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5 Tips for Online Car Buying

April 20, 2022
Car Shopping in a Pandemic

Shopping for a car online might feel intimidating. However, if you need to replace a car that’s having mechanical issues or upgrade to a larger vehicle to meet your family’s needs, you might be in a position where getting a new car simply can’t wait. And in the age of Carvana and car delivery service, the pressure of an in-person dealership experience becomes less and less appealing.

It’s important to be safe and smart when shopping online. Here are a few things to keep in mind when considering a contactless experience.

Know your budget. Run the numbers so you know how much you can afford before starting your car search. Auto loan calculators can help you estimate your monthly payments. Don’t forget to consider the costs of auto insurance, vehicle maintenance, annual taxes and fees, and fuel. If your financial situation has changed, spend some time reassessing your budget to determine the best way forward.

Do your research. In a time of social distancing, in-person shopping has taken a back seat. However, there are many ways to do research online to help you determine what car suits your needs. Search for new and used car listings online and look up market values with Kelley Blue Book to determine fair prices in your area and what the trade-in value for you current vehicle may be.

Car shop with a click. Many dealerships have created online experiences such as virtual tours and curbside test drives. These new avenues can be especially helpful if you prefer to shop from the comfort of home, or the car you’re looking for isn’t located near you. You can also consider online-only dealers like Carvana, which provide a 100% virtual buying process. Carvana provides a seamless process to make new and used car-buying easier and safe, with contactless-delivery right to your home!

Have a plan for financing. Getting preapproved for an auto loan can help you shop with confidence. Going through the preapproval process with a lender is quick and easy, and it puts you in a better position to negotiate on pricing and make an informed decision about financing.

Be wary of dealership offers. Car dealerships tend to offer promising discounts to move inventory, but don’t let the deals sway your decision-making. Although 0% financing sounds like a great deal, it doesn’t always work out that way. These offers typically have restrictions that make it difficult to qualify and may have other strings attached. Sticking to your price range, knowing your credit score, and shopping around for financing can help you drive away with a great deal.

DCU offers the same low rates for new and used vehicles, so check us out before you begin car shopping. You can shop confidently with financing from DCU and contactless delivery through Carvana. Learn more about how Carvana works with DCU.

Please note, membership is required to open a DCU Auto Loan. Visit our membership eligibility page for more information.

This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as legal, financial, investment or tax advice or indicate that a specific DCU product or service is right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a financial professional.