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Auto Buying Tips & Tricks

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Auto Buying Tips & Tricks

Tip 1: Apply for pre-approval

Getting pre-approved encourages you to stick to a budget. This will give you peace of mind that your payment will work for your monthly budget.

Purchasing a vehicle is an exciting event that can often lead to emotional decisions. Getting pre-approved helps lessen the possibility of falling in love with a car that you really can’t afford. With preapproval, you know ahead of time if you’re required to have a down payment, co-signer, verification of income, etc. saving you time once you have your vehicle picked out.


Tip 2: Get all the facts

­Before visiting a dealership or test driving from a private seller, gather as much additional information as you can. There are many websites that can help give you all of the information that you need:

Tip 3: Be an informed shopper

Informed shoppers make better decisions based on facts over emotions, and assess their own unique situation and vehicle needs in an unbiased fashion. Here are some tips on be an informed car shopper:

  • Understand warranties and protection coverages. Ask yourself, “Can I afford a repair if this vehicle breaks down?” “Would purchasing new tires cause a hardship on my budget?” Knowing the answers to these questions ahead of time will help you decide what is right for you when you sit down at the dealership.
  • Know what you want, but be flexible. Narrow your list to two or three models that best suit your needs and budget. Perhaps there are some “wants” on your vehicle list that aren’t truly “needs” for this purchase. Would you be willing to go without those to save some money? If not, then there is no need to look at vehicles that don’t have the features you require.
  • Consider the fuel economy of the vehicle you're interested in and how many miles you regularly drive. Does the vehicle you are looking at meet the needs of your lifestyle and make sense for your financial wellness?
  • Visit the Secretary of State’s website for pricing on registering the vehicle you are interested in.
  • Insurance costs can vary significantly from one vehicle to another. Call your insurance company for a quote on the vehicle that you are considering. Knowing ahead of time what your insurance will cost can help you stay within your budget and help you choose the best vehicle for you.
  • Shop a variety of dealers to compare prices on vehicles with the same or similar features.
  • Know the value of the vehicle you wish to trade-in before going to the dealership. Trade-in value can be found on many of the websites listed above. It can also be in your best interest to find the vehicle you are looking for and discuss out-the-door pricing before discussing whether you will trade-in your vehicle or sell it yourself directly to a new buyer.
  • Make sure you test drive the vehicle before deciding whether or not to buy. There are many delivery options that still allow a test drive period. Don’t feel pressure to purchase the vehicle just because it was delivered to you. How does the vehicle sound? How do the brakes work? How does the acceleration feel? Do the seats adjust as they should? Take the time to go over all of the features of the car. If there are any problems, assess whether you can live with the issue, ask the dealer to fix it prior to you purchasing, or move on to another option. If the dealer makes the repair, make sure you drive it again after the repair is completed for peace of mind.

Tip 4: Protect your investment

A new or used vehicle is one of the biggest purchases you can make, and protecting that investment is important. American 1 offers several Protection Products that can help you safeguard your vehicle – both from the wear and tear of driving, and from unforeseen accidents that can happen at any time.


*All loans subject to approval