October 6, 2021

Car Buying Tips & Timeline


If you’re considering buying a new car, these five car buying tips could help you get through the process like a professional.

Budget Before You Go

Before you go shopping for your new vehicle, shop around for the best rates and terms. Once you have found a lender you trust, get pre-approved, and have one less thing to worry about when you find the vehicle you want.

Pre-approval will also tell you exactly how much you can afford to spend on a car, simplifying and quickening your search without on-the-spot pressure.

To create an effective budget, your car payment needs to include the cost of car insurance, taxes, and other fees such as title, tag, and doc fees. Getting quotes online is quite easy these days—shop around with different providers or put in a request and get multiple quotes back.

Browse Your Options

There are numerous websites to compare features and prices on new or used vehicles. By browsing ahead of time, you know what costs to expect and what local promotions are available. This may provide you with a better negotiating position with minimal effort.

Oftentimes, advanced features come with a hefty price tag. However, due to the rapid pace of automotive technology, advanced features for safety and convenience are starting to become affordable or included within the price of the vehicle.

To make sure you are getting the car that meets your needs and your budget, create a checklist to determine which features are your wants verus your needs.

Test Drive Your Way

Whether you cruise city streets or commute on the highway, utilize your time test driving your potential new purchase by mimicking the way you will use it on a daily basis. For example, if you experience a lot of stop-and-go traffic, test how that car will feel and act in that particular situation.

There may be something missing that you’d like out of your vehicle you wouldn’t notice otherwise. Ideally, this vehicle should carry you through the next three to five years of commuting.

Remember, selecting a car that completely meets your needs is the dealership’s main goal. They should work with you to eliminate vehicles that don’t meet your criteria and help you find the vehicle that fits you best.

Read the Fine Print

When you’re making the deal for your purchase, there are bound to be some confusing moments as things come together. Some dealers use this as an opportune time to upsell warranties, insurances, and other add-ons.

While these things require consideration, it’s too easy to tack the costs onto a loan without considering how it will impact payment and overall cost.

Before you sign, be sure to read the contract carefully and discuss any unexpected fees. It’s also a good idea to double-check that the final amount shown on the contract is the same as discussed.

If you’re shopping during a certain season, the dealer may be more motivated to sell. Confidently negotiate the final price and use the research you did beforehand to save you money and time.

Finalize All Documentation

Once you’ve got your new set of wheels, call your car insurance provider and notify them of your new purchase. In general, your insurance carrier will provide a grace period between seven to 30 days to update your policy with your new car information.

Be sure to register your license plate before the temporary registration from the dealership runs out. In Oklahoma, when you sell your car, you will keep your license plate to put on the next car you purchase.

If you purchase your next vehicle from a dealership, that car will still come with a paper dealer tag and you will still have 30 days to register the car. Upon title and registration, you may either put your old tag on the new car or you may purchase a new tag from the Oklahoma Tax Commission (OTC) or your local tag agent.


This article is for educational purposes only. Tulsa FCU makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, or specific suitability of any information presented. Information provided should not be relied on or interpreted as legal, tax or financial advice. Nor does the information directly relate to our products and/or services terms and conditions.

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