Tips for First Time Car Buyers

Buying a car can be exciting and scary at the same time.  The idea of a driving off the lot with a new set of wheels is offset by the idea of haggling over price and sitting in the finance office for hours.  But, by using the tips below, you can be prepared for the experience and enjoy the outcome.  

Know how much you can afford

The first thing you need to determine is how much you can afford.  Typically, this is determined by the amount of the monthly car payment.  The payment is calculated by the total amount financed plus the interest rate divided by the term – or number of months required to pay back the loan.  For example, a $10,000 loan at a very competitive APR for 66 months is approximately $175 a month.  Use our loan calculator to get an idea of the loan amount, APR and term that work within your budget.  

Know how much you’re approved for

Get pre-approved before you shop so you’ll know exactly how much you can spend when you walk into the dealership.  Remember that the sticker price is not the final price.  Tax, license, registration, extended warranty and other add-ons will increase the overall cost.  A good rule of thumb is to add 10% to the sticker price to estimate the out-the-door price. The out-the-door price should be equal to or less than your approved amount.

Getting approved before your shop will also save time.  If you get approved with us, the terms of your approval will be available to nearly all major car dealerships.  Simply tell them your financing is already approved and they will be able to access the amount and terms of the deal.  When you’re ready, you can receive an instant loan decision online.    

Shop ahead of time

Save time at the dealership by shopping for your car online.  You can go directly to the dealer’s website and shop their available inventory so you don’t have to spend time driving from dealer to dealer.  Better yet, Pacific Service CU offers a free, online Car Buying Service.   For new cars, you can shop for any make or model from local, certified dealers and receive upfront pricing.  You’ll even be able to customize the options on the car.  For used cars, Member Showroom offers thousands of choices also from local, certified dealers.  By narrowing your search down to the car you want that is within your budget, you will improve the overall experience.

No credit, no problem

If you don’t have established credit, we can help.  We designed a program especially for first-time car buyers to get you behind the wheel of a new car and to help you build a strong credit history.  

Good luck!  We are here to help you with the journey.  For more information, please call a member service representative at (888) 858-6878.

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