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Q. Can credit problems prevent me from purchasing a vehicle? (1)

Q. Do I have the right to view my credit report? (2)

Q. Should I visit the dealer first? (3)

Q. If I have had credit difficulties will that only permit me to purchase used rather than new? (4)

Q. Why return to my credit union if the manufacturer has a rebate or special financing available? (5)

Q. If I’m purchasing a previously owned model, how do I know I’m not purchasing a lemon? (6)

Q. What about a warranty on a used vehicle? (7)

Q. Why is the price on my trade-in so low? (8)

Q. Can a dealer require me to purchase any options that aren’t included on the sticker price (MSRP)? (9)

Q. What is a rebate and what is an incentive? (10)


A. Your past and current credit history can have a bearing on your ability to purchase a vehicle. That does not mean that you will not be able to purchase but could increase the rate of interest for your loan. Your credit union loan officer will discuss this with you in detail. Many lenders base your ability to buy on a credit rating or what is referred to as a FICO score. Actually, you can have as many as three FICO scores, one for each major credit bureau. These three are Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. (1)




A. Yes, you can contact any or all of the agencies for a copy of your report. (2)




A. We strongly recommend that you visit your credit union prior to selecting a vehicle. You can have your loan pre-approved and will know what price range you should be shopping for. (3)




A. No, speak with your credit union loan officer. (4)





A. In the marketplace today we see the majority of manufacturers offering rebates and special financing. Your credit union loan officer will gladly review these options with you. This will enable you to make the decision that is best suited and, of course, provides the greater savings for you. (5)





A. There are several steps to be taken when purchasing a used vehicle and reputable dealers will encourage you to take your time and make the right selection. Start with a test drive. Don’t just drive around the block but drive for several miles at different speeds and under stop and go conditions. The car should “feel good” from a handling standpoint. You should test all the options such as door locks, air-conditioning, power windows, stereo and any other accessories.

The dealer should provide you with a vehicle condition or history report. These reports will search the condition of the vehicle for major items such as flood damage, not actual mileage, major collision damage, rebuilt salvage title and additional areas of concern. Please review and utilize AutoCheck on this web site.

Take the car to a mechanic of your choice and have it thoroughly checked. Certified repair shops will have a check list of items to inspect. This can cost you a few dollars now but you will never make a more sound decision. (6)





A. Any vehicle purchased from a dealer should pass your state Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) inspection (where applicable.) This means that tires, brakes, mechanical (engine, transmission) and lamps including headlights, brake lights, turning signals and back-up lights must meet state standards. All promises should be given to you in writing.

Extended service contracts are available to purchase from most dealers if the vehicle meets the year and/or mileage requirements. However, check with your credit union before purchasing. We recommend that you purchase your extended service contract from your credit union when available.

Do not confuse a warranty with an extended service contract. The warranty is provided from the manufacturer of an automobile and is included in the purchase price. An extended service contract is purchased as an addition item at your discretion. It is not mandatory that you purchase a service contract. (7)





A. This is perhaps the most frequently asked question in the auto industry and, not surprisingly, there is not a simple one line answer. We all understand that a vehicle is like any product in that there is a wholesale and a retail price.

There are many factors involved with a trade-in. A dealer must consider the year, make, model, mileage and condition when doing their appraisal. Please keep in mind that a dealer must adjust for any cosmetic reconditioning, tires, mechanical and electrical problems or even frame damage when inspecting your automobile.

If the dealer accepts your trade-in there are other expenses associated with the resale that must be considered. These expenses may include advertising, sale commission, and, in some instances, a guarantee to the new purchaser. This information to some degree should explain why the trade-in price offered by the dealer is sometimes less than what you expected.

You may decide to sell your vehicle on your own. The dealer appraisal amount will give you a basis to determine your asking, or selling, price. AutoCheck will allow you to do a vehicle history report for prospective buyers. Remember, there can be problems associated with selling a vehicle on your own and the risk sometimes just isn’t worth the reward. (8)





A. Absolutely not! You decide what, if any, add-ons you need and you make the decision. If the dealer has already installed any, have them locate or order you a vehicle without these add-ons. If the dealer isn’t agreeable to that we suggest you shop elsewhere. (9)





A. Automobile manufacturers offer rebates or special financing periodically on selected models. A rebate is offered to the consumer when purchasing certain models. This rebate can be used to lower the purchase price by you assigning it to the dealer, or it can be forwarded directly to you from the manufacturer.

In lieu of a cash rebate, some manufacturers will offer financing at a seemingly low rate. Often the low rates will be for 24, 36 or 48 month financing and payments will be difficult to meet. In most all instances, you also forfeit the rebate which could be invested and earning interest during the same period.

If you haven’t already considered what an affordable monthly payment is, speak with your credit union. They will assist you by looking at what your monthly income is versus your monthly expenditures. You can determine from this what a reasonable and comfortable payment is. This is a major decision that requires some thought.

Manufacturers can offer incentives to dealers on some or all of the models of a particular make. The dealer can retain all of the incentive or, in some
instances, further lower pricing and “share” their incentive with consumers
. (10)


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