Five Things to Consider When Shopping for Your Next Vehicle

It’s summertime in Michigan, and that means it’s time to roll down the windows, open the sunroof and hit the highway for a road trip. These warmer months are also the perfect season to shop for a new vehicle to take on your adventures.  From crossovers to electric cars, trucks to minivans, there are more choices than ever. Buyers can browse new, pre-owned and certified pre-owned models. And, with interest rates slowly creeping up, the options for financing require careful consideration.

All of this is enough to make even a veteran car shopper feel overwhelmed. After all, buying a vehicle is one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. At Arbor Financial, we can’t help you select the make and model, but we can assist with your financing considerations and help make your trip smoother.

To start, before you even go online to browse models or visit a dealership, it is a good idea to get your finances in order. If you know what kind of vehicle you can afford, including what would be comfortable monthly payment, it makes it easier to narrow down your options. From there, you can select the best vehicle for your needs and your budget and consider what type of loan, if any, you might need.

Here are some important considerations:

New or Used? A new car
Many buyers often arrive at a dealership or lot intent on buying a particular car, only to change their mind once they start browsing and test driving. Depending on your budget, it may be a good idea to keep an open mind about new or used vehicles. With new vehicles, you’re the first person to ever own the car and it will have maximum value – as well as a premium price tag. But with low interest rates available and many makes and models to choose from, a new car can still be a budget-friendly option.

On the used car side of the aisle, buyers can often choose between certified pre-owned vehicles, where cars are subject to rigorous inspection outlined by the manufacturer and may come with an extended warranty, or standard pre-owned cars, which do not have those extras. Certified pre-owned cars can be lower mileage and may be more expensive, to satisfy the extra labor and parts that a dealer may put into certification, as well as the extended warranty.

Standard used cars can be more economical, but do not offer the same protections and peace of mind. Typically, certified pre-owned cars are only available at a manufacturer’s franchise dealers, while used cars can be purchased a myriad of places, including dealerships, car lots, online and even from friends and neighbors. 

With both new and pre-owned cars, buyers can choose from a number of financing packages. These could be offered by retailers, car manufacturers or financial institutions. At Arbor Financial, we have loans for new or used vehicles, and features low interest rates, rapid approval, and flexible terms. We may be able to get you a loan with no upfront costs, including down payments. Our loan advisors are available 24/7 to answer your questions.

To Buy or To Lease?
If you opt for a new vehicle, you’ll need to decide whether to buy your car or lease it. By purchasing the car, you are investing in an asset. You’re obligated to pay off the full purchase price, and it is both an investment and a commitment. With a leased vehicle, you do not own the vehicle, but rather are paying for the use of it for a pre-determined period of time and set number of miles. This allows a consumer to drive the latest models without committing to a particular vehicle long-term. It also allows more financial flexibility and freedom.

Can You Make Those Monthly Payments?
When shopping for a vehicle, buying a car that’s in your budget is an important consideration. For even the most organized and dependable consumer, sometimes situations arise where you forget to pay your loan or don’t have quite enough cash that month. When you’re selecting your lender for an auto loan, it is wise to ask about penalties if you miss a payment, as well as incentives if you regularly pay on time. To accommodate our members, Arbor Financial offers SkipPay, a program that allows you to not make up to two loan payments per year. With some of our programs, we can reward customers who regularly pay on-time and make consecutive payments by lowering their interest rates.   

Couple laughing and drivingAre You A New Driver?
Summer is prime time to teach teens and college students how to drive and get them into their first vehicle. When buying your first car, or helping your child select their first vehicle, there’s a lot to consider, including brand, safety, technology, payments, and model. Of course, there are significant financial decisions as well, with car payments and insurance adding up quickly for a young driver. To try and ease this transition, Arbor Financial has created a program for first-time drivers and we can help you navigate this process.

Getting Back Behind the Wheel?
Sometimes, you have to step away from the wheel and take a break from car ownership. If you have credit problems, it can be difficult to get a car loan when you’re ready to get back on the road. There are some auto retailers that cater to consumers with poor credit and limited cash, and many lenders offer flexible solutions as well. At Arbor Financial, we created our Fresh Start loan program to help our members and our loan advisors will spend time helping you sort out your finances. Some borrowers may be able to qualify for loans that have interest rates that are lowered as a reward for on-time payment. To improve your position, we also offer free credit coaching.

At Arbor Financial Credit Union, we have the auto loans you need to get you on the road. We offer several programs designed to fit our members’ needs. We can deliver flexible plans and competitive interest rates, which vary depending on your credit history and the terms of your loan.

As with all of Arbor Financial’s loan products, auto loans are subject to application and credit approval. 

Let our advisors at Arbor Financial Credit Union help you discover the best program to meet your needs and get you behind the wheel quickly and easily. To learn more, apply online or contact us at 269.488.5945 (KWIK).
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