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5 things to know before buying a car in 2024

Confidently buy your new vehicle in 2024 with these strategies.
Happy couple came to an agreement with a car salesperson at a meeting in a showroom.

This article was sponsored by Navy Federal Credit Union. Navy Federal Credit Union is federally insured by NCUA.

Buying a car in 2024 involves more than just picking out your dream ride at the dealership. With evolving market trends, financial considerations and technological advancements, it’s essential to be well-informed before blowing your reenlistment bonus or that special duty pay on a new truck.

Here are 5 crucial factors to consider when buying a car in 2024:

1. Should I buy a car in 2024?

Before diving into the car-buying process, it’s essential to assess whether 2024 is the right time to make a purchase. Consider factors such as your current transportation needs, budget, and the state of the automotive market. With uncertainties like fluctuating fuel prices, evolving technology, and supply chain disruptions, evaluating the timing of your purchase is crucial to making a well-informed decision.

Other aspects of your decision to consider include the price of auto insurance, license and registration costs in your state of record, and if you would have to re-register that vehicle in another state if you are PCSing in the near future.

2. Steps to take before visiting the car dealership

Preparing before you visit the dealership can help streamline the car-buying process and ensure you get the best deal possible. Start by researching different makes and models that suit your needs and budget. Check out Navy Federal’s Car Buying Service, powered by TrueCar, to see upfront pricing on vehicles, or to get an understanding of what your trade-in might be worth if you have one.

 If you are financing the new vehicle, secure your auto loan before you go into the dealership by getting pre-approved. A car dealership can make the majority of their money in the Finance and Insurance office, but coming with a pre-approved loan can save you money. This vital step helps you understand your purchasing power and negotiate from a position of strength. Explore financing options such as applying for an auto loan with Navy Federal Credit Union, which offers competitive rates and flexible terms. Additionally, use their online resources to compare prices, read reviews and explore available incentives or promotions.

3. Hidden costs to add to your car-buying budget

While the sticker price is a significant consideration, it’s essential to budget for additional costs that may arise during the car-buying process. These hidden costs can include sales tax, title and registration fees, dealership documentation fees, and optional add-ons like extended warranties or maintenance plans. By accounting for these expenses upfront, you can avoid financial surprises down the road.

4. Saving money when buying a car

Saving money when buying a car requires careful planning and savvy decision-making. Consider purchasing a used or certified pre-owned vehicle to take advantage of lower prices and depreciation rates. Negotiate with the dealership to secure the best possible price, leveraging research and market insights to your advantage. Be sure to negotiate the price of the car separately from the price they will give you for the trade-in.

You may want to sell your vehicle before you PCS. Some states, such as Alaska, offer more for a used car than average (20% over average). The state you may move to could even offer less than average such as Virginia (8.5% below average.)  Additionally, consider refinancing your existing auto loan using Navy Federal’s online calculator to see how you could lower your monthly payments or save on interest over time.

5. Embracing Technological Advancements

In 2024, technology continues to play a significant role in the automotive industry, offering innovative features that enhance safety, convenience, and connectivity. Before buying a car, familiarize yourself with the latest advancements in vehicle technology, such as advanced driver-assistance systems, infotainment systems, and electric or hybrid powertrains. Evaluate how these features align with your preferences and priorities to ensure that your chosen vehicle meets both your practical and technological needs.

Buying a car in 2024 requires careful consideration of various factors, from timing and budgeting to financing and technology. By assessing your needs, researching your options, budgeting for hidden costs, maximizing savings opportunities, and leveraging technological advancements, you can navigate the car-buying process with confidence and clarity. Whether you’re purchasing a new or used vehicle, being well-prepared will help you find the perfect ride for your lifestyle and budget.

Check out the stories written by Bethany Bayless. Engage with thought-provoking content that offers unique perspectives on military endeavors.