Car Buying Guide
Written by Remar Sutton
For over 20 years, I've tracked the inner workings of the auto industry. As President and co-founder of the non-profit Consumer Task Force For Automotive Issues, and as co-founder of the Privacy Rights Now Coalition, I've been witness to the changes in the way the car business operates over those years.
Here's the big lesson from those years of tracking the car business: just about any dealership will sell you a car cheaply, if you know how to ask.
But that's the problem: managing the entire car process if complex. What's your old car worth? Should you sell it yourself or trade it? What's a "fair" profit? How do you find the cheapest and best financing source?
It isn't the job of car dealerships to answer those questions. Dealerships have to worry about their profits and their employees. It is your job to answer these questions.
That's where SESLOC's carbuying guide comes in handy. This guide really work!! If you follow this guide, you can probably keep thousands of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket.
A major promise up-front: The Guide is about educating you, not trying to hype you. It gives you straight answers.
For instance, where is it cheapest to finance? If SESLOC determines that it would be cheaper and better for you to finance at some other institution, they'll send you there. Think about that! Do you really think any other financial institution would do that?
SESLOC makes that promise because their goals are different than many of the other players in the auto industry. SESLOC's job is to make sure you buy what's best for you and to make sure you pay the least for it.
They're not just being noble, either. Since you own part of the credit union, SESLOC's financial well-being is linked closely to your financial well-being: when you prosper financially, they prosper.
And since SESLOC is not-for-profit and owned by you, their prosperity translates into money and benefits for you. Nice!
Next chapter: 1. Dealership Tactics
Car Buying Guide
Calculate Available Cash
Your Available Cash is the maximum amount you have to spend on a vehicle. This calculator enables you to determine 1) the amount of cash a vehicle loan will yield and 2) the total Available Cash from all sources, including the loan, you have to purchase the vehicle.
If the estimated amount of Available Cash is too little for the vehicle you would like to purchase, you have several options. A higher monthly payment and/or a longer loan term will typically yield higher initial Loan Cash, thus increasing your Available Cash. You may also want to consider alternative vehicles that better fit your budget.
To estimate the value of your trade, visit the Edmunds website.
Current rates and terms for SESLOC Federal Credit Union's vehicle loans are available on our rates page.