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Buying Your First Car


Purchasing your first car is one of the most exciting experiences in life. However, it can also be overwhelming and costly if you don’t know what to do.

Fortunately, we’ve prepared a short guide on the things you should and shouldn’t do when buying a new car from a dealer.

Do Your Research and Be Prepared

A car buyer’s best friend is information. There are many websites that can give consumers data on the features and pricing of every vehicle available today. Before stepping into a car dealership, you should know the vehicle you want to purchase and the price you’re willing to pay.

What you don’t want to do is to go to a dealership without having a pre-approval from your credit union. Many car dealers make much of their profits via their financing offices. This means they get a cut out of any auto loan they get when their buyers accept. With a pre-approval, your dealer will have to come up with a better offer if they want to do the financing.

Compare Prices from Different Dealerships

The various auto dealerships today are not the same, not even if they display the same exact makes and models. Most people start and end their car shopping experiences at the dealer that is most convenient to them, which is a big mistake.

According to COX Automotive, 41% of car buyers only go to a single dealership when buying a new car. When you shop with just one dealer, you can’t make comparisons to know if a better deal is available to you.

So just like any purchase, you should compare the prices of the same vehicle from different dealerships. Letting another dealer know that they have competition is enough to make them strive to earn your business.

Don’t Be Pressured into Getting Costly Add-Ons from the Dealership

Apart from financing, dealers also make an absurd amount of money by selling add-on products. Although some may be valuable, many of them have high markups and more often than not can be purchased at lower prices from your credit union.

At OHCU, we offer the same types of add-on coverages sold by dealerships, including GAP and Warranty, except we offer a more robust coverage, priced for Credit Union members with value and service in mind.

Close the Deal the Right Way

If the pricing and financing look right to you, then it’s time to close the deal. You have two options available here: purchase at the dealerships or have the vehicle and paperwork delivered to your home.

Whichever option you decide in finalizing your deal, make sure that you review the contract carefully. Check to ensure that the numbers match what you have agreed upon and make sure there are no extra fees or charges.

After signing the contract, the vehicle is now yours to drive.


Purchasing your first car is truly an emotional and exciting process. However, you need to follow some important steps to get the best deal.

By following these tips, you can get the car that you want without overspending.


1. Cox Automotive (2019, June 4). 2019 Car Buyer Journey Study.


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