Marc Blevins

Should you take 0% financing?

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This is a common question for car buyers. On a daily basis, people are bombarded with car commercials. Many of them spend just as much time touting rebates & deals as they do explaining vehicle features or quality. Most people buy a car once every few years. So today’s question is, should you take 0% APR financing?

Let’s dig into the factors you should consider when making this decision.

  1. How much are you financing?
  2. How long do you plan on keeping your vehicle?
  3. What (if any) cash rebate must you give up in order to get the 0% financing?

How much are you financing?

The basic concept here is that the more money you finance, the more benefit you get from 0% financing. So, customers who have strong equity in their trade-ins will not benefit as much from taking 0% financing as those who are “upside down” on their trade-in.

How long to you plan on keeping your vehicle?

Taking 0% financing is an option that pays you over time. Each month, you are getting a portion of the benefit of paying 0% interest vs. the market interest rate you would have been able to get. If you plan on keeping your vehicle for the duration of your auto loan, you will receive the full benefit of the 0% savings. However, if you plan on trading before the loan is up OR if you plan on paying the loan off early, you are leaving money on the table.

What cash rebate are you giving up in order to get the 0% APR?

In most cases, the car manufacturer will give customers the option of a cash rebate in lieu of the 0% financing offer. Depending on how much the cash offer is, you may be better off choosing it. To find out, first run the numbers on a loan with the cash rebate. The finance charge of this loan is the amount of money you pay in interest. The second step is to compare your finance charge to the amount of the cash rebate. If the finance charge > the cash rebate, that means the 0% option will save you money in the long run (keeping in mind that this scenario only holds true if you pay the loan off completely on-time but not ahead of time).

The best way to compare the 0% option to the cash rebate option is to simply ask your sales consultant to calculate your purchase both ways. Use the same loan term & the same amount of money down. On the surface, the cheaper payment will represent the least money out-of-pocket for you. However, keep in mind that if you want to trade before your loan is paid off, you’ll want to strongly consider the cash rebate even if it’s a few dollars more per month.

Jeep Gladiator is Coming!

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In just a few short weeks, the highly anticipated Jeep Gladiator will arrive in dealerships. This mid-sized pickup has drawn rave reviews from both critics & the public for combining the iconic Jeep styling with the practicality of a pickup.

As Jeep fans know, capability is the hallmark of any Jeep vehicle. The Gladiator will contain all the tech you’ve come to expect. Electronic disconnecting front sway bar, wide track axles with locking differentials, front-facing TrailCam off-road camera, 11.1 inches of ground clearance plus much more combine to make this the most capable off-road pickup ever.

When it comes to “traditional” truck specs, Gladiator will not disappoint with 7,650 lbs towing capability. This is a truck built to tow more than just a small trailer. Campers, boats, or multiple ATVs will all be towed with ease.

Visit your local Jeep dealer for more information. Initial Jeep Gladiator models will arrive in what’s called “pre-spec” configurations in early May. Custom orders will be accepted starting in May and will be the best chance for interested customers to get their hands on the Gladiator.

Should I lease my next vehicle?

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Leasing vs. Buying

When it comes time to buy a new car, one of the main questions you’ll need to ask yourself, “Should I lease my next vehicle?”  Don’t believe someone you know who had 1 bad experience with leasing.  Do your research, crunch the numbers, and make your own decision.


Reasons for purchasing a brand new (never owned) vehicle

Forget leasing vs. buying for a second.  Start by understanding the reasons why you want to purchase a brand new vehicle in the first place.  Here are some common reasons people go new:

  • Less repairs
  • If repairs are needed, new vehicles have a warranty
  • Get the most up-to-date features
  • Less risk—even though used cars are cheaper, they carry more risk of repairs & breakdowns
  • Get exactly what you want—you have a choice of color, options, and, therefore, price with a new vehicle. Used vehicles are limited by what’s available.
  • No need to research previous owner/accident history
  • Choice of where you buy—with a used car, you’re locked in to buying where the car you like is
  • New car smell—no previous messes, stains, smells, dog hair, etc.


These are just a few of the most common reasons.  Now, let’s also forget the words leasing & buying.  Both of them are just ways to pay for a car.  Most owners want a specific car at the best possible value.  Period, end of story.  So, do your research & figure out how much leasing will cost you per month and how much purchasing will cost you per month.

Who shouldn’t lease:

Ok, it’s easier to explain what customers shouldn’t lease.  If you don’t fall into the categories below, you are a leasing candidate.

  • People who want to drive a car for 10+ years
    • This person is better off buying a brand new car with the maximum length/mileage service contract available and taking a loan on it for as long as possible. So, pretty much an 84 month loan + a 10 year/150,000 mile service contract.
  • People who drive well over 20,000 miles per year
    • Extreme high mileage drivers are also better off “keeping it until it dies” and maxing out a service contract.

Ok, if you fall into 1 or both of the above groups, stop reading now.  Still with me?  Good.

Stick around for Part 2 of this blog where we dive deeper into how you can decide whether leasing is right for you.

Getting the Most Out of Your Trade

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When the time comes to buy your next vehicle, surely one of the main factors in your buying decision will be the value of your trade-in.  Here’s what you can do to make your trade-in as appealing as possible to dealers:

  1. Know your buyer–you think of your car as a trade-in towards something newer, cleaner, better.  The person appraising your car at a dealership thinks of your car as a piece of inventory.  Try to look at your car through a buyer’s eyes and ask yourself what would appeal to a buyer, specifically, a buyer whose intention it is to re-sell the car for a profit.
  2. Address any obvious issues–check engine lights or ABS lights are going to be a red flag.  They introduce an uncertain situation for the appraiser.  Will it cost $100 to fix or $1000?  Experienced appraisers draw from experience to play the odds.  If there’s a light on your dash, the odds are it’s because you brought it to a mechanic and the cost to repair it was high enough that you decided to trade instead.  Understand that if there’s a light on the dash, an appraiser is going to guess on the high end when estimating cost to repair.  If possible (and affordable), get these issues fixed before you try to trade-in your vehicle.
  3. Get your vehicle detailed–we’re all human, even the person appraising your vehicle.  An immaculately clean car is going to be valued, literally, $100’s of dollars more than a dirty one.  If you have kids, this is especially true.  Sure, the dealership’s job is to detail the car before they resell it.  But your job is to get the maximum value out of your vehicle.  Whether you detail it yourself or pay a professional, a clean car will make the initial offer higher plus give you a bargaining chip to use later.
  4. Be honest–the person appraising your car is just that–a person.  Treat them with respect and they will do the same.  You don’t have to volunteer information, it’s the appraiser’s job to ask questions for clarification.  But if they do ask questions, answer them honestly.  Everyone at the dealership wants you to buy a car–it’s how they make their living after all–and they’ll do everything they can to help you.  If you don’t feel like they are being respectful or helpful, then see #5.
  5. Buy where you are comfortable–it’s easy to get hung up on price.  Try to remember that you are making an investment–in the car, in the salesperson, and in the dealership.  Did you like your salesperson?  Did you like your appraiser?  Were they friendly?  Did you trust them?  Will you be comfortable walking into this store for service over the next 3-5 years?  Look, you shouldn’t have to pay $1,000’s of dollars to buy at a place where the people are nice.  But you might want to consider paying a few hundred dollars more to buy a car from people you like, trust, and want to see again.


Preparing for Winter Weather

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Winter’s coming…

We all know that temperatures will drop to below freezing, windshields take 20 minutes to defrost, and roads will be slicker than a used car salesman on the last day of the month.  But how many of us actually do something to prepare for what’s in store over the next few months?  These simple tips & tricks will keep you from freezing your buns off any more than necessary this winter.

  1.  Check your windshield wiper fluid–one of those things you never think about until you run out.  Top it off in November and chances are you won’t have to do it when it’s -10 outside.
  2. Once the temperature drops below freezing for the first time, add air to your tires to bring them up to manufacturer’s recommendations.  This will improve your vehicle’s handling & prevent you from having to do it later.
  3. Replace wearables–tires, windshield wipers, brake pads–BEFORE winter.  If they are close to needing replacement, get it done before winter hits.  Either way, you’re going to have to spend the money.  Replacing these items before winter will make your life much easier.
  4. Make sure you have an extra hat, jacket, blanket and pair of gloves in the car.  It sounds corny–until it isn’t.  Oh yeah, throw a flashlight in there too.

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Don’t wait to learn this the hard way, take a few minutes today to make sure your vehicle is ready to handle everything Old Man Winter can dish out.