Tips on Financing a Car

This sponsored post on financing a car is written by me and brought to you by Mr.Ed Auto Approved Loans.

Financing a Car

The aroma of a new car smell, the soft seats, the clean nooks and crannies are only a few of the benefits of a new car.  What? Clean crevices aren’t what excite you about a new car?  lol  Be it the engine, or the fresh start on keeping crumbs at bay it’s important to be well armed with knowledge before buying a car.  Here are some tips to keep in mind when financing a car…

Car Shopping

Research Your Auto Loan Financing Options

 

While I can guarantee that you’ve probably spent hours online researching potential car options and polling friends on Facebook about which van to buy (What? Just me again?), did you do the same thing on getting your loan?  Dealers are allowed to make money on a loan so it’s important to do your homework.  Everyone should do this but especially if you’re young or you have bad credit you need to check online lenders to get the best rate possible.  Dealers, credit unions, and even your auto insurer may offer a competitive rate.

Check all around and choose the best option for you.  Once you’re prequalified elsewhere it’s a different scenario at the dealership.  You can go in and tell them the rate you’re prequalified at and see if they can meet or beat your rate.

Car Financing

Know the Worth of The Car

 

I’m not good at negotiations, I’m not. If I want it and can afford it, I’ll pay what they’re asking. If I don’t, I won’t.  I can’t be this way when it comes to cars so I always take someone else with me who can handle the negotiation process.

I’ve heard it said though that the worst time to negotiate the price of a car is after you’ve test-driven the vehicle and given it a good inspection.  Rumor has it that the salesperson will leave and pretend to haggle for a better price for you and come back saying that the manager couldn’t budge on the price.  The salesmen hope you’ll agree to paying more than it’s worth.  When it comes to buying a car, they have the home field advantage.  They sell cars for a living while you may have only bought a handful of cars in your whole life.  They know what “fees” are baloney.  They’ve mastered the best sales techniques.  They can read you.

It may appear that you’re hopeless but here’s what you can do…know the worth of the car you’re looking at.  Get an honest, direct, no hassle, no strings attached price online at websites such as TrueCar.comOverstock.com,CarsDirect.com, and USAA.

Once you have that price quote in hand make a promise to yourself to not pay a higher price at a dealership.  Tell the dealer your price and see if they can offer a competitive price.  Make them play in your field and not in theirs.

Car Downpayment

Don’t Finance More Than 42 Months

 

Money guru’s say that you shouldn’t take out a car loan longer than 42 months.  If you can’t afford the payment on a 42 month car loan then you should probably buy a cheaper car.  That’s what the financial genius’ say so who am I to argue.

I prefer to pay cash for a used car by saving but sometimes cars may break down suddenly and paying for a brand new car in cash would probably be challenging for most people (I think I remember reading somewhere that only 1% of Americans are able to do so).  However, even if you’re buying a new car, saving for a down payment can shorten your loan length and will save you on interest in the long haul.

There you have it, my three tops on financing a car.  I hope it will help save you money as you spend your hard earned money on a new ride.

Fall Car Maintenance

These fall car maintenance tips are brought to you by Phil Smith Kia.

Car Maintenance

Car Maintenance Checklist

 

 

Remove Car Odors

(See our 7 Ways to Remove Car Odors)

 

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Pin this on Pinterest so you’ll always have it close by.

Fall Car Maintenance

Why You Shouldn’t Top Off Your Gas Tank

This post on why you shouldn’t top off your gas tank is brought to you by Fred Martin Superstore.

Top Off Your Gas

I just heard that you shouldn’t top off your gas tank.  Did you know that?  I’ve never heard of that before so I did some digging on the internet and it turns out they were right!  To think that I was the one who converted my husband into my topping off the gas tank ways.  Oops!  I just love seeing $40.00 even or $23.45.  It always gave me a little high to hit the number right on the mark.  Well, it turns our that it’s not only bad for your wallet and your vehicle but also for the environment!  Oh boy!

It’s Bad for Your Wallet

 

BP’s website says, “Gas nozzles automatically click off when your gas tank is full, so topping off the gas tank can cause you to pay for gasoline that’s fed back into the station’s tanks. In some areas, gas station pumps are required to recover gas vapors to prevent them from contributing to air pollution. In these cases, any additional gas you try to pump after the first click may be drawn into the vapor recovery line. Source: www.epa.gov.”

It’s Bad for Your Vehicle

 

Freep.com says, “Joel Carruso, owner of Caruso’s Auto Repair in Schenectady, N.Y., adds that these systems manage fuel vapor.

Overfilling the gas tank can cause liquid gas to enter the charcoal canister, or carbon filter, which is designed only for vapor. Gas in the system can affect your car’s performance by causing it to run poorly, and damage the engine, he says.

“When we overfill the tank, it sends all of the excessive fuel to the evaporation/charcoal canister and kills the life of that canister,” Carruso says.

Huddleston adds replacing a charcoal canister can cost anywhere from $200 up to $1,500.”

It’s Bad for the Environment

 

EPA.Ohio.gov says, “Gasoline that spills, as well as fumes that escape, react with nitrogen oxides and sunlight and create smog.”

DriveCleanTexas.org says, “This will help keep fumes from escaping and absorbing into the air. Tighten your vehicle’s gas cap all the way to prevent gasoline and pollutants from evaporating and damaging the air.”

Yosimite.epa.gov has an article (you can find it by clicking here) that was written by Catherine Magliocchetti, who at the time the article was published, was a chemical engineer of the federal agency.  She says, “Topping off is a loser three ways.

First, you lose money when you top off because you pay for gasoline that you don’t get. When the gas pump automatically shuts off, a vapor lock blocks more gas from entering your car. After the tank is full, the gas you pump gets sucked back through an outer “vapor-return” hose into the station’s underground storage tank. The meter may be running, but your not getting the gas.

Secondly, you personally pollute the air because topping off clogs the vapor-return hose with liquid gasoline, so it can no longer return excess vapors. It works on the same principle as the water-filled trap on your kitchen sink, except at the pump, you want gasoline vapors to float back down the hose, not get stopped by a liquid-filled trap that you created by topping off.

Even worse, once you plug up the vapor-return hose, it stays plugged up until someone clears it by lifting it overhead to drain all the liquid back into the underground storage tank.

And thirdly, a gasoline-filled vapor-return pretty much guarantees that you and everyone after you will be breathing in a cloud of volatile gasoline molecules — invisible but harmful — while you pump gas. Excess molecules under pressure can’t float back down the return hose, so they get forced out around the nozzle and into the air. That’s when you smell gas.”

Yikes!  Know better, do better, right?  It looks like some good reasons not to top off your gas but even if it’s wrong, I’d rather err on the side of caution.  I guess from now on I’ll try and resist the urge to get an even dollar amount!  In the past, did you top off your gas tank?

7 Easy Ways to Remove Car Odors

This post is brought to you by Lustine Toyota.

Remove Car Odors

Scent is a powerful thing and is often one of the first things people notice when entering a new place.  For drivers that can be bad news.  Some odors can be easily avoided by not smoking or leaving food in the car.  However, other spills, especially with kids, are harder to avoid.  Take hope though, I have some suggestions to help keep you remove car odors to leave your car smelling fresh and clean.

-The easiest way to keep a car smelling good is surprisingly easy.  Grab a pack of dryer sheets, poke a few holes in a baggy, throw them in, and toss them under the seats.  They’re out of sight and will cost only a few dollars a year.  Easy peasy!

-If you’re not a fan of chemicals and want to take a natural approach I’ve heard that you can use fresh herbs to make your car smell lovely.  Buy a few sprigs of basil, lay it on some newspaper, and set it in the car’s back window.  There it will receive sunlight and will dry out.  Other aromatic herbs can work too.  Mint and thyme come to mind as good options to try.

-The next step isn’t too hard as long as you have nice sunny day and a water hose.  Clean your car mats.  The mud and muck can build up and make your car smellier than it needs to be.  A quick rinse and maybe a scrub will help keep your car fresh.

-If you still have a funky smell you can sprinkle baking soda over the seats and carpeted flooring.  Baking soda is one of the world’s best natural fresheners.  Plus, it’s incredibly cheap too!  Leave the baking soda sit for a few hours and simply vacuum it up.

-One unsuspecting place that can hold bacteria and mold is your car’s air conditioning system.  Fortunately, there is a $10 fix that’s easy to implement. Simply buy a can of air conditioner odor treatment spray, turn the air conditioning on high (with the re-circulation button off), and spray the treatment into the exterior air intakes (at the base of the windshield).  Wait ten minutes or so and turn the re-circulation button on and spray the treatment again into the interior vents.  Leave running to another ten minutes or so.

-One of my favorite cleaning products for inside the house can also be beneficial inside the car – vinegar!  White vinegar is super cheap and it works as a great cleaner and deodorizer.  We buy it buy the gallon for roughly $4 a gallon.  Mix equal parts water and vinegar to a spray bottle and go to town.  The temporary smell will dissipate leaving your car cleaner and fresher than before.  It can clean upholstery, windows, and hard surfaces alike.

-This next tip is one that we learned how to do when my husband accidentally left a gallon of milk in the car…for a couple of days.  Oops! He thought he just forgot to buy it.  If you’re a coffee drinker this will be an easy fix for you…and better yet, if you’re like me and continually accidentally buy bags of beans instead of coffee grounds you already have a good supply of coffee on hand. 🙂  Fill a tin or plastic container with about 6-8 ounces of coffee grounds or beans (beans are less messy) and poke holes in the top of the lid.  Simply leave it in the car overnight (or in our extreme case for a couple of nights!)  The oils from the coffee beans absorb and eliminate the odors and leaves a faint delicious coffee smell behind.

There you have it folks, seven ways to remove smelly odors from your car so you and others can enjoy a fresh ride around town.

Car Seat Safety Checklist

This post is brought to you by Waldorf Dodge

Car seat safety is one of the most overlooked responsibilities of a new parent. While this is commonly overlooked, it doesn’t negate the fact that parents do want their child to be safe when riding in the car. As a means to help educate you on car seat safety and help reduce the stress of wondering how safe your car seat really is, I have created this car seat safety checklist.

Car Seat Safety Checklist

  • -Research the four types of car seats and which one is right for your child.
  • -Know the car seat safety recommendations from NHTSA.
  • -Follow detailed instructions on installation of the purchased car seat.
  • -Know how to install anchors properly so the car seat is secured in the car.
  • -Make sure you can’t move the car seat more than 1 inch to left or right.
  • -Tighten straps so there is no slack when harnessing child in car seat.
  • -Keep child rear-facing until the age of 2 at a minimum.
  • -Have rear-facing car seat at 45-degree angle at all times.
  • -Place retainer clip at child’s armpit level and keep it there at all times.
  • -Children who have outgrown car seats and weigh less than 80 lbs should always ride in a booster seat.
  • -Research car seat for any recalls before purchasing.
  • -Do not buy second-hand car seats; they are unsafe after being in an accident.
  • -Upgrade car seat when the child outgrows the seat to maintain safety.
  • -Purchase an all-in-one seat to save some money rather than buying used.
  • -Visit a local car seat safety checkpoint, usually hosted at fire stations.
  • -The seat belt should be snug across chest & shoulders and lie across thighs.
  • -Register your car seat to get notifications of any future recalls.

There are many types of car seats and some may fit better in the family vehicle you have than others. Regardless of what type of car seat you decide to purchase make sure that it is new, has never been in an accident and doesn’t have any recalls. Following a car seat safety checklist and being familiar with NHTSA’s requirements will help you maintain car seat safety at all times.

It is said that car crashes are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. Because the number is so high, this car seat safety checklist is my way to help more parents have safe riders every time they buckle their child into a car seat.  I hope this car seat safety checklist inspires you to double check your car seat today.

The 1 Car Seat Rule You Might Not Know

This post is brought to you by Kim’s Nissan.

Car Seat Rule

I always try to stay on top of all the car seat recommendations and while I was at a car inspection recently they weren’t aware that cars have weight limits for the LATCH system.  While I was very grateful for the service of them inspecting my car seat was used correctly, giving me a discount on buying a new car seat while they disposed of my expired car seat, I couldn’t believe they weren’t up to date on the LATCH system facts.

Here’s the deal…

Most newer cars and car seats use the LATCH system which stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children.  The LATCH system attaches the car seat to the car through anchor points installed in the car, which makes for an easy peasy installation.  Using this system can eliminate numerous potential errors resulting from improper car seat installation with a seat belt.  However, many parents (and sometimes car seat inspectors) aren’t aware that the 65-pound weight limit for using the LATCH system includes the weight of your child in addition to the weight of the car seat (most average around 20-25 pounds on their own). (By the way, the site which I linked to in this paragraph is wonderful for all information on car seat safety.  They also have a Facebook group which I’ve found incredibly helpful. It’s called Car Seats for the Littles and if you join make sure to read their User Agreement before you post because they have a lot of folks in the group.)

If you check and your little one is over 40 lbs and has reached capacity, simply consult your vehicles owner’s manual and car seat user guide (most are online now if you’ve misplaced yours) to make sure you’ve correctly installed your child’s seat using a seat belt and tether.  Car seats are a paaaaain in the rear.  There’s nothing I hate doing more than installing a car seat.  It’s so much work but it’s all worth it to make sure our most precious gifts are as safe as they can possibly be.

Insanely Genius Car Hacks

This post is brought to you by Kim’s No Bull.

We spend a lot of our lives in cars and these trusty tips will hopefully make your car driving experiences even better.

Car Cooling Hack

Cool Down the Car Quickly

When you’re car is sweltering on a hot day here’s a trick to cooling it down quickly.  Roll down one window and open and close the door on the other side five or six times.  This will push the hot air out and allow cooler air to come in.  My husband told me this tip and I didn’t believe it till I tried it for myself.  It really works!  This is a great car hack.

Key Fob Car Hack

Put Your Key Fob to Your Chin to Increase Distance

If you’re in a large parking lot and can’t find your car, try placing the key fob on your chin ti increase the range of the signal by a few car lengths.  This cracks me up but hey, if it works, why not?  Apparently, the fluids in your head turn into an adequate conductor.

Windshield Crack DIY

Paint Small Windshield Cracks With Nail Polish

We learned this trick the hard way.  We recently moved to a house with approximately a million oak trees and a bazillion falling acorns and one giant acorn feel with such force that it gave our windshield a small crack.  We researched and found this trick.  Once year later and it’s still staying small!  To slow the spreading of a small crack, paint over the crack with clear nail polish on both sides of the glass.

Gas Gauge Hack

Look at The Gas Gauge to See Which Side to Fill Up

If you’re driving a rental, a new car or if you’re just incredibly forgetful here’s an easy way to figure out which side the gas tank is on.  Look at the gas gauge and there will usually be an arrow pointing to which side of the car the gas tank is on.

Photo of Where You Parked

Take a Photo of Where You Parked

This is a tip I used myself when I was at Disney World and on busy days where my mind is clouded with a hundred odds and ends I plan on using this to remember which floor I park on at the hospital.

Pizza Warming Hacks

Keep Pizza Hot With Heated Seats

If you have seat warmers turn them on to keep your carry-out pizza nice and warm on your trip home.  I hope you’ve found these car hacks helpful, if you have any to add please leave them in the comments.

What to Do With an Expired Car Seat

This post is brought to you by Kim’s Chrysler Dodge Jeep.  If you’re looking for a new car to keep your family safe take a look at what they have to offer.  

Expired Car Seat

If you’re like most parents of young kids you probably have an expired car seat hanging around somewhere.  It may be gathering dust bunnies in the attic or collecting cobwebs in the garage.  Either way, I’m sure you want to find a responsible way to get rid of it.

It’s easy to overlook an expiration date on a milk jug but a car seat expiration date is one that shouldn’t be ignored.  There are many reasons for this but the one that stands out to be is that they are made from plastic.  Overtime that plastic tends to break down and get brittle – not what you want in case you’re in an accident!

Since we can’t re-sell or donate an old car seat, what are we supposed to do with it?  I recently came into this position and I’m happy to share with you the options I’ve learned.

Look for Trade-In Events

Last year around Earth Day Target teamed up with TerraCycle for a two week event where customers could bring in old car seats to receive a 20% discount on a new car seat.  What mom doesn’t love a Target discount? …and you get to do something good to the planet to boot.

Babies “R” Us locations often host car seat safety days where they’ll check your car seat to make sure they still fit your child and are installed correctly.  This is what we did recently and not only did they give me 20% off any car seat I bought (including ones that were on sale!) but they also installed it for me.  It was wonderful!  I think I heard angels singing.

BabyEarthRENEW

BabyEarthRENEW will disassemble your car seat and they’ll send some of the materials to developing countries, who can use the straps, buckles, and fabric for different purposes.  What they can’t use will be sent to accredited recycling centers.  You do have to pay to ship the car seat to them but they’ll make sure the most possible good can come from your car seat!  Plus, they’ll give you a $5 gift certificate to spend with them.

Recycle

Call up your local children’s thrift stores.  Some will accept at certain times a year and charge you a small fee to dispose of them properly.  Most recycling centers will also take expired car seats but they may have requirements about how the car seat should arrive and may charge a small fee for the service.

Donate

I’ve heard that police departments and fire departments may take donations of used car seats if they’re needing some to use for training.  Before tossing one, it would be worth a few phone calls to see if they could use your expired seat.

Throw it Away

When all else fails, you may have to just throw it away but before you do please take some precautions to keep other families from using what looks like a perfectly functioning car seat.  Cut the straps on the seat or remove them all together to ensure that nobody will snag it for their youngster.

What to do with an expired car seat

Top Road Trip Tips when Traveling With Children

This post is brought to you Kim’s Toyota.

Tips for Traveling with Kids
It is almost time for vacations to begin and families getting out on the open roads taking road trips! So many wonderful memories come from family vacations, and spending time in the car site seeing all over the globe! Today I wanted to share some of the top road trip tips when traveling with children. These will make your life and theirs a little easier!

Car Sick Travel Bag: You never know when someone will end up getting sick, so I recommended making a car sick travel bag. Include medicines like anti-nausea, anti-diarrhea, gas medicines, something for headaches and so on. Just make sure you pack medicines for any occasion. I also toss in some sacks in case someone does have an upset tummy, you are not left in a bind. You can store it in a gallon bag and tuck in in the trunk or under a seat.

New Movies for Kids: If you have tablets or a portable dvd player, think about doing new movies for the kiddos. You can rent some from a Redbox if you have a dvd player, or download and/or stream from the tablet. Either way this is a great way to keep them occupied for awhile. You can also download fun games on tablets for them to play.

Prevent Boredom: Like above with the new movie idea, you can also think about other activities to keep your children entertained. Try to find new things like car bingo, or go to your local dollar store and find new toys for them. Anything you think your child might enjoy and be entertained for a little bit.
Shower Caddy Basket to Hold Crayons: Pack up some fun coloring or activity books. Then take a little shower caddy basket, that has the suction cups on the back, and stick it to the window. Then when they need a crayon they can reach up in the caddy to get a crayon or pencil. It keeps the crayons from falling into the seat or on the floor.

Pack Snacks: This is a great one to save a little money and to have snacks when your kids get hungry. Take sandwich bags and pack up some of their favorite treats. Like crackers, cookies, licorice, whatever you want. Then create single serve snack bags. When they get hungry let them pick out a snack to enjoy.

Bathroom Breaks: Be prepared to have more pit stops then if you didn’t have kiddos with you. They will need to stretch their feet and go to the bathroom more than adults. So just make sure to allow yourself the time to have those stops and let them burn a little energy off.

Top Ten Family Friendly Road Trip Songs

This post is brought to you by Reedman Toll Nissan and contains affiliate links.

Family Road Trip Songs

As a family we love singing in the car. LOVE it!  So of course as I’m planning out every detail of our next vacation you can bet that a play list or 12 will be made.  It’s a long, long drive but these traveling tunes will help put us in the mood for a road trip!  I’ve compiled my list of family friendly road trip songs to help you get your motors running! 🙂

10. I’ve Been Everywhere by Johnny Cash

In four verses, 91 places are quickly listed off.  Destinations big and small are listed and it will be fun to cheer when he sings about a place where we’re from, or headed to, or are currently driving through.  You can’t beat the man in black.

9. On The Road Again by Willie Nelson

This is the perfect road trip song!

8. King of the Road by Roger Miller

I can still remember my parents playing this song on road trips when I was a kid.

7. Riding In My Car by Woodie Guthrie

My husband introduced this song to me recently and it’s one I think my kids will love to sing along with!

6. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers

This twin duo will get everyone singing and bobbing their head along with the tune.  The song may be about walking but it’s still an upbeat song about traveling so I had to include it.

5. Ramblin’ Man by The Allman Brothers Band

This song makes being on the road seem more appealing than ever and hopefully it will keep the kids enjoying the trip for a few more miles.

4. Route 66 by Chuck Berry

Bobby Troup wrote this song in 1946 and it has been covered by many but I’m partial to Chuck Berry’s 1961 rendition.  Not only is this a great one to sing a long to but it gives parents a great opportunity to squeeze in a mini history lesson in between songs.

3. Little Deuce Coupe by The Beach Boys

This song pays tribute to the 1932 Ford Model B…or is it Model 18?  Either way, this bouncy hit will have you dreaming of cars and the iconic life by the beach.  All of The Beach Boys songs remind me of road trips because it was a tape that my family played over and over and over again on our trips. The Beach Boys’ songs will always hold a special place in my vacation memories.

 

2. In the Car by Justin Roberts

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Justin Roberts but these last two songs on my list totally deserve their spot.  They’re catchy, singable, and best of all, kid-friendly without being annoying.

1. Do You Wanna Go? by Justin Roberts

Do you wanna go?  What else needs to be said!  Take a listen, it’s a great song!

I’m listing The Wheels on the Bus as an honorable mention.  While it’s a great road trip song for kids, finding a song of it that wasn’t annoying was an impossible task.  Maybe getting an annoying song stuck in your kid’s head probably isn’t the best idea anyway.

What songs are on your family’s road trip playlist?