Car Loan Process

Car shoppers spend much of their time on find the best new or used car and getting the best deal. The most often overlooked part of the car buying process is an auto financing. The cost of your car over time is as much about the auto loan as it is about the car price. Finding the best auto financing to suit your needs and budget is a critical step and will save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

The first step is to determine your credit score, never apply for a car loan without knowing you score. Your credit score is the major factor in determining your interest rate you will pay a loan. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate and auto loan payment. Conversely, the lower your credit score, the higher your interest rate and auto loan payment. Prior to applying for your auto loan, evaluate your credit and find ways to increase your score to lower your rate. A quick fix is to pay down your credit cars debt which will help increase your credit score.

Next set your budget which is the amount your can afford on a monthly basis. How much of your income do you plan to use cover your car expenses. Item not to be overlooked are auto insurance, auto maintenance and fuel. Your budget will ultimately set your car buying threshold or vehicle price.

Research auto loan rates to determine by your credit score the average interest rate you will pay. Most lenders have interest rate tiers to determine the rate given. The credit score is one of the largest factors with a score above 720 considered to be good, below 720 to 620 considered to be fair and below 620 to be poor credit. Increasing your score if your can move up a level is a smart move to decrease your vehicle costs. Search auto loan rates on the internet to be informed on current rates and what you can expect when applying. Good car shopping means finding the best auto loan at the best rate.


Car Buying: What to bring to the car dealership

f you are ready to purchase a used vehicle here’s a list of things to bring with you to the an auto dealership.

Pen and paper – You’ll need to write down some basic information for research before you buy the car. Write down the VIN#, year, make, model and mileage.

Calculator – Divide the number of miles by the age of the vehicle. Keep in mind even though it may be a 2006 it could have been sold in the fall of 2005. Check the inside of the driver’s side door panel for the manufacturer date. If it is more than 15,000 miles per year you may want to be a little cautious.

CD – It is always a good idea to check the cd player (if equipped) to make certain it is in good working order.
A preapproval loan – It is a good idea to get an auto loan quote at or prior to going to the dealership if you are planning on financing the vehicle. If you go through the banks the dealership uses there may be hidden fees or even a higher interest rate.

Paystubs, W-2, and a recent bill – If you need specialty financing this documentation may be needed for income and address verification. If you do not receive any bills in your name at your residence, you can call an insurance agent and have them mail you an estimate. This will usually suffice for address verification.

Hand towel or small cloth – You will want to check the oil and transmission fluids. If the oil has a milky look, this can be a sign of major engine problems. Smell the transmission fluid, if it smells burnt, it may have a bad transmission.

Laptop – If you have a laptop, bring it along and do a VIN check on the vehicle. The VIN# can be found at the bottom of the windshield on the driver’s side, or on the inside panel of the driver’s door. You can find out if the car has ever had flood damage and also if it has been in any accidents. You can also look up the book value.

List of used cars and price you are willing to pay – Do some research on the cars you like. Write down their book values and options. Also look at your local market and check the average asking price for the different cars in which you are interested. Keep in mind, this is only their asking price. They will usually sell the car for less than they are asking.

A penny – This coin can be used to check the treadwear of the tires. Turn the coin sideways with the top of Lincoln’s head downward. Place the coin between the treadlines of the vehicle. The tread should at least reach the top of Lincoln’s head.

Driver’s License – You won’t be able to test drive without it. In some states you may also be required to have proof of insurance.

Downpayment – If you are serious and want to get the best deal have your downpayment with you. It is hard for a salesperson to pass on an offer when he sees the downpayment in your hand.

Coolant Tester – This tool can be picked up very inexpensively at any auto parts store. Since you’ll want to check the level of the fluid anyway, you might as well test it too. No need to remove the radiator cap. Just open the overflow and test the fluid there. Simple instructions are on the package.

Name and location of a local garage – You should have enough time on your test drive to take the vehicle to a local repair shop. Have them do a vehicle inspection, they usually advertise a 29 point check or something to that extent. There will be a minimal fee, usually $25 – $75, or maybe even free if it is your regular mechanic.

And last but not least, a mechanic or someone with mechanical knowledge – Don’t be afraid to ask a friend who is very biased to go with you, they will be flattered. You will need someone who is willing to look underneath the vehicle for any leaking fluids. Be sure to have them look before and after the test drive. This person can also check the fluids for you. It is a good idea for both of you to test drive the vehicle too.

AIM Unveils DealerLocal, “Local” SEO Tool

Millions of people each month are utilizing hundreds of sites to shop for vehicles, find dealerships and rate their experience in both sales and service. The challenge for almost every dealer is to make sure they can be found in these sites and ensure they are aware of all consumer ratings – both good and bad.

DealerLocal is an online solution that provides dealers with information and ratings about their dealership across more that 1200 popular search engines, online directories and local search sites.

“We saw an opportunity to help dealers get their arms around this critical aspect of managing their online information and reputation,” said Mike McDonnell, CEO and Co-Founder of AIM. “I learned how much time and effort it takes us to do all this work for and realized that most dealers aren’t going to take the time and effort to do if for their site. It’s very important because many consumers are using these sites to find your store and learn about other’s experiences. And as importantly, it can help your site’s SEO ranking.”

Customers are not only searching on popular search engines, but also multiple online directories such as,, and many more. Countless dealerships are not listed in these directories or they have inaccurate information and some even have negative reviews that the dealership doesn’t even know about.

“Our program does most all of the work for the dealership. We look online at various search engines and directories to see if the dealership is listed, and the depth and detail of their information. If anything is missing or the information is wrong we correct it,” said Tony French, President and Co-Founder of AIM. He continued, “It’s not as easy as submitting information and then you’re done. Most all of these sites have their own process and usually takes weeks if not months to get a dealership listed or information changed.”

DealerLocal continues to submit, manage and monitor a dealer’s information on these sites until everything is up-to-date. The program also produces a monthly report with details on the dealership’s online reputation and notifies them of the number of ratings and their average score per site.

“It’s very important for dealerships to be found online, but once the consumer finds the dealership it’s equally important to have a good reputation,” said Tony. “We make it very easy for dealer to be listed everywhere online and to know what their customers are saying about them.”

About Automotive Internet Media
Automotive Internet Media, Inc. (AIM) headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, is a premier integrated media and lead distribution company that manages Auto Classifieds . AIM encompasses an integrated network of highly specialized Used Cars Online websites that leverages search engine optimization to drive online traffic and connects digital advertising with our clients’ brand objectives.

With a solid foundation for growth, AIM is simultaneously building its current brands while continuing to grow through launching and managing other properties and programs.

Auto Financing Tips

Purchasing and paying for a new car doesn’t have to be intimidating. Beyond the acquisition of a new home, bringing a new vehicle into your life is the largest purchase most people will ever make. So it makes sense to do your homework before you approach the car dealership, develop a plan of action, and then keep your wits about you as you negotiate.

Know Your Credit History
If you haven’t done this in the past year, log on to the home page and click on “get credit score” and get a credit report. Make sure the information is correct and file a dispute if it isn’t. Clear up any collection items that may be listed and pay down some of those credit card debts. The best interest rates go to those with the best credit history. It may take time to clear up some of those issues on your credit report, but it is well worth your while in the interest shopping department.

Save Up for A Down Payment
Oftentimes, the best interest rates are not only reserved for those with good credit scores, but also for those with a down payment on a vehicle. Aim to pay at least 20% of the value of the new car up front, either with a trade-in or cash. Not only will you get a better interest rate, but you will have a better chance of avoiding being upside-down on your loan. That is, owing more than your car is worth!

Shop Around
The dealer does not always have the best interest rates available. Before you go car shopping, click on “auto loan quote” to inquire about pre-approval and determine what interest rates they can offer you. Have a good idea of what you want to purchase, what the value of your trade-in is, and what your total loan amount will be. This research can be done with the help by shopping around on You can then get a good idea of what they can offer you in terms of loan rate and term.

Negotiate a Good Deal
Approach the dealership with your research and negotiate for a fair price on the vehicle that you desire. If they attempt to offer you low interest financing, it may or may not be a good offer. Do the math! How much interest will you pay if they give you $3,000 cash back versus paying 0% interest on the full price car. If you pay less interest than $3,000 take the higher interest financing and the cash back. If they can’t offer you a good financing deal, then turn back to your pre-approved bank loan. Never negotiate a car deal based on monthly payment amounts. Yes, you need to know what you can afford each month, but you will get burned if you agree to pay $250 a month over 6 years versus $300 a month over 5 years. Know how much interest you are paying over the life of the loan and aim to keep that to a minimum, not your monthly payment!

Pay Your Bills
After you’ve secured your auto financing, remember to make that monthly payment and keep your credit history solid for your next major purchase.

Automotive Internet Media Relaunches

Chicago IL- February 6th, 2010 – Every day millions of people use search engines such as Google and Yahoo to search for new and used vehicles.  The challenge for most car dealerships is trying to keep up with the ever changing world of SEO, the different social media networks, Blogs, Video and the way to win online every day.

Automotive Internet Media Inc. (AIM), an up and coming provider of leads to the auto industry, has officially re-launched ( “We saw as an opportunity to overhaul a possible sleeping giant in our space,” said Michael McDonnell, CEO and Co-Founder Automotive Internet Media. “With a fantastic domain name and freshly new site built for search engine algorithms we believe we can compete with just about anybody.” affords dealerships with the ability to reach customers they otherwise would be missing from not ranking high enough in search. “Competing for the first page of Google is very challenging and sometimes impossible for some dealerships,” said Tony French, President and Co-Found of AIM. He continued, “We give dealerships the ability to reach a completely different population of online consumers without the time and effort it takes for an employee to stay educated and up to date on optimizing their dealership’s website. We include tools and features for our premier dealers to help them target relevant customers within our engaged audience.”’s Premier Program allows dealerships to own their brand in their respective market. During these tough economic times, some dealers will fold while others will prevail while becoming stronger and smarter. One facet of winning in this market is diversifying your media budget. Having a web site and allocating the remainder of your budget on traditional auto destinations sites will limit your results. Dealers can’t own their market unless they can compete in search. With a slight reallocation of the dealer’s budget,’s Premier Program gives the dealership the ability to increase leads and sales results.

Getting the Most For Your Trade-In

The truth of the matter is you will almost always get more money for your used car if you sell it yourself. For most people, though, it is often times easier and faster to trade in your vehicle when buying a new one.

However, new car dealers are not only shrewd sellers, they are also shrewd buyers, which is what you are doing when you trade-in a vehicle selling it to the dealership. And, though you will never get the full value of your used car from a dealership, with a little knowledge and shrewdness on your own part, you can maximize the price you get for your trade-in.

The Dealer’s Mindset
The first step in getting the most out of your used car trade-in is understanding why new car dealerships even bother with taking them. The reason is profit. New car dealerships actually make a bigger profit from the used cars they sell than on the new ones.

The dealer’s profit margin is greater on used cars because dealers pay wholesale prices not retail prices for them. After only the minimal investment of a tune-up or detailed cleaning they can turn around and sell them at retail.

Your Trade-In’s Value
The second step in getting the most out of your used car trade-in is knowing its value. You are, in effect, selling your car to the dealership. Just like you would do if you were selling your car to an individual, learning the value of your used car is imperative. This allows you to have a general price a reference point from which you can conduct your negotiations and prevents you from unwittingly accepting a deliberately low offer from a dealer.

When determining your trade-in’s value, be sure to factor in features that may positively affect the price, such as air conditioning, sunroof, CD player/changer, power windows, etc. Remember to also consider conditions that may adversely affect the price such as high mileage, dull or chipped paint, rust, chipped or pitted glass, worn or stained upholstery and carpeting, worn suspension, poor alignment, etc. The most important thing when determining your trade-in’s value is to be honest and not allow sentimentality to cloud your judgment.

You also need to keep in mind you are determining trade-in value (wholesale value) not retail value. The trade-in value of a car is basically the amount someone who plans to resell the car will pay it. The best place to look up your trade-in’s value on line is at and click the Black Book Appraise Your Trade for Free. These are only ballpark figures because it’s easy to overrate your car’s condition and so many other factors (such as local market conditions) determine what it is worth to the dealership.

Your Trade-in’s Appearance
Remember: first impressions count. It never hurts to spend a little money to have your trade-in professionally cleaned. Providing the dealership with a good impression can help a lot with obtaining a higher appraisal value. Often times a messy car is equated (possibly wrongfully) to a vehicle that has been neglected mechanically.

Also, completing minor maintenance and repairs on your trade-in, such as lube, oil and filter changes offer a good impression at the time of appraisal. Quite often people are led to believe that they should fix every problem with their vehicle before taking it in to the dealership. If the repairs are minor go ahead and fix them. Any major repairs, however, should be avoided. A dealer will take the reconditioning of your trade-in off the price but keep in mind that it cost them a lot less than it will cost you retail. It is better for them to take $500 off the trade-in value for a broken A/C instead of you paying $1,000 to have it fixed yourself.

Don’t forget your tires. Mismatched tires, either by type or by size, take away from the attractiveness of a car and will cause it to take a hit in appraisal value. Also, tires that are worn can indicate poor maintenance: tires that are worn unevenly often indicate that there’s been damage to the frame, or that the alignment is shot either of which will lessen the value of the used car.

Negotiating the Deal
It can be guaranteed that by the time you’re ready to talk price on the car you’ve selected, the salesperson will have asked you if you’re planning to trade in your current vehicle. You should avoid answering this question until the negotiations on the new car are complete. If you tell the dealer you’re planning to trade in your old car, the dealer will want to lump the two transactions together, putting you at a disadvantage.

Never forget that there are two separate transactions taking place. The first one is the dealership selling you a new car. The second is you selling the dealership a used car. The dealership is the only one who wins by the two deals being combined into one transaction.

The best way to conduct the process is to negotiate the lowest possible price on the new vehicle first, and only then should the trade-in be mentioned. This prevents dealers from working the value of the used car into a more lucrative profit for the dealership by offsetting a higher offer on the trade-in with a higher price on the new car.

Although you will always get more money for your used car if you sell it yourself, if you invest a little time and effort into preparing yourself and your car before you step foot on the dealer’s lot, you can maximize the price you get for your trade-in.