Understanding Vehicle Warranties

Warranties are for new cars.  Service contracts are when the factory warranty expires, and a customer purchases an additional warranty for their vehicle.
Here are some warranty details we found on CarsDirect.
Extended Factory Warranty Tips

All new cars and trucks come with a factory warranty.  Moreover, all new vehicles will generally come with a bumper-to-bumper warranty that lasts a minimum of 12 months or 12,000 miles. However, most manufacturers now offer bumper-to-bumper warranties that last for a minimum of three years or 36,000 miles—whichever comes first. Federal laws do make certain requirements that must be met for new car warranties regarding emissions systems and the warranties that cover them. According to federal law, vehicles must provide warranty coverage for the emission system for a period of five years or 50,000 miles.

Warranty information for your vehicle will generally be listed in a manual type book similar in appearance to your owner’s manual. While all warranty manuals may appear similar in appearance, the warranty information contained inside may vary considerably depending upon the manufacturer.

Basic New Car Warranty Information
With all new car warranties, most major systems and subsystems of a vehicle are covered for a specific period of time and provide warranty protection against malfunction or defect for most parts on a new car.

However, consumable parts, or parts that generally need to be replaced periodically, such as windshield wipers, fluids, belts, and accessories are generally not covered under any manufacturer’s new car warranty. So, you should check your owner’s manual for specific warranty information for your vehicle. In some cases, tires on your vehicle and car battery may be covered but, you should be aware that some manufacturers may not.

Also, different car manufacturers provide various levels of warranty coverage for accessories, like air-conditioning, sunroofs, premium sound systems and other options. Some manufacturers include them for coverage under the terms of the new warranty while some require you pay for replacement parts while the manufacturer pays for labor. Almost all new car warranties cover the drive train, or engine, driveline and transmission.

New Car Warranty and Emissions
When reviewing your new car warranty, you should pay particular attention to the emissions control section. This is the part that guarantees emissions performance for your vehicle.

An important note, because many states have minimum requirements for pollution control and carbon emissions released from your vehicle. If your vehicle fails to meet the standards of your state, you may be prevented from driving on state roads and highways. Also, repairing a damaged or defective emission control system can turn out to be very costly. So, you should always check to see if there is coverage. If you feel the warranty protection is inadequate, you might want to consider purchasing an extended warranty or mechanical breakdown policy to supplement your new car warranty.

Maintaining Your New Car Warranty
While all new cars and trucks come with a manufacturer’s warranty, you are required to perform certain steps in order to make sure your coverage remains in effect. For example, you will need to make sure you follow the manufacturer’s directions for having oil changes and routine maintenance performed.

If you fail to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for changing your oil or performing routine maintenance, the car manufacturer will many times simply choose to void your warranty. Under the terms of your current warranty contract agreement, the manufacturer has the right to cancel your warranty if you do not reasonably take good care of your vehicle.

Are You a Female That is Uncomfortable Going to a Dealership?

Are you a female or a first time buyer that feels uncomfortable going into a car dealership to look at a vehicle?  If so, here are 5 tips to help guide you into feeling more comfortable the next time you need to purchase a vehicle.

1. Research the models and prices online and know what is a competitive offer.
2. Check Car Fax or Autocheck to research a vehicle’s history.
3. Ask the dealer for the customer contact information that traded in the vehicle if you are looking for pre-owned.
4. Ask for service history and service work that was performed on the vehicle at the dealership.
5. Check guidebooks such as Kelley Blue Book or NADA for a fair purchase price on your trade in.

If you are considering  Monken Automotive as a potential car dealer, we would like to inform you on a few ways we believe you will be more comfortable, including 14 female employees that are available to help you.

Walking into a showroom can be intimidating, therefore, we have 4 female employees in our Chrysler Nissan sales area. They are our Receptionist Desk, Office Manager, Internet Sales and General Manager.  In our Chevrolet Buick GMC store, we have 5 female employees. They are our Reception Desk, Title Clerk, Office Manager, Accounting and our Owner.  They are all available and willing to lead you in the right direction.

Driving into a service department can be just as intimidating.  We have 5 female employees that work in our service departments and will help you with any questions about servicing your vehicle.  At our Chrysler Nissan store Amy Monken-Brandt started as a service advisor 19 years ago and is now our Service Manager.   Dorothy Cates has been in our service department for 5 years and Mel Jackson for 4 years. At our Chevrolet store, Amy Zalos is our Service Manager and has been with us for a year and we just hired Heather Hoffman.

Being able to talk to a female service advisor should encourage you to ask any questions without feeling lost or embarrassed. “We are not tech savvy, but we want to make sure your needs are met.   We can ask the technicians their concern and put it into terminology that you will understand,” adds Service Manager, Amy Monken-Brandt.

Our waiting areas were created to make you feel as comfortable as possible. We have television, an Apple computer with internet access, vending machines, free popcorn and updated seating… all to make you feel at home.

Here is a review from one of our female customers.

Sara Presley Burnett reviewed Monken Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram Nissan — 5 star
October 14 ·
“As a woman, I was expecting them to think I didn’t know what was going on and to try to take advantage of me. What I got was the complete opposite. I couldn’t have been more pleased with the way I was treated and respected. I have already recommended them to everyone I’ve talked to about my new car. Very happy and I will definitely be back for my next one.”

The History of Monken Automotive

 

In the 1960’s

In the 60’s, W. Harold Monken was a partner with David Woolbright at the Standard Gas Station in Centralia. Harold was always the hot rodder spending much time improving his vehicles and racing them at night and weekends. His brother, Wayne Monken, and father, Walter Monken, helped build a small garage/dealership that opened as Car City on November 4th, 1967 on Shattuc Road west of Centralia.

In the 1970’s

In 1971, a Japanese gentleman from Datsun was canvassing the area to find a dealer partner to represent what is today known as Nissan. Harold was interested and the business later became Car City Nissan. The 70’s were a great time to own a dealership that offered inexpensive vehicles with great gas mileage. They sold the shiny Datsun vehicles as fast as they could get them.

In the 1980’s

In the 80’s, Harold recognized a dealership trend to become bigger in order to survive. He explored adding Chrysler when Booth Motors closed. In 1987, he flew to Chicago with his attorney, Bill Crain, to close the deal with Chrysler, but had a last minute change of heart. He ultimately sold Car City Nissan to his General Manager Mike Gansauer and Mike’s father in law, Bob Cleary. In 1988, Mike & Bob purchased Meier Chevrolet and moved from Shattuc road. The business was now Car City Chevrolet Nissan. Several prominent business partners, including the Geary Family and the Cooksey Family were investors.

In the 1990’s

In the early 90’s, Harold opened Car Country for a few years, and then worked for Jansen Chevrolet in Germantown. In 1996, Bruce Geary told Harold that they were ready to exit the auto business. Harold returned to Car City and asked Mike Jansen to be a business partner with him in order to purchase the dealership.

However, GM already had three dealerships in Centralia. They were Dobbs/Mahan Buick GMC, Car City Chevrolet and Seeburger Oldsmobile Cadillac. GM was strategically cutting dealers with a plan called Project 2000. GM only wanted two dealers in the Centralia market and wouldn’t approve the sale of Chevrolet. It took months to negotiate. Ultimately Chevrolet was sold to Seeburger, and Car City became Monken/Jansen Chrysler Plymouth Dodge Nissan on May 1,1997. Harold’s son, Wes Monken, joined a month later in June 1997 relocating from the Chicago area. Harold and Wes purchased out Mike Jansen in 1998 and dropped the name Jansen to become Monken Dodge Chrysler Plymouth Nissan. Later that year, Monken’s purchased the Jeep franchise from Dobbs/Mahan in Centralia.

2005 – Now

In 2005, discussions began about the Monken’s acquiring Dobbs/Mahan Buick GMC. The plan was to have Harold’s daughter, Kim Monken McMillan, run the dealership. In February of 2005, Harold was rushed to the emergency room. Our long term attorney, Marvin Miller, met us at the hospital to sign a Power of Attorney over to the family. This is how Kim learned that she was coming to work for the family! The purchase of Dobbs/Mahan Buick GMC was finalized in June of 2005. Harold had a significant leak on his mitral valve caused by an infection. He battled through three valve transplants, a stroke and ultimately passed away on July 22, 2006. With great patience and hard work, Wes and Kim found a way to make both stores thrive. In May 2014 Monken Buick GMC purchased Schmidt Chevrolet and relocated to their building across from Walmart to become Monken Chevrolet Buick GMC.

5 Websites to Research Before Purchasing a Vehicle

 

1. Kelley Blue Book – KBB is the standard when asking “What is my vehicle worth?”  I find their values to be pretty close when the vehicles are graded fairly with the description KBB provides. For example an ” Excellent Condition” vehicle can’t even have a paint touch up,  less than 3% of vehicles qualify.

2. Manufacturer websites such as General Motors , ChryslerNissan Chevrolet  (you can stop at those as they make the greatest vehicles in the world, wink wink)

3. Edmunds.com – Edmunds.com is the place to go when you’re shopping for a car and you want to buy smarter. You can discover and research fair market pricing for vehicles.

 
4.  Dealership website. I typically upgrade our  Monkenauto/Monken1.com  frequently and make a significant investment every two years. My goal is to have as much information as possible to keep you on our website.  I am always looking to improve the Monken website, so please share your wish list with me. We spend a lot of time on descriptions and photos to help you with the details of our Monken vehicles.  Our goal is transparency. The market has been headed in this direction for years.

 
5.  Fueleconomy.gov  One of the most common questions we get is, “What can I expect for fuel economy?” You can compare any year, make and model at fueleconomy.gov.

3 Steps Towards Automated Vehicles

It is exciting to see that Nissan is leading the way with autonomous vehicles .  While I do think we are a long way from complete automation, the benefits to the everyday driver are already evident. There are automation technologies available today that are pieces of the autonomous puzzle.

Adaptive Cruise Control – The Adaptive Cruise allows the drive to set a speed and the vehicle will accelerate and brake as needed. Lasers are used to measure surrounding objects and vehicles. For example, if you set your cruise at 65 MPH on the interstate and you come up on a vehicle going 55 mph, the adaptive cruise slows the vehicle down to 55 mph and keeps a safe distance from the vehicle. If you steer into a lane with no traffic ahead or the vehicle going 55 mph pulls off, the adaptive cruise goes back up to 65 mph. The driver only has to steer. The braking and accelerating are completely automated.

Accidence Avoidance – This is typically packaged together with Adaptive Cruise Control. In the event that the driver is not paying attention and a vehicle in front of them is either stopped or traveling at a significantly reduced speed, the vehicle will alert the driver that an impending accident is possible and if the driver doesn’t react the vehicle will preemptively brake to either avoid or minimize the speed at impact.

Around View Monitor -Cameras, cameras, cameras – Nissan has a technology called Around View Monitor that allows the driver to see completely around the vehicle on the screen. With these cameras and lasers from above the driver can see completely around the entire vehicle.

Many of you will have read about Google self driving vehicles. While they have been involved in a few accidents, the accidents were always the other drivers errors.

The engineers, that are working on autonomous vehicles, biggest challenge is trying to figure out the unpredictable nature of humans. We are still at least a decade away from fully autonomous vehicles being mainstream.  However, we are becoming safer every day as engineers develop ways to help us overcome our shortcomings. Technology will help the vehicle react when we take our eyes of the road, are not paying attention, talking or texting on a phone, or any number of situations that make our roads dangerous.

3 Tips About Your Credit Score

Monken Blogger – Lance Marcum

What is a credit score?
According to Credit Karma, “A good credit score is crucial for financial success. A credit score is a three digit number calculated from your data-rich credit report and is one factor used by lenders to determine your creditworthiness for a mortgage, loan or credit card. Your score can affect whether or not you are approved as well as what interest rate you are charged. A good credit score is generally considered to be 720 or higher. Lenders, however, can each have different standards for what they consider to be a good credit score, so it‘s important to keep building your score to receive the most favorable interest rates and highest rates of credit approval.”

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1. What does my credit score need to be to purchase a vehicle?
Generally speaking, if someone has a credit score under a certain level, they will need to have someone who is willing to co-sign with them. It’s difficult to assign a number as there are many variables that go into a credit score. A co-signer is someone that goes on the loan with the buyer. The person with the higher credit score helps the person with the lower score to get approved at a lower interest rate. Sometimes banks will require more money down from a buyer with a lower score in order to minimize the risk of both the buyer and the loan institution. As you can see from the chart above, 600 and above scores will generally get loans without the assistance of a cosigner. Banks also look at what is called “debt to income”. Ideally, they like to see that debt to income is below a certain percentage before approving the loan, regardless of credit score.

2. How do I find out my credit score?
If you have a credit card, they generally offer a free credit report when logging in to your account. Sites such as creditkarma.com also offer free credit reports that do not affect your score by showing up as an inquiry.

3. How can I improve my credit score?
A number of things will help to improve your credit score. Among them are making payments on time and getting rid of any collections that may be on file. In addition, opening a credit card and paying the bill in full each month helps to establish credit (for example, put all of your gas purchases on the card and paying it off at the end of the month). Discipline is the key to all of this. Spend less than you make and pay bills consistently and your credit score will generally improve.  It is important to remember that a great credit score isn’t necessarily an indicator of being in good financial standing, it could just mean that a person has lots of borrowed money that they pay consistently on.