What to consider before buying a vehicle

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    Regardless of whether your current car is on its last wheels, your family is growing or you have decided to take a recreational drive in your garage, it is best to think about beforehand what you need and how you want to finance your new vehicle she get into a car dealership. These car buying tips from Elevations Car loans Team helps you make an informed decision.

    Do your homework

    Before you go shopping, first determine your exact wants and needs in a vehicle. Do you need space for a new baby or family dog? Do you prefer a vehicle with plenty of cargo space to transport supplies from the hardware store? Do you need towing power to pull a motorhome? Do you need better gas mileage for a job that requires daily highway driving? We all use our vehicles for different purposes, so it is best to make a list of your requirements before shopping.

    Next, with a New, leased or used vehicles? New vehicles usually come with a guarantee of greater coverage and the peace of mind that the vehicle will run well while offering the latest technology. A used or leased car can be easy on the wallet, offer a limited warranty, and still meet your personal needs.

    Research vehicles from home

    Go online and discover the type of vehicle you want. You might be looking for “best family SUVs” or “best trucks to pull a horse trailer”. Get specific and read reviews from various sources: bloggers, car dealers, manufacturers, and car owners. This gives you a well-rounded picture of available offers, prices (new, leased, and used), best features, and consumer concerns.

    Use the information you’ve learned to ask educated questions when you finally get to the dealer. Ask how the third row of seats can be folded down or what equipment packages are available on site, as you are familiar with the functions of your new car.

    Investigate the dealers you want to visit

    Spending time on your computer prior to your in-person visit will help you choose the best dealer for your needs. You can easily see if they have in stock the make and model of the car you want to see in person. Also check out the reviews. How is your customer service? How did you deal with a customer complaint? Do you offer an on-site body shop or a partnership with a local chain of workshops for oil changes? What is your schedule for executing new vehicle orders? Much of this information is described online or is available through a short web chat.

    Reach out to family, neighbors, co-workers, and friends for an insight into their experience buying a car and the dealership’s aftercare. Also, spend time asking people in your close circle for their recommendations. Ask them these questions:

    1. Who did you enjoy working with?
    2. Who made the process difficult?
    3. Who would you buy from again?

    Information on prices and tariffs

    Compare the prices listed for your ideal journey online. How much does it cost at different retailers? What is the breakdown for new versus used or leased? Does the price vary depending on the duration of the financing? Does the dealer accept trade-ins??

    Take a close look at car loan interest rates, not just the vehicle price. Many merchants have a local banking professional to manage the numbers for you, but keep in mind that this is not your only option. You can also work with an outside lender such as Elevations Credit Union. Our car loan application is available online, and you can also see a range of term options and our competitive rates.

    There are numerous factors to consider when setting your pricing. While the rates are important, lower rates don’t always mean a lower payment, even with 0% financing.

    As you can see in the table above, choosing a financial institution can save you money even if the interest rate is bigger. We cannot stress this enough Importance of asking about available discounts when buying a new car.

    Check your FICO-Score®

    Your creditworthiness will, in part, determine the interest rate and loan amount for which you will qualify. You can check your score for free with no penalties by doing that the Federal Trade Commission Partnership with Annual credit report.

    Many financial institutions now provide your credit rating for free. If you have an Elevations account, you can check your creditworthiness by logging into digital banking from a computer or using our app. Download the app from the App Store for Apple devices and from Google Play for Android devices.

    Determine your budget and get pre-approved

    Once you’re armed with your FICO Score®, it’s time to budget for your vehicle purchase. Most financial planners agree that your monthly auto expenses, including principal, interest, and insurance, should not exceed 10% of your gross monthly income. While this serves as a good guide, you can get a lot more specific by doing one Car loan calculator to see how much car you can afford. You can also work in reverse order and use a calculator to work out your monthly payments if you already have your dream car in mind.

    In addition to the monthly car payment, be sure to take these additional costs into account:

    • Road tax, title and license. These prices vary depending on the district.
    • Insurance premiums. These are determined by several factors including the age of the car, the type of vehicle, your driving history, and the insurance plan.
    • Maintenance costs. Budget for regular maintenance such as oil changes and new tires. It’s also good to set aside savings for surprising repairs like a new fuel pump or a cracked windshield.

    After you’ve done your research, the next step is to get pre-approved a loan from your financial institution or go straight to a dealer. Getting pre-approved before you go to the dealer can set a tariff and take the pressure off the buying process.

    Learn more about the auto loan pre-approval process by calling the Elevations Credit Union team at (800) 429-7626. In the meantime, Browse our car loan hub, where you can learn more about buying from a dealer, buying from a private seller, refinancing an existing car loan, our current loan rates, AutoTrek and our dealer inventory search tool.

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