Auto Buying Tips and Tricks
We want to equip you with the knowledge and resources you need to make a smart decision when purchasing AND financing your next new or used vehicle. Remember, we’re on your side, so give us a call if you have any questions or need help with your big purchase.
Do your homework
Whether you're buying new or used, it's always good to do some research. Take advantage of online resources such as TrueCar and Edmunds to make sure you’re not paying too much for your new or used car… AND getting a fair deal on your trade in. When buying used, request a CARFAX vehicle history report.
If you can, wait until one of the prime times to purchase your vehicle. The end of the month is traditionally a good time to buy because dealers are trying to make their monthly quota or beat previous sales records. Another good time to buy is when the new year models are released. This motivates dealerships to sell off existing cars at lower prices to clear space for the newest models.
Negotiate on your terms
Instead of driving from lot to lot, pick the vehicle you want and negotiate the vehicle’s CASH PRICE over the phone or via email. This way you can compare prices from multiple dealerships, and won't waste a trip if they aren't willing to agree to a fair price. This will also help you avoid making a poor decision or an impulse buy.
Are you comparing apples to apples? This is one of the hardest things to do, even if you shop from “lot to lot”. When comparing one dealer’s vehicle and price to the next, make sure each dealer is pricing the vehicle with all the options you want.
New car financing can work for you, or against you!
If the sale price on a car seems too good to be true, the reason might be that a dealer is charging you more for the financing. When you get preapproved for a loan at your credit union, you can shop with confidence because you’re shopping based on the CASH PRICE of the car. We're not commission based, so we're always looking out for your best interests.
Financing at your credit union is different.
- It’s not always about the monthly payment Only when you negotiate the CASH price of the vehicle do you know what you’re really paying for your new car. When the dealer asks “what can you afford each month?”, that’s a clear sign you’re about to pay too much!
- What’s in the dealer’s contract? When you tell the dealer what you can afford to pay each month, you’re opening the door for the dealer to include hidden fees and add-ons, because they can stretch that monthly payment out as many as 7 or 8 years! Are you going to drive your new car that long?
- Which warranties do you really need? When you negotiate for a new car based on your monthly payment, the dealer can pad your contract with an extended warranty, or an expensive GAP policy. Do you really need an extended warranty on a vehicle you won’t own in 4 years? Plus, your credit union offers MUCH better pricing on GAP policies and even Extended Warranties for vehicles that need one.
- Simple Interest at your credit union vs dealer financing
Did you know that a credit union auto loan is calculated using simple interest, which means with every payment you make, a lot goes toward your loan debt and a little goes to pay the interest on your loan. If you finance with the dealer, the interest on your loan may be “front-loaded”, so that after making several payments, you’ve paid NOTHING but interest, and your loan balance has not been reduced at all.
- Rebates can be confusing, but they shouldn’t be
A dealer might give you the option to take a rebate, OR get a lower rate on your loan. If that's the case, always take the rebate and then finance with your credit union. Remember, with credit union financing, you are negotiating with the power of CASH. That way you get the best of both worlds… the rebate and a good deal.
Already financed your vehicle with the dealership?
No worries. You can still refinance your auto loan with Arkansas Superior and potentially lower your payment.
Remember… contact your Credit Union first for unbiased, consumer-friendly advice!
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