Frequently Asked Questions
Will my credit problems prevent me from purchasing a vehicle?
A low credit score will not necessarily prevent you from getting a vehicle loan, but it will probably force you to accept a higher interest rate meaning that you will pay more in the end. The credit union’s loan officer can go over your loan situation with you in depth and provide you with information on improving your credit score.
Do I have the right to view my credit score and report?
Absolutely, you do. To obtain a copy of your credit report, call or visit Houston Texas Fire Fighters FCU; a small fee may apply. You can also obtain a FREE copy of your credit report online. This in-depth credit report will include information from all three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax.
Should I visit the dealer first?
You may or may not decide to finance your vehicle through the credit union, but it is important to gather as much information as possible before making that decision. By talking to a loan officer before visiting a dealership, you can find out the best rate available through the credit union, the target price for your next vehicle and the products offered by your credit union.
By financing with your credit union, you may also become a VIP member of the MyEZCarCare program, which will provide you with travel and maintenance discounts as well as a mobile app to maintain all your vehicle information. Roadside assistance is an optional add-on available for a small annual fee.
If I had credit problems in the past, will that only permit me to purchase a used vehicle?
You still may qualify for a new vehicle. Talk to your loan officer for more details.
Why should I finance through my credit union if the manufacturer has a rebate or special financing?
Dealerships will often make you decide between 0% financing through the dealership or applying a manufacturer rebate to your purchase. Not all consumers qualify for these special financing rates. One benefit to credit union financing is that it allows you to take advantage of the manufacturer rebate, which is often the cheaper option. To find out which option would be more beneficial in your situation, check out the financial calculators on this site.
If I purchase a previously owned model, how do I know I'm not buying a lemon?
When buying a used vehicle, the test drive is paramount. Make sure that you drive the vehicle in a variety of driving conditions and be critical. Before purchase, all used vehicles should undergo a full inspection by a certified repair shop.
An AutoCheck® report can alert you to any red flags regarding the vehicle’s past. They even offer the added security of Buyback™ protection for qualifying vehicles. These reports are available at a discounted price for credit union members and the only thing needed is the VIN (vehicle identification number).
What about a warranty or extended service contract for a used vehicle?
Certified used vehicles come with a guaranteed warranty from the vehicle manufacturer that is included in the purchase price. In some cases, service contracts are also available through the credit union and dealership. The service contract will not cover maintenance costs, but it will cover some or all of the cost to repair a broken down vehicle.
Extended service contracts are available to purchase from most credit unions and dealers for qualifying vehicles. Ask your credit union loan officer what products they offer prior to going to the dealership as your credit union will likely have similar products at a lower cost
Why is the price on my trade-in so low?
The vehicle’s year, make, model, mileage, and condition all factor into the dealer’s appraisal. A dealer must also adjust for any cosmetic reconditioning, tires, mechanical defects, electrical problems, and frame damage.
There are expenses associated with the resale that the dealer must consider, such as advertising and sale commissions.
Selling the vehicle on your own takes longer, but may allow you to get more than you would at the dealership. A Black BookTM report will help determine the value of your used vehicle.
Can a dealer require me to purchase options not included in the sticker price (MSRP)?
Absolutely not! You are in charge of determining which add-on features you want and the dealership can remove any previously installed add-ons before purchase.
What is a rebate and what is an incentive?
Automobile manufacturers offer rebates and incentives periodically to encourage buyers to purchase their vehicles. Dealers can apply the rebate to the purchase price or forward the cash rebate directly to you from the manufacturer. Incentives can include a variety of benefits including low interest financing or special warranties.
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