October 4, 2021How to Score a Better Deal on Your Next Car 

Buying a car is an exciting time. There are so many possibilities! But, although your heart may be into the shiny sports car on the lot, your mind tells you a nice, modest sedan is actually what you can afford. This guide will help you focus so you can score a better deal the next time you buy a car. 

Focus on Price First 

Buying a car may be serious business to you, but the salesperson at the lot may view selling a car as a game. Their goal is to score the best deal for the dealership… and a higher commission check for themselves. Your mission, however, is to get the best deal for yourself.  

So, start with negotiating the price of the vehicle. Don’t mention down payments, trades, or any other details. Never give more information than necessary. Negotiate the cost of the car. Period.  

Value Your Trade-In 

Once you’ve reached an agreement on the price, ask the dealership for a valuation of your trade-in. Again, it’s important to wait until after you’ve agreed on a price. Otherwise, the salesperson will treat the trade-in and the purchase like a group package and arrange that in their favor.  

They’ll often claim they can lower the vehicle’s price by devaluing the trade-in vehicle or promise more for the trade while refusing to budge on the new vehicle price. Make them separate issues. 

Avoid Add-Ons 

If the salesperson can’t get you on the price of the vehicle or the value of the trade, they’ll attempt one more gambit: add-ons. One bit of advice to consider is purchasing these add-ons from the credit union instead. For example, if you are interested in an extended warranty or GAP (Guaranteed Asset Protection), you can often buy them at a significantly lower price at the credit union.  

Consider a Loan Preapproval 

Getting a preapproval for your auto loan helps you make better-informed buying decisions, lets you know how much money you have to work with, and ensures that you won’t go over your budget.  

Plus, since you’ll have a specific dollar amount that you’re approved to borrow, the dealer isn’t going to try to sell you features you can’t afford or unnecessary add-ons. While some dealerships may recommend working with their lenders to get a “better deal,” be wary. Many will use tactics like extending loan terms to get the monthly payment lower, enabling them to sell you a much more expensive vehicle outside of your budget. 

In some cases, a loan preapproval can also help you negotiate a lower price on the vehicle you want. For example, some dealers agree that a bird in the hand is better than one that flies away, so they may be willing to lower the price rather than lose the sale altogether. 

Since PEFCU is a not-for-profit organization, seeking a loan preapproval from us means you’re probably scoring a better deal on your financing than the dealership can match. That’s great news for you! 


We’re Here to Help! 

Buying a new car can be both exciting and stressful. However, we’re here to help make the process easy on you and your finances. So, whether you’re looking for a savings account to help you save for a down payment, auto financing, GAP insurance coverage, or extended warranties, we’ve got you covered.  

Visit one of our branch locations or call 1-800-226-6673 today to learn more about how we can help you score a better deal on your next car!  


Federally Insured by NCUA.

Each individual’s financial situation is unique, and readers are encouraged to contact PEFCU when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice. If such advice or a legal opinion is required, please consult with competent local counsel.   

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