Tag Archives: Ownership

What Do You Need To Consider Before Buying A Used Car?

What Do You Need To Consider Before Buying A Used Car?

If you’re shopping for a pre-owned vehicle, it can be difficult to figure out where to begin. You want to choose a car that is in good condition, with a solid amount of mileage, little to no mechanical damage, and safe operation.

You don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a car that looks nice from the outside, but breaks down a few days later. Many consumers, unfortunately, run into this issue – and more often than not, it occurs because of a lack of prior research and feeling pressured to make a purchase on the spot.

Making an informed decision is key to finding the best used vehicle for your dollar. Coming into the sale equipped with proper research will make a world of difference during the purchasing process. Don’t rush into buying your next car – here are seven things you need to do before you finalize a pre-owned purchase.

#1: Know Your Budget

Before you begin your pre-owned car search, you need to know how much money you are willing to spend on the vehicle. By setting a clear budget beforehand, you can avoid a pushy salesperson swindling you into a purchase that you don’t want to make that sets you thousands of dollars over your budget.

By setting your budget, you can also narrow down your used car search significantly. There are lots of cars out on the market right now, and the number of choices can be seriously overwhelming. Knowing your price range can help you identify the types of cars you can purchase without stretching your wallet.

When you budget for your pre-owned vehicle, remember that you will likely need to pay for more than the car itself. You should also budget for a vehicle inspection, any small repairs, licensing and insurance costs, and emissions inspections.

#2: Understand Your Financing Options

Once you know how much money you want to spend on your vehicle, think about how you will obtain that money. Will you pay the car in full with cash, or do you need a little extra support to invest in your next vehicle? Consider the financing options available to you, such as auto loans.

Red Mountain Funding offers flexible financing options for pre-owned vehicles for people who struggle getting a loan from another source, even if you have bad credit. With our financing program, you can purchase your used vehicle with a small down payment of $500 or $1,000.

If you meet any of the following criteria, we encourage you to apply for one of our loans:

  • A dealership or lender has turned down your financing request.
  • You have had a banking or checking account for several years.
  • You have a small down payment available to make toward your used vehicle.
  • You have a history of making your monthly mortgage or rent payments on time.
  • You are employed and have a steady source of income.

#3: Know What Kind Of Vehicle You Want

Before you begin your vehicle search, think about what kind of car you want to purchase. This will help you avoid purchasing a vehicle that does not fit your wants and needs. In addition, you do not want to purchase a car for a road trip only to find out that it has very poor fuel efficiency.

Consider the following questions before you start looking at vehicles on the market:

  • How many seats do you need for the vehicle?
  • What is your optimal fuel efficiency range for the vehicle?
  • Do you have any specific makes or models in mind for your vehicle?
  • Do you want a small car or a large car?
  • Do you need any special features, such as a great sound system or additional safety mechanisms?

#4: Research The Vehicle’s History

Before you make a final purchase, make sure to run a Carfax report or a similar vehicle history report to get a clear picture of the state of the vehicle. You will be able to gain information about the car’s accident history or any other potentially concerning events. If you are buying your vehicle from a private seller, you can run this report yourself.

#5: Take The Vehicle Out For A Test Drive

Do not make a final purchase on a pre-owned vehicle without taking it for a test drive first. Not only does this give you a good idea of how the car operates, but it allows you to understand how comfortable you feel driving the vehicle. Drive the car in a variety of environments, such as on the highway, on residential roads, and up and down hills. If you notice any issues with the vehicle or you do not feel comfortable driving it, find another car.

#6: Get A Vehicle Inspection

Purchasing a pre-owned car can be a very economical way to find your next vehicle, but it also comes with a set of risks. You want to make sure that everything in the vehicle is in working order and completely safe before you buy. Invest in an inspection from a trustworthy mechanic to make sure that the car is in working order.

The mechanic will run some basic tests on your vehicle, such as checking the engine and transmission, as well as a basic visual check. You should always have an inspection before making a purchase, even if the seller insists that you do not need one. It is much better to be sure that there are no mechanical defects than to find one later!

#7: Prepare To Say No

Not all sales situations will end with you loving the vehicle. More often than not, you will look at multiple vehicles before you find the one right for you. You should not jump into a purchase if you’re not completely comfortable with the vehicle – be ready to shop around and remember that you have the right to say no to a sale.

Are you looking for a reliable pre-owned car in the Mesa, Arizona area? Red Mountain Funding can help. We provide flexible financing for pre-owned vehicles so that you don’t have to deal with a dealership. Contact us today to learn more about our vehicles and your financing options.

Do You Really Know How To Take Care Of Your Car?

Do You Really Know How To Take Care Of Your Car?

Every vehicle owner should know basic car maintenance to keep vehicles looking and performing great for as long as possible. April is Car Care Month, so take a moment to read through the following simple car care tips and devote some energy to making sure your vehicle is performing at its best this month.

31 Basic Car Care Tips For Every Driver

Too many drivers know how to drive but do not know how to properly care for their vehicles. The following list of basic tips are a great starting point for even novice drivers who want to keep their vehicles performing at their best for as long as possible. Consider these tips and develop a personalized checklist for your vehicle’s maintenance.

1: Know The Signs Of A Car In Trouble

Pay close attention for strange noises, especially knocking, loud buzzing, or screeching coming from under your hood. You may be able to diagnose the source of the sound on your own, but see a mechanic if you are unsure what to do about it.

2: Don’t Forget The Wax

Many vehicle owners overlook waxing as an unnecessary cosmetic option, but the reality is that waxing can protect your car’s exterior and preserve your paint job for much longer than it would last unwaxed.

3: Take Care Of Your Lights

Headlights can become cloudy and ineffective over time. You could invest in a headlight repair kit to sand away residue and restore the shine to your headlights, but you can also visit a mechanic for professional assistance with your headlights.

4: Be Wary Of Handwashing

Handwashing may seem like the gentler method to wash your car, but be sure to use an appropriate cleaning agent and a brush, pad, or washcloth that won’t scratch your paint.

5: Travel Light

More weight inside your vehicle means more stress overall on the vehicle’s frame and the wheels. Excessive weight can even cause the vehicle body to drop enough to interfere with wheel function.

6: Know How to Check Your Air Filter

Your vehicle’s air filter removes dirt and debris from the air that passes through your engine and enables the combustion of your fuel. Make sure to check it regularly and clean or replace it when dirty.

7: Check Tire Pressure Regularly

Check your tire pressure when your tires are cold, before driving. The heat from friction on the road surface can affect the accuracy of a tire pressure rating, so a cold reading gives the most accurate results.

8: Keep Your Windshield Clean

Your windshield wiper fluid may do a good job removing minor bits of dust and debris, but you should take time to regularly clean your wipers and visit the car wash if you need to get lots of grime off your windshield.

9: Plan Regular Tire Rotations

Rotating your tires helps preserve their treads and keep them balanced and operational for longer. Ideally, you should rotate your tires every 5,000 to 10,000 miles.

10: Carry Emergency Tools And Supplies

It’s always wise to keep an emergency kit in your car. You can find reasonably priced auto repair toolkits at most parts shops.

11: Protect Your Interior

Cleaning and moisturizing your vehicle’s interior will help it repel dust and keep it looking great longer.

12: Recirculate Vehicle Air For More Efficient Cooling

Recirculating air-conditioned air in your vehicle is more efficient than leaving the windows open while the air conditioner runs.

13: Inspect Your Belts

Check the serpentine belts in your engine block if possible or ask your mechanic during your next service visit.

14: Check Your Brakes Regularly

Pay close attention to any dashboard indicators for your brakes and replace worn brake pads as soon as possible.

15: Learn How To Check Your Oil

Your vehicle’s manual should include instructions for checking your oil and replacing the oil, but ask your mechanic about an oil change if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself.

16: Keep Your Exterior Clean

Dirt and debris on your vehicle collects more dirt and bacteria that will eventually eat away at your paint job.

17: Don’t Let Waste Accumulate In Your Vehicle

Keep a small trashcan or trash bag in your vehicle to collect waste.

18: Check Your Sparkplugs

If you don’t feel comfortable checking or removing your sparkplugs, schedule a visit with your mechanic.

19: Check Your Battery

You should know how to find your vehicle’s battery, jump it if necessary, and know how to clean any chalky white residue that accumulates on the battery’s connections.

20: Replace Old Wipers

If you notice your windshield wipers streaking it is probably time to invest in a new set. Try to purchase the same type that came with your vehicle or invests in high-quality wiper blades that fit your windshield.

21: Flush Your Coolant

While you can do this yourself, if you do not feel comfortable you should definitely leave it up to your mechanic. This helps ensure your engine won’t overheat and continue to perform reliably.

22: Replace Your Fuel Filter

Dirty fuel lines can impede engine performance and cause catastrophic failures in some cases. Most vehicle manufacturers recommend changing the fuel filter every 30,000 miles.

23: Know How To Identify Fluid Leaks

Different vehicle fluids leaking can cause serious problems. Make sure you know how to identify coolant, oil, transmission fluid, and power steering fluid so you can address leaks quickly.

24: Fix Cracked Glass ASAP

A small crack in a window or windshield may not seem like a big deal, but it compromises the safety of the whole piece of glass. Repair any cracked glass as soon as possible.

25: Invest In High-Quality Wiper Fluid And Windshield Wipers

Wiper fluid is relatively inexpensive, so consider spending a few dollars more in higher-quality wiper fluid that will not freeze in low temperatures or streak your windshield.

26: Consider Exterior Engine Cleaning

The outside of your engine can easily accumulate dust and debris, and regularly cleaning the outside of your engine block helps ensure proper airflow and cleaner overall operation.

27: Check Indicators ASAP

If one of your dashboard lights indicates a problem, visit your mechanic as soon as possible. Fixing a small issue now is better than paying for a bigger problem later.

28: Find The Right Mechanic For Your Car

If you drive an import, it is best to find a mechanic who specializes in your brand of import. The same goes for large trucks, diesel vehicles, or recreational vehicles.

29: Invest In A Car Cover

Car covers are not just for trophy cars and classics; a car cover can protect your vehicle from rain and sun damage, bird droppings, tree sap, and damage from dirt blown by the wind.

30: Be Cautious With DIY Repairs

Thoroughly research any vehicle repair before you attempt it. If you do not feel comfortable working on your car, schedule an appointment with a mechanic so you do not risk causing a bigger problem.

31: Drive Safely

Safe driving helps prevent accidents, which in turn prevents you from needing to pay for expensive repairs. Safe and responsible driving is also easier on your vehicle’s engine and will keep it going for longer.

Keep these tips in mind during Car Care Month and consider setting up an appointment with your mechanic for a tune-up and specific advice about your vehicle.

6 Basic Maintenance Skills To Acquire As A Car Owner

6 Basic Maintenance Skills To Acquire As A Car Owner

It is every owner’s duty to properly maintain his or her vehicle. Lack of proper maintenance, resulting in a collision (e.g., from bad brakes or a tire blowout), could lead to owner liability for damages. One of the best ways to save money and avoid legal trouble is to learn a few basic maintenance skills.

Checking Tire Pressure

The correct tire inflation is crucial to maintaining control of a vehicle. Tires that are too flat or overinflated could expose the driver to hazards such as blowouts or increased wear and tear. Your vehicle owner’s manual will tell you the correct tire pressure in pounds per square inch (PSI). If you replace your new vehicle’s tires with aftermarket ones, ask the maintenance shop the proper PSI rating or look it up on Google.

Visually check your tires before every drive. They should sit correctly on the ground, without appearing too deflated. Test tire pressure manually at most gas stations and any auto parts store. You may also purchase a portable tire pressure gauge to check on the go. If your tires are too low, fill them to the proper PSI with air pumps at gas stations.

An underinflated tire could decrease the life of a tire, leading to a risk of a blowout. It also decreases the vehicle’s fuel efficiency. If you overinflate the tire, it will become stiff and rigid. This will prevent it from properly gripping the road, and could increase the risk of losing control of the vehicle. It could also put you at risk of the tire exploding.

Refilling Fluids

A vehicle’s engine fluids are critical to safe and efficient operation. Engine oil, radiator fluid, windshield wiper fluid, and others should always remain clean and at the correct levels for optimal engine operation. Owners should get into the habit of checking the following fluids themselves at least once per month, or more often for frequent drivers:

  • Engine oil
  • Transmission fluid
  • Coolant
  • Brake fluid
  • Power steering fluid
  • Windshield wiper fluid

Most car fluid reservoirs have symbols depicting where they are under the hood. Open the reservoir and check the dipstick for fluid levels. Never try to open a radiator cap when the vehicle is hot. This could spray hot fluids in your face. Check your owner’s manual for the correct way to check and refill fluids.

Replacing Windshield Wiper Blades

Your windshield wipers allow you to see the road if there’s rain, snow, sleet, or hail. They also enable you to clean your windshield of bugs, dirt, grime, and debris. Most windshield wipers will not fail abruptly. Instead, they will begin to show signs of wear over time. They may not clean your windshield as they should. This is a sign that it’s time for wiper blade replacement. Doing this maintenance task yourself can save money.

Purchase replacement blades at the nearest auto parts store. Lift the existing wiper arm away from the windshield, and press the small tab that allows you to pull the blade off. Put the new wiper blade on the arm and push until the tab clicks. If you need assistance, most auto part store employees are willing to help for no charge.

Testing The Battery

Your vehicle’s battery has a lifespan – usually three to five years. At the end of its life, it will not hold a charge as long, and may die completely. If you make a mistake such as leaving one of your interior lights on overnight, this could also drain the battery – either to the point of recharge or replacement. One way to avoid getting stranded in a parking lot with a dead battery is learning how to test the charge yourself.

Purchase a multimeter to test your battery. Follow the tool’s instructions for checking the charge, with your ignition off. You will typically have to remove your battery’s terminal covers, connect the multimeter’s leads to the correct terminals, and then read the voltage. Batteries with full charges should read at or above 12.66. Anything less may need recharging or replacement. You can purchase a battery charger yourself, or go to a mechanic’s shop or AutoZone for assistance.

Jumpstarting A Battery

If your battery does die, learn how to handle a quick jumpstart. Jumpstarting your vehicle involves using another car’s working battery to charge yours enough to start your car. You will need to purchase jumper cables and keep them in your vehicle. If your battery dies, find someone willing to help you with a jump. Position the vehicles with the hoods close together. Note that you cannot jumpstart an electronic vehicle or one that uses alternative fuel.

Put both vehicles in park and shut off both ignitions. Attach one of the red clips of your jumper cables to the positive terminal of your car’s battery. The positive terminal will say “POS” or “+.” Attach the other red clip to the positive terminal of the other person’s battery. Attach one black clip to the negative terminal on the other person’s battery. Then, attach the last black clip on an unpainted metal service on your vehicle (not near the battery). Start up the working vehicle and let it run for a few minutes. Then, start your vehicle.

Changing A Flat Tire

Flat tires can come at the worst time – like in the middle of your commute. Knowing how to change a flat tire yourself could save you time, stress, and money. Keep a spare tire in or on your vehicle at all times. If you pop your tire on the go, pull over at a safe location, such as the shoulder of the road as far from traffic as possible. Limit how much you drive on a flat tire, as this can damage your rims. Turn on your emergency lights and set the parking brake.

Remove your hubcap from the flat tire. Use a lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts. Then, position the car jack beneath the vehicle, near the pinch flange. Use the jack to carefully raise the wheel. Take off the flat tire, replace it with the spare, and tighten the lug nuts loosely by hand. Use the jack to lower the tire to the ground, then the wrench to finish tightening the bolts. Replace the hubcap, store your flat tire, and get back on the road.