5 Most Common Car Problems – CU Auto Club Roadside Assistance Can Help

roadsideassistIf you’re like most people, you probably take your car for granted. We know you love your car, but it’s easy to overlook its aches and pains until it’s too late. That’s why we’re listing the five most common things that can go wrong with your car. We also have some tips to help you take better care of your “baby” before it needs fixing.

Top 5 Car Problems

1. Battery
Extreme temperatures, hot and cold, could shorten a battery’s lifespan. Also, if you tend to drive short journeys each day, you could lose voltage. Be sure to take a longer trip now and then. A bad alternator, corroded terminals or loose connections could also cause problems.

2. Tires
Although many tire issues can be easily prevented, tires account for 10% of all emergency roadside calls. Be sure to check your tires’ tread and pressure frequently.

3. Check Engine Light
This one little light is intended to alert you to one of hundreds of potential problems. It could just mean it’s time for your checkup or you have a loose gas cap. Or, it could be something more serious like your emissions system, catalytic converter, fuel injection or spark plugs.

4. Overheating
An overheated car isn’t limited to the warmer months and could be a sign that something major is wrong with your car. The main causes of an overheated engine are a stuck thermostat, a leak in your cooling system, a faulty water pump, a bad cooling fan or a clogged radiator.

5. Accidents
It seems like an obvious culprit, but it’s also one of the most easily avoided problems. Stay out of the fast lane, avoid tailgating, keep your eyes on the road – not your phone, be vigilant of blind spots and do what your driving instructor said by keeping your hands at the 9:00 and 3:00 positions on the wheel.

Play It Safe
Having a dependable roadside assistance program will give you peace of mind and help keep you on the road. As a credit union member you can save money while getting excellent service from Credit Union Auto Club.

Credit union members can enroll in Credit Union Auto Club, one of Invest in America’s discount programs, which provides credit union members across the country with a wide range of roadside assistance services and other benefits at a significant savings compared to competing auto club plans. Click here to learn more and to sign-up today! For other exclusive benefits for members, check out the Invest in America site for details on how you can save on vehicles, online shopping, DIRECTV, Sprint wireless services, tax products, and more. 

*Article source provided by Invest in America’s Credit Union Auto Club.

See If We Can Beat Your Current Auto Loan Rate by 2%!

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Take the 2% Challenge and Surf into Savings! Stop into any of our branches, apply online, or give us a call at 866.750.0100, Option 4 – to see if we can beat your current Auto Loan rate by 2%.

Get started by visiting firstautochallenge.com, take our brief survey, and then two respondents who complete the survey will be drawn at random to each win a $150 Visa Gift Card after 9/30!**

This offer is for a limited time only, so get started by taking the challenge today!

*Not all buyers will qualify – actual rate may vary based on credit worthiness. Loan to value ratio up to 125% based on credit score. A First Financial membership is required to obtain an auto loan and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. A $5 deposit in a base savings account is required for credit union membership prior to opening any other account/loan. Cannot be combined with any other offer. **APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Rates as low as 1.99% for terms up to 36 months. For example, a $15,000 auto loan at 1.99% APR with a term of 36 months would have a monthly payment amount of $429.57.

**Two(2) winners will be randomly selected from the individuals who fully completed the survey and notified by the Marketing Department on or about 10/1/14. Winner must pick up their gift card in a First Financial branch.

 

Common Auto Loan Financing Misconceptions

AutoLoans“Don’t believe everything you hear.” How many times have you heard this when you were a kid? Well, everyone grows up and it’s time to actually listen to that little old saying, especially when it comes to buying a vehicle. There are tons of common myths and misconceptions out there, but what is the truth behind these myths? Find out the true answers to some of the most common car buying myths right here:

Myth #1  Auto dealers will always have the best loan rate & payment.

This isn’t always necessarily true. Credit unions and other financial institutions also offer competitive rates compared to dealerships. Those who are looking into buying a car should shop around and not only compare rates, but also compare restrictions, to find the best deal that fits their wants and needs.

Myth #2 Seeking multiple pre-approvals/loan offers will destroy your credit rating.

An individual’s credit score will not be affected negatively if seeking multiple offers. The analysis will have to be made within a certain time period of 14 days. However, keep in mind while shopping around this may cause multiple creditors to request a consumer’s credit report.

Myth #3  Auto loan refinancing is expensive.

It’s actually the opposite. Refinancing can drastically reduce your monthly payments and is an option you should consider. Have you stopped into your local First Financial branch location to see how much we may be able to save you each month by refinancing your car loan? Or give us a call at 866.750.0100, Option 4.

Myth #4 Refinancing isn’t an option on an auto loan.

Most people know that refinancing an auto loan can provide the same benefits as refinancing a home loan. They both can save you a lot of money by lowering the monthly payment or interest rate. Many may not know that refinancing an auto loan is actually much easier than refinancing a home loan. You might want to consider refinancing if your current car loan interest rate is above 6 percent, doing so could save you hundreds of dollars each year if you are approved!

Myth #5 Consumers think that even though Credit Unions have better rates – that you have to have perfect credit to get them, or be part of a union or work at a certain company to get them.

You do have to be a member of a Credit Union to get the Credit Union’s rates, and the rate you qualify for is based on your credit worthiness. However, most people do not realize just how easy it is to join a Credit Union these days, and that Credit Unions will at least try to work with you and help you get on the right track to a better financial standing if you aren’t currently. The majority of Credit Unions how have community charters – where you simply need to live, work, worship, or attend school in a certain area in order to become a member of that particular Credit Union. That’s certainly the case at First Financial – to join $5 in a Base Savings Account is needed at all times, and you must live, work, worship, or attend school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties in New Jersey. Plus, once you are a member – your immediate family can join too!

Here at First Financial, Enterprise Car Sales and First Financial are able to offer First Financial Members monthly deals on used vehicle purchases through Enterprise. December 1, 2013 through January 31, 2014 - members can get rates as low as 1.99% APR up to 60 months.* Get started by getting preapproved by First Financial and search for certified used cars online with Enterprise Car Sales. 

As always, First Financial offers great low rates – and they’re the same whether you plan to purchase a new or used vehicle!  Currently, auto loan refinance rates are as low as 3.74% APR** If you need a handy tool to help you figure out those monthly auto loan payments to see what you can afford before you buy, try our free loan calculator application called AutoCalcubot. We also provide a free auto buying and research tool, AutoSMART – a great place to find new and used vehicles!

*APR=Annual Percentage Rate. Rates as low as 1.99% APR for 60 months. This is a buy down rate. The amount of the buy down will not affect the price of the vehicle. For example, a $15,000 loan at 1.99% APR with a term of 60 months would have a monthly payment amount of $262.85. 100% Financing available including Tax, Title and License. Financing for qualified First Financial Federal Credit Union members. Not all buyers will qualify. Actual rate may vary based on credit worthiness. Offer valid only on Enterprise Car Sales vehicles 12/1/13 – 1/31/14 only. Used vehicles were previously part of Enterprise short-term rental, lease fleet or purchased from Enterprise from other sources including auto auctions, with previous use possibly short-term rental, lease or other. Offer only valid on one trade-in for each Enterprise vehicle purchase. This offer cannot be combined with any other offer.

**Subject to credit approval. Credit worthiness determines your APR. A $15,000 loan at 3.74% APR with a term of 60 months would have a monthly payment amount of $274.49. A First Financial membership is required to obtain a First Financial auto loan and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties.

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Things to Consider Before Signing Up for Zero% at the Dealership

zero%Zero percent financing is something you’ve probably heard before, however, before you sign on the dotted line, here are some things to consider…

What is really your best deal? Undoubtedly you’ve heard about “zero percent financing” offers that many auto dealers like to promote. Although they seem to be incredible deals, and are certainly tempting, you should read the fine print and know the facts before you head to your local dealer.

To help you decide if zero percent (or a low “teaser” rate) is the best deal for you, here are a few facts and restrictions you may encounter:

  • Almost perfect credit may be needed in order to qualify for these offers.
  • You may be required to give up a manufacturer’s rebate.
  • It could mean shorter terms and larger monthly payments.
  • It is usually offered on a limited number of models.
  • You may be limited to dealer stock and not be able to choose the exact vehicle you are interested in.

Research, research, research! By using our free available research tools such as AutoSMART & Autocalcubot loan calculator, you will be better equipped when you finally make that trip to the dealership. You may find that giving up that zero percent financing for a manufacturer’s rebate will save you more money.

And finally…Read any contract carefully before signing it. Ask questions about anything you do not understand and don’t feel pressured into making a decision right then and there.

Happy shopping!

What to Consider When Buying a Car for Your Teen

teen-driverParents spend years teaching their children the art of how to talk, how to walk, how to tie their shoes, how to ride a bike, and much, much more. As a parent, you’re overjoyed with each momentous milestone that passes. But with each step your child takes toward independence, you become keenly aware that you’re no longer able to protect them at every moment (and also that they’re growing up way too fast)!

The day your child gets their driver’s license and you send them off on their first solo drive, you may be tempted to trail behind from a safe distance just to make sure they arrive at their destination safely. Eventually though, you’ll relinquish control and trust that you’ve raised a responsible young adult who’ll behave accordingly behind the wheel, even in your absence. If you’ve taken that leap and now want to buy your teen a car, here are some things to ease your mind that they’re protected even without you there to hold their hand.

Should I buy a new or a used car? Ultimately, whether you buy new or used will boil down to your personal preference and how much money you’re willing to spend, but both have their advantages.

First Financial has great low Auto Loan rates – and they’re the same whether you plan to purchase a new or used vehicle!  You can view our current rates by clicking here.

A new car’s quality isn’t in question – it hasn’t been in any accidents and has no hidden flaws that a previous owner might’ve tried to disguise. Additionally, manufacturer’s warranties come standard on new vehicles, covering the car for at least three years. And New Jersey has a Lemon Law, which protects consumers if an authorized dealer is unable to repair or service the vehicle after a reasonable number of attempts.

Cars are built to last longer so a bit of mileage on the odometer need not be a deterrent or intimidating factor either. Used cars are a good option if you’re looking for more “bang for your buck.” It may not come equipped with the latest technology or gadgets, but will likely have a lot of the same features as a new car for less money. (The availability of fewer in-car distractions for an inexperienced driver isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either). An added bonus of purchasing a used car is they tend to be less expensive to insure.

Credit union members can enroll in Credit Union Auto Club, Invest in America’s newest discount program, which provides credit union members across the country with a wide range of roadside assistance services and other benefits at a significant savings compared to competing auto club plans. Click here to learn more and to sign-up today!

What are the best cars for the money? If value is a top priority, U.S. News and World Report publishes an annual list of the vehicles it has awarded “Best Cars for the Money.” Judging criteria include the average price paid and five-year total cost of ownership data, expert opinion on the car’s performance, interior features and comfort, and reliability and safety data.

What are the safest cars to drive? Each year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates vehicles based on how well they protect their occupants in a collision. The vehicles are rated good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on how they perform in five crash tests: moderate overlap front, small overlap front, side, rollover and rear. The highest designation that can be awarded is Top Safety Pick+. These cars deserve extra consideration because, in addition to protecting your precious cargo, insurance companies will often offer discounts for car safety features.

Insurance costs. One thing many people forget to consider when purchasing a car is how much it will cost to insure. Young drivers generally have higher premiums because their inexperience can cause them to be labeled as high risk. Used cars tend to be less expensive to insure so purchasing one is a way to reduce your teen’s insurance premium. Mercury Insurance also offers good student discounts in New Jersey to unmarried high school and college students who maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher, which can further reduce the insurance premium.

Once you’ve decided which vehicle to buy, emphasize to your teen that driving is a privilege, not a right, and to do it responsibly.

Did you know that as a First Financial member – you may be eligible for a discount on auto insurance through Liberty Mutual? Click here to get started.*

If you need a handy tool to help you figure out those monthly auto loan payments to see what you can afford before you buy, try our free loan calculator application called AutoCalcubot. We also provide a free auto buying and research tool, AutoSMART – a great place to find new and used vehicles!

Remember, we’re here to help and with our First Time Auto Buyers Program we can offer an additional .25% APR rate reduction for qualifying members who are looking to purchase their first vehicle. If first time buyers don’t meet the criteria but still qualify for a First Financial Auto Loan, they will receive a $100 gas card – a win-win!**

Click here to view the article source written by Maryann Gowen, an independent insurance agent serving Wall, NJ.

*Discounts and savings are available where state laws and regulations allow, and may vary by state. Certain discounts apply to specific coverages only. To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten; not all applicants may qualify. The descriptions of coverages are necessarily brief and are subject to policy provisions, limitations and exclusions that can only be expressed in the policy itself. Discounts and coverages vary by state and are not available in all states. For a complete explanation of coverages, please consult a sales representative. The TruStage™ Auto Insurance Program is provided and underwritten by leading insurance companies, including Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and affiliates, 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA.  A consumer report from a consumer reporting agency and/or motor vehicle report will be obtained on all drivers listed on your policy where state laws and regulations allow. Please consult your policy for specific coverages and limitations. The insurance offered is not a deposit and is not federally insured. This coverage is not sold or guaranteed by your credit union. First Financial Federal Credit Union Client #38361. **Subject to credit approval. Your credit worthiness determines your APR. Not all applicants will qualify.

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Take a Vacation from Your Auto Loan Payment!

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First Financial has great low rates – and they’re the same whether you plan to purchase a new or used vehicle!

Plus, if you need a handy tool to help you figure out those monthly Auto Loan payments to see what you can afford before you buy, try our free loan calculator application called AutoCalcubot.  It works through Facebook, but you don’t need to be logged in or even have a Facebook account to use it – all you need is an internet connection or a smartphone.  You can save your results, send them to a friend to review, or even set up alerts if you want to be notified when our auto loan rates change. Check it out today!

Don’t forget, we also have:

*Promotional period runs from August 1st – September 3rd, 2013 where a member’s first car payment up to $800 will be made on a new or used auto loan through First Financial. This applies only to loans closed within the promotional period. This does not apply to auto loan refinances. Not in combination with any other offer. Payments of $600 or more are income reportable to the IRS on 1099-MISC and requires completion of a W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification form. Subject to credit approval. Not all applicants will qualify. A First Financial membership is required to obtain an auto loan and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties. APPRO Code is Vacation0813 (internal use only).