Thursday, April 28, 2016

Loan Vs Lease

By David Kreller of Acme Truck & Auto, Inc.

In today’s business environment, having options is often considered a key to success. When purchasing a business vehicle the typical choice is to pay cash, or seek a traditional bank loan. Leasing is a third option that is growing in popularity.

Leasing allows the business to use the vehicle for an agreed upon time (typically 12-60 months) and to return it at the end of that term. Your monthly payment is calculated on the difference between the capitalization cost and the residual value. The capitalization cost could be considered the same as purchase price if using other financing options. The residual value is the agreed upon value of the vehicle when it is to be returned at that future date.

The lease assumes the vehicle will be returned in acceptable condition and with an established amount of allowable miles. Naturally, additional costs may be incurred if the vehicle has unintended wear or excess miles.

When leasing, the agreed upon price of the vehicle is negotiated, just like paying cash or using a bank loan allowing businesses to shop for the best deal possible.

The advantages of leasing include:
  • Paying for only the portion of the vehicle you use, not the entire vehicle
  • Ability to trade to a new vehicle more frequently
  • Often lower down-payments or equity investments vs. traditional bank loans
  • Leasing typically does not go against your lending limit as does traditional bank loans
  • And, in many cases, the entire expense of a business vehicle lease payment may be deductible, but of course consult with your tax advisor for specifics.

Disadvantages include:
  • There is no equity in the vehicle at the end of the lease. The monies spent are purely an expense
  • Exceeding the mileage limitations will result in additional costs
  • If intending to keep the vehicle, the cost to purchase the vehicle for the residual value at the end of the term.
  • Leases may be subject to additional fees including disposition fees, early termination fees, and excess mileage or wear & tear charges to name a few.

According to Lease FinancePartners, a Kansas based business leasing entity, leasing accounts for over 30% of all new vehicle sales each year and that 80% of all Fortune 500 companies lease something. While leasing is not for everyone, it is another option to consider when purchasing your next business vehicle.

Acme Truck and Auto
414 South 5th Street
Manhattan, KS 66502
Office: (785) 537-1212
Toll Free (844) 537-1212

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Cellular Monitoring for Vehicles

By David Kreller of Acme Truck & Auto, Inc.

One of the more recent technology innovations for the automotive sector is cellular vehicle monitoring. This service utilizes a wireless devise that is plugged into the OBD II port of a personal or business vehicle that allows for physical tracking, vehicle health monitoring, and for properly equipped vehicles can remotely lock/unlock the doors and start the engine.

Installation is easy and monitoring can be accomplished via any web connected devise including most smart phones. Based on current offerings, there is typically a small fee for the devise and a monthly monitoring fee.

Reviewing the U.S. Cellular product which is supported through Delphi Connect option (insert web link) shows there are many services that can be utilized with the service. Notification by email or text can be enabled for the following services:
  • Mechanical health of vehicle monitoring
  • Excessive speed notification
  • Leaving a ‘virtual fence’ area

Additionally the service can be used for:
  • Remote lock/unlock of properly equipped vehicles
  • Mapping of current location of vehicle
  • Tracking of travel times and distances

This is a product that would be well suited to assist parents monitoring their teenage children’s driving, employers routing service calls for dispatch vehicles, caretakers of senior citizens that drive, or anyone wanting to manage their vehicles.

According to Carrie Drummond of U.S. Cellular, some of her favorite features include the ability to locate where you park your car when traveling in an unfamiliar city, and, if needed, to assist police in locating a vehicle if it is ever stolen.

Acme Truck and Auto
414 South 5th Street
Manhattan, KS 66502
Office: (785) 537-1212
Toll Free (844) 537-1212

Friday, February 12, 2016

Effects of Winter Weather on Vehicle Batteries

by Sarah Newkirk of Acme Truck & Auto, Inc.

When the temperatures outside drop, you may notice a change in the performance of your vehicle’s battery. This is because battery capacity fluctuates with the changing temperatures. As the temperature drops, your battery’s capacity, or the number of amps it can hold, also decreases. Likewise, as the temperature outside increases, the capacity also increases.

Your vehicle’s performance can become poor with a battery that isn’t running on its full potential. Here are a few tips to avoid or help with a dead car battery:
  • Having a newer battery is best for winter driving. Using an older battery can drain the charge quicker, as it takes more effort to warm up. The average lifespan of a vehicle battery is 3.5 years.
  • When possible, park your vehicle in a garage or car port. If this is not an option, try to find a parking spot that best avoids the wind. Wind chills can make the battery even colder, potentially causing more strain, especially at start up.
  • Turn off all accessories before turning off your ignition, especially overnight. These can drain your battery, even when not in use.
  • If you find yourself with a dead battery, be sure to use good jumper cables. Once your vehicle is charged, it is best to let it run long enough for it to warm up. If you charge the battery but do not allow it time to warm up, you have a higher chance of it dying again. Typically, 30 minutes of driving will bring your battery to a full charge.
  • As mentioned in one of our previous blog posts, remember to check your tires as the weather fluctuates as poor tire pressure can also drain your vehicle’s battery.

The best way to remain safe while driving, especially in colder weather, is to be aware of your vehicle’s maintenance and to be proactive in checking for any signs of wear and tear.

Acme Truck and Auto
414 South 5th Street
Manhattan, KS 66502
Office: (785) 537-1212
Toll Free (844) 537-1212

Thursday, February 4, 2016

How Low can Fuel Prices Go?

by David Kreller of Acme Truck & Auto, Inc.

Starting with the drop in crude oil prices last year, consumers and businesses have enjoyed a continual decline in gasoline and diesel prices.  It seems that at nearly every coffee shop, diner or any other place people gather, the low fuel prices are the second most talked about topic, exceeded only by weather.

So how low can the prices go? In visiting with Pat Oppy, of Oppy’s Service, a CENEX Distributor, he shared that the industry consensus seems to believe that gasoline and diesel prices will remain at the current low levels for the next several months, maybe even trend a little lower. And while the gap between gasoline and diesel fuels have narrowed, it is likely that diesel will remain higher priced than gasoline in part because of demand and fuel taxes.

The impact of the current low fuel prices also has other implications. According to the US Department of Energy, the low fuel prices affect consumer and business spending habits. With the lower prices comes more vehicle miles traveled and use of less fuel efficient vehicles.

But with this price relief also comes some economic pain. According to the KIOGA – The Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association, oil and natural gas activity in Kansas on average supports over 118,000 jobs, over $3 Billion in family income and over $1.4 Billion in state and local tax revenue. Lower crude oil prices not only means lower gasoline and diesel prices, but also potentially less jobs, less household income and less tax revenue for schools, counties and the State of Kansas.

So how low will they go? Only time will tell but given the current trends in crude oil production, economic forecasts, and being an election year, it seems likely the gas pumps will be a happier place for all drivers during the first half of 2016.

Acme Truck and Auto
414 South 5th Street
Manhattan, KS 66502
Office: (785) 537-1212
Toll Free (844) 537-1212

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Effects of Cold Weather on Tire Pressure

by Sarah Newkirk of Acme Truck & Auto

Did you know that the air pressure inside your tires is what does the work to hold up your vehicle?

First introduced in the 1990's, and made standard in vehicles by 2007, the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) is something many of us have become familiar with. The TPMS helps to keep track of your vehicle's tire pressure, and warns you if it is running low.

Here are a few things to note when it comes to your tire pressure:

  • Check your operation manual for guidance on what the ideal tire pressure is for your vehicle. This information can also be found on the side panel of your car door, inside the glove box, or even inside your fuel door.
  • For every 10 degrees Fahrenheit the temperature drops outside, your tire pressure will decrease about 1 psi. This change in pressure will typically trigger your sensor light. Your tire's pressure will also increase in the same increments. Be sure to check your tire pressure often with the changing weather to ensure safe driving tire conditions.
  • Driving on under-inflated tires can result in poor fuel economy, as well as poor performance in winter weather. Over-filling your tire with air can cause it to burst. This can be more common in the warmer months as the temperature increases rapidly.
  • Do not rely on your eyes to tell you if your tires are under-filled or over-filled. Some tires are equipped with a "run-flat" feature. This means that even though the air pressure may be low, your tire appears and drives normally. It is best to do routine checks for your tire pressure.
  • Once you have determined your ideal tire pressure, follow these simple steps to make sure you are within a safe range for driving:
    • Unscrew the valve stem cap on your tire.
    • Place your tire pressure gauge over the valve stem. You can purchase a simple gauge at most gas stations and stores that sell any vehicle maintenance supplies.
    • Press the pressure gauge toward your tire. This should give you your reading. *Note - if you hear a hissing sound, you may not have the gauge secured tightly.
    • If your tire pressure is within the recommended range, replace your valve stem cap. If your tires are running low, add air, and recheck.

Checking your tire pressure regularly is important for safer and more economic driving.

Acme Truck and Auto
414 South 5th Street
Manhattan, KS 66502
Office: (785) 537-1212
Toll Free (844) 537-1212

Friday, January 22, 2016

Five Vehicle Essentials for Winter

by Sarah Newkirk of Acme Truck & Auto, Inc.

We all know winter can bring with it freezing temperatures, unwanted car problems, and unexpected weather. If you are traveling at all this winter, even to work and back, it is a good idea to stock some essentials in your vehicle. If you are involved in an accident, or become stranded on the side of the road, being prepared could make all the difference.

Listed below are a few essential items to keep in your car. There may be other items that you want to have on-hand, but if you have these few, you will be on your way to having a winter emergency-ready car.

1.  Fully Charged Cell Phone: This could become your lifeline to help. In most vehicles, you can plug your phone’s mobile charger in to the car’s lighter feature. There are emergency chargers that will charge a device up to 10 times before having to be charged itself. This unit by Power.Jak has great reviews and is available on Amazon. If possible, keep an old, fully charged phone powered off and in your glove box. Cellular carriers are required by law to complete 911 calls from any phone, even without a service plan.

2. Flashlight: Heavy duty flashlights may come in handy when dealing with your car’s engine. There are even magnetic ones that can stick” to the body of your vehicle. Flashlights can also be used as an emergency signaling devise. Stay away from using the built-in flashlight or downloaded app on your cell phone, as these will deplete your phone’s battery. A Heavy Duty flashlight can give you up to 48 hours of use. It’s also waterproof! Most contain great features including strobe lighting and varying brightness levels.

3. Blankets and warm clothing: Keeping warm blankets and an extra set of warm clothing in your vehicle can become essential whether your car’s heater stops working, or you find yourself stranded. Emergency Space Blankets can be a real life saver in extreme temps. These Titan Survival blankets come affordably priced in a 5-pack. Put a couple in each vehicle. It is also a good idea to bring an extra set of winter boots in case your feet get wet in the snow.

4. Sand and Shovel: If your tires are stuck in the snow, sand becomes a great tool. Pouring sand in front of and behind your tires should help you gain traction. If you do not have sand, you may use your vehicle’s floor mats to do the trick. A compact or camping shovel can also be used to dig yourself out. This foldable, compact shovel can fit under your car’s seat and serves dual purposes as a shovel and car scraper. Avoid spinning your tires more than necessary as this might cause them to be pushed even deeper.

5. Food and Water: Protein and hydration are essential for survival. Stock non-perishable food items that are high in protein such as protein bars, nuts, and even MRE’s. Keep bottled water in your vehicle as well. Check this before you travel as water freezes in cold temperatures.

Other items that are great to have on hand year-round include:
-Basic first aid kit (sanitizing wipes, Band-Aids, and gauze)
-Good set of jumper cables
-Simple tool kit (wrench set, socket set, and pliers)
-One or two quarts of oil
-Car jack
-Canned tire sealant
-Full size spare tire, if room permits

Acme Truck and Auto
414 South 5th Street
Manhattan, KS 66502
Office: (785) 537-1212
Toll Free (844) 537-1212