Car Buying Tips...

Purchasing a new or used car can be overwhelming. We have compiled 13 car buying tips to help you on your next auto purchase to eliminate stress and enter a dealership with a peace of mind.

1. Take your time on purchasing a vehicle.

Rushing into a purchase will only shift the negotiating leverage toward the dealer because you, the buyer, are more likely to walk away with-out making a deal. One of the costliest things you can do is visit a dealership and drive away with a new vehicle 3-4 hours later.

Research. Everyone can get access to facts and figures about vehicles. Research pricing and see which dealership has the lowest pricing for the vehicle you are want-ing. Conduct as much online research as possible before you visit a dealership, starting with,, and all provide excellent industry reviews to help you research the vehicle you are interested in and to compare similar models.

2. Choose a car that fits your needs. You need to ask yourself these questions:

3. Test drive the vehicle & pay attention on the test drive.

Spend enough time behind the wheel to become familiar with the vehicle’s performance. It will be too late to return once you purchase the vehicle that the vehicle is noisy going 75 mph down the interstate or the seats are uncomfortable for long road trips.

  • All owners need to test drive the vehicle.
  • Slow down and pay attention to the equipment.
  • Take notes of what you liked and do not like.
  • Is everyone comfortable in all the seats?
  • After your test drive……. Walk Away!
  • DO NOT negotiate at the dealership!
  • Walking away will keep you from making an impulse purchase decision!
Car Buying Tips

4. Consider buying a used vehicle.

There are many certified pre-owned programs that manu-factures have raised the bar on used cars. Most include:

5. Make a list of features that you need.

Do not allow “feature creep” to creep in. Optional features may seem like a necessity but can dramatically increase your purchase price. Stick with your list.

6. Get Pre-Approved for an Auto loan.

7. Stick with your budget.

You have done your research. You have arranged financing with your financial institution. You have assessed your needs. Do not let the dealer talk you into a vehicle that costs way more than you have budgeted for to avoid the buyer’s remorse.

8. Sell your old car instead of trading it in.

The dealer will profit more off your trade-in and will “muddy the waters” on the details of your vehicle purchase. By selling your vehicle, you will prevent a mistake that will cost you money. If you decide to trade in, here are some tips:

  • Let the credit union you are planning on having a trade in
  • Provide the credit union the VIN, mileage, and vehicle condition to look you value for you
  • Invest in a real good detail job or detail it yourself
    • Clean cars bring more money!
  • If your trade is worth $10,000 and the dealer only gives you $8000, then you are essentially paying $2000 extra for the vehicle you are purchasing
  • Never tell the dealer your payoff amount until the end

9. Focus on the purchase price.

If you focus on the monthly payment, you may end up with an inflated interest rate and a longer term than you wanted. This mistake is a very costly one.

Car On The Road

10. Buy instead of leasing.

By the end of the lease, you will not own the vehicle. You will have to repeat the process all over again. You could be upside down and lease interest rates could be higher.

11. Let multiple dealers bid for your business.

12. Arrive to the dealership with a loan pre-approval letter in hand.

This will prevent a costly mistake! Without a loan pre-approval, you will be pushed into their financing that profits the dealer more than helping you.

13. Get a copy of the Purchase Agreement BEFORE you take delivery.

  • Receiving a detailed breakdown of the Purchase Agreement is a crucial step!
  • Email the breakdown to your credit union representative. Your credit union repre-sentive will review to ensure:
    • You are receiving a fair price for you trade should you have one. 
    • No optional fees or charges have been added without your knowledge.

14. Don’t let the dealership pull your credit.

  • When the finance manager asks you “what rate are you getting from your credit union?” Do yourself a favor and simply say:
    • “I am getting an excellent rate. Thanks.”
  • If you get into a rate conversation and allow the dealer to pull your credit, you are leaving yourself wide open to having additional fees added to a different lender’s finance contract.
Guy driving a car


Let the Credit Union review your Purchase Agreement before you take delivery of your new vehicle and you’ll feel like a champion!

Keystone Credit Union is here to help you save more and to help prevent costly mistakes. We want you, our member, to save where you can rather than give away your hard-earned money.

Download the Car Buying Tips Brochure