Winter is Coming. Is Your Vehicle Ready?

Winter is coming, and it’s time to prepare your vehicle for the season. You’ve survived summer with your air conditioning running full blast, but now you need to get ready for the coldest months of the year. Depending on where you live, winter can be a brutal experience that requires specific precautions – or even an entire transformation!

Fortunately, for us here in the South, winters aren’t usually that bad. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be proactive. Freezing temperatures, Ice storms and snow can and do happen here in the winter. Following some of the steps below can save you time, money, and even embarrassment come this winter.

Here are some great tips to winterize your car or truck;

  • Change your engine oil and filter, if needed. If you’re due for an oil change anyway, now is a great time to do it – before the weather gets cold. The thinner winter oils work better in colder temperatures than thicker summer ones do.
  • Replace the cabin air filter.
  • Check your tire pressure and add any needed air or change your tires if necessary, before cold weather sets in (cold temperatures can increase the risk of underinflated tires). If you’re going to be driving a lot on snow and ice this winter, consider getting an all-wheel drive vehicle.
  • Drain your windshield washer fluid and replace it with a winter version that can resist freezing.
  • Top of the engine, transmission, and both differentials with fresh oil to prevent them from seizing up during severe weather.
  • Fill the gas tank to help avoid condensation being added to your fuel.
  • Check all door locks and windows for proper operation, lubricate them if needed with graphite or Teflon spray (do not use WD40).
  • Repair any windshield wiper blades that are streaking, looking worn down, or have rubber chunks missing.

-Consider snow tires. They can be expensive, but are worth their weight in gold with snow on the ground!

-Check the air pressure in your spare tire and all other tires, if you have a full size matching spare.

  • Check the anti-freeze levels to make sure they are sufficient for those colder temperatures.

Now that we have covered some of the important aspects to consider, it’s time to start thinking about your car care needs this Winter! We hope you found these tips helpful and will begin preparing now so that everything is ready when the first cold fronts roll through.

Financing a Used Vehicle: Bank or Dealership Financing?

If you are looking to finance a used vehicle, then there is a lot that you need to consider before making your decision. There are many factors that go into the financing of a car, and it can be difficult for most people to decide which one will work best with their current situation. The first step in this process is deciding what type of financing you want: bank or dealership financing.

Financing through a Bank.

Financing through a bank or credit union involves you doing the work yourself and can help give you a better idea of how much interest you will end up paying for your car. It can also be helpful because it allows you to take out the loan directly from the bank, meaning that there are no additional fees that come with getting financing through a dealership or private company.

However, this process may not always work in your favor , especially if you have a poor credit score, or no long-term credit history. Because banks typically want borrowers with good to excellent credit scores in order for them to approve the loan, this may make it more difficult for people who don’t fit that description. Additionally, there are fees involved when taking out financing through a bank because they need an incentive to offer loans to people with poor credit.

Bank Financing for People with Poor Credit Scores.

If you have a bad or no long-term credit history, then bank financing is not the way that you should go because your chances of getting approved are very slim. If this describes your situation, then don’t worry—there is another way that you can get the car that you want without going through a bank.

Dealership Financing.

Instead of working with your bank to finance your vehicle, there is another option: dealership financing . This method will usually give you a better chance at being approved for a loan since dealerships have more flexibility in who they allow on their lots and who they give financing to. They also offer a much more relaxed application process than banks, which can be helpful if you feel stressed about the whole thing!

Although dealership financing is an excellent option for people with poor credit or no long-term financial history , it can come with a downside . For example, when taking out your loan through a dealership, you will usually end up paying a slightly higher interest rate because of how risky it is to give financing to people who have no credit or bad credit. But Dealerships have relationships with many banks and credit unions and can select the best option and interest available for your unique situation.

Conclusion.

In conclusion, deciding whether to get bank or dealership financing is a big decision that should not be made lightly because of all the different factors involved in it. If your credit score falls into the “good” category and you are sure about what kind of car you want , then going through a bank may be the best option for you. If your credit score is not so great , or if you are unsure about what kind of vehicle to get, then it may be better for you to go with dealership financing because they will have more options available that fit into your situation .

The Right Used Car, Truck or SUV: Tips for Selecting the Perfect Vehicle

Choosing a vehicle can be difficult, but when you are looking for a used car, truck or SUV it becomes even more complicated. There are so many factors to take into account that it is easy to become overwhelmed. You need to think about price, the make and model of the vehicle, fuel efficiency and whether or not you want an automatic transmission. The list goes on and on! In this blog post we hope to help simplify your search by providing some tips that will lead you in the right direction when selecting your perfect vehicle at Southtown Motors, Pelham, AL!

You might have a hard time picking out the right vehicle when you’re faced with hundreds of models, body styles; coupes, sedans station wagons pickup trucks and SUVs.

How should you choose your next set of wheels? Do you want to make a statement about who you are, or do have have little ones that need to get to school and soccer practice? If it’s just you and maybe another loved one, than you may want to consider buying a coupe or convertible. A snazzy BMW convertible or Lexus coupe says “yeah, I’m doing well”. They’ll be limited with space, so getting kids in and out won’t be a pleasant chore.

Okay, so you’ve got one or more kids… considering a minivan or SUV. Some SUVs are designed like trucks, but with a higher center of gravity for improved stability and better gas mileage. They’re more car-like than truck-like (which can be good if you have kids).

Truck: If you need to haul around enormous stuff frequently, then a truck may be your best bet. A truck has a high performance engine and can be used to tow large trailers and boats.

Once you’ve narrowed your search to the type of vehicle you need, then you need to think about your budget . Knowing how much you can afford before hitting the dealerships will make things much easier. Now it comes down to selecting the right make and model of the type vehicle you’d like to purchase. But how do you research the best make and model?

Asking a lot of questions is the best way to get started. Ask about safety features, dependability and maintenance costs for each vehicle you are considering buying. The internet can be extremely helpful when it comes down to researching makes and models; reading reviews online will help you find out how others feel about their particular model’s performance in certain conditions.

You’re going to need a vehicle that will get you where you want to go and meet your budget, so don’t rush into things! Take the time needed in order to find the right choice for you. Southtown Motors in Pelham, AL has a great selection of cars, trucks, and SUV’s, so whatever you decide, we’ll help you get into your next vehicle!

Things to Consider Before Trading your Used Car or Truck in at a Dealership

If you are thinking about trading in your used car or truck at a dealership, there are some things to consider before making that decision. First and foremost, it is important to know what the trade-in value of your vehicle is. This will help you determine whether you’re getting a fair deal for your vehicle.

You can use Kelly Blue Book to help determine the current value of your vehicle. Keep in mind, this is only an estimate, and it will be different for every car or truck. To get the most accurate value of your trade-in vehicle, you should also take into account factors such as mileage and wear when determining what price to expect from a dealership.

Insurance will be another consideration when purchasing a new vehicle. If you have insurance on your current vehicle, it is important to notify your insurer of any new purchase. You can also compare car insurance rates before finalizing a deal for a trade-in or new automobile.

Cleaning and preparing your vehicle for trade in will be another factor to consider. You should ensure that your vehicle is clean and has all necessary fluids topped off before you head into the dealership. This will make it easier for them to assess its condition and value, which could lead to a better deal on the purchase of your next automobile.

You may also want to research extended vehicle warranties. These may not be necessary for your existing vehicle but can give you peace of mind if you are unsure about the reliability of a newer model. I you decide to purchase one from the car dealer, make sure to read the warranty carefully to understand what is covered, and just as importantly, what is not covered.

Know your credit score and how much you can afford to spend. Your credit score will determine what interest rate the dealership offers for your new car or truck purchase, so it is a good idea to know this number before making any decisions about trade-in value and financing options.

Lastly, you may want to consider how much down payment you are willing to make. Generally, the more money you put down up front, the less interest you will have over time. There is much to consider but investing just a little time and effort before starting the process can make the car buying journey a little less daunting and increase your chances of getting the best deal possible.

How to improve your credit score

There are plenty of things you can do to help improve your credit score. It is easy and takes little time or money to start making a difference in your FICO rating.

1. Check Your Credit Report Frequently

It may be best to check your score at least once every month because there are so many places that can negatively affect a person’s credit score at any given time, from the extremely obvious (missing payments) to the hard-to-catch (reporting someone else as being you). By checking your report frequently, you’ll catch mistakes quicker and have more time to fix them before they harm your good name.

2. Keep All Accounts Open/Active

Ironically, closing accounts actually lowers scores rather than raising them. This is because credit scores are based on credit history – the longer you’ve had credit, the better. Closing accounts can result in a credit history that’s too short and may hurt your score as much or more than having bad marks on your credit report from past mistakes. Generally speaking, it’s best to keep all credit lines open unless you’re struggling to pay the credit card bills. It might be tempting to close credit lines when you have credit card debt, but credit cards are vital in helping you maintain a good credit score as they show that credit is available to you and that you handle credit responsibly by paying your balance in full each month or pay more than your minimum payment.

How do I go about checking my credit report? You can get a credit report for free once every 12 months from www.AnnualCreditReport.com. The other option would be to go through one of the three credit bureaus directly: Equifax (1-800-685-1111), Experian (1-888-397-3742), or TransUnion (1-800-916-8800).

What if credit card companies call and want to open a new credit line? As long as you pay your credit cards on time, credit lines can be beneficial for your credit score. Just make sure that doesn’t become another debt problem. If you don’t have the credit to back up credit lines, credit card companies will decline you for credit.

How do I get credit? To get credit, you need to have a credit report and maintain good credit behavior: paying your bills on time, not maxing out credit cards or getting too many credit card applications all at once. Credit reports are free once a year, so take advantage of the opportunity to monitor your credit.

What credit score do I need to buy a house? Good credit is generally considered credit scores from 720 and higher. You can obtain credit for buying a car, apartment or home with credit scores ranging from 620 to about 850 depending on the type of loan you are applying for.

• If you are buying an Home or townhouse (mortgage) you will want credit scores 750-850 so that your mortgage interest rate will be lower than average.

• For new & used cars, credit requirements vary by lender, but most require credit scores in the high 500s; if you have bad credit, it can still help to have credit scores in the high 500s.

• If you are looking to rent an apartment, credit requirements vary by complex and credit scores in the low 600s may be acceptable.

Do I need credit for anything else? Yes: credit is needed many other situations such as for cell phones, furniture, utilities, insurance policies etc.

How can credit be improved? Depending on why your credit is bad, you should understand credit-score categories and credit scores range from 300 (poor) to 800 (excellent). Credit bureaus monitor an individual’s credit history including any positive or negative items which are used to determine credit scores. Credit scores are based on credit reports provided by credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).

What credit score is needed for a credit card? Credit cards typically require applicants to have credit scores in the 600s but there are credit cards available with lower credit requirements including Capital One’s Secured MasterCard. The credit score range and credit limit for credit cards depends on the credit card issuer.

How can I improve my credit score?

1.  Pay bills on time

Paying credit card bills on time is one of the most important factors in credit scores. It’s also important to pay all other debt such as mortgage payments, car lease payments, rent, student loans etc. This includes medical bills and even phone bills (unless agreed otherwise). Credit bureaus want to see you keep up with paying your bill, so make sure you are responsibly paying them off.  If there are any problems making your payment or an incorrect amount was charged, please contact the credit bureau immediately.

2.  Use less than your credit line

Using less than your credit limits is another way to work on increasing your credit score. Of course, using all your credit and not paying anything off can negatively effect credit scores as well. The idea of “using less than your credit” or a low utilization rate (a ratio that measures credit card debt divided by total credit limit) shows lenders that you are credit worthy.

3.  Keep balances low or even zero if possible

Credit utilization is another important factor in credit scoring and credit scores are affected by having high credit utilization rates.   The higher your credit utilization rate, the lower your credit score will be. A moderate amount of credit used (around 30% or less) is ideal for increasing credit scores as it shows lenders that you’re using a little bit of your available credit which means that you use it responsibly, but not too much so that they feel like you may not be able to pay up when required.

5.  Pay down credit card balances to below 30% of total credit limits

One of the reasons that credit scores are so important in your financial life is they effect how easily you can get credit. If credit scoring models see that you have too much credit available to you, they will assume you are not credit-worthy because of the risk of over-leveraging.

6.  Keep credit card accounts open for a long time

Credit scoring models also evaluate credit histories based on how long your credit accounts have been active. They like to see that credit has been used responsibly and that you aren’t too quick to just cancel out an account when it’s no longer convenient. They also don’t want to see a lot of churning either as this indicates financial instability – opening an account, using the credit, then closing the account shortly thereafter is considered risky behavior by lenders who do business with consumers reporting such credit histories.  

In closing, credit scoring models reward consumers who have kept credit accounts in good standing for extended periods of time.  You can get your credit score improved by keeping credit cards, lines of credit, and credit account balances open for longer than the average period of time that it takes other typical consumers to do so.

Digital Impact Pros 6-30-21