17520 East US 24 Hwy Independence , MO 64056 816-912-1836

Is Your Car Pulling You In The Wrong Direction

Wheel Alignment - Avoiding The Danger Signs Ahead

If you're experiencing problems with your car pulling to one side, it may be due to a misaligned wheel. A wheel alignment can correct this problem and ensure that your car drives in a straight line. Avoid the danger of driving with a misaligned wheel by getting it corrected at a reputable automotive shop.

Most people don't think about their vehicle's alignment until they experience unusual tire wear or handling concerns. However, just like any other component of your car, regular upkeep is critical to maintaining it in good working order. Here are four reasons why routine wheel alignments are essential.

Wheel Alignments Prevent Uneven Tire Wear

The number one reason to keep up with your wheel alignments is to prevent uneven tire wear. When your wheels are out of alignment, they put unnecessary stress on your tires. This can cause them to wear down faster on one side than the other. It also reduces the life of your tires and makes them more likely to fail unexpectedly.

Wheel Alignments Improve Handling

Another important reason to get regular wheel alignments is to improve the handling of your vehicle. When your wheels are out of alignment, it can make your car feel unstable on the road. This can be dangerous, especially when driving at high speeds or in adverse weather conditions.

Wheel Alignments Improve Fuel Efficiency

When your wheels are out of alignment, your car has to work harder to move forward. This extra effort means that your car will burn through fuel more quickly. In addition, drag from misaligned wheels can also cause your car to lose speed, which wastes even more fuel.

Wheel Alignments Extend the Life of Your Suspension

When your wheels are out of alignment, they place extra stress on your suspension components. Over time, this extra stress can cause these parts to wear out prematurely, resulting in a need for costly repairs or even replacement.

Regular wheel alignments are an important part of keeping your car running safely and efficiently. If you've noticed any unusual tire wear or handling problems, be sure to schedule an appointment with a qualified mechanic right away.

Cars Get Cold Too

How To Check Your Antifreeze

It may not cross most people's minds, but checking your car's antifreeze protection level is an important part of regular maintenance. Anti-freeze helps protect your car from damage caused by cold weather, and keeping it at the proper level could save you from costly repairs down the road. In this article, we will show you how to check your car's antifreeze protection level and what to do if it needs to be adjusted.

What You Need

Before you begin, there are a few items you need for the job:

  • An anti-freeze tester: These are usually sold for just a few dollars at any auto parts store.

  • Paper towel or rag: This will help keep the anti-freeze off of surfaces like paint that could get damaged.

  • Ziplock bag: This will help keep dirt out of your anti-freeze tester while you’re not using it.

Step 1: Locate The Reservoir

The first step is to locate the reservoir where your car’s anti-freeze is stored. This is usually in the engine compartment, and it looks like a plastic container with a lid on top (as seen in Figure 1). There should also be a warning label telling you not to open the lid while the fluid is hot – so always make sure that your car has been sitting idle for at least two hours before proceeding! 

Step 2: Testing The Anti-Freeze

Now that you have located the reservoir, insert the end of your tester into the fluid (you may have to use a straw attached to the bottom of the tester). Then pump up and down until about half of the fluid has been drawn up into the glass chamber on top (Figure 2). Now look at how many “balls” are floating on top of the fluid; this number tells you how well protected your car is against extreme cold temperatures (see Table 1 below). Once done testing, pour any remaining liquid into its original container, then wipe off any residue with paper towel or rag. 

Step 3: Storing The Tester

After testing, take a ziplock bag and store your anti-freeze tester in it until its next use. This will help keep dust and dirt off of it when it’s not in use! And don't forget - always remember that antifreeze is poisonous so make sure none gets on any surfaces outside of its original container!   

Checking your car's antifreeze protection level doesn't have to be difficult or complicated; with these simple steps anyone can do it themselves! With regular testing every few months, you'll know exactly how well protected against extreme cold temperatures your vehicle really is - potentially saving yourself hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs down the line!

11 Best Bargain Cars 2017

With car dealers’ lots being flooded with a tsunami of off-lease vehicles returning to the market following the big post-recession new-car sales surge, used car shoppers are finding some sweet deals being offered on three-year-old like-new models.

As always, the best buys among pre-owned vehicles are usually those which, perhaps because of slow sales and/or hefty incentives required to move the metal, tend to suffer the lowest resale values. Of course, depreciation is a two-way street when it comes to automobiles. A too-rapid loss of value is the bane of new-car buyers as it means getting less money at trade-in time, but it favors a used car shopper looking for a great car at a bargain price.

To that end, the statisticians at the used-vehicle website iSeeCars.com have compiled a list of 11 cars from the 2014 model year that have already lost the highest percentages of their original sticker prices in the industry, based on an analysis of 5.8 million car sales.

11. 2014 Ford Focus

The 2014 Focus is one of the best deals among late-model used cars, having lost 45.0% of its original cost. It sells for an average $11,853, according to iSeeCars.com, which is about a third of the cost of a typical new vehicle these days.

10. 2014 Ford Fusion

Having received a major makeover for 2013, a three-year-old version of the midsize Fusion sedan remains handsomely styled, and you’ll find one with either of three gasoline engines in addition to separate hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. A standard 2014 model has already lost 45.1% of its sticker price on a used-car lot, where it’s going for an average $15,140.

9. 2014 Volkswagen Jetta

The compact Jetta sedan got an engine upgrade for 2014 among other improvements. Still, it’s already lost 46.4% of its initial sticker price in the used market, where it sells for a bargain-priced average $13,033.

8. 2014 Infiniti Q50

The midsize Q50 was new for 2014, and despite myriad improvements over the G37 it replaced, it tended to be overshadowed by the European competition. The 2014 has already lost 46.9% of its original worth, and sells for an average $24,956.

7. 2014 BMW 3 Series

This is the compact sports sedan to which all competitors aspire, and it’s arguably one of the best-handling cars for the money. That’s especially true as a three-year-old used car, where a preponderance of off-lease models has dropped a 3 Series’ value by 46.9%, with an average 2014 model going for $24,821.

6. 2014 Nissan Maxima

You certainly do get the Maxima for the minimum as a 2014 model-year used car. Nissan’s modestly sporty midsize sedan loses 47.9% of its value after three years and sells for an average $18,867.

5. 2014 BMW 5 Series

Like its main rival, the Mercedes E-Class, a large number of BMW’s midsize 5-Series sport sedans are leased, with the law of supply and demand working in favor of used-car buyers; a 2014 model has already lost 48.0% of its initial value and sell for a national average of $33,474.

4. 2014 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

The same holds true for Mercedes’ compact sedan as it does for the larger E-Class; a steep 48.3% drop in value after three years makes the C-Class a second-hand bargain at an average $23,212.

3. 2014 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Mercedes’ midsize sedan was refreshed for 2014, though it received a full redesign for 2017. Still, there’s a lot to like here, especially in that a three-year old version has already lost 48.4% of its original value and sells at an average $33,727.

2. 2014 Cadillac ATS

Caddy’s answer to the BMW 3 Series comes in coupe and sedan models; it’s quick and nimble, but sells in far less numbers than the European entries, and usually requires big incentives at that. It loses 50.4% of its original value as a used 2014 model, selling for an average $21,173.

1. 2014 Cadillac CTS

The midsize Cadillac CTS luxury sedan suffers the highest rate of depreciation among vehicles from the 2014 model year, according to the used-vehicle website iSeeCars.com. Otherwise a capable and competent ride, It’s already lost 51.4% of its original sticker price and sells for an average $27,537 (check local used-car listings for vehicle prices specific to your area).

See full article at


Used Car and Truck Financing Options

Financing Options

You have two financing options: direct lending or dealership financing.

Direct Lending

In direct lending, you get a loan directly from a bank, finance company, or credit union. You agree to pay, over a period of time, the amount financed, plus a finance charge. Once you enter into a contract with a dealership to buy a vehicle, you use the loan from the direct lender to pay for the vehicle.

Direct lending may offer you:

  • Comparisons. You have the chance to shop around and ask several lenders directly about their credit terms before you agree to buy a specific vehicle.
  • Credit terms in advance. By getting financing before you buy the vehicle, you will know your rate and other terms when you are shopping.

Dealership Financing

In dealership financing — another common type of vehicle financing — you get financing through the dealership. You and a dealer enter into a contract where you buy a vehicle and agree to pay, over a period of time, the amount financed plus a finance charge. The dealer may retain the contract, but typically sells it to a bank, finance company or credit union — called an assignee — that services the account and collects your payments.

Dealership financing may offer you:

  • Convenience. Dealers offer vehicles and financing in one location and may have extended hours, like evenings and weekends.
  • Multiple financing options. The dealer’s relationships with a variety of banks and finance companies may mean it can offer you a range of financing choices.
  • Special programs. Dealers sometimes offer manufacturer-sponsored, low-rate or incentive programs to buyers. The programs may be limited to certain vehicles or may have special requirements, like a larger down payment or shorter contract length (36 or 48 months). These programs might require a strong credit rating; check to see if you qualify.

Remember: Shop around before you make a decision about buying or leasing. Consider offers from different dealers and several sources of financing, including banks, credit unions, and finance companies. Comparison shopping is the best way to find both the vehicle and the finance or lease terms that best suit your needs.

This article can be found at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0056-understanding-vehicle-financing#federal

Applying for a Car Loan

 The Finance Department Manger will ask you to complete a credit application, which may include the following. 

  • Name;
  • Social Security number;
  • Date of birth;
  • Current and previous address(es) and length of stay;
  • Current and previous employer(s) and length of employment;
  • Proof of Income (Most recent pay stub)
  • Proof of Residence (Utility or phone bill dated within 30 days)
  • Occupation;
  • Sources of income;
  • Total gross monthly income; and
  • Financial information on current credit accounts, including debt obligations.

Most dealerships will get a copy of your credit report, which has information about your current and past credit obligations, your payment record, and data from public records (for example, a bankruptcy filing from court documents). For each account, your credit report shows your account number, the type and terms of the account, the credit limit, the most recent balance and the most recent payment. The comments section describes the status of your account, including the creditor’s summary of past due information and legal steps that may have been taken to collect on those obligations.

The dealership typically submits your credit application to one or more potential assignee's, such as a bank, finance company or credit union, to determine their willingness to buy your contract from the dealer.

The finance companies or other potential assignee's evaluate your credit application using automated techniques like credit scoring, where factors like your credit history, length of employment, income, and expenses may be weighted and scored.

The potential assignee will not deal directly with you when you finance through a dealer. It bases its evaluation on your credit report and credit score, the completed credit application, and the terms of the sale, such as the amount of the down payment. Each potential assignee decides whether it is willing to buy the contract, notifies the dealership of its decision and, if applicable, offers the dealership a wholesale rate, often called the buy rate, at which the assignee will buy the contract.

Your dealer may offer manufacturer incentives, such as reduced finance rates or cash back on certain models. You may see these specials advertised in your area and online. Make sure you ask your dealer if the model you are interested in has any special financing offers. Generally, these discounted rates are not negotiable, may be limited by a consumer’s credit history, and/or are available only for certain makes, models, or model-year vehicles.

When no special financing offers are available, you usually can negotiate the APR and the terms for payment with the dealership, just as you would negotiate the price of the vehicle. The APR that you negotiate with the dealer usually is higher than the wholesale rate, because it includes an amount that compensates the dealer for handling the financing. Negotiation can take place before or after the dealership accepts and processes your credit application. Try to negotiate the lowest APR with the dealer, just as you would negotiate the best price for the vehicle.

Dealers who promote rebates, discounts or special prices must clearly explain what is required to qualify for these incentives. For example, these offers may involve being a recent college graduate or a member of the military, or they may involve reductions for only specific vehicles. Check to see if you qualify for any available rebates, discounts or offers as they can reduce your price and, therefore, the amount you finance or that is part of your lease.

Most consumers who apply for credit will get a free credit score disclosure notice. This notice includes a credit score, the source of that score, and information about where your score falls with respect to other consumers.

Ask questions about the terms of the contract before you sign. For example, ask whether the terms of the contract are final and have been fully approved before you sign and leave the dealership with the vehicle. If the dealer says they are still working on the approval, be aware that the deal is not yet final. Consider waiting to sign the contract and keeping your current vehicle until the financing has been fully approved. Or check other financing sources before you sign and before you leave your car at the dealership.

To view this entire article visit https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0056-understanding-vehicle-financing#federal


A creditor may require that you have a co-signer on the finance contract to make up for any deficiencies in your credit history. A co-signer may increase the chances of obtaining an approval for a used car loan if you have little credit history, or past credit delinquency. 

As a co-signer, you assume equal responsibility for the contract. The account payment history will appear on both the borrower’s and co-signer’s credit reports. For this reason, use caution if you are asked to co-sign for someone. Co-signers are legally obligated to repay the contract, so make sure you know the terms of the contract and can afford to take on the payments before you agree to co-sign for someone.

Trade In or Down Payment

Saving for a down payment or trading in a vehicle can reduce the amount you need to finance and reduce your financing costs. In some cases, your trade-in vehicle will take care of the down payment on your new vehicle.

If you owe more on your vehicle than its market value, you have negative equity in your vehicle. This is a consideration if you plan to use your vehicle as a trade-in. The longer your new credit contract, the longer it will be before you have positive equity in the new vehicle — that is, before it is worth more than you owe. If you have negative equity, you may need to make a bigger down payment. Or the dealer may offer to include the negative equity in your new finance contract by increasing the amount financed to include the amount you still owe on your current vehicle. This will increase your monthly payments on the new contract in two ways: it adds to the amount financed and increases the finance charge. If you have negative equity in your vehicle, consider paying down the debt before you buy another vehicle. If you use the vehicle for a trade-in, ask how the negative equity affects your new credit obligation.

See this article at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0056-understanding-vehicle-financing#federal

Common Financing Terms

Know the Terms

Before signing any documents, whether at a dealership, bank, finance company or credit union, understand the following terms because financing has a language of its own.

Additional Products or Services — Products or services that the dealer may offer in a sale, financing, or lease. Examples include extended service contracts, credit insurance, and guaranteed auto protection. These products and services are optional. Get the costs and terms of any additional products and services in your contract, and sign only for the specific products you want.

Amount Financed — The dollar amount of the credit provided to you.

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) — The cost of credit expressed as a yearly rate. You may be able to negotiate this figure. Factors that influence your APR: Your credit history, current finance rates, dealers’ compensation, competition, market conditions, and special offers are among the factors that affect your APR. Try to negotiate the lowest APR just as you negotiate the price of the vehicle.

Assignee — The bank, finance company or credit union that buys the contract from the dealer.

Credit Insurance — Optional insurance that pays the scheduled unpaid balance if you die or the scheduled monthly payments if you become disabled. The cost of optional credit insurance must be disclosed in writing. If you decide you want it, you must agree to it and sign for it.

Credit Report — A document that includes information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you have been sued, or have filed for bankruptcy. Nationwide consumer reporting agencies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home.

Credit Score — A number that reflects the credit risk you present based on information in your credit file. The better your history of credit, the higher your score. Your credit score may be used to help decide the rate and other terms you are offered.

Down Payment — The initial amount you pay to reduce the amount you finance.

Extended Service Contract — Optional protection on specified mechanical and electrical components of the vehicle that may be available for purchase. It supplements any warranty coverage provided with the vehicle.

Finance Charge — The cost of credit expressed as a dollar amount. You may be able to negotiate this figure.

Fixed Rate Financing — Financing where the finance rate stays the same over the life of the contract.

Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP) — Optional protection that pays the difference between the amount you owe on your vehicle and the amount you would get from your insurance company if the vehicle is stolen or destroyed before you have paid off your credit obligation.

Monthly Payment Amount — The dollar amount due each month on the loan, finance contract, or lease agreement.

Negative Equity — The amount owed on a vehicle above its market value. For example, if your credit payoff is $18,000 and your vehicle’s market value is $15,000, you have negative equity of $3,000.

Negotiated Price of the Vehicle — The purchase price of the vehicle agreed on by the buyer and the seller. The price should reflect any rebates, discounts, or special offers that you can get at the dealership if you meet certain qualifications, which should be clearly disclosed.

Repossession — If you do not make timely payments on a vehicle, your creditor may have the right to repossess it without going to court or warning you.

Total of Payments — As disclosed on a loan or finance contract, the total amount you will have paid after you have made all the payments as scheduled. For a lease, this is the amount you will have paid by the end of the lease.

Variable Rate Financing — Financing where the finance rate varies and the amount you must pay changes over the life of the contract. This is not typical in vehicle finance transactions.

Wholesale Rate (Buy Rate) — The finance rate at which an assignee buys a retail installment sale contract from a dealer.

Find this article at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0056-understanding-vehicle-financing#federal

Obtain a copy of your Credit Report

It is a good idea to check your credit report before you make any major purchase. You can get a free copy of your report from each of the three nationwide reporting agencies every 12 months. To order, visit www.annualcreditreport.com, call 1-877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request form and mail it to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

If you are denied credit or you experience another adverse action based on information in your credit report, you may be able to get additional copies of your report for free. Usually, you will get your credit score as part of a credit score disclosure notice after you apply for financing.

If you want a copy of your credit report, but have already received your free copy, you can buy your report for a small fee. Contact any of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies:

For more information about credit reports, see:

Your Credit Score

When it comes to how much interest is charged on a car loan, some people get charged more interest, and some get charged less. Obviously, you want to be the one who gets charged less. The interest rate lenders charge is based on a number of factors, one of which is your credit score. Your credit score is sometimes called a FICO score, though FICO is only one of a number of credit scoring methods used by lenders.

A credit score is a number that credit bureaus assign to you based on how much debt you have, the number of accounts that you have open, how much credit you have been offered, how good you've been about paying bills on time, and how long you’ve been using credit. Your lender will use information from your application and credit report to determine your debt-to-income ratio (the amount of debt you have compared with how much money you earn).

Lenders use the score to predict your ability and likelihood to pay them back. If your score is low, lenders will assume that you’re at high risk for not paying the loan back, and they will charge you a higher interest rate to cover the higher risk. Lenders may also require a larger down payment from buyers with lower credit scores, or only extend a loan offer for a shorter term.

The last place you want to find out that your credit score is low is a dealership’s finance office. You should know what your credit score is before you apply for a car loan and do your best to make sure it's as high as it can be. Generally speaking, credit scores of 720 and above get the best loan rates.

Though you are entitled to free credit reports from the major credit bureaus each year, you’ll often have to pay a few dollars extra to get your actual credit score. If your score is not as high as you'd like, paying off old bills (like credit card debt) and paying all bills on time for six to nine months should bring your score up and help you get a better interest rate. If you don’t have any credit card debt, closing unused cards can help raise the score. If you do have card balances, closing cards can actually hurt your credit by raising your percentage of credit utilized.

You’ll also want to take a look at your full credit report to ensure its accuracy. If someone stole your identity and opened a credit card in your name and you aren’t aware of it, it could affect your ability to get a car loan, or the terms of any loan that you are offered. You need to report the fraudulent activity right away to the credit bureaus so any errors can be fixed before you apply for auto financing. Dealing with the credit bureaus takes time, so getting out ahead of issues is critical.

View this article at https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/how-to-finance-a-car

Text Us