Quick Answers to Bad Credit Questions

bad credit

Pithy and to the point, Special Finance Manager, Matt Sauer answers some of our most common bad credit questions:

Q. At what range is one’s credit score considered bad?

A. Generally, anything under 600.

 Q. My bad credit was due to an illness, could I submit a note explaining my circumstances with my application?

A. No.

Q. How much money will I need to put own? 

A. It may vary.  Usually 15% and higher.

Q. If I don’t like the car, can I return it within 3 days?

A. No, not even with perfect credit!

Q. If I use a co-signer will the car loan show up on my credit report?

A. Yes, for both parties.

Q. What if I am upside down and have bad credit. Can I still get an auto loan?

A. No.

Q. Can a co-signer have their name taken off of a car loan during the term of the loan?

A. No, unless you go to another bank and re-apply.

Q. Does it matter if I am first or second on the car loan when it gets reported to the credit bureaus?

A. No, both parties are equally responsible.

Q. Can I use my Social Security or Pension as income for my car loan?

A. Yes, you may!

Q. If I have an open bankruptcy can I get a car?

A. Only with chapter 7 bankruptcies.   For chapter 13 bankruptcies, you would need to have it discharged or dismissed.

Q. What if I total a car and the insurance does not pay off the total balance?  Would I still owe money to my lender?

A. Yes.  However, gap insurance could protect you in that situation.

Q. Should I buy a new or used car if I have bad credit?

A. Pre-owned  cars are usually best since brand new cars depreciate at a greater rate.   The initial goal should be to drive a reliable and safe vehicle. Once your buying power is restored, go for the car of your dreams!

If you have any credit questions, you may contact Matt at msauer@gengras.com

Hadria Douglas, Gengras Motors

Published in: on March 27, 2013 at 1:09 PM  Comments (3)  
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NESN Tour Stop at Gengras Chevrolet

The NESN Tour with Don Orsillo, Jerry Remy and Jenny Dell stopped at Gengras Chevrolet! The NESN Tour gives fans an opportunity to meet the trio who serve as the television voices for the Boston Red Sox on NESN. Fans were able to talk with them, get autographs and take pictures.



Published in: on February 28, 2013 at 4:10 PM  Leave a Comment  

Gengras Volvo Meriden Ranked #1 Volvo Dealer in Customer Satisfaction

Gengras Volvo Meriden

We at Gengras Volvo Meriden would like to thank our customers for making us #1 in customer satisfaction!  We have pushed in the last 3 months to be #1 in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.  Gengras Volvo Meriden currently ranks 13th in the United States out of 309 Volvo dealers.


Published in: on January 31, 2013 at 11:15 AM  Leave a Comment  

Keeping the Holiday Spirit in the Midst of Darkness

Candle of hope

After the tragic events that unfolded in Newtown last Friday, it is hard to think about anything else. The holidays are usually a time of joy, caring and celebration. Just last Wednesday, we celebrated with our annual holiday party. We carried out our tradition of singing our own version of the 12 Days of Christmas, recognized outstanding contributions to our company, and enabled two employees (chosen by their peers) to cross something off their respective “bucket lists”. It was a great evening and a great way to celebrate the year.

Then came Friday and the horrific events that transpired in Newtown shattering all of our hearts. Words cannot describe how awful an act that was. How do we move forward? What can we do to help? How am I to react… is it right to celebrate the holidays as we normally would do?

First the easy part, what we can do to help. The United Way in partnership with Newtown savings Bank is establishing a “Sandy Hook School Support Fund.” Donations of any size are welcome and all funds will be used to provide support services to the families that have been affected. If a donation is not possible, then sending prayers and caring thoughts are real ways to help, as well. Believe me, they do provide comfort for the families involved.

The hard part is how to cope with the horrible sadness. I certainly won’t pretend that I know how to offer advice on coping mechanisms. I am not a professional psychologist. However, I do encourage those that think they need outside help in coping to not be ashamed to seek professional help. We all need help from time to time and seeking it is a sign of strength, not weakness.

There are two thoughts that I would like to share that stayed with me over the past few days. First, know that grieving is a very personal thing and everyone grieves in their own way. Some might need to withdraw for a time; others may need to communicate more. Some people may need to find humor in their lives while others simply need to cry. There is no right or wrong way to grieve and it is important that we all empathize with each other in these tough times. Second, we need to keep on living. I have three young children and they are just as excited for Christmas as they have ever been. They are too young to fully understand what happened last Friday and frankly, I don’t want them to at this point in their lives. While my heart will be filled with sorrow for those in Newtown, I owe it to my kids to celebrate with them and enjoy the magic of Christmas. I’ll hug them a bit tighter and may need a moment to reflect on the families that lost their loved ones, both the children and teachers. It wouldn’t be fair to my kids or the ones that lost their lives to not keep living and appreciate the goodness all around us. No one, no matter how awful an act they commit, can take that away from us.

Jonathan Gengras, CFO Gengras Motors

Gengras Harley-Davidson Hosts Live Podcast

Gengras Harley-Davidson will do their first LIVE podcast from the Hog Room, 8 to 9 AM on Saturday December 14th. Interviewed will be Paul James, Director of Consumer Influence & Product Communications for Harley-Davidson and Pat Simmons of the Doobie Brothers, who happens to be an avid motorcyclist!

To listen to the show visit, www.thosedinerandmotorcycleguys.com

People who wish to participate with questions and comments may call  (323)417-6788.

No Surprises

My father always told me that he didn’t like surprises. I thought that he meant birthday parties and anniversaries, but he mentioned it to me again when I started working for him in the early 1990’s.  One day during a morning meeting, I asked him what he was talking about.

He stated that a car or truck is one of the most important items in a household and that customers relied on their transportation as much as they relied on their house. He went on to say how important it was for us to provide our customers with the most complete and accurate assessment of their vehicle when they brought it in for service. By doing this, we would help prevent those awful “surprises” that can leave someone stranded on the side of the road or with a vehicle that is not delivering the performance a customer expects. Having worked in our service departments for many years, I know that we can’t prevent all malfunctions in cars or trucks, but if we preform a thorough inspection of every vehicle and make sure that it has been maintained according to the manufacturer, the likelihood that the customer has a reliable and safe form of transportation goes way up.

To that point, it is one of our standard operating procedures at all eight Gengras locations to inspect every vehicle in for service and provide our customers with what’s good, what’s coming, and what’s needed to keep them protected from “surprises”.  The easiest way for us to do this is with our colored inspection sheets, usually red, yellow and green, which make it very clear to see the what and where.

At Gengras, we will always work hard to be there for you and your vehicle when the emergency happens.  We take just as much pride in giving you as much information as possible to prevent the surprises that don’t come with candles or presents.

Chip Gengras, President


Published in: on November 29, 2012 at 4:54 PM  Comments (1)  

Top Car Picks for Zombie Survival


There have been some grizzly headlines this year regarding human on human attacks.  Whatever stories the media comes up with to appease the masses, don’t believe it… a zombie outbreak is imminent!  For your safety, it is imperative to be prepared.

This is not just another “surviving a zombie attack with your car” blog post.  I’ve searched the Internet for solutions and it was very disappointing.  Most of the selections suggested were out of the average American’s reach, often profiling vehicles that were well over $100K.  Some were military type vehicles that couldn’t be found in even the most exotic dealerships.  I needed to know what I could get today, if need be!   It’s smart to drive an everyday vehicle that could be relied on to spring into action when the inevitable happens.

Below is a list of my top picks in no particular order.  Each one is rated for the two most important areas of concern for surviving a zombie apocalypse: Fight and Flight.   If you have any suggestions of other models with zombie-dodging capabilities, please share in the comments section below.  Good luck and don’t forget to lock and load!


ImageJeep Grand Cherokee

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is the Rough Rider of SUV’s.  It’s tough, hardy and can go where lesser vehicles fear to tread.  Due to its advanced four-wheel drive systems and height adjustment settings, it has a solid off-road reputation. In disaster situations, versatility equals escape and that’s where the Grand Cherokee excels!  Escape zombies in the snow… no problem! Escape zombies in a muddy bog… no problem!  Escape, zombies in the bottom of a lake… you may want to get out and swim for it.  It’s also fast with 360 horsepower and strong towing capabilities (a respectable 7,400 pounds for the Hemi V8 engine option), which is perfect for trailing along large amounts of food and supplies.  What it lacks in fuel efficiency (18 mpg), it makes up for in speed and adaptability.

Fight 4.5

Flight: 4

Average Rating:  4.25


ImageDodge Charger SXT

The Dodge Charger is mean. That is exactly why they’re often the top choice for cop cars. It’s a muscle car of legendary proportions… and it’s a sedan!  You can load up your family (including the dog) and dash to safety in a vehicle solid enough to mow down any brain-eating worm bags that try to get between you and sweet, sweet freedom.  Since the Dodge Charger is a powerful car (370 horsepower) that paradoxically has good fuel economy at 31 MPG, you can get very far.

Fight: 4

Flight: 5

Average Rating: 4.5



Chevrolet Suburban 1500

The Chevy Suburban has earned the highest rating on my list.  It also happens to be one of the biggest SUVs on the market.  With a traditional boxy styling and 320 horsepower, it means business!  Not only is this beautiful brute strong and powerful, it also provides a smooth, quiet ride that allows for stealthy traveling.  It has three rows of moveable seating and an almost cavernous 137 cubic feet of cargo space behind the first row.  The Suburban will give you the option to spread the wealth since it’s able to tow up to 8,100 pounds (9,600 if you step up to a 2500 model), which means you could easily take more people and or supplies in a trailer behind you!  At 21 mpg, it’s quite economical for its size and capacity… an added bonus!

Fight: 5

Flight: 4.5

Average Rating: 4.75



Volvo XC90 SUV

The Volvo XC90 is an impressive vehicle.  It’s not the same boxy tank as the Volvos of decades past, but its brawn is in the same place! It’s loaded with Volvo’s trademark safety technology that people have come to trust.  The XC90 may not be as sporty as other vehicles in its class, but its strength lays in durability, versatility and safety.  It’s a little thirsty with the gas (23 MPG), but it handles like a boss on rough roads and holds its own on off-road terrains.  Since it has seating flexibility and superior cargo space, you can pack more food, supplies, and people than you could with most midsized SUV’s.

Fight: 4

Flight: 4

Average Rating:  4



Harley-Davidson Iron 883 

Being only 86 inches in length, the Iron 883 is one of Harley-Davidson’s smallest motorcycles.  It is fast and nimble enough to weave in and out of highway traffic jams, triggered by widespread panic.  The down side is that it doesn’t provide protection from attack or space for loved ones.  However, it is the perfect choice for the lone traveler who banks on dodging town quickly and thus avoiding confrontation with the undead all together.  Since the Iron 883 is as comfortable as a cruiser and sports a retro 1950’s throwback design, you can escape certain death in style!

Flight: 5

Fight: 1

Average Rating: 3



BONUS: Army M35 Cargo Truck

For those who absolutely have to go “commando”, the Army M35 cargo truck (aka deuce and a half) will make your dreams come true! This truck has its place in history as being the vehicle of choice in transporting personnel and equipment for important military operations.  It would be safe to say that you could comfortably stow at least twenty survivors in the back while casually crushing any zombie blockade without ever slowing down.  M35’s are run on an LDT 465 turbocharged engine that is capable of using different types of fuel.  Good thing because with only 11 MPG, you’ll have the option to siphon fuel out of any poor unfortunate’s vehicle you come across.  Surprisingly, these trucks are accessible to civilians and very affordable. A decent one can be found online for only $6K to $10K!

Average Rating: Classified


Side Note: Zombieproof your own car!

If you’re handy and have the luxury of time, another option is to zombie-proof your current car using materials you may already have at home.  Refer to this video as a guide and source of inspiration.  It also has many invaluable zombie survival tips, as well!

Hadria Douglas, Gengras Motors

Gengras Closed due to Hurricane Sandy


Due to Hurricane Sandy, all Gengras Dealerships will be closed
10/29 at 10:30 AM.
We will reopen on10/31 pending power availability.

Published in: on October 29, 2012 at 11:02 AM  Leave a Comment  

Fearless Auto Care for Women



Auto repair is a topic that many women find mysterious and intimidating.  As if having a car die isn’t stressful enough, we fear finding ourselves at the mercy of an unscrupulous mechanic who may take advantage of our lack of knowledge.  The possibility of inflated estimates, unneeded repairs and emotional demoralization is enough to make even the most independent woman dread the waiting area.  What’s a girl to do?

I caught wind of an interesting book titled, Fearless Auto Care: A Guide to What Women Need to Know About Their Cars, co-written by Automotive Customer Care Expert, Donna McCord.  McCord and her husband, Warren, own and operate Dean’s Automotive in Mountain View, California.  With ten years of experience in the automotive industry, she is committed to providing excellent customer care with a focus on addressing the concerns of women.  I eagerly approached her for an interview.

Hadria Douglas : What inspired you to write this book?

Donna McCord:  Writing has always been my first love, and ever since I was about seven years old, I have dreamed of becoming an author. But I never dreamed that I would be writing a book about auto care!  I hear women say how intimidating it can be when trying to bring their cars in for service somewhere, how unsure they are if they are being told the truth about what their car needs fixed, how they are sometimes talked down to, or not communicated with at all! My husband has been writing a column about auto care in one of our local papers for years now, and as the editor for his articles, I learned a lot! It suddenly dawned on me that if I could take that valuable information and put it into a book that women could read and understand, it could give them the power and confidence to take control of their auto care service experience and remove the fear and intimidation!  I’m hoping that everyone who reads this book will get to know their cars better and be able to make better decisions about their car’s care.

HD:  What is your background in automotive care?

DM:  It is amazing how much I have learned over the past 10 years working in our business, going to training classes with my husband and employees, and talking to our customers and other people within our industry.  I have seen first-hand how the way we interact with our customers, the level of expertise our technicians possess, our professionalism and our integrity has set us apart, won us awards, and created a comfortable and positive experience for our customers…  especially women.

HD:  What is the most important thing women should know regarding car maintenance?

DM: The most important thing for women to know about maintaining their vehicles is how critical it is to stick to the manufacturer recommended service schedule for their particular car. Skipping services, ignoring recommendations, waiting too long between oil changes, etc. will only result in potentially expensive repair bills that could have been avoided.

HD:  How should women find the right mechanic or auto shop?

DM:  In one of the chapters, “Choose the Best Car Care Partner”, I say that if you have a new vehicle with a free maintenance service package or a repair that is still under warranty, then your dealer is where you should go.  Regardless of the car’s age, if you want to keep it reliable and healthy for as long as possible, the right shop is best.   I list multiple ways to identify that shop including Referrals, online reviews, Better Business Bureau rating, AAA certified shops, ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certified technicians, shops with ongoing training programs in place, latest diagnostic equipment, solid warranty with minimum 12,000/12 month warranty, proper insurances, well-organized and clean facility, and above all, courteous, respectful and knowledgeable staff.  I also encourage people to first decide what is most important to them and be aware of expectations before choosing the right shop.  A visit to the shop before making an appointment is always good and if the shop is proud of what they do, they should encourage your visit.

HD:  When should the average woman bring her car to the shop vs trying to fix it herself? 

DM:  I would definitely encourage women to avoid being do-it-yourselfers unless they want to take classes in auto repair and become technicians… especially with today’s more sophisticated vehicles.   Anyone (male or female) attempting to perform repairs without the proper knowledge and tools would be like trying to perform surgery using a medical textbook as a guide!  Too much can go wrong, leading to expensive repairs, and not to mention, the risk of personal injury.  Even doing a “simple oil change” on some of the newer vehicles is not easy; many of today’s cars require a particular type of oil and filter in order to run as it should.  In my book, I cover the many ways a woman can check her car to see how it is doing and what may need to be done such as fluid levels, tire pressures, etc.  However, it is always best to find a good, trust-worthy shop where you can develop a relationship and know that your car needs will be taken care of in the best possible (and least stressful) way.   Trying to save money by doing repairs yourself will usually end up becoming more expensive in the long run.

HD:  What do you want women to take away from the advice in your book?

DM:  If after reading my book, they feel more confident and secure about what their car needs and how to provide those needs efficiently and cost-effectively, I will be ecstatic!

HD:  When is your book coming out and where can we purchase it?

DM:  We plan for it to be available this November.  I am thinking it will be a great stocking-stuffer!  It will be available on Amazon.com and through our publisher, Our Little Books.

Hadria Douglas, Community Manager, Gengras Motors

Chevy Supports the Fight Against Breast Cancer

Breast cancer survivors and their guests will take turns riding around the Atlanta Motor Speedway track Friday in these “Pinked Out” vehicles.  The Chevrolet Camaro SS Pace Car (above) will be driven by Team Chevy’s Jamie McMurray and Ron Hornaday, Jr..  On Sunday, Chevrolet will donate $200 for every caution lap the Camaro SS paces in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500.  Last year, 64 caution laps generated $12,800 for the American Cancer Society.

Published in: on September 27, 2012 at 3:10 PM  Leave a Comment