1. Make a Checklist
Take a moment to consider what car will best fit your lifestyle, budget, and needs. Will you need to consider passenger and cargo space for a big family, better fuel economy for long commutes, or certain safety factors for winter handling? Consider the factors of quality, safety, value, technologies, customer satisfaction, environmental friendliness, and design.
Despite expensive commercials that may tell you otherwise, brand recognition is not as important as how well the vehicle performs. Make the distinction between the necessary and unnecessary before you buy.
2. Take your Research Seriously
When done thoroughly, researching could potentially help you save thousands, help you negotiate more confidently, and allow you to drive away in the perfect new car. Research everything from make and model, safety performance, fuel economy, consumer reviews – anything and everything that you can learn.
Comparison shop and review information on sites like Motor Trend, Edmunds, and Car Gurus. Search for online reviews and customer testimonials of dealers, and talk to friends and family who have recently gone through the process of purchasing a vehicle. While you research, get quotes on your top choices before you even get to the dealership. This can benefit you when you negotiate prices.
3. Check your Budget, Credit Score, and Financing OptionsA car is a big-ticket item, and many people will need a loan to help cover the cost. Knowing your credit score will help you determine your financing options and develop a budget. Work with your local credit union to get an auto loan and get the best interest rate.
Visit the Auto Loan page at Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union to finance your vehicle purchase. Remember to compare promotional rates, rebates, and incentives from manufacturers to get the most out of your budget. Know the invoice price—otherwise known as the price of what the dealer pays the manufacturer for the car. Knowing this will tell the dealer that you are prepared and will not be misled.
4. Be Prepared When you Visit a DealershipWith the proper research, a strict budget, and some determination, a visit to the car dealership shouldn’t be a terrifying experience. Be willing to make a few visits to the dealership to decide what you need, and call ahead to make sure that your choice car is available. With this checklist of information in hand, don’t be afraid to negotiate. There are always other dealerships to visit if you feel that you aren’t getting the best value.
For more information on borrowing and auto loans, visit Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union.