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Auto Loans

Car Buying Tips

A car is a big investment. Before you make the plunge, check out these handy tips and guide to help you get a great deal.

Before You Buy

Seven Steps to Easy Car Buying

  1. Get your financing in order and determine what kind of payment you are comfortable with, using our loan calculators.
  2. Find out what the car is worth.
    Doing your research can pay off and get you a much better deal. Here are some tips:

    • Check values and pricing
    • Shop your trade-in around to several dealers to get the best deal
    • Check reliability record and look up VINs for vehicles you are interested in
  3. Start shopping around for cars at the right time.
    Dealers tend to reduce prices at the end of the model year or the end of the month when dealers need to turn over stock.
  4. Test drive several models on varying road conditions (hills, highways, etc.).
  5. Shop around for great rates on auto insurance.
  6. Negotiate the price you are willing to pay or consider shopping at a dealer or retailer who has fixed prices.
  7. If buying from a dealer, discuss the option of a trade-in.

Protect Your Purchase with Proof of Ownership

When purchasing a car, it’s important to obtain a copy of the car title from the dealership or seller. This will verify that the dealership or seller will have the ability to perform the required paperwork and ensures you can be recorded as the new owner.

Auto Pricing Guide

Visit NADA Guides to view New and Used Vehicle Prices.

New vs. Used


Reduced Maintenance: Over the life of a car, maintenance fees really add up. With a new car, you likely won’t need maintenance on your new car until you’ve driven it a couple thousand miles. Your new car also won’t need a new battery, tires or electronics fixups for a while. You’ll save yourself some money and hassle by going new.

Warranty Coverage: Most manufacturers cover new vehicles under warranties of at least 3 years, sometimes even longer. If something goes wrong with your car, they are responsible for fixing it. If you buy a used vehicle, what’s left of the vehicle may not be transferrable.

Roadside Assistance: If you’ve ever been stranded on the side of the ride in a place you don’t know because of car issues, you know how important roadside assistance can be. Most cars and trucks these days come with free roadside assistance while the vehicle remains under warranty, and, in some cases beyond. In addition, some automakers reimburse you or provide alternate transportation if you get stranded far from home.


More Choice: Car dealers everywhere are feeling the pinch of a tough economy. For a consumer, this can be a good thing because as dealerships shut down, prices of used SUVs and even midsized cars are down, and there should be more vehicles on lots due to slowing sales.

Improving Reliability: Car makers have recently started to focus more on reliability and durability. When you combine that with the increase in late-model used vehicles and the availability of warranties, buying a used car isn’t such a risk anymore. Although used vehicles typically don’t carry the same warranties as new ones, the original factory warranty on a new car is transferable to a second owner, usually at no charge. Buyers of used cars can purchase a late-model used car with the original warranty and then choose to add to it.

Just Like New: Due to the proliferation of certified pre-owned programs, buying a used car is now a viable option. Luxury brands such as BMW and Infiniti started these programs and they have become a popular alternative for car buyers.

Getting a Loan

You’ve done your research and you know what you want to buy. Now it’s time to think about an auto loan.

Apply for a New or Used Auto Loan

When it comes to auto loans, we want our members to get an excellent deal. We provide low rates, 100% financing, and great service. With an auto loan you can upgrade your ride and save hundreds. So let our low rates put you in your next car!

Refinance Your Current Auto Loan

Bring your auto loan to Milestones FCU for low rates and a great money-saving opportunity. Apply online and in just a few minutes, you’ll be on your way to lowering your monthly payments. Plus, there’s no refinance charge.

View rates

Find out what you’ll need to apply

Protecting Your Loan

Optional Guaranteed Asset Protection

If your vehicle is totaled in an accident or stolen and not recovered, the insurance settlement is based on the actual cash value, not the outstanding loan balance. This could create a loan “gap” money you owe on the loan after the insurance company pays its portion. GAP may cover the difference between the outstanding loan amount and the actual cash value and covers up to $1,000 of your deductible. Note: GAP cannot be transferred from one vehicle to another. GAP protects up to 150% of the actual cash value of the vehicle.