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If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, you’re not alone. Demand for new vehicles in 2022 is expected to increase significantly from 2021, mostly due to delayed demand caused by a global pandemic. This demand is driving some buyers to pay sticker price or even higher for new vehicles. If you’re intimidated by the prospect of the auto market this year, keep reading. We’ve got some tips to make you a savvy buyer and ensure you get the best deal when buying a new or used car this year.

The best place for service members to start is with Navy Federal Credit Union. They have a convenient fully loaded Car Buying Center with everything you need to kickstart your vehicle purchase, including car buying resourcesauto loans, access to a special discount on vehicle insurance, and more. Add in military incentives and other discounts and you’re on your way to a hassle-free car-buying experience. Here is how to streamline the car buying process and save the most money with Navy Federal.

Happy senior couple buying a car.
Happy senior couple buying a car.

Do your research.  Before you arrive at a dealership to purchase a car, it’s wise to do thorough research to make sure you’re getting a vehicle that will meet your needs, and at a price that you can afford. Here are some questions to ask yourself before jumping in.

  • What can I afford? You can use Navy Federal’s auto loan calculator to see what your monthly auto payment may be. Most savvy financial publications suggest keeping your monthly auto payment within 10-15% of your take home pay. You should also factor in your credit score and how much of a down payment, if any, you plan on paying towards a vehicle.
  • How much will upkeep cost for a certain vehicle? This includes gas, insurance, registration fees, and maintenance. Check out Navy Federal’s Costs of Car Ownership page to help ensure there won’t be any major financial surprises after you purchase your vehicle. Monthly upkeep combined with your auto payment shouldn’t cost more than 20% of your total take home pay.
  • New or used? While buying a used car may fit your budget better than buying new, you’ll want to make sure you know as much about its history as possible and have a mechanic inspect it before purchase. 

Get preapproved for a loan. Getting preapproved for a loan will allow you to shop for a new vehicle with confidence. Preapprovals let you know how much financing you’re approved for, and what type of interest rate you can expect to get when you finalize a loan. Knowing these factors can give you an edge if you’re offered dealership financing on a vehicle – you can compare offers and know you’re getting the best possible deal. Plus, you may find yourself with a little extra bargaining power (similar to a cash buyer), which may save you money in the long run. Navy Federal makes the preapproval process quick and painless, with decisions in a matter of seconds. 

Consider a car buying service. You can find your next new or used car through Navy Federal’s Car Buying Service, powered by TrueCar. Other benefits include additional manufacturer incentives on select vehicles, seeing what others paid on a similar vehicle and getting a cash offer on your trade in– all online. If you’re stationed overseas or deployed at sea and shopping for a vehicle, using an overseas car buying service[1] may be a great option for you. Car buying services tailored for military members can help you save money, let you buy exactly what you want, and get your vehicle delivered to you stateside or to most overseas military bases.

Secure a loan. If you already got pre-approved through Navy Federal’s streamlined process, you’re all set. Just take your check to the dealership when you’re ready to purchase your vehicle. It’s that easy. If you decided to forego the preapproval process, you can easily apply for an auto loan through the Navy Federal mobile app[2] or online. If you’ve done your homework, you can go into the financing process with a sense for the APR you could qualify for and what you can afford.

Get a quote on auto insurance. Once you’ve secured financing for your new wheels, you’ll need to help protect your purchase with auto insurance. Navy Federal partners with TruStage® Auto Insurance Program to give its members access to a special discount on auto insurance from Liberty Mutual. Enjoy 24-hour claim assistance. Plus, Liberty Mutual offers the option to bundle home and auto insurance, potentially saving you even more money. 

Don’t let the current vehicle market deter you from your next car purchase. Set yourself up for a successful buying experience by doing your research ahead of time and using all of the tools at hand to make sure you’re getting the best deal on a vehicle. Using Navy Federal’s Car Buying Center and loan resources you’re in great shape to save money and get the vehicle you want.

This article was sponsored by Navy Federal Credit Union.

The views expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of TruStage or CUNA Mutual Group. AUT-4668719.1-0422-0524 

[1] This link leads to the Navy Federal Overseas Military Auto Buying Program, powered by Military AutoSource.  The link is to a web page hosted by Military AutoSource.  Navy Federal Credit Union is not responsible for any offer, purchase, lease or service provided by or through the Navy Federal Overseas Military Auto Buying Program.

[2] Message and data rates may apply.  Terms and Conditions are available.