The Scream-Free, Stress-Free Way to Buy a New Car

Are you excited about the possibility of getting a new car, but dreading the pressure-cooker car dealer shopping experience?  If you’ve EVER bought a car you probably remember how long, stressful, and confusing the process was. Nobody wants that, right? 

There’s a better, more comfortable way to buy a new car that will leave you smiling, not screaming.  You’ll be able to walk into a car dealership with confidence and get the best deal without falling for any expensive tricks. Find out how.

You Must Know the Secret

The secret is: your car financing is about MORE than just the loan.  You save money when YOU are in control of the financing (instead of following the dealer’s lead and taking whatever they suggest). It may seem like the haggling is over by the time you get to a dealer’s finance office, but the financing step actually determines the outcome of the entire deal! 

Unfortunately, many people are exhausted, hungry, and worn-out by the time they step into a dealer’s finance office after a long day at the dealership. But for most dealers, this is where it gets exciting, because the finance process is typically where they make their profit.

In reality, the total financial investment of buying your car is determined by several factors:  trade value, warranty, after-market sales, fees, financing, and the price.

Show up With Your Own Financing

It’s super smart to arrange your own financing FIRST by getting a car loan pre-approval from your trusted financial institution before going shopping. Research shows that consumers who enter into their car-buying transaction with pre-arranged financing are HAPPIER than those who use dealer-controlled financing. This prepares you with a solid understanding of the numbers throughout the process, so you can make informed choices, prevent surprises, and avoid buyer’s remorse. This also eliminates the need to share your personal financial information with the dealers and their partners, which keeps your data private.

Stick to Your Numbers

Get clear on these important numbers before you even think about car shopping:

  • How much is your trade-in vehicle worth?  
  • How much do you still owe on your car loan?
  • How much cash do you have available for a down payment, taxes and fees?
  • What monthly payment works for your budget?

Once you know these numbers, MVCU’s Auto Advisor can help you identify appropriate vehicles and a loan term that meets your personal needs and budget.

Look Beyond the Rate

Don’t be fooled by thinking a low rate equals the best deal– it might not. Advertisements often feature low rates to entice shoppers to visit a car lot.  What the dealers really want is to control your car loan, because the financing process is where they make most of their profit, remember? 

And when the dealer controls the loan, they can sell more products by bumping up the payment a little or extending your loan term. You might hear them say “It’s only the price of a cup of coffee a day”… but $2 a day for 4 years is really a $3,000 decision!  If they talk you into a longer loan term, you’ll pay even more in payments and interest.  A win for them– not for you.

Choose Your Own Protection

After you’ve selected your car and negotiated your trade-in, you’ll be directed to the dealer’s finance office. The finance manager will present you with several options (that sound important and compelling) that are available for additional costs.  

Some of the most expensive options include paint and fabric protection, tire and wheel protection, extended warranties, and GAP insurance. Although these product prices sound firm, they are negotiable. Most finance managers are paid on the number of add-ons they sell to you as well as the profit they can make on them. They have an incentive to sell you more products even if some are sold at a discounted price. They’d rather sell you products at a discount than not sell them at all, so you have some wiggle room here if these products appeal to you.

Thinking About GAP Insurance?

Shop around for prices on this through your credit union and you could save as much as 50% off the dealer’s pricing, and possibly get better coverage! Your MVCU service representative or Auto Advisor can explain the considerable differences between the two so you can make an accurate decision. (See also “Why Consider GAP Insurance & How to Save Money on it”)  

What About an Extended Warranty?

It’s important to compare apples to apples when shopping for an extended warranty, and all warranties are definitely not the same. Warranty coverage and pricing vary based on:

  • the underwriter (manufacturer, dealer, credit union)
  • the term (years and/or miles)
  • amount of deductible
  • what is covered & excluded

If all that sounds like a lot of research, don’t worry. You can get expert help (for free) from MVCU’s Auto Advisor. They can help you determine if an extended warranty makes sense for you personally, and help you evaluate and compare your options.

Get Help From Your Auto Advisor BEFORE You Go Shopping!

You’ve been bombarded with tempting low rate and low payment car ads. But now you know there’s so much MORE to financing your next car than just the rate. The better prepared you are, the better you’ll do at the dealer. If you’re considering the purchase or lease of a new or used vehicle, talk with our Auto Advisor team BEFORE you go shopping. They are here to help ensure you get the best deal (with the least amount of stress), a loan that works for you, and have a pleasant experience! What’s better than that?

*These numbers are used as an example only and are hypothetical. Contact us directly for current rate information: visit mvcu.com or call 800-356-0067.

The insurance offered is not a deposit of the Credit Union, is not protected by NCUA or any other type of deposit insurance, is not an obligation of or guaranteed by the Credit Union and may be subject to risk.

Auto Advisor works with certain dealerships within their authorized network.