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How to Become an Uber Driver

uber driver

Should you become an Uber or Lyft driver and are you missing out? Passenger fares have never been lower, but the jury is still out on whether the ride-sharing gig is worthwhile for its drivers. We’re going to cover not only how to get in on the ride-share driving business, but how much you can expect to earn as well.
 

 
Ride-sharing services are one of the fastest growing companies of our time. Ride-sharing apps appeal to potential drivers because they can come from all walks of life, they can be self-employed, and they get to be in control of their own hours. For passengers the appeal of ride-sharing services is the convenience of hailing and paying for their ride all on their phone.

Ride-hailing companies have really grown into a giant business—Uber alone exists in 63 different countries and is operating in over 700 cities. They’ve also recently broadened their platform to include not just car services but bikes, scooters, food delivery, and even freight. In the future they also hope to add air taxis and driverless cars to their many services.
Needless to say, the ride-sharing app business is growing and here to stay.

You’re probably wondering now how you can get in on this flexible form of self-employment and never answer to a boss again! But before you download the app, quit your job, and hop in your car, hear us out, because becoming a driver for a ride-share business may not pay as well as you’d think.

How to Become an Uber Driver

First, to become an Uber driver you must meet the following requirements:

  • Meet the minimum age to drive in your city
  • Have at least one year of licensed driving experience in the US (3 years if you are under 23 years old)
  • Have a valid US driver’s license
  • Meet vehicle requirements (an eligible 4-door vehicle)

Second, if you meet these requirements then you share the following documents:

  • A valid US driver’s license
  • Proof of residency in your city, state, or province
  • Proof of vehicle insurance if you plan to drive your own car
  • A driver profile photo
  • Must be a forward-facing, centered photo including the driver’s full face and top of shoulders, with no sunglasses
  • Must be a photo only of the driver with no other subject in the frame, well-lit, and in focus; it cannot be a driver’s license photo or other printed photograph

Third, you complete an online screening that reviews your driving record and criminal history. And that’s it! After your application is accepted you can download the uber app and start taking rides.

How to Become an Uber Eats Driver

Uber Eats is a delivery partner that has teamed up with many restaurants that don’t typically have their own delivery services. As an Uber Eats driver you deliver food orders made via the Uber Eats app. Becoming an Uber Eats driver is similar to signing up to become a driver. Once you sign up to be an Uber driver, upload the required documents, and complete the online screening you simply do the following to start receiving delivery requests:

  1. Go to your account
  2. Select vehicle options
  3. Accept delivery terms

However, when delivering for Uber eats you can also use a scooter or bike instead of a car. In order to drive either of these options for your deliveries you have to meet the following requirements.

How to Become a Lyft Driver

Uber’s rival Lyft is a newer ride-hailing company out on the roads right now. To become a Lyft driver you can visit the Lyft website to fill out their application and start their process. You’ll basically have to do the following:

  1. Fill out the application
  2. Vehicle Inspection
  3. Background check
  4. Meet the requirements of your city
How to Become a Driver without a Car

At this point you may be wondering, but how do I become an uber driver without a car? How do I become a lyft driver without a car? If you don’t have your own car to drive with, Uber has partners that can rent a car to drive with. Lyft has something similar with Lyft Express Drive. With this you can use a rental car and return it at any time, with things like insurance and standard maintenance included in the rental price.

How Much Money Do Drivers Actually Make?

How much you can really make as an Uber driver is riddled with caveats. Yes, you can earn good money from driving during surge hours and getting tips from your passengers, but then other things, like all the costs that go into having and running a vehicle, will dent your earnings. Because ride-share drivers are technically self-employed they have to take on all the costs necessary to run their business, and this is where ride-share drivers experience major disappointments in their earnings with apps like Uber.

How Much Uber Drivers Make

There are many people out there that would love a lucrative way to be self-employed, and there are many aspects of businesses like Uber and Lyft that draw in new drivers every year. There are estimated to be about 833,000 Uber driver participants in just one year. Uber has also said that their drivers can earn $75,000 to $90,000 a year, while the typical taxi driver only makes about $30,000 a year.

If these numbers were true to what most drivers are actually making then why would almost half of all drivers only stay in the business for less than a year before dropping out of the game? It is because most Uber drivers don’t end up seeing earnings this high.

In reality Uber drivers make an average of $15.68 per hour, which means Uber drivers make about $7.84 per ride, and about $109.76 per week if they work all 7 days. Surveys done by Earnest have also found that Uber drivers make $364 per month on average, which would mean that Uber drivers make an average of $4,368 per year. Uber does give drivers the ability to earn extra with surge pricing. This is when passengers fees go up during higher density hours.

How Much Lyft Drivers Make

Lyft drivers make pretty similar numbers but the difference might be just enough to make you switch apps. Lyft drivers make an average of $17.50 per hour. This means that on average they make about $8.75 per ride, and about $122.50 per week if they work every day. Earnest also found that Lyft drivers tend to make an average of $377 per month, which would mean that Lyft drivers make an average of $4,524 per year.
 
earning stats
 

Average Earnings by City

Not all cities are created equal when it comes to the demand for ride-hailing services. How much work you can get and how much you’ll get paid on average will depending on what city you work in. But remember, many of the best cities to work in for ride-share drivers are also more expensive cities to live in, and a higher cost of living will affect your earnings as well.

The 10 BEST cities for ride-share drivers are . . .
  1. Honolulu, Hawaii at $25.55 an hour
  2. Seattle, Washington
  3. Long Island, New York
  4. Pittsburg, Pennsylvania
  5. Westchester County, New York
  6. San Jose, California
  7. New York City
  8. Minneapolis, Montana
  9. San Francisco, California
  10. Cincinnati, Ohio at $19.18 an hour
The 10 WORST cities for ride-share drivers are . . .
  1. Buffalo, New York at $9.74 an hour
  2. San Antonio, Texas
  3. Tulsa, Oklahoma
  4. Oklahoma, Oklahoma
  5. Indianapolis, Indiana
  6. Tampa/St Petersburg, Florida
  7. Springfield, Missouri
  8. Houston, Texas
  9. Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina
  10. Akron, Ohio at $4.94 an hour

As you can see, drivers in some of the bottom tier cities aren’t even making minimum wage.

Average Earnings by Vehicle Class

If you were wondering how much drivers tend to make according to their vehicle class we found that information too. Overall they found that most drivers make the following according to what class of vehicle they’re driving:

  • UberX = $13.70 an hour
  • UberXL = $14.84 an hour
  • UberSELECT = $14.85 an hour
  • UberBLACK = $24.87 an hour

It would then seem like the higher class your vehicle is the better you’ll get paid, but you have to remember that you are the one paying for the more luxurious car. Passengers also pay more to ride in the higher-end vehicle types, which will affect how much demand there is each day for the vehicle class you offer.

The Cons of Being an Uber or Lyft Driver

There are actually many reasons these promising numbers don’t become a reality for most Uber drivers. First of all, there is the nature of how Uber drivers are employed (or technically not employed) which affects their pay and benefits (or the lack thereof). Then there are the many other costs that fall on the driver to pay and manage on their own. Finally there is the matter of location that dictates how much work is even available in a driver’s area.

Independent Contractors

Drivers are considered independent contractors, which means that they technically are self-employed. Sounds great right? Who doesn’t want to be their own boss? But there are a number of disadvantages to being self-employed.

Since drivers are independent contractors they have to take care of their own benefits, like insurance, and they are also in charge of all the costs of maintaining their vehicle. Below are some other cons to being an independent contractor for Uber:

  • Because you aren’t a W-2 employee, Uber is not required by any laws to pay its drivers minimum wage.
  • Because you aren’t a W-2 employee, you have to cover your own Social Security and Medicare taxes. Officially employed W-2 workers will typically only pay part of these taxes with each paycheck, while their employer pays the rest.
  • You are considered self-employed, but you still work for a business that will control and regulate aspects of your “self-employment” and control the percentage you get paid.
Demands on Your Own Pocket

Because you are only getting a percentage of your earnings, while the ride-sharing company takes the rest, this makes the personal costs of running your driving business all the more impactful on your wallet.

Instead of all the proceeds of your business going to you and your business, the ride-share app companies take a cut, and they get to decide how big a cut they get. Below are just a few examples of all the costs you have to pay out of your own pocket to run your driving business:
 
insurance
Insurance
Not only do you have to pay for your own health insurance—since ride-share companies won’t consider you an employee and provide any benefits—but you also have to pay for your own car insurance.
 
car payments
Car payments
Ride-share companies won’t provide you with a vehicle the way that other taxi companies do for their employees. Providing yourself with a vehicle to drive and work in is also all on you.
 
vehicle maintenance
Vehicle maintenance
Any maintenance, repairs, and general upkeep that your vehicle will need in order for you to drive is completely your own responsibility. And since you are driving your vehicle for your work it is going to need much more regular maintenance.
 
gas
Gas
You are not reimbursed for what you spend on gas. Business insider found that drivers can spend up to $150 on gas just in a week, and the more you work, the more you’ll be spending on gas each week.
 
tolls
Tolls
If you drive through any tolls your passenger will likely pay an added amount on their fare, but you will be responsible for taking care of the toll fee upfront.



Overall

A recent study was done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2018 and they found that ride-share drivers may not be any better off than taxi drivers. They found that self-employed drivers only made up 35% of the driving business, and at an average $14 an hour they’re not even making a taxi driver’s salary of $30,000 a year. Because of this it seems ride-share driving truly does belong in the gig economy as more of a part-time job for extra cash, than a full-time occupation.

If working for yourself means a lot to you and the projected numbers we’ve outlined don’t look that bad, then maybe ride-share driving is still the gig for you. You can also always take advantage of Check City Title Loans to help your car stay in business. But it may also be a side gig that needs some revamping by those in charge in order to be made truly worth-while for the drivers once again.



READ MORE
Read more about the new Uber CEO and how he’s been implementing changes in the company.

Learn more about Uber and how it compares in the gig economy today, “Uber and the labor market: Uber drivers’ compensation, wages, and the scale of Uber and the gig economy.”

Read yet another interesting study about how Uber is changing the ride-share economy, “The Competitive Effects of the Sharing Economy: How is Uber Changing Taxis?

This article is a part of our “How Much Do Professions Pay?” series. Check out some other articles in this series to learn more about other professions and what they pay:

How Much Do Teachers Make?

How Much Do YouTubers Make?

How Much Do Nurses Make?


Common Habits that Ruin a Car’s Value

Every driver develops their own set of driving habits. Some of those driving habits are good, others are downright dangerous and other driving habits can actually lower the value of your car. Spoiler alert: dangerous driving habits will ruin the value of your car.

Good driving habits include double checking both ways before proceeding, glancing into the blind spot before switching lanes, and buckling your seat belt. Some driving habits are neither good nor bad, like wearing driving gloves. Dangerous driving habits are things like texting while driving or operating the GPS system while the car is in motion.

Each individual cultivates their own driving style and car maintenance habits. While some driving habits are fine, there are a few common habits that a majority of people fall into that can actually have a negative effect on the value of that person’s car.

Watch Your Driving Style

defensive driving

Driving habits that lower a vehicle’s value are more common than people would like to admit. Some of these value-ruining habits are actually so ingrained that it may take some personal effort to stop these bad habits. But working to get rid of these habits is worthwhile because the better care you take care of your car now, the higher value you’ll get when you go to sell it or get an auto title loan. Your style of driving is one of the first aspects of your driving you’ll want to reevaluate.

Are you an insecure driver?

You might be insecure behind the wheel if you’re new to driving, new to driving stick, driving an unfamiliar car, or were recently in a car accident. Insecure drivers are not defensive drivers, and tend to have a driving style of avoidance. Being insecure behind the wheel can actually make you more likely to get into an accident with your car, so take your car to a secluded lot and practice basic driving maneuvers to get comfortable behind the wheel again.

Are you an aggressive driver?

You might be an aggressive driver if you find yourself getting angry or stressed out whenever you’re behind the wheel. You also might be a more aggressive driver if you find yourself not stopping completely at stop signs, riding the bumpers of other cars, beeping at other vehicles around you too much, or running yellow and even red lights. Aggressive drivers are also more likely to get into accidents. The key to fixing an aggressive driving style is to work out the stress levels in your everyday life, and learn to have more patience on the road.

Be a Defensive Driver

Some people like to describe defensive driving as “driving as if everyone else on the road were drunk.” If you don’t have expectations for the drivers around you, then you’ll be more patient with other drivers, and you won’t make harmful assumptions about their actions. The American Society of Safety Professionals has lots of guidance on how to develop a healthy defensive driving style.

Keep it Clean

car wash

One of the most common bad habits concerning car care is not keeping your car clean. It can be very east to procrastinate cleaning your car, especially during the winter months. The time, effort, and expense of car washes can also keep car owners from regularly cleaning their car’s exterior as well. But keeping the inside and outside of your car clean is important in retaining the value of your vehicle. If you don’t, then your car will deteriorate faster. Before you know it your car will need more than just a new paint job to look new again. Not cleaning the inside of your car will also make you have to replace the upholstery before you can sell.

Schedule a semi regular car wash trip, and pencil in some time once a week to clean out your car, vacuum the seats and flooring, and wipe things down. It’s also a good idea to plan some time every so often to shampoo your car’s interior as well to really keep it fresh.

Easy on the Throttle

Another common mistake that car owners often make is thinking that their new car is as invincible as it is powerful. Driving a new car with aggression, top speeds, and a lead foot are some of the best ways to damage a vehicle from the inside and therefore lower the total value of the car.

Other habits that lower a car’s value are less obvious. Some additional ways to ruin a car’s value include customizing the vehicle, getting work done on the side by a free-lance repair man, failing to keep accurate records, and messing with the body of the vehicle (aka adding body kits). More than likely the car you’ve bought isn’t the car you’ll have forever. Eventually this car will run it’s course for you, and you’ll want to sell or trade it in for a fresher car. Remember to maintain your car’s resale value as you care for it and drive it.

 

If you or anyone you know is guilty of taking part in one of the above habits then you should be aware—the value of your car is ever decreasing. Ensure the value of your car by not falling victim to these common and value-reducing habits when you drive and care for your car so that you can keep you car as a high value asset.

With a higher value car, you can easily resell your vehicle for more than the listed price or gain a greater title loan from Check City. Title loans from Check City are quick, easy, and safe loans that are borrowed against the value of your car, so keeping the above harmful habits away from your driving style could not only mean an increased value of your vehicle, but an increased value in the amount you can borrow against the title of the vehicle as well.

Top 7 Most Commonly Forgotten Car Maintenance Items

car maintenance
 
Keeping ahead of car maintenance won’t just help your car run longer, it will help it run better too. The following are 8 of the most commonly forgotten car maintenance items that you need to be doing throughout the life of a car.

  1. Don’t let your brakes wear down
  2. Rotate and replace your tires
  3. Check your gas cap
  4. Keep your car in the garage
  5. Stay on top of oil changes
  6. Replace your air filter
  7. Change your windshield wipers out

There are a lot of reasons car maintenance is important. Maintaining your vehicle properly will help it keep it’s value in case you ever need to sell your car. Cars depreciate in value over time just by driving them, but their value will depreciate even faster if you don’t practice basic car maintenance. Keeping up with basic car maintenance also helps your car run better and live longer. Cars also get problems over time. They get older and need their parts tuned up or replaced. By keeping up with car maintenance you can mitigate depreciation and the effects of normal wear and tear.

Naturally people are conditioned to the thought process of, “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” so they let a lot of these maintenance items slip because there isn’t currently a problem with their vehicle. Similar to the way most people don’t visit the dentist unless they feel like they might have a cavity. But it’s important to have a yearly dental checkup even when everything seems fine, and the same goes for your car’s care. This routine maintenance will end up saving you money in the long run and allow you to build more equity in your vehicle which will come in handy if you ever need an auto title loan.

#1: Don’t let your brakes wear down

Breaks are an important part of car safety. Have you ever felt your car start shaking and hear grinding as you brake? That’s a sign that your brakes are just about to fail. You don’t want to risk getting anywhere near this level. Change them when they squeal or get too thin. Don’t continue to drive on them when you know they need replaced.

#2: Rotate and replace your tires

Your tread will wear out unevenly depending on the tire’s location. To redistribute that wear, have your tires rotated every six months. Tire rotation is one of the cheaper repairs you can get, costing anywhere between 24 and 120 dollars.
vehicle maintenance
Eventually you’ll also need to replace your tires. ‘Worn out’ doesn’t mean until your tires pop or become completely bald. In fact, the closer your tires get to bald, the more likely you are to get a blow-out, not to mention losing all traction on slippery roads.

Your state likely has a legal limit for how short your tire tread can be. Find out what’s legal for your state and keep an eye on your tread depth. If you deal with wet roads it’s a good idea to replace your tires when they have 4/32 inchesof remaining tread depth. Replace tires that are worn out to make sure you make it safely from point A to point B.

#3: Check your gas cap

Over the years, your gas cap can lose its seal as the rubber warps, breaks, or just wears down. This can cause you to lose gas mileage and can often turn your “check engine light” on. It can also cause moisture to get into your gas tank and hurt your engine’s performance.

Most gas caps are designed to last up to 100,000 miles. When you see your gas cap is getting old, pick up a new one and swap it out. They are usually cheap and easy to replace yourself.

#4: Keep your car in the garage

This isn’t a traditional maintenance item, but it is an important one that many forget about. A car is an investment, and exposing it to the outside elements for years can do a number to your car, and not just to the paint job. Keeping your car outdoors will depreciate it’s value over time much faster than if you keep it inside a garage.

Clean out the garage and make space to fit your cars into designated spots inside. Garages are often full of junk you’ll never use again anyway. Sell the junk, keep what you need, and organize what you keep better to get the most out of your garage space.

How to Organize Your Garage
    1. Remove everything from the garage.
    2. Get rid of things and put everything else into categories.
      • Examples of categories: Seasonal (like Christmas decorations), Biking, Tools, Gardening
    3. Clean the garage.
      • Sweep and wash the floors and walls, paint, and do any other renovations your garage might need.
    4. Install organization units.
      • Overhead storage on the ceiling
      •  Cabinets
      • Storage bins
      • Peg boards
      •  Shelving
      • Wall hooks and racks
      • Work bench and table
    5. Move all your things back into the garage now with everything in a planned out place, along with your car that now fits!

#5: Stay on top of oil changes

Depending on what kind of oil you get, you’ll only need to come in once every 7,500 to 10,000 miles to change your oil. Whatever the recommendation your oil gives you, stick to it. The consequence of not doing so is dirty oil passing through your engine. The more debris that makes it through means more damage to the engine.

Also, if you’re not keeping track of your oil levels, your engine could be burning more oil than you’re putting in. Should your oil run too low, your engine could seize up because temperatures run too hot. Not only does your oil keep the engine lubricated, but it also helps transfer heat out.

#6: Replace your air filter

Your engine requires a proper mixture of air and gasoline to run most efficiently. Your car sucks in enough air to mix with the fuel as it moves through the engine. The last thing you want to come in with that air is any dirt or debris from the earth. The debris will hurt the inside of your engine.

An air filter is placed in the way of all incoming air to catch all the debris. The filter can get so dirty that it actually blocks air flow, changing the air-gasoline mixture and reducing your engine’s effectiveness. You can usually tell that your filter is too dirty because the dirt looks caked onto the fibers. Change it before it reaches that point.

Generally you should change your air filter between 15,000 and 30,000 miles. If you drive on a lot of unpaved, dirt roads than you may need to change it more frequently.

#7: Change your windshield wipers out

Too often drivers don’t think about their windshield wipers because they only use them when it rains. They’ll go well over a year without changing their wipers. In the meantime, the rubber on the blades have started to crack, rip, and break, making them ineffective.

When they start missing large sections of water, making lots of squeaking sounds, or smearing your window instead of cleaning it, you know it’s time to change them. As a general rule you should replace your windshield wipers every 6 to 12 months.
 
Basic car maintenance and upkeep is an important thing for every car owner to get used to. If you take proper care of your vehicle you can rely on your car more. It will also help your car live longer and run better throughout its life. Then, when it eventually comes time to sell or trade in your car, it will have much more value than if you slacked on basic car maintenance. Keeping up with car maintenance can also help you out if you ever need a title loan.


READ MORE
Watch a video from Lowes about “How to Organize Your Garage.”

Read another Check City article about how to save on Car Maintenance, “Save Big-Time With These Car Maintenance Tips.”

10 Easy Things You Can Do to Make Your Car Last

Continuing on with our automotive theme, in todays post we’re going to cover 10 basic ways that you can help maintain the value of your car. By following these simple steps you’ll be able to help your vehicle last longer without any major mechanical issues as well as help you maintain the value of your car which will come in handy if you ever need to use one of Check City’s auto title loans.

When it comes to vehicles the harsh reality is that they devalue every time you drive it down your driveway. It’s a sad truth of the process that every automobile owner has to come to terms with at one point or another.

They know that driving that brand new car off the lot drops the selling price by dollars on the mile. They work great for tens of thousands of those miles. Deep inside though, you understand that your car is running itself out just a little more every day.

How does that differ from the lives of men though? Every day, bodies are used, abused, and aged. They step one day farther from their youthful, well-performing self. Bodies are slowly degenerating and will continue to do so for decades. The degeneration culminates to the sad day that they stop working well at all.

Man’s lifespan can very much identify with the lifespan of the car—just as they can all living or man made things. Nothing was meant to last forever, that doesn’t mean you can’t extend the life of the thing you have though.
When you feed your body the right nutrients and keep active throughout your life, your body has a better chance of making it to an older, healthier you that still commands good use of your limbs. Proper care of your body grants rich rewards in the future.

So too does taking care of your vehicle lead to great returns later in the vehicle’s life. The car maintains a high value, even though its old age. It does so by running smoothly late into its old age. The car retains its value to you as a main source of reliable transportation. It retains its worth to lenders who can offer your title loans in times of need. It also can help you get a good trade-in-value to put down for the next car you purchase, when it’s time to put her to rest.

So now that you know you want to maintain your vehicle, what things can you start doing immediately to make sure it runs forever? The following is a list of 10 things to start implementing in your driving and maintenance routines immediately.

Ten Easy Tips to Follow

The first five are on your driving habits. First, avoid revving your engine or racing. However nice it might be to feel your horses going to work, they put excessive wear on the engine and burn your fuel. Although one or two incidents certainly won’t damage the engine, continued abuse can take its toll over the coming years.

Second, put your car into neutral when at red lights (especially longer ones). When in drive, your engine is constantly trying to leap forward, providing needed power to the wheels at all times. When at a stop, you’re not going anywhere, idle in neutral if you can to save your car the strain of pushing against an unstoppable force.

Third, drive carefully over objects. Avoid potholes and large objects as they can damage your suspension and tires over time.

Fourth, don’t drive it absolutely everywhere. Carpool when you can, find a manual way of getting around—i.e. walking, running, biking—, or consolidating your trips. Find opportunities not to drive and you’ll save your car the wear and tear of excessive driving.

Fifth, drive smoothly in everything. Smoothly accelerate and brake early. The less you jerk around, the less strain you’ll put on the car, which could loosen bolts or wear on other parts unnaturally.

The next five have less to do with your driving habits, and more to do with your vehicle maintenance.

Sixth, don’t fill up on gas when you see the tanker at the gas station. The strength at which fuel is pouring into the underground tanks stirs up the soot and sediment that can damage the internal workings of your car. Come back when the tanker is long gone, and that sediment has had a chance to settle safely below the surface you draw from.

Seventh, check your air pressure often. Make sure it is always set to the recommended PSI prescribed by your manufacturer. Your tires will last longer, as will the structure of your vehicle as it travels evenly and at maximum comfort with the proper amount of air.

Eighth, go in for routine check-ups. Get your car’s oil changed often. Change the air filter as needed—not nearly as often as they want you to. Keep an eye on your brakes and change them when they’re ready. Get all the regular maintenance stuff down.

Ninth, wipe your seats, dash and rubber door and window seals with products like Armor-All that clean and protect surfaces from sun and other damage.

Tenth and finally, keep an eye on your wheel-well splashguards. These help keep water, oil, and salt from splashing up under the car to the engine compartment. Salt creates rust and wear on your engine, endangering its long-term life.

Take special care when driving your car, and even more care when maintaining it. When you concentrate on these 10 things, you will help increase the life of your vehicle, maintaining its worth for longer. And remember, if you ever find yourself in need of some extra money, be sure to stop by your local Check City Location.

How to Purchase a Used Car that Will Last

As we’ve mentioned in previous posts, this month we’re focusing on all things automotive because of the AMAZING deal we have going on with our 30-Day No Interest Auto Title Loans. In our previous auto related posts we’ve been focusing on the best ways to maintain the value of your vehicle so that you can keep the value as high as possible but we understand that not everybody has a great car right now, and some people are still in the market to purchase a quality used car. For those reasons in today’s post we’re going to talk about the best way to find a quality used vehicle.

First and foremost, you need to decide what kind of car you are looking for. Walking onto a used car sales lot with only a notion that you want a car is like walking into a grocery store with the idea of getting something to eat. You often leave with something that looked good at the time, but learn to regret later.

What kind of vehicle do you want to buy? Truck, minivan, car, or SUV? What features do you need on it—i.e. 4 wheel drive? What features do you want on it—i.e. moon roof? How much are you willing to spend? How many miles do you usually drive a year (track back your mileage through oil changes to figure this out)? Narrow down these specifics so that your research will have a driving purpose.

With those specifics hammered out, begin researching the types of cars that fit your specifications. Find out what common problems occur and when they can be expected. Learn the mileage and age that these vehicles tend to die out.

What’s the History?

Learning their “medical history” will help you ask the right questions as you begin your search for the cars you’ve chosen. For example, you are looking for a used Toyota Tacoma. You find a 2002 on the market at a nearby dealership with only 140,000 miles on it. Through your research, you’ve found that these trucks tend to start having problems well after 200,000 miles (when they’re well taken care of).

This is an instant candidate for your list. Most people don’t put more than 10-15,000 miles on their vehicles a year. With proper maintenance, you could use this car for well over half a decade. With more specifics you could better predict how long that truck would be useful to you.

Now that it’s a candidate, go check it out. Ask about its history. Check Kelly Blue Book’s estimation of value. Get more detailed information from the VIN number if it’s available. Learn the car’s history and let that speak for itself.

When you’re looking through the car’s history, check for important problems. Major problems with the engine can often mean problems in the immediate future. A bad engine is expensive and difficult to replace. The repairs often cost more than the vehicle is worth. Avoid cars with a history of engine trouble.
Find out what problems are common to the vehicle you will be inspecting before you visit the lot. Look for those problems. If they are honestly absent, then that can be an indication of a well-taken care of vehicle.

Lower mileage is often an indicator that the car is in better working condition. The higher mileage on a vehicle is often an indication of wear and tear. Overall, the cars parts aren’t working together like they used to (like a person in old age).

How Old is Too Old?

Anything 160,000 and above is getting too old. Even with proper maintenance, many of these cars are getting ready to kick the bucket (even if it is in 50,000 more miles).

Test drive the car when you get to it. Do all of the lights work (particularly “check engine” or “service engine” sign)? If they don’t then the bulb could be bad, or disconnected for the sale. Be wary of cars that are missing that sign. Pay attention to how it feels. Is it smooth? Does it turn well? When you brake, does the wheel pull to the left or right? See if it’s working right. If something doesn’t feel right, pay attention to that feeling, even if you can’t place your finger on it.

Be able to walk away from a car that you’re unsure about. Just because you are getting a car with low mileage, doesn’t mean that you are getting a car without problems. The quality of the entire car needs to be assessed, not just the simple numbers.

So even though the numbers may look good—low mileage and price—the car isn’t necessarily going to last. The deal may be hard to walk away from, but the car you should buy will be a more obvious purchase than that. The mileage and maintenance of the car will scream that this is a good purchase.

Ultimately, your purchase will speak for itself. Once you’ve done the proper research, tested the car for yourself and found it suitable, you can generally make a purchase and find perfect satisfaction in it. Take care when buying a used car.

Better maintained cars retain value on their car. These can help you sell it later or get a title loan should you need one. It’s always best to regularly maintenance your car to keep open the options of a good sale or title loan.

How to Improve Gas Mileage

This month in honor of our 30-Day Interest Free Title Loan promotion we’ve been focusing on how you can get the most out of your vehicle. In addition to getting money from a title loan you can also focus on saving money with your vehicle by getting the best fuel mileage. With the economy in the state that it is currently in, most everyone is looking to save a little pocket change. Maybe you’re trying to save up for that latest piece of technology, or maybe you’re trying to save money so that you can for your children to go to college.

Whatever the case may be, it is safe to say that most people wish they had a little bit more money. One way to get more money is to simply rearrange the money you already have to put it to better use.

There is no use in adding more hours at your current job if you can just make simple changes in the way you are handling your money now. One of the easiest ways to save money is to buy gas for your car less often.

The major way to buy gas less often is to get better gas mileage while you’re driving. This is one of the most common topics floating around the country today.

Many people complain about how high the price of gas is, but they don’t stop to think about what they’re doing to buy gas less often. Rather than complaining about what you can’t change, it is crucial that you make changes on the things that you can’t change.

One of the ways that you can make the biggest change in your gas mileage is to buy a fuel-efficient vehicle. While this will obviously not be an option for a lot of people, it is an option for a small population.
If you are looking to buy a new car, make a list of priorities of qualities that you want in your new car. Make sure that high gas mileage is near the top of the list.

Get Fuel Mileage AND Performance!

If engine performance is also a top priority for you, do not fret. There are still lots of vehicles that are performance vehicles that still get great gas mileage.

If you want a small car that still has a great engine, you could consider buying a Honda Civic Hybrid, a Volkswagen Jetta TDI, a Honda Civic HF, a Toyota Corolla LE, a Ford Focus SE SFE, a Honda Civic LX, a Dodge Dart Rallye, a Hyundai Elantra GLS, a Honda Civic EX, or a Nissan Sentra SV. All of these cars get great gas mileage and will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 10.9 seconds or less.

If you want to purchase a fuel-efficient hatchback, you could buy a Ford Focus Electric, a Nissan Leaf SL, a Chevrolet Volt, a Toyota Prius Four, a Toyota Prius C Two, a Lexus CT 200h Premium, or a Honda Insight EX. Each one of these hatchbacks can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 11.8 seconds or less.

As you can see from the above paragraphs, there are many, many options available to you if you’re looking for a car that gets great gas mileage. The Toyota Prius is not the only car on the market anymore that is fuel-efficient.

There are also fuel-efficient options if you are looking for a large SUV, a midsize SUV, a small SUV, a minivan, a roadster, a family car, a luxury car, a pickup truck, or a wagon. The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to fuel-efficient cars.

If you are not in the market to buy a new car, however, there are still things you can do in order to increase the fuel economy of your current vehicle. One of the main things you can do is to keep your car in good working order.

Make sure that your car has had a recent tune-up. Cars that aren’t well-maintained use more gas than cars that are well-maintained. You want your car to run as efficiently as possible.

In particular, make sure to change dirty air filters and old spark plugs. These things in particular can help improve your gas mileage on a daily basis.

It is also important that you keep your tires properly inflated. Having tires that are inflated too much or too little can greatly affect your overall gas mileage.

Another thing you can do is try to find the best gas prices in your area every time you fill up your tank. You can use sites like gasbuddy.com in order to find the best gas prices near you.

Should You Be Filing a Tax Extension?

It’s April 15, 2013 and that means that the mad dash to midnight has begun. For the tens of thousands of Americans who have left their taxes until the last minute it’s decision time, do you try to rush and get your taxes done and risk the chance of missing out on hundreds or thousands of dollars in missed tax deductions or do you file an extension and possibly prolong the stress of tax season. Well regardless of which route you decide to go Check City Lighting Tax Services can help. Here are several of the ways that our Lightning Tax services can help you this season.

File an Extension- If April 15th snuck up on you this year and you haven’t even begun to think about doing your taxes then you’ll probably want to consider applying for a tax extension. If you need help with this you can stop by any of our Check City locations for help with filing a tax extension including help with filling out the tax extension form and putting together a plan to get your taxes done as quickly as possible. One thing to keep in mind with a tax extension is that just because you file a tax extension it doesn’t mean that you no long have to pay on taxes you owe. In a recent study it was found that almost half of Americans weren’t aware that they still had to pay taxes even though they had filed a tax extension.

Still Do Taxes- While it may seem like very last minute, if you have all of your information ready but you’re intimidated by all of the tax forms there is still time to stop by your local Check City location and get your taxes filed. By taking advantage of our Lighting Tax program you can also see if you qualify for one of our tax return loans so that you can get your money more quickly. Also, it’s important to point out that if you don’t actually owe any money to the government they are more lenient on the tax deadline.

Set Up Payment Plans- Many people have no idea that you can actually set up a payment plan with the IRS. More and more people are using this option ith as tough as the economy has been in recent years. If you find yourself in the situation where you know you owe money but won’t be able to pay it all off right away you can stop by one of our many Check City locations and have our knowledgeable tax professionals help you file a payment plan. The great thing about these payment plans is that you can outline what you feel is reasonable and what you can work into your budget , however, it is up to the IRS to accept or reject your proposed payment plan.

Short Term Loans- If you know that you’ll have the cash within a couple weeks to pay off your taxes but you just don’t have the money right now then we recommend utilizing one of our many services to help you get the cash to pay off your taxes right now. If you own your car one of the best options right now is to take advantage of our 30-Day Interest Free Title Loan. By taking advantage of this interest free title loan you’ll be able to pay off your taxes now and not have to pay an interest on the loan for 30 Days! If you don’t have a title in hand with any of your vehicles then another option would be to get a cash advance or payday loan. As always we recommend being responsible with these loans so if you don’t think you’ll have the money to pay them off within a few weeks then the tax payment plan may be a better option for you.

If you have any tax questions feel free to stop by your local Check City or leave them in the comment section below.

Creating a Maintenance Schedule for Your Car

Check City is excited about our newly launched 30-Day No Interest Title Loan program for all of our first time title loan customers. By coming in to any of our Utah Check City Locations you can apply for a 30-Day no interest title loans. In addition to being 30-Day no interest we’re also offering no payments for 60 days. To find out how you qualify for this amazing offer visit your local Check City today.

In keeping with the automotive theme this month in today’s post we’re going to cover why keeping your car in good working order is very important. There are many different benefits that come from keeping a close eye on your maintenance schedule and sticking with a maintenance schedule that is the best for your car. First, you will be able to ensure that your car can retain its value for as long as possible.

If you should ever want to sell your car you should be able to prove that you kept the car on a maintenance schedule. Second, to ensure that your car is always safe you want to make sure that it is in good working order. This will require maintenance on a consistent basis. Third, you will be able to minimize the bills you owe your mechanic if you are able to keep your car working well throughout the time that you are driving it.

When you are developing your maintenance schedule, it is important that you know that this schedule does not have to be overwhelming. You will want to start by making sure that your tires are properly inflated and that you are getting them rotated on a consistent basis. There are a lot of people that do not get their tires inflated on a consistent basis because they do not realize that they need to. Learn how to check the air levels in your tires and check them every few weeks to make sure that they are where they are supposed to be.

Having your windshield wipers changed on a consistent basis will also make your driving experience much more enjoyable. Learning how to replace your own wiper blades will save you a lot of time and a lot of money. Have someone teach you how to change your wiper blades and then purchase a few extras that you can keep in the back of your car. As soon as you notice that your wiper blades are not doing their job, swap them out for some fresh ones.

Getting your oil changed on time is a great way to keep your car in good shape. You should be getting your oil changed every 3,000 miles to ensure that you are going to keep your engine running well. There are a lot of people that do not realize just how important it is that they are on time with getting their oil changed.

If you find that you are tired of getting your oil changed for you, you may want to learn to change your own oil. Changing your own oil is not difficult and after the initial investment of the equipment, you will save yourself a lot of money. Even the equipment that you purchase may not exceed the price of getting your oil changed once.

Some people prefer to have their oil changed for them. No matter how you are getting your oil changed, it is important that it is getting changed. When your oil is fresh, you will have the lubricant throughout your engine that allows your engine to move properly and allows all of the parts in the engine to work well with one another.

Your air filter is another part of your car that you should be checking on a consistent basis. When you are changing the air filter, you will be able to ensure that the car is getting all of the air that it needs to continue to function well. When the car has to strain to get that air through a dirty filter you will notice that your gas mileage is also going to be affected negatively.

When you start to hear any noise coming from your brakes, it is important that you get them looked at immediately. If you are noticing noises coming from your brakes, you have to realize that you could be doing serious damage to your car by continuing to drive. Getting your brake pads changed consistently and paying attention to how your car feels when you brake is very important. Take your time recognizing and paying attention to the feeling of the brakes when you press on them.

Keeping your car safe and making sure that your car lasts as long as possible may not be as difficult or as intimidating as you would think. Start by paying attention to the small things and caring about your car properly. As you care about your car you will be able to see a significant difference in the way that your car holds up. Create your maintenance schedule and stick with it, you won’t regret it.

Springtime Car Tips

Spring showed its beautiful face for only a couple days and gave all the hope that winter had past. But recent weather across the nation, and especially in the west, has showed that the winter is not over just yet.

Winter storms and winter weather are a common occurrence throughout the spring time for many areas of the country. The sporadic and varying warm and cold weather of spring has left many communities to claim that if outsiders don’t like the weather, all they need do is wait fifteen minutes.

While the colloquial saying has been adopted by numerous communities, there is still some shade of truth to be found in their assertions. Spring is a blending of weather, from rain to sunshine to and sometimes back to bitter cold and snow.

The continued cold weather means that all of the dangers associated with winter weather must still be considered and prepared for by all. For many, these winter preparations and precautions will include re-winterizing their vehicle for their daily commute.

Winterizing one’s vehicles, even at the tail end of the winter season, can greatly improve the reliability of a person’s vehicles throughout the spring and into the summer. The first step that people can take to guard their vehicle against the continued colder weather is to ensure that the car is up to date on its maintenance.

Vehicle Maintenance is Essential

Proper maintenance of the vehicle should include having the oil changed regularly. As the sporadic weather of spring turns an engine cold, the oil in that engine may thicken, reducing the oil’s ability to lubricate the engine properly.

By keeping up with the maintenance schedule of a vehicle, the vehicle’s owner will be able to ensure that the engine runs smoothly throughout the tail end of winter. Additionally, the owner’s manual of the vehicle may include suggestions as to which type of oil should be used during the cold months of next year to avoid this oil-thickening issue.

Other items on the vehicle can likewise be re-winterized to improve performance. Wiper blades can be upgraded to ensure clear visibility during the wet spring months as can the car’s battery to prevent the cold days from draining the vehicle’s power supply.

More winterizing tips for vehicles include purchasing and equipping snow tires, keeping those tires properly inflated, and using the right anti-freeze for the make and model of the vehicle. By re winterizing their vehicle properly, individuals can better ensure that their spring commutes will go more smoothly.

Need Cash? How About a Title Loan

Another responsible use of a person’s car is to help them get back on their feet financially with a title loan. A car is an asset owned by a person and can therefore be used to help the person or their family to achieve financial stability.

But what is a title loan? How can it help a family financially? These and questions and others like them are common questions that some people have when they hear the phrase “title loan”.

At its most basic level, a title loan from Check City is a loan issued to an individual that is borrowed against, and therefore based upon, the value of that individual’s car. Or in other words, a person can receive a loan from Check City by borrowing against the value of their car.

A title loan is an effective and efficient way to receive a loan because it is classified as a secured personal loan. This means that the loan’s interest rates will be lower and the terms of agreement for restitution will be more flexible than they would be for other types of loans.

A title loan from Check City can be a financially reasonable option for those who are in need of a short term loan of money to help them pay for such irregularities as an emergency hospital visit or an expedient home repair expense. These people should first determine whether they can afford a loan by looking at their finances and determining if their income is sufficient to support an additional debt.

It should be here noted, however, that for emergency situations a title loan is perhaps the best way to receive a safe and affordable loan from a trusted financial institution such as Check City. This is because a title loan will provide enough money in the form of a loan to cover expedient needs without charging exuberant costs in interest rates.

What Does it Take to Get a Title Loan?

Applying for title loans at Check City is surprisingly simple. All that is required by Check City to approve your title loan is the following:

  • Your vehicle on hand, the car’s title, and spare key
  • Valid Picture ID
  • Proof of insurance and registration
  • Proof of residence
  • Proof of income

Bring these items into one of our many Check City locations today to apply for and receive your title loan.

Understanding How Much Your Car Is Worth

Seeing Your Car for the Asset It Is

In the modern world, it is hard to find anyone who doesn’t have a vehicle at their hands. Pretty much every adult has a car, and they use it for just about everything they do. Often times we ask ourselves, “What is my car worth?”

Although we use our cars for many things in our daily lives, we sometimes forget how great of an asset our cars are and how much they are worth.

What Is An Asset?

Before we can go into the details of how your car can function as an asset, you have to understand what exactly an asset is. An asset is, in essence, anything that has material value.

Because your car was a big expense and could be sold for monetary gain, many people consider it to be an asset, though it may not be as important and dependable as other assets you may have on hand.

While a lot of the things which we find valuable in our society do not technically exist as anything more than an idea or representation, your car does exist in the real world.

Assets are generally defined as resources that are economically valuable and can be used for the benefit of their owners. Knowing how much of an asset our cars are will definitely help you answer the question of, “what is my car worth?”

Your Car Is in Fact an Asset

There is some discussion about the status of a car as an asset, but most regular folks consider their vehicle to be an asset. The bank also considers motor vehicles to be assets, which for many, clinches the deal.

When a bank is assessing you for any purpose, they will certainly consider your car as an asset because you could sell it for money. The bank will also consider your vehicle as an asset when they are deciding whether or not to give you a car loan.

Your car is worth a certain sum, no matter how new or nice it is.

Understanding the Depreciation of Cars

Every vehicle has the potential to work as an asset in your favor; however, the one problem is that cars depreciate over time. Every day you have your car, it is most likely depreciating.

If you start out with this basic understanding, you will be able to use your vehicle more effectively as financial leverage. Understanding this will definitely help you know how much your car is worth.

The Relationship Between Your Vehicle and Making Money

The one difficulty in defining your vehicle as an asset is that it does not make you money. In fact, you actually lose money when you use your vehicle, which for some makes the car more of a liability than an asset.

However, your car can help you to save time and money in many ways. Because it allows you to get from place to place, and ensures that you can get to your job every day. Your vehicle can certainly be an asset in non-financial ways.

If you live in an area that does not have a public transportation system, or an insufficient system, a vehicle may be the only way for you to travel.

You should consider the other expenses that also go into your vehicle. When you consider the cost of fuel, insurance, and maintenance, vehicles often are monetarily a liability rather than an asset.

A Depreciating Asset?

For many, the consensus is that a personal vehicle is a depreciating asset. Meaning that although a vehicle may be depreciating in value and may eventually have no monetary value, it does have a place as an asset before that time.

As a tangible asset, your vehicle can be a more stable investment in some cases, but you should also remember that your car is depreciating so you need to be aware of the changing value it holds. Understanding this term will help you understand how much your car is worth.

Thinking carefully about your car’s value will help you to make much better financial decisions and to understand your financial situation next time you apply to get a loan.

Keep up to date with the Check City blog for more information!

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