Bob, Vice President, Lending

Before you consider style, color and speed – start your car buying process by asking yourself these five questions.


1. How much can I afford? Before you start choosing features, you should set your limit for price. Using our online loan calculator, you can determine a monthly payment. Don’t forget to include the cost of sales tax. Also, keep in mind that affordability is more than just payment. You have to consider the cost of fuel, insurance and maintenance.


2. What type of car is right for me? Once you know what you can afford, you can think about what you want. Do you carry passengers? Do you need an efficient commuter vehicle? Is a “two seater” practical for your lifestyle? Perhaps a sedan, SUV, pick up truck or mini-van is a good fit. After you’ve determined the type of car you need, consider several manufacturers. You can research safety, reliability and performance online using our online Member Showroom or Kelley Blue Book (KBB).


3. Can I take it for a spin? You don’t have to actually kick the tires, but you should drive each of the cars you’re interested in. You might be surprised which car you like best. Be honest with the dealer about where you are in the process.


4. How can I get the best financing? You should always get approved before you buy. That way, you’ll know the rate you’ll actually receive and won’t be committed to the financing that the dealer selects for you. If you think you’ll qualify for 0% dealer financing, try our calculator first to see if you’re really getting the best deal. Be sure to factor in the rebate. Typically, you have to choose 0% financing or a cash back rebate. Read more about “When 0% isn’t the best deal” in our Auto Articles at left.


5. How do I get the best deal? Once you’ve selected the car you want, start your research online. Internet quotes are often the best dealership deals out there. When you walk into the dealership, you’ll know exactly how much you’re going to pay.


Buying a car can be an overwhelming process; however, with a little research, you’ll be driving off the lot in no time.


For instant loan decisions, payment calculations or more information, call our Loan By Phone center at (888) 858-6878.