Don’t Get Sloshed By a Storm-Damaged Vehicle

Think about all those waterlogged vehicles shown on the news during hurricanes, floods, and other intense storms. Those cars and trucks could end up on a dealer lot near you—even if you live nowhere near the areas affected by the storm.

Flood-damaged vehicles can appear on lots all over the country, often priced very low but with no disclosure from sellers about storm damage. You might think you’ve found a great deal but, without a critical eye, you could drive off the lot with vehicle problems waiting to happen.

Take precautions before you buy a used vehicle:

* Get the history. Obtain a vehicle history report through a service like Carfax. You also can use the vehicle identification number (VIN) to check the vehicle’s status through the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s VINCheck tool.

* Check the vehicle. Look for soot, grime, and other signs of water damage. On the flip side, if a vehicle looks unusually clean–particularly under the hood–it should be another red flag.

* Trust your nose. Damage from water and sewage can create a musty odor. Sellers may try to mask it, so if you smell strong deodorizer or air freshener, it could be the scent of trouble.

* Drive it. Pay attention to the way the car handles and sounds during a test drive. Squeaking or grinding is a bad sign.

* Get hands-on. Feel all surfaces for dampness and dirt.

* Consult a mechanic. A professional can detect problems you wouldn’t necessarily notice.

Once you find a car that checks out, head to Hopewell Federal Credit Union for your financing. Speak to a loan specialist today to learn more about our affordable rates.

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The Best Cars for Stages of Your Life

Like a photo collection tracking you over the years, the cars that suit you will change with different stages of your life.

Here are the best vehicles for beginning drivers, young professionals, families, and empty nesters:

* Beginning drivers—Safety is a paramount concern with cars for young drivers. But young drivers may be most interested in exciting tech features like connectivity for cellphone and music players. Look at cars with both high safety scores and a good array of tech features, such as the Kia Soul or Honda Fit.

* Young workers—Young shoppers want a stylish ride, still with plenty of tech features. Good choices among compact cars have greatly expanded, with convenience, comfort, and tech equipment now available that once came only with much more expensive cars. Consider the Volkswagen GTI, Chevrolet Cruze, or Ford Focus.

* Families—For families with more than one child, hauling children, their children’s friends, and toys or sports gear quickly becomes an issue. For parents who want a vehicle that is not boring to drive, the best answer is the Honda Odyssey. For those who just can’t cope with the image of owning a minivan, the next-best answer is the Chevrolet Traverse.

* Empty nesters—Parents who no longer have kids at home to ferry around often want to try something entirely different. Depending on how affluent they are, that might run to a stylish coupe from a luxury brand. The Audi A5 and Ford Mustang are good choices.

Whatever your stage of life and car choice, make sure you work out carefully the affordability of your choice. And for your best financing options, come to Hopewell Federal Credit Union.

Seven Tips to Avoid Auto Breakdowns

Nothing can spoil a vacation—or even a quick errand—like having your car break down. Here are seven of the most common reasons for being stranded by the side of the road and preventive measures you can take.

* Battery trouble. Have your battery checked during any safety inspection or other visit to a dealer or mechanic’s shop, especially if your battery is three years old or older.

* Lockouts. Get additional sets of keys for your home and office. If you’re going on a road trip, give a set of keys to another member of your party.

* Engine trouble. Inspect belts and hoses by looking for cracks and peeling on the belts and softening on the hoses. Check the levels of transmission and other fluids with a dipstick.

* Transmission problems. If you feel slipping or a jerk when you put the automatic transmission into gear, get the transmission checked. Be sure your dealer or mechanic checks all fluids, including transmission fluid.

* Brake trouble. Get your brake pads and rotors checked at least twice a year. The brake fluid needs to be changed every two to three years.

* Flat tires. Insert a quarter into several grooves across each tire. If part of Washington’s head is always covered, you still have 4/32-inch of tread left and probably can drive safely. If you have less tread, think about replacing the tires.

* Running out of gas. Don’t take chances on reaching that next gas station beyond this one. If the warning light comes on, stop for gas as soon as you can.

If you need help funding car repairs, come to Hopewell Federal Credit Union. We have affordable loan options to get your vehicle fixed up again.

Shopping for a Car? Skip the Legwork.

Save time and shoe leather when you use the Web to compare the vehicles you’re considering.

* Check your choices–edmunds.com and kbb.com get you started with side-by-side comparisons of cars on your list.

* Inspect safety records–nhtsa.gov (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) gives crash test results; find more detail at carsafety.org (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety).

* Find the real price–edmunds.com and kbb.com let you know the price and any manufacturer price incentive for the cars on your list.

* Find the best financing–Use your credit union’s Web site to check auto loan rates and apply for a loan; when you shop with the equivalent of cash you’ll be in a better bargaining position.

Thinking of Refinancing? 

Car Loans Rate Do-Overs, Too

While mortgages are getting most of the refinancing attention, don’t overlook your car loan. In many cases, it can be smart to refinance a car loan, too.

There are two potential rewards: You can trim monthly payments, and you could reduce the overall cost of the vehicle.

Say you had to finance a car at a point when your credit score was not as good as you’d have liked. If your score has improved by even 50 points, you should explore refinancing the car loan.

Or, if rates are lower now than when you borrowed for your car, refinancing can make sense as long as you’re not too far into the loan term.

Say you’ve been paying on a $35,000 car loan for two years, originally set up as a six-year loan at 8.5% with a $622 monthly payment. If you can refinance the last four years of that loan at even 5.5%, your new monthly payment will be $587, and you’ll pay $1,680 less for the loan overall.

If reducing monthly payment isn’t your objective, accelerate your loan payoff by maintaining the same monthly payment. In this example, you’d cut three months off your loan term and be car-loan free in 45 months.

Factors that will affect your refinance: age and condition of the car, your credit score, other debt obligations, employment stability. Talk to a Hopewell Federal Credit Union lender today to assess your refinancing opportunities. You might reduce your debt and increase your cash flow at the same time.

Hopewell Federal Credit Union Promotes Car Show to support Licking County Humane Society

Second Annual Car Show Proceeds to Be Donated to Worthy Cause

Hopewell Federal Credit Union announced it will, once again, host its Car Show in Newark, Ohio.  The second annual Hopewell Federal Credit Union Car Show will be held on July 21st, 2012 from 10am-3pm at 1690 North 21st.  All proceeds for this event will benefit the Licking County Humane Society.   The Licking County Humane Society is a non-profit volunteer organization devoted to the humane treatment of animals. It operates a non-profit, no-kill shelter located at 548 Dog Leg Road in Heath, next to the Licking County Animal Shelter.  Presently, they are in the middle of a capital campaign with the purpose of constructing a new building on 825 Thornwood Drive in Heath.

The event invites participants to register a car for only $10 from 10:00AM to 1:00PM on the day of the event.  The awards will take place at 2:45PM and registrants must be present to win.  A collection of awards will be presented including dash plaques, CEO award, DJ award and Top 30 awards.  All years are welcome.

Attendees of the event will enjoy free admission, DJ music, 50/50 raffle and door prize drawings.  Food will be available to purchase from Big Daddy’s Dogs during the event.  Hopewell Federal Credit Union encourages the public to attend this event to support this worthy cause.

Click here to view our event flyer.

HOPEWELL FEDERAL CREDIT UNION’S FIRST EVER CAR SHOW GREAT SUCCESS

Proceeds to Be Donated to Ohio Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

 Hopewell Federal Credit Union recently held its first ever Car Show in Newark, Ohio.  The event held Saturday, July 30th, 2011 at its branch office on North 21st Street benefited the Ohio Children’s Miracle Network.   Nationwide Children’s Hospital is a founding member of Children’s Miracle Network (CMN), a national organization dedicated to improving the quality of health care for children.  100% of funds raised in central Ohio through CMN benefit Nationwide Children’s Hospital.  Hopewell Federal Credit Union’s Car Show event raised over $300 dollars for this worthy cause. 

The event, sponsored by This Week Licking County, Hasseman Marketing and Communications and Trinity Massage & Wellness Center LLC, was coordinated by Jim Matheny of Kar Shoz LLC and longtime Hopewell Federal Credit Union member John Wallace.   The event was host to sixty cars featuring a variety of years, makes and models.  The top winners for the day included:   

Employees Choice:  Tom Roberts of Newark, Ohio for his 1965 Ford Mustang

Directors Choice:  Graden Thomas of Frazeysburg, Ohio for his 1950 Ford Pick Up Truck

CEO Choice:  Jim Specziale of Pataskala, Ohio for his 1961 Corvette

DJ’s Choice:  Linda Kibler of Newark, Ohio for her 2005 Corvette

Attendees of the event enjoyed free admission, DJ music, 50/50 raffle and door prize drawings.  Food was available from The Grill on Twenty First Street with a portion of the food proceeds being donated back to Ohio Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.    “We were pleased that this first ever event was such a wonderful success.  The event was entertaining and provided an opportunity for community members to support a worthwhile cause.  We are hopeful that we can make this an annual event that continues to grow each year.”   Jim Johnson, President and CEO, reflected about the recent event.