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Used Car Buying Guide

Helpful Suggestions When Buying A Used Car

  1. Before you buy that used vehicle make sure you’re paying a fair price.  Call us at 908-526-8844 and we can tell you the fair book value (including options and mileage) of the car/truck you are interested in buying.  We pull book values from the NADA Used Car Guide.  We don’t use book values from Kelly Blue Book (KBB) because we believe KBB book values are often inflated.
  2. Your Credit Union pulls a Carfax (at our expense) on every used vehicle we finance.  We want to make sure the vehicle our member is buying has not been involved in an accident or is a flood car.  Call us at 908-526-8844 and we can obtain a Carfax report on the vehicle you are interested in buying.
  3. Tell the salesperson not to pull a credit report on you.  Once the dealership knows your credit score it can affect negotiations for the car you’re interested in buying.  It’s better to tell the salesperson that all you’re interested in is getting the best price for the vehicle.  Also, don’t tell the dealer how much you can afford per month as that will allow the salesperson to determine the sales price according to your monthly payment and you could end up paying more for the vehicle.
  4. If there is no leftover manufacturer warranty be sure to ask the salesperson if they will provide a warranty as part of the deal.  Try to get at least a minimum of 3 months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first is best.
  5. Don’t put more than $100 to $200 down to close the deal.  If the deal sours or you change your mind the dealer does not have to give you your down payment back (that’s part of the fine print in the contract).  If you’re going to be putting a lot of money down don’t give the money to the dealer until you’re ready to pick up the vehicle.
  6. Be sure to look over all the costs listed on the sales contract before signing it.  There may be some items hard coded that you don’t want or would like to negotiate on.
  7. Try not to finance for 5 or 6 years.  With long term financing you’ll never build up any equity in the vehicle should you want to sell it or trade it in later.
  8. Do Your Homework First!  Unless you desperately need a used vehicle don’t buy it immediately – find out the book value, look at a Carfax, think about if there’s any more room for negotiations, then close the deal the next day.
  9. Get a Pre-Approved Loan From Your Credit Union. This will enable you to negotiate as if it’s a cash deal.  Call Kathy at 908-526-8844 for pre-approval.