Are Dealerships still open during COVID-19?

The corona-virus, or COVID-19, situation is changing a lot of things about our daily lives. If you need to buy a car during this uncertain time, you’re probably wondering if dealerships are even open in your state. There are still dealers open for business if you know where to look, and we want to help.

Statewide Shelter in Place vs. Regional Shelter in Place

Almost all states have issued some type of shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19. These directives mandate that residents stay at home and limit movement to essential trips, and have closed businesses that aren’t deemed “essential.” In areas ordered to stay at home, essential services include things like grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and some medical offices.

However, some places only have regional shelter-in-place orders in place, which differ from statewide directives.

Regional shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders are typically put in place by the local government and only cover a certain area in a state. In most cases, these orders are put in place in the most populous or hardest hit areas of that state in an attempt to reduce the number of individuals exposed to corona-virus.

Statewide shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders are issued by the state’s governor and put these restrictions in place across the entire state. As we mentioned above, there are currently 42 states under statewide shelter-in-place directives.

How Dealers Are Open Despite Shelter-in-Place Orders

The corona-virus situation has created a grey area for many dealerships. Some states have labeled dealers as essential businesses, while others have told them to stop selling cars but to keep service departments open.

Across much of the country, the result is that automakers and dealerships are finding creative ways to keep business going during this unprecedented time. Here’s a look at some of the unique ways dealers are helpings consumers buy vehicles:

Online car buying – Many dealerships are still open, although not physically. Instead, they’re providing all-digital selling processes that allow people to shop for a car and look at financing options completely online. Dealers are even going so far as to provide touch-less delivery.

Appointment only – Some dealerships that are allowed to remain open must conduct business by appointment only, to minimize person-to-person contact. These dealers are also typically required to institute upgraded cleaning measures inside their showrooms and customer areas.

Essential dealerships – In several states, dealerships have been deemed essential, and are able to remain open, though cautiously. This includes dealers in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and more.

Car Buying and Corona-virus: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a shelter-in-place order?

A shelter-in-place order is proclaimed in the case of emergencies, and asks citizens to remain in their homes instead of seeking shelter in community emergency shelters. It’s an order for citizens to remain at home unless they’re acquiring essentials that are needed to sustain life. In the case of the COVID-19, it’s a way to help stop the spread of the corona-virus by limiting person-to-person exposure.

These orders have been enacted in the majority of states in the U.S., along with some regional shelter-in-places orders. A regional shelter-in-place means that select areas may have more stringent regulations and lock-down orders than the rest of the state.

What does this mean for dealerships?

This varies by state, but for many, this means that dealership service centers are still open. Since many workers have been deemed essential, such as healthcare workers and grocery store employees, dealership service centers in many states remain open to perform regular maintenance and vehicle repairs.

Even workers who haven’t been deemed essential still require their cars for trips to acquire essential items like food and medication, adding to the need for service centers to remain open.

Some states have allowed dealerships to keep their showrooms open, as well, while following the CDC’s recommendations of social distancing and sanitizing.

According to our research, there are dealerships that are selling vehicles and have their service centers open in some shelter-in-place states. At the same time, some dealerships may only be allowed to sell cars to customers by appointment, or sell vehicles online to avoid unnecessary exposure. A few dealerships are also offering curbside or drop-off selling/delivery options to customers.

Can I still complete a loan request form with AdvantageAutoLoans.com

Yes, our auto loan request form is still available to those looking to get matched to dealerships with special finance departments. We help borrowers with less than perfect credit find those dealers that work with subprime lenders. We can match you to a dealership that, to the best of our knowledge, is still open in your area.

Get Connected to a Dealership Near You

The social distancing, quarantining, and stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders that have come as a result of the corona-virus have created a temporary new normal. Despite dealership closures in some areas, AdvantageAutoLoans.com is still working to match consumers to dealerships that are open in their local area.

We’re teamed up with a nationwide network of dealers, including those that know how to handle bad credit. It’s our mission to make the process of buying a vehicle faster and easier on consumers. If you need an auto loan at this time, we’re here to connect you with a dealer near you that’s open for business.

Our online auto loan request form is up and running, and you can complete it for free with zero-obligation. Get the process started right now, https://AdvantageAutoLoans.com?engine=rpriority

Corona-virus and Car Buying

Even amid mandatory shutdown orders as a result of the corona-virus, some services have been deemed essential, and this means car dealerships are staying open in many areas. Even if the dealer you want to work with is under a temporary shutdown, there are several steps you can take now to make the car buying process go more quickly once you can safely travel to the dealership.

Corona-virus and Car Buying

As a bad credit borrower, there are several requirements you have to meet in order to qualify for financing through a subprime lender. If you’re at home riding out the corona-virus, or COVID-19, pandemic and you need an auto loan, there are four steps you can take from the comfort of your home:

1. Know Your Credit Situation

This is essential to getting the right deal when it comes to car buying. If you’re in a poor credit situation, you need to know where you stand so you can get ready to set up a budget and check the interest rate you might qualify for – before you head to a dealer. Taking this step may even keep you from falling in love with a vehicle you just can’t afford right now.

Getting your credit score and reports allows you to see what a lender sees and gives you the opportunity to see which areas of your credit you can improve on to make the most of your negotiating power when you visit a dealership. This simple step applies to normal car buying situations, as well as getting your best deal once the lock-down lifts.

To get a copy of your credit report from each of the three national credit bureaus, simply visit www.annualcreditreport.com, where you’re allowed a free copy from each bureau – TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax – once every 12 months.

Finding out your credit score at the same time may result in a small fee. If you don’t want to or can’t pay, you can check out the free credit monitoring services available online.

2. Gather Your Documents

As a bad credit borrower, there are several documents you need to bring with you to the dealership in order to be considered for an auto loan. Let’s take a look:

  • Proof of income – Most subprime lenders require your most recent computer-generated paycheck stub showing year-to-date income, proving that you make at least $1,500 to $2,000 a month before taxes.
  • Proof of residence – This is proven with a recent utility bill or bank statement in your name, at the address listed on your application.
  • Proof of a working phone – Bring in your most recent phone bill from a landline or contract cell phone in your name. Prepaid phones don’t count.
  • A valid driver’s license – This serves as proof of identity.
  • A down payment – Usually a requirement for bad credit car loans, most lenders ask you to provide a down payment of at least $1,000 or 10% of a vehicle’s selling price.

The details vary by lender, so you may be asked for more or less paperwork than what we’ve listed. Additionally, most lenders require a list of five to eight personal references, complete with names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.

3. Calculate Your Budget

When you need vehicle financing, putting together a budget is key. Not only do you have to meet the lender’s minimum income requirement, you also need to have enough available income to afford an auto loan. Lenders look at two calculations when they’re determining this: your debt to income (DTI) ratio and your payment to income (PTI) ratio. You can do this at home, as well.

The DTI ratio shows lenders how much of your income is already being used for your monthly bill payments, while the PTI ratio shows them how much of your monthly income is taken up by your car loan and insurance payment. Lenders need you to be able to afford both your loan payment as well as a full coverage auto insurance policy, which is required when you finance a car.

To calculate your DTI ratio, add up all your bills, including an estimated vehicle and insurance payment, and divide the total by your gross (pre-tax) monthly income. Lenders don’t typically consider you for a loan if you’re using more than 45% to 50% of your income for your current bills.

To see your PTI ratio, multiply your gross monthly income by 0.15, and then 0.20. Most lenders won’t approve your loan application if an estimated loan and insurance payment is more than 15% to 20% of your gross income. In fact, the lower your PTI ratio the better. It’s also good to know that lenders typically estimate $100 a month for auto insurance, so you should do the same when putting together a budget.

4. Research Vehicles From Home

Now that you know where your credit stands and have a budget, you can start looking at vehicles that fit your budget. Keep in mind that when you have bad credit, it’s not the time to finance your dream car. You should search both new and used vehicles that are affordable, reliable, and hold their value.

You can check into cars that fit your needs, and even see the latest deals that are available during this uncertain time. There are many automakers that are offering special car deals in light of the corona-virus situation.

Ready to Find a Dealership in Your Area?

Even if your credit is less than perfect, if you’re ready to take the next step and get a corona-virus car deal, simply fill out our easy, fast, and free auto loan request form.

Let Advantageautoloans.com do the work of finding a dealer for you. We work with a nationwide network of special finance dealerships that have the lenders available to help in unique credit situations. To get started, just click here.

Keeping Your Car Clean From The Coronavirus – COVID-19

Tips and tricks word on wooden table

Even though many (if not most) of us are dutifully staying at home during this global time of uncertainty in light of the corona-virus, or COVID-19, situation, some of us still need to leave the house. Whether it’s going to work, the grocery store for essentials, or a drive to the park to walk the dog, all of these things mean getting in and out of your car. Here are some tips for cleaning your car to reduce the risk and stop the spread of corona-virus so this can be done safely.

How Clean Is Your Car?

With that being said, when was the last time you cleaned your car? We don’t mean giving it a once over with the vacuum and throwing out any trash, either. Any surface you touch out in public has the potential to carry corona-virus. This could mean it can get in your vehicle, as well.

However, you can eliminate the spread of corona-virus by giving your car a thorough cleaning, and disinfecting the surfaces you come in contact with.

Cleaning the interior of your vehicle should be part of your normal maintenance routine. This can help keep the various surfaces in better condition, which only helps you in the long run. Besides, who doesn’t like to drive a clean car?

What Works Best to Disinfect?

When it comes to keeping your car disinfected, the good news is that you may already be doing what’s best for killing viruses on the surfaces of your vehicle. The secret formula? Good old-fashioned soap and water.

If you use products designed to keep your car clean, such as Armor All, you’re likely already using a product that can help you stop the spread of COVID-19: detergent. If you’re using products that are free of detergents, or if they’re solvent-based, they can’t help kill the virus – but a detergent can.

Make sure to focus on all the areas you touch regularly: the steering wheel, seat belts, infotainment/stereo systems, buttons and knobs, gear shift lever, turn signal lever, light switches, window buttons and door levers, trunk release and handle, the gas cap and gas door, etc. Don’t forget about your rear view mirror – especially if someone else drives the vehicle, too.

Some things you can do to help protect yourself and your car from the virus sticking around:

  • Wash your hands before entering your vehicle.
  • Keep cleaners and gloves in your car.
  • Wipe down everything you put in your vehicle with Lysol or Clorox wipes (follow directions on packaging).
  • Wear latex gloves or use a paper towel at the gas pump.
  • Avoid letting others enter your car (unless you’re quarantining with them).
  • If you have cloth seats, spray them with Lysol after cleaning the rest of the surfaces.
  • If you have a leather interior, use a leather conditioner, or a moisturizing cleanser before spraying with Lysol.

Keeping these tips in mind can help keep you, and your loved ones safe from germs, bacteria, and viruses – not just corona-virus, but the common cold and flu, as well.

Do You Need a Car You Can Keep Clean?

If you don’t currently have a car to worry about cleaning, but need one, don’t fret because you think bad credit might stand in your way. In tough times like these, there are lenders available that can help people in tough credit situations – and Advantageautoloans.com knows where to find them.

We work with a nationwide network of special finance dealerships that have the lenders available to assist people who are struggling with bad credit, and we want to help you, too. It’s easy to get the process of finding a dealer started. Simply fill out our quick, easy, and free auto loan request form.