Tips Before Buying A Car

  • September 8, 2016
  • By: Greenpath Financial Wellness

While auto sales may have cooled this past month, there are still deals are out there for remaining 2016 models. And with 2017 models hitting the showroom floor, now is the time to do your homework, before purchasing that new or used vehicle. Check out these tips before buying a car.

GreenPath Financial Wellness, a nationwide, non-profit credit counseling and education group, has put together a few steps consumers should consider, before hitting the showroom floor.

Step 1 – Research
Many people buy cars based on what they look like or what they are familiar with. Instead of buying the same type of car that you’ve always driven, it may be wiser to list the options you are looking for, and then do some research. Really think about what you want versus what you need.

Know your credit history ahead of time. Pull your credit report(s) at and see if there are any red flags that might prevent you from getting a good auto loan interest rate.

Step 2 – Find Financing
Once you know what you are looking for, think about if you would like to buy new, used, or lease. What financing options are realistic for you, based on your income and credit? Don’t borrow more money than you are comfortably able to repay. And remember, your credit score will directly impact the interest rate you will pay on your loan.

Step 3 – Take Your Time
Now that you have a better idea of your price range, start shopping around for selection and dealer incentives for your particular car choices. Do not rush out and buy the first car you see on an impulse. It’s better to exercise some patience and be sure about your choice. Shop online as well as in person — that helps you compare prices for similar models.

Step 4 – Determine Payment Amount
Getting a lower monthly payment isn’t always the best route. Sometimes a dealer will simply increase the number of months on your loan in order to lower your monthly payment, but that often means you’ll pay much more in interest over the life of the loan. Be careful about ending up in car loans that last six, seven, or eight years — that’s a long time to have a car payment (and it’s a lot of interest to pay!)

Step 5 – Consider Other Costs
Your total transportation expense will include the vehicle payment, as well as everything else – insurance, gasoline, oil changes, ongoing maintenance, license plate fees, etc. Make sure that you have added all potential costs into your budget. Once everything looks good, you’re ready to buy that car!

By doing your research, knowing exactly how much car you can afford and by taking your time, you can turn your car buying experience into a pleasant one!

GreenPath provides in-person credit counseling, financial education and debt management services in more than 60 locations in 17 states.  The company also offers licensed services by phone and Internet throughout the United States.  For more information about GreenPath, visit or call (866) 648-8122.