Buying a Car

At ESL, we want to see you on the road with a smile on your face. So we’ve taken the time to assemble these tips and resources to help you become as knowledgeable as possible before you make that major investment.

At ESL we want to see our members on the road with a smile on their face. So we’ve taken the time to assemble these tips and resources that will get you in the right car with the right deal.

Things to know:

  • Know the monthly payment amount you can afford prior to shopping.
  • Shop loan rates with reputable lenders (view current ESL rates).
  • Know the value of the car you want to buy or sell ahead of time by visiting Kelley Blue Book, or any of the well-respected car appraisal websites.
  • ESL participating dealers provide the benefit of our best available rates with the convenience of one-stop shopping.
  • Remember that…
    • The bank “holds claim” to your car until the loan is paid in full.
    • Cosigning means you’re promising to pay someone else’s debt if they don’t.
  • Loans

    A car is almost certainly a need for just about anyone these days. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have enough cash to pay for a car. That’s why we need car loans. Here’s how they work:

    • You use money you borrow from a lender to buy the car. Until the loan is paid in full they consider the car to be collateral.
    • Once you pay off the loan balance, you own the car outright. The lender no longer has claim to the car.
    • If you don’t make the loan payments, the lender can legally take the car and sell it to pay off the loan.
    • If the lender doesn’t sell the car for enough to pay off the loan balance, you have to pay what’s left.

    There are three things that determine how much a car loan payment is:

    1. The amount of the auto loan
    2. The interest rate
    3. The length of time to repay the loan

    Here are examples of three loan payments for a car purchased for $20,000:

    Loan Amount
    Down Payment
    Interest Rate
    Length of Time to Repay the Loan
    Monthly Payment
    Loan Amount$15,000
    Down Payment$5,000
    Interest Rate4.50%
    Length of Time to Repay the Loan48 months
    Monthly Payment$342.05
    Loan Amount$20,000
    Down Payment$0
    Interest Rate5.00%
    Length of Time to Repay the Loan66 months
    Monthly Payment$347.23
    Loan Amount$20,000
    Down Payment$0
    Interest Rate5.50%
    Length of Time to Repay the Loan72 months
    Monthly Payment$326.76

    View additional payment examples.

    ESL has the right car loan for you with affordable interest rates and flexible terms. Take a look at ESL Auto and Leisure Vehicle Loans or visit one of our participating dealers.

     
  • Prepare

    It can be hard to plan ahead and prepare to buy something that you need and want right now. Being prepared, however, is your best bet to get the right car, a good loan, and pay it off successfully.

    To prepare yourself, think about the following:

    • You should determine the right car based on these main categories:
    1. What you can afford
    2. Reliability
    3. Gas mileage
    4. Insurance costs
    5. Comfort
    6. Fit with your lifestyle
    • Know the value of the car you want to buy or sell ahead of time. Visit Kelley Blue Book, or any of the well-respected car appraisal websites.
    • Credit scores of 730 or higher get the best available deals. You may qualify with lower FICO scores, but additional costs may apply.
    • The bigger the down payment you make on the car, the less you have to borrow, and the lower your monthly payment will be.
    • Consider how long you plan to keep the car and carefully determine the right repayment length of time for you.

    Take a look at the Get a Car Loan brochure for more specifics about getting prepared.

     
  • Shop for a Loan

    These days there are countless options when it comes to car loans. Unfortunately, not all loans are created equal. Here are the steps that we’ve found to be most helpful when shopping for the best loan:

    Step 1 – Know Your Financial Position

    Take inventory of the following:

    • Your credit report and score — a FICO score of 730 or higher gets the best rates.
    • Make sure your income is enough for the amount of the loan you want.
      (The monthly payment should not exceed 10% of your monthly income.)
    • Consider your other financial obligations.
    • Figure out how much savings you need for the down payment or collateral.
    Step 2 – Do Your Homework

    Typically, financing a car loan comes from two options — either through a bank or credit union or through the dealer from whom you purchase your car.

    Did you know? Participating Rochester area dealers provide the benefit of ESL best available rates with the convenience of shopping directly at a dealer. Here’s how it works:

    1. Go to one of our participating dealers.
    2. Negotiate the best deal and ask for ESL financing.
    3. Double check our ESL rates while you shop.

    We’d be honored to be your auto lender at ESL.

    Step 3 – Apply for the Loan
    Visit any of our conveniently located branches or any of our participating dealers.
     
  • Cosigners

    Cosigning a loan can be very helpful for friends and family looking to get credit. Your desire to help is certainly commendable, but there are some serious considerations to take into account. For one, you are agreeing to take responsibility for the debt. That’s without a doubt something to think about seriously. If you’re ever asked to cosign a loan, make sure you know what you’re getting into. Here’s what you want to think through:

    • When you cosign a loan, you are promising to pay someone else’s debt if they don’t!
    • If the borrower makes late payments or misses payments, you may not know about it until the car is repossessed.
    • The fact that you are responsible for a cosigned loan can affect your ability to get other loans.
    • Your credit score can be damaged if the primary borrower does not make monthly payments on time.
    • If the car is repossessed, it will be on your credit report for seven years.
    • Before cosigning, figure out if you can afford to pay the loan if you have to.
    • If you decide to cosign a loan, make sure that you and the borrower talk about what to do if he or she can't make a payment. Maintain open communication.

    For more details about the ins and outs of cosigning, take a look at the Cosigning a Loan brochure.

     
  • Being Upside Down

    Being upside down on a car loan means you owe more on the loan than what the car is worth. This is a very dangerous position to be in because you will not be able to pay off the loan if you sell the car or total the car in an accident. Then you’re left without a car and still have payments to make.

    The chart below demonstrates a typical period of time where one might owe more than the value of a vehicle on a six-year loan at 5% interest with $0 down. With an accepted average rate of 15% depreciation per year, it will take roughly three years for the loan to be  “right side up” again.

    Upside-Down-Chart-112814.png

    To minimize being upside down on a loan consider doing the following:

    1. Choose a vehicle that holds its value better. You can go to www.kbb.com or www.edmunds.com to learn about resale values.
    2. Avoid rolling the taxes and fees into your loan balance.
    3. Choose a loan term that equals the amount of time you plan to keep the vehicle.
    4. Try to make a down payment that nears 20%.
    5. Purchase gap protection if you anticipate being upside down.