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Financing

Shopping for financing before you purchase your next car might seem counterintuitive. Your impulse may be to buy first and worry about making payments later. But there are several reasons to crunch numbers before crunching gravel during the test drive. First, prequalifying for a car loan — just as you would for a home mortgage — lets you know what you can afford. Second, comparing loan rates, leasing and financing options lets you determine how to best pay for the vehicle.

Although interest rates on car loans have been relatively stable, the size of the average auto loan is increasing, according to the Federal Reserve Board. Basically, the rates are moving up with auto prices, so this makes finding the lowest rate even more important.

As the price of new cars has climbed, used vehicles have become more popular than ever. They’re also more expensive than ever, inflation aside. But thanks to engineering strides, vehicles have never been more durable and maintenance free, and “previously owned” vehicles are no less a value.

Because new vehicles lose such a high percentage of their value as soon as they’re driven off a dealer’s lot, used vehicles have always appealed to practical buyers. But there has forever been a concern about buying “someone else’s problems.” With the introduction of Certified Used-Car Programs, the advantages of buying a new car seem to be dwindling. If it’s important to you to drive a brand new car and get ready to inhale that inimitable new-car smell.

However, if value is your goal, explore this used-car resource, learn how not to get burned and then turn the key on our Used Cars for Sale listings.

As a first step, you might consider test-driving some sellers. Are we serious? You bet. Car shopping taxes your energy and time. If you hire a mechanic to inspect a prospective purchase — as we strongly recommends — it can also tax your savings. With the number of used cars on the market, you’d best narrow your search and concentrate only on the ones with the most promise. Two great methods are Test-Driving the Seller and Test-Driving the Cars: ruling out sellers that aren’t worth a visit as well as cars that aren’t worth a professional inspection.

 











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