Auto Buying. Tips for you to get the most out of your auto dollars

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1 Auto Buying Tips for you to get the most out of your auto dollars

2 Table of Contents 3 Factors to Consider When Buying a Vehicle 3 Car Buying Tips 4 Car Buyers Worst Mistakes 5 Buy the Safest Car You Can 6 Shopping for Cars on the Web 7 Shop for the Right Auto Dealer 8 Avoiding the Rush to Sign 9 Auto Rebates: Who Gets the Money? 9 Finding Out About Vehicle Incentives 10 Five Steps for Buying a Used Car the Right Way 2

3 Factors to Consider When Buying a Vehicle Quality, reliability Check Consumer Reports New, used, or certified pre-owned Affordability, depreciation Highway vs. city driving Fuel economy, hybrid Size and safety requirements Haul kids How long you plan to keep it Lease or buy Your budget Operating, maintaining, repairing Car Buying Tips Decide make, model, options, and color Get pre-approved for a loan and avoid dealer markups by financing with HACU Visit at least three dealerships or car lots Take someone with you Look for the car you want, with the most features, at an affordable price Consider gas mileage Keep good records as you shop Negotiate up from the dealer s true cost, rather than down from the sticker price Avoid dealer markups by financing at the credit union 3

4 Car Buyers Worst Mistakes How much money do you think educated car buyers can save over uneducated buyers when buying the same car? Would $5,000 get your attention? While you may not save as much as $5,000, you ll save a bunch if you avoid these classic car-buying errors. Showing enthusiasm. If you act excited, the sellers know they have a unique product you want. The price goes up instantly. Keep that enthusiasm in check until you ve driven home. Sneer a little if you like the car. Buying in a hurry. If you buy on your first visit to a dealership, you don t have time to compare. Take your time. Be willing to walk away. The price at most dealerships falls quickly if you move slowly. Giving deposits before the dealer approves your offer on a vehicle. Feel free to give a deposit, if you really want a vehicle. But don t give it until the boss has said yes. Some dealerships use deposits to keep you there while they try to convince you to pay more. And you can t leave if they have your deposit money, a credit card, a driver s license, or your kids. best dealership may try to switch you. They ll try to convince you leasing is cheaper than buying. In most instances, it isn t. If you want to lease, fine. Just don t do it on the spur of the moment. Trading in your old car without knowing its value in advance. A dealership has the right to give you the least you will take for your old car. But you have a right to get the most your car is worth. To know that value, simply clean it up, and try to sell it to several used car departments. The highest amount you re offered for it is your car s real value right now. Don t accept less than that in trade. Financing automatically at the dealership. The dealership may be the cheapest place to finance, but not always. To find out, simply bring a copy of the filled-out dealer contract to HACU and compare contracts. If the dealership won t give you a copy, they re probably telling you they re not really the cheapest. Big mistakes, big bucks out the window. We like to help you preserve your money that s what credit unions are all about. Avoid these mistakes, and put that money to work rather than throwing it away. Being switched to leasing without doing your homework. Because dealerships make a much larger profit if they lease rather than sell, even the 4

5 Buy the Safest Car You Can If you re buying a new car, you want something that looks good, something you can fit everything and everybody into, and now, more than ever, gets good gas mileage. But don t forget a crucial factor: Finding a vehicle that can keep you and your family safe. Here s how to make sure you buy the safest car that fits your needs: Read the ratings Both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration test vehicles for their crashworthiness. You ll want to look at both sets of ratings at and Pick your equipment Among car makers trying to keep costs down for price-conscious consumers, even some crucial safety equipment is optional. Here s a rundown of what is essential and well worth the cost and what may be truly optional if you re watching your budget. Electronic stability control. This feature can reduce the chance of a rollover, so it s especially important for larger vehicles like SUVs or trucks. Such traction control might, for instance, stop a slide on a wet road before tires on one side hit a curb and the vehicle tips over. Federal officials are proposing making this feature mandatory within a few years. Side air bags. Front air bags, which come required with all vehicles, do little to protect you if your vehicle is hit from the side. But in recent years, side crash test performance has improved greatly as side air bags that protect both the head and chest have been added as standard equipment or options to many vehicles. The IIHS estimates that such head and chest air bags can reduce the chance of fatality by up to 37% for car drivers and 52% for SUV drivers. Rear vision cameras. When you re backing up, this camera shows on your dash a picture of what is immediately behind you. At a cost of about $450, this is an expensive option that you may not need if this isn t an everyday problem for you. On the other hand, if you live in a neighborhood where small children often are running around, this camera may seem well worth it. Just remember that your ideal vehicle is one that helps you avoid an accident and protects you well if there is a crash. And talk to us at HACU if you re looking for help financing your new car. 5

6 Shopping for Cars on the Web Almost two-thirds of new car buyers do homework first on the Internet, and it is predicted that Web research by car buyers will continue to grow as high-speed Internet access spreads to more households. Here are some tips: Explore your choices. If you have an idea of what you want--a small SUV or a mid-size sedan, for example--start by clicking on a category. Check safety records. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives crash test results on its website at nhtsa.gov. See how vehicles fared in 40-mile-per-hour crashes at iihs.org. Find out the real price. Automotive manufacturer and dealer sites give the list price or manufacturer s suggested retail price, which they may work down from in your dealings. Instead, you want to know the dealer s invoice price and negotiate up from there. Any manufacturer s rebate comes off your agreed price. For invoice pricing and current rebates, go to hacu.org Resources and use the CarQuotes research tools that will help you combine a rebate with low HACU rates and you have the best of both worlds. Locate that vehicle near you. Find a local dealer s website by putting the name into a search engine such as Google.com or Yahoo.com. About 70% of dealers post their inventories on the websites. Check out HACU s online buying tools and use CarQuotes.com to offer its members CarQuotes exclusive Know Before You Go pricing on new and used vehicles. Get a low, upfront price before heading to the dealer! Car Quotes lets you find the car you want with the least searching. You can search for new or used vehicles, get a quote, check out new car rebates and check your trade-in s value all in one spot! 6

7 Shop for the Right Auto Dealer When shopping for a new or used car, consumers know they should do their homework first before visiting a dealership. However, not too many people do homework on the dealer. To get a good price on your vehicle, create your own competition and work with a dealer you feel comfortable with. Here are some tips for shopping for the right auto dealer: First, call HealthCare Associates Credit Union and get your auto financing in place so you can negotiate with the dealer about the price of the car, not the financing , fax, or phone several auto dealers in the area. Tell them what you re looking for, what you know, and that you re comparing other dealerships and what price they ll give you. Tell the dealer you re not going to buy right away. Set-up a test-drive for the make and model you re interested in, and leave your name and phone number for the dealer to get back to you (a cell phone number if you re worried about being bombarded by sales calls). Evaluate the dealers that return your call. Are they impatient and pushy or relaxed and open? Did the dealer respond within a reasonable amount of time? If the car is not available, has the dealer suggested alternatives? Take the car (and the dealer) for a test-drive. Again, ask yourself if the dealer is pushy or relaxed. The dealer already knows that you still are shopping and should respect this. Other thoughts: Do you trust the dealer to be open and honest when negotiating? If you disagree, are you comfortable voicing your concern? Is the dealer listening to your needs/wants? If you feel comfortable with the dealer, call back after your test-drive. 7

8 Avoiding the Rush to Sign. Take Your Time at the Dealership. If you re in the market for a car, make HACU your first stop for an auto loan. Heading to the credit union before a dealership can help you get the best deal. And remember: Buying a new car requires you to take your time and do your homework before visiting a dealership. Rushing through a car deal invites a dealer to potentially take advantage of you. 2. Does the dealer require an arbitration agreement in order to buy a car from that dealership? Arbitration agreements are usually bad for the consumer because they take away the consumer s rights for any legal redress if they have any problems with the dealership. Watch out for arbitration agreements hidden in contracts, and don t buy from a dealership that requires them. 3. What will the dealership do with your personal information? Many dealerships ask consumers to sign an acknowledgement that the dealership has a right to sell personal information about that consumer. If a dealership asks you to sign a statement acknowledging they can sell your private information, don t sign it. 4. What s your down payment or how much will you have to pay immediately out of pocket, either in cash or combined with a trade-in or rebate? Before you sign or agree to anything, ask the following questions: 1. What is the total price of the vehicle? There s a lot of information on a purchase order, but the most important thing is the end price of a vehicle. Be sure to validate all the charges that 8 are on a purchase order. 5. What s your trade-in value? Make sure you ve done your research so that you know what its value is. Don t just take the dealer s opinion. Use your free CarQuotes Resource buying tools at hacu.org. 6. Are all fees spelled out in the contract and how much are those fees? Look for destination charges, sales tax, and title fees.

9 Auto Rebates: Who Gets the Money? 9 Rebates Rebates sound so straightforward: Buy this car, for instance, and get $2,000 back. In virtually all cases, the advertisements you see for rebates are real: The manufacturer, not the dealer, promises to send you a check after you ve bought or leased a particular vehicle. The money, in theory, has nothing to do with the price you may have negotiated on a vehicle. What should happen: The rebate money reduces what you re actually paying for the vehicle. Let s say you ve agreed to pay $20,000 for a car. The manufacturer agrees to send a check directly to your home for $2,000 as a thank you. When the check comes, your total cost for your new wheels is $18,000. What does happen many times: The rebate money becomes extra profit for the dealer. For instance, you agree to pay $20,000; they agree to give you credit for the $2,000 rebate. You should owe them $18,000, but they draw up paperwork showing you still owe them $20,000. You just lost $2,000. And you generally won t see this trick occur because the sleight-of-hand is hidden in paperwork. How to prevent theft of your rebate money: Don t make that gift from the manufacturer a part of your negotiations with the dealership. Negotiate your price on the new vehicle as if there is no rebate. And then have the rebate check sent directly to you at home. Never allow the dealership to apply it to the amount you owe them. Where Can You Find Out About Vehicle Incentives? CarQuotes Resource buying tools at hacu.org Once you find what s out there, consider your options. Taking the rebate and getting a conventional loan from your credit union still could be the best deal. Low-rate financing offers generally are limited to shorter lengths of time and use a sliding scale where the best rates are for the shortest terms- -often so short that most people can t afford the monthly payments.

10 Five Steps for Buying a Used Car the Right Way Buying used can make smart money sense if you follow these five easy steps: 1 Always have a mechanic check out a used car before you buy it. Even if you re buying from your mother. Use an independent service shop or diagnostic center. Most charge about $125 for a complete check. 2 Budget any needed repairs as part of your purchase price. So, if a seller wants $7,000 but the vehicle needs $1,000 in repairs, budget $8,000 for your vehicle. Or, better yet, negotiate the selling price down to include the cost of repairs. 3 Forget about a used vehicle s asking price. Smart used-vehicle buyers never negotiate down from asking price, they negotiate up from loan value. Loan value is what most lending institutions will actually lend on a particular vehicle. Your credit union loan officer can tell you this figure. For instance, if the seller is asking $7,000, but the loan value is $6,000, you want to negotiate up slowly from $6, Talk warranty after you ve settled on the price. And never accept a 50/50 warranty--the dealer pays half of warrantycovered expenses. On any vehicle, fight for at least a 30-day, 100% drivetrain warranty. If you re also thinking about buying an extended service agreement, remember that the price of a service agreement usually is negotiable, too. 5 Always shop used-car financing rates. Most states allow dealers to charge much higher rates for financing used cars than for financing new cars. For instance, a new car might be financed at 8% while a two-year-old used car might be financed for 15% or higher. How do you find the cheapest rate? Ask the seller to give you a completely filled out copy of the finance contract, and compare it with your credit union s rate. A tip: HACU finances used cars at or near new-car finance rates. 10 source: express.cuna.org

11 The healthy way to bank Internet Branch hacu.org Pay bills, check balances and learn more Search HealthCare Associates Credit Union or bank healthy Telephone Teller or (outside Chicagoland) Call Center or toll-free Rev_

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