Understanding your credit score

Money and CreditMost people understand numbers.  They know football scores, how to calculate a tip on your dinner check and what direction the price of gas is going. But do you understand your FICO score. Your FICO score is a summary of your credit history and tells finance departments about your credit worthiness. It is the difference between an approval and a decline on a loan application and a major determining factor on the interest rate you will be charged. But do you know the basic components of your FICO score?

Your FICO score is based on 5 basic components of your credit history.  Payment history, outstanding balances, length of credit history, credit history and type of credit are the main 5 areas used to determine your credit score.  Knowing these and keeping your eye on them will help you to maintain a good credit score or assist you with improving your current score.

Your payment history is the track record of how you have been paying back your current debt.  Are you current? Do you pay the bill within the time frame allowed and by the due date? Paying credit card bills before the due date is one of the easiest ways to improve your credit score and to build solid credit history.  Keeping your outstanding balances on your credit cards lower than your full credit line shows that you can manage the debt you have well.

The length of time that you have had a credit line or car loan is also looked at.  The longer you have an established credit line the better your score will be. Don’t get into the habit of closing credit card accounts just because you paid them off.  This will shorten your credit history. Another area that is taken into consideration is recent credit inquiries. Be careful when you shop around for a car as each dealer might pull your credit and too many inquiries on your credit file could be detrimental.

The last item looked at is the type of credit you have. A home mortgage carries a lot more weight than a gas credit card because of the size of that loan as well as the difficulty involved with obtaining a mortgage. So keep all this in mind when looking at your credit report.

Posted by on May 26 2011 in Buying Tips

What to do about those ugly cracks in your dashboard

It happens to almost every vehicle you own. Sooner or later you develop cracks in your dashboard. They can start out small, but can quickly grow and become very ugly. It seems that no matter what you do the car you are driving will eventually develop cracks. You tell yourself that this time you will not let the dashboard crack and you will take great care to prevent this. You clean your car often and pamper the dashboard by cleaning it every week. But that may actually be part of the problem. You are cleaning your dashboard too much. What?

Dashboards are not made that strong. They are a thin layer of vinyl fabric over some foam padding. There are a few factors that cause the vinyl-chloride plasticizer to leach out of the vinyl, which will cause it to become brittle and eventually crack. The harshest element that will cause this sunlight, followed by excessive cleaning and using a protectant every time you clean the dash. The best cleaning solution for your dash board is actually a soft cloth and some warm water. This will get your dashboard clean and not damage it.

Once your dashboard does develop cracks it is best to try to repair them when they are small to prevent them from become too large and ruining your dashboard altogether. Several vinyl repair kits are available at your local auto parts store that should allow you to repair the dashboard without too much work. There are also plenty of companies that do this kind of work for more money than a repair kit. They will do a better job than you usually can because they have done it many times before. Although their price might be a little costlier than, it will still be less than replacing your dashboard altogether, which is neither cheap nor easy.

Posted by on May 12 2011 in Maintenance Tips