Manufacturers often market vehicles by offering a rebate or exceptionally low financing. Should you take the rebate or the special financing? The dealer does not give you both.
For example, you have decided to purchase a vehicle for $20,000. The dealer is going to give you a rebate of $3,000 or a finance rate of 0%. Which deal is in your best interest?
Here is a comparison of the loan payments with the dealer’s reduced financing and a credit union’s standard financing.
0% APR financing for 36 months on a $20,000 loan
Monthly Payment = $555.56
Total of Payments = $20,000.00
5.5% APR Credit Union Financing* for 36 months on a $17,000 loan
($20,000 minus the $3,000 rebate)
Monthly Payment = $513.33
Total of Payments = $18,479.88
$1520.12 is saved over the term of the loan with credit union financing. In addition, if you were to sell the car during the time you were paying on the loan, more money would come back to you because you had a lower loan balance.
Here are a few other things to consider:
Buying a new vehicle doesn’t need to be an overwhelming experience. Just do your homework before you visit the dealership, and you’ll be prepared to find the car you want—not just the car they want to sell you. Before you go to the dealership, you should do the following:
Decide exactly what you want this car to do for you.How many people will you be carrying? What options do you want in order to be comfortable? Know exactly what you want before you set foot into the dealership and stick to it.
Research dealerships. Make sure that you find one close to you. If your vehicle needs service, it will be much easier to establish a relationship with the service manager if the location is convenient.
Know the car you want to buy before you go shopping. The Internet is an excellent way to find information. There are numerous sites specifically for supplying consumers with information on the make and model of the car you want to buy. Most sites include information such as dealer price, equipment listings, specifications, safety features, and warranty details.
Find out how much insurance is going to cost for the new vehicle. If you can afford the car, but you can’t afford the insurance, then you should purchase a different vehicle.
Try to determine the actual value of your trade-in. Use the market guide books for an estimate, and then visit various used car lots to get a bid on the car.
Have you ever paid $1,000 for a major auto repair you’re not sure you needed? If so, as you left the shop, you probably entertained the idea of doing your own auto repairs in the future, or at least learning enough to know whether you’re getting ripped off. With the right guides, some internet videos and basic tools, you’ll be surprised how many mechanical maladies you can learn to relieve on your own.
When dealing with serious car repairs, there’s serious potential for injury if you don’t take the proper precautions. Negligence can result in burns, or worse, electrocution! Spend some time reading up on basic safety guidelines, and always check out specific concerns for each repair you undertake.
Where to Begin
The first thing you need to do is find an official “workshop manual” or “factory service manual.” These tomes are pricey, often running $100 to $300. However, the expense is worth the amount you’ll eventually save by doing repairs yourself. Inside, you’ll find clear diagrams and instructions about how to fix up the guts of your vehicle. Be sure to purchase the correct manual for the specific make, model and year of your vehicle. If you own a very recent model, the manual may be in the form of an interactive CD or DVD instead of printed text.
Because these manuals aren’t aimed at the consumer market, you may have to use some Google-fu to find one. Your initial search may not yield reliable results, but don’t give up! Chances are there’s at least one forum of home mechanics who own the same model and have leads on where to find the manual.
Getting to Know Your Car
If you never took an auto shop class, you should watch a few online videos to familiarize yourself with all the systems that make up a modern automobile and how they generally operate. There’s a lot of information, but don’t be intimidated! Vehicles don’t run on magic, and you don’t need a Ph.D. in manifold theory to grasp how it all works.
Once you’re comfortable with the main ideas, start watching videos on how your particular vehicle operates. The biggest struggle for a rookie DIY mechanic is correctly diagnosing problems. By watching videos of other people doing various repairs on your model and occasionally browsing through your service manual, you’ll develop an intuitive ability to understand any symptoms your vehicle exhibits.
You don’t need a full garage with hydraulic lifts or a pneumatic drill to mend things under the hood. Most components are held in place with standard fasteners you can handle with common tools. In general, you’ll need the following:
Taking Care of Business
The biggest caveat to handling your own repairs is the amount of time it takes. While an experienced mechanic may be able to take care of a job in just an hour or two, your first attempt could take the whole weekend. However, if you can muster up the confidence and free time, you can expect to save thousands of dollars in labor costs.
Naturally, for some catastrophic problems, like a transmission failure, you may have to bite the bullet and visit a professional mechanic. However, armed with all your knowledge, you’ll be sure to recognize whether they’re giving you the runaround.
Our BALANCE Financial Guide is dedicated to helping you balance life’s important decisions.