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Community Advocacy Organization

Five Things to Consider When Buying a Car

Photo Courtesy of Best and Brightest

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, there’s more to settling on a set of wheels than the color, make, and model. Here are five things to consider to get the best deal when buying a car.

1. Review your budget. Before you start car shopping, look at your budget and determine how much you can afford. Include the monthly payment, gas, maintenance, and insurance costs.

2. Choose whether to buy or lease. When you buy a vehicle, your monthly auto loan payments may be higher than if you leased but you’ll own the car once the loan is paid and your maintenance costs could be lower because of warranties that last several years. When you lease, your monthly payment may be less but there usually are limitations such as mileage traveled.

3. Make sure it’s the right time to buy. Many dealerships offer some of the best deals at the end of the year as they reduce inventories and prepare to receive new models. Depending on the amount of time the car has been on the lot, you may also be able to negotiate a lower price.

4. Schedule the test drive. Once you’ve decided on a vehicle, visit your local dealership for a test drive. Explore all of the features, adjust the seats and mirrors, and locate dashboard controls and other options to determine if the vehicle is a good fit.

5. Get preapproved. An auto loan preapproval letter includes your loan amount, interest rate, and loan term. This document helps when negotiating a car deal because it shows you’re a serious buyer with financing.

At MSUFCU, we'll get you preapproved for an auto loan in as little as 10 minutes and help answer any questions you have about the car buying process. The Credit Union also offers auto loan refinancing and lease options. Apply through the MSUFCU Mobile app or, visit a branch, or give us a call at 1(800) 678-4968.

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