Buying a new car can be an exhausting process. Many people spend months researching and test driving a variety of vehicles before they finally make a decision. Then, they choose a dealer and spend another full day negotiating and closing the deal. By the time most buyers make it into the office of a car dealership finance manager, they’re ready to roll over and take a nap. This familiar dynamic may be to blame for the confusion that many customers feel when meeting with their finance managers. By preparing ahead of time for this important interaction, buyers can be more aware of what is being done and will make better decisions regarding auto loans, warranties, and add-ons. These five important questions should elicit all of the information that a customer might need to know from their finance managers.

  1. How did my credit score look?

The finance manager’s primary job is to secure your auto loan by connecting you with a lending partner. Their first task happens long before you enter his or her office. Usually, they will check your credit while you are still working with the dealership sales representative. This will help the dealership to determine whether or not they can sell you a car and it tells them at what interest rate they can offer you dealership financing. Because the finance manager does have some flexibility on rate, you’ll want to know whether or not you’re an attractive borrower. Ideally, you’d have an idea about your credit score before you even come to the dealership, but if you don’t it won’t hurt to ask the finance manager.  Before coming to the dealership, you may even want to check with an independent financial institution to see what rate they will offer you.

  1. What is in my base contract?

As a first item of business, ask the finance manager to walk you through the base contract, explaining each of the major components of the document. Before you start considering additional items and services, you should fully understand what you’re already buying. For example, many new car purchases include a bumper-to-bumper warranty and a powertrain warranty. You need to understand those offerings before you can make an educated decision regarding an extended warranty.

  1. How will this affect my monthly payment?

Most of the common complaints about finance and insurance managers are about add-ons that end up adding unexpected cost to the purchase of a car. Finance managers know their offerings so well that they sometimes forget that their customers may need extra explanation. Before saying yes to anything, be sure to ask how the product or service will impact your monthly payment amount.

  1. What are the details of that offering?

Before agreeing to any add-on or supplemental service, buyers should understand all of the details and restrictions associated with the offering. This is especially true when it comes to extended warranties and service contracts. These products can be very useful, but often come with specific usage restrictions, including requirements to have work done by specific, pre-authorized service providers. While most of these details are easily accommodated, you’ll want to find out about them before you need to use them.

  1. How can I get the most out of this service?

The add-ons offered by the finance and insurance manager can add real value to the purchase of a car if utilized properly. Because they’re so familiar with the products, the managers can be a valuable resource to customers looking to maximize the value of their purchases. Once you agree to an add-on, don’t hesitate to ask how you can get the most out of your new purchase.

After a long day on the lot, you might be tempted to kick back and relax in the soft, cozy chair inside the dealership’s finance office. Instead, perk up and take an active interest in your finance contract and in the extras being offered. By asking a few extra questions, you’ll avoid making purchases that you don’t understand and you’ll get the most out of the purchases that you do make.


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