Getting road-trip ready, shopping smart, and saving on used cars

There are a lot of good auto blogs online.

We think the RoadLoans blog is one of them, something largely confirmed by monthly views reported by Google Analytics and other rankings of best web sites for car enthusiasts.

What readers may not realize is that RoadLoans is a direct-lending program of Santander Consumer USA (SC), which also has a blog providing more content intended to engage, inform and entertain readers interested in news and trends about or related to cars, trucks and SUVs.



Following are snippets of recent content, and links to the SC posts if you want to read more:


Travel ready?

Road trips are as much a part of holiday activities for many Americans as turkey and presents – and in some places, making snowmen and sledding.

But planning ahead for your road trip can make a big difference in whether you merely endure hours in a cramped vehicle or actually enjoy the ride and arrive at your destination bursting with holiday spirit.

To help with your road trip planning, we’ve put together a colorful infographic, “Holiday Road Trip – A dozen great ways to prepare for an automobile adventure,” that captures some of the best advice available on ensuring that your holiday road trip doesn’t turn into a family ordeal.

“With a little prep, you can leave the road-trip stress at home and enjoy the holiday,” advises AAA. So make a list and check it twice to be sure your road trip is a nice way to begin and end the holidays.


Smart shopper

Around 200 million of us own smartphones. And about 100 million also bought a new or used vehicle the past two years.

So you would think there should be plenty of apps to help all those smartphone users shop for cars. Well, there are – too many, in fact, to list them all here, although we still may be able to help.

Names on several lists we consulted – AppAdvice, nerdwallet, appcrawlr, GottaBeMobile – may sound familiar, but then there are others that you probably never would have considered.

“Car shopping is time-consuming and daunting for many people, but with the right knowledge it can be a fun experience,” says the website, GottaBeMobile, adding that a good car-buying app is “an essential tool in removing the stress and unknowns from the process.”


Used-car savings

Going to buy a used car?

You may want to take a vacation in Miami, FL.

At least that would be the case if you went shopping recently for a 2014 Ford Escape Titanium with six-speed, automatic transmission, four-wheel drive and about 30,000 miles.

Besides Miami, FL, population 400,000-plus, we shopped online at for vehicles in Miami, OH, with a population of a little more than 100,000, and Miami, OK, population about 14,000, to see where we would find the best deal on similarly equipped Ford Escapes.

And where was that?


Escape clause


In the world of Hollywood, the calendar year has five seasons not four.

It has all the traditional seasons, plus the holiday season, which starts in November and continues through New Year’s week or weekend.

And no wonder, with receipts of nearly $3 billion last year from more than 100 movies, according to Box Office Mojo (only summer is bigger), the holidays deserve a distinct season.

Perhaps that makes it especially appropriate that the holiday season would open with Dr. Strange, with comic-book-and-movie empire Marvel taking “a turn towards the supernatural and psychedelic.” Here’s a look at more of the season’s most noteworthy movies.


Not too late

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – especially if you’re shopping for a used vehicle.

Starting last month and running through New Year’s Eve, car dealerships are geared up for some of the best shopping times of the year, according to

The car research and shopping website analyzed more than 40 million used car sales from 2013 to 2015 in search of those times – and holidays – when dealers were selling at least five percent under market value, and what they found may warm the hearts of used car shoppers.

“Dealers tend to make a big push to boost sales … and the holidays are a great reason for them to pump up their promotions,” said Phong Ly of Here are the best times to buy a used vehicle through the end of the year, along with the percentage of deals that met iSeeCar’s five-percent rule.


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