Buying a car is one of the largest purchases people make – just behind buying a house.
It’s no wonder most people dread buying a new or used car. It is a stressful and expensive experience that most new buyers feel underqualified to take on.
That’s why we’re here to help. Here are some of the top do’s and don’ts for getting the best deal on your vehicle purchase:
DO: Make a Budget in Advance
It can be easy to be persuaded into a car that is beyond your means when you begin looking at vehicles. Knowing your budget in advance will ensure that you won’t later regret purchasing a car above what you should be spending.
DON’T: Make Your Decision Based on the Monthly Payments
When you are looking at identical monthly payments on two car options, it’s not difficult to be talked into a nicer car. However, if one car loan life is 5 years and the other is 10 years, the total cost of the car can look very different. When budgeting, plan for the total cost of the car and not just the monthly loan payments. This will give you a more realistic picture of what you are willing to spend over the car’s lifespan.
DO: Car Research Ahead of Time
New or used? Car or SUV? Ford or Chevy? 4WD or AWD? These are just a few examples of questions you should consider before you visit the dealership. Knowing what you are looking for before receiving help from salespeople will make you more confident in your choices and avoid being persuaded into cars that don’t fit your needs.
DON’T: Forget about Insurance Costs
When you’re considering your monthly price, it is easy to forget that you will also have to make monthly insurance payments in addition to any maintenance costs, repairs, and purchasing fuel. Make sure that you are comfortable with the monthly price once you factor in these costs, which can add up quickly.
DO: Take Your Time on the Test Drive
Don’t feel pressured into making an immediate decision: this is a huge purchase. Take whatever time you need during the test drive to ensure that this vehicle meets all your needs. Test how the controls operate. Do you feel comfortable when you’re driving? How does it feel in the passenger seats? Do you have enough space for hauling in the back? Take a look through everything you can so that you are confident when you make your purchase.
DON’T: Visit One Dealership
You wouldn’t visit one house and immediately buy; the same principle applies to cars. One dealership may be overcharging based on the model and conditions of the car compared to another dealer. Even if you fall in love with the first vehicle you see, take a quick look at another dealer to make sure you are not overpaying.
DO: Think About the Longevity of the Car
You will likely be paying off the loan on this car for over five years. Is this a car that you will still like in five years? Does it suit the needs you will have five years from now? You can always sell the car back before then, but make sure you consider how long you anticipate having this car when you are factoring your spending means and the type of car you want.
The process of buying a car is never easy, so let us help make it better. TopLine Federal Credit Union offers car loans with flexible terms, competitive rates, and a variety of repayment options. We also offer auto insurance to protect your vehicle and the costs associated with it. We are happy to work with you to finance the vehicle that will get you where you need to go.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help.