Start Your Engines – Understanding the Auto Buying Process

As the weather warms up, it’s an excellent time to go for a drive. And, if you’re hitting the road, it can be a great feeling to do so in a new car.

Of course, there’s more to buying a new car than showing up at the dealership and taking a test drive. As with all major decisions, it helps to be smart and know what you’re doing. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re looking for a new car.

Do your homework

If getting behind the wheel is already the sort of thing that gets your motor running, then chances are you’re going to enjoy researching your purchase before you buy. That’s good but bear in mind that in the auto buying process, being prepared means more than knowing about the car itself. 

It’s always good to talk to your insurance agent before buying a new car. Some cars cost more to insure than others, and that’s the sort of thing you’re going to want to keep in mind when pricing out the cost of your new car. 

It also makes sense to get pre-approved or to pre-qualify for an auto loan to make the process easier and boost your bargaining power. Of course, you can get financing at the dealership, but the financing you get there is structured to make money for the dealer, not to help you save. The dealership might try to beat the financing offer you come in with, so that they can get a cut from the financing company. Either way, a pre-approval or pre-qualification may help you get a better deal.

Don’t just buy; shop

When you’re gathering your information, it makes sense to know what kinds of deals are available on the cars you’re considering buying. If your dealer thinks they’re the only game in town, they won’t be as motivated to give you a good deal. 

The good news is that it’s easy to price out purchases on dealer websites without ever leaving the house, to say nothing of sites like Vroom, TrueCar and Carvana. And, when you do walk into a dealership, there’s nothing that says you have to stay there. Be prepared to walk away if you can’t get a deal you like; you can always come back later.

Reading is fundamental

When it is time to make the purchase, it’s essential to know exactly what you’re signing. At the end of the day, this is a business deal—albeit one you drive away from in a new car—and it should be treated that way.

Remember to read everything you sign and bring a calculator to check the math. If that means leaving the kids at home when you go in to sign, then do it. Make sure that everything you’re signing is something that you actually agreed to, and don’t take the car home before every last paper is signed. You don’t want to get hooked into a worse rate after the fact, becoming a victim of what’s called “spotting” or “yo-yo financing.” 


It can be exciting to buy a new car, but it’s also a major financial decision. To find out more about the role that Suffolk Federal can play in your auto purchase, click here.

« Back to News Listing