Few experiences are as memorable and fun as buying a new car.  Whether you keep the car for a few years and then get another, or buy only once every decade and drive it until it wears out, it is an event to remember.  Over the coming months and years, countless hours will be spent in the car, memories will be made, and good times will be experienced.  In addition, for most of us, it is the second biggest purchase we make – with only our homes costing more.  Therefore, it is worth taking the time to get the right car and the right credit union car loan.

Research the Options For Your Credit Union Car Loan

Before you run off and pick out the car you want, take a few steps to make sure you get the best deal possible. First, check out websites online like Edmunds.com, which allow you to sort vehicles by feature.  For example, you can look for sedans that seat at least five, have an input for an IPod, and get over 30 MPG on the highway.  Then you can see which models have the best price.  Don’t forget to check out the total cost of ownership (including purchase price, annual gas consumption, insurance cost and maintenance).  If you do your research on Edmunds.com, they call it “True Cost to Own.”

Secure a Credit Union Loan

The next task is to work out financing for your loan at your local credit union.  Whether buying or leasing, you are likely to get a better rate and terms with a credit union loan than with dealer financing.  This works best if you have good credit, but is worth a try no matter what your credit history is like since if you qualify, you’re likely to save hundreds of dollars over the life of the loan.  If you like a new car every few years, then seriously consider leasing.  Leasing will drastically reduce your monthly payments, and may even allow you to drive a car of higher value, quality and safety record.  However, if you are comfortable owning a car for many years, go ahead and buy since the increased reliability means you may have three or four good years of no car payments after you finish paying off your credit union car loan.

Use the Credit Union Fleet Purchase Program

Finally, ask the credit union if they have a fleet purchase program.  Many credit union have these programs, and they can provide a relatively stress free, no haggle experience in getting the car you want.  Typically, a person or team at the credit union will have connections with the fleet manager or internet manager at local car dealerships.  They will negotiate the best price and get back to you so you can evaluate the proposed deal.  Also, the online website TrueCar.com has a Best Local Price feature which not only shows you the lowest local price, but also provides an offer at that price from a specific local car dealer.

With your research complete, an approved credit union loan in hand, and the credit union fleet purchase program manager negotiating on your behalf, you can be sure to end up with the car you want, at a price you know you can afford.

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