Car Buying

FCAN Car Buying Guide

Buying a car can should be fun, not an unpleasant experience for consumers. Our Automotive Minutes will help you understand the process so you can understand the purchase and be comfortable that you did it right. We present 13 one minute videos each explaining part of the car buying process.

Automotive Minutes

Often, consumers don't exactly know what to expect, what a fair price is, or whether the dealer is trying to help you or rip you off. FCAN presents the following information, with the help of insiders in the auto dealer industry, to arm you to be a better consumer. You CAN know what a fair price is. You CAN know what extras to buy and when to say no. You CAN know if the financing is fair. Automotive Minutes

Bill Newton and Jack Fitzgerald explain car buying
Bill Newton and Jack Fitzgerald explain car buying

More car buying resources:

The Secret History of Cars  Erica Johnson's CBC News report reveals there can be big problems with Carfax. When you're searching for the secret history of a used car, it's probably wise not to put all your trust in one vehicle history report.   Lookup recall information by VIN

Is the Price Right?

It's not a game, and you don't have to guess, but if you do just a little research, you can know exactly what you're seeing. The first thing to know is that the price consists of three parts: the price of the car, the terms of the financing, and any add ons. This is called PTA for Price, Terms, and Add-ons. Jack Fitzgerald, an auto dealer and consumer advocate we work with, has developed a fact sheet and worksheet you can use for this process. 

PTA Guide (PDF)

PTA Form (PDF)

Shop for credit

If you have good credit, check with your credit union or other financial institution first. That way, you can compare to the rates offered by the dealers. Sometimes dealers can offer manufacturer financing that will beat the banks. 

If you don't have good credit, still shop around, but you'll be in a different situation at the dealer. They will "shop" your credit app around and may have access to other financial resources. The dealer may find good financing, but there may be an arrangement between the dealer and the finance company to rebate part of the interest back to the dealer. This is, in effect a cost of buying the car and a profit for the dealer.

When buying, you need to add the cost of your loan, including any origination fees plus the interest, to know the total cost of what you're buying.

Car Buying Services

So-called "free" car buying services that promise to save you money, are often a sucker deal. Any educated consumer knows nothing is free, and that anything represented as free just has a hidden cost.

Find out more on our Car Buying Services page.

In the case of car buying services, every time a referral they make results in a sale, the dealer pays them $300 or $400. Guess who ends up paying that?  Of course it is you, the consumer. You will get a better deal by simply following the advice on this page instead of using the "free" service.

FCAN Auto Minutes

Consumer auto buying education on video. Click here for videos. 

Bill Newton and Jack Fitzgerald explain car buying
Bill Newton and Jack Fitzgerald explain car buying


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