December 27, 20219 Things to Consider When Buying a Car 

9 Things to Consider When Buying a Car 

Whether you’re in the market for your first car, or it’s just been a while since your last vehicle purchase, you may have some questions. We put together a list of nine things you should keep in mind as you prepare to buy your car.  

1. Set Your Budget 

Consider how much you want to spend on your vehicle. If you’re taking out an auto loan, think about how much you want to spend on your monthly payment. Don’t forget to include tax, tags, and auto insurance in the cost. Here is an easy-to-use auto loan calculator to help you decide on your spending limit: Auto Loan Calculator.

2. Determine Your Trade-In Value 

If you are trading in your current vehicle, be sure to check NADAguides for your car’s trade-in value. This will help you determine your total budget and will go into negotiation for the purchase of your new vehicle.  

3. Determine your Needs and Wants 

Once you know how much you can spend, you’ll want to figure out what your needs and wants are in a new vehicle. Think about which features you absolutely can’t live without, and which ones are negotiable. If you need assistance sorting these things out, visit our partner, Auto Advisors for help. 

4. Keep Up-Keep Costs in Mind 

Cars continue to cost money above and beyond the monthly payment and insurance. Keep things like fuel, repairs, oil changes, inspections, etc. in mind when choosing a vehicle to purchase.  

When you finance through PEFCU, we offer Mechanical Breakdown Coverage through our Route 66 Warranty program. This could help with maintenance costs. See one of our loan experts for details! 

5. Get Insurance Quotes 

It’s important to get insurance quotes ahead of time so that you’re not surprised by the cost of insurance after you’ve already purchased a car. For example, it may cost more to insure a sports car than a minivan or a mid-range sedan. 

We’ve partnered with TrueStage Insurance to help you find great prices on auto insurance. For more information visit TrueStage Insurance.  

6. Check Your Credit 

Before you apply for a loan, check your credit score. An excellent credit score could help you get a lower rate on an auto loan if your lender uses risk-based lending. If you do not have a good credit history, you may want to get your credit in shape before taking out a loan. PEFCU members can check their FICO® credit score via the mobile banking app.  

7. Review Your Loan Options 

Once you know how much you can spend and that your credit history is in good shape, you should consider how you’ll finance your vehicle. Make sure you check your local credit union or bank and compare them to other options. PEFCU offers competitive auto loan rates and convenient terms. Apply for a loan before going to the dealership, it can save you time and may give you an advantage when negotiating the price of the car. PEFCU members can apply here.

8. Research Dealerships 

In addition to researching vehicles, it is important to research dealerships as well. There are most likely several dealerships in your area to choose from. Read reviews and consider the experiences of previous customers. Ask family and friends for recommendations as well. You’ll want to visit a few because one may give you a better price than the others.  

PEFCU’s partnership with Auto Advisors can also help you find the right dealer. Visit PEFCU’s Auto Advisors for details. 

9. Begin Negotiations 

After you’ve taken test drives and researched all your options, you’ll want to start negotiating the price of the vehicle you’ve chosen. You should be prepared with your budget and your preapproval. Make sure you stick to your budget – you want to be comfortable with your monthly payment.  

With lots of research and preparation, you’ll be ready to get your next car in no time! If you have any questions about purchasing a vehicle, talk to one of PEFCU’s Member Advocates at 800-226-6673 or stop by your local branch. Visit to apply for an auto loan today! 

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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