3 Things to Know Before You Purchase a Vehicle

Buying a new vehicle can be one of the most exciting and yet stressful of all purchases. For most people automobiles are a necessity. They provide you the freedom and comfort needed for everyday life and yet the purchasing process can be somewhat overwhelming if not prepared. Here are four ways to be more prepared and have the knowledge needed to make your next vehicle purchase more enjoyable.


Doing a little research before you start the buying process will save you time, money and overall stress. Look into what type of vehicle you are interested in buying and the reasons why you are interested. By knowing the model and options you want and how much you’re willing to spend, you will feel less pressured into making a hasty or expensive decision at the showroom and more likely to get a better deal.

When doing your research here are a few things to consider:

  • Read publications that discuss new vehicle features and prices. Knowing all the options gives you more of an understanding and the ability to make the best decision.
  • Shop around to get the best possible price. By comparing models and prices you will have all the information needed and have more confidence to purchase the vehicle that fits your budget and needs.
  • Plan to negotiate on price. Once you have found the model and best place, be willing to fight for the best price for your budget.
  • Consider ordering your new vehicle. If you do not find what you want on the dealer’s lot, then be patient and choose what you want and deserve. This may take a little longer, but you can pick the options you want and not pay for the ones you do not.


To finance or not to finance your vehicle. Many times people need or want to finance a new vehicle because it is a great way to pay for it over time and not take such a hit on the pocket book. If you decide to finance, be as prepared as possible to make sure you are getting the best deal.

When financing here are a few thing to consider:

  • Be aware that financing obtained by the dealer may not always be in your best interest. It is always wise to contact lenders directly. Credit unions are a great way to finance because we discuss vehicle loan options and compare financing options for you. Offers can be confusing and may vary with the APR and length of the loan. We understand that and walk you through all options available and make sure you are getting the best deal.
  • Before you sign a contract to purchase or finance the vehicle, consider the terms of the financing and evaluate whether it is affordable. Before you drive off the lot, be sure to have a copy of the contract that both you and the dealer have signed and be sure that all blanks are filled in.
  • Some dealers and lenders may ask you to buy credit insurance to pay off your loan if you should die or become disabled. Before you buy credit insurance, consider the cost and whether it’s worthwhile. Check your existing policies to avoid duplicating benefits.



Do you have a vehicle you are wanting to either sell outright or possibly trade-in? Trading in your vehicle is a great idea but only after you’ve negotiated the best possible price for your new vehicle and after you’ve researched the value of your old vehicle.

When trading in here are a couple of things to consider:

  • What is your current vehicle worth? Check the National Automobile Dealers Association’s (NADA) Guides, Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book. This information will help you get a better price from the dealer.
  • Consider how much time it may take. Do you have the time to sell the vehicle on your own? Advertising your vehicle on cites, having to meet and negotiate with individuals takes time and can add stress. Though it may take longer to sell your vehicle yourself, you generally will get more money than if you trade it in. Think about what your time is worth and do what is best for you.




Buying a used vehicle is the way to go for so many people. It opens the door to purchase the vehicle you desire but not pay the new vehicle price. It can be an exciting experience and save you money but with any vehicle, you need to do some homework and make sure you have done all due diligence.

When buying a used vehicle here are a few things to consider:

  • Dealers have to display a Buyers Guide in every used vehicle they offer for sale. They also have to give it to buyers after the sale.
  • Get all promises in writing to make sure everything is as promised.
  • Ask to have the vehicle inspected by an independent mechanic before you buy and make sure you request a vehicle history report.
  • Be aware of Add-ons. Read the fine print of each Add-on the dealer may be trying to add.
  • Understand the Return Policies, Types of Warranties and Service Contracts. These three areas get overlooked at times causing very costly mistakes. Make sure you have a complete understanding of each so you can afford these mistakes.


At AOD Federal Credit Union, we know how exciting and yet overwhelming purchasing a new vehicle can be. We also understand the importance of making the right decisions not only for your personal needs but also for your budget. Doing the above suggestions will put you in the best position to negotiate and give you the confidence to know you have chosen the right vehicle and received the best possible price and financing.

We walk alongside you in your vehicle journey. Making sure you have a complete understanding of the process and options available. Each buyer has specific needs and we want to meet those needs and help you determine what you are best qualified for and what is the best for you and your situation. Please contact us to speak with one of our Member Advisors. We enjoy seeing our members succeed and feel great about their new vehicle purchase.

For more information, visit MyCreditUnion.gov

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