Car Buying Tips

Use the preferred dealer contacts provided on our website

The Preferred Dealer contacts within our website are visited by our team regularly.  Our Preferred Dealer contacts are some of the most veteran sales staff inside the dealership, and many of them have the Credit Union Sales title or Fleet Sales title. The preferred contacts understand that our members are looking for aggressive pricing with the least amount of hassle. Recommendation #1 is to use the sales representatives provided for a smooth and easy transaction.

Get pre-approved before you visit a dealership

Always get pre-approved before heading to the dealership.  Our loan application is found above in the Car Financing section.  By receiving your pre-approval from the Credit Union you can save a great deal of time. This means more free time for you and less time spent inside the dealer finance office. Tell the Preferred Dealer contact you are pre-approved with the Credit Union and you wish to keep your financing with us.  They will handle the rest. 

Familiarize yourself with car buying terms

Become familiar with the terms MSRP, Invoice, Holdback, CarFax, Extended Warranties, and Gap among others before visiting the dealership.  Having a good understand of what these terms mean, can help you save money and make an educated purchase. If you have any questions about any of this terminology, please be sure to contact the car buying help line at 832-912-2182 or email@memberautocenter.com for assistance.

View a vehicle history report

When you are purchasing a used car it is essential that you know something about that car’s pedigree. Things to look for include, was it a rental car, a taxi, a police vehicle, has it been in an accident, was it totaled, has it been damaged by floods or other natural disasters and are there any current recalls on the car? You want to make sure that the odometer reading is accurate. You also, want to make sure that the title is good – was the car ever repossessed or stolen, does it have a branded title (ex; junked, salvaged or rebuilt) and is there a lien on the vehicle?  The majority of pre-owned cars listed come with a free CarFax report.  Please do yourself a favor and review those reports. A dealer may price a vehicle differently based on the information given in these reports.

The market value of your used car

If you are looking for a general price for your current car use our vehicle value option at the top of the website.  These values are provided by NADA and they provide you a general guide to your vehicles value.  If you would like to sell your personal vehicle, or you are heading to the dealership and need a real time offer, be sure to use our sell your car feature for an exact quote.   

The dealer’s bottom-line price on a used car

The dealer’s bottom line price is made up of several factors. These include what they paid for the car, how they view the market, how badly they need to move inventory, and possibly some other factors:

  1. The dealer will have paid less for the car if they purchased it directly as a trade-in than if they bought it at auction.
  2. The dealer’s value calculation depends upon how popular this particular vehicle model is. If the model is very popular they will give less of a discount because they expect someone may be willing to pay more. If the model isn’t popular the opposite is true. If a dealer needs to move inventory to raise cash or eliminate older inventory, they will give a greater discount then they would when they are not under pressure.
  3. You may be able to find out if the dealer purchased the car at auction from the vehicle history report or they simply may be willing to tell you. But even then, you won’t know exactly what the dealer paid for the car and you won’t know how they have calculated the other factors.

Recommendation; always request a drive out price from any of our dealer representatives.

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