Auto Loan 101s
 
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Car Shopping Tips

By Liz Opsitnik
Friday, Aug 21 2009 19:02

How Much Car Do You Really Need?

When researching the car you want to buy, think about how much car you need and what you are going to use it for. If you don’t have kids or big dogs, you probably don’t need an SUV. If you plan on having kids or more kids in the near future, a small coupe might not have enough space to accommodate your family. Most people keep their vehicles for five years and more nowadays so think about what your lifestyle will be in five years.

Still Paying on Your Car? Don't Trade it In

Don't trade in a car you still owe money on. Not only will you probably be upside-down on your new loan, but there have been instances where dealers don’t pay off your trade-in like they said they would. Guess what? You are still responsible for the trade-in car’s loan and the new car’s loan. If you decide to trade in a vehicle you are still making payments on, insist that the dealer put it in writing that they'll pay off your trade-in car loan in 10 days, or no deal.

Always Use Referrals to Find a Good Dealer

Ask people you know about dealerships they’ve dealt with. The service at your dealership can be almost as important as the price of the car, especially when warranty work needs to be done. If nobody you know has experience with a dealer, check the Internet. There are many sites where customers post dealer reviews.

Check the Deals in Other States

Automakers sometimes offer incentives to a particular region of the country. When you’re shopping around for a car, check the prices in neighboring states. You might be able to save a lot of money just by driving over the border.


Confused or unsure about some of the car loan terms used in the article? Click here for our Auto Loan Glossary.



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