I just bought a used car for the first time. Here is what I learned.

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Added bonus: if you have a bank or credit union you like, go get a pre-approved loan with them, and bring the pre-approval letter with you so the dealer shuts up about dealer financing. Now, the dealer might drop the price of the car if you finance through them, and sometimes it’s a good deal (run the numbers though – see how much you lose in the higher interest rate). You can choose to use dealer financing if you want to, but having the pre-approval gives you options and lets you know the “true price” of the car.


> A dealer that is not willing to give a quote is honestly not worth the hassle. This is 100%. I e-mailed a few about internet prices confirming whether they included rebates I didn’t qualify for, etc. Also asked for tax, tag, title and any fees they were going to add on (document fees, prep fees, etc). I immediately removed about 3 dealers because they weren’t willing to do that. 3 or 4 of them were willing to do that so I worked with those and ultimately bought from one of those dealers. The car buying process at a dealership is frustrating but you can easily avoid the bad ones over e-mail.


The only point I dont agree with fully is the 2 year loan part. You can often get the same rate and the same financing fee for a 4 year loan as you can for a 2 year in my experience, and then your monthly payment is lower in case you hit an emergency during the loan, and they dont front load the financing schedule as hard because they figure they have more time, so if you pay it off like it’s a 2 year loan anyway you’ll pay a little less interest. So you can usually have a little more cushion for free.


>If you can’t pay off the loan in 2 years, you cannot afford the loan. that’s a bit… extreme. and I’m even compensating for PF’s extremely weird perversion against any kind of debt. now I’m not suggesting that someone get a big fat 8 year loan or whatever, but 2 years is *very* short. entirely capable and affordable used cars can have longer loans than that with low enough interest and monthly payments that anybody can stomach it.


If the average American could pay their car off in two years, they wouldn’t need the loan in the first place. Guy bought ONE used car and thinks he’s an expert now.