How Much Should I Put Down on a Car?
May 23, 2022
Some car dealerships might require a very minimal or no down payment when purchasing a new or used car. Often, though, buyers try to allocate a down payment to offset the price of the new vehicle. Some buyers combine a down payment with a trade-in value to further decrease the purchase price. New buyers might wonder, though: How much should I put down on a car? Experts have recommendations related to down payment amount, but buyers also need to know the value of their down payment. The benefits of a down payment include: * Possibly accessing a lower interest rate for financing * Paying less interest over time * Offsetting the impact of depreciation * Lowering the purchase price and possibly opting for a shorter loan term How Much Should I Put Down on a Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/How-Much-Should-You-Put-Down-on-a-Car.jpg] HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU PUT DOWN ON A CAR? Car buyers should opt for a down payment that fits into their budget. Food or housing costs shouldn’t be in jeopardy because of a down payment, and car buyers need to review their budget to find the down payment that works best for their financial situation. What do the experts recommend as an ideal down payment amount? Nerdwallet recommends that car buyers try to allocate 20 percent of the purchase price of a new car for the down payment. The site recommends putting 10 percent down for a used car. Other experts advise 10 percent down on a new car purchase. HOW IS A DOWN PAYMENT BENEFICIAL TO BUYERS? A down payment for a car might have numerous benefits for buyers. In some cases, dealership financing deals (like 0 percent interest loans) could require a down payment. The biggest benefit of a down payment is that it decreases the purchase price of the vehicle. Here’s why that’s important. How Much Should I Put Down on a Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Lower-Interest-Rates.jpg] A DOWN PAYMENT COULD LEAD TO LOWER INTEREST RATES When a car buyer offers a down payment for a vehicle, it decreases the price of the vehicle and it also decreases the amount of financing the buyer needs (if they require financing). The down payment reduces some of the risk for the lender. If a car buyer has a decent credit score and allocates 20 percent of the purchase price for a down payment, this could increase the borrower’s credit worthiness. A down payment might lead to lower interest rates for financing. However, this isn’t the case for all buyers or borrowers. PAY LESS INTEREST OVER TIME Even if a down payment doesn’t lead to a lower interest rate, it could help buyers pay less in interest over the course of their loan. Again, a down payment decreases the purchase price of the car. This means that interest is applied to a lower overall purchase price. In addition, Investopedia explains that monthly payments also might be lower, too. Buyers might be surprised at how the price of interest stacks up over time. Nerdwallet offers a car payment calculator that buyers can use to estimate their monthly loan payments. The tool also can help buyers understand how the costs of interest change with each percentile increase. How Much Should I Put Down on a Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Cost-of-Depreciation.jpg] OFFSET THE COST OF DEPRECIATION The value of a new car depreciates between nine percent and 11 percent once buyers drive it off the dealership lot. In the first few years of ownership, the vehicle will lose more value—60 percent over the course of five years. A down payment can help lessen the impact of depreciation. While the car will still depreciate, making a down payment will essentially help offset the loss of value. A down payment also could mean the difference between having a car with a little bit of equity and a car that’s underwater (worth less than the loan balance). A 20 percent down payment for a new car could help pay for the vehicle’s depreciation during that first year and keep a buyer from being upside down on their loan. OPT FOR A SHORTER LOAN TERM While a down payment can help a buyer pay less interest and help reduce monthly payments on the loan, buyers might find another added benefit. When a buyer offers a down payment—perhaps a substantial down payment—the cost of the vehicle could decrease enough to allow the buyer to choose a shorter loan term. The buyer might pay more per month but could pay off the loan in less time. A shorter loan term means that the buyer would own the car outright sooner. While shorter loans aren’t an option for all buyers, a larger down payment could provide enough of a price reduction for the vehicle that the shorter term becomes feasible. COMBINING A TRADE-IN WITH A DOWN PAYMENT Investopedia recommends that buyers offer a down payment versus just a trade-in. This is due to the fact that some car owners might receive less than the car is actually worth when offering it up as a trade-in. However, a car buyer could combine a trade-in with a down payment. This combination could help further offset the cost of the new vehicle. While dealerships could allow the trade-in to serve as the down payment, buyers can add additional cash to the deal to help lower that purchase price. One issue that car buyers could have with a trade-in is if the car is worth less than an outstanding loan value. If the trade-in is underwater, a dealership could add this amount to a new loan. The problem with adding the outstanding balance to the new car is that it perpetuates a cycle of negative equity. Adding a previous loan balance to a new car purchase would cause the new car to be financed for more than its true value. What are the options, though, if the potential trade-in has a balance? Car owners could contact their lender to inquire about the payoff amount. It could be low enough that the buyer might be able to simply pay it off in full. However, if the balance is too high to pay in full, car owners could ask the lender if they could sell it privately; the lender could have stipulations on the selling process, which is why the borrower needs to contact the lender before selling privately. THE ZERO OR MINIMAL DOWN PAYMENT Some dealerships could require a 0 down payment or even just a negligible down payment. This could sound appealing to buyers who don’t have the budget for a down payment. In some cases, a 0 percent down payment could depend on other qualifications. However, even if the buyer qualifies or if the deal applies to all buyers, the buyer still needs to understand how that minimal down payment would affect their loan. Again, a down payment can help lower the amount of interest paid over time but it also helps to offset the impact of depreciation. If the buyer opts for a minimal down payment, the car could be underwater the moment it’s driven off the lot. Buyers also should review their financing terms. What is the interest rate for the financing with a small—or zero—down payment? What are the terms? Will the buyer be entering into a long loan (like 84 months)? Longer loan terms would mean that the buyer would pay more in interest over the life of the loan. UNDERSTAND FINANCING OPTIONS When consumers are reviewing their finances to allocate a down payment amount, they also might take the opportunity to review their credit report. Consumers are entitled to a free credit report each year. This can help them better understand their creditworthiness or credit risk. While the score on free reports might not be the exact score lenders see, the free report should give consumers an indication of their credit health. In addition, requesting a credit report can help consumers find any errors in their credit. Understanding credit health helps consumers when they research their loan options. If they know that they have an excellent credit score, they might be in a great position to shop around to find the best rates. If a consumer learns that their score is poor, they can begin to take measures to try to repair their credit. They can focus on paying their bills on time or make other changes. In addition, the score can help them understand that they may face higher rates; they may shop around to find the best options. DO CONSUMERS NEED A DOWN PAYMENT ON A LEASE? Some consumers might not want to buy a vehicle. Instead, they might find that leasing a car is their best option. With a lease, the dealership takes care of general car maintenance needs (like oil changes). A lease is a bit like renting a car for a long duration. Lease agreements are usually around three years in duration. At the end of the lease, the car could be purchased at an agreed upon price or the driver might just return it. While lease arrangements can be convenient and offer lower monthly payments, they also place limitations on mileage. While those who lease might consider making a large down payment, Carfax actually recommends against making a large down payment. Leasing is different from buying, and, in many cases, a large down payment doesn’t necessarily make financial sense. However, lease agreements do often require a specific amount at signing. HOW MUCH IS THE BEST DOWN PAYMENT? Car buyers wondering “how much should I put down on a car,” should try to put down a down payment that helps reduce their depreciation but that doesn’t put them in financial arrears. Experts recommend that buyers should try to put 20 percent down on a new car and 10 percent down on a used car. However, not all buyers have this much saved for a down payment. Buyers should look at their budget to understand how much they can feasibly present as a down payment. In addition, they can use car payment calculators to better understand the impact of that down payment and the price of interest, too.
What is the Average Down Payment on a Car?
May 20, 2022
When shopping for a new or used car, most buyers budget a certain amount for their down payment. This amount also might be added to a vehicle being used as a trade-in to further decrease the purchase price of the new vehicle. Some car dealerships might advertise that buyers can opt to put next to nothing down, and buyers might see this as a great option. What is the average down payment? Instead of focusing on an average down payment amount, Kelley Blue Book simply recommends that buyers allocate 10 percent of the purchase price for their down payment. However, Nerdwallet recommends that buyers of used cars should put 10 percent down, while those buying new cars should opt for a 20 percent down payment. Why is a down payment so important? A down payment—especially a larger down payment—could help buyers: * Secure a lower interest rate for their financing * Pay less in interest over the life of a loan * Offset the depreciation costs * Possibly opt for a shorter loan term Average Down Payment on a Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Down-Payments-and-the-Budget.jpg] DOWN PAYMENTS AND THE BUDGET Some buyers might not have the budget for a 10 percent or 20 percent down payment, though. If a buyer purchased a new Mitsubishi Mirage (one of the least expensive models on the market) then allocating a 20 percent down payment on that purchase would equate to around $3,000. Even a 10 percent down payment would be about $1,500. Before buying a car, buyers should review their budget to better understand how much money they could offer for a down payment. If the buyer has a vehicle that they plan to use as a trade-in, the value of the trade-in could help with the down payment, too. Some buyers might be able to put 0 percent down. However, this isn’t always the case. In addition, buyers also could be drawn to dealerships that only require a minimal down payment—like “one dime down.” These programs or promotions could be an option for those with poor credit scores who also don’t have the financial means to make a significant down payment. Buyers should read all the details, though, to better understand loan terms, interest rates, etc. Average Down Payment on a Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/How-a-Down-Payment-Could-Impact-Financing.jpg] HERE’S HOW A DOWN PAYMENT COULD IMPACT FINANCING Down payments could help buyers with their financing. When buyers have the capital for a larger down payment, the lender’s stake in the loan (or the vehicle) decreases. Those who can make a larger down payment might be able to secure better interest rates. However, larger down payments don’t necessarily guarantee better interest rates. DOWN PAYMENTS HELP BUYERS PAY LESS IN INTEREST A down payment of any amount helps reduce the overall cost of the vehicle. Thus, the larger the down payment, the less financing a buyer will need. Since larger down payments decrease the cost of the car, they can help reduce the overall amount of interest paid during the life of the loan. Paying less in interest is a positive for most buyers. DOWN PAYMENTS CAN LET BUYERS OPT FOR A SHORTER LOAN TERM In addition, those who can make a significant down payment also might be able to choose a shorter loan. By decreasing the financing needs for the vehicle, they might decide to make larger payments each month and choose a three-year loan instead of a longer term. Larger down payments could give buyers more flexibility and more favorable terms and rates. Conversely, buyers who make a minimal down payment would need to have a larger portion of their vehicle financed. In order to keep monthly payments lower on a larger loan, buyers might opt for longer loan terms. While longer loans might keep payments reasonable, the interest rates could be higher. Longer loans also mean that buyers will pay more in interest over the life of the loan. THE DOWN PAYMENT CAN HELP EASE THE PAIN OF DEPRECIATION A new car depreciates quickly. In fact, once the buyer drives that new car out of the dealership, the vehicle depreciates around nine to 11 percent. With this in mind, those who opt for less than 10 percent down might be affected by depreciation immediately; the vehicle could be underwater by the time they drive home. According to KBB, vehicles drop 60 percent of the original purchase cost after five years. While car owners can help ease some value loss related to depreciation by caring for their vehicle, all cars will suffer loss in value because of age and mileage. Average Down Payment on a Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Preparing-for-a-Down-Payment.jpg] PREPARING FOR A DOWN PAYMENT Some buyers might not have a significant amount of extra cash sitting in their bank account to allocate for a down payment. How can they save for a car down payment? How much should they allocate for a down payment? There are many tools online that can help buyers figure out car financing and estimate what they might expect to pay for the vehicle. These car payment calculators typically allow potential buyers to input the purchase price of the car, an amount for a down payment and potential loan terms. Buyers can use a car payment calculator to better understand their possible monthly payments, but before they start calculating, there’s also one important factor they need to know: their credit score. Car loan interest rates typically are tied to credit worthiness or credit risk. Interest rates are more favorable for those with good credit, but rates rise with credit risk. Buyers shouldn’t be in the dark about their credit score. Every year, consumers are entitled to a free credit report. Request the credit report and then review the credit scores for each credit reporting bureau. Consumers also will want to make sure there are no errors in their report. The credit scores on free reports won’t necessarily mirror the scores that lenders see; however, the scores on reports will give consumers a good understanding of their credit worthiness. When consumers understand their credit, they can use the car payment calculators more effectively. For example, the car payment calculator from Nerdwallet lets consumers input their credit score to view an estimated interest rate. Potential buyers can enter in different amounts for a down payment so better understand how this amount impacts their monthly payments. Nerdwallet’s calculator also shows consumers how much they will pay in interest over the life of the loan as well as the total cost of the vehicle. These calculators can be a visual guide for buyers who want to understand the impact of the loan terms, down payment and interest rates for financing. WHAT IS THE BEST DOWN PAYMENT AMOUNT? Every buyer has a different budget for their car, and their financial circumstances are unique, too. While KBB recommends that buyers opt for a 10 percent down payment, not all buyers will be able to save up this amount for their down payment. However, any down payment amount could be beneficial. The down payment can help lower the cost of the vehicle and decrease the overall amount of interest paid during the life of the loan. In addition, in some cases, a down payment also could help buyers obtain a better interest rate. Down payments also could help offset the pain of depreciation. Vehicles lose value once they drive out of the dealership. A 10 percent down payment, for example, could help ensure that buyers aren’t underwater in their loan. When a car is ‘underwater,’ it means that the vehicle’s loan balance exceeds the value of the vehicle. Buyers also should remember that a trade-in can help them with the down payment costs, too. A trade-in also helps lower the price of the vehicle. Before using a vehicle as a trade-in, though, car owners should research the trade-in value via KBB. This can help ensure that the owner gets a fair price for their trade-in. USE RELAYCARS TO EXPLORE VEHICLES Car buyers who are researching their vehicle options can use RelayCars to preview different makes and models and find vehicles in their budget. The RelayCars app lets buyers explore models via interactive 3D imagery or virtual reality (for those with access to Google Cardboard). Buyers also can visit the RelayCars website on their mobile device to explore vehicles in augmented reality. Use the camera on a smartphone or tablet to preview a 3D image of a vehicle in the real environment. Explore a car in the garage, the backyard or just the driveway. RelayCars also provides buyers with all the necessary specs and data for thousands of makes and models. Compare prices and features for different vehicles to find the best option for the budget and driving needs. RelayCars also has partnered with CarSaver.com. The site lets buyers find cars in their budget and their preferences. Use the site to find financing and vehicle insurance, too. Buyers can take their financing information to the dealership to complete the deal. In addition, CarSaver offers a lifetime warranty on vehicles and the site even lets buyers find insurance rates through Liberty Mutual. Use RelayCars and CarSaver to research cars and drive off in the best way!
What are the Greatest Cars of All Time?
May 18, 2022
What are the greatest cars of all time? This is a question that has been asked by many. And, depending on who you ask, it can have many different answers. In fact, a car that one person considers “great” might not seem so great to the next person. With that said, though, there are some features that can help classify a car as better than average. There are also certain cars that are generally considered amazing by the vast majority of people. Here, you can learn what makes a car great and what some of these awesome vehicles have to offer. SAFETY When cars were first invented, safety wasn’t as much of a priority as it should have been. Unfortunately, this led to many preventable accidents, injuries, and even deaths. Thankfully, modern cars tend to be much safer, on the whole, than the vehicles of years past. That doesn’t mean that every car is as safe as the next, though. Cars can actually vary quite significantly in terms of how safe they are. It really all comes down to the design and the included safety features. Thus, in order to be considered truly great, a car should be as safe as possible. It should have undergone extensive safety testing and should have as many safety features as are reasonable for the price. ATTRACTIVENESS A lot of people say that looks don’t matter, but that doesn’t make it true. The actual truth is that everyone wants a car that makes them feel good. They want a car they’re proud to own and that they’re more than happy to show off. That’s why the best cars are as stylish and attractive as they are reliable. Of course, preference does play a role. A car that one person finds ugly can be the height of sophistication to another person. It’s all about what you’re looking for. Ideally, you should find a car that appeals to your sense of style. Some also argue that the greatest cars don’t just look nice for a few years after they’re manufactured. Instead, they maintain their attractiveness for decades to come and are true classics. Aesthetics are subjective, though, so the real key is to choose a car that you like to look at. SPEED The whole purpose of owning a car is having the ability to get up and go somewhere. As such, no one wants a car that is slow and can’t reach high speeds. That’s why really amazing cars are strong, powerful, and fast. In order to qualify, a car needs an engine designed for performance, as well as an aerodynamic build and a near perfect powertrain. If you can find a car that has all of that and then some, then chances are you’ve found a wonderful car. Greatest Cars of All Time [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Comfort.jpg] COMFORT No matter how great a car looks, that doesn’t mean much if it’s uncomfortable to sit in or, even worse, to drive. And, just like beauty, comfort can be somewhat subjective. However, most people would agree that, in order to be comfy, a car needs ample seating for its passengers and should never feel cramped or crowded. Plush seats, attractive interiors, and reliable heating and cooling systems help as well. REASONABLE PRICING Different people have different definitions of “affordable.” With that said, though, the best vehicles are those that are reasonably priced for what you get. If you’re paying rock bottom prices, you probably just want something that runs. If you’re paying higher amounts, you deserve lots of great features. A car’s price should always reflect its quality and what it has to offer. Furthermore, cars in the “great” category will probably offer you a little bit more than you might expect based on the cost. LONG-TERM AFFORDABILITY While a low upfront price is always nice, remember that there are long-term costs involved with owning a vehicle. Good cars will be affordable to purchase and to own. For example, they might offer great gas mileage, which means you spend less on fuel over the car’s lifespan. Or, they might require very little maintenance or have parts that last for the long haul. Usually, the longer a car can last and the cheaper it is to own and operate, the greater it is. ENTERTAINMENT FEATURES With any car, safety and reliability are vital. However, people also want a car they can enjoy. That’s why top cars will offer both things you want and things you need. Entertainment features, such as infotainment systems, Apple CarPlay, USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity, and more are all highly desirable and are marks of an excellent vehicle. RESALE VALUE You’ve probably heard that a new car starts depreciating the second you drive it off the lot. And, while this is true to a certain degree, it’s more true for some cars than others. Superior vehicles have and maintain high resale values for quite some time. As a result, you should be able to sell it and recoup some of your investment at just about any time during the car’s life. EXCEPTIONAL OPTIONS Now that you know a little bit more about what elevates a car from “good” to “great,” it’s time to explore some options. Below, you’ll find a list of some of the greatest cars of all time. They may not check every single box in the list above, but they’re vehicles that, overall, most people would consider pretty amazing. Greatest Cars of All Time [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/1886-Benz-Motorwagen.jpg] THE 1886 BENZ MOTORWAGEN If you step way back in history, you’ll find that some cars of the past were actually quite extraordinary. Case in point is the 1886 Benz Motorwagen. While some people argue over its status as the first motor-powered car, it was at least one of the first. It definitely wasn’t fast. But, if it wasn’t for this little car, drivers probably wouldn’t have the vehicles they know and love today, which is why it deserves a spot on this list. THE BMW E30 M3 A great car doesn’t necessarily have to be a perfect car. In fact, the BMW E30 M3, first produced in 1986, had one major shortcoming: a not-so-powerful engine. Despite that fact, it was incredibly versatile and could be driven just about anywhere. Plus, it was very reliable, which is why so many still remember it fondly. THE 1994 AUDI RS2 The 1994 Audi RS2 can be hard to find these days, especially in the United States, and especially if you want one in working order. If you ever get the chance to check out this little car, though, do it. It was lauded for its stellar performance, plush interior, and extreme collectability. In fact, on the off chance you find one for sale, snatch it up for safekeeping or turn around and sell it yourself. You’ll make a bundle. THE PORSCHE 911 RS 2.7 When you hear the name “Porsche,” you probably think of luxury, and the Porsche 911 RS 2.7 definitely fits the bill. Much like the aforementioned BMW, this car was known for killer performance across a variety of terrains. It can also get some major power very quickly, so it’s more of a car for the adventurous. THE 2022 HYUNDAI SONATA HYBRID If you’re looking for something a lot more modern that still classifies as illustrious, then turn to the 2022 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. As you can imagine, it’s still very much on the market and attainable. It’s also known for a gorgeous, comfortable interior and near perfect handling. Anyone searching for a hybrid is sure to appreciate this one. THE 2009 ALFA ROMEO 8C When it comes to sporty style and general attractiveness, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything cooler than the 2009 Alfa Romeo 8C. Yes, it’s expensive, but the lucky few who own it tend to feel like the price is more than justified. It has a V8 engine and can reach incredibly high speeds in a matter of seconds. However, like the Audi RS2, it’s not a common car, so your chances of actually finding one are slim. THE 1985 MERCEDES-BENZ W124 Many people consider the 1985 Mercedes-Benz W124 to be the perfect midsize vehicle. And, it must have done something right since it influenced a lot of the cars that came after. Back when it was released, it cost just over $32,000, but that was actually a steal given the fact that these cars lasted indefinitely. Cars have a long history in America and around the globe. While some vehicles won’t be remembered or won’t be remembered fondly, others made a major impression. What’s nice is that you can learn a lot from history. You can learn what makes a car great, which, in turn, can help you make more informed buying choices. So, the next time you’re shopping for a vehicle, be sure to keep this list in mind.
What Does APR Stand For?
May 17, 2022
Buying a vehicle can be an endeavor. If this is a consumer’s first car shopping experience, the process can seem overwhelming and maybe even slightly stressful. Buyers have to figure out their budget and decide what car is best for their needs. The perfect car might not even be available when inventory is low. In addition, buyers also have to decide how they want to pay for their purchase. More than 80 percent of car buyers finance their vehicle. However, loans vary and many buyers might notice that APR isn’t consistent. What does APR stand for and why is it an important acronym in the financing process? What Does APR Stand For [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Deciphering-APR.jpg] DECIPHERING APR The acronym APR stands for “annual percentage rate.” This refers to a loan’s interest rate. The APR can be impacted by the market, the consumer’s credit worthiness or risk and/or perhaps even the length of the loan, too. According to Investopedia, “APR is calculated by multiplying the periodic interest rate by the number of periods in a year in which it was applied.” In addition, the site explains that lenders need to disclose the APR as required by the Truth in Lending Act. For this reason, car buyers will be able to review their APR of the loans that they are considering. They can review their options to decide which loan offers the best interest rate (per the listed APR), or they might gravitate towards the loan with the lowest payment or maybe even the best terms. What Does APR Stand For [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Why-is-APR-Higher.jpg] WHY IS APR HIGHER? Car buyers shopping for a new car might notice that last year’s posted interest rates might have been lower than those advertised now. The same is true for mortgage rates. When the Federal Reserve raises interest rates, this often reverberates to consumers. Interest rate hikes can lead to higher borrowing costs for consumers purchasing a new or used car. In addition, the consumer’s credit score also impacts the interest rate they receive from a lender. To better understand their credit scores, consumers can request a credit report. Every 12 months, a consumer can receive a free report. When reviewing a credit report, consumers should look for any errors in their credit. In addition, they should pay attention to their credit score. The score on free reports might not mirror the exact numbers that lenders see, but they should be close. A high credit score can help consumers get more favorable interest rates. Those with poor or low scores might need to work on trying to repair their credit; however, the scores also could prepare them for higher rates. The interest rate of a loan also could be influenced by the length of the loan. According to NerdWallet, car loans beyond five years have higher interest rates. In addition, long loans also will mean that the consumer will pay more in interest over time; the principal is divided into more payments, but the interest payments extend longer, too. GETTING PRE-QUALIFIED OR PRE-APPROVED TO UNDERSTAND RATES Car buyers shopping for a loan might have the option to get pre-qualified or pre-approved online. These two terms do not mean the same thing, although some may use the terms interchangeably. Typically, getting pre-qualified for a loan doesn’t require the consumer to enter a social security number. Pre-qualification is known as a soft credit inquiry and, for this reason, shouldn’t impact a credit score. Consumers will need to enter basic data related to their housing costs, their work history and income. Once the consumer inputs this information, the site might show loans for which the consumer might qualify. Then the individual can review potential interest rates, monthly payments and loan terms. Pre-qualification doesn’t mean that the individual has been approved for the loan. Consider pre-qualification as more of an informational resource to consider loan options. Some sites might conflate pre-qualification and pre-approval, though. They might require more information like a social security number. If a consumer feels uneasy about entering information, don’t continue with the process. Instead, reach out to the business to inquire if entering information will impact the credit score or be considered a ‘pre-approval’ for the loan. Standard pre-approvals will typically ask for more detailed information from the applicant. For car loans, Experian explains that tax returns, proof of income and other documentation might be required. Pre-approvals for mortgages and car loans often will impact a credit score; credit inquiries are part of credit score compilations, however inquiries done at once are often considered one inquiry. This can get confusing, and consumers should talk to a lender if they have questions. Experian notes that these credit inquiries will only appear on a report for a few months and won’t have a big impact. Again, though, if consumers are confused or concerned about the process, they should reach out to the lender before proceeding. What Does APR Stand For [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/APR-Loan-Lengths-and-Monthly-Payments.jpg] APR, LOAN LENGTHS AND MONTHLY PAYMENTS Every consumer is different regarding their loan preferences. For example, some buyers need the lowest payment possible to afford a vehicle. This might mean that they are ok with accepting a longer loan term (even if the rate is slightly higher). Other car buyers want to own the car as soon as possible. They might look for a three-year loan and tackle higher payments to ensure that they aren’t stuck with an extended loan (and years of car payments). However, buyers also might understand that they have many choices when applying for financing for a new car. They can compare rates offered by their bank or another financial institution. Some credit unions or banks could offer a better interest rate than the dealership might offer. There are times, though, that dealerships offer promotions that a bank can’t beat. In the past, dealerships were able to offer 0 percent financing to qualified buyers. These buyers might have been consumers with outstanding credit; the loan also could have included a set loan term. This might have meant that even with the 0 percent interest, payments might have been too high for some buyers (who needed longer loans to lower the monthly payments). Some websites let consumers search different lenders to find the best loan for their needs. Again, some buyers want the lowest APR, others want the lowest monthly payment. These sites can help buyers find a loan that works for their financial situation. DOWN PAYMENTS CAN HELP LOWER MONTHLY PAYMENTS While the APR influences the monthly payment and can lead to buyers paying more or less for their car each month, there is another aspect of the buying process that can help buyers lower both their purchase price and perhaps their monthly payment, too. Down payments and even the amount of a trade-in can help offset the final purchase price of a vehicle. Down payments also can help lower the impact of depreciation when purchasing a new car. Experts recommend that buyers allocate 20 percent of the purchase price for the down payment; if the car price is $30K, the down payment should be $6,000. Since the value of a vehicle can depreciate about nine to 11 percent once a car owner drives their new car off the lot, a good down payment can be important to ensuring that a new car doesn’t immediately go underwater. The term ‘underwater’ refers to the loan balance being higher than the value of the vehicle. In addition to a down payment, some car buyers also might have a vehicle to offer the dealership as a trade-in. However, before visiting the dealership, car owners should research the value of their trade-in vehicle via Kelley Blue Book (KBB). The site will ask the owner to enter the VIN, license plate number or just the make/model/year of the vehicle. Then the owner will need to select the vehicle’s trim as well as any options or upgrades (or they can simply select the base). They also will need to note the condition of the vehicle; KBB explains each condition category to understand each option. Car owners can then review either the trade-in value of the vehicle or the resale value. The resale value will be higher than the trade-in value, as the price of the trade-in needs to account for the dealership’s profit margin. Once car owners understand the value of their trade-in, they can be in a better negotiating position. However, buyers should be honest about the condition of their vehicle. Trying to boost the value of the vehicle by selecting a better condition won’t do much good at the dealership; they know the difference. UNDERSTAND APR AND ALL THE LOAN DETAILS While the APR of a loan influences the monthly payment and how much the buyer will pay for the vehicle over the life of that loan, some buyers might need longer loans to afford the car they need. When choosing financing for a vehicle, consumers should understand how much they can feasibly spend each month. They need to review their budget and their income and expenses. Experts recommend that a car payment should be less than 10 percent of a consumer’s monthly take-home pay. However, some may be able to afford more or less. Ultimately, buyers need to know how the APR impacts their monthly payment. They can shop around for the best rates and review all their options. In addition, car buyers should never be afraid to ask questions during the process.
What is the Best Looking Minivan?
May 16, 2022
The once-popular minivan started to fall out of favor when sports utility vehicles drove onto the automotive market. However, the minivan is starting to become a popular choice for families yet again; in fact, sales for minivans surged more than 80 percent for the second quarter of 2021. What is the best looking minivan? The model with the best design might be a matter of opinion, but buyers have four models from which to choose: * Chrysler Pacifica * Honda Odyssey * Toyota Sienna * Kia Carnival Two models—the Pacifica and the Sienna—are available as hybrids. While the Sienna is only available as a hybrid, consumers looking at the Pacifica could choose a standard model or a hybrid Pacifica. THE FOUR MODELS COMPARED The four minivan models remaining on the market are quite comparable in price and safety. The Pacifica, Sienna and Odyssey all received a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Kia Carnival received a Top Safety Pick (for models built after March 2021 and equipped with specific headlights) from the IIHS. All four models also are comparable in price. The Kia Carnival is the least expensive option among the four; the Carnival has a base price of $32,300. The Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is the most expensive minivan model, with a base price of $48,478. In addition, the Sienna and the Pacifica Hybrid offer the best fuel efficiency. The Sienna offers an estimated 36 MPG (combined). The Pacifica Hybrid can get an estimated 84 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent). In addition, the Pacifica Hybrid is the only plug-in hybrid on the market. WHAT’S THE BEST LOOKING MINIVAN? The preference for a car’s design might be a matter of personal opinion. Gear Patrol picked the 2022 Toyota Sienna as the best looking minivan for 2022. The site noted that the choices were focused on two models: the Sienna and the Carnival. The Sienna was chosen for “its sex appeal” as it embraced the van life with a massive grille. Can a minivan really be “sexy?” Compared to the other options, the Sienna might just be the best design. Gear Patrol posited that the Carnival had a design that tried to embrace more of an SUV aesthetic. Best Looking Minivan [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/The-Best-Looking-Minivans-of-the-Past.jpg] THE BEST LOOKING MINIVANS OF THE PAST Unfortunately, buyers don’t have many new minivan models from which to choose. Through the years, the options have whittled down as many manufacturers discontinued the minivan from their lineup. What’s the coolest minivan of the past? Again, this could be a matter of opinion. However, consumers might look at the humble beginnings of the minivan. While the ‘van’ technically drove onto the scene in the ‘80s, the minivan really surged in the ‘90s. The minivan had an earlier ancestor, too: the microbus. Volkswagen’s iconic microbus eventually became synonymous with the summer of love, hippies and a nomadic lifestyle. Some consumers might consider the microbus as the coolest design for a bus or van. As more individuals have embraced the van life, the microbus and minivan might have become more intriguing options. Families convert these vehicles to include a bed and other amenities that make them conducive for life on the road. ARE THERE NEW MINIVAN MODELS? Choices for new minivan models might be limited now, but the future could hold some new models for consumers. For example, Volkswagen is set to debut an updated microbus called the VW ID. Buzz. The new bus will be an electric model with an estimated range of about 260 miles. Car and Driver notes that the new ID.Buzz should debut in 2024. While buyers might have a few years to wait for this new van option, it could be a nostalgic and popular model. Car and Driver estimates that buyers might expect to pay around $40,000 for the new bus. This price point would make the model one of the more expensive bus/van options on the market. THE DESIGN OF A MINIVAN VS. AN SUV Gear Patrol compared the design of the Carnival to an SUV, and consumers might wonder how these two vehicles differ in design. An SUV is built on a truck chassis, and this design makes the SUV heavier. Some consumers like the heft of the SUV as it makes them feel safer on the road. Minivans are not built on a truck chassis. They also typically feature sliding side doors; buyers can often opt to purchase automatic sliding doors as an option. Hit a button on the key fob, and the doors conveniently slide open. This is a great feature for parents who need to place a sleeping child into the minivan or drivers whose hands are full. While some buyers might assume that SUVs are the most spacious option, the minivan actually offers the most cargo space. Minivan models might include seats that can be removed or folded down to open up the back space. Drivers who need a vehicle for towing, though, might be better suited for an SUV. Some larger SUVs can tow more than 8,000 pounds. Most minivan models, though, have towing capacities limited to about 3,500 pounds; the Pacifica offers the highest towing capacity (3,600 pounds). Best Looking Minivan [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Used-Minivans-Present-Possibilities.jpg] USED MINIVANS PRESENT POSSIBILITIES As buyers have only a handful of minivan models from which to choose, some might decide to shop for a pre-owned or used model. Pre-owned minivans also could be more budget-friendly. When shopping for a used minivan, though, buyers also might want to have more details about the safety ratings of the older options. Buyers can visit the IIHS website to research older minivan models; the site provides a search query tool that lets buyers search by make and model. Once buyers enter the make/model, they can select the model year to review the safety scorecard of earlier models. Those who are looking at older minivans also can research the dependability of a particular model. J.D. Power releases its yearly Dependability Award winners; winners are always models from three years prior. The 2021 Dependability Award winner for the minivan category was the 2018 Toyota Sienna. For each individual category, buyers can click on a link to see the scores of all the other models. All models are reviewed from ‘verified owners,’ and J.D. Power reviewed vehicle data from more than 80,000 owners. The 2021 awards reviewed 2018 models, and there were several minivan models that have since been discontinued. For example, the 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan came in at second place (behind the Sienna). The list also included the now discontinued Kia Sedona (which ranked last among the models). Best Looking Minivan [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Research-Minivans-Using-RelayCars.jpg] RESEARCH MINIVANS USING RELAYCARS Car buyers looking for a new minivan can explore all their options by downloading the RelayCars app or using the RelayCars mobile site. The RelayCars app lets buyers preview minivan models in virtual reality (if they have access to Google Cardboard) or by using 3D imagery. The RelayCars mobile website includes explorative preview options that integrate augmented reality. However, consumers also can explore models on the screen via interactive 3D car models. With 3D imagery, app or site visitors can use their finger to interact with the photo of a selected vehicle. The immersive model can be turned around and viewed from any angle. Consumers also can explore the interior. The RelayCars mobile website also provides users with an augmented reality showroom experience. Using a camera from a smartphone or tablet, consumers can select a vehicle model that can be transported into their own environment. The car, minivan, SUV or truck appears as a 3D model and can be dropped anywhere—view the vehicle in a garage, on the front lawn or in the driveway. RelayCars also gives consumers the option to switch out the paint hue of any vehicle. For every model in the inventory, RelayCars includes all the available color options offered by the manufacturer. Preview the vehicle in every color to find the best hue. Consumers also can use RelayCars to gather more information about a particular model. The app and the website provide data on every vehicle’s base price and specs. Use RelayCars to compare multiple models or just to find out more information on a favorite model. When an individual is ready to purchase their car, the RelayCars app also provides a portal to Carsavers.com; consumers can explore a vehicle in an interactive 3D vehicle showroom. They can even explore the interior of different models and look around each vehicle. Navigating to Carsaver.com transports the buyer to a site that allows them to browse available vehicles and find the best prices on a new car. Finding a new minivan is an immersive and interactive experience with RelayCars. Buyers can use the site as their one-stop destination to explore different older and newer minivan models. Change out the paint hues, look inside the van and even preview different models in the real world with augmented reality. RelayCars links up to Carsaver.com so buyers can find the best prices for the vehicle they want after comparing and previewing their favorite options via RelayCars.
Kia vs. Hyundai: How Do the Brands Differ?
May 13, 2022
Car buyers have a long list of automobile brands from which to choose. Every brand offers an extensive lineup that features sedans, compact cars, SUVs, trucks and maybe even hybrid or electric models, too. Kia and Hyundai are affordable brands and are headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. How do the cars from these brands differ? Are they the same company? In a matchup of Kia vs. Hyundai, the most popular models for each will be compared by price, fuel efficiency and safety. The matchups are: * Hyundai Accent vs. Kia Rio * Hyundai Elantra vs. Kia Forte * Hyundai Venue vs. Kia Soul * Hyundai Palisade vs. Kia Sorento IS KIA OWNED BY HYUNDAI? Buyers might wonder if Kia is owned by Hyundai. In fact, Kia Corporation is owned by Hyundai Motor Company. While the brands are separate, Hyundai Motor Group purchased a majority share in Kia Corporation in 1998. Think of Kia and Hyundai a bit like GM and Chevrolet. General Motors has GM and Chevrolet as brands (or divisions). GM and Chevy models, though, sometimes overlap in features and specs. When comparing Kia and Hyundai, car buyers also shouldn’t be surprised if there are more similarities than differences. THE MATCHUPS: KIA VS. HYUNDAI When comparing Kia versus Honda, buyers might need to look closely to find differences. Again, buyers shouldn’t be surprised to find some similar specs. HYUNDAI ACCENT VS. KIA RIO First up, the Hyundai Accent vs. the Kia Rio. Both models are compact vehicles, and they are the most affordable models for their respective brands. The Hyundai Accent has a base price of $16,645 and the Kia Rio has a base price of $16,250. For price, the Rio has a slight edge. How do these two models compare for fuel efficiency, though? The Hyundai Accent offers an estimated 41 MPG on the highway, while the Kia Rio also offers 41 MPG on the highway. Both models are perfectly matched in this regard. Both also featured similar safety scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Winner: the Rio, but only because it’s slightly less expensive. HYUNDAI ELANTRA VS. KIA FORTE While the Rio and the Accent are subcompact cars (very small), the Elantra and the Forte are considered small in size. The Hyundai Elantra is designed like a small or compact sedan and has a base price of $19,950. The Forte has a base price of $19,090. Both the Elantra and the Soul offer decent fuel efficiency. The Elantra can get up to 43 MPG on the highway, and the Forte gets 41 MPG on the highway. The Elantra has the slight edge in this category. The 2022 Hyundai Elantra received a Top Safety Pick rating (when equipped with certain headlights) from IIHS. The Winner: The Elantra for safety and fuel efficiency. However, the Forte offers the best price. HYUNDAI VENUE VS. KIA SOUL The Hyundai Venue and the Kia Soul are both smaller SUVs. However, the Soul is designed in the body type of a wagon. The Venue has a base price of $19,000, and the Kia Soul has a base price of $19,290. Both are fairly fuel efficient for SUVs. The Venue can get up to 33 MPG on the highway, and the Soul can get up to 35 MPG on the highway. Both are evenly matched in this regard. Which model is the safer choice? The Kia Soul received a Top Safety Pick (when equipped with front crash prevention and specific headlights) rating from the IIHS. The Hyundai Venue also received a Top Safety Pick rating (with specific headlights). The Winner: The Venue wins for offering a lower price. HYUNDAI PALISADE VS. KIA TELLURIDE The Hyundai Palisade and the Kia Telluride are both full-size SUVs. The Palisade has space for up to eight passengers, and the Kia Telluride has room for seven or eight (depending on the choice of the buyer). Both offer the third row that many families need. How do these models compare related to price? The Hyundai Palisade has a base price of $33,350, and the Telluride has a base price of $33,090. As both models are larger SUVs, fuel efficiency might not be as ideal as smaller vehicles. However, both the Palisade and the Telluride can get up to 26 MPG on the highway. The Hyundai Palisade also received a Top Safety Pick+ rating from IIHS, and the Kia Telluride received a Top Safety Pick rating (when equipped with specific headlights). The Winner: The Telluride offers the best price, while the Palisade has the best safety rating. KIA AND HYUNDAI: IS ONE BRAND THE BETTER BRAND? Kia and Hyundai models tend to be comparable in price and fuel efficiency. Some models score better than others related to safety ratings, and this might be a key area that buyers research when determining their best option. The two brands offer similar automobiles, and, in fact, their models are often quite similar in many ways. Kia’s reputation, though, has always been about offering budget-friendly, economical vehicles. When it comes to affordability, Kia offers some of the best prices on the market. Hyundai, though, doesn’t offer prices that are far beyond that of Kia. While Hyundai models might differ from a similar Kia model by a few hundred dollars, this is a minimal difference for automobiles. Both brands offer models with great fuel efficiency. When the similar models for Kia and Hyundai are compared, their MPG specs are often identical. Some buyers might simply prefer one brand over another brand. Again, Kia and Hyundai are a bit like GM and Chevrolet. They are very similar, but there are a few differences. A test drive could be a determining factor when buyers are trying to decide which brand is best for their needs. ARE KIA AND HYUNDAI THE SAME COMPANY? Kia and Hyundai are owned by the Hyundai Motor Company. However, in regards to Kia, Hyundai Motor Company owns the majority stake of Kia Corporation. Kia is a corporation, and it’s also a brand. Hyundai Motor Company also includes the luxury brand Genesis. While Kia and Hyundai are owned by the same company, they also function as different brands. Kia vs Hyundai [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Do-Kia-and-Hyundai-Offer-Hybrids-or-Electric-Models.jpg] DO KIA AND HYUNDAI OFFER HYBRIDS OR ELECTRIC MODELS? Some buyers might be interested in the fuel efficiency offered by hybrid or electric models. Both Kia and Hyundai offer hybrid and electric models. Hyundai’s energy-efficient models include: * Kona Electric * Tucson Hybrid * Tucson Plug-In Hybrid * Santa Fe Hybrid * Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid * IONIQ 5 * NEXO Fuel Cell * Elantra Hybrid * Sonata Hybrid * IONIQ Hybrid * IONIQ Plug-In Hybrid * IONIQ Electric Kia also offers a large selection of hybrid and electric models. Kia’s energy-efficient lineup includes: * Niro * Sportage Hybrid * Niro Plug-In Hybrid * Sorento Hybrid * Niro EV * EV6 * Sorento Plug-In Hybrid Kia’s most expensive fuel-efficient model is the Sorento Plug-In Hybrid, which has a base price of $45,190. The Niro (hybrid) is the most budget-friendly option, with a base price of $24,690. Hyundai’s most expensive fuel-efficient option is the hydrogen fuel cell model, the NEXO. It has a base price of $59,435. The least expensive model is the Elantra Hybrid, which has a base price of $23,850. Kia vs Hyundai [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/How-RelayCars-Helps-Buyers-Explore-Kia-and-Hyundai-Models.jpg] HOW RELAYCARS HELPS BUYERS EXPLORE KIA AND HYUNDAI MODELS Choosing between Kia and Hyundai models might not be easy for buyers. Both offer similar vehicles, so how can buyers explore their options when shopping at home? The RelayCars app and the RelayCars website provide car shoppers with immersive solutions for car exploration. The RelayCars app lets shoppers preview vehicles using 3D immersive and interactive imagery or in virtual reality (for consumers who have Google Cardboard). The RelayCars website lets shoppers use 3D imagery or augmented reality to explore different vehicles. However, the augmented reality option is only available when accessing the website via a mobile device. How do these immersive tools help buyers in their decision? With 3D imagery, car shoppers can use their fingers to turn the model of the vehicle around; they can look at the car from any vantage point. With virtual reality, shoppers are transported to a virtual showroom where they can view the vehicle of their choice. Augmented reality offers the option of previewing a car in any space. Using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet, a 3D car image can be transported into any area. View a car model in the garage or in the driveway. RelayCars also provides shoppers with specs and data for thousands of makes and models. For those comparing models from Hyundai and Kia, use RelayCars to find the MSRP and other details. If shoppers are experiencing RelayCars via the website, they can open two different browser pages for the site and explore models from different brands simultaneously. Once buyers find their ideal vehicle on RelayCars, they also can connect to a site within the app to find that car in their area. RelayCars lets buyers research and explore any car model that they want, but they also can use the app to shop for that vehicle, too. RelayCars is a one-stop shop for car research and for finding the best vehicle prices, too!
What is a Good Down Payment for a Car?
May 11, 2022
When you make a major purchase, you will often be asked to contribute a down payment. That’s true when you buy a home, and it’s also true when you purchase a car. Fortunately, most dealers don’t have a hard and fast rule about how much of a down payment you have to put down. Many don’t even require a certain amount. They’ll just ask you what you’re able to pay. Having a choice can be good, especially if you’re in a tough financial spot and really need a car. But, if it’s all possible, you should try to make a fairly sizable down payment. In fact, the higher your down payment, the better. Here, you’ll learn what size down payments are recommended, as well as some tips and tricks to save up for the expense. AIM FOR 10 TO 20% While you might not be required to put down a certain amount, there is a general “rule of thumb” that most buyers go by. That rule is to provide 20% of the purchase price of a new car as a down payment. If you’re buying used, the standard goes down to only 10%. Depending on the value of your car and the state of your savings, that can be quite a bit of money. But, if you have it, it’s in your best interest to contribute at least this amount. That’s because there are some surprising benefits to submitting a large down payment. LOWER INTEREST RATES One of the nicest potential benefits of a big down payment is that it could mean lower interest rates. Lenders base interest rates on many factors, including how much you’re attempting to borrow, your credit score, and how much of a risk you pose to them. Handing over a large down payment lowers your loan amount. It also shows, regardless of your credit, that you have money to spend. Those factors combined may help a lender to offer you much better terms and a lower interest rate, which means you could pay less for your car. INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF APPROVAL Many borrowers think that, if they apply for a car loan, they’ll get it, no matter what. Unfortunately, though, that’s not always the case. While there are some finance companies that specialize in high-risk borrowers or borrowers with bad credit, there are also plenty of lenders who will turn down your application if it’s not up to their standards. That can be embarrassing. Plus, it may lead you to seek out less scrupulous lenders, which is never a wise idea. Fortunately, a hefty down payment can increase your chances of getting approved for a loan, and a more desirable loan at that. So, if you have doubts about your ability to get approved, offer up as much of a down payment as you can to stack the odds in your favor. What is a Good Down Payment for a Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Enjoy-a-Lower-Regular-Payment-Amount.jpg] ENJOY A LOWER REGULAR PAYMENT AMOUNT No one wants to be forced into a huge car payment each month. In fact, this can set you up for failure from the start and make it much harder to pay off your loan. Luckily, a larger down payment can mean a lower, more reasonable monthly payment amount. It reduces the total you are borrowing, which means you can pay less each month. If you’re aiming for a specific payment amount, talk with your lender or dealer about how much of a down payment you would need to achieve that payment amount. While paying a bigger down payment may pose a challenge at first, it should pay off in the long run. IF YOU CAN PAY MORE, DO IT! Sometimes, people choose to buy a car because they’ve recently come into a large sum of money. Or, their overall financial situation might have improved. If this applies to you and you can afford to pay more than 10 or 20%, go for it. There is no rule that says you can’t pay more than the standard. In fact, most lenders will be quite pleased if you plan to pay more than average. And, of course, if you’re one of the lucky few who can pay for your vehicle outright, go ahead and do so. Then, you won’t have to worry about interest charges, payment plans, or anything else. You’ll just have a great new or new-to-you car to enjoy. WHAT IF YOU DON’T HAVE A DOWN PAYMENT? If you don’t have a big sum of money you can use for a down payment just sitting around, don’t feel bad. Many car buyers have trouble coming up with their down payments. However, that doesn’t mean that you should go out and try to get a car without making a down payment or that you should make a very small one. Instead, you should still try to aim for at least a 10 or 20% down payment. It might just take a little scrimping and saving on your part. PLAN AHEAD Not everyone is lucky enough to get advance notice that they’ll need a new car. Sometimes, your current car breaks down and can’t be fixed, leaving you to scramble and find a new one. Other times, an unexpected accident can lead to the need for a new car. But, if you do have some kind of advance notice, such as your old car slowing down or not working as well, start saving as soon as you possibly can. The more time you give yourself to save, the better your chances of building a big down payment and enjoying the benefits that go along with it. MAKE (AND STICK TO) A BUDGET When you’re trying to save money, one of the best things to do is to make and stick to a budget. Sit down and look carefully at what you earn versus what you spend each month. Think about which expenses are absolute must-haves and which ones could be eliminated. Things like going out to eat or subscribing to multiple entertainment services are great examples of expenses you can temporarily cut from your budget. Work savings into your budget as well. If you can save 10 or 20% from each paycheck towards your down payment, chances are that you’ll be ready to buy a car before you know it. What is a Good Down Payment for a Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Keep-Your-Eye-on-the-Prize.jpg] KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE PRIZE Sticking to that great budget you’ve set isn’t always easy. That’s why many people find it helpful to keep their goal clearly in mind. Consider putting a picture of your dream car in your wallet or somewhere else where you’ll see it often. Use this photo or other visual as a reminder of what you’re working toward and why you’re saving. It can really help you through the tough times. Furthermore, if you know which specific car you want, you’ll have a better idea of how much of a down payment you should be saving for. GO AHEAD AND CLIP SOME COUPONS Buying groceries with coupons might not seem like much fun. However, it can really help you save. Instead of throwing away those fliers full of coupons, cut out the ones for items you need. You can also browse the sales while you’re at it. Additionally, remember that groceries aren’t the only things that go on sale. You can often find discounts or discount codes for lots of other things you buy. So, keep your eyes peeled. And, speaking of sales, pay attention to car dealerships in your area. You never know when one might run a sale or promotion that can help you get your car at a lower price. CONSIDER ASKING FOR HELP If you’re doing all you can to save but your progress is unbearably slow, you might want to consider asking for a little help. It’s not easy to ask, but you might have close friends or family members who would be willing to help you make a down payment on a car or even co-sign your loan. This can help a lot, particularly if they have better credit than you. Of course, for most people, this option is a last resort, but it’s something worth considering, especially if you’re having a rough time saving or need a car as soon as possible. Alternatively, you could also take out a loan or open a credit card to help cover the down payment. But, if you do this, you’ll need to be prepared to pay both the loan or card and your car payment at the same time. Buying a car is exciting, but it does involve financial responsibility. The first big responsibility is your down payment. Set yourself up to pay as much as you can afford, and you’ll also set yourself up for a successful car buying experience.
What Types of Minivans Can Buyers Choose?
May 9, 2022
Minivans were once the preferred vehicle for families. These larger vehicles offered ample passenger space plus room for sports gear and other cargo. While minivans have been eclipsed in sales by SUVs, some families still prefer the quintessential van for the comfort, space and ease of access that they offer. What types of minivans can buyers choose? The options have slimmed down as many manufacturers have discontinued the minivan from their lineup, but there are still four popular minivan models available: * Honda Odyssey * Kia Carnival * Chrysler Pacifica * Toyota Sienna THE MINIVAN WASN’T ALWAYS ‘MINI’ The minivan began its rise to popularity in the early ‘80s. Back then, they were just known as vans. Some families even opted for a larger full-size cargo van that provided a spacious interior for long trips. The way, way back seats could be dropped down to create a makeshift bed. By the ‘90s, these vans took on their standard ‘mini’ designation and had become the vehicle of choice for many families. The nostalgic site Click Americana has a page dedicated to the minivan movement and highlights all the popular models of these ‘mom-mobiles’ as the minivan was often called. The introduction of the sports utility vehicle (SUV) eventually led to the minivan falling out of favor. An Autotrader executive interviewed for a USA Today article cited the ‘soccer mom’ stereotype of the minivan. Everything old is eventually new again, though. While sales of minivans have fallen as sales of SUVs have surged, the minivan is starting to become en vogue. In fact, a press release from Autotrader noted that minivan sales increased more than 80 percent during the second quarter of 2021. Types of Minivans [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/The-Four-Different-Minivan-Models.jpg] THE FOUR DIFFERENT MINIVAN MODELS For the 2022 model year, Chrysler shed its minivan offerings for consumers to only the Pacifica. The manufacturer previously offered both the Pacifica and the Voyager, but the latter minivan is now only for ‘fleet.’ This lineup change meant that buyers now only have four minivan models from which to choose. What is the best minivan on the market? That’s up to the consumer to decide, as these models tend to be fairly similar for reliability, safety and price. Here’s what buyers need to know about each available model. Types of Minivans [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Honda-Odyssey-1.jpg] HONDA ODYSSEY The Odyssey was introduced in 1994, and it’s been going strong since then. The 2022 model is priced at $33,040. It can tow up to 3,500 pounds and has space for up to eight (but that depends on the buyer’s choices). The Odyssey also is fairly fuel efficient for its size. The minivan can get up to 19 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway. It received a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). This is the highest safety rating that a vehicle can earn. Types of Minivans [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Kia-Carnival-1.jpg] KIA CARNIVAL The 2022 Kia Carnival is slightly less expensive than the Odyssey. The Carnival has a base price of $32,300. Like the Odyssey, the Carnival also can tow up to 1,500 pounds. The Carnival’s fuel efficiency also is similar to that of the Odyssey; the Carnival can get 19 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway. The Carnival received a Top Safety Pick rating (when equipped with specific headlights and built after March 2021) from the IIHS. Types of Minivans [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Chrysler-Pacifica.jpg] CHRYSLER PACIFICA While Chrysler dropped its Voyager minivan, it offers the Pacifica in both a standard model and a hybrid model. While the standard Pacifica has decent fuel efficiency (19 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway), the hybrid model has a range of 520 miles. However, the standard Pacifica is priced at $37,095 while the hybrid has a base price of $48,478. The Chrysler Pacifica received a Top Safety Pick+ rating from IIHS. Of all the minivans on the market, the Pacifica offers the highest towing capacity; it can tow up to 3,600 pounds. Types of Minivans [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Toyota-Sienna-1.jpg] TOYOTA SIENNA The Toyota Sienna debuted in 1998. The 2022 model is priced at $34,710 and can tow up to 3,500 pounds. It offers better fuel efficiency than its competitors because it’s also a hybrid. The Sienna can get 36 MPG combined city and highway. In addition, the Sienna also received a Top Safety Pick+ rating from IIHS. Types of Minivans [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/What-is-the-Most-Dependable-Minivan-on-the-Market.jpg] WHAT IS THE MOST DEPENDABLE MINIVAN ON THE MARKET? The minivan models that remain on the market tend to be comparable in fuel efficiency, safety in price. Which model is the most dependable, though? Each year, J.D. Power names the top winner for dependability for each different vehicle category. The winner is determined by the scores from vehicle owners; the owners have to score their vehicle in different areas based (over a 12 month period). The winners for the year are models that are three years old. The 2021 dependability award for minivans was given to the 2018 Toyota Sienna. Since the awards reviewed models from three years prior, multiple minivans that have since been discontinued were on the list. The 2018 Dodge Caravan ranked second, the Chrysler Pacifica took third place, the 2018 Honda Odyssey was fourth and the 2018 Kia Sedona ranked as the fifth and final place. The Carnival is a newer minivan model. For Quality/Reliability, here’s how each minivan scored (out of 100): * Toyota Sienna: 77 * Dodge Caravan: 75 * Chrysler Pacifica: 68 * Honda Odyssey: 64 * Kia Sedona: N/A Models were also scored for Driving Experience and Resale Value. The Honda Odyssey received nearly a perfect score for Resale Value—it scored a 97! The Toyota Sienna scored an 85 for Resale Value. The others scored in the 70s. The Chrysler Pacifica secured the best score for Driving Experience, though. It received an 80. The Dodge Caravan received the lowest score in this area—a 65. The others scored in the ‘70s. Every year, J.D. Power releases its latest winners and posts all scores. Buyers can review the winners and scores to see how each minivan stacks up for different model years. Buyers can even review scores and winners from all the way back to 2003 (for the 2000 model year). THE MINIVAN VS. THE SUV Buyers have limited choices when buying a new minivan. Is an SUV or a minivan best? Minivans might offer more cargo space, while SUVs offer a more rugged design and build. SUVs are built on a truck chassis, and some drivers feel that the SUV offers a greater sense of safety and security. The heavier construction also gives an SUV a towing advantage. While minivans are limited in their towing capacity, some SUVs could tow more than 8,000 pounds. In fact, the Ford Expedition can tow up to 9,300 pounds. Typically, minivans offer convenient features like power sliding doors and power lift gates. This means that parents who have their hands full don’t have to fumble to open the doors or the back gate. Again, minivans also offer more cargo space. Drivers can drop down the seats to maximize the space for gear or other necessities. SUVs also can be much more expensive than minivans. The most expensive minivan (the hybrid Pacifica) is less than $50,000, but the least expensive full-size SUV (the Nissan Armada) is $50,745. While smaller or even compact SUVs can be budget-friendly, they won’t offer the spacious interior of a standard minivan. Since SUVS are heavier, they might lag behind the minivan in fuel efficiency. Buyers who are concerned about gas mileage should research their SUV options to find the best option. While buyers could opt for a hybrid or electric SUV, these models will come with a higher price tag. EXPLORE MINIVAN MODELS WITH RELAYCARS Buyers researching their minivan options can explore all the models in 3D, augmented reality and even virtual reality using RelayCars. Buyers can access RelayCars by downloading the app or just by visiting the website. The RelayCars app lets buyers preview and explore thousands of models using immersive 3D models. Turn the car around and explore it from all angles. The app also lets those with Google Cardboard use virtual reality to preview vehicles. The RelayCars website offers an augmented reality showroom, or buyers can use 3D imagery to preview minivan models. With augmented reality, car buyers use their smartphone or tablet camera to drop a minivan model into their environment. RelayCars offers more than just vehicle imagery, however. While buyers can explore thousands of vehicles in augmented reality, virtual reality and in 3D, RelayCars also provides specs and data for all models in its inventory. Compare prices, features and capabilities. Then explore multiple minivans visually to better understand the unique design and style of every option. With RelayCars, buyers can immerse into the buying experience. Once buyers find the minivan they like best, they can take the next step in their buying process. RelayCars partners with CarSaver.com to provide an easy buying experience that lets car shoppers find the best prices for their perfect car. While the minivan might have fallen out of favor over the years, it’s beginning to make a comeback. Although only four models remain on the market, buyers can use RelayCars to better understand their options and even explore earlier models for those interested in buying a used or pre-owned minivan.
When Buying Back a Totaled Car Makes Sense and When it Doesn’t
May 6, 2022
An act of nature or a collision can result in damage so extensive that the vehicle is deemed a total loss or ‘totaled’ by the insurance company. When this happens, the insurance company will offer the car owner fair market value less a deductible. Then they will typically take possession of the vehicle and auction it. Can the owner ever keep their totaled vehicle? In some instances, the insurance company offers the owner the option of buying back a totaled car. However, keeping a total car only makes sense in some circumstances. Here’s what car owners need to know about buying back their car after it has been declared a total loss. Buying Back a Totaled Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Types-of-Insurance-Coverage-that-Protect-a-Vehicle.jpg] TYPES OF INSURANCE COVERAGE THAT PROTECT A VEHICLE Comprehensive auto insurance covers a vehicle’s damage if the vehicle was damaged by acts of weather, vandalism, an animal in the road, etc. If the driver was at fault in an accident, collision coverage will kick in to handle the repairs. Full coverage is typically inclusive of liability, comprehensive and collision insurance. Liability insurance will settle and pay for damage to another driver’s injuries and vehicle damage sustained in a crash caused by the policyholder. Comprehensive and collision insurance could be involved when a car is damaged. As in all accidents, a police report will be filed, the car owner will contact their insurance company and discuss the nature of the accident. Fault will be determined (if it was a collision). Then an insurance estimator will examine the damage to the vehicle and determine the amount that needs to be paid for repairs. In some situations, the damage is so extensive that the price to repair the car costs more than the value of the vehicle. When this happens, the insurance company will deem the car a total loss. Every state has its own formula for how a ‘totaled’ vehicle is determined. The owner of the car receives the actual cash value (ACV) for their vehicle minus the deductible and the insurance company takes possession of the vehicle. Value Penguin explains that ACV is not the same as the value a car owner would receive via sites like Kelley Blue Book (KBB). However, car owners can ask the insurance company how ACV is determined if they are confused about their settlement. In some cases, the insurance company will offer to let a car owner buy back their vehicle. What do car owners need to know about buying back a totaled vehicle? Is it worth it? Buying Back a Totaled Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/How-Car-Owners-‘Buy-Back-Their-Vehicle.jpg] HOW CAR OWNERS ‘BUY BACK’ THEIR VEHICLE When a car is totaled and the insurance company prepares a settlement, the amount is ACV minus any applicable deductible. The insurance company then takes possession of the vehicle and sends it to auction. In some instances, like when a vehicle is totaled by hail damage, the insurance company might let the owner buy back the car. The price to buy back the vehicle is typically the salvage value. This value can vary. However, if the car owner agrees to buy back their car, the salvage value is deducted from the ACV settlement. The car owner also will need to deal with the title of the vehicle—as it would be a salvage vehicle. Car owners should understand that buying back a totaled vehicle isn’t always an option. States might have their own laws related to buying back a totaled vehicle. It also might not make sense. If the car is totaled, fixing it up to make it drivable could be difficult. However, cars that are totaled because of hail damage might be worthwhile to buy back. Typically, these vehicles are totaled because of cosmetic damage. Some hail can be so large that the dents the pellets leave behind cost too much to repair. Yet, the car could be mechanically sound. If the car owner is given the option to buy back the car and they don’t mind the cosmetic damage, they can talk to the insurance company to inquire about steps they need to take before it can be legally driven. A totaled vehicle will be issued a salvage title. Then the car owner needs to take all the necessary steps in their state required for the vehicle to be legally driven. Car Brain explains that in order to hit the road legally, the car needs to be inspected and certified. IS IT WORTH BUYING BACK A TOTALED CAR? Only the car owner can decide if buying back a totaled car makes financial sense. Again, in the case of a hail-damaged car, the mechanics could be fine. For a car that has seen extensive damage, car owners might just walk away, take their settlement and let the insurance company auction off the car. A car owner might want to hold on to their car for other reasons. Maybe they don’t plan to drive it. Buying back a totaled vehicle could depend on the car owner’s personal circumstances. In some cases, though, a car owner might not have the option to buy back their totaled car. WHEN A CAR OWNER DOESN’T BUY BACK THEIR CAR Many car owners will decide not to buy back their totaled car. They might accept the settlement from the insurance company and use it for a down payment for a new car or to buy a car outright. When a car is totaled, a car owner may face an issue of being paid less than what they thought their car was worth. Car owners consult sites like KBB to find the value of their car, but KBB values and ACV settlements are not the same. If a car owner feels that their settlement is inadequate, they can try to negotiate with the insurance company about the value. If the car owner made repairs or upgrades to their vehicle, they might submit receipts to show these upgrades to the insurance company. Sometimes negotiations fall flat, and the car owner has to accept their settlement. CAR OWNERS WHO ONLY HAVE LIABILITY COVERAGE Some car owners only have liability coverage on a vehicle. Perhaps they didn’t pay a high price for the car or it’s an older model. What happens if a car with liability coverage is totaled? If the car owner was involved in an accident and it was their fault, their liability coverage will compensate the other driver for damages. However, the driver’s own vehicle won’t be covered. If the car cannot be repaired or if repair costs are too high, they might opt to sell it to a salvage yard. What about if the vehicle was damaged by hail or vandalized? Cars with only liability coverage won’t be covered against hail damage or vandalism. The owner will have to drive the vehicle as is, repair it, or, if the car can’t be driven legally, think about selling it to a salvage yard. Car owners never know what could happen around the next turn. Even a car sitting in the driveway could be pummeled by a hailstorm. This is why comprehensive and collision coverage is recommended. Buying Back a Totaled Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Finding-a-New-Car.jpg] FINDING A NEW CAR Car owners who have no interest in buying back a totaled car might find themselves in need of a new vehicle. Maybe they want the same model that they lost in an accident. Perhaps they’re ready for something new. When shopping for a new vehicle after a previous vehicle was totaled, buyers might need to reexamine their budget. What can they afford to pay each month? A totaled vehicle might have not had an outstanding loan. Car owners might now need to finance a new car and begin making payments again. Nerdwallet recommends that car buyers allocate less than 10 percent of their monthly take home pay for a car payment. Car buyers also should try to make a 20 percent down payment on a new vehicle. This can help offset the costs of depreciation. When buying a used car, a 10 percent down payment is recommended. If a vehicle was totaled in an accident, car buyers might focus on the safest models. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety makes it easy for car shoppers to research the safety of any vehicle. The IIHS provides safety reports on new and older vehicles. The IIHS also showcases the safest cars on the market via its Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ awards. The full list of models that were awarded these safety ratings is released each year. The Top Safety Pick+ rating is awarded to vehicles when certain headlights come standard; models awarded a Top Safety Pick offer specific headlights as an option. USE RELAYCARS TO EXPLORE VEHICLE OPTIONS Finding the best car for the budget can be a hunt. Buyers can use sites like RelayCars to explore their different options. The RelayCars app lets car buyers research cars via 3D imagery and virtual reality (for those who have access to Google Cardboard). Those who are visiting the RelayCars website can explore cars via immersive 3D imagery and augmented reality. Using a camera on a smartphone or tablet, car buyers can drop a 3D model of a vehicle into their own environment and walk around it. RelayCars also provides buyers with MSRP data and vehicle specs to better understand each model. Those who are trying to find their perfect car can explore as many models as they wish on either the RelayCars website or the app. RelayCars is free to explore and never closes!
What is the Best Way to Sell Your Car?
May 4, 2022
Do you have a car you want to sell? Maybe you’ve just gotten a new one and don’t need your old wheels anymore. Or, perhaps you want to sell your car so you can buy that new model you’ve been eyeing. Whatever the case may be, there are all kinds of ways to make a deal in today’s world. The key is to choose the right selling option for you. EXPLORE YOUR OPTIONS Before you buy a “for sale” sign and stick it in your window, explore all the possibilities. You definitely could sell your vehicle yourself. If you go that route, you can drive around with that for sale sign. Or, you could list your car on online sites or even put an ad in the local paper. If you don’t want to put in all that work, however, you could also visit your local dealership and inquire about a trade-in offer. Some dealerships will also pay you a fee outright for your vehicle without requiring you to do a trade-in. There are tons of different ways to go about the car selling process. So, spend some time researching each option, as well as its pros and cons, to decide which one is the best fit for you and your situation. SELL YOUR CAR ON YOUR OWN If you’re not afraid of a little hard work, then selling your car on your own may be for you. If you choose this path, you can decide how much to ask for your vehicle and which buyers to target. On the downside, you’ll also be responsible for advertising and taking care of all the legal requirements and documentation that go into a car sale. If you decide the work is worth it, the following tips can help you achieve success. PAY A VISIT TO THE DMV Each state has its own rules and requirements for selling a car. Thankfully, your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is a wonderful resource. Visit your local office, either in person or online, and learn about the process for selling your vehicle. For best results, come up with a list of questions before your visit. Many of these questions might be answered during the course of the visit or in the informational materials provided. However, if there are any questions left over, you can ask them and make sure you understand the answers. If you skip this step, you might make a mistake that could hold up the sales process. Impatient buyers might even move on to someone else. So, though it may not be fun, take the time to fully understand the process. It will make everything go a lot more smoothly. BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR CAR BUYING SCAMS Sadly, scams are all too common these days. In fact, there are even scams that specifically target people who are trying to sell their vehicles. From writing out bogus checks to establishing false escrow services, there are a host of ways that “buyers” can try and take advantage of you. To protect yourself, make an effort to deal only with buyers you can meet in person, face to face. Additionally, never hand over your title until the buyer has paid for the car and you have verified that the payment is legitimate. If anything sounds “off” or “fishy” about a buyer’s request, go with your gut and seek legal advice before proceeding. In fact, consulting with a legal professional about any prospective deal is a wise idea. Best Way to Sell Your Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Set-a-Reasonable-Asking-Price.jpg] SET A REASONABLE ASKING PRICE When you sell your car on your own, you’re free to ask whatever amount you want for it. However, just asking for something doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get it. You’ll stand a much better chance of selling your vehicle and selling it quickly if you set a reasonable asking price. Knowing how much your car is worth can be tricky. Fortunately, there are many good online resources that can help you determine the value of your car. With that said, though, the value and what people are willing to pay can vary somewhat. As such, spend time researching similar sales in your area, and use what you find, as well as the value, to set a fair price. Also, take into consideration any damage or issues your vehicle might have that could lower the asking price. On the flipside, upgrades you have made could also raise the price. Keep in mind, too, that most buyers will want to negotiate. For that reason, you may want to consider setting your asking price a little bit higher than what you actually hope to get. This can help buyers feel like they’re getting a good deal while also helping you make a fair profit. MAKE YOUR CAR LOOK ITS BEST Presentation can make a big difference in how fast your car sells and in how much it sells for. Thus, it makes sense to spruce up your vehicle as much as possible. Before listing it, give it a good, thorough cleaning inside and out. Consider repairing any minor cosmetic issues as well. Then, take good, clear photos of your vehicle. These will come in handy if you advertise your car via an online platform or if you communicate with prospective buyers online. GET THE WORD OUT There are countless sites where you can list your vehicle, and you should definitely use them to your advantage. But, don’t underestimate the power of good old-fashioned word-of-mouth advertising. Tell anyone and everyone that you are looking to sell your car. There’s a high probability that you’ll know someone who will know someone who is in the market for a vehicle. Some buyers also have luck with parking or driving their vehicles in areas where they will be seen by a lot of people. If you try this trick, just make sure you do it somewhere safe and where you won’t get towed. Also, include clear but not easily traceable contact details, such as an email address you’ve created specifically for the purpose of selling the car. This will help you advertise to a wide range of people without putting yourself at risk. Best Way to Sell Your Car [https://blog.relaycars.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Thinking-About-a-Trade-In.jpg] THINKING ABOUT A TRADE-IN? As mentioned, the do-it-yourself approach isn’t for everyone. If you want to bypass the above steps and get rid of your car quickly, consider a trade-in. Many dealerships will take your current vehicle and allow you to use its value toward a new or new-to-you car. This can be an excellent choice, particularly if your vehicle still has a high value. If you take this route, speak to several local dealerships in your area and find out which ones are willing to do a trade-in deal. Compare how much each dealership is willing to give you for your vehicle, as well as their selection of available cars. Once you’ve found a dealership you want to work with, follow these useful tips. KNOW WHAT YOUR VEHICLE IS WORTH When you sell your car privately, you need to know its value. The same is true when you do a trade-in deal. Be aware, though, that trade-in value is often much lower than a private sale value. Typically, it will be close to the car’s wholesale value. So, when you conduct your research, you’ll want to see what the wholesale worth of your vehicle is. A good dealership will offer you around that price or more in trade-in credit. If you’re not clued in to what value you should expect, it’s all too easy to get stuck with a not-so-great deal, so don’t skip this step. DELIVER THE DETAILS When it’s time for your trade-in, don’t show up at the dealership empty-handed. Instead, bring along any and all records and receipts related to your vehicle. You should be able to show the dealership how much you paid for the car and any repairs, servicing, or general maintenance you’ve had done. If you’ve taken great care of your car and/or made some repairs recently, it should fetch a higher value, which can help you get a better deal. SELL WITHOUT A TRADE-IN If a trade-in isn’t for you, know that some dealerships will pay you for your car outright. This can be a good choice if you want to buy a new car but not from a dealership, or if you just need to unload your old car quickly. Just like with trade-in deals, you should visit several dealerships and compare offers to get the best deal possible. THE BOTTOM LINE Ultimately, you are the only one who can decide when and how to sell your car. But, if you know you’re going to be parting ways with your wheels soon, start looking into your choices. Review the options and tips presented here. Then, when you’re ready, make your move.