What to Look for When Buying Your First Car

By DriveCasa Team | Posted in Buying a Car on Monday, September 3rd, 2018 at 8:48 AM
buying-your-first-car

If you’re tired of ridesharing or using public transportation on your daily commute, buying your first car may be the important decision you need to make.

How exciting! Buying your first car may trigger many emotions, the process of acquiring a vehicle might sound scary due to the responsibility that being a car owner entails, the stress of finding a vehicle that fits your needs & paying for it at a fair price.  Fear not my friend, here is an effective guide of what to look for when purchasing your first car:

Budget

Now that you’ve established that you need a car, the first issue to address is how much will it cost you & if you’re able to afford it. Keep in mind that your budget should include the cost of the car, insurance, maintenance, fuel, and taxes to name a few. If you’re not able to pay the full amount of your car, financing is the next best option to purchase your car & build credit.

Another thing to consider is that buying a used car can be a great choice when trying to save money, plus a used car could mean a better car at a lower price. Whatever your budget is, you need to make sure you can afford to pay for it otherwise it could lead to headaches in the long run.

Needs vs Wants

We all have a dream car, but we need to be realistic when looking for one in order to take the best out of it: Do you need it to commute? Do you have a big family? Do you need to transport heavy items? Are you going to travel long distances with it? These are only a few questions you need to consider before making a list of what you’re looking in a car.

Once you’ve answered these questions it’s going to be easier for you to decide body, make and model of your future ride.

Research & Test

You’ve made your choice now you’re actually looking for your car, How fun! After all the planning, now it’s time to step out and go get it, the best advice we can give you is to explore your options, ask questions & check everything works the way it should.

An essential thing to do while looking for a car is to drive it before actually buying it: A car might sound perfect for you in theory but it might feel different while driving it.

 

Are you ready to buy your first car? Stop by Drive Casa and we will gladly assist you to find the perfect ride.

First-Time Car Owners Maintenance Tips

By DriveCasa Team | Posted in Buying a Car, Car Maintenance, Education on Sunday, August 19th, 2018 at 8:57 AM

Congratulations! After months of budgeting and saving, you just bought your first car. Now, all you need to focus on is maintenance.

Keeping up with car basics is essential for first-time car owners to keep your car on the road for as long as possible.

Here’s what you should keep in mind:

Tire Pressure

Don’t get stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire! Keeping your tires properly inflated is one of the most important maintenance tasks. Ideally, you’d check your tire pressure once a month and before any long road trips. The best thing to do is keep a tire gauge in the car so you can do a quick check yourself. By checking your tire pressure regularly, you can find problems in your tires before they blowout in the middle of the road.

 Oil Change

Make sure you change your oil regularly. When your engine is not well lubricated by new oil, it can produce friction and heat, which can cause permanent damage to your car’s engine. How often you have to change your oil depends on the model and year of your car. Some models need oil changes every 3,000 miles while others can go 10,000 before they need one. You also have to keep in mind what kind of oil to use. If you have an older car with high mileage, it’s recommended you use the high mileage oil to keep your car running smoothly.

Car Battery

Your car’s battery will start to decline in performance after an average of four years. If you’re wondering about the state of your battery, a good indicator of the state of your battery is how quickly the engine turns over. If the battery seems labored when you start your car, the battery may be nearing the end of its life. To check the voltage of your battery, you can get a digital multimeter and inspect the battery once the car is turned off and the engine is cool. Another sign of decline is corrosion. The white, chalky substance forming around the battery means it’s time to get a new battery.

Coolant System

The coolant prevents your engine from overheating. Monitoring the coolant is crucial if you want your car to last for years. To check the coolant, check your owner’s manual and look under the hood when the engine is turned off and cool. The coolant reserve is usually a white or clear container. Try not to get this container mixed up with the wiper fluid container. If the coolant is near the “full” line, you’re good to go!

Getting your first car can be liberating and exciting! By following the tips above, you’ll make the most out of your first car and hopefully drive it for many years to come.

Looking for a reliable and affordable used car? Stop by Drive Casa! Our wide inventory suits every taste and budget.

How to Improve Your Credit Score

By DriveCasa Team | Posted in Credit Score, Education on Sunday, August 5th, 2018 at 8:57 AM

For lenders and financial institutions, a credit score is a good indicator of an individual’s financial responsibility. If your credit score is poor, this can make it harder for you to get financing for a car, a personal loan, or a mortgage. However, there are simple steps you can take to make sure your credit score is impeccable.

Follow the tips below and watch your credit score go from poor to excellent:

#1 – Check Credit Reports for Accuracy

Before you start paying off debts that are on your credit report, make sure those accounts actually belong to you. It’s possible that an account that does not belong to you has shown up in your report. To ensure accuracy, check each account and charges. If you don’t recognize one of the accounts, contact the lender directly. All you need to do is prove your identity and that account should be erased from your report. Once you have all your accounts in order, you can move on to the next step.

#2 – Clear Up Collection Accounts

Old debts can be easy to forget if you haven’t checked your credit report in a while. That old phone bill from college can come back to haunt you when you’re trying to buy your first home. Take a look at the debts that have been sent to collections. Call the collectors directly. If you can’t pay in full, ask if you can set up a payment plan that works for your budget. Your credit score will increase significantly once you lower your balance and settle old debts.

#3 – Get a Secured Credit Card

A great way to increase your credit score without much effort is getting a credit card. However, if you have a tendency to overspend, a secured credit card can give you a smaller line of credit that is easier to handle. Your credit line with a secured credit card will often depend on the deposit you provide. If you feel like $200 is a manageable line of credit, use that amount for your deposit. Plus, secured credit cards are designed for people who are trying to improve their credit. If your credit score is less than stellar, you may still have a chance of getting approved.

#4 – Pay Bills On Time

One of the best and easiest ways to show that you are financially responsible is paying your bills on time. If you usually pay your bills days or weeks after they’re due, it may affect your credit score. Take a look at your monthly bills and see if any service providers will allow you to set up auto-pay. This way, you won’t have to keep up with your bills and the money will be deducted from your account automatically each month.

#5 – Keep An Eye On Your Credit Utilization Ratio

Paying off your credit card balance on time is important, but keeping an eye on your credit utilization ratio can save you from losing points on your credit score. Ideally, you should keep your debt-to-credit ratio under 30%. You should also avoid closing any unused credit card accounts. This will affect your utilization ration percentage and would do more harm than good. However, if you do decide to close any consumer credit accounts, make sure you maintain a 15% utilization percentage without having that credit card.

Following the tips above will get you on your way to a better credit score and teach you invaluable lessons about personal finance. Good luck on your journey to a perfect credit score!

At Drive Casa, we want to get you financially fit. Stop by one of our locations and find out how we can help you get the car you want while raising your credit score.

3 Things You Need To Do Before A Summer Roadtrip

By DriveCasa Team | Posted in Car Maintenance, Education on Sunday, July 1st, 2018 at 9:04 AM

While carpooling and public transit to and from work and school makes sense, but when it comes to the Summer road trips, the American automobile is the only way to go. Many memories have been made as families loaded into the car for a long drive to the coast, the lake, or to visit family in a distant state. Road trips have been bringing families together for generations, even the less fun ones with the tired cars make for good stories. Remember the trip that the car overheated, we had a flat tire or worse of all the A/C stopped working?

Before you load up the car, here are 3 summer roadtrip car maintenance tips to keep in mind.

#1 Make sure your car is well-maintained.

Maintenance and repairs while on a road trip are costly and inconvenient. Before you hit the road get your oil changed, filters changed, and have all the levels checked. Driving is likely a significant saving over airfare, so why not invest some of that savings to make sure your ride is up to the task?

#2 Don’t wait to update your tires.

If you suspect you may need tires in a couple of months, and you are trying to get that last 1/32 of an inch out of your old rubber, put new tires on before hitting the road. Hot Texas roads can take their toll on fully loaded vehicles, pushing marginal tires to failure.

#3 Test out your new updates at home first.

When doing maintenance, give yourself a week of driving the vehicle in town. You want to make sure that any problem inadvertently created in the shop manifests while at home, and not between your home and El Paso.

 

If you’re ready for some time with family and looking for a way to express your American freedom this July, come see us here at Drive Casa and let us put you into a car that will be key to a memorable Summer road trip.

5 Reasons You Need to Buy a Used Car

By DriveCasa Team | Posted in Buying a Car, Education on Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 at 6:13 AM
why-buy-used-car

Did you know that buying a used car is one of the best choices you can make as a buyer? A shiny, new car can be alluring, but if you want to make a smart purchase when looking for your next car, think about the advantages a used car can have. Below are some of the most attractive reasons to buy a used car:

Money

New cars depreciate fast. As soon as you sign the paperwork and drive off into the sunset, that car is no longer new and it’s losing value. On average, you can spend $13,500 less when buying a used car. This means you can have a nicer used model for the same price of a new car. Registration and insurance are also much more affordable with a used car, putting more money in your pocket.

Variety

Do you remember a model that you fell in love with, but are just not made anymore? Used cars give you the chance to buy a model that may have been discontinued or that has features no longer available in the newer models. Having the ability to choose from multiple models from different years can widen your choices and help you find the car that is just perfect for you.

Customization

When you own a used car, it’s easier to add extra features that will make it truly yours. You can add that new stereo, a bike rack, and fancy new rims without having to pay for dealership add-ons.  This is a great way to spend the money you saved when buying a used car.

Better for the Environment

Trying to stay as green as possible when purchasing a car? The best thing to do to reduce your carbon footprint is to keep the car you have as long as you can. However, if your current car is on its last legs, the best thing to do is to buy a used car. A quarter of the carbon dioxide a vehicle produces during its life-cycle happens during manufacturing and initial shipment, which means that buying new cars is more harmful to the environment. Be good to the planet. Buy a used car.

Warranties

Many used cars may still be under their original warranty. However, if the car you want is no longer under the manufacturer’s warranty, you may still get an extended or limited warranty from a dealership. For a few more dollars, you can be assured that trained professionals will be able to repair your car with quality parts and excellent service.

Overall, buying a used car is one of the best choices you can make, especially if you are a first-time car-buyer.

If you’re in the market for a used car, don’t forget to stop by Drive Casa. Our high-quality vehicles come with limited warranties, multiple-point inspection, and much more. Stop by and enjoy our hassle-free process!

Helpful Car Buying Checklist for Used Cars

By DriveCasa Team | Posted in Buying a Car, Education, Monthly Payments on Wednesday, April 4th, 2018 at 10:07 PM
helpful-car-buying-checklist-for-used-cars

If you’re trying to save extra money, consider purchasing a used car. You can find high quality used cars that will last you for years at a fraction of the cost of a new car. Buying a car is an important decision, and preparedness can pay off in the long run. Knowing what car you want and figuring out a budget will make your car buying experience much easier. Follow the car buying checklist for used cars below and enjoy a hassle-free car buying experience.

Do Your Research

Before visiting a lot, think about what kind of car you’d like to get. Ask yourself what features you’d like in a car. What gas mileage are you looking for? Do you prefer cars with sunroofs? How much space do you need? Once you have narrowed down your choices to a few models that can satisfy your needs, find out what is the approximate value for each model and if there have there are any problems you might anticipate with each model. Having a good idea of what you want before visiting a lot will help you feel less overwhelmed by all the choices available.

Inspect the Car

You’re at a used car dealership and a particular model has caught your eye. Before a test drive, take time to inspect the car. Walk around the vehicle and check for any damage to the car. Do you see any scratches, discoloration, peeling paint, or dents? What is the condition of the tires? Once you have inspected the exterior, take time to look at the interior of the car. What does the interior smell like? Are the seats in good condition? Can you see any stains? If you’re satisfied with the look of the car, it’s time to look under the hood. Feel the hoses around the radiator, air conditioner, and other components. Are there any holes or cracks? Ask about where you can check the fluids. This quick inspection will give you peace of mind when driving off the lot. Most dealerships will take time to make the car look and perform at its best, but it’s best to make sure there aren’t any damages, issues or smells that will need to be taken care of after the sale.

Test Drive

You’re in love with the look of the car, but want to know how it drives. A test drive will give you a very good idea of what it would be like driving that car every day. Before you turn on the car, take time to get a feel for the space inside the car, adjust your mirrors, and check your blind spots. Once you’re on the road, listen for any odd sounds coming from the engine. Try getting on a highway and gauge acceleration and handling. You’ll also notice how the brakes are performing and if they need to be replaced soon. Brake hard on a city street to really test out the brakes. You can even practice parking for maneuverability and sight lines.

Financing

Now that you are sure the car you have selected is perfect for you, it’s time to go over financing. As mentioned earlier, you should have a good idea of the price of the car, what your down payment is going to be, and what payments are right for your budget before you visit the lot. This will make financing easier to figure out. Buy Here Pay Here dealerships, like Drive Casa, have the convenience of offering in-house financing, so you don’t have to worry about asking different lenders for a loan. Once you have reached an agreement and signed the paperwork, you can take your car home!

Are you ready to buy a used car? You can find high-quality models that have gone through multiple-point inspection at amazing prices in our lot. Stop by Drive Casa and let us drive you happy!

 

Cómo Mantener un Presupuesto

By DriveCasa Team | Posted in Personal Budgeting on Tuesday, March 6th, 2018 at 9:15 PM
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Ahorrar para poder comprar algo que deseas, como un auto nuevo, puede ser difícil. Necesitas disciplina, responsabilidad y monitoreo constante de tus gastos.

Si se te dificulta mantener un presupuesto, hay maneras en las que puedes mejorar. Debajo hay unas sugerencias que te ayudarán a alcanzar tus metas financieras:

Reduce tus Gastos

Gastar dinero es fácil, especialmente en cosas que deseas. Para mantener un presupuesto, tienes que implementar un poco de disciplina a tu vida diaria. Gastar más de $200 al mes en restaurantes tal vez no es la mejor idea si en tu presupuesto sólo puedes gastar $50. Echa un vistazo a tus gastos mensuales y se realista cuando decidas en donde puedes reducir tus gastos.

Cómpralo el Mes Siguiente

Estás en línea y acabas de ver la chaqueta perfecta. La quieres y la quieres ahora mismo, pero tu presupuesto está llegando a su límite. Cómprala el mes siguiente. Para entonces, tendrás suficiente dinero para comprarla o decidirás que ya no la necesitas. Esta técnica controlará tus compras impulsivas.

Ahorra Automáticamente

La mayoría de los bancos tienen la abilidad de mover dinero de tu cuenta de cheques a tu cuenta de ahorros automáticamente cada mes. Esto significa que puedes ahorrar dinero con mínimo esfuerzo. Además, evitarás gastar ese dinero ya que no estará disponible en tu cuenta de cheques.

Deja de Usar tu Tarjeta de Crédito

La conveniencia de usar una tarjeta de crédito puede ser perjudicial cuando quieres mantener un presupuesto. Cuando sientes el impacto de tus gastos hasta semanas despues, puede ser fácil gastar más de lo que tienes en tu presupuesto. Empieza a usar tu tarjeta de débito o considera usar efectivo para que puedas ver lo que le pasa a tu dinero al instante.

Se Consciente de Eventos Importantes

Estar al tanto de eventos importantes que requieren gastos más grandes, como cumpleaños o días festivos, te puede ayudar a prepararte y ajustar tu presupuesto para que no gastes de más. Crea un calendario con todas las fechas importantes y asegúrate de ajustar tu presupuesto con suficiente tiempo para cubrir tus gastos mensuales sin gastar de más.

Una cosa más – ¡Mantente positivo! Acuérdate que todo el esfuerzo que estás haciendo será recompensado muy pronto. ¡Estarás manejando ese auto que deseas en poco tiempo!

Si estás buscando un auto, ¡visita Drive Casa! Encontrarás el model que deseas en nuestro amplio inventario.

How to Stick to a Budget

By DriveCasa Team | Posted in Education, Personal Budgeting on Monday, March 5th, 2018 at 6:45 AM
how-to-stick-to-a-budget

Saving for something you want, like a new car, can be challenging. It requires discipline, accountability, and constant monitoring of your expenses.

If you find that sticking to a budget is too difficult, there are ways you can improve. Below are a few pointers that will help you reach your financial goals in no time:

Cut Back On Expenses

It’s easy to spend money, especially on things you want.  In order to stick to your budget, you need to implement a little discipline when it comes to your expenses. Spending more than $200 a month on restaurants might not be the best idea if you have budgeted for $50. Take a hard look at your monthly spending and be realistic about where you can cut back.

Buy it Next Month

You’re online and you just saw the perfect jacket. You want it and you want it now, but your budget is reaching its limit. Tell yourself you can buy it next month. By that time, you will either have enough to buy it or you’ll decide you don’t want it anymore. This is a great technique to control impulse buying.

Set Up Auto Draft

Most banks have the ability to create an auto draft from your checkings to your savings account. This means you can set up a certain amount to be withdrawn from one account into the other every month without having to think about it. Not only will you not spend that money because it’s not available, you’ll see your savings grow without much work.

Stop Using Your Credit Card

The convenience of using a credit card can also be detrimental when trying to stick to a budget. Not feeling the pain of the expenses until weeks later makes it easy to overspend and go over your budget. Stick to your debit card or even cash so you can see what happens to your money in real time.

Watch Out for Big Events

Knowing when big spending events, such as birthdays or holidays, are coming up can help you prepare and adjust your budget accordingly. Make a calendar with all the important dates and make sure to adjust your budget with enough time to cover your expenses and not go over budget.

One last thing – don’t forget to stay positive! Remember that all the hard work you are doing will be rewarded soon. You’ll be driving that shiny car in no time!

If you’re in the market for a car, make sure to stop by Drive Casa! You’ll find the model you want in our wide inventory.

5 Big Reasons You Should Change Your Oil Regularly

By DriveCasa Team | Posted in Car Maintenance, Education on Thursday, February 15th, 2018 at 7:12 AM
5-big-reasons-you-should-change-your-oil-regularly

Have you ever wondered why you should change your oil regularly? If you’ve ever been reprimanded by your mechanic for waiting too long for an oil change, you know this is an essential part of basic car maintenance you can’t afford to forget.

Waiting too long to change the oil in your car can result in irreparable damage that you can easily avoid. Car experts, mechanics, and long-time car owners will tell you that oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle.

 

You should change your oil regularly to ensure your vehicle runs smoothly and keeps it out of the shop. If you are a first-time car owner, don’t look away! Below you’ll find out why regular oil changes are so important.

Engine Performance

There’s nothing quite like fresh oil to reach peak engine performance. Engines have a variety of parts that move at high speeds. These moving parts tend to cause friction, which produces heat. If you change your oil regularly your car will have proper lubrication that reduces the amount of heat produced by the engine. Oil changes also get rid of dirt and debris, which makes your engine run slower. If your engine heats up because of old oil, it will wear down and eventually stop working properly.

Reduce Harmful Emissions

Are you a fan of the environment? It’s easy being “green” when you keep up with your oil changes. Having lapses in oil changes can lead to dirty, old oil, which produces noxious engine emissions. If you change your oil regularly, it will make your car more environmentally friendly since fresh oil won’t burn like old oil. Add oil changes to your calendar and do your part to keep our skies clean.

Gas Mileage

Regular oil changes are good for your engine – and your wallet! Better gas mileage is one of the least-known benefits of regular oil changes. Besides purchasing a hybrid or an electric car, oil changes are an easy way to save on gas. Friction caused by old oil can slow down your engine, making your visits to the pump more frequent. If your engine stays lubricated, your car will be able to go farther than you think!

Extended Engine Life

Wouldn’t we all love to have a car that lasts for years without failure? To achieve this goal, it’s important to know that purchasing a high-quality car, like the ones we offer in our lot, is only half of the effort to make the most out your vehicle.  A debris-free engine, made possible by regular oil changes, can make a difference in the life of your car. Who knows? That family car may last through more generations than you think.

Catch Up On Other Maintenance

Oil changes present a great opportunity to keep your car running without issues. When taking your car in for an oil change, feel free to ask the mechanic to take a quick look at the overall health of your engine. While under the hood, they may find something that needs to be replaced or fixed. This will allow you to avoid expensive repairs and further damage to your car.

Bonus Tip

There are multiple kinds of car oils out there. If you have a luxury car, you may need a different kind of oil from someone who owns an high-mileage mode. Before an oil change, don’t forget to ask what is the best oil for your car based on mileage and model. This can give your car an extra boost and increase the engine’s performance.

 

Oil is essential to keep your car running without any problems. Most mechanics or car service providers will place a sticker on your windshield indicating when you should return for a new oil change. To avoid any old oil accumulating in your engine, all you need to do is make sure you take your car in on time!

 

Drive Casa wants your new car run like a dream and for you not to worry about an extra expense. That’s why we offer free oil changes when you purchase one of our amazing vehicles. Take advantage of this offer and keep your new car out of the shop!

How To Use Your Tax Refund for a Car Purchase

By DriveCasa Team | Posted in Buying a Car, Down Payments, Education, Tax Season on Thursday, February 8th, 2018 at 7:48 AM
tax-refund-car-purchase

Spring is almost here, which means tax season is in full swing! Have you thought about using your tax refund to help with a car purchase?

At Drive Casa, we know how complicated those tax forms can be and we want to help you get the most out of your tax returns. Plus, once you receive your tax refund, we can help you get the car, truck, or SUV you want.

This tax season, we are proud to announce we have partnered with HubHive Solutions, an experienced tax prep service provider.

HubHive’s friendly and helpful professionals will be happy to review, help you prepare, and file your taxes at no extra cost to you. You can rest assured that they will maximize your tax refund and find deductions to keep more money in your pocket and get you ready to make your car purchase.

What to Bring With You

Make sure you bring the following documents with you this tax season to make to take full advantage of this service:

  • Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Spouse’s full name and Social Security Number (if applicable)
  • Dependent Information  (if applicable)
    • Birthdate
    • Social Security Number(s)
    • Child care expense records
  • Proof of income
    • W-2 Forms
    • Unemployment Forms
    • Self-employment Forms
  • Deductions

For a complete list of required documents to bring with you, click here. If you have any questions about your tax forms, make sure you bring those too! The more prepared you are, the better HubHive Solutions can help you get the most out of your refund this tax season.

How to Use Your Tax Refund

Tax season gives you the opportunity to have a little extra cash in your pocket that you can use for a down payment on a car. It may even allow you to put more money down on the car you want or even afford a more expensive model.

Drive Casa is the perfect place to put your tax refund to good use on a car purchase. Our selection of high-quality used vehicles fit any taste and almost any budget. Plus, you can get in-house financing regardless of your credit situation. Our associates will sit down with you and find the best payment for your budget. As an extra bonus for our customers, we include complimentary oil changes and a limited warranty when you purchase one of our vehicles.

Make the most out of tax season this year and stop by Drive Casa. We’ll help you get the biggest tax refund and help you make a car purchase that fits your budget!