Yes, we know that getting the financing first flies in the face of car loan tradition. But we also know that it works for you, the new car shopper. And it’s an approach more and more financial experts recommend.
For the sake of this post, we’re going to assume you’ve done that, and that the car loan amount and payments fit your budget.
“So, I got approved for a car loan, now what?” you ask.
In the case of RoadLoans, you should download and print your loan packet and take it to your recommended dealer nearby. Then work with your RoadLoans dealer to find the vehicle that is right for you. RoadLoans works with a nationwide network of dealers who are able to show you select, high quality vehicles meeting our standards for age, mileage and financing. These include fully reconditioned vehicles with clean titles, nine years old or newer, and with fewer than 120,000 miles on the odometer.
Before you visit the dealership, however, there are some important, additional steps to consider – whether you get your car loan through RoadLoans or someone else, and whether you are shopping for a new car or a used car.
First, establish the price you are willing to pay for your new car – it should be an amount that fits your budget, your financing, your specific vehicle needs, the cost of ownership, etc.
Second, know the value of your current vehicle. Decide whether you want to trade in or sell privately for cash that might be put towards a down payment on your next car. Sites like Kelley Blue Book can help you estimate the value of your vehicle.
Third, be sure to take a test drive. How does the vehicle handle? Turn down the radio so that you can hear the engine. Feel the tires and suspension. Evaluate the car’s performance on both the freeway and side streets. Park the car in a small space to get a sense of its agility.
Fourth, negotiate the deal. Consider starting at the invoice price – which is what the dealer paid for the vehicle – not the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), also known as the sticker price, which you’ll find on the window label of the car. The dealer may be willing to negotiate a price between the two.
Finally, your dealership will typically have a finance and insurance office (known as F&I), which handles the paperwork at the end and may offer you optional products like an extended warranty. Make sure you review and understand all contracts and paperwork before you sign anything.
You can learn more about the RoadLoans process here. Are you approved for a loan to buy a car from a private party? Take a look at our private party auto loans page. For additional car-buying tips, see “8 steps to buying a new car,” an article by Ronald Montoya, senior consumer advice editor at Edmunds.com.
If you haven’t yet applied for a car loan, fill out RoadLoans’ quick one-page application to get a decision in seconds and see if you’re approved.