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Buying a car can sometimes seem like “the best of times, or the worst of times’’ depending on your experience.
But you can get a good deal and create a pleasant car-buying experience – whether you decide to buy new or used, or to lease it. Here’s how:

Getting Ready to Buy A Car

Before you head to the dealership, set some financial and personal priorities. Let this information guide you as you search.

  • 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 calculators1 can estimate your loan amount and payment.
  • What are your must-haves in the car? Buying a car is likely one of the larger purchases you will make. Make sure the vehicle meets your needs. What safety features, styling, passenger space, and technology, can’t you live without? 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.

The Car Buying Process

Once you determine how much car you can afford and what features you want, then you have to find it.

Start online
You should search online for pricing, equipment, safety reviews, quality, and cost of ownership. For added peace of mind, you can also see what actual owners say about the vehicle.

Once you know the car you want and select the model, options, and color, it’s time to get serious about price. One key to success in negotiating for a new vehicle is collecting as much information as possible before making the deal.

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.

Get pre-approved for an auto loan at your credit union.
Redstone Federal Credit Union® routinely offers lower auto loan rates than financial institutions in its same market. You may still consider dealership financing, but getting approved before you shop may get you the best rate and help you stay within your budget. Your Redstone checking account2 also gives you better rates through MemberPlus!Apply for a loan through online banking4, in any branch or over the phone.

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.com5 to determine how to price your used car.

Shop for auto insurance.
Getting an auto insurance quote helps you determine the true cost of ownership for your new vehicle. Get a “no obligation” online quote from Redstone Insurance Services.When deciding how much coverage you need, make sure you’re covered for an amount equal to the total value of your vehicle.

Extended Warranties and GAP coverage7
Redstone proudly offers Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP), which covers the “gap” between the vehicle’s value and the amount you still owe if it is stolen or totaled in a major accident. Mechanical Breakdown Protection (MBP), which offers warranty protection for your vehicle, is also offered by Redstone and Route 66. It can help you prepare for unexpected repairs and save you money.

Mechanical Breakdown Protection can help ensure that the investment in your vehicle is safe, and it reduces the possibility of out-of-pocket expenses when your vehicle suffers an unexpected mechanical failure. Get an instant quote today by calling 800-808-0828 to talk with a customer service representative at Route 66.

Buying Tips for Getting the Best Deals

According to an article by Kelley Blue Book5, there are a few things the bargain-hunter buyer can do to get a better deal. Consider these tips:
• Buy out-of-season vehicles — like a convertible in cold weather or the winter season
• Buy a model late in the year before the body-style change
• Buy an overstocked or mass-market vehicle with a customer cash incentive — incentives are typically higher in the summer and winter months
• 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

 

1 The calculators are provided by CalcXML. RFCU does not warrant, guarantee, or insure any service or information provided by CalcXML. RFCU and CalcXML are separate entities. Calculator information is based on information and assumptions provided by you regarding your goals, expectations, and financial situation. The calculations provided should not be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice and should not be relied upon as the only source of information. This information is supplied from sources believed to be reliable, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy. Hypothetical illustrations may provide historical or current performance information. Past performance does not guarantee or indicate future results.

2 Must be eligible for membership and open a savings account to join RFCU®, and obtain any products or services. A minimum balance of $5 is required to open and be maintained in the savings account. Must not have caused RFCU a loss in order to be eligible to open a checking account. Minimum opening deposits, average monthly balances, and monthly checking maintenance fees apply to the checking accounts. The deposit and balance amounts and the checking maintenance fees vary per checking account type. Please contact the Credit Union for more information about these amounts and fees. Age and other restrictions may also apply. All loans subject to credit approval. Rates, terms, and conditions are subject to change without notice. Annual Percentage Rate (APRs) are determined by an evaluation of applicant credit at account opening. Your APR may be different. Variable rates are subject to change after consummation of the loan. Fixed APRs are fixed for the life of the loan. RFCU is an Equal Credit Opportunity Lender. Contact RFCU for details.

3 Redstone MemberPlus! discount–Must have an active RFCU checking account to participate in Redstone MemberPlus! Must be eligible for membership and open a savings account in order to open a checking account.. MemberPlus! Discount not available for all loan products.

4 Must have online banking username and PIN/password to access online banking.

5 RFCU, Edmunds.com, Kelly Blue Book, and TrueCar.com are separate entities. RFCU does not warrant, guarantee, or insure any product, purchase, or service offered by Edmunds.com, Kelly Blue Book, or TrueCar.com.

6 Redstone Federal Credit Union (RFCU) does not warrant, guarantee, or insure any service or product offered by any insurance companies. RFCU and insurance companies are separate entities.  

7 Extended Warranty is provided by Route 66 and is not an insurance product. For a complete list of terms and provisions, see the Route 66 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. The Extended Warranty services are (1) not federally insured; (2) not obligations of the credit union; and (3) not guaranteed by the credit union or any affiliated entity. Please contact RFCU for more details. 

7 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 benefits and rules, see the GAP Waiver Election form. The purchase of GAP is voluntary and cannot be required as a condition of loan approval. 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.

*Rate after Redstone MemberPlus! Discount is applied—Otherwise the Non-MemberPlus fixed APR applies. Contact RFCU for more details about Non-MemberPlus APRs. Fixed APRs are fixed for the term of the loan. Must have an active RFCU checking account to participate in Redstone MemberPlus! Must be eligible for membership and open a savings account in order to open a checking account. A $5 minimum balance is required to open and be maintained in savings account. Must not have caused RFCU a loss in order to be eligible to open a checking account. Minimum opening deposits, average monthly balances, and monthly checking maintenance fees apply to the checking accounts. The deposit and balance amounts and the checking maintenance fees vary per checking account type. Please contact the Credit Union for more information about these amounts and fees. Age and other restrictions may also apply. MemberPlus! Discount not available for all loan products.

APR for new autos as low as 1.99% for up to 100% of purchase price, as of January 1, 2016 . APR for used autos as low as 1.99% for up to 100% of NADA book value, as of January 1, 2016 . APRs after Redstone MemberPlus! discount applied. A typical example - For a $20,000 auto loan with zero down for 36-months with 1.99% fixed APR, the monthly payment schedule will be $573 .

This Credit Union is federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration.

 

 

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Get the Best Deal on a Used Car

Download this Used Car Buying Guide for tips on negotiating, financing, getting the most for your trade-in, and more.

Auto Loan APR for 36 Months
as low as*

1.99%

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