Buying a Car | Trusted Life Advice | Redstone Federal Credit Union data-constrain=

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Buying a Car

With all the time we spend on the road, it’s no wonder buying a car is such a momentous step.  The features you look for in a vehicle reflect the kind of life you lead, so it’s important to take time to find the right fit. Do you need enhanced safety features and extra seating for all those trips to and from the soccer field?

Are you looking for energy-efficiency and excellent gas mileage to make your long commute less costly? Is your ideal car functional or fun to drive—or both? As with any large purchase, it’s essential to make a plan before you go shopping.


Think. Plan. Drive.

Redstone’s tools and helpful tips will make the car-buying process more enjoyable and efficient.

Start with the auto loan calculator to determine how much car you can afford. Make a list of your wants and needs, and consider how your new vehicle will offer sensible solutions to the tasks you face every day. With a little planning, you can find the car that’s just right for you, whether you’re looking for performance or practicality.

How much should you spend on your next car? Download this guide for tips on choosing the right car, determining gas and maintenance costs, and deciding what you can really afford.
When you’re ready for your new ride, Redstone offers competitive loan rates.
Apply for an auto loan now!


Planning and Pre-approval


Before you head to the dealership, there are two important steps you should take: plan ahead and get pre-approved.

As you start out, set some financial and personal priorities. The entire process will be easier if you know what you want, what you need, and how much you’re prepared to spend.

  • Gather as much information as you can before you talk to a salesperson. An informed buyer is more likely to have a positive car-buying experience. Educate yourself so that you’ll know a good deal when you see it.
  • How much car can you afford? Consider not just the monthly payment, but also insurance, gas, maintenance, and repairs. The total should not be more than 10-15% of your monthly take-home pay. Our auto loan calculators can help you make a wise decision and set a budget.
  • Make a list of must-haves. Buying a car is likely one of the larger purchases you will make. Make sure the vehicle meets your needs. What can’t you live without in terms of safety features, styling, passenger space, and technology? What will you be comfortable driving for the next 2-4 years? 
  • Do you want new, used, or leased? There are pros and cons to all. New cars lose value during the first few years, but typically have more robust warranties. Used cars can be a great value if they are carefully evaluated by a trusted mechanic and shown to be in good shape. Leased vehicles typically have lower monthly payments, but require a down payment at the start of the lease. They also have annual mileage limits and other restrictions.

Get pre-approved for an auto loan

  • Getting pre-approved before you shop will help you save on financing. Once you’ve gone through the pre-approval process, you’ll know what interest rate you can qualify for. With this information in your pocket, you’ll be better informed and you’ll be able to tell whether the salesperson is offering you a good deal or not.
  • When you’re pre-approved, you’ll have more power during the negotiating process. Learning your credit score, seeing what financing options are available to you, and taking the time to prepare for the car-buying process will allow you to negotiate with confidence.
  • Lining up your financing beforehand will help you stay within your budget. It will also take some of the pressure off of you and make the entire car-buying experience more pleasant. You won’t be coerced into making a purchase you’ll regret if you walk into the dealership with a firm limit on how much you can spend.

Apply now for an auto loan. For even more savings, ask for the Redstone Rate at these dealers!



The Car-Buying Process

Once you determine how much car you can afford and what features you want, it’s time to find the perfect vehicle for you.


Start online

The internet is the ideal place to explore pricing, equipment, safety reviews, quality, and cost of ownership. For added peace of mind, you can check out what actual owners say about the vehicle. Excellent resources on the internet include TRUEcar.com, Edmunds.com, and Kelley Blue Book.

Once you select the model, options, and color, it’s time to get serious about price. One key to success in negotiating a new vehicle is collecting as much information as possible before making the deal, and nearly all of that information can be found on the Internet. Take the mystery out of vehicle pricing by finding the invoice price, MSRP, and Fair Purchase Price all before setting foot on a car lot.


Buying tips for getting the best deals

  • Everything is negotiable. Don’t be afraid to ask and ask again. 
  • Find out what the “invoice” price of a car is, in addition to the MSRP. The invoice price refers to what the dealer paid the manufacturer for the vehicle. This knowledge should come in handy during negotiations. 
  • Consider buying later in the year before the car’s body style is due to change.
  •  Buy around the last day of the month. Dealers have monthly sales quotas.
  • Buy at the end of the year. Some dealers will clear out inventory for tax reasons.


You’ve Found Your Car—Now What?


Start a bidding war

Shop around and use the competition between dealers to your advantage. Get a quote from one dealer, then call the dealers across town and ask them if they can beat it. Make sure you’re asking about the total selling price, including any additional features or accessories. It might take some back-and-forth negotiations and a little patience, but it should pay off in the long run.


Discuss trade-in, if any, after finalizing the price of the new vehicle

Consider selling your old car yourself in a private sale or sell to the dealer in a trade. Be warned, however; the dealer will likely offer to pay the low end of the car’s value if you offer it as a trade. Use Edmunds.com or TRUEcar.com to determine how to price your used car.

Must be an RFCU® member to obtain a loan. All loans subject to credit approval. Must be eligible for membership and open a share savings account to join RFCU. A $5 minimum deposit is required to open share savings account and must be maintained in share account at all times. Other restrictions may apply. Redstone is an Equal Credit Opportunity Lender.

Redstone Insurance Services is a licensed insurance agency that sells insurance policies by third-party insurance companies. The insurance companies underwriting these policies are not affiliated with Redstone Federal Credit Union® or any of its subsidiaries. Insurance products offered through third-party insurance companies are not RFCU products, and are NCUA or federally insured. These products are not obligations of RFCU and are not endorsed, recommended or guaranteed by RFCU or any government agency. The insurance products are being offered by a dual employee who also sells insurance products on behalf of a third-party insurance company. RFCU does not warrant or insure any service or product offered by any third-party insurance company or Redstone Insurance Services. RFCU and Redstone Insurance Services are affiliated, but RFCU, Redstone Insurance Services and third-party insurance companies are separate entities.

GAP:
Deductible coverage is available in most, but not all states. Please consult your financing representative for the availability of this benefit. For a complete list of terms and conditions, see the GAP Waiver Addendum. The purchase of GAP is voluntary and cannot be required as a condition of loan approval. Whether or not you purchase GAP will not affect your application for credit or the terms of any existing credit agreement you have with us. GAP is a loan/lease deficiency waiver and is not offered as insurance coverage. Applies only to collateral financed by RFCU®. A fee applies. Please contact RFCU at 800-234-1234 for information.

MBP:
Extended Warranty is provided by Route 66 and is not an insurance product. For a complete list of terms and provisions, see the Service Agreement available at any branch. The purchase of an Extended Warranty is voluntary and is not required as a condition of loan approval. Enrollment fees apply.

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