Fort Smith Car Dealer

5 Ways to Save Money for a Down Payment - Rath Auto Resources

Down payments and trade equity are two valuable ways to make your car-buying process smooth when it comes to finances. Every single person has a budget. Rich or poor, we all want to get the best value for our dollar, right? To do that, it's best to have good trade equity or more down payment. 

If you are in the market for buying a car in the next few months or year, we encourage you to take these five steps to build up your down payment! Remember, the bigger your down payment is, the lower your monthly payment will be! 

1. Cut a Major Expense. Take a look at your budget and asses what your biggest manageable expenses are and trying cutting back on them. Is your cable bill costing you $100 or more a month? Do you still have a landline? There are many alternatives to cable these days that are much more affordable. For example, my husband (David Rath) and I haven't had cable since we have been married in 2011. We pay monthly for Netflix and haven't looked back.  You can also buy a digital antenna that gets you a few channels too. We have one that we keep just in case we need it during tornado season! If you have a sports lover in your house that needs to watch the games, try watching at friends houses or renting them on the Xbox through the NFL Game Pass. 

2. Manage Smaller Expenses. For example, you might be surprised how fast those Starbucks trips or Monster energy drinks from the gas station are adding up to your monthly expenses. If you have a daily habit like that, try going every other day or buying drinks in bulk at places like Sam's Club. 

3. Set aside a specific amount from your paycheck each month. I know it sounds obvious, but try taking a portion of your paycheck each month and immediately put it into your savings account...and don't touch it! If you take $50 from a weekly paycheck and put into savings, that is $1200 toward a down payment in 6 months. You would be surprised how beneficial that is for you!

4. Think before you buy! Before you purchase that new PlayStation game, the new Michael Kors wallet or go on a Bath and Body Works shopping spree, think about what you want more? A new car that is a long-term investment and will likely bring you happiness or ease of mind knowing you are in a safe and reliable vehicle that far outlasts the joy of smaller objects that could cut into your new-car down payment budget!

5. Get Digit - a free app that saves money, without thinking about it. "To use Digit, you need to connect your checking account. This allows Digit to analyze your income and spending, and find money it can safely set aside for you. Every day, Digit tries to move some money from your checking account to your Digit account. Digit never transfers more than you can afford, so you don't have to worry about over-drafting your account. In fact, we have a no-overdraft guarantee." 

New Year, New You

It’s the New Year, and it’s time for a new you, right? Not according to most statistics. In fact, reportedly 73% of people who make resolutions fail on them most of the time. But there is a solution! You can get ahead of the pack by following these quick tips on how to have the most success with your New Year’s plans.


Work On Your Self-Restraint

Scientists have revealed the willpower and self-restraint actually function much like a muscle—the more you use it, the stronger it gets. So if you want to be successful in achieving not only your New Year’s resolution, but also your goals in general, you should try to practice self-restraint to bulk up your willpower muscle. Also, give your brain some help with the control by making the things you are trying to do more attractive.

Commitment Buddy

Having an accountability partner will help you stay committed to your goals. They’ll help you stay on track, but they’ll also help motivate you to get back on the horse if you slip up.


Setting goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound are a great way to make sure you’ll be more successful in achieving them. Pay special attention to the “T” many people who set New Year’s Resolutions think they have the whole year. The only problem is that they don’t create timely check-ins during that long time period to make sure they stay on track. It’s a better idea to set a big annual goal, but then break it up into what you should achieve monthly in order to stay on track for the end of the year.

One Change At A Time

It’s tempting to create a bunch of goals all at the same time, like losing 20 pounds, saving more money, spending more time with your kids, and get more exercise. But the reality is that it’s unlikely that you will be able to completely transform yourself in the matter of a few short days or weeks. Instead, set one, manageable goal at a time, set a shorter time period in which to achieve it, say 1-3 months, and then once you’ve achieved the first goal, move onto the next. This will allow you to focus on successfully completing one goal at a time, while simultaneously having the benefit of creating positive momentum as you achieve each goal.

Create A Plan

Having a plan will allow you to create a roadmap, which will help you navigate your way from goal setting to goal achieving.

This year I’m committed to not only setting but also achieving my New Year’s resolutions. I’m going to follow these tips to help guide me there. I hope you find them helpful, too!

2016 Toyota RAV4 XLE - Rath Auto Resources - Fort Smith, Arkansas

Fort Smith Toyota Rav4

According to , "For years, the RAV4 has consistently been among the top-ranked small SUVs. Freshened for 2016, the cabin is quieter; the ride is smoother; it has a suite of advanced safety features; and offers a frugal hybrid version. The energetic 2.5-liter four-cylinder and smooth six-speed automatic returned 24 mpg overall in our tests of an AWD version. The hybrid version gets a terrific 31 mpg overall. Handling is responsive and very secure. Inside, the controls are clear and intuitive. While the XLE comes with the automatic climate control and sunroof, you must step up to the Limited trim to get adjustable lumbar support and the more-comfortable faux-leather seats. Access is very easy, and the rear seat is roomy. For the 2017 model year, forward-collision warning and emergency auto braking are standard."

Fort Smith Toyota Rav4
Fort Smith Toyota Rav4
Fort Smith Toyota Rav4

Back to the Future: Concept Cars of the Past

Mercedes Lotec C1000

C is for carbon Fibre and 1000 for it's horsepower, the Mercedes Lotec C1000 was built in 1991 for the wealthiest Arab businessmen who wanted to drive the wealthiest individually owned cars that existed in the world. 

Mercedes-Benz spent 5 years building the guts of the car while they contracted Lotec (a German sport car manufacturer) to build the chassis (frame of the car). It was a 5.6 liter V8 with twin turbochargers that operated on both unleaded gasoline and aircraft fuel. 

Being an oil baron, finances were not of concern for purchasing a 3.4 million dollar sport car. The car was capable of going from 0-60mph in 3.2 seconds, 0-125 in 8.08 seconds and a top speed of 268 mph. Despite the original cost of the car, it is being offered for $1.2 million according to

"A couple of years ago, the C1000 was auctioned off at one of the Barrett-Jackson auction for $243,000. Only a few months later, the car was found on eBay with an asking price of $350,000 from a dealership in Georgia. Since then, it's been off the radar. We're not exactly sure why it's shown up at this tiny dealership in the town of Concorde, North Carolina. What's even more disheartening is the car seems to be in several pieces now. We'd like to imagine that it was broken when someone tried jumping it over a river, but that's just us (hat tip to Jason!) [ via s2k forums]"

Mercedes Lotec C1000
Meredes Benz Lotec C1000

How To Take Better Pictures Of Your Car

Have you ever wanted to take your automotive photography to the next level?  Use these four easy, yet incredibly powerful tips to dramatically improve your images.

1) Choose the right location

The location you choose for your shoot is going to be one of the most important factors in making your images amazing. It is essential to tying your image together.  The wrong location can be like trying to take a one year old's birthday picture in an assembly line plant. It just doesn't fit. Even with perfect composition, lighting and angles you can still have a technically great but boring picture. This is your opportunity to express your creativity and take your automotive photos from "blah" to "Wow!"

Choose a location that is free of distracting elements such as trash cans, telephone poles, radio towers, etc. Then find a location that matches your cars personality.

So how do you know what location fits your car? You need to take into account the color of your car and the type of your car.

You should try to find a background that compliments your car color without letting it blend in too much.  Let's look at some examples. The following two images are examples where the car blends in to the surrounding background colors. To make these image better, these cars should have been placed in a location that had a background to make the car "pop" a little more. The primary focus of the image is your car. It needs to stand out against the background.

Now let's take a look at how using the cars paint color with a similar background color can make the car stand out to become your focal point. In this case, the car color matches a small piece of the mural in the background therefore making this Tahoe really stand out.

In this example, the car is white and the background colors are dark. This contrast in background and subject makes the Charger easily the main focus of this image.

The next step in choosing the location for your car's photo shoot is finding a background that matches the personality of your car. What is it that makes your car interesting? What is it's natural habitat?  If you have a truck, Jeep, rally car for example, you might consider selecting a rugged outdoor scene. If you have a sports car, you might consider a cityscape. Really take this time to becoming creative by thinking about what you intend to convey about your car.

Large trucks, like this Dodge Ram are often that is often known for their abilities to go in rough places, be work trucks and overall great for the outdoors. This location is perfect for representing all of those qualities.

2) Choose the best lighting for your shoot

Lighting is a crucial element to proper photography of any kind no matter what your subject is (cars, people, pets, buildings, etc.). So what makes good lighting? You want to look for environments that will reduce glare from the car exterior, remove harsh shadows and add interest.

Naturally, you might think the more light, the better. While having sufficient light is necessary, that is not always the case. Typically you want to avoid any type of harsh lighting situations. This would mean shooting in the open sun ( meaning an area that does not provide any shade) in the middle of the day.

If you cannot avoid shooting during the middle of the day, try looking for large areas of shade or shooting on a cloudy day. If you have advanced Photoshop skills, you can always add in a fake sky to remove the gloomy look. (That will be covered in a different tutorial.)  Try thinking outside the box when it comes to looking for shade. For example, parking garages are a great option when shooting during the day.

You can also find large areas of shade under trees, behind large buildings, etc.

Shooting when the weather is gloomy and overcast is great way to diffuse the harsh light.

You can easily add appeal and drama to your images by choosing interesting elements like golden hour (sunset/sunrise times)  and stormy conditions.

3) Add interesting angles and composition

Let's take a look at the two pictures above of my Challenger. In the top image (with the stormy sky) I was standing (slightly bent over and forward) to get the angle you see. As a result, you (the viewer) are above the car. This gives you the feeling superiority by looking down on the car. In the bottom image (with the sunset), I was lying flat on my stomach and my Challenger is actually higher than me giving the Challenger a more aggressive and powerful appeal. Also, by lying on my stomach and photographing the bottom picture above, this perspective will enhance your depth of field.

Look for unique ways to frame your shot. Get creative here.

You have probably heard of the rule of thirds. It is a basic composition technique that you should also apply to automotive photography. In the image below, the anchor point of the Subaru  (the emblem on the grill) is locked in the anchor point of the bottom right third of the image.

4) Make little adjustments before you take your shot

  • Before you take your shot, check your frame for any small distractions you might have missed. Sometimes you can find a simple fix like using your car to block the distractions or adjusting your position.
  • Straighten your tires. Unless you are specifically demonstrating your car turning or going through a curve, you will want to straighten your tires or adjust for only a small turn in the tires.
  • Turn your headlights on. It adds emphasis to your car.

By using these four tips you can dramatically improve your automotive photography skills. We will later build upon these skills and show you post processing techniques that will advance your photography even further.

2014 Cadillac SRX { Rath Auto Resources - Fort Smith, Arkansas }

This Cadillac is by far one of the most luxurious cars I have driven - period.  I don't think I have ever seen as much technology and options available on a vehicle as what is in this 2014 Cadillac SRX.  I was absolutely blown away by the level of accuracy and technology with the backup camera. It isn't just a backup camera - it has guidance of how close you are to object and what angle the vehicle will be going at in reverse based on the the way the wheels are turned. I was absolutely blown away by it. With up to 24mpg on the highway, you can't beat it. You really can't.

Call and schedule your test drive today : 479-222-1624

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Or come by at 4515 Towson Ave, Fort Smith, Arkansas across from Phoenix Village Mall/Sykes.