GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As inflation appears to be cooling and interest rates go up in smaller increments, some may be asking if now is a good time to buy a new ride.
If you’re eyeing a vehicle at the Michigan International Auto Show, there’s some things to take into consideration. If you finance your car, the amount you’ll end up paying every month should be top of mind, and if you have a vehicle you want to trade in, you should be wary of the equity you have in the vehicle.
Analysts say nearly 16% of consumers who financed a new car at the end of last year are paying at least $1,000 a month.
Andrea Mosher, the senior vice president of lending at Lake Trust Credit Union, said a longer loan term to lower your monthly payments can be a tricky tactic.
“The one thing to be very cautious about is what we see often times in a negative equity situation if it’s reasonable, buyers will extend the term to try to get to the payment that they want to be at,” Mosher said. “What you have to be careful about that is consider how old the vehicle is that you’re purchasing.”
She said if the car you’re buying isn’t new and you’re asking for a seven-year loan, the car could be over a decade old by the time the loan is over.
“You’re getting further and further away from a breakeven stand point until you’re at the very end of the loan,” she said.
If you have time to save, that could work in your favor.
The Federal Reserve announced another interest rate hike Wednesday, raising it by a quarter-point. High-interest rates do benefit consumers in some ways, like saving rates. Mosher said there are some financial products — such as certificates of deposit or saving accounts — that can help you build up your funds to buy a vehicle.
Mosher said it’s important to do your research. Don’t forget about insurance: Because it tends to be expensive in Michigan, it could end up being as much as a car payment.
Be sure of your budget ahead of time and check multiple dealers.
“Know what you want to spend, stick to what you want to spend and really find the best deal for yourself and don’t feel pressure to do things that didn’t make sense before you started,” Mosher said.
Some experts say you should get pre-approved for a loan before going to the dealer’s lot.
Mosher said to think about why you want to be a new vehicle: is it necessary or just something you want?
“People just need to think long term. … It can be a very emotional decision and when you sit in a nice, new car, we’ve all been there where we’re like, ‘Nope, this is it and I don’t care, I want to take it home,’ and then there’s buyer’s remorse,” Mosher said. “And unfortunately it’s kind of an expensive buyer’s remorse. So don’t let the emotions make the decision at the end of the day.”