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Rob Looker

Top 12 songs to sing in the car
  Singing at the top of your lungs to a favorite tune as you cruise down the highway is one of the true pleasures of driving. Behind the wheel, master of your own destiny, or at least your next destination, and with the scenery flickering by, it can turn a good journey into a great one. To fuel more happy trips to come, we’ve put together a dozen recommendations from well-versed in-the-car-singers here at RoadLoans and parent company Santander Consumer USA. Check out what makes these tracks special and take our Spotify playlist for a spin!   “Three… Read More

How much should a down payment on a car be?
  A down payment on a car will be a requirement from the lender in many cases, and can also offer the borrower significant benefits, so deciding what you may be able to pay up front is time well spent. Twenty percent has long been recommended for new-car purchases, largely to offset depreciation. As new cars depreciate by a fifth in their first year, covering this amount with a down payment helps prevent becoming upside down, when the borrower owes more than the value of the vehicle. Negative equity can lead to a number of problems. For example, if your… Read More

How much car can you afford?
  Run the numbers with our calculator to shop with confidence You want to buy a great car for your budget as well as for you, the driver. That’s a solid plan. And an easy one, right? There are plenty of commercials telling you how affordable it is to get into a new or pre-owned vehicle. Many of those may be good options but, wherever you go to buy your next vehicle, you’ll be able to do so with more confidence if you work out how much car you can afford yourself. If you’re financing the purchase, like most buyers,… Read More

How to estimate your auto insurance when choosing a car
  Estimating your auto insurance is easily overlooked in the car-buying process yet it’s an important part of your long-term ownership costs. As rates vary according to vehicle, it may affect which car you end up purchasing, too. A little time now will soon give you an idea of what kind of premium you’re looking at for that car, or cars, you’re interested in. And once you’ve decided what coverage you need, websites like The Zebra, recommended by Consumer Reports, will do your comparison-shopping legwork and bring the quotes to you.   Work out how much coverage you need With… Read More

The 2015 Chrysler 200 is one of the best overall bargains identified by
How does nearly new for half the price of new sound? If that’s appealing, take a look at the range of used-car bargains listed below, where depreciation has dropped the average price of many models by about 50 percent when they reach three years old. analyzed 4.1 million vehicle sales to discover the highest depreciating cars with the biggest potential savings, including the overall top 10 best bargains, vehicles under $20,000 and those among the popular SUV segment. The BMW 5 Series sedan, priced $30,846, offers the greatest reduction after 52.6 percent depreciation, while the top 10 includes five… Read More

The best states for your summer road trip, ranked by WalletHub
  Summer is in full swing and nothing adds to that sense of enjoyment like a carefree road trip. Near or far, mountain or coastal, or somewhere in between, there’s always a new place to go, different things to see, and reasons to be thankful you decided to fit in that break. But where to this time? WalletHub covered some ground to give you a hand. The personal finance website left almost no stone unturned as it compared the 50 states across 31 criteria to rank them for your road-tripping pleasure – those that are fun, scenic and wallet friendly.… Read More

The 10 most American cars – some of these may surprise you
  You might think you know an American car when you see it. But in a complex auto industry with parts sourced from all over the world, the badge on the front is only part of the story. These and other factors are taken into account in’s American-made index, which ranks the most American 2018 model-year vehicles on the market. The Jeep Cherokee, put together with 72 percent domestic parts in Belvidere, Illinois, flies the flag in first place. And while the inclusion of such an iconic U.S. brand (though under the wing of European-based Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) may… Read More

Financing for first-time car buyers with no credit history
    As a first-time car buyer with no credit or bad credit,* you might feel up against it. That’s understandable. Consumers with long and strong credit histories generally stand a better chance of getting financing from an auto lender, and may enjoy better terms and a greater choice of vehicles. But take heart. Many lenders are set up to work with first-time buyers, and guess what? Many of those consumers have limited or bad credit histories. When you’re in one of these situations, there are a number of steps that may be taken to make the whole process easier.   7 Tips for… Read More

How to choose and finance a first car for your teenager
  Buying a first car for your teenager is a balancing act. While the preferences of your son or daughter will no doubt be on your mind, there’s the need to get the safest car your budget will allow. And with such an array of new and used vehicles on the market, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Thankfully, there’s plenty of expert advice available to make it easier. “The best bet is to buy the newest, most reliable model loaded with the best safety equipment you can afford,” says Consumer Reports. More than that, it’s important… Read More

How to calculate the gas cost of a trip
  It’s easy to jump in the car and just drive, but when you’re taking a road trip, or even starting a new commute, a little planning goes a long way. Calculating the gas cost of a trip is a smart trick to budget travel expenses and can be completed in a few simple steps.   1. Calculate your miles per gallon Fill up your gas tank and set the trip odometer button on the instrument panel to zero, then drive normally until it’s time to stop for gas again. When you next refuel, note the trip odometer reading to… Read More