Consider This: Car Shopping Tips

CONSIDER THIS: Most consumers tend to be influenced by two things when shopping for a car: monthly payments and gas mileage. And considering the current average for gas is $2.81 per gallon in California (($2.46 in Nevada)), according to, it’s pretty clear why gas mileage is an important consideration for consumers.

But, financial experts say they also should consider the total impact a vehicle will have on the wallet before making a final purchasing decision. Insurance rates can vary greatly depending on the type of vehicle you own. They are typically higher on a new or luxury vehicle than an older car. Also, the maintenance costs will vary depending on the car. For example, items such as tires and brakes can be significantly less expensive on a compact car than an SUV.

For those in the market for a car (whether used or new), here are a few more tips:

Budget ahead: As a rule-of-thumb, do not allow a monthly vehicle-loan payment to exceed 12 to 16 percent of gross monthly income.

Save up: The more money you’re able to put down on a car, the smaller the loan and ultimately, the less you pay in interest over the life of the loan. You might consider using your tax refund as a resource for your down payment.

Get pre-approved: Before car shopping, get pre-approved by a financial institution, such as credit union. This will give you more power to negotiate on the purchase price of the vehicle. Pre-approval also tells you how much you can afford and what type of monthly payment you will have.

To learn more about credit unions or to find a credit union to join—as well as for further tips and resources—go to

About the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues: With headquarters in Ontario, CA, the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues is the trade association representing the interests of more than 300 credit unions in California and Nevada, and their 10 million members. For more information, go to

Tina Ramos-Ingold, Media Relations Specialist
California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues

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