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The Most Reliable Cars Today

The Most Reliable Cars Today

When you decide to buy a car, whether it’s new or a used vehicle, it is crucial to choose one you can count on. You want to make sure the vehicle you drive off with is one that you can depend on for many years. In other words, you need to make sure it is reliable. Although this might not be the first thing that comes to your mind when choosing a car, especially when you’re focused on the looks, gas mileage, and customizability of the vehicle, the importance of a car’s reliability cannot be understated.

At Red Mountain Funding, we know how critical it is to have all the facts when buying a vehicle. This is why we want to spread the word about the importance of reliability. In this blog post, we will answer all your most pressing reliability questions, including “What is the number 1 most reliable car?” and “How do I choose the most reliable vehicle for me?” We will also teach you about the top five most reliable vehicles on the market and identify which models have the fewest problems. That way, you can make an informed choice when deciding what vehicle to purchase.

What to Look for to Determine a Car’s Reliability

If you want to know whether a car is reliable, doing a little digging into customer and critic reviews about the following factors can help tremendously:

Annual Repair Costs

You need a car that will not frequently break down and require repairs time and time again. Vehicle downtime will take you off the road and force you to rely on friends, public transportation, rental cars, or ride-share services to get you where you want to go, and you won’t be able to even use the car you invested in. You need a durable car that rarely needs upkeep. If other drivers frequently report low annual repair costs, you can get a sense that the car is reliable.


A car’s fuel efficiency can tell you a great deal about its reliability. Efficient cars tend to use more advanced technology and can often better withstand the wear and tear of being on the road than other vehicles. If a car has a good efficiency rating, it is usually a sign that you can depend on it to take care of you for a long time – not to mention a fuel-efficient vehicle can save you money on gas.

Fuel Efficient Vehicle

Brand Reputation

Well-known brands with a long history of producing top-performing cars are the most trustworthy when it comes to purchasing a reliable vehicle. Reliability is often confused with luxury and a high price tag, but that’s not always the case. Your car does not have to be expensive for it to be reliable. What is important is that it is safe and is known for having few technical glitches.

Learning about this information can make all the difference when it comes to saving money and time on your vehicle later.

What Is the Most Reliable Car Brand Today?

Currently, many experts say that the most reliable car brand you can find today is Toyota. Whether you are buying a vehicle that can take you and your family on an epic road trip, you need a daily driver for beach trips and soccer practice, or you are just looking for a reliable vehicle that you can count on to run well without many repairs, Toyota has you covered. Since 1937, Toyota has been making cars with long life spans that you can count on to give you minimal problems and perform well come rain or shine.

The 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid, in particular, is hearing praises far and wide for its reliability, as is the 2022 Toyota Prius and Toyota Prius Prime. Whether you are looking to buy a used model or purchase one that’s brand new, these comfortable, practical cars are filled with convenient technology and boast predictable performance. That way, you can be sure you can get where you need to go.

What Are the Top 5 Most Reliable Cars?

It comes as no surprise that Toyota makes more than one appearance on the list of top five most reliable cars as our most notable reliable brand. These are vehicles that real drivers have rated and reviewed, noting them time after time as ones that are cost-efficient and rarely present problems that need severe repairs.

1. Toyota Corolla

There’s a long list of good reasons why the Toyota Corolla is often seen on the road. This compact, comfortable ride is full of technology that can make your life behind the wheel much easier, like lane departure warning and electronic power steering (EPS). Toyota is also well known for its rigorous testing when developing its vehicles and for using durable engines and materials that are designed to hold up for long periods of time. From a long-lasting engine to fabrics in your seat that will withstand years of use, the Toyota Corolla is one of the most reliable automobiles on the market.
Toyota Corolla

Toyota Camry

2. Toyota Camry

Another loyal fan favorite is the slightly larger Toyota Camry. With its durable structure and power engine, the Camry is a sophisticated vehicle that will have you riding in style for many years. Although the Camry rarely needs major repairs, when it does need some maintenance, it is easy to work on and parts are readily available, which means the repair costs tend to be more affordable. Going with a Camry means you are again benefitting from the strong Toyota technology and comprehensive warranty packages that provide coverage for all kinds of components.

3. Lexus GX

The Toyota-owned brand Lexus has also historically made some of the most dependable cars that you can buy. For example, the Lexus GX has received rave reliability reviews. With its comprehensive safety system, detailed command center, and climate control features like roof-mounted climate vents, you can count on this classic for a comfortable, easy ride.

Lexus GX

Subaru CrossTrek

4. Subaru CrossTrek

The Japanese car brand Subaru has also consistently proven its reliability across several models. The Subaru Crosstrek has been determined to be one of the brand’s most reliable cars on the market. With its world-renowned symmetrical all-wheel drive system, the Subaru Crosstrek’s engine is aligned with the transmission and drivetrain, which makes sure that power is symmetrically divided between all four wheels. Its boxer engine also aims to enhance the car’s stability, while its off-road capabilities make it an ideal choice for one-of-a-kind road conditions.

5. Honda Civic

Another ride that has proven to be predictable and dependable is the Honda Civic. With its efficient engine, ability to keep going even with high mileage, and low annual repair costs, it comes as no surprise that it has been a top choice among consumers for decades. As it is also one of the most common cars in the US, parts and skilled mechanics are typically very accessible.

Honda Civic

What Car Has the Least Problems?

The brands with the fewest problems are great choices if you want a reliable vehicle that is not going to cause you a headache. One of the ways you can find out if a brand is known to have problems is to research how many problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) it has had in the last year. Some of the brands with the fewest reported issues all around are the following:


Lexus holds the current crown for the fewest problems. With a score of only 133 PP100 in 2023, you can expect to encounter very few problems while driving your Lexus vehicle. We think you’ll find a long-time reliable partner in this comfortable car.


The South Korean automobile manufacturer Kia has been one of the brands encountering the fewest problems for many years. The company has worked hard to exceed construction and engineering standards and focus on quality control. From the compact Kia Forte with its trustworthy, fuel-efficient engine to the spacious Kia Cadenza with its great warranty and advanced safety features, you are likely to encounter few to no problems when you go with a Kia.


The luxury vehicle brand Genesis is an unproblematic legend. It has long been at the top of the ranks alongside Kia and Lexus for the automobile company with the fewest problems. Known for its impressive extended warranty and high-quality construction, Genesis prioritizes customer satisfaction and works hard to minimize problems to ensure you buy a reliable car.


Buick is an American car company that has ranked high on the list for many years in a row and is known among car lovers as one of the most dependable American car brands. Its unique Buick IntelliLink system, which makes navigation more accessible and reduces technical glitches, makes for many unproblematic drives. Buick cars also boast an electronic stability control system that boosts reliability.


Also known as Chevy, this classic American brand is one of the pillars of the industry for good reason. Whether you and your family decide to go with the Chevrolet Blazer, the Tahoe, the Bolt, or one of Chevrolet’s many other models, you can rest assured that it is one of the safest vehicles you can choose from. With features like collision warning and blind spot monitoring, Chevy works hard to keep its drivers from encountering safety risks and prioritizes quality control to reduce the chances of technical problems.


Last but never least, Toyota’s PP100 rating is the basis for its crowning as the most reliable car brands. As mentioned, Toyota vehicles are known for their ability to drive miles and miles without problems. Cars like the Toyota Camry and the Toyota C-HR are known for their driver assistance, which makes you feel like the car is on your side as you navigate the roads. These Toyota cars and more are known for their low annual repair costs and their longevity.

Reliability is the Key

When it comes down to it, you cannot dismiss the importance of reliability when buying a car. Other factors are important as well, like new technology, design, comfort level, and price. However, it is important to look into how dependable the vehicle you are considering is because a reliable vehicle stands to save you the most money and hassle in the long run.

Purchasing a vehicle without a solid reliability rating can be problematic for many reasons. You will have not only dipped deep into your pockets for your new set of wheels, but you will also find yourself doing that again and again to keep up with the vehicle’s issues. If you check to make sure a vehicle has a record of reliability first, you can avoid this pricey predicament.

Of course, no car can come with a perfection guarantee, but cars like the Toyota Camry, Subaru Crosstrek, and Honda Civic have proven that they are like loyal old friends. They have consistently shown that they do not need a lot of expensive upkeep, have few problems that will keep you off the road, and were created by brands that put their customer satisfaction first.

Here at Red Mountain Funding, we know how much thought you need to put into purchasing a car, and we know what you need to prioritize in your search, like how dependable the vehicle you go with is. If you want informed guidance as you buy or restore your vehicle, check out our website for additional information and handy tips. Our broad range of car-buying topics can be key to helping you find the right ride for your needs.


  1. Most Reliable Cars for 2023 and 2024. (n.d.). Car and Driver. Retrieved November 13, 2023, from
  2. Schulz, B. (2022, November 15). Consumer Reports ranking for the most reliable cars of 2023 are in. Here are the winners. USA TODAY.
  3. CarMax. (2022). Carmax.com.
  4. New Car Market: 10 Most Dependable Cars in 2023. (2023, May 25). Yahoo Finance. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/more-money-most-least-reliable-201135669.html
  5. Rivers, S. (2022, December 11). Driven: 2022 Lexus GX 460 Is An Old-Schooler You Can Rely On. Carscoops; Carscoops.
  6. Jones, M. (2023, April 25). Subaru Crosstrek Reliability: What You Need To Know – autopom! Autopom.com.
  7. Rivers, S. (2023, February 10). The Most Dependable Brands And Models In J.D. Power’s 2023 VDS Study. Carscoops; Carscoops.
  8. 2023 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study(VDS). (2023, February 9). J.D. Power.
  9. Akpejeluh, P. (2023, April 15). 5 Most Reliable Kia Models To Buy Used (5 To Stay Away From). HotCars.

Are Car Prices Expected to Drop?

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Buying a new car

Overall, the lack of new cars entering the market has created an upward shift in price. This applies when it comes to purchasing a new vehicle, purchasing a used vehicle, and trading in your existing vehicle. In fact, depending on the condition, year, and mileage of your current vehicle, you could experience a trade-in value not far off from the initial vehicle purchase.

While this is an exciting potential benefit of buying new or used right now, you’ll also find that the price tag on used vehicles doesn’t seem to reflect their year or current condition. This has led many consumers to question whether purchasing a vehicle is worth the cost in 2022.

However, you’ve likely noticed that the current new and used vehicle market is experiencing an ongoing inventory shortage. Should you buy new or used? Should you wait for the market to change, or buy now?

Today’s Auto Market

So, are car prices expected to drop? Unfortunately, determining whether you should buy right now or hold off isn’t as simple as predicting auto values. If you’re considering purchasing a used vehicle, you’ll have to consider several other factors, as well.

These factors include whether you will be trading in your current vehicle, what kind of car you currently own, which car you want to buy, and how long you are willing to wait. Understanding the factors unique to you can help you determine your best route forward.

Benefits of Buying Now

Determining whether to buy now or wait for prices to drop is a personal decision. If you’re like many consumers facing a hefty repair bill for your current vehicle, adding to your family, or purchasing a car for the first time, you may simply not be able to wait. If this is the case, you can rest assured that there are still some benefits associated with buying sooner rather than later. Inventory stocks are still short and purchasing a new vehicle currently has a higher price tag than in years past, but some factors can make the higher price tag worthwhile.

Higher Trade-In Value

In normal circumstances, a new car depreciates in value approximately 20% after the first year and continues to drop 10% each year until the five-year mark. However, as mentioned above, recent years have been far from normal circumstances. The current inflated used car prices have also increased the trade-in value for used vehicles.

In fact, there have been significant jumps in trade-in values proportionate to the cost of a vehicle. This means that your higher trade-in value could offset a significant amount of the initial cost of purchasing a new or used car. It is important to note again that this higher trade-in value depends on the type of car, age, and condition.

New Car Prices May Continue to Rise

New car prices

Brand new cars look to continue to increase in price due to the ongoing inventory shortage and increasing manufacturing costs. The global microchip shortage that started the ongoing supply chain issues has led to the increased prices we are experiencing today and will likely continue in the foreseeable future. Other supply chain issues, such as limitations in the availability of OEM parts and components are now contributing to the ongoing problem. 

It may take until late 2023 or early 2024 for production rates to return to normal and restore the depleted new vehicle inventory we are experiencing currently. This could mean that it may be some time in late 2024 before consumers see a decrease in sticker prices that reflect the re-established market. Forecasters expect continued increases in new vehicle prices—and used vehicle values—over the next year or so. Now may be the best time to purchase if you are unable to wait out the inventory shortage, because prices look to continue rising.

Interest Rates Could Continue to Rise

If you are like most consumers, even with a great trade-in value for your existing vehicle, you’ll still need a loan to secure your new purchase. Your interest rate depends on a variety of factors, including your lender and your credit score. Even if you have excellent credit, expect to pay higher interest rates than in previous years. There has been an increase in interest rates across the board, and rates may continue to rise throughout this year and into the next.

Benefits of Waiting to Purchase a Car

While there are some benefits associated with deciding to buy a new or used car now, there are also numerous benefits associated with waiting. If you currently own a reliable vehicle, you may benefit from waiting for car prices to drop. Find DIY methods of fixing your car and maintaining it.

New and Used Car Prices Will Eventually Drop

Car stocks

Used cars are currently more expensive now than in the past due to the trickle-down effect of the new car inventory shortage. So, if the cars of 2022 initially looked steep, prices are expected to drop. Production is expected to improve in the next couple of years, which should drive the price of purchasing a vehicle back down.

For those who enjoy the financial benefits of purchasing used cars, it can be worth the wait for the new car market to stabilize. According to Kelly Blue Book, the second half of 2022 and the beginning of 2023 is showing signs of improvement when it comes to purchasing a vehicle, especially for those who are looking for a used vehicle. Waiting until late 2024 may bring price drops, as mentioned above.

Waiting Could Bring Better Incentives

Waiting for car prices to drop can also prove beneficial when it comes to incentives. When production is restored, consumers can expect a wider selection of vehicle choices, lower transaction prices, and better incentives such as lower interest rates, decreased APR, and other attractive benefits that can save you more money overall. Again, later in 2024 may prove the ideal time to purchase a new or used car.

Tips for Saving Money

If you can wait for prices to decrease, purchasing later could be your best option for protecting your finances. However, if you aren’t able to wait, there are ways that you can still save money when purchasing a new or used vehicle. Consider these tips to save money on your upcoming auto purchase.

Consider Your Trade-In Value

As previously discussed, trade-in values are currently higher than in years past. However, be sure you understand what the trade-in value is for your current vehicle before heading to the dealership. Even if you own an older model car, you may find yourself surprised at how much dealerships are willing to offer you for your vehicle due to the current shortage. If you qualify for a high trade-in value, you can use this towards your down payment for your next vehicle. This can reduce your monthly payments as well as improve your loan terms, which can save you a significant amount of money in the long run. 

Plan Ahead

Before heading to the dealership, it is important to have a clear plan in mind. This starts by knowing your budget and creating a purchase plan so you can stick with it. Research each of the vehicles you are interested in exploring and learn what they are currently worth both new and used to determine whether they fit into your budget. You should also take the time to shop around to ensure you are getting the best deals when it comes to purchasing your new vehicle as well as trading in your old one.

Carefully Consider Your Loan Options

As mentioned, car loan interest rates are currently on the rise. As a consumer, you are often given the option of shorter-term loans and a higher monthly payment or long-term loans with smaller monthly payments and a higher buildup of accrued interest. A smaller monthly payment may seem attractive, but if you are given a high-interest rate, you could end up paying much more than the vehicle is worth. It is important to weigh all the factors associated with a major loan to cover the costs of a new or used vehicle. If possible, get pre-approved so that you have more wiggle room when it comes to negotiating rates. 

Be Ready to Buy

With the inventory shortage, the demand for new and used vehicles is higher than ever. This means that you don’t have a great deal of time to waste when it comes to securing a vehicle that meets your requirements and budget. It is best to be as informed as possible so that when you find a vehicle that is a good fit for your situation, you are ready to take it.

In Summary: Are Car Prices Expected to Drop?

Current car prices

The short answer to this question is yes. However, there is no way to know exactly how long it could take for consumers to start noticing a decrease in prices. The timing of the expected price drop depends on manufacturers’ ability to recover from production and supply issues to restore the influx of new cars into the US market.

Best Used Subarus: Which Models and Years Are Most Reliable?

Best Used Subarus Models Years Most Reliable - Red Mountain Funding Mesa AZ
If you want reliability and affordability from your next automobile purchase, then Subaru is one automaker you should not ignore. Several Subaru models from various years offer tremendous value.

Consider your options carefully whenever you plan to purchase a vehicle, and refer to the following list to learn more about your possible options from Subaru.

This was originally posted November 6, 2018 and was updated February 12, 2020.


Benefits of Buying Used Subarus

Subaru is popular for standard all-wheel drive in its most popular models, as well as for fantastic cost of ownership. Subarus are reliable cars, versatile and offer a wide range of customization with new purchases.

However, they are also tremendously valuable as preowned purchases. If you’re looking for a great brand of used car to buy, Subaru should definitely make your list of top automakers.

Subaru Legacy

The Subaru Legacy has been one of the most popular sedans in America for many years. Since its original launch in 1990, the Legacy has improved across the board with every new model year. Anyone who needs a reliable and spacious sedan will likely find the Legacy to be a great value.

Best Legacy Model Years

Models from the early 2000s should be much cheaper than more recent used models, but they will still offer fantastic value for many years.

The 2015 model in particular actually won the Canadian Car of the Year award for outstanding quality, but any model year after 2005 is ideal for a preowned car purchase. This ensures a combination of great value and savings compared to more expensive models in recent years.

2015 Subaru Legacy

2015 Subaru Legacy

Subaru Impreza

2010 Subaru Impreza, wide-body coupe

2010 Subaru Impreza, wide-body coupe

The Subaru Impreza is a quick, reliable vehicle available in several styles. The wide-body coupe model from the early 2000s offers up to 165 horsepower along with the reliability that comes with the Subaru brand.

Sedan models are spacious without sacrificing the renowned maneuverability of these light and quick cars. There are also sport models available with a variety of options and configurations, so you are sure to find a great Impreza while shopping for preowned vehicles.

Best Impreza Model Years

One of the best benefits of the Subaru Impreza is variety. If you’re looking for something practical and reliable, a sedan model from the mid- to late-2000s could be ideal.

If you’re looking for something sportier, the Impreza Sport could be perfect for you.

There are also wagon models with additional storage space, a perfect fit for families.

Subaru WRX

The Subaru WRX is actually a variation of the Impreza with more horsepower. The WRX contains a 2.5 liter Flat 4 Boxer engine, boasting a tremendous 300 horsepower.

The WRX is a fan favorite in the rally car and dirt racing circuits, and is treasured by Subaru enthusiasts.

Best WRX Model Years

One of the great attributes of the Subaru WRX is that even models from the 1990s – if well kept – offer incredible value. If you enjoy sportier vehicles and want an affordable used car that can compete with newer makes and models on the road, WRX models from the 2000s are relatively inexpensive and reliable compact cars.

2010 Subaru Impreza WRX

2010 Subaru Impreza WRX

Subaru Outback

2009 Subaru Outback

2009 Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback has been one of the most popular wagon-style vehicles in the United States for many years. The Outback is generally more expensive than other wagon-style vehicles from Subaru, but it offers tremendous versatility.

Many Outback owners enjoy that the vehicle’s off-road capability and storage space don’t detract from modern comforts and passenger seating space.

Best Subaru Outback Years

Subaru Outback models from the 2000s offer spacious interiors, solid off-road performance, and high marks across the board when it comes to overall performance and value. While the Outback may be more expensive than another Subaru model of the same year, it’s crucial to compare what’s under the hood before deciding.

Subaru Forester

The “big brother” of the Subaru Outback is the impressive Subaru Forester, a heavy-duty SUV offering more towing power and storage space than the smaller Outback.

Models from before the 2009 model year are very similar to the wagon-style Outback, while 2009 and newer models are larger SUVs.

Best Subaru Forester Years

While older Foresters still offer fantastic value and reliability, models made after the 2009 redesign year made improvements to stability control, visibility and interior comfort without sacrificing performance.

The 2014 redesign offered even more improvements, including the turbocharged XT model, navigational system, automatic emergency braking and improved safety features.

2014 Subaru Forester

2014 Subaru Forester


Why Buy Used?

There are distinct advantages to buying a brand-new vehicle. A new car buyer will generally get to enjoy the manufacturer’s warranty coverage and the peace of mind of owning a hot-off-the-assembly-line vehicle.

However, there are some distinct disadvantages to buying brand new. First, you may not know that your brand-new vehicle contains a defect that will appear months or even years later, leading to frustration and potentially costly repairs.

Used vehicles typically have been through one or more extensive inspection processes. And, keep in mind that most defects appear soon after launch. When you buy a preowned vehicle, you can rest assured (in most cases) that the manufacturer has already identified and addressed any defects.

Buying new is significantly more expensive than buying used. If the thought of “you get what you pay for” is giving you pause on a preowned vehicle purchase, keep in mind that Subaru has a reputation as one of the most reliable makes you can buy.

 If you have your heart set on an affordable and reliable Subaru that will last for many years to come, Red Mountain Funding can help you secure a loan for the vehicle from any Arizona dealership.

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How the Subaru Brand Stacks Up When It Comes to Reliability

When most people go shopping for vehicles, reliability is one of their top concerns. However, “reliability” may mean different things to different people. For some, reliability means consistent performance for a long time with minimal need for repairs. For others, reliability means ease of ownership, low yearly maintenance costs, and acceptable resale value. So, are Subarus reliable? That might depend on your definition, but the brand has received numerous awards and recognitions over the years for its general reliability, low long-term cost of ownership, and high performance.

Everything You Need to Know About Subaru Reliability

If you’re looking for a great balance of value and performance with a relatively low risk of maintenance issues during the first few years of owning your next vehicle, Subaru is a great choice. In 2019, Consumer Reports ranked Subaru #1 in overall performance and value. However, Consumer Reports also tracks reliability in terms of repair issues and yearly maintenance cost, and Subaru actually slid down five spots in the rankings from the previous year, ranking #7 in overall reliability for 2019.

While this may seem to be a counterpoint against the long-standing reputation of Subaru reliability, the lower reliability score from Consumer Reports for 2019 is due to the introduction of new and redesigned vehicle models. Many people shopping for vehicles prefer new vehicles as a kneejerk reaction; “new” often correlates with “high value,” but it may be a better investment to choose a used Subaru from a previous model year with low mileage. If you want a reliable Subaru, many models from the past several years have achieved high rankings from some of the most respected automobile reviewing agencies in the world.

Which Is the Best Subaru Model?

You may be wondering, “Should I buy a Subaru Legacy or Impreza,” as these models are some of the most popular Subarus and offer well-rounded ranges of features. However, you shouldn’t approach this question in terms of trying to find the “best Subaru,” but rather which Subaru model is the best fit for you.

2017 Subaru Legacy

2017 Subaru Legacy

2018 Subaru Impreza

2018 Subaru Impreza

Subaru manufactures a wide range of vehicles that each have unique advantages. If you’re looking for something that will handle your daily commute with minimal fuss year after year, Subaru is known for making some of the most reliable midsize sedans, such as the Impreza and the Legacy. If you need a sturdy family vehicle that can handle soccer practice drop-offs as well as long hauls to summer campgrounds, the Subaru Forester and Subaru Outback are great options. Take time to compare Subaru models to find the best fit for you, and then take some time to research past year models to determine which used Subaru could provide the most long-term value.

2018 Subaru Outback

2018 Subaru Outback

2018 Subaru Forester

2018 Subaru Forester

Subaru Reliability Ratings Slide in Recent Years

Subaru’s long reputation as an incredibly reliable brand and perceived as one of the best automobile manufactures gives it high marks. Unfortunately, Subaru’s quality has declined in the past few years for several reasons, one being a well-known head gasket issue that lead to engine problems for many Subaru models produced between 2003 and 2009. A used Subaru with detailed maintenance records will be a good indication that the car has been properly taken care of and a head gasket concern won’t arise. However, a car without these records may put you at a greater risk for that blown gasket. It is best to proceed with caution and always insist on a detailed multi-point inspection before a purchase. If you’re planning to buy a used Subaru, and limit your search to models from more recent years, typically from 2013 and newer, there’s minimal need for reliability unease. The 2020 Subaru lineup is quite impressive, with the new BRZ topping the performance charts and earning awards for great value, but you will pay more for a new car.

Repair Pal can be a great resource if you’re looking for more detailed information about the long-term cost of ownership of a vehicle. This site aggregates a Reliability Rating based on the frequency of repair issues, the average cost of repairs, and the severity of the issues repaired. Subaru currently ranks 3.5 out of 5 in terms of overall Reliability Rating, and upon closer inspection of the details behind this report, you’ll discover that despite some recent issues, Subaru still maintains exceptionally high reliability scores in comparison to national averages.

According to Repair Pal, the Subaru Crosstrek has a reliability rating of 4.5 out of 5, which ranks it 1st out of 26 for compact SUVs. 

2018 Subaru Crosstrek

2018 Subaru Crosstrek

What to Expect From Your Used Subaru

After taking some time to research your options and the known issues for recent model years of Subaru vehicles, you can probably choose one or two models that interest you. If you want to get maximum value out of your used vehicle purchase, you should work with a trusted dealer and ask the right questions to make sure any known issues with the vehicle you’ve chosen have been addressed.

Related Reading: What Do You Need To Consider Before Buying A Used Car?

A well-maintained Subaru can last well over 300,000 miles, provide a fantastic return on your initial investment, and offer years of reliability. As long as you avoid some common bad habits that are true for any vehicle and use your vehicle with care, a used Subaru can last much longer than you might expect.Apply For Financing Online Today

Tips and Tricks for Getting the Most out of Your Car Wash

Car Cleaning Hacks Tips And Tricks Car Wash - Red Mountain Funding Mesa AZ

Washing your car may seem like an ordinary part of your weekly or monthly routine, but there are several ways you can make the most out of washing your vehicle. The result? It looks clean and brand new for as long as possible.

There are many commercial options for washing your vehicle, and you can easily buy the supplies you need to wash it at home. However you decide to handle your car washes in the future, keep the following tips in mind to get the most out of every wash.

Commercial Car Washes

The most common type of commercial car wash is a standard tunnel-style wash that uses water jets and brushes to clean your vehicle. The driver pulls his or her vehicle into the tunnel track, puts the car in neutral, and the car wash guides the vehicle through the different cleaning devices.

Automatic Washes Are Fast and Cheap

Touchless Car Wash Washworld - Red Mountain Funding

A Touchless Automatic Car Wash System (Twitter Photo/@Washworld)

An automatic car wash is a fast and relatively effective way to clean your vehicle, but it may not leave it entirely clean. Additionally, hard bristles or damaged brushes can actually scratch away at your vehicle’s paint and lead to rusting.

Ultimately, you get what you pay for when you drive through a traditional automatic car wash, and repeated automatic washings may cause expensive damage to your vehicle’s paint job.

Some commercial car washes have installed “touchless” washing systems that do not use brushes or bristles to physically touch the car. Instead, a touchless car wash uses a series of high-powered water jets and cleaning agent sprays to clean your vehicle.

While a touchless system is a viable alternative to traditional tunnel-style car washes with brush-based cleaning systems – which may damage your paint or sensitive parts like mirrors and antennae – it may not leave your car completely clean and spot free.

Professional Detailers

A professional detailing service will undoubtedly offer the best cleaning service, but it will also cost the most. A detailer will clean your vehicle meticulously by hand and will often offer various additional services, such as interior cleaning, cosmetic repairs, scratch and dent repairs, and window and headlight cleaning.

If you want an extensive cleaning, or your vehicle hasn’t had a proper, thorough washing in a long time, paying for a professional detailing service may be worth the expense.

Washing Your Own Car

Many commercial car washes offer tiered pricing for customers to combine exterior cleaning, interior cleaning, waxing and other services into a single wash session. While some commercial car wash companies offer membership discounts and frequent buyer programs, these options can be expensive, especially compared to the cost of washing your vehicle yourself. Washing your own car gives you complete control, and helps you save money.

Self-Service Wash Stations

Some commercial washing establishments offer self-service car wash stations. These buildings usually feature enclosed parking spaces with extendable tools that apply soap and water. A driver will park in a washing space and then put money into the system to pay for a certain amount of time (usually a few dollars for several minutes of washing time).

Next, the driver applies soap, scrubs the car with the supplied brush or sponge, and then rinses the vehicle with the water sprayer. Some self-service stations offer a wax coating spray as well, but these sprays rarely compare to a professional waxing job and may actually cause more water-spotting.

Washing Your Car at Home

Car Wash At Home angelmercado279 - Red Mountain Funding

At-Home DIY Car Washing (Twitter Photo/@angelmercado279)

Of course, if you plan to wash your car yourself, you can save even more money by skipping the self-service station and washing your vehicle at home. A hose attached to your home’s outdoor spigot with an adjustable head attachment will allow you to spray grime, mud and dirt off your vehicle with a high-powered stream of water. You can then adjust the sprayer for a gentler mist to rinse the car at the end.

If you plan to wash your car at home, make sure you research and purchase the car soap and other supplies needed. You should only ever wash the exterior of your car with a sponge or soft cloth to avoid scraping or damaging your paint and windows.

It’s also important for Mesa, AZ residents to follow the Mesa car washing guidelines the city has established. Due to the low annual rainfall in Mesa, the city’s water and sewer systems are more vulnerable to contamination from cleaning agents and runoff from dirty vehicles.

You’ll need to use phosphate-free detergents sparingly and make sure the wastewater doesn’t enter the city sewer system. The best method for washing at home is by hand using only water and a soft sponge.

Car Cleaning Hacks for You to Try

Clean Off Windshield Wipers mblagunaniguel - Red Mountain Funding

Maintain Your Wiper Blades (Twitter Photo/@mblagunaniguel)

The first step in washing your car in Mesa is to determine how extensive you need to be in your cleaning. Engine or undercarriage cleaning may require an appointment with a professional detailer, so that you don’t inadvertently violate the city’s car washing ordinances. You may also be able to wash your engine or undercarriage at a self-service station that allows this type of cleaning.

There are several car cleaning hacks that can make your car look even better, and some of them might surprise you:

  • Did you know that a hair conditioner with lanolin creates a just-waxed shine and even repels rain? Apply hair conditioner to your vehicle after washing and then rinse clean for a spectacular shine.
  • You can also use window cleaner and an old pair of pantyhose to make your headlights shine again. Over time, headlights become cloudy and may actually pose a safety risk when driving at night.
  • If you’re looking for a simple window and windshield cleaner, mix one part household ammonia with four parts water in a spray bottle. Keep the spray bottle in your vehicle and spray and wipe clean whenever your windows or windshield become dirty.
  • It’s also a good idea to check your wiper blades regularly. If your wipers are dirty, they’ll streak your windshield instead of cleaning it. You can clean the blades with a mixture of a 1/4 cup ammonia and 1 quart of cold water. Soak a soft cloth or paper towel in this solution, wipe it along both blades and then use a dry cloth to wipe off the solution before lowering the blades back into place.

Protect Your Vehicle from the Arizona Sun

While Mesa residents don’t have to worry about rainfall too often, the Arizona sun can pose serious problems for any vehicle here. Intense heat and direct sunlight can damage your vehicle’s exterior as well as the interior. Grime, dust and salt that stays on your car for too long will bake in the sun and cause additional damage.

Your vehicle’s dashboard receives the brunt of the sunlight that enters your vehicle through the windshield, so consider investing in sun shades. Sunlight can also damage the cloth or leather of your vehicle’s seats and cause them to discolor or fade over time.

Learn more car care tips for dealing with the Arizona sun by visiting our previous article:

Protect Your Car from Arizona’s Intense Sunlight

Best Used SUVs: Most Reliable, Best Rated, and Best Value

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Best Used SUV Cars: Most Reliable, Best Rated, and Best Value

Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) first appeared in the 1970s and 80s. They were created for people who do not want trucks but need a car with power and utility. The traditional SUV has four-wheel drive and a high roof and is raised higher than average above the ground to handle rugged terrain. It also has an oversized trunk ideal for carrying large items that would otherwise need to be hauled in a truck.

In recent years, the definition for what people consider an SUV has expanded to include smaller vehicles called compact SUVs. Additionally, some recent SUV models do not have four-wheel drive to reduce the weight of the vehicles and make them more fuel efficient.

Whether you are a family of seven or an athlete with tons of equipment, SUVs are a great option for many people. Used models can provide people with tough, powerful vehicles that can take on almost any conditions. If you are in the market for a used SUV, it is important to know what is the best SUV for the money. Used SUVs such as the GMC Acadia, Acura MDX, and Honda CR-V are dependable and powerful models for people seeking a less expensive option.

Used GMC Acadia

Best Used SUV Cars: Most Reliable, Best Rated, and Best ValueThe GMC Acadia has been a reliable full size SUV model since it first came on the market in 2007. Both the 2011 and 2014 GMC Acadias earned 5-star safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) designated 2011, 2012, and 2013 models as “Top Safety Picks.” The Acadia comfortably and safely seats eight people, while still having room for cargo. It has a 3.6-liter V-6 engine that gives the vehicle 288 horsepower. It is available with front or full-wheel drive and has a six-speed automatic transmission.

In 2010, the transmission was changed to have a better response time and they were designed with features such as Bluetooth, traffic updates, and heated seats. Starting in 2013, GMC Acadia’s were made with updated exterior and interior elements, a revised rear liftgate, smartphone compatibility, and easier controls for audio, temperature, and navigation. Due to the quality of earlier models, the GMC Acadia is one of the best SUVs to buy used.

Used Acura MDX

Best Used SUV Cars: Most Reliable, Best Rated, and Best ValueThe Acura MDX has three rows of seats and can comfortably carry seven passengers. The second generation MDX models, between 2007 and 2013, have a 3.7-liter V-6 engine that provides 300 horsepower. They have four-wheel drive through Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system and torque-vectoring technology, making them easier to navigate on curvy roads. Second generation models can tow up to 5,000 pounds and have large amounts of space to easily fit cargo, even while the vehicle is carrying the maximum seven passengers.

The 2011 and 2012 models received a 5-star safety rating from the NHTSA and the 2012 and 2013 models were awarded “Top Safety Pick” titles by the IIHS. With safety features such as a reversing camera, blind-spot warning technology, adaptive cruise control and luxury seating, the second-generation Acura MDX vehicles are extremely safe and comfortable options for used SUVs.

Used Honda CR-V

Best Used SUV Cars: Most Reliable, Best Rated, and Best ValueThe Honda CR-V has always had a reputation for reliability and safety. The 2012, 2013, and 2014 CR-V’s all earned awards for their safety. The CR-V has a reversing camera and a driver’s side mirror designed specifically to provide a better view of the blind spot on the driver’s side. It comfortably carries five people, while still offering 37.2 cubic feet of space for any cargo. The cargo space expands to 70.9 with the rear seat folded down. The engine is a 185-horsepower, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder model. The CR-V can also tow up to 1,500 pounds.

The Honda CR-V is comfortable, quiet, and known for great steering and handling. Used models still provide all of the features and impressive elements, while being low-cost.

Used Lexus RX

Similar to the Honda CR-V, the Lexus RX has a record of dependability, even becoming the first SUV to earn the title of most dependable vehicle in the United States by J.D. Power and Associates. It can carry five people and has a powerful engine with 6-speed automatic transmission and front or all-wheel drive. There is also a hybrid model that has better power and fuel economy. It can tow up to 3,500 pounds and provides 40 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats.

The Lexus RX has standard safety equipment with 10 airbags and Automatic Collision Notification. It is also equipped with features such as adaptive headlights, rain-sensing wipers, a reversing camera, dynamic radar cruise control, and available pre-collision safety technologies. Along with extraordinary safety, the Lexus RX offers comfort and a high-quality interior. In 2016, the exterior became more striking than many other SUVs, guaranteeing that people will admire your vehicle on the road. A used Lexus RV is a fantastic option for someone in the market for a safe, reliable, and comfortable used SUV.

Used Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester, specifically a model between 2009 and 2013, is widely known as one of the best-used SUVs to buy. The first-generation of Subaru Foresters had accommodating features such as power accessories, Bluetooth, a sun roof, reclining rear seats, air-conditioning, and cruise control. Upper Limited and Touring trims had rearview cameras, leather interiors, automatic climate control, and an upgraded audio system, among other things. Second-generation models were very similar except with a roomier interior, a stiffer body structure, revised chassis, and more standard features. The later second-generation Foresters also had improved performance on the road and were known to be especially fun to drive.

The third- and fourth-generation models of the Forester were even roomier and more fuel efficient. They also had the appearance of a more traditional, heavy-duty SUV. No matter what generation, a used Subaru Forester will cost you less and provide you and your family with comfort, cargo room, and safety on the road.

Used Subaru Outback

Another great used Subaru SUV option is the Subaru Outback. Starting with the 2010 model, Subaru Outbacks have been named an IIHS “Top Safety Pick” every year. It has a 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. The Outback 2.5i has all-wheel drive and either a six-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission. Certain regions in the United States have the 4-cylinder engine combined with the continuously variable transmission rated as a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle.

It is a safe SUV, designed with 8.7 inches of ground clearance, a reversing camera, and a wiper dde-icer grid. The Subaru Outback can tow up to 2,700 pounds and has 34.3 cubic feet of space with the seats up. When the rear seats are folded down, it offers up to 71.3 cubic feet of cargo storage. A used Subaru Outback is one of the best-used SUVs under $15,000 available today.

Used Toyota Highlander

The second generation Toyota Highlander, a model made between the years 2008 and 2013, is an ideal vehicle for people looking for a lot of passenger and cargo space. It can hold seven people and Consumer Reports rates it as extremely reliable. For second-generation years excluding 2012, the IIHS rated the Toyota Highlanders in its “Top Safety Picks.” With the third- and second-row seats folded down, they offer 94.5 cubic feet of space.

Second generation Toyota Highlanders can tow 5,000 pounds and include safety elements such as a knee airbag in the driver’s seat, a wiper de-icer grid, and a reversing camera. The seemingly endless advantages of the Toyota Highlander make it an ideal used SUV for anyone in the market for a great, inexpensive vehicle.

Used GMC Yukon

Best Used SUV Cars: Most Reliable, Best Rated, and Best ValueThe initial models of the full size GMC Yukon came with three options for the engine and two for the transmission. After a couple of years, the six-speed transmission became uniform across all GMC Yukons. The SLE included 17-inch alloy wheels, stability control, power accessories, keyless entry, and many more features. The SLT had 18-inch alloy wheels, remote vehicle start, leather seats, tri-zone automatic climate control, and much more.

Starting in 2009, GMC Yukons included more space and features. They also had improved fuel efficiency, safety, and power. First-, second-, and third-generation used GMC Yukons are fantastic used SUVs for people seeking reliable and powerful large SUVs.

Used SUVs Near Mesa, Arizona

If you are searching for financing for used SUVs near Mesa, Arizona, contact Red Mountain Funding.  Our priority is to help families and individuals to have access to financing for great used cars. At Red Mountain Funding, we will do all we can to outfit you and your family with financing for a fantastic vehicle.

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Car Lease Buyout Options: Know the Pros and Cons

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Car Lease Buyout Options Know Pros and Cons - Red Mountain Funding

It can take years to find your perfect car. Once you have found it, you’ll never want to let go. If you leased your dream car and have decided that you want to buy it, it is important to know whether you are making the right choice and how to correctly go through the process.

Lease-End Buyout

There are two types of lease buyouts:

  • Lease-end buyouts
  • Early lease buyouts

A lease-end buyout is the more common of the two. With this option, you will pay the residual value at the end of your lease. A vehicle’s residual value is what the car is expected to be worth at the end of the lease. This car lease payoff is negotiable before you sign the contract; you agree on it before the lease begins.

There are two variables to consider in determining whether a lease-end buyout is a good deal. It is imperative to compare the residual value to the true market value. The true market value is the amount that the car is worth on the market today and the price that a vehicle in similar condition is being sold for.

If the price for the buyout is less than the true market value, it is a financially profitable choice. However, you should also consider:

  • If you’re happy with the car’s overall performance.
  • Has needed many repairs throughout the duration of the lease?
  • If there is another car on the market at a similar price that you would prefer.
  • Can you finance the buyout at a good interest rate?

Are all of these factors are favorable? Then it is a smart deal to do a lease-end buyout. You will also need to pay lease payoff sales tax, but it will be worth it. It can be safer to do a lease-end buyout than to buy a new car, because you already know the car and its history.

Early Lease Buyout

Car Lease Payoff Market Value Vs Residual Value Chart - Red Mountain Funding AZThe second option for a lease buyout is to do a car lease payoff before the lease ends. Not all dealerships offer early lease buyouts, and some have certain additional stipulations. So be sure to check your contract before deciding to pursue this option.

Determining the price of an early lease buyout can be more complicated than trying a lease-end buyout. The dealer calculates the price based on:

  • The lease-end residual value on your contract
  • The amount left to pay on your lease
  • Any depreciation to the car if its value has dropped beneath the current market value

One of the reasons that many people pursue an early lease buyout is because they are worried about lease penalties. Lease penalties could include:

  • Going over the allowed mileage
  • Not maintaining the car properly
  • Damage to the car

An early lease buyout is usually not recommended because of the added fees that come with the depreciation of the car.

Determining the Market Value

For both lease-end and early lease buyouts, determining the market value of the vehicle is a vital part of making the final decision. The current retail price will indicate whether you should buy your lease out or purchase a different car.

Determining market value is a fairly simple process because of the extensive information available online. Great resources include sites such as:

  • Cars.com
  • NADAguides.com
  • Edmunds.com
  • AutoSite
  • Autopedia
  • Kelly Blue Book
  • CarPrice.com

The price of the vehicle will vary from site to site, so make sure to visit as many sites as possible to get a more thorough idea of the value.

If the car that you leased is extremely popular on the market, your residual cost will likely be lower than the retail price to buy a different one. In this case, buying out your lease makes more sense than purchasing a different car, because few dealerships are going to offer a similar deal for buying a vehicle outright.

The reality for most people, however, is that the lease payoff quote will be higher than the retail price. Many banks and financing companies inflate the residual price for a leased vehicle, so they are able to offer lower monthly payments for people who leased their cars.

The price of used cars has also been down recently, which often makes buying a different car the more affordable option. Used cars in Mesa, as well as other Arizona used car trade-ins, are no exception to this trend.

Negotiating with the Lender

Paying off a leased vehicle can be a negotiation, so it is important to maintain a powerful position in the interaction. Don’t call the leasing company and ask about buying the lease; let the lender contact you. 

Once the leasing company has called you, try not to appear overly enthusiastic or eager. First, tell them that you are going to turn in the car after the lease. After waiting a moment, follow it up by explaining that you think the residual value is too high to justify the buyout. Some larger companies do not allow any negotiation, so this tactic will be more effective with smaller companies.

Help and Guidance for Car Lease Payoffs

If you are considering buying out your lease, Red Mountain Funding can help you. We are a family company that has been helping lower-income families and individuals in Arizona with loans for over 20 years. Contact Red Mountain Funding for advice and assistance in buying out your lease.

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What Is Covered Under Arizona’s Car ‘Lemon Law?’

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What Is Covered Under Arizona's Car Lemon Law - Red Mountain Funding

How Arizona’s Car Lemon Law Helps Car Buyers

When it comes to safe car buying, Arizona residents should familiarize themselves with the state’s “lemon laws.” These laws pertain to car sales in the state, involving both used and new vehicles. Lemon is a popular name for a car that seems to be perfectly fine at the time of sale, but has hidden problems or temporarily fixed parts that lead to setbacks after a few days or weeks.

Some unethical businesspeople and private sellers may attempt to dupe unwary car buyers into purchasing unfit vehicles. Lemon laws protect buyers in these situations.

What Do Lemon Laws Cover?

Under Arizona lemon laws, only new vehicles qualify for full protection. Car buyers who purchase vehicles that “do not conform to express warranties” can return those vehicles to the place of purchase within the first two years of ownership, the extent of the manufacturer’s warranty, or 24,000 miles of travel, whichever comes first.

The seller will need to perform the necessary repairs to ensure the vehicle conforms to the express warranties.

It’s important to note that title changes do not affect these time limits. For example, if a person purchases a new car at full price and then transfers the title to someone else, the new title owner can still file a complaint under Arizona’s car lemon laws if the vehicle does not meet the express warranties.

Dealer and Manufacturer Obligations

Arizona’s lemon law requires dealers to make a “reasonable number of attempts” to get a lemon car working properly. The law dictates “reasonable” as:

  • Up to four shop visits, or
  • A combined total of 30 days in the shop.

If the dealer cannot bring the car up to an acceptable condition in this time, the buyer may receive a replacement vehicle or a refund of the purchase price, less any fees for time the driver successfully used the vehicle.

If the dealer cannot successfully repair the vehicle, then liability for the vehicle will fall on the manufacturer. The manufacturer must then repurchase the vehicle or provide a replacement to the buyer.

If the manufacturer replaces the vehicle with a new one, it must be the same make and model in the same condition as the original vehicle the buyer purchased. If the replacement vehicle is of a lesser value, the manufacturer must refund the difference to the consumer.

The buyer must provide prior direct written notice of the defect before requesting repairs. It’s also a good idea for the buyer to retain copies of all paperwork and notices in case of any legal disputes down the road.

A car manufacturer or dealer may claim that the customer:

  • Did not provide notice within a reasonable time,
  • Did not operate the vehicle properly, or
  • Otherwise contributed to the vehicle’s state of disrepair.

Used Vehicle Coverage

Under Arizona’s lemon law, used car buyers have far less protection. The logic behind this is that any used car is bound to have issues. Furthermore, some of these issues may not arise until the vehicle is in the hands of a new, different driver.

Arizona law provides protection for 15 days or 500 miles of travel for used cars, whichever comes first. If the car breaks down in this time, the buyer may need to pay up to $25 of the first two necessary repairs. If the dealer cannot repair the vehicle sufficiently within two visits, the buyer is entitled to a refund of the purchase price.

Tips on Avoiding Lemons

Arizona lemon laws may provide some protection to car buyers, but it’s important to remember that these laws are open to interpretation, and vehicle repairs can be time consuming. It’s better to avoid the hassle of fixing or replacing a lemon altogether, if possible.

If you plan on buying a new car, make sure you understand the express warranties included in the purchase. If you would rather purchase a used car, make sure to visit an Arizona trusted used car dealer.

Red Mountain Funding provides financing for auto loans to Arizona car buyers. For more than 20 years, we have been helping Arizona residents purchase vehicles with confidence and flexibility. We want to help individuals with low income or bad credit to get the vehicle financing they need to get on the road. We have an easy and straightforward loan approval process, and our philosophy is to be honest and transparent in all of our dealings.

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Is There a Best Time of Year to Purchase a Used Car?

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Is There A Best Time Of Year To Purchase A Used Car - Red Mountain

Car Buying in 2018

Buying a car can be exciting or stressful, depending on how you look at it. Prices fluctuate widely during the year, and most people (understandably) want to buy when they think they will get the best deal.

When are the best car deals? If you believe what you hear on the radio or see on TV, it could be virtually any time of year, as dealerships claim to clear inventory or offer incentives monthly. However, there are some tried-and-true times when it’s most beneficial to purchase a vehicle and take advantage of factory incentives and offers. Here’s what you need to know.

The Best Time of Year to Purchase a Used Car?

There are a few simple reasons why purchasing a vehicle in the last quarter of a year is the best time. First, the new models are rolling out into dealerships. This means that dealers must move their old inventory to make room for the new models on their lots.

Factory incentives tend to roll out around September and continue through December. Generally, the longer you wait, the better these incentives will be. On the flip side, this does thin out your inventory options a bit. If you’re looking for a specific make, model or color, you might be disappointed when you go to purchase in December but find the vehicle you’ve wanted is no longer available.

If you’re willing to be flexible, however, you can find some nice deals. Combine year-end savings events with other rebates and you’ll maximize your savings.

Buy During the Holidays

The car business is typically slower during the holiday season. As people spend their extra money on gifts, they rarely think about getting in on some of the savings for themselves.

During Thanksgiving and continuing through Christmas, rebates and incentives are typically higher than they are during the rest of the year. Combine this with the fact dealers are typically stocking their lots with new inventory, and you could take advantage of some nice deals. Depending on your degree of flexibility, you could score some solid savings.

Buy in 2018

Buying in the new year, on the other hand, also has distinct advantages. Buyers often shy away from making big purchases like cars due to a single word: depreciation. Most of us know that cars are depreciating assets, but what some don’t know is that you can use depreciation to your advantage.

Consider this: The average value of a used car is currently around $15,000, when it was over $18,000 just a year ago. Why is this?

The answer is simple: Car sales have been increasing in recent years. We had to reach a tipping point eventually, so now we have more used cars than we do interested buyers.

As a result, used cars are becoming less expensive. New regulations and technology are driving the trend: More people are turning to leasing and new buys to take advantage of autonomous capabilities and rear-view cameras. Those who are willing to buy used cars stand to take advantage of some serious savings.

Auto Loans in 2018

Since there is an oversupply of used cars, dealers are looking to get them off their hands to make room for new inventory. This means consumers will be able to get relatively gently-used cars for much less. Buying a car in the last weeks of 2017 or early into 2018 can lead to significant savings.

Obtaining financing will also be easier as financiers like Red Mountain Funding will work with individuals with fair, below-average and even poor credit. Anyone can take advantage of the savings and get into a reliable used car. If you’re in the market for a new-to-you vehicle, now is the time to buy.

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Planning a Car Purchase from a Financial Standpoint

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Planning A Car Purchase From A Financial Standpoint - Red Mountain Funding

Your vehicle, after your home, is one of the largest purchases you’ll ever make. For this reason, it’s a decision that merits careful consideration and planning. While you may be tempted by the latest models and gadgets, one of the biggest mistakes prospective car owners make is buying a vehicle with monthly payments that are higher than they can afford.

Obtaining used car financing in Arizona requires preparation on your part. Here’s what you need to know.

The Best Way to Buy a Car

If you ask a financial planner the best way to finance or buy a car, they’ll likely tell you, “Buy it new, buy it with cash, and keep it for as long as possible.”

While this may hold true in terms of interest, it’s not feasible for most people. Considering that economic models of SUVs start at $30,000 or more, and you’ll find that the majority of people don’t have that kind of cash lying around.

The next and the most popular option is financing. How much you can afford should be pretty obvious if you’re paying in cash, but becomes murkier when you have a monthly payment. There are a few important considerations when choosing a car with a monthly payment.

Financing Term

First, you’ll have to decide how long you want to take to pay it off. Financing arrangements exist in 3-, 5- and 7-year terms, though some may offer other arrangements.

Generally, you don’t want a term longer than 60 months (5 years), since it increases the chances of being underwater or owing more than your car is worth. A longer arrangement may mean that your monthly payments will be lower, but you’ll also be paying more interest. Opt for a good balance between the features you want and a monthly payment you can afford.

What’s a ‘Good’ Monthly Payment?

Everyone’s financial situation is different, so the answer to this question is unique. Ideally, after factoring in the cost of insurance and maintenance, you should still be able to save at least 10 percent of your income each month. If this isn’t possible, your monthly payment is too expensive.

Keep in mind that if you’re financing a car, your insurance payments will reflect it. Generally, insurance companies require more comprehensive coverage on vehicles that have financing attached. Ask your insurance company for a new quote and add these to your calculations.

New vs. Used

Many people find that in light of these circumstances, they cannot afford a new car. Used cars are frugal alternatives that come in many shapes, sizes and prices.

For a couple of thousand dollars, you can buy a vehicle that will get you from point A to point B, but may require more maintenance. Spend up to $10,000 and you can actually get something pretty nice. When purchasing a used car, factor the cost of maintenance into your budget.

Arizona Used Car Loans vs. Leasing

There are advantages and disadvantages to leasing and buying vehicles. With a lease, you’re getting the latest and greatest, but you won’t own it – so you’ll always have a car payment. You’ll also be locked into a certain number of miles each year, so long trips may be out of the question.

With a used car loan, you’ll own your vehicle at the end of the financing term without having to worry about additional payments other than maintenance.

Other Financial Considerations When Planning a Car Purchase

Once you’ve decided what you can afford and how you’re going to pay for it, the next important consideration is when to buy. You can save significant money purchasing a vehicle at certain times. Shopping on the last day of the month, for example, can save you significant money because dealerships must meet certain quotas to receive incentives from manufacturers, and salespeople must make minimum sales per quarter.

When purchasing a vehicle, a dealer may also try to sell you extras like an extended warranty. Unless your chosen vehicle has well established mechanical problems, these aren’t necessary. Rust proofing and paint protection are other examples of “extras” that don’t make much financial sense to those on a budget.

When You’re Ready to Buy a Vehicle

When you’ve made a decision based on your financial situation, it’s time to start shopping. If you’re still not sure what you can afford, come in and speak with the financing experts at Red Mountain Funding. We’re here to make the approval process simple and get you into the car that’s right for you.

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Used Car Maintenance Checklist for Arizona Driving

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Used Car Maintenance Checklist For Arizona Driving - Red Mountain Funding

Whether your vehicle is your pride and joy or just the tool you depend on to reliably transport yourself back and forth to work or errands, you want to get the most value for your dollar. Arizona weather conditions present their own unique challenges to your car, and higher mileage vehicles require special care. Performing some regular checks and maintenance on your car can go a long way toward making your car safe and saving you money.

10-Step Maintenance Checklist

Follow this 10-step used car maintenance checklist to make sure your vehicle is up to speed and safe to drive:

Start with the Fluids

It’s a good idea in the hot, dry air to carry a bottle of water around to quench your thirst and replenish your fluids. In the same way, your car may need fluids checked a bit more often than those in cooler, less-arid climates.

Check your engine coolant overflow tank every few weeks to ensure it’s at the full mark. Top off windshield washer fluids, and check your oil at the same time. Higher mileage cars will benefit from using oil designed specifically to extend older engines.

Often overlooked fluids include your transmission fluid, which helps your car shift gears, and brake fluid, which provides the pressure to the brake pad to stop your vehicle. Brake fluid is especially vulnerable in high heat, as it can reduce or eliminate your ability to stop if it has boiled away.

Inspect the Tires

Tires regularly build up heat from friction with the road. When the asphalt is hot, that friction eats away at your tread more quickly than normal. Keep a close eye on your tires’ tread for wear.

A good rule of thumb is to take a penny, hold it with Lincoln’s head down and facing you, and place it in the tread of your tires. If the top of Lincoln’s head is showing, the tread is worn down to the point that it is time to replace the tires. Also, checking the tires’ inflation regularly can save on gas and keep tread wear to a minimum.

Radiator Hoses

Radiator hoses carry fluid to and from the engine and radiator. Over time, the rubber hoses can dry out and develop cracks. Arizona heat speeds this up as well, and higher mileage cars may still have the original hoses the car came with from the factory.

If those small cracks develop into a leak, you could be stranded on the side of the road with an overheated engine. Check your hoses regularly for cracks, especially near the ends where the clamps are.

Rubber Belts

The rubber belts in your vehicle transfer energy from the engine to parts like the alternator (which charges your battery), the power steering pump and, most important of all perhaps, the air conditioner. Like your hoses, the belts’ wear is sped up by the Arizona heat.  The belts also deal with the friction of turning the pulleys of those accessories.

Check the tension on the belts every few months and have them adjusted if loose. Keep an eye out for any signs the belts are cracking or wearing out.


Extreme temperatures accelerate a battery’s chemical reaction, which can cause internal fluids to evaporate quickly. Help maintain the life of your battery by checking the battery terminals every few months for any signs of corrosion. This can be easily cleaned off with a battery terminal brush available for just a few dollars at any auto parts store.

Windshield Wipers

Your windshield wipers may spend days and weeks parked just under your windshield, but when rain comes along, you need them to operate at peak efficiency. Remaining dry and unused for long periods not only speeds up wipers’ decay, but also keep you from noticing that your wipers are wearing out until it is too late.

Inspect wiper blades for cracks in the rubber and run your washer fluid periodically to make sure the wipers are still working properly.

Air Filter

For your engine to run, it needs fuel, a spark and air for combustion. The air filter’s job is to keep dirt and debris from getting into your engine, which can dramatically reduce your engine’s life. Keep your car supplied with clean, fresh air by replacing your air filter every 60,000 miles.


Once a year, inspect your brake pads for wear. Friction with the rotor wears down the pads over time, and hot brake pads wear down even faster. Generally, you should see at least ¼ inch of brake pads – any less than that and it is time to get them replaced.

Between inspections, if your vehicle pulls to one side or the other when braking, or shudders when stopping, it may be time for an inspection. Additionally, if you hear that tell-tale squealing sound begin to come from your brakes, you should get them inspected or replaced.

Inspect Your Lights

Once a month, check the lights all around your vehicle. Headlights, brake lights, turn signals and parking lamps should all be in good working order. This is important for your safety and the safety of the drivers around you.

You don’t see your own tail lights on a regular basis, so get in the habit of making a regular check to see if they are still working. Why wait for a police officer to inform you of the problem?

Check Your Manual

The owner’s manual for your vehicle has the information regarding how often the different components of your car need maintenance. It will also provide you with illustrations of where to look for parts like the brake fluid reservoir or transmission fluid that you might not be familiar with. The owner’s manual is full of invaluable information for maintaining your vehicle and extending the life of your car. If you don’t find yours in your glove compartment, search online or get one of the Haynes Manuals at your auto parts store.

By following this Arizona Car Maintenance Checklist, you can get the most value out of your vehicle and extend the life of your car.

When You’re Looking to Skip the Used Car Maintenance Checklist

Red Mountain Funding provides help for those whose credit is not so great. Whether you need an Arizona used car or are just looking for an auto loan, our family-owned business is all about getting you the help you need.

Red Mountain Funding has been a trustworthy company helping Arizonans for more than 20 years with an easy loan approval process and an honest and affordable option for you if you’ve had hiccups with your credit. If you are looking for affordable used car or car loan, come by and see us today.

Find Us in Mesa, AZ