Now that cars are becoming less scarce, you might be ready to replace your existing vehicle. But, you may be asking these questions. How do I buy a car? Where to start? What do I need to know?

First things first: get pre-approved for financing before you go shopping. Knowing exactly how much you can afford before you decide on a car will help keep your payments reasonable. Of course you’ll want to check your credit union for the best deal on car loan rates!

If you’re buying a new car you’ll want to shop around and find the car that meets your needs. If you stick with buying just for your needs, you’ll probably end up saving money in the end.

Another tip to remember when buying new: always be prepared to walk away if you don’t think you’re getting the best deal.

Since new cars lose most of their value as soon as they are driven off the car lot, you may see a bigger value in buying used cars. Here’s what you need to know before you buy used:

  • if the car was ever involved in an accident
  • previous mechanical problems
  • the maintenance history of the car

A CARFAX report will help you with all of that information. You’ll want to know everything that could have gone wrong with the car and this is the most reliable resource.

Use resources like, or to get an idea of the average price of the car you are interested in.  

A good rule of thumb is to always have a mechanic take a look under the hood before you sign on the dotted line. You’ll want him to be sure there are no unknown problems before you buy.

Lastly, be sure to check into GAP insurance to be sure you are covered.