Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Car

If you are in the market for a new or used car, chances are you’re probably looking for an auto loan as well. Avoiding some common mistakes will help you find the best rates for your used auto loan and can make the whole car buying process run smoother. When you decide on the car of your dreams, contact Missouri Central Credit Union to find out about our great rates and apply for an auto loan.

Did you Check Auto Guides for Used Cars?

One of the biggest mistakes people make when shopping for cars is not checking auto guides on used cars. We have all heard how important it is to check the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) when looking for new cars, but did you know you can research the value of a used car? Taking the time to look up the estimated value of a used car can ensure you are getting the best deal for your new-to-you car. There are three major sources to find the estimated value of your used car:

- Kelley Blue Book (KBB)
- Edmunds
- National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)

Checking the auto guide can give you insight into the used car before you even see it in person. Auto guides show you details about a used vehicle including owner and accident history, mileage, average fuel consumption, and features included in the car. The best part of online auto guides is they can inform you about how the asking price compares to its value. These auto guides are an excellent source to give you a jump start on your auto search and make sure you are getting a great deal on your used car.

Did You Look Up the Value of Your Trade-in?

Once you choose a new or used car, you must then decide what to do with your existing vehicle. If you want to sell your old car, you might be considering a trade-in. Selling your car outright will generally get you a higher return. But if you don’t want to go through the hassle of selling your car yourself, a trade-in can be a great option, especially if you use your trade-in as a down payment to lower your monthly payment on your used auto car loan. Just as you should look up the value of a used car before you purchase it, make sure you are checking KBB, Edmunds, and NADA for the estimated value of your old vehicle. Educating yourself about the value of your trade-in is important if you want to get a fair price for your old vehicle.

Do Your Research!

When shopping for a new or used car, research is king! One of the biggest mistakes people can make is buying the first car they find, without doing the proper research first. Educating yourself is critical to get the best deal on your trade-in, find a great price for a used car, and getting the best rate on an auto loan.

Check your credit score.

In order to be fully prepared when talking about financing your new or used car, it’s important to know where your credit stands.

Test drive potential cars. 

Take several cars out for test drives to compare them and find one that is the best fit for you. A test drive can help you narrow down your search and make your car buying process smoother.

Don’t be afraid to walk away.

Don’t forget that you have the power to walk away. If you feel pressured or uncomfortable at any time in your car buying process, it is ok to walk away. Buying a car is a major purchase and not one that should be rushed into. Remember a dealer is trying to get your business, not the other way around so don’t get roped into a bad deal because you didn’t walk away. (This is not an opportunity for you to be rude to the sales staff, just to avoid a potential bad deal.)

Get pre-approved on an auto loan. 

Getting pre-approved for an auto loan is a great idea because you’ll have a clear idea of how much you can afford before you set your heart on a car.

It’s Okay to Talk Financing with the Dealer!

Talking about financing is uncomfortable conversation for many people. Often when looking for an auto car loan, the focus is put exclusively on monthly payment and not the total amount of the loan. Discussing the financing options available with your dealer allows you to compare auto loan interest rates and total loan amounts. In general, if you can afford a higher monthly payment or shorter loan term you will pay less in total than if you have a lower monthly payment. Often times dealerships will offer rebates and other incentives if you use them for financing. We work with members all the time who use the dealer financing and then once their obligation is complete to get their rebate, we refinance the auto loan.

Shopping for a car doesn’t have to be a stressful experience, as long as you do your research and educate yourself. And remember when you are ready to apply for auto loan, Missouri Central Credit Union provides excellent auto loan rates and will help you with all of your financing needs.