Centennial Leasing & Sales of Phoenix has compiled a list of car buying tips to pass along our knowledge and expertise to you, in hopes that you will make the BEST car buying decision with us. We have received Automotive Industry tips and training through the various Manufacturers we have worked for over the years, as consultants, managers and finance experts. Here is our advice and tips:

  • Vehicle Research – Find the good and the bad. Every vehicle has Pros and Cons, based on your needs. All vehicle parts have a point of failure. How fast they get there is based on initial quality and wear and tear. If you want to see a chart comparison, ConsumerReports.org provides reliable information for side-by-side comparisons online. You may have to become a member to experience the complete information. Car and Driver is known for road testing vehicles for thousands of miles when they are being released by the Manufacturer. Visit them online at CarAndDriver.com.

    For common problems encountered on vehicles, owners have voiced their concerns and issues, and fixes, on YouTube.com. Search for the Year/Make/& Model you are considering. Many of these vehicles have been driven far past the Consumer Report testing miles and therefore offer more insight into problems or issues that may have arisen. More comments on a vehicle can be found at www.RepairPal.com. Take your time and gather a good amount of information on the vehicle you are considering. You don’t want to discover an obvious issue, after you have purchased your next vehicle.

    Some buyers take up to six months to gather information on vehicles they are considering. You may want to consider researching that far in advance, before you buy or lease. If you are considering a new vehicle purchase, consider ordering the vehicle through us, directly from the Factory. It will usually take up to three months for delivery, but you will have exactly everything you want in your next new vehicle. As experts, we recommend this way to buy. Not too many buyers order their new vehicle in advance. The ones that do are always completely satisfied.

  • Vehicle Selection – Start by using The Process of Elimination to narrow down your choices. Ask yourself:

    1. New or Used?
    2. Car, Truck, Van, Crossover, SUV, Hybrid or EV?
    3. Small, Medium or Large?
    4. How many occupants?
    5. Import or Domestic?
    6. Import – Japanese, Korean or European?
    7. Options - Base, Standard or Luxury?
    8. Sport or Economic?
    9. 4, 6, or 8 cylinder?
    10. Gas, Electric or Diesel?
    11. Desired MPG?
    12. What is the minimum Crash Test Rating I will accept?

    By using this process, you should have narrowed your choices down to the vehicle Model you are really targeting. If you become torn between a couple of choices that you really like, just ask yourself (without even thinking) “On a scale of 1 to 10, what do I rate this vehicle?” Do that for each vehicle, without thinking, and you will have your final choice.

  • Test Drive – A reliable Manufacturer Study recommends that buyers test drive a vehicle at least 6 miles before they have enough information to make an informed decision, regarding the vehicle they are considering. The vehicle should be driven on surface streets as well as the freeway. In doing so, you will be able to feel the suspension response at different speeds, as well as road noise levels inside the passenger compartment, and the ability to brake at different speeds. Of course, the more time you spend driving, the more you will get a feel for blind spots, and the ability to detect any obvious malfunctions with the vehicle. Yes, new cars have problems too. We know this because we have sold thousands of them. If you need power to drive or tow up hills, it is recommended that you test the vehicle in a nearby “hilly” area. No matter what, just remember to obey the rules of the road and return the vehicle to the seller, safely, without damaging their vehicle. Typically, a sales consultant will ride with you on the test drive. Tell them what you need to accomplish as far as information and have them guide you down the streets safely.

  • Auto Loan Financing – A major factor to Lenders is Loan To Value (LTV %). Lenders are going to consider Loan To Value (LTV %) on the vehicle you are choosing to finance. Depending on the lender, they may base the LTV on the Wholesale Kelley Blue Book Value, Lending Kelley Blue Book or Retail Kelley Blue Book Value. Some lenders use N.A.D.A. Book Values to determine their LTV. There is, typically, a ceiling of 140% LTV that the bank will accept when financing a vehicle. If you decide to put money-down on your purchase, your LTV will drop and the lender will, typically, give you a lower interest rate as a reward for lowering their risk to lend on the vehicle. If you have derogatory credit history, the lender will likely require that your loan max out at 100% LTV or as low as 75% LTV which means you will need money down to qualify for the loan.

    Other factors to consider when financing a vehicle are Payment To Income (PTI), Debt To Income (DTI) and FICO score. The lender will look at these factors based on other debt you have outstanding on your credit profile versus your monthly income. The lower the debt…and higher the income…the better the rate. If you have any credit challenges such as collections or medical collections, the lender may still offer you a loan, based on the fact that you have made your past car payments on time. Car payment history matters. It matters over credit card payments and certain collections. Automotive Lenders are looking for auto loan paying customers. Different lenders look at different credit bureaus as well. You may qualify better based on that factor alone.

    The length of time you have established credit will also be a factor to the lender. The longer…the better. Just good credit card payment history alone will place you in a good position for an auto loan, typically. If you have any questions, contact us and we will help you understand your position and put together a plan to get you financed on a vehicle you will enjoy. We are here to help you buy or lease the vehicle you want to drive.

  • Purchase Protection – Centennial offers two ways, and two ways only, to protect your purchase or lease investment. We recommend them for peace of mind:

    1. Guaranteed Asset Protection (G.A.P.) – Eliminates loan amounts over the Actual Cash Value of your vehicle in a Stolen or Total Loss situation. You can avoid paying the difference between your auto loan and Actual Cash Value your insurance company determines your vehicle is worth, at the time of loss. Factors such as miles and market conditions can cause a sudden drop in value. G.A.P. protects you from these conditions. Otherwise, you pay the difference, on a vehicle you can no longer drive. Centennial uses CNA National for G.A.P. contracts. Please refer to the actual contract for details.
    2. Parts and Labor Agreement (Vehicle Service Contract) - Known to you as an “extended warranty.” You get protection past the Factory Warranty expiration. The protection covers wear and tear and exceeds the original coverage of your Factory Warranty. The protection is effective immediately, before you leave the lot. It can be used at any licensed repair facility in North America. Protection is offered up to 10 years or 150,000 on most models. Protection includes tow, rental car and lodging for trip interruption. Centennial offers this protection through CNA National which ranked above Toyota Care and Honda Extra Care in a JD Powers consumer study for Dealer Service Contracts. Please refer to the actual contract for details.

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