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Don’t Get Taken For a Ride When Buying a Car


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Looking Good Behind The Wheel Takes More Than Your College Degree
Buying a new car can be an exciting prospect, but it can get complicated. In today’s market, there are more choices than ever: new makes and models, financing options, loan programs and warranties. Even if you already have some idea of what kind of vehicle you want, there are things to consider before you head out to the dealerships.

Find Out How Much Car You Can Afford Before You Shop
While interest rates have remained at record-breaking lows, prices on some popular new and used models may have gone up. Save yourself some time by getting pre-qualified for an auto loan. Many financial institutions that offer auto loans allow you to do this online, providing an answer in a short time. Pre-qualification arms you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision about which type of vehicle you can realistically afford. It also gives you more leverage when negotiating at the dealership.

Do Your Homework
Start your search on the Internet. Individual manufacturers’ sites provide details about their new models and specifications, as well as some newer used ones.

BMW Taste on a VW Budget
Most new models depreciate as much as 20% per year. When you do the math, this accounts for a significant difference in cost between a new car and one that’s just a year or two old. If you’ve been dreaming all through college about owning that shiny new Beemer, but it doesn’t quite fit your budget, a “nearly new” car could be the solution. One of the concerns most consumers have about buying used is the uncertainty about the condition of the vehicle. Certified Pre-Owned Car (CPO) programs offer peace-of-mind. In all CPO programs, there are points of inspection that must be passed in order for the vehicle to be certified, with some kind of warranty provided.

When It Comes to a New Vehicle … 0% vs. Rebate?
Zero or very low interest rate offers are usually introductory, require an excellent credit score to qualify and are available only on limited models. Plus, they’re often limited to shorter terms of 12 to 24 months, creating higher monthly payments. They can also require large down payments. Don’t be persuaded to purchase a vehicle you don’t really want simply because of manufacturers’ incentives. Make your vehicle selection based on your personal needs. Then, go shopping for the best price and financing.

However, if you do qualify and decide to take advantage of a special offer on a vehicle that comes with a low rate or rebate offer, you should take the rebate over the lower dealer rate. You can use the rebate to reduce the amount of your loan overall. Then apply for a lower rate loan with the financial institution of your choice. This combination will generate your best overall savings.

Visit ucu.org for information on University Credit Union’s new and used auto loans.