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Financial Advice

Buy & Own a Car

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How to Get the Best Deals at an Auto Dealership

Do your research before you end up at a car lot like this.

Unfortunately, some car salesmen have a reputation for disregarding our budgets and pushing us to buy more than we might actually need or want when it comes to getting a car or a car loan. We don’t want to proliferate stereotypes. (Not all car salesmen are dishonest, after all.) But it certainly doesn’t hurt to be as prepared as possible when you’re finally ready to make that big purchase. We recommend you do a little work before visiting a dealership so you can make sure you’re getting the best deal possible when it comes to the vehicle purchase as well as the vehicle finance.

Here are four tips to help you buy a car with confidence, get the best deal possible on your new or used car loan or refinanced car loan, and walk away from the dealership knowing you went in well prepared.

Do Your Research
Before you go to an auto dealership, it pays to do some research. Sites like Kelley Blue Book are a good resource to know what your car is worth as a trade-in to a dealership, and you can check out retail prices for the new and used cars you’re hunting for too. Additionally, the Internet has made it easier to check out the competition and compare dealership prices in your area. You can even use a car affordability or car finance calculator to help you decide how much car you can afford to buy. Armed with this knowledge, you are more likely to hold your own during negotiations.

Visit UFCU.org, give us a call, or visit your local financial center anytime to chat with a Personal Financial Representative. Or apply for a vehicle loan now.

Consider Your Timing
Timing is everything when you’re getting ready to buy a new or used car. The end of the year is when dealerships and manufacturers are running special deals and promotions to help them clear their lots to make way for newer models and meet their yearly sales targets. This also happens during major holidays.

Additionally, shopping on a weekday near the end of the month means you’ll have the salesman’s undivided attention as he won’t be bombarded with other weekend shoppers. Your purchase could make the difference for him between meeting or missing his monthly sales goal, so he might be more likely to work with you near the end of the month.

Avoid Dealer Financing
Most people have to take out a loan to purchase a car, and that’s ok as long as it’s reasonable for your income level and budget. One of the biggest mistakes car buyers make is using dealer financing and not shopping around for the best auto loan. Just because a dealership has the best price on the car of your dreams doesn’t mean they will offer you the best financing plan. Look over their offer closely and make sure you compare it to financing offers from other lenders in your area to get the best deal possible.

Negotiate for Other Things
Keep in mind that there are other things you can ask for besides a lower price on your new car. Perhaps you can ask for free services, such as oil changes and tire rotations or upgrades like free or discounted remote start. Negotiating these extras will still save you money in the long run, even if they don’t come off the sticker price of your new car the day you buy it.

Ultimately, when you get ready to buy a new car, keep in mind that car dealerships have to make money too so you may not get everything you want in a negotiation. These tips, however, can help you get the best deal possible when the time comes for you to make this major purchase.


Visit UFCU.org, give us a call, or visit your local financial center anytime to chat with a Personal Financial Representative. Or apply for a vehicle loan now.

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