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Car Buying Tips and Tricks

Jun 15, 2021
Tips on buying your next car!

Summer weather have you thinking of upgrading your ride? Here’s some tips on how to make the most of buying a new car!

Know your budget

Before you head to the dealership, spend some time crunching numbers for your budget.  Once you are on the lot, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and be swayed by bells and whistles, and you can quickly find yourself stretching beyond your financial comfort level.  Do an honest review of your finances before you start shopping. 

  • What is the max you can afford for a monthly payment?
  • Remember, don’t just look at the price of the vehicle – you also want to factor in all the costs of having it! This includes:
    • Insurance
    • Maintenance and repairs
    • Registration and taxes
    • Gas and parking

At TruChoice, our FSRs can help you look at your full financial picture so you can go into car buying with your eyes open, knowing exactly ‘how much car’ you can afford

Get preapproved

Once you are ready to start actively shopping, work with your loan officer to get preapproved for a loan.  This helps you know what you qualify for and lets you avoid financing at the dealership.  Getting preapproved:

  • Helps lower the chance you’ll feel high pressure to purchase immediately at a higher rate.
  • Lets you take advantage of lower costs for things like GAP insurance and Service Warrantees.
  • Helps ensure you don’t get caught up in add on costs or end up with ‘more car’ than you need/want.

Beware of ‘buy here pay here’ options

Often these come with higher interest rates and sometimes the markup is much more than the car is worth.

  • Remember – just because you may be experiencing credit challenges doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a good rate and a good experience!
  • At TruChoice, we pride ourselves on listening to every member’s story.  Our goal is to help everyone get a fair rate and a payment you can afford!

Know what you want

Have an idea of what kind of car you want? Doing some research ahead of time can help you make sure you don’t overspend or get caught up in an impulsive decision. Here’s some things to think about if you are ready to start shopping:

  • Are you looking for a ‘forever’ car that will last you and your family 5-10 years, or are you looking to trade in within a few years?
  • How will you use the car? Is it primarily for commuting, for family trips, or carpooling the soccer team?  How much storage do you need? How many people are you likely to have in the car on a regular basis?
  • Take a moment to evaluate your current ride – what do you like? What do you wish was different? Make a list of ‘must have’, ‘would like’, and ‘wish list’ items for your new car.
  • Shop around and be ok with walking away.  Just because you took it for a test ride doesn’t mean you are committed to the car – if it’s not the right fit for your family and your budget, it’s alright to keep looking.

Timing timing timing

When’s the best time to buy a car? You’ve probably heard to wait for the end of month or end of year, or wait for big sales.  And while you can find all kinds of tips on when to head to the dealership, ultimately the best answer for ‘when to buy a car’ comes down to ‘when it’s right for you’.

  • If you wait until your current car needs major repairs, you are more apt to fall for high pressure tactics or buy a car that doesn’t actually fit your needs. If you know your current vehicle is on the way out, try to replace it before it breaks down. 
  • How much do you still owe on your current car? Remember, whatever the difference is between what you owe and what you get for a trade in will need to get rolled into your new loan, potentially raising your payment or loan terms.

Have Fun! 

Buying a new (or ‘new to you’) car can be exciting!  It’s a great time to evaluate what you want in a vehicle, and we can help you make the most of it!  Our Financial Service Reps can help evaluate your credit, find the right payment for your budget, and get you the best rate on your new car!