Things to consider when you shop for a car:
1. Take a Test Drive
Make an appointment to test drive the cars you are considering purchasing. Take your time and bring a friend with you. 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.
Do your homework before you arrive at the dealership so that you know both fair and advertised prices for your trade-in and the car you want to purchase. Negotiate from the invoice price of the car up—not the MSRP down—and get an agreed-upon price in writing from the dealer. If you are positive that you have the deal you want, then talk rebates, down payment and trade in. If there is a factory rebate on your new vehicle, the incentive is from the manufacturer and should be included in your negotiations.
3. Be Patient
Never buy under pressure, and do not buy on impulse. Get everything in writing. Once you make an offer, stick to it and be prepared to leave if you have to. Always remember that you are in control of the purchase and ultimately you have to live with and pay for the vehicle. Never buy unless you feel ready to do so.
4. The F&I Office
Also known as the Finance and Insurance office, “F&I” handles all the paperwork and contracts related to the purchase of your vehicle. Typically the office is managed by someone other than your salesperson. Review all contracts and paperwork carefully before signing anything. Do not sign anything you do not fully understand. The office will also try to sell you products and services. You are not obligated to purchase anything. Warranties and GAP coverage are popular add-ons.
- Is the vehicle being sold by a dealer in your state?
- Is the vehicle worth more than $7,500?
- Is the vehicle a 2006 model year or newer with less than 120,000 miles?*
If you answered YES to all 3 questions, then this is the right loan for you.
(* Term varies as determined by mileage).