What You Need to Know When Buying a Used Car
Know What You Want
The Tower Car Buying Service can help you connect with new and used car dealerships in order to find the car and get the price you deserve. Just type in your zip code and the make/model of the car you're interested in.
Pick a Seller
Dealerships have certainly made the car-buying process more convenient! To get the best deal, you need to know the difference between the different type of dealers and private sellers when searching for and selecting a used vehicle:
- Manufacturer Franchise Certified Dealer – An auto seller that sells new and used cars for major brand auto manufacturers such as Nissan, Ford, and Honda.
- Franchise Used Car Dealer – A large independent used car dealer; a nationwide chain of new and used car dealers who have no affiliation with an automobile manufacturer such as CarMax and Carvana.
- Non-Franchise/Independent Dealer – An auto seller that sells used cars of any make or model and has no affiliation with a specific manufacturer.
- Private Party Seller – Cars for sale by owner usually with no special warranty and sold as-is.
After You Choose a Car
- Always have the vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic and test drive the car.
- Ask and confirm if the dealer/seller owns the vehicle, and if any reported liens are satisfied by reviewing a copy of the title.
- Learn about the vehicle's history by obtaining a vehicle history report. Tower offers free CARFAX reports to our members.* CARFAX provides a detailed report revealing vital information about a vehicle such as:
- Title information: Does the car have a clear Title with no liens?
- Accident History: Has the car been in an accident and incurred any serious damage to include fire or water? Has it been deemed a total loss by the insurance company?
- Is it a Salvage Vehicle? Did the insurance company issue a “salvage/branded title” indicating that the car is in serious disrepair and may have hidden problems that impact the value? Tower does not finance salvaged vehicles.
Before You Sign the Purchase Agreement
- Determine the vehicle value using the vehicle year, make, model, mileage and options. Check the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and use the NADA value to negotiate your purchase price.
- Tower uses NADA to determine the value of the vehicle, which will will also determine the maximum financed loan amount (Loan-To-Value).
Obtain a Tower Auto Loan
Our competitive rates offer an affordable loan option.
- Get pre-approved in minutes with Tower before you shop, to help save time at the dealer.
- Apply for your vehicle loan online, using our app, in a branch, or over the phone.
- Ask about our Auto Express Loan Checks (AELCs).
Protect Your New (to You) Car
Visit the Auto Loans page at towerfcu.org for the following resources.
Remember to contact your auto insurer as soon as you're the owner of the vehicle to make changes to your current policy.
*CARFAX Vehicle History Reports may be requested from Tower Federal Credit Union while your auto loan preapproval through Tower remains open. Offer may expire at any time. Tower is not responsible for the accuracy of the CARFAX Vehicle History Report and is subject to CARFAX consumer Terms and Conditions. CARFAX is a registered trademark of CARFAX, Inc.
This article is intended to provide general information and shouldn’t be considered legal, tax, or financial advice. Please consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information about your situation and about your individual financial situation.