be only too happy to go over it with you in detail.

 

An extended warranty could make all the difference to your experience of driving and maintaining your used car. The initial expense far outweighs the potential costs of repairs or replacement parts, and may add to the value of your purchase in the future.

 

 

Tips for Getting A Good Deal On A Used Car


Tips for Getting A Good Deal On A Used Car

Buying pre-owned is an easy way to get the car you want at an affordable price. However, that doesn’t mean that every used car dealer is going to be giving you the best deal you can possibly get. Citi Auto Group knows that customers getting better deals works best in the long-term for both the dealer and the buyer. That’s why we’re going to take a look at how you make sure you’re always getting the right car for you, at the right price.

 

Do Your Research Ad Have Realistic Expectations

Some dealers and buyers might haggle over the price of a vehicle all day long. Sometimes, it’s worth looking at a different vehicle, or a different dealer. Sometimes, however, you might be expecting a price that’s unreasonably low. To get to a happy middle point, you have to do your research. Look at the inventory of the dealer in advance, and pick out a few cars you’re interested in. Find what you can reasonably expect them to cost in good condition based on how old they are. Don’t forget to look at the true cost of owning them. There are online reliability indexes and cost-to-own guides, such as Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds, that can help you see the ongoing costs of any car in terms of fuel prices, maintenance, repairs, and more.

 

Know Your Finance Options

Most car buyers don’t purchase a vehicle outright with cash. If you’re looking to finance your used car, it pays to know that there are a lot of different credit options out there. It’s worth being wary of dealers who don’t accept different credit options, as that can often limit you to those that work best for them, not best for you. At Citi Auto Group we will also offer you our own Buy Here Pay Here financing plan, and our online Loan Calculator can even give you the information you need up front to see if you’re able to get the financing plan that works for your budget.

 

Think Needs and Stick To Them

It’s easy to go with feelings when it comes to buying a car, like the aesthetics, the feel of the drive, the power under the hood. It gets people excited, but when they start acting on that excitement, they’re not always making the best decisions. Keep a level head, even when you’re behind the wheel of your dream car. Your dealer might very well see how much you enjoyed it and may try to convince you it’s the right vehicle for you, even if it isn’t. Take a step back, remind yourself of your budget, and what your real needs are, whether it’s efficiency, long-term cost, safety, features, size, or anything else. Come with a list of priorities and your dealer can use that to show you cars that better fit them.

 

Consider More Than Monthly Payments

The price of the car and how you finance it are the two areas of cost that you might find the most wiggle-room in. Every dealer and buyer is going to find room to negotiate. You don’t want to pay too much, but they don’t want to sell for too little, and that’s perfectly fine. However, remember to keep more than just the price of the car in mind. Think about the terms of the loan as well. Dealers will offer longer-term loans to make payments more affordable, and sometimes this is a valid option for a car that’s the right one for you. But you also need to consider whether you’re willing to be tied down to that car and that loan for that length of time.

 

Trade-In Your Old Auto

Using a trade-in to offset the price of a used car in good condition is a smart move in many cases, but it might be worth making it a separate matter. Some dealers offer great value on high-quality cars coming in to pay off the value of a new purchase. But it’s worth taking the time to look at your options. Research the value of the vehicle depending on mileage, condition, and features. Compare the prices offered by the dealer to selling it independently on the market.

 

Think Fees

There are some fees that you’re going to have to pay when you get a new car. However, nowadays, many dealers offer standard services on top of that. Some of these services are aimed at providing more value to the customer, but you might not believe that you have any need of them. If that’s the case, a dealer should be happy to take them off the table if they can’t convince you why they might be good for you. Then there are documentation fees by dealers who offer the services of registering your auto with the DMV. This can take some of the hassle off the buyer but if you’re willing to do it yourself, you might want to skip them.

 

Make Sure It’s the Car Right For You

It might feel right, it might be at the right price point, and it might have all the features you want. Regardless of how trustworthy a dealer is and how honest they are, there’s a chance both you and they have missed something. It is always worth asking to get a car checked by an ASE-certified technician or mechanic for a pre-purchase inspection. Any little issues they find might end up costing you a lot in future repairs. If you do find something wrong with the car, you can get an estimate of the repair costs off the asking price, or the dealer might choose to get the car fixed on their dollar and make sure the vehicle is in perfect condition for you to buy.

 

At the end of the day, if you don’t think you’re getting a good deal, you should be willing to walk away. There are always other dealers providing good quality used cars. At Citi Auto Group, we prioritize fairness, service, and the happiness of the customer. Check out our Testimonial page and you will see what our customers say about us. Our goal is, and has always been, to make sure every customer gets the right car at the right price.

 

How to check out a used car before buying it

Are you thinking about buying a pre-owned car? If so you need to make sure that you check it thoroughly and don’t end up with a vehicle that has serious issues that you’ll need to repair. There’s no reason to end up with a car that you are unhappy with when buying a used car if you complete all the right checks.

There’s a key point to remember here, and that’s to make sure that you test-drive the vehicle. It’s crucial that you get a feel for the car on the road and make sure there’s no issue driving it. The vehicle might look great, but until you actually take it out for a spin, you can’t know for sure. So, let’s start by thinking about the signs to watch out for during the drive. 

The Straight Line

You need to make sure that when you drive the car, it’s not veering to the left or right. If it is, this usually means there’s an issue with the wheel alignment that needs repairing. You don’t want to buy a car with this issue. It makes it more dangerous to drive and may use more energy because the wheels will be constantly pushed to maintain that straight line.

Stiff and Clunky

If you’re not buying an automatic check the gear shift and make sure that it moves naturally between the gears. If it sticks or you have difficulty getting it into one of the gears, this could mean there is an issue, and usually, a transmission overhaul will be needed. You certainly want to avoid that kind of repair when you are buying a pre-owned car.

Smells and Sounds

Trust your senses. The easiest way to make sure you’re buying a good car is to listen out for any sounds when driving that could mean there is a problem with the vehicle. Grinding and grating could be pointing to an oil issue in the engine. While a whistling noise usually means that there is a hole in the windshield. If you notice any issues like this, be sure to ask the dealer or owner to explain them before buying the car.

Now that you’ve tested the car on the road, you need to have a look around it and make sure there aren’t any red lights that shouldn’t be ignored.

New Parts

Have parts like the shift and pedals been replaced? Do they look a different age compared with the rest of the car? If they do, this is usually a sign that the car has seen a lot of wear and tear. Fast drivers usually eventually have to replace these parts on their car. You might want to be wary of buying a vehicle that has been through this type of renovation. Be sure to look for areas of the bodywork that look slightly different to the rest of the car. This is usually evidence that the vehicle has been fixed after an accident.

Check the Mileage

Does the mileage look peculiar? If you’re buying an older car, and it’s not a classic, the mileage should be high, pushing close to, or over, a hundred thousand. If it isn’t and you think the mileage is far too low, make sure to ask the owner for the paperwork. Or, you can use the VIN number to run your own check through CarFax, or one of the other sources that are available online. We at Citi Auto Group provide a free CarFax report with every car we sell.

Get the Car Level

If you’re buying from a private owner, the car might be parked on a driveway or a slope. This is a great way for sellers to hide parts of the car underneath that they don’t want you to see. Make sure that they have parked it level before you check around it. This way you’ll be able to see if any areas of the car are sagging or if there is an issue with the wheels. 

Look A Little Closer

You can always find evidence of work done to a car if you look close enough. Get up close to the paint work and you might see lines where scratches and dents have been painted over. Be sure to run your fingers over the edges of the car door. If it feels rough, this could be a sign that masking tape has been used there recently for a paint job.

Trunk in Good Condition?

If it is, there should not be any signs of wear or tear and be sure to look for areas of water damage. Any signs of water damage probably means that there is a hole somewhere in the bodywork of the car. On the other hand, if the trunk is in good condition that usually means the car has been well looked after, and you have nothing to worry about.

Can You See Under the Car?

Ideally, you should look under the car before buying it, inspecting it thoroughly. This is the only foolproof way to make sure that there aren’t any issues with the exhaust, fuel leaks or hidden damage. Any black spots on the exhaust may be a sign of leaking. If you can’t get under the car at least ask them to move it from where it’s been sitting. Usually, you’ll find that a car with an issue like an oil leak, leaves marks on the driveway or street. If you see any marks like this, there’s a good chance you shouldn’t buy the car. This is one of the main advantages of buying a used car from a dealer. They’ll have the equipment you need to see under it.

Modern Car Tips

Most cars manufactured after 2000 have technology that monitors many of the vehicles functions. So, when you turn the car on, and after it has idled for a while, pay close attention to the gauges and indicator lights. If there are any issues that need to be taken care of, the appropriate indicator light(s) should come on to let you know there is something that needs attention.

We hope this helps you make the right choice when you’re buying a used car, ensuring it is in great condition. If you have any questions, or want to take any of our cars out for a test drive, The friendly, knowledgeable staff at Citi Auto Group is always ready to help you find the right car for you.