What Car Warranty is Best for Me?

Whether you're shopping for a new or used car, most people have a general idea that a warranty is a good idea. Warranties are often considered to be a form of "insurance" - you pay out a fee and in exchange, your car will be fixed if anything on it breaks, but unfortunately, it's not quite that simple. There are different types of warranties and a warranty might not necessarily cover everything that you think it will. Here is everything you need to know:

What Exactly is an Auto Warranty?

A warranty is a contract between either you and your dealership or you and your manufacturer. At its simplest, a warranty sets out a specific amount of time and mileage; any defects and repairs that are necessary under that time and mileage amount are automatically covered under warranty. Warranties usually last around three years or 36,000 miles. They can also be extended upon vehicle purchase. This is very common when used vehicles are purchased. 

But an auto warranty is not a type of insurance even though it is often presented as one. Auto warranties are only designed to fix parts that are considered to be defective or faulty. They are not designed to fix parts that have broken down from wear-and-tear, collisions or other issues. There are also different types of auto warranties that you need to understand.

What Types of Warranty Coverage Exist?

  • Drivetrain and powertrain warranties - These warranties are designed to ensure that the very essential components of the vehicle last: the engine, transmission and the associated parts. Drivetrain and powertrain warranties protect against manufacturer defects of these components but will be voided if they haven't been properly serviced (such as with regular oil changes).
  • Bumper-to-bumper warranties - The standard bumper-to-bumper warranty is a three-year warranty (or 36,000 miles) that governs the parts of the vehicle from bumper-to-bumper. If these parts are considered to be defective, they will be repaired as needed.
  • Rust or corrosion warranties - This type of warranty is rarer but may be tacked on to the other warranty. This covers rust and corrosion if it occurs due to a defect.
  • Federal emissions warranties - This warranty is more popular now and will cover any repairs necessary to ensure that the vehicle meets its emissions standards.
  • Roadside assistance - This is another specialty warranty that offers roadside assistance if a vehicle breaks down. Most people already have this through their insurance.

How Does a Warranty Work?

To go through a warranty, you must first contact the vehicle entity you have a relationship with: either your dealer or your manufacturer. They will then direct you to the repair shop that will work with you. 

Warranties can be voided if an individual does not maintain their vehicle properly. Auto Tek provides complete auto services that will ensure that all the parts of your vehicle are well-maintained so that you can stay within your warranties. Contact our team of professionals today!

Should You Buy a New or Used Car? Which is Better?

In the car buying world, it seems a lot can go wrong, and it does. That is unless you take certain steps that, if followed, will result in a great experience. Most people begin the process of buying a car with a sense of fear if not outright dread. It’s hard to feel good about something that you do only once every 3-5 years. The sense of fear is very real and appropriate when you take into consideration your choices. You either have to go to a dealer, who is in the business of taking your money (in very slick ways) or buying from a private party, which can lead to some unsavory experiences, to say the least.

Should I Buy New or Used?
When choosing between a new or used car it pays to consider everything that is involved. The most cited reason for buying a new car is that there is very little risk. True, the new car will have a full factory warranty that you will have for a number of years and there is something to be said about the peace of mind that a warranty brings. However, that peace of mind that you are getting in a new car will cost you a lot of money in the form of heavy depreciation in the first years of ownership. In fact, as soon as you drive off the lot your “new” car will become a used car and it will lose 10% from the total you paid for it. And that is just after you drive off the lot!

Each year thereafter it will continue to lose, especially in the first 3 years. Assuming you put on 15,000 miles a year, your car will have depreciated nearly 20% after the first full year of ownership, or 1/5 of its value. Presuming you bought a car for $23,000 and then after taxes and registration you paid $25,000, your now “used” car will be worth a mere $20,000. You just lost $5000 in one year of ownership! Of course, not all cars depreciate at the same rate. The example cited above is for a relatively low budget purchase. The more expensive the purchase, the bigger the loss.

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There are of course other factors such as better financing on new cars versus used, but registration will be more for a new car as well as slightly higher insurance premiums, so the savings gained on better financing for a new car is basically neutralized.

Buying a Used Car with Confidence

In short, buying used is almost always the better value proposition. Cars are built so well these days that a 2-3-year-old car is still looking, driving and behaving as though it is new. But what about the warranty that is set to expire? Isn’t that the problem you ask? Well, that problem is easily overcome with buying a “Certified Pre-Owned” from a dealer. A certified car will often have a high-quality factory warranty attached with it. Whether you are buying from a private party or a dealer you will want to use the video and text tutorials that I call the “10 Easy Steps”. This is where I combine my 37 years of car buying experience in easy to follow steps so you can buy like a pro!

Car Choice Comes Last for Bad Credit Buyers

Here at LivAuto auto loan, we often receive comments from consumers who are looking for their next car. Typically, people who are looking for an auto loan tend to pick out a car first and look for financing second. This process may work for someone with good to great credit, but for many people—especially those with bad credit—the process works differently.

 

Take this customer who recently wrote to us about finding a vehicle:

“I'm looking for a dark purple car would love to get Camaro but I would be willing to get a different model like Impala or even an SUV but I can't afford a new one…”

To be clear, we are not a car finder or a finance company. We help people with bad credit get connected to local special finance dealers who can help people get the vehicles they need.

Why the Bad Credit Process is Different

Wanting a particular car is one thing, but when you have damaged credit, it's more important to get what you need—or what you can afford—rather than trying to find the exact car you want. This is due to the fact that when you are looking for financing with bad credit, you first have to get an approval from a subprime lender.

Subprime financing is typically needed when you have a credit score around 640 or lower. This type of auto loan is done through indirect lenders who work with special finance dealerships. Not all dealers have subprime lenders, so choosing the right one to meet your needs is important. Once you have found a dealer with a sub prime finance department, you will need to sit down with the special finance manager, fill out an application and submit the necessary documents.

You will need to provide:

  • A valid driver’s license or state ID.
  • Proof of income – your most recent check stub.
  • Proof of residence – a current utility bill in your name.
  • Proof of a working phone – a landline or cell phone from a national carrier, in your name.
  • Six to eight complete references – including names, addresses, and phone numbers.

Once you have completed this process, the dealer will transmit your application and documentation to the lender. The lender will either approve or deny your loan request. If you are approved, the lender will transmit a “payment call” to the special finance manager with the program you qualify for along with any additional requirements.

Choosing Your Vehicle

Once the lender has approved your auto loan request, the dealer will present you with a list of eligible vehicles that you qualify for, based on the information from the lender. Then, you can test drive them and choose the one you like that best fits what you need.

The good news is your choice of vehicles will typically be restricted to those that are less than 10 years old and with less than 100,000 miles. It is also good to note that your loan term can vary depending on vehicle mileage and model year.

As you can see, when you are dealing with subprime financing, choosing a vehicle comes at the end of the buying process, rather than the traditional loan process where you choose your vehicle first, then get financed.

When Should I Refinance My Car?

Each auto refinance deal is different, so the timing of when you should refinance your car loan depends on when it makes the most sense for you. Still, most people refinance their car loans when 1) their credit has improved, 2) they need to lower their monthly payments, 3) national interest rates have changed, or 4) they would like to remove (or add) someone as a co-signer on their loan.

Let’s look at each scenario.

YOUR CREDIT HAS IMPROVED

If your credit has improved since you bought your car, then a lender will probably agree to refinance your current loan to one with a lower interest rate.

Usually, to save money over the course of your loan, all you need is to lower your interest rate by one percent or so (learn more about how car loan interest works here). However, if your credit has truly improved, you may be able to lower your interest rate by much more.

Keep in mind that your credit is more than your credit score. Lenders usually look at an applicant’s entire credit report(s) when considering a loan application. To learn more about how lenders may review your credit history, read the Four C’s of Credit.

You have a legal right under the Fair Credit Reporting Act to view your credit reports from each of the three nationwide credit bureaus every 12 months for free. Visit annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228 to request your free report(s). Please note, annualcreditreport.com is the only website authorized to give you your legally mandated free report. Other websites exist that offer free credit reports or free credit scores, but some (not necessarily all) may try to get you to pay for your credit information. Visit this page from the Federal Trade Commission for more information on accessing your free credit reports.

 

Is Auto Loan Refinancing Is Right For You?

Refinancing may help you…

  • Lower your interest rate
  • Decrease your monthly payment
  • Remove someone from your car loan

YOU NEED LOWER MONTHLY PAYMENTS

One of most common reasons that people to refinance is to lower their monthly payments. Auto refinancing can be a great way to cut back on monthly expenses, but you need to be careful that refinancing, for this reason, makes sense for you.

Because of how car loan interest works, you have two ways to lower your monthly payments with a new loan. You can get a lower interest rate, you can extend your loan term, or you can do both.

So, if you refinance to a lower interest rate and keep the same loan term length, you would lower your monthly payments.

Or if you simply extend your loan term and keep your old interest rate, you will also lower your monthly payments. However, generally speaking, the longer your car loan term length, the more interest charge you will pay in total over the course of your loan.

The reason longer term lengths may cost you more over the life of your loan is that you pay an interest charge each month on the loan balance you have yet to pay. The longer you take to pay down your car loan, the more you pay interest on the loan balance you still owe. Still, it is possible to extend your loan term, lower your monthly payment, and pay less in total for your car. If you lower your interest rate sufficiently, a longer loan term length may not result in you paying more for your car.

Finding the balance between how much you pay per month versus how much you pay cumulatively over the course of a loan can be tricky. The important thing is that you understand how interest rates and loan term lengths affect how much your car loan costs so that you can make an informed decision about your refinancing goals.

INTEREST RATES CHANGE

If interest rates fall across the economy, then you have a better chance of refinancing to a lower interest rate because lenders will generally lower their interest rates to compete.

However, it is not easy to accurately predict future interest rates. The Federal Reserve plays a role in setting interest rates but so do various economic forces, making interest rate prediction extremely difficult. The only sure thing is that interest rates will fluctuate. So, waiting for interest rates to fall may or may not be worth it.

Furthermore, just because falling interest rates can help borrowers does not mean that rising interest rates should discourage you from refinancing. If your credit has improved since you financed your car, refinancing may help you reduce your monthly payments and interest charges no matter what the prevailing interest rates are.

YOU WOULD LIKE TO REMOVE (OR ADD) SOMEONE AS A CO-SIGNER ON YOUR LOAN

Not everyone seeks to refinance solely for financial reasons. Sometimes, more personal reasons motivate people to refinance, such as the ending of a relationship.

If you have a co-signer on your current loan that you wish to remove for whatever reason, then refinancing is a solution. When you refinance, you essentially replace your old loan with a new one, meaning you can remove a co-signer from (and/or add someone to) your car loan.

SUMMARY

People refinance their cars for many reasons, and if you refinance, you will probably do so for a combination of reasons unique to you. Still, most people refinance to save money or to handle a personal matter. The important thing is that you understand how auto refinancing works so that you can decide if and when it is right for you.

5 Times When You’re More Likely to Get in a Car Accident

Accidents, collisions, and fender-benders. No matter what you call them, they happen a lot and could affect your auto insurance rate. In Canada, about 335 police-reported collisions happen a day, and while you should always take care when behind the wheel, there are times, or conditions when collisions are more likely to happen.

1. Summer months

Most drivers might think that they’re more likely to get into a collision when conditions are wintery, but the reality is there are more collisions in July than any other month, followed by October and August.

2. Frantic Fridays

Maybe it’s because we’re all in a rush to get home to kick off our weekend, but for many, our, weekends start off on the wrong foot. Almost 17 per cent of all police-reported collisions in Canada happen on Fridays; no other day comes close.

3. The evening rush

Hands down, the evening rush hour (starting at 3 p.m. and ending at 6 p.m.) has the most collisions. This three hour period of the day accounts for 25 per cent of all collisions that happen over the course of the day.

4. Intersections are tricky

Intersections, even with working traffic signals, controls, or signs, prove tricky for drivers because half of all collisions happen at an intersection.

5. Sunny days make drivers gloomy

At 70 per cent, collisions are overwhelmingly more likely to happen on days that are clear and sunny, compared to days when it’s raining, snowing or when visibility is limited due to fog or drifting snow.

Car collisions and your car insurance

Take care, stay safe, and drive carefully to keep your car insurance premiums in check because a collision where you are at fault (even if it is only partially at fault) can be costly. An at-fault collision can increase your premiums as much as 50 per cent. Don’t let an at-fault accident increase your rates. Drive safe and avoid driver distractions to keep your premiums low.

Is Auto Loan Refinancing Right for You?

Refinancing your auto loan means replacing your existing loan with a new one from a different lender. Your current loan gets paid off by the new lender and you start making monthly payments, hopefully, smaller ones, on the new loan.

If you think your credit has improved since you bought your car, you should look into auto loan refinancing. There’s a good chance you can lower your interest rate and end up with a smaller monthly payment. You might also be able to shave some time off the loan, or go the other way and extend the term of the loan if you’re having trouble making your monthly payment.

What’s the catch? There isn’t much of one: It takes some time, and your credit profile might take a slight hit when you apply for the new loan. However, know two important things:

  1. Most auto loans don’t have a prepayment penalty so refinancing won’t cost you anything.
  2. Submitting an application for refinancing has no application fees, and the funds become available quickly, often within a day.

Why you might want to refinance

The prospect of paying less interest or lowering your monthly payments are the main reasons to consider refinancing. Let’s say your current auto loan has a 10% interest rate, and you’ve been making payments for a year or so. Chances are, your credit has improved and you could now qualify for a lower interest rate, which could lower your monthly payments. If you simply went to your current lender and asked it to lower your rate, it would probably say no. After all, you signed a contract at a certain interest rate and the lender wants its money.

Lucky for you, in today’s competitive market, plenty of other lenders are eager to get your business. When you refinance, you simply go to another bank, credit union or online lender and show it how much you still owe, called the balance of the loan. It pays off your existing balance and creates a new loan; and you start sending your monthly payments to the new lender.

If you meet the requirements, refinancing your car loan for a smaller payment could allow you to put more into savings, investing or a home improvement project. Or you may be able to pay off your car sooner. All of these options are better than pouring your money down the drain by paying more interest than you need to on a car loan.

When refinancing your car loan makes sense

Refinancing your auto loan could be the right move for reasons other than your improved credit. Even if you’re satisfied with your current loan, it doesn’t hurt to see if you can save money on interest. It makes sense if:

Interest rates have dropped. Interest rates fall for a variety of reasons: a changing economic climate, increased competition in the banking industry, even regulatory changes. If interest rates are lower now than when you first got your car loan, refinancing is likely to lower your rate and could help you pay the loan off sooner. Or, it could save you money on interest. It only takes a few minutes to apply for refinancing and see if a new lender — a bank, credit union or online lender — will offer you a lower interest rate.

A car dealer marked up your interest rate. When you got your existing loan, the car dealer might have charged you a higher interest rate than you could have qualified for somewhere else. This often happens to shoppers who don’t check their credit score before buying a car. They are persuaded to take the dealership’s loan because they didn’t shop around for the best interest rates. But you can undo the damage by refinancing and getting a new loan at a lower interest rate.

You can’t keep up with payments. Maybe you got overexcited at the dealership and bought a car that’s really too expensive for you. You might be struggling to keep up with payments. Or maybe you’re facing unexpected financial challenges because of a job change or other circumstances. By refinancing your car loan, you can take more time to pay it off, and this will lower your payments. You should think carefully before taking this course of action: If you extend the loan term, you’ll pay more in interest over the life of the loan. That’s not optimal — but it’s better than damaging your credit by missing payments.

What is Full Coverage? Understanding your Car and Auto Insurance Policy

 

Do you know what the term "full Coverage" actually means when it comes to your Car or Auto Insurance policy? 
The truth is that "full Coverage" is a very loose term that does not have an exact definition. Insurance companies do not offer a full Coverage option for you to pick. The term full coverage is generally associated with comprehensive coverage and collision coverage but can be interpreted many ways.

State Minimum Requirements

Every state in the U.S. has the ability to set its own state minimum requirements for auto insurance. In the State of Florida, The state minimum requirements include 10,000 per person and 20,000 per accident for bodily injury liability and 10,000 in Personal Injury Protection.

Comprehensive
Physical damage for all the things that can happen to your vehicle other than a collision is covered by comprehensive coverage. Full coverage cannot be possible without comprehensive coverage.

Collision
The collision is the coverage that gives you the broadest coverage and is always included in full coverage auto insurance. Collision coverage ensures your vehicle will be covered regardless of what causes the damage. Collision covers damage for all accidents and since collision cannot be purchased without comprehensive coverage anything other than an accident will still be covered.

Additional Coverage that is not necessarily included with Full Coverage 
Towing
Car Rental Coverage
Uninsured Motorist

To be sure you are fully protected from every scenario it is a good idea to talk with your agent and ask him to explain what your policy covers and what optional coverages are available.

Auto Security: Do Feds Have Our Back?

Consumers should be aware of the possibility of a hacker attack on their cars. We now know that what used to be considered a movie scenario — remote hacking — could be done.

The current reality is that, while a variety of connectivity technologies have been transfused into cars, the equal and opposite security measures are yet to be deployed.

Surely, car hacking is the last thing automakers want to mention as they push the connected cars into the vast consumer disconnect. But government watchdogs in both the U.S. and the U.K. are working to get ahead of the curve and let the public know that they are concerned.

"Whether we're turning vehicles into WiFi-connected hotspots or equipping them with millions of lines of code to become fully automated, it is important that they are protected against cyber-attacks," said Martin Callanan, a minister in the Department for Transport at the British government.

He said this last week when the U.K. agency issued new guidelines, requiring manufacturers of Internet-connected vehicles to put in place tougher cyber protections to ensure a stronger shield against hackers.

It isn’t just the U.K. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States also issued last fall the federal guidance to the automotive industry for improving motor vehicle cybersecurity.

Questions to ask
So should we all sleep well, confident that the feds have our back?

Not so fast, Gracie.

Questions that come to my mind include:
1. Do the guidelines issued by NHTSA and British Department of Transportation have any teeth for security enforcement? 
2. More important, have they gone far enough to suggest effective cybersecurity measures for cars?
3. What are the differences in the proposals of the two separate governments?

As Roger Lanctot, director automotive connected mobility in the global automotive practice at Strategy Analytics, told us, “All of the work and guidance today is advisory vs. compulsory in nature.” Things will become real, in his opinion, “when financial and liability consequences are in fact defined.”

Sources of vulnerability in connected cars are many. Lanctot listed: “diagnostic ports, hobbyist/enthusiasts, dealers, suppliers/supply chain, criminals and terrorists to say nothing of incompetence, bugs, and the management of multiple onboard systems crossing domains with different development standards.”

Facing so many areas inside cars that must be protected as cars morph into always-on computing devices, it isn’t easy to come up with comprehensive guidelines. And yet, “Regulators need to demonstrate they are doing something,” said Lanctot.

How do security experts see the development of government guidelines?

Gene Carter, vice president of products at OnBoard Security, for example, believes that “both the U.K. and NHTSA guidance documents included basic security tenets.”

He explained such measures should be followed by any company connecting hardware or software to the web — including security by design, defense in depth, principles of least privilege, etc.  In Carter’s opinion, however, these are basics. “I would hope that the automakers have learned enough from the IT world’s experiences, and they [should be] already doing those essential things.”

A few experts, including Carter, pointed out that the U.K.’s guidance does not go far enough in the area of software updates after a vulnerability is discovered.

Why Staying with Your Car Insurance Company Can Be a Good Thing

You’ve probably seen tips on other insurance blogs or heard advice through auto insurers directly about how important it is to shop around for quotes. While this is a strong practice to allow yourself access to the best rates for your car make, age, and driving history, it isn’t always the best idea. For some people, staying with the same auto insurer for an extended period of time has been the most cost-effective, practical solution for their circumstances.

What many people don’t think about when deciding to switch auto insurance companies is the quality of the services, not just the quantity of cash they’ll save. Just because a car insurance company is offering cheaper rates than your current insurance policy doesn’t mean it’s a better policy. Before you switch to a different insurance company that offers you a lower quote than the insurer you’re currently dealing with, make sure you weigh the options. Staying with your current car insurance company can be a positive decision.

 

Renewal Discounts

Many insurance companies offer discounts to customers that have been loyal to them for several years. Arbella offers an additional 1% loyalty credit for every year you renew with them. Ameriprise offers discounts to customers that have been loyal to them for three years. While some insurance companies offer discounts when you renew with them, most companies offer more substantial discounts on other fronts.

 

Bundling Discounts

A lot of insurance companies will give you a discount if you bundle your car insurance with your home or life insurance policies. Nationwide, Allstate, Liberty Mutual, State Farm, and other insurance companies offer discounts to people who purchase multiple insurance policies with them. If you have bundled policies and have earned a discount as a result, you may have to prepare yourself for higher rates if you decide to switch insurance companies or forego a policy.

 

Accident Forgiveness

Nationwide, Allstate, Travelers, and dozens of other insurance companies offer accident forgiveness to their clients. Accident forgiveness refers to a park in which customers do not have to pay extra rates after their first at-fault accidents. Most accident forgiveness discounts can only be redeemed after 5 or 6 years of loyalty to the insurer. If you’ve been with the same company for long enough to qualify for this perk (or are close to this threshold), staying with your auto insurance company could be beneficial.

 

Overall Loyalty

As a general benefit from staying with your auto insurance company, you’ll have a better relationship with your insurer. Building trust with an agent creates a positive working relationship. This trust may help you in the long run; if you ever need to file a claim after an accident, this process should be simpler and more successful if you are speaking with an agent you’re very familiar with. If your agent knows your driving habits and history well, he or she will be able to recommend the best coverage for you. Getting acquainted with your insurance company is a huge perk to staying loyal to your insurance company.


If you believe none of these benefits affect you directly right now, you might want to shop around for auto insurance quotes. If one of these perks applies to your current policy, sticking with your current company could be the best option, especially if the quotes you’re seeing aren’t significantly lower than your current rate.