Top 5 Tips for Making the Most out of a Road Trip

August 11, 2018 / 16 / Blog
How to make the most of a road trip

Road trips are exciting adventures that many families, couples, and friends look forward to eagerly. They’re an opportunity to explore new places, try new restaurants, see famous landmarks and monuments, and appreciate the natural landscape of your state —and possibly the ones surrounding it—in a new way.

Unfortunately, road trips aren’t always so fun and exciting. Sometimes they’re unwanted but necessary, like if you’re moving across the state and taking your car with you. Other times, they’re meant to be enjoyable but just end up being stressful and draining instead. No matter why or where you’re going on your next long drive, you can turn it into a fun experience for everyone involved—even the driver. Whether your upcoming road trip is for leisure or by necessity, check out these five top tips to help you make the most out of it.

Leave Some Holes in Your Schedule

One of the most important parts of a fun, successful road trip is flexibility. Road trips can be very stressful—especially if you’re traveling with kids—so there’s no need to add more stress to your trip with an overly rigid schedule.

It’s normal to want to plan your road trip—and you should, to an extent. However, planning out your time schedule too tightly adds unnecessary tension and pressure to a trip that should be fun and laid-back. You might hit more traffic than you anticipated. There might be a landmark your family wants to check out on the way to your next planned destination. Unexpected things happen, especially when you’re on the road for many hours at a time. Loosening your schedule takes the pressure off and allows you to relax, take your time exploring, and actually enjoy your trip.

Set Anchor Spots

Although it’s important to leave some wiggle room in your schedule, some planning is necessary. Driving around aimlessly for a week won’t make for a very fun road trip.

Make a loose plan by deciding upon anchor spots—cities, national parks, or landmarks —that you absolutely can’t miss before you head home. These anchor spots keep you moving and give you purpose and direction on your trip. However, make sure you leave yourself enough time to stop in between your anchor spots if you see something that catches your eye along the way.

Clean Your Car Before You Leave

The thick layer of dust covering your dashboard and the stray receipts littering your backseat might not bother you much now, but they likely will once you’ve been in your car for eight hours on end.

A dirty, cluttered car does not encourage a fun, relaxed environment for a road trip. A clean car will lower your stress levels and make long hours sitting in the car feel a little more bearable. Plus, cleaning out the clutter in your car before your departure leaves you with more room for snacks and supplies to bring on your trip and souvenirs to bring back home with you.

Give Everyone a Role

To help a road trip run more smoothly, give everyone in the car an important role to play. If you’re road-tripping with a group of friends, make sure each person takes an equal turn driving and assisting with navigation every day.

If you’re traveling with your family, delegating roles is slightly more complicated. If you have a partner with you, switch off driving and navigating. Older children can also pick up the slack in terms of navigation if they have a GPS map to follow. Some cars, like a Nissan Rogue can come equipped with navigation. Younger kids can have age-appropriate responsibilities, too. Put them in charge of organizing snacks and supplies in the backseat, or keeping their eyes out for fun places to eat, shop, and stop along the way to wherever you’re headed.

Rest Whenever You Need To

No matter how much fun you have trekking long distances in your car, road trips are exhausting for everyone involved. Although they’re especially draining for the driver, being in the car for hours and hours on end is tiring even if you’re not behind the wheel.

Be flexible with your rest times. If you’ve planned on driving 200 miles in one day and are drop-dead tired after only driving 100, cut yourself some slack and stop at a hotel for the night or chill in a nearby diner for a couple of hours. Rushing your road trip and not giving yourself the breaks you need will ruin your mood and add stress to your trip. Plus, driving when you’re exhausted is just as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It’s always better to slow down and extend your trip a little bit than to make yourself miserable and put yourself and your passengers in danger by driving when you’re overly tired.

2018 Nissan Versa

July 31, 2018 / 67 / Blog
2018 nissan versa interior SR charcoal cloth

Driving Specs

The standard engine on the 2018 Nissan Versa is a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that offers 109 horsepower and ensures an easy drive. Front-wheel drive is standard in base and upgraded models. Driving the 2018 Versa is a breeze. It accelerates and turns gently to avoid jerking and jostling for a smooth drive whether you’re driving on the highway, across flat urban streets, or up curvy mountain roads.

The Versa gives you options when it comes to transmission. Its base model features five-speed manual transmission, but its upgraded models–the S Plus and SV–are available with continuously variable automatic transmission. Its short throw clutch allows those driving in manual transmission to shift gears quickly and easily to slow down, accelerate, and merge into traffic safely and smoothly with no risk of stalling.

Comfort and Style

Nissan’s 2018 Versa model has a sleek, sporty look that sets it apart from other practical subcompact sedans. Its comfortable, straightforward interior is another major selling point of the Versa. Its large windows offer clear visibility for drivers and passengers, and its deep bucket seats absorb shock effortlessly to prevent jostling even on the bumpiest roads. These seats also feature height-adjustable front and rear head rests to provide customization comfort for drivers and passengers alike.

The Versa features a 14.9-cubic-foot trunk that offers much more cargo space than the majority of subcompact sedans within its class, so you can effortlessly fit everything you need to take with you in your trunk with room to spare. Its backseat is also sizeable to offer passengers plenty of room and give the whole cabin an open, spacious feel. It easily accommodates up to five passengers at a time while offering ample leg room to everyone in the car. You’ll never feel cramped inside a 2018 Nissan Versa, whether you’re a driver or a backseat passenger.

Fuel Efficiency

The fuel economy of Nissan’s 2018 Versa is very impressive, especially when compared with other modern subcompact sedan vehicles in its class. Fuel efficiency varies depending on which model you choose, since the base model and upgraded models are equipped with different transmissions.

The S base model’s five-speed manual transmission offers an average gas mileage of 27 miles per gallon on city streets and 36 MPG on the highway. The Versa’s upgraded SV and S Plus models–both of which are equipped with continuously variable transmission–boast an increased mileage of 31 MPG in the city and suburbs and 39 MPG at highway speeds.

Safety Features

The 2018 Nissan Versa lives up to its reputation as a reliable, family-friendly sedan with its many advanced safety features. Almost all of its safety features are included as standards in the Versa’s base model–no upgrades required.

Nissan’s Advanced Air Bag System offers full coverage in the case of an accident with supplemental front air bags and seatbelt sensors. It also features roof-mounted curtain side-impact airbags as well as flexible side-impact airbags that are built into the front seats to protect all passengers in an emergency. An advanced traction control system also improves your grip on the road and reduces wheelspin to allow you to accelerate quickly and smoothly even when road conditions are not ideal.

The Versa’s anti-lock braking system relinquishes more control to you in case of an emergency. It prevents your wheels from locking up, allowing you to maintain control and navigate easily around any obstacles in your way on the road to prevent collisions and damage to your car. To help you keep control of your car at all times, the Versa is also equipped with vehicle dynamic control that allows you to steer without fear of understeering or oversteering in difficult road conditions.

Technology and Navigation

Advanced technology for entertainment options and superior navigation is a standard in the 2018 Nissan Versa. All 2018 Versa models feature a classic AM/FM audio system with a built-in 7-inch color touch-screen monitor display. Bluetooth streaming audio is also standard. An auxiliary input jack and USB port are built in as well, so you can plug in your smartphone for charging or playing music. All music plays through four state-of-the-art speakers located throughout the car’s interior and is maintained through speed-sensitive volume control.

The Versa sedan’s navigation system makes direction easy and distraction-free. Its navigation system is built into a 5.8-inch touchscreen, so you can always see clearly where you are and where you’re going.

The 2018 Nissan Versa is a classic subcompact sedan that is unmatched in its class in terms of practicality and affordability. Unlike many other vehicles, the Nissan Versa offers the vast majority of its amenities and special features as standards in its base model, so upgrades are not a necessity for most drivers. Its impressive fuel efficiency, smooth drive, and ultra-roomy interior makes the Versa an ideal sedan for families and individual commuters who value functionality, reliability, and a comfortable ride.

What to Do if Your Car’s AC Goes Out This Summer

July 30, 2018 / 60 / Blog, Tips
car without air conditioning

A broken AC system is every driver’s worst nightmare in the summer. When it’s hot outside, it gets even hotter inside your car. On a mild day when the outside temperature is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, temperatures inside your car can climb up to 110 degrees F or higher after being parked in the sun for an hour or so. If outside temperatures reach 90 degrees F, your car’s interior temperature can easily spike up to 150 degrees F. Without the instant relief of AC, stepping into a car that is way over 100 degrees F inside can feel absolutely unbearable.

Not only is this extreme heat severely uncomfortable, it can also be very dangerous for pets, children, elderly individuals, and other sensitive passengers. So what should you do if your car’s AC does go out this summer? If you don’t have the time or cash to get the AC system in your car replaced right away, that doesn’t mean you have to suffer in blistering heat every time you drive your car on a hot day. Instead, check out these top five ways to survive driving this summer if your car’s AC system is broken.

1. Roll the Windows Down

Rolling down your car’s windows to cool down its interior might seem obvious, but it is a very effective solution that not enough drivers take advantage of correctly when their car’s AC is broken. It’s important to keep driving after you roll your windows down if you want your car to cool down quickly. Driving keeps air circulating and reduces the temperature of your car’s interior faster.

Be careful when rolling your windows down. Keeping your windows open when you’re traveling at high speeds can waste gas and put you at risk of getting hit by rocks or other rubble on the road. Roll your windows down when you’re driving on suburban or city streets to cool down your car. When you merge onto the highway, roll your windows back up to preserve your gas and protect your face from flying debris.

2. Invest in a Portable Air Conditioner or Cooling Fan

A portable air conditioner or cooling fan can act as an affordable temporary cooling system when your car’s AC is broken.

Buying a portable air conditioner or cooling fan is one of the most effective ways to cool down your car when your AC isn’t working, but it can be expensive. Before you invest in a portable cooling system, check with your local repair shop to determine whether portable cooling is more affordable for your vehicle than just getting your car’s original AC system replaced.

3. Get Your Windows Tinted

Tinting your car’s windows can reduce the temperature of your car’s interior by up to 45 degrees F on a hot day. Anyone who has experienced both 65-degree F weather and 110-degree F weather can understand what a significant difference that is.

Getting your car’s windows tinted isn’t super cheap, but it’s definitely more affordable than getting your entire AC system replaced. Window tinting usually costs anywhere between $100 to $200.

4. Cover Up What You Can

Covering up the interior of your car can significantly reduce its temperature. The seats, seat belts, and steering wheel of your car tend to heat up the most, especially if your car has a leather interior. Investing in affordable covers for your car’s seats, seat belts, and steering wheel can cool down your car’s interior and prevent you from burning your hands every time you try to buckle your seat belt.

You should always try to park in the shade whenever possible to keep your car cool and protect its exterior and interior from sun damage. When your car’s AC is broken, finding a shady spot to park or parking in a covered structure is especially important. If you park your car outside in the sun at home, you can also purchase an exterior car cover to use as a barrier between your car and the sun.

5. Get a Quick Fix

Malfunctioning AC doesn’t necessarily mean that your car’s entire AC system needs to be replaced. Sometimes, fixing the AC in your car just requires a quick fix that takes much less time and costs much less money.

A common problem that can cause your car’s AC to malfunction is a dirty cabin air filter. Getting your cabin air filter replaced usually doesn’t cost more than $15 to $25, and you can even replace it yourself with minimal tools and knowledge of car repair. Another quick-fix issue is a cooling fan relay that has burnt connectors or is corroded. A cooling fan relay replacement is slightly more expensive than a cabin air filter replacement–it usually costs between $80 to $150–but it’s still affordable compared to getting your car’s entire AC system replaced.

2018 Nissan Pathfinder

July 29, 2018 / 56 / Blog
2018 nissan pathfinder

Driving Specs

Equipped with a powerful V6 3.5-liter engine and a modern automatic transmission, the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder offers a smooth and easy drive. Its standard keyless start, cruise control, and power steering reduce your stress on the road and make driving more fun and enjoyable. The Pathfinder has a high maximum trailering capacity of up to 6000 pounds, which speaks to the impressive power of its engine. Front-wheel drive is standard in this SUV, but four-wheel drive is an optional upgrade for the 2018 model.

Nissan’s 2018 Pathfinder has a sleek and streamlined exterior with elegant aluminum wheels and a rear spoiler for added style and speed. Its interior is comfortable and refreshingly simple and includes special convenience features like power windows, keyless entry, and an optional luggage rack. It has three roomy rows of seats that can hold up to seven passengers at a time with plenty of room to spare.
New Features

The Nissan Pathfinder was completely redesigned in 2013 and has undergone minor refreshes in its subsequent annual releases. The 2018 Pathfinder comes with its own set of new, refreshed features that modernize and upgrade this midsize SUV.

An automatic emergency braking system–which was an optional upgrade in previous Pathfinders–is standard in the 2018 model for added driving safety. A new rear-door alert system is also a standard feature that helps discourage break-ins. Nissan’s 2018 Pathfinder is also available in an upgraded midnight edition, which includes SL trim features along with black exterior accents–outside mirrors, grille, rear spoiler, splash guards, etc.–and illuminated detailing that give the newest version of this midsize SUV a sleek and stylish finish.

Fuel Efficiency

The fuel efficiency of the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder is impressive, especially among SUVs that are equipped with a similarly high maximum towing capacity. The Pathfinder’s gas mileage varies depending on which model you choose.

Standard 2018 Pathfinder models with front-wheel drive have an average gas mileage of 20 MPG on city streets and 27 MPG on the highway. Upgraded models equipped with optional but available four-wheel drive get a slightly less economical mileage of 19 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway. When compared with the average combined gas mileage of 18 MPG for standard modern SUVs, the fuel efficiencies of all 2018 Pathfinder models are at the top of their class.

Safety Features

Safety is a top priority in the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder. Its modernized safety features help minimize the risk of crime and break-ins and ensure a safe and secure ride for drivers and passengers alike. This SUV has earned excellent safety ratings when tested for side impact, rear crash protection, and roof strength.

The 2018 Pathfinder includes a rear back-up camera, so you don’t have to deal with the discomfort of swivelling your head around or the stress of worrying about any obstacles that might be in your blind spot every time you put your car in reverse. Power door locks allow you to lock every door in the car easily and instantly from the driver’s seat to prevent crime and keep younger passengers safe and secure in the backseat. An efficient alarm lets you know right away if there is any suspicious activity around your car. Plus, the Pathfinder’s separate vehicle anti-theft system will not allow the car’s engine to start without the presence of a registered key nearby.

Upgraded Pathfinder models include optional safety features as well. The most notable of these add-on features is blind-spot monitoring that lets you know when a vehicle or other obstacle is in your blind spot where you might not be able to see it in your mirrors.
Intuitive Infotainment

Nissan’s 2018 Pathfinder is equipped with a built-in state-of-the-art NissanConnect infotainment system that is widely renowned as the best vehicle infotainment system that modern technology has to offer. This infotainment interface is built into an 8-inch touchscreen that can be easily controlled with an intuitive dial-and-button controller.

The graphics on the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder’s display screen are sharp and clear, and screen responses are impressively fast. In terms of convenience and functionality, NissanConnect does not disappoint. Its menus are organized logically to help you find whatever you’re looking for quickly and easily. Playing your favorite music, podcasts, or radio stations from your smartphone or other mobile device is simple with NissanConnect. An AUX input and USB ports are standard features in the 2018 Pathfinder’s infotainment display. Bluetooth audio and Bluetooth phone capabilities are also standard.

NissanConnect also offers multiple available upgrades for the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder’s infotainment system. These optional upgrades include real-time traffic and weather reports, mobile WiFi, 4G LTE, and superior navigation capabilities.

Designed for everyday driving and commuting as well as towing and trailering, the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder upgrades the classic family SUV to a near-luxury vehicle with an attractive exterior, stylish interior aesthetic, and smooth drive. With its safety features, stylish exterior, comfortable interior, impressive fuel efficiency, and top-of-the-line infotainment system, it is a practical, straightforward car that is well-suited for the modern individual commuter or on-the-go family.

10 Benefits of Tinting Car Windows

July 25, 2018 / 69 / Blog, Tips
Rogue with Tinted windows

While it seems that tinting your car windows might only be cosmetically appealing, it actually merits other benefits worth considering. Tinting your car window comes with many benefits that are conducive to your health, safety, and the appearance of your car. More so, it also has functional and cost-effective benefits too.

Be sure to research the tinting laws in your state and local jurisdiction. Some forms of tinting are illegal. While fix-it tickets aren’t expensive, they are a pain to take care of.
Here are 10 benefits of tinting your car’s windows.

Health Benefits

Driving can expose a great deal of sunlight leaving you vulnerable to the harmful effects of UV rays. While it is only a small part of sunlight, long exposures of UV rays can have harmful effects to your health. Regular windows allow for 100% of the sun to penetrate into the car and professionally installed tinted windows can protect up to 99% of UV rays.

1. Your Skin Will Hurt

The most dangerous effects of UV rays can cause skin cancer and premature aging on your skin. Sitting directly under the sun while driving can be very harmful. Tinting your windows can help you prolong or even avoid these diseases.

2. Worse for women.

Women may acquire autoimmune diseases due to UV ray exposure. According to a National Institute of Health, women respond differently to UV rays and may acquire harmful diseases, such as dermatomyositis, when exposed to it for long periods at a time. But just because its more common in women doesn’t mean the UV rays won’t affect men.

3. Help your eyes.

Your eyes will reap the benefit of tinting your car windows. Think about the difference between wearing sunglasses, versus not wearing a pair, on a hot sunny day. With sunglasses your eyes are more relaxed, you probably won’t have to squint or strain your eyes to see clearer.

4. Reduced glare from sunlight and headlights.

Speaking of seeing clearer, tinting your car windows will help deflect bright lights and glare from the sun. Even the lightest color tint can reduce the vibrate lights coming from your surroundings.

Safety Benefits

If the health benefits haven’t sold you, perhaps the safety benefits will.

5. Privacy

The obvious benefit is the privacy that tinted car windows provide. It shields outsiders from being able to see directly into the vehicle, therefore, can help protect your precious belongings while you are not around.

6. Keep the Interior Cool

The interior of your vehicle can reach up to 125 degrees Fahrenheit on a hot summer day. This can cause hazards’ such as second-degree burns for you and your passengers. If you are a parent of a car seat aged child, then you have probably experienced the painful process of putting a child in a hot car. The plastic and metal parts of the car seat can hurt your child if you are not careful. Tinting your window car decrease the temperature of the interior significantly.

7. Save Glass from Shattering

A tint is a film layered over a glass window. In an accident, the tint’s adhesive film can act as a glue that keeps the glass from shattering all over the place. This is definitely not the case for non-tinted windows.

8. Save Energy and Gas

There is an economic advantage with tinted windows. Simply put, when your car is cooler it will take less energy to cool the car, for that reason, you will utilize less fuel. This can reduce up to 60% of fuel cost.

Appearance and Value Benefits

Most people take a lot of pride in their investment and a car isn’t an exception. When tinted windows are installed correctly, the benefits it can actually maintain the value of the vehicle or even raise it.

9. The Sex Appeal

Yes, the appearance does matter. There is a romantic appeal to a tinted car. The mysterious and ambiguous vibe gravitates people towards it. Don’t believe me? Google two pictures of the same exact car, one tinted and one without, then tell me which one looks better.

10. Increased Interior Protection

Tinting your windows helps protect the interior. The high levels of heat can ruin the integrity of the interior prematurely. This can cause cracks in the leather seats and fade in the upholstery.

Don’t skimp on the professionals you hire. A poorly done tint job will leave your car looking very ugly. It will also decrease the value. Read reviews and ask around for professionals. The type of tint also matters. Be sure to pay for quality tint, now you know tinting is worth it.

How Can I Tell If My Car Needs Coolant?

July 20, 2018 / 50 / Blog, Tips
a view under the hood of low coolant

You spend a lot of money on your vehicle. The average car loan lifetime is about 60 months. That’s not to say all the other things you pay into your car – insurance, services, gas. You also spend a lot of time in your car. It is extremely hard to live in Southern California without a car. The public transportation system isn’t the greatest and Uber can get costly. So as a responsible car owner, you can avoid unnecessary repairs by just focusing on simple basics. You don’t have to know every intricate detail about your car (although it’s recommended), just knowing the basics can save you a lot on costly repairs not to mention emotional pain from all the stress car issues bring.

Define Coolant?

Your car contains many different liquids that make the entire car function properly. The most common known liquid is gasoline. You probably know this because your car will literally stop without it. But there are other liquids that don’t require such frequent attention, nonetheless, vitally important. Coolant is one of them. Coolant is a mixture of antifreeze and water that circulates throughout the engine to regulate temperature. As the engine works to keep the car running, it can create an intense amount of heat. It can get as hot as 1000 degrees. The cooling system will work concurrently to cool the engine to maintain an appropriate level, providing fuel efficiency and proper functionality. The job of the cooling system is to regulate engine temperature for maximum fuel economy, power and component life as well as minimal emissions. If you neglect to maintain the cooling system, then the car will overheat and eventually break down.

In other words, just as humans need water, cars need coolant. Unlike drinking water, you are not going to feed antifreeze to your car daily. By regularly servicing your car, you can monitor your coolant needs. However, as life has it, repairs typically happen unscheduled. The good news is there are indications you can look for if your cooling system is failing.

Your Car Smells!

Coolant has a sweet odor. So if you detect a sweet order when you pop your hood, then it is likely that your car is leaking coolant. Also, the coolant sweet smell can create a film that will stick to the windshield. So if you see Make an appointment to get it checked.

Light Turn On

All cars have an indicator, on your dashboard, that will alert you if the temperature of the car is rising dangerously high. On most cars, it is typically a picture/icon of a temperature gauge, and when activated, it lights up. If this lights up as you are driving, it is possible that the car is experiencing an overheating due to a coolant leak. The hoes encasing the coolant could be cracked or broken. Pull over and allow the engine to cool down a bit. Access the situation. If the crack is small, you can probably take care of it yourself by talking to someone at the local car supply shop like Pepboys or YouTube the process. Don’t worry if you aren’t comfortable DIY a car fix. Just make an appointment with your trusted mechanic.

Temperature Gauge

There is a temperature gauge, also on your dashboard. When driving, it typically stays somewhere in the middle. This is normal when the engine is running smoothly. However, if it is higher or lower than normal, its an indicator that your cooling system is hindered in some way. Sometimes it’s leaves blocking the cooling system, sometimes it’s something worse. Schedule a diagnostic test with a certified technician

It’s Not Getting Hot, In Here

The heater runs off the same coolant as the cooling system. There’s a valve that regulates coolant flow through the heater in order to control cabin temperature. If the coolant is leaking or there is a blockage, it will affect the heater.

Are you Seeing Puddles?

A leak can happen externally or internally. Externally will be obvious as you will start to see puddles of neon green, orange, or pink liquids when you pull away from your parking spot. Remember it has a sweet smell so you want to make sure to clean it up if you see it in your garage. This is extremely toxic and will harm your pets and small children.

Gas Burning Faster Than Usual?

Do you find yourself filling up your tank, more frequently? This is systematic to a failing cooling system. Proper operating temperature allows fuel to burn more efficiently, providing more engine power and lower fuel consumption. If the cooling system does not drop the temperature properly then the fuel does not evaporate properly, putting a strain on the fuel economy.

There are great YouTube videos like this one and this one that you can check out to learn more about the coolant system in your car. Remember NEVER touch a hot engine. It’s always better to wait. Lastly, I don’t recommend messing with your car unless you know what you are doing.

Paying Off Your Car Faster

July 17, 2018 / 55 / Blog, Tips, Uncategorized
calculator and car

Most people in America deal with financial problems. Doesn’t matter if you have spiraled into a financial hole due to pure bad luck or made some bad decisions you’re not alone. You actually belong to a club that, according to, a third of Americans belongs to. A club of people with a credit score rating of less than 601. Which by the way, that is the difference between “fair” and “bad”. Now, what do you do if you have less than perfect credit and you need to purchase a car?

Let me paint you a not-so-pretty picture. Sara has a less than perfect credit score, but was approved for a $25,000 car loan. If you have a fair to poor credit rating, you can pay anywhere from 7%, or higher in interest. With a credit score of 582, Sara was given a 14% interest rate – a national average interest rate of a person with a bad credit score. The average car loans are about 5-6 years. In 2014, 62 percent of the auto loans were for terms over 60 months. Sara’s car loan is termed at 60 months. So, what does that look like? Sara will be paying $582 a month. Consequently, by the time she has paid off the loan, she will pay a total of $34,902. That is $9,902 from the interest rate. Seems ridiculous? We agree.

Unfortunately, this is not an unusual situation. If you are on the same boat as Sara, then you probably can’t do much about your situation. However, there are ways you can attempt to make the situation better during the duration of the loan. The goal is to pay as much as you can, as fast as you can. This way, you can save money in interest rates. Not to mention, your credit rating and history will significantly improve.

Submit By-Weekly Payments

Split your one monthly payment into two twice a month payment. So, what does that look like with Sara? Instead of paying $582/month (in 12 payments) which will equal to $6,984 a year, Sara will pay $291/bi-weekly. Since there are 52 weeks in a year, she will end up paying $7,566 (in 26 payments) a year. In essence, she will end up paying an extra payment for the calendar year. More importantly, when applying payments more often, less of the interest rate will accumulate.

Another Way of Doing This?

There is another way you can pay 13 payments in a year. Divide your monthly payment into 12, then add that amount to the current monthly payments. If we apply this to our friend Sara, she will add $48 to her current monthly payments, and pay $630/month.

Pay a Little More

If the above suggestions don’t fit your budget, still apply the same principle as much as you can. You can try to pay more towards the loan by rounding up the monthly payment. Instead of $582, Sara will pay $600. Needless to say, the more you tack onto the monthly payments, the better. And even if you are implementing the other suggestions, add this one concurrently.

Refinance When Your Credit is Better

One of the positive aspects about a car loan is when you are diligent with your payments, it can significantly bump up your credit score, and bump it up fast. After a little over a year, you can refinance your loan for a lower interest rate. As you have painfully figured out, credit history and score is vitally important when applying for a loan. Therefore, if you act with good payment behavior, like paying on-time or faster than expected, paying more times than required, and paying more than owed then you look more appealing to creditors. When you’re credit score is in a good place you have more options. Shop around for a lower interest rate loan.

Other Little Things You Can Do

Sign up for auto-pay. Some companies offer discounts with the auto-pay feature. Even if you are splitting your monthly payments into bi-weekly payments, you can set that up with the customer service rep. This will also ensure that you pay your payments on time.

Go paperless. Some companies offer discounts when you opt to go paperless. You can call the customer service line or do this online through the company’s website. Create an online account to sign up for email notifications, track your payment history, and pay online. Because who wants more paper to shred, anyway? You can also check your payment history with your bank app when you use a bank account to make payments if your loan company is stuck in the last century and doesn’t offer these features.

Call and Inquire

Be proactive and call the customer service line to ask about discount programs and, or ways you can save money. It never hurts to ask. Plus, how will you know until you ask. Remember, they want your business as much as you need theirs.

Haven’t Signed on the Dotted Line Yet?

If you haven’t purchased a car yet, but know you will end up applying for a loan with less than perfect credit score, then good for you for doing your research first. Take a look at your financial situation and calculate what you can afford. Now, you might not be able to do much for a better interest rate, but let me offer one other piece of advice, and I can’t stress this enough, buy a car that cost less than what you can afford. In other words, although Sara was approved for a $25,000 loan and she can make those monthly payments comfortably, she will be better off buying a car that is less than $20,000. You can still purchase a brand new car with most of the glamours features for about $20,000.

Hey friend, it really doesn’t matter how you ended up in this painful situation. Maybe you have to build a credit history, or you’re rebuilding your poor credit history, take this loan at face value and use it to your benefit. Be smart, opt for the lesser car, pay quickly and diligently so you will be in a better financial situation down the road.

Why Choose a Nissan Sentra

July 7, 2018 / 48 / Blog
2018 Nissan Sentra Nismo

If you are a budget-minded shopper then definitely check out the new 2018 Nissan Sentra. This car provides its driver the plug-and-play car experience. It’s a no-nonsense car that is immediately intuitive without the extra hassle. It has light, predictable steering, good brakes, and comfortable compliant suspension. It’s just an overall easy-to-drive car for a decent price tag that holds its value.

Why Buy The Nissan Sentra?

The Nissan Sentra cost less than almost all its competitors. Its base S trim package starts off at about $17,000 and comes with essentials such as a 5” infotainment color system. This system includes a Hands-free Text Messaging Assistant, Bluetooth® Hands-free Phone System, advanced drive-assist display, and much more. Each trim has its own unique features, making it possible for you to get exactly what you want from the Nissan Sentra.

Spend a Little More and Get a lot More

Spend a few thousand dollars more and you get more features than what the competitors are asking. Enjoy the Mid-Tier SV grade or all-weather package that comes with alloy wheels and automatic headlights. Additionally, the interior comes with upgrade options for heated front seats, moonroof, and a backup camera. This package also comes with passive entry with push-button start, a slightly bigger 5.8” infotainment display with Bluetooth phone and auto connectivity, and Bose 6 speaker sound system. Automatic Temperature Control is now standard for all models SV and above, while the SL trim level adds a moonroof and the Bose® Premium audio system.

The Nismo Experience

Starting at $25,790, even the top of the line Nismo model, with its grand features, is affordable. Known for its sporty experience, Nissan adds the Nismo features of the 2018 Sentra for style and punch. With an almost completely different look, the Nismo model comes with a red and white accent aerodynamic body kit. It has a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with 188 hp at 5,600 rpm and 177 lb-ft of torque at 5,200 rpm thanks to its Nismo-tuned suspension and steering. This model also has bigger 18″ aluminum alloy wheels and bigger breaks.

On a Budget, Choose an Older Model

As far as the look, Nissan kept its simple design of the 2017 Nissan Sentra. It comfortably seats 5 like a sedan, but in a compact body. Similar to last year’s model, the 2018 Sentra is well insulated allowing for the cabin to be surprisingly quiet. However, if you opt for an older model, you will be missing out on some great new features that are introduced on the 2018. Unfortunately, if you are on a budget, then those are probably not your priority. Don’t fret, 2016 and 2017 models are, nevertheless, good cars.

What’s new on the 2018 Nissan Sentra?

There are many new bells and whistles on the 2018 Sentra. For one, Automatic Emergency Braking comes standard on all trims. Additionally, the S trim adds the RearView Monitor to its list of standard features as well as a 5-inch color display, Bluetooth® connectivity, and Siri® Eyes-Free.

Comfortable Seating for Five

This 5 seater vehicle comes with standard cloth upholstery, with leather seats available for upgrade. Just like all its former version, the 2018 Nissan Sentra has quality soft-touch materials that are built to last. You can also upgrade to a power adjustable driver’s seat. Your back passengers will also find comfort with a full set of latch connectors.

Gas Efficiency and Safety standards

This is an average gas efficient car in its class. Depending on the trim you select the 2018 Nissan Sentra has a 25-27 MPG in the city and 31-36 on the highway averaging out to about 27 in the real world. When it comes to safety, NHTSA’s gave the 2018 Nissan Sentra a 4 out of 5. It gave 4 stars for its overall frontal and rollover ratings and 5 stars for side impact ratings. Some standard features include the Intelligent Cruise control that watches the flow of traffic and helps maintain an adjustable speed and set distance between you and the car in front of you. And, don’t forget it comes with Automatic Emergency Braking. It monitors your speed and distance between you and the car ahead and can let you know if you need to slow down. It can even automatically engage the brakes to help avoid a collision or lessen the severity of an impact.

Resale Value

If you are like most drivers, you will typically purchase a different car every 4-5 years. So, it’s important to purchase a car that has a high resale value. With a KBB expert rating of 8.3/10 and a KBB consumer Rating of 7.5/10, the Nissan Sentra will hold its value. As long as you take care of your car, you won’t need to worry very much about selling your car.

5 Tips For Financing Your Next Car

July 3, 2018 / 43 / Blog, Tips
Smiling salesman showing new car to a couple in showroom

Few car buyers have the cash on hand to shell out the full price of a new or used car up front. If you can’t pay for your car on the spot, you’ll probably need to cover its cost over time through financing. When you finance your car, you get a loan to purchase the car up front and then pay it off over time–with interest.
The three most important factors to think about when you’re considering financing a car through a loan are: the amount of money you borrow to buy the car, the interest rate you pay, and the amount of time you’re given to pay off your loan with interest. Financing a car can be confusing and overwhelming. It’s easy to get scammed into a bad car loan that forces you to pay way more than your car is actually worth by the time you actually pay it off. Fortunately, there are several ways to secure a smarter loan and a financing plan that will help you pay off your new car as quickly and inexpensively as possible.

1. Don’t Be Fooled by Lower Monthly Payments

Choosing a financing plan attached to the lowest monthly payments can seem like the best way to fit financing a car into your budget. It’s tempting to accept the financing plan that offers you the lowest monthly payment rate, but only thinking about monthly payments is actually a very narrow-minded way to consider a car loan. The term of your loan is just as important as the cost of your monthly payments when it comes to the overall affordability of your car financing plan.

The longer it takes you to pay off your car, the more money you’ll end up spending on loan payments. For particularly long loan terms, you will likely end up paying significantly more than your car is worth and you might even be stuck paying off the loan on your old car after you’re ready for a new one. If it’s possible for you to scrape slightly more money out of your monthly budget to keep up with higher monthly payments, the amount of money you spend on paying off your car by the end of your loan term will be significantly lower.

2. Check Your Credit Score

It’s important to head to your bank or car dealership equipped with as much knowledge as possible in order to score the lowest possible interest rates and shortest loan term.
Take some time to check your credit report and score and make sure you really understand it before you go ask for a car loan. Tracking your credit score will help you get a better understanding of what type of interest rate you should reasonably expect and can help minimize your risk of agreeing to a worse financing plan than you deserve.

3. Shop Around Without Fear

Many car buyers are afraid to check out loan offers at multiple banks or dealerships because they’re concerned about how shopping around might damage their credit score.

In reality, shopping around for a car loan will only lower your credit score very minimally–think a few points or less–or even not at al in many cases. In the long run, taking your time to secure the best car loan will have a more significant, positive effect on your finances than the slight, temporary hit your credit score might take.

4. Don’t Accept a Loan Just Because You Get One

If you have a poor credit rating, you might be tempted to snap up the first loan offer you get. When it comes to financing a car, though, getting offered a loan is not as rare as you might expect. For other major purchases–like buying a house–it can be very difficult to get any type of loan if your credit score is weak.

Your chances of getting a loan on a car with a less-than-ideal credit rating are significantly higher, primarily because it is much easier for a bank to repossess a car than a house if you end up defaulting on your loan. Don’t accept the first loan you’re offered, even if you have a poor credit score. You might be able to secure a better financing plan with a shorter term and lower interest rates, especially if you’re willing and able to provide an initial down payment of 20% or more.

5. Only Finance the Flat Cost of Your Car

If you’ve ever bought a car before, you probably already know that cars usually end up costing more than their initially advertised price. Fees, taxes, and upgrades can significantly rack up the original price of a car.

Never include these additional fees in your car’s financing plan; you’ll end up paying more in interest even though the value of your car won’t increase. If you don’t have the money to pay for these extra costs up front, consider either postponing your car purchase or forfeiting any unnecessary add-on amenities. For further assistance, get in touch with one of our reps.

How To Make Your Nissan Last

June 30, 2018 / 169 / Blog, Tips
Nissan Emblem

The thrill of getting one of our new cars is quite exhilarating. You’re nervous, excited, happy and of course you want to keep it in pristine condition. You want to do all you can to make your Nissan last. Here we will look at how you can keep your new or even slightly used Nissan in tip top shape for many years to follow.

Ensure you are buying a car that does not have defects. There are many ways to check out the background of a car. One of the more popular options is to use CARFAX. Carfax, inc is known as a company that supplies background reports/history to businesses and even individuals. This can make finding the perfect Nissan easier, and of course, reduce the stress that you have bought a car that had been flooded in hurricane conditions in the past.

Always keep up with regular maintenance

This is one of those things we all hate doing. But, it is also one of those things that absolutely must be followed. Regular maintenance ensure that your Nissan is always running at it’s absolute best. Regular maintenance of your Nissan will include, oil changes, spark plugs and wire replacement, tire rotation, windshield wiper replacement and checking of all fluids on a regular basis. There are an array of things that always need to be kept in check, so it is important to consult a professional if you are not familiar with everyday car care.

Remember to keep it clean

This is one of those things that is overlooked frequently. Considering that over half of the nation lives where there is snow and ice conditions, this is a point that should always be followed. Your Nissan can and will rust when exposed to the harsh road treatments of salt. The reaction in the metal will cause significant damage to the undercarriage and even the body of your Nissan when not sprayed off frequently throughout the winter. If you cannot keep up with a regular wash, it is suggested to look into rust protection or undercoating for your car. Keeping it clean also refers to under the hood and inside the car. Nothing makes a car lose it’s shelf life faster than dirty air filters, or the juice you dropped in the vent 3 months ago that never got cleaned up. Mare sure everything is kept up with in the clean aspect. It will only increase the likelihood that your Nissan will last even longer.

Don’t skimp on parts

In the event that something terrible happens with your Nissan, you will need to repair it. It is vital that you do not skimp on the parts required to fix your car. Now this doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to fix your car. However, you want to make sure you are buying adequate car parts. Sometimes money is tight and it seems like a better option to hop down to the junk yard to purchase a used part. However, it is always better to replace a car with the part meant for it. Skimping on parts can mean that the replacement part could be defective, causing further damage, or the part could be completely wrong. No one likes to waste time replacing a part just to find out that it does not fit or that it is wrong. To avoid this entire situation, just buy the new part and avoid the junk yard.

Take your time

Lastly, remember to take your time when starting your car. The mornings get quite hectic. The kids are screaming and late, your clothes aren’t dry or breakfast isn’t ready, whatever the reason–it seems we are always running out the door. However; when it comes to your Nissan, you will want to take your time pulling off. Motor oil, which lubricates part of the engine in your Nissan begins to settle and sink to the bottom over night. When you go to start your car in the morning, this oil is pulled back up and throughout the engine once more. However, pulling off before the oil has had enough time to circulate causes friction between engine components. Before pulling off, remember to take 30 to 60 seconds to allow the oil to heat up enough to circulate through all the engine components. This will keep your engine running smoothly, after all, oil is like blood to a car.

With these steps you can ensure that your Nissan will last longer. There is nothing better than getting the most out of your money. By following these simple procedures you can rest assure that your hard earned money isn’t being wasted. Remember if you have any doubts as to the correct handling of any of these steps, please consult a car professional who is trained to direct you through proper car maintenance.

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