Buying a Car

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Buying a Car

Buying a Car

Before You Buy

When buying a car, you have lots of decisions to make, but perhaps the most important decision you need to make before you even begin to shop around is determining how much you can afford. This does not just mean monthly payments though; you need to also take into consideration gas costs, insurance, maintenance, repairs, etc. Depending on the type of car you get, these costs will vary. For instance, a small car will get you better gas mileage than a big truck, and a new car may not have as many repairs as a used car, but the monthly payments will be higher.

Check out this Five-Year Total Cost of Ownership calculator by Kelley Blue Book® to help you compare costs between vehicles.

Another thing you need to think about before you purchase a vehicle is whether you are going to be making a down payment or trade-in. This can reduce the amount you need to borrow and your monthly payments. Also, your loan term, or length of loan, will determine your monthly payments too. If you have a longer loan term, your monthly payments will be lower, but you will pay more in interest over the long run. If you have a higher monthly payment, you will pay your loan off faster and pay less in total interest.


Once you have looked over your budget and determined how much you will be putting down or trading in, it may be a good idea to go ahead and get pre-approved before you begin your vehicle search. By doing this it will give you a better idea on your monthly payments while giving you more power when negotiating.

When you apply for a loan, you will need to have this information ready:

  • Monthly income and expenses
  • Length at current address
  • Length at current employer
  • Car information/value
  • Down payment (if any)
  • Amount that you need

You may want to consider adding additional protection to your vehicle as well, which can be added to your monthly payment.

  • GAP Advantage Insurance: GAP is an asset that covers the difference between what your car is currently worth and your remaining loan balance so that in the event of severe damage or theft, GAP Advantage Insurance will give you peace of mind.
  • Payment Protection Insurance: With Payment Protection Insurance, your loan payment may be reduced or paid off if you die or become disabled due to a covered illness, helping reduce financial risk for you and your family.
  • Mechanical Breakdown Coverage: We call this our Route 66 Extended Warranty Insurance. This is an extended warranty that protects your vehicle beyond the manufacturer’s factory warranty.

For more information, contact our services team by emailing us at

After You Buy

The car is yours! Now what? Make sure to add the new vehicle to your insurance policy as soon as possible. You will need to know the VIN, make, and model. Once you have insurance set up, it is time to get your vehicle registered. If you purchased from a dealer, they should get you set up with a temporary registration, but if you purchased from a private seller, you are responsible. Check out the Texas DMV website for more information.

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