DIY: Credit Repair in 6 Easy Steps

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

If you’ve had an overdue loan, missed payments, years of high credit card balances, collection accounts or even a foreclosure, chances are you have a below average credit score.

The good news is; you can repair your credit score all on your own by taking action on these few steps (and having a little patience):

1. Figure out where you stand

Before you begin, you’ll want to get copies of your full credit reports from all three bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax).

You can get your reports free, once a year, at Other websites may claim to offer free reports, but the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns that these offers are often deceptive.

Credit scores range from 300 to 850. A score of between 700 and 740, depending on the scoring method used, is considered “good credit”.

2. If you find errors, dispute them

The next step in credit repair is to dispute incorrect information on your credit report.

Errors aren’t common, but they happen. Of course, sometimes bad credit is just your fault. You shouldn’t try to argue accurate information, but if you do see errors–even small ones—it’s worth cleaning them up.

3. Stop the cycle

Once you deal with any errors on your credit report, it’s time to ensure you’re not still spending more than you can afford each month.

Why is this so important? It’s because are only three simple things to do to repair bad credit:

  1. Pay all of your bills on time
  2. Pay down debt (especially credit card debt)
  3. Avoid applying for credit

But before you can do these things, you need to make sure you’re not spending more than you earn—you need a budget.

Subtract your regular monthly expenses (rent or mortgage, car payments, and home, car and health insurance) from your current income.

Next, estimate your monthly spending habits for other expenses such as gas, groceries and entertainment. Create a limit, based on your income, of what you can spend in each of the different categories of expenses. For example, if you tend to spend $400 a month on groceries, try to stick to $300 a month on groceries by making changes like buying generic brands, using coupons, and resisting impulse purchases.

4. Pay all bills on time going forward

If you want to fix bad credit, you need to start paying all of your monthly bills on time, period!

If you’re behind on any bill, get caught up as soon as you can. On-time payments are the single most important factor to your credit score. Simply put, your credit won’t improve until you can consistently pay every bill on time.

5. Pay down credit card balances

Take charge of your credit cards by paying down their balances.

If you have any outstanding balances, make room in your budget to pay down these debts little by little, every month until they are gone.

Know your credit limits and make every effort to stay well under the maximum when charging items.

6. Don’t apply for new credit

Finally, resist the temptation to open a new credit card, even when a store offers a discount on your purchase for doing so.

Each time you apply for credit is listed on your credit report as a “hard inquiry” and if you have too many within two years, your credit score will suffer. In general, a consumer with good credit can apply for credit a few times each year before it begins to affect their credit score. If you’re already starting with below-average credit, however, these inquiries may have more of an impact on your score and delay your ultimate goal of watching your credit score climb.

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Your Guide to Dashboard Lights

*Content Courtesy of Capital Ford.

Everyone knows that sinking feeling when you’re driving around and that little light pops up on your dashboard. That dreaded small engine or some other thing that looks like a squiggle. But what do they mean? Are they really that important? We’re here to keep you calm and explain some of the most common dashboard lights and if it’s necessary to take action!

What Do They All Mean?

Let’s keep this simple because there are so many different signs that could appear on your dashboard. We’re going to break down a few warning symbols and safety symbols. Some of these indicators are to be taken lightly and others are there to tell you there’s a problem. So how can you know the difference? Usually by the color. If something is red and blinking at you, it should be a generic sign to tell you to pull over. This would be a good time to check your owner’s manual or call someone for service help. Often times, there are yellow or blue lights on our dashboards. These could be warning signs, maintenance reminders, or something as simple as the cruise control indicator.

Warning Symbols

Warning symbols are often in red but can differ from vehicle to vehicle. They mean that there could be a potential problem with your vehicle and you should get it looked at by a professional as soon as possible. Don’t ever ignore a light on in your car and not ask someone what it is. This could lead to more problems in the future and will most likely end up costing you more money in the end. So let’s get into the lights:

Temperature Warning Light

This means your vehicle’s coolant is overheating. You should pull over and let your vehicle cool down or you could overheat your engine and cause serious problems! This symbol can also appear in blue which means your coolant is below a temperature that would allow your vehicle to perform normally. If you see it in blue, you should also pull over and give your car a few minutes to warm up before you continue.

Oil Pressure Warning Light

This is a tricky one. It’s a rather common symbol but it could mean a few different things. One, your engine may have lost normal oil pressure. Two, it could be something straightforward like your oil is too low. Third, it could be an indication of serious engine problems. The annoying part is: you just don’t know. Your best bet is to pull over and call someone for assistance.

Battery Charge Warning

Ah, the dreaded battery light. Everyone knows what a battery looks like! If you see this symbol, it means your battery is dead, or the charge is low. You should still pull over if it appears on your dash and turn everything on your vehicle off. This includes stereo, heating or AC, any other accessories, etc. However, do not turn the vehicle itself off, as you don’t know if it will start again before you can get it to a shop.

Safety Symbols

Safety symbols often appear in different colours on your dashboard, but they are also just as important as warning signs. They’re exactly what they sound like. They appear to keep you and your vehicle as safe as possible. So if you see one of these symbols pop up, your best bet is to take it seriously and take action as needed.

Engine Warning

Pretty much anything to do with your engine can be very serious and it should never be ignored at all costs. If you see a small engine light, no matter what colour because it can differ from vehicle to vehicle, pull over immediately and book an appointment to have your vehicle checked. An engine light coming on could be anything from a faulty sensor giving you an inaccurate reading, or something actually seriously wrong.

Tire Pressure Warning

This little symbol may not be as obvious as some of the others. The punctuation mark means one, or more, of your tires are low on air. We’re not sure why they didn’t make it look more like a tire, but we’re not here to discuss that. If you see this light, head to your nearest gas station and check your tires. While you’re there, you may as well check all four tires and fill accordingly. Thankfully, this is not one of the more serious lights to appear, but if you ignore this one for too long, your tires will wear unevenly or one could pop if driving at high speeds.

Traction Control Symbol

This symbol means your vehicle is losing control and is most likely slipping on ice or rainwater. It should only appear for a few seconds or until you coach your vehicle back to controlled driving. However, if it stays on, you may have something to worry about. This one could mean a problem with the traction control system in which case you should visit a mechanic.

Don’t Ignore the Signs

It usually isn’t a good feeling when a symbol pops up on your dashboard, but it’s unavoidable. Vehicles go through a lot and sometimes they need some maintenance. Other times, the symbols they flash at us are just trying to keep us safe on the roads. Whatever the case may be, make sure you take all indicator lights seriously. We all know someone who drives around with the check engine light on because “it’s always there. It’s just a sensor.” But this can be very dangerous and could be detrimental to your vehicle. Don’t ignore a light on your dashboard and seek help when necessary! If you ever have any questions or want someone to take a look at your vehicle, don’t hesitate to Swanson’s Cars & Trucks Service Center, located at 2209 N 650 W, Warsaw (West of Warsaw, near Atwood).

Vehicle Spotlight: The 2015 Ford Escape is Fancier than Ever!

Ford has never been afraid to rock the automotive industry with their compelling design changes, technology offerings and leading edge fuel efficient engines. It’s always been their goal to offer the latest and greatest models and system functionality, yet, remain somewhat affordable–the working person’s vehicle of choice.


When Ford unveiled the new Escape design in 2013 emotions were initially mixed, but one thing was for sure, consumers were on board with the (optional) fuel-saving EcoBoost engine and Microsoft SYNC Bluetooth radio.

Reviewing sales numbers over the last five years, certainly paints a nice picture, with over 20,000 Ford Escapes being sold monthly. It’s likely these numbers will remain consistent or even increase as the market begins to shift in Q2. (Reference: Ford Authority)

The 2015 Ford Escape hasn’t undergone a drastic change, but the design and many of the new features are appreciated:

  • Voice Activated Microsoft SYNC/ Sirius XM Bluetooth Radio
  • Optional intelligent 4WD system with torque vectoring control is available with theEcoBoost engines (Estimated 33 HW/MPG)
  • Larger Digital Display Screen with Back-Up Camera
  • Heated Front Seats
  • Towing Capability

Pictures Tell the Story:

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Images Provided: Swanson’s Cars & Trucks


2017 Year in Review

It’s been a remarkable year! Let’s highlight a few fun memories:

We always count it an incredible honor to serve our customers an communities. It’s especially fun to make so many friendships along the way.


Giveaways are just as much fun for us as they are the participants! Make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram to stay in the loop!


We are incredibly blessed to be a part of the local (and regional) communities, one of the best parts of our immediate community is the Triton School Corporation. The staff, student body and supporters are absolutely impeccable. It was a blast to partner with Triton High School for the Perfect Attendance Car Giveaway, below is the lucky winner:


Triton Elementary hosts an Annual Field Day, it’s a fun day filled with various activities, treats and tons of laughter! There is a lot of work put into this event and we were happy to be one of the sponsors. We look forward to this every year!


Can you believe each team works together to pull this truck? Great lesson on working together and utilizing each other’s strengths.


Joe Swanson, of Swanson’s Cars & Trucks, had an incredible year racing locally and with the All Star Circuit of Champions and a few World of Outlaws shows.


The Bourbon Summerfest Parade is always a huge hit! This year was noted as the largest turnout yet, both in participants and guests. It’s a fantastic time, here we were before the parade!


Bourbon also started a new monthly event this year, Bourbon Food Truck Friday. It was organized and managed by Jordan Fuller with much support from the Town of Bourbon. It was truly remarkable to see the turnout each month, everyone always had a great time. It’s great to see so many local families supporting each other.


We have been incredibly blessed this year and want to thank everyone who has supported us along the way. It is our goal to serve our local and surrounding communities in all of your automotive needs. We take this opportunity very seriously and will always be committed to providing the absolute best customer service. We strongly believe in giving back through donations and sponsorship in our communities along with the fun giveaways through social media.

Stay tuned in 2018, there are a lot of new opportunities on the horizon and we cannot wait to share them with you!