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USAA New Car Buying Service and car buying advice

Dustink
Valued Contributor

USAA New Car Buying Service and car buying advice

I just want to let people know that the USAA car buying service is open to anyone.  You do not need full membership to use this service. A basic civilian membership gives you access to this service and to USAA auto warranties. Just a good way to start negotiations at the dealership. You will know the market rate for the vehicle and the market rate for a warranty to go with it.

 

USAA auto loans require full membership, but getting a pre-approval before going to the car dealer is important.

 

Get some pre-approvals in hand before heading off to the dealer. 

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

7 steps to an improved car buying experience:

 

Step 0:

Get your finances in order. If you do not have a large emergency fund and steady job. then just stop here, you have no place buying a car. If you do have those two things, then get a large down payment together. Go with 20% minimum, but more would be better.

 

Step 1:

Determine what you need in a vehicle. Take into account size, comfort, traction, MPG, reliability, cost of ownership/insurance ect.

 

Step 2:

Research a vehicle that fulfils your needs. The internet is a great resource. Just make sure the people providing the information are not being biased by the manufactures money.

 

Step 3:

Get together some pre-approvals for the shortest term you can afford (60 month maximum). Auto INQs within a short period of time are scored as 1 INQ. So, do some rate shopping. Let the banks compete. If one beats the other, go back to the first and let them know. See if they will go even lower.

 

Step 4:

Get in touch with internet sales at all of your local dealers. Get them competing on price. The USAA car service helps with this.

 

Step 5:

Test drive vehicles. No matter how much research you have done. You still need to drive the vehicle to make sure you like it. Go for a good long test drive. Relax and don't let the salesmen talk the whole time. Let the car do the talking. Even if you think it is the right choice, go test drive some other makes and models. Car buying should not be a rushed process. Take your time and think through the process. Also, stringing the dealers along like this helps keep the negotiations on your side of the table.

 

Step 6:

Find the car you like and start working the numbers. Most of the negotiations have been done already, but see if the price can move anymore and let the dealer have a shot at beating your rate. 

 

Step 7:

Don't let F&I sell you extras. Just say "no", 99% of the time you will find better deals elsewhere. You do not need GAP, because you are putting a good amount down and have gone with a short term loan. You do not need the warranty because you can find one cheaper elsewhere. Or properly maintain your car and let statistics remain on your side. According to statistics, the cost of a warranty will be higher than the cost of repairing a properly maintained vehicle.

Too many INQs & low AAoA so I'm off to tend the Garden.     Age:23    


     $17k       $8.5K          Closed          $19k      $6.5k        $24.2k        Closed         $5k       Closed     $8.5k        Closed      @2.49%
Message 1 of 17
16 REPLIES 16
electra
Established Contributor

Re: USAA Car Buying Service and car buying advice

Great post!!! Smiley Happy

 

Just a note about my experience using the USAA car buying service:

I recently ordered an Audi Q5 (hopefully arriving this weekend or early next week).  I used USAA, NFCU and Costco car buying services figuring I'd see who could get the best price.   NFCU and Costco came up with nothing for Audi in my area which was surprising given I live in a highly populated area (Bay Area, CA).   The second surprise was that the "discount" I got for going through the USAA car buying service was .83% which ended up being a whopping $386 off of MSRP.  Oooooh.  I basically had to negotiate the price down on my own which I was hoping to avoid by using the service.   The car I'm getting is in very high demand so YMMV.   



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Message 2 of 17
C7LT1
New Contributor

y Re: USAA Car Buying Service and car buying advice

My USAA Car Buying experience from Oct 2011. Its good if you are looking for a USED Car too!!!

My wife was getting ready to graduate in Dec 2011 and had told me years ago that when she graduate was going to buy a Nissan Altima Coupe! I decided to buy it for her as graduate gift.

- I started my search looking for used 2010 or 2011 in showroom condition. I found several through USAA searching the entire state of Arizona and test drove a lot of them.   

- Out 8 test drives I only found one that I was interested in buying but couldn't get the dealer lower the $21k OTD. I only wanted to spend 17-18K OTD. Exhausted and fustrated I started leaning towards buying new which was about 25k OTD with USAA pricing.

- I widen my search nationwide and found two 2010 coupes one in Ohio and North Carolina priced at 17K. I ended up getting the one in North Carolina for 16.1K OTD thanks in part to a USAA rebate. Yes some dealers have speacial USAA discounts for used cars too.

I flew out and drove the car back to AZ for a grand total of 16.6K. I saved almost 5K by not buying locally plus I got to stop and see family on the way back. Since I got such a steal on the price I decided to buy a 100Kmi/60mth bumper2bumper warranty for 1k from USAA and now my wife is driving her dream car (which has changed now) worry free.

 

I financed it with USAA for 72months with 4.9% interest and credit score of 640ish and nothing down. The car will be paid off next march which will be 28 months. I did pass on the dealer extra's and GAP because the car Market value was 20K at the time and spent less than 18K for everything in a mini vacation to go get it.

 

I will definitely use USAA Car Buying service for my next purchase which will be a 2014 Corvette and I recommend it to everyone.

In the garden until June 2018

Message 3 of 17
Dustink
Valued Contributor

Re: USAA Car Buying Service and car buying advice


@electra wrote:

Great post!!! Smiley Happy

 

Just a note about my experience using the USAA car buying service:

I recently ordered an Audi Q5 (hopefully arriving this weekend or early next week).  I used USAA, NFCU and Costco car buying services figuring I'd see who could get the best price.   NFCU and Costco came up with nothing for Audi in my area which was surprising given I live in a highly populated area (Bay Area, CA).   The second surprise was that the "discount" I got for going through the USAA car buying service was .83% which ended up being a whopping $386 off of MSRP.  Oooooh.  I basically had to negotiate the price down on my own which I was hoping to avoid by using the service.   The car I'm getting is in very high demand so YMMV.   


I live in San Francisco, so I know what you mean. Most Audi dealers in the SF bay area sell at a premium, because their cars are in high demand and MSRP is fair. So, even getting MSRP on a high demand car can be a struggle.

 

Infiniti on the other hand, is not as strong of a seller. Price out a G37 in the bay area Smiley Happy

 

I bought a Subaru Legacy, which the dealer had marked up $3k. The USAA price was $3k under MSRP and I got them to do down a little more.

 

What is nice about the USAA service, is that it gets you in contact with the internet managers at these dealerships. Then you can negotiate and compare prices online with them.

Too many INQs & low AAoA so I'm off to tend the Garden.     Age:23    


     $17k       $8.5K          Closed          $19k      $6.5k        $24.2k        Closed         $5k       Closed     $8.5k        Closed      @2.49%
Message 4 of 17
Dustink
Valued Contributor

Re: USAA Car Buying Service and car buying advice


@C7LT1 wrote:

My USAA Car Buying experience from Oct 2011. Its good if you are looking for a USED Car too!!!

My wife was getting ready to graduate in Dec 2011 and had told me years ago that when she graduate was going to buy a Nissan Altima Coupe! I decided to buy it for her as graduate gift.

- I started my search looking for used 2010 or 2011 in showroom condition. I found several through USAA searching the entire state of Arizona and test drove a lot of them.   

- Out 8 test drives I only found one that I was interested in buying but couldn't get the dealer lower the $21k OTD. I only wanted to spend 17-18K OTD. Exhausted and fustrated I started leaning towards buying new which was about 25k OTD with USAA pricing.

- I widen my search nationwide and found two 2010 coupes one in Ohio and North Carolina priced at 17K. I ended up getting the one in North Carolina for 16.1K OTD thanks in part to a USAA rebate. Yes some dealers have speacial USAA discounts for used cars too.

I flew out and drove the car back to AZ for a grand total of 16.6K. I saved almost 5K by not buying locally plus I got to stop and see family on the way back. Since I got such a steal on the price I decided to buy a 100Kmi/60mth bumper2bumper warranty for 1k from USAA and now my wife is driving her dream car (which has changed now) worry free.

 

I financed it with USAA for 72months with 4.9% interest and credit score of 640ish and nothing down. The car will be paid off next march which will be 28 months. I did pass on the dealer extra's and GAP because the car Market value was 20K at the time and spent less than 18K for everything in a mini vacation to go get it.

 

I will definitely use USAA Car Buying service for my next purchase which will be a 2014 Corvette and I recommend it to everyone.


I checked used cars during my car hunt and all of them were priced high locally.

 

Great point to broaden your search and look nationally. Make a little vacation out of the car buying experience Smiley Happy

Too many INQs & low AAoA so I'm off to tend the Garden.     Age:23    


     $17k       $8.5K          Closed          $19k      $6.5k        $24.2k        Closed         $5k       Closed     $8.5k        Closed      @2.49%
Message 5 of 17
electra
Established Contributor

Re: y Re: USAA Car Buying Service and car buying advice


@Dustink wrote:

@C7LT1 wrote:

My USAA Car Buying experience from Oct 2011. Its good if you are looking for a USED Car too!!!

My wife was getting ready to graduate in Dec 2011 and had told me years ago that when she graduate was going to buy a Nissan Altima Coupe! I decided to buy it for her as graduate gift.

- I started my search looking for used 2010 or 2011 in showroom condition. I found several through USAA searching the entire state of Arizona and test drove a lot of them.   

- Out 8 test drives I only found one that I was interested in buying but couldn't get the dealer lower the $21k OTD. I only wanted to spend 17-18K OTD. Exhausted and fustrated I started leaning towards buying new which was about 25k OTD with USAA pricing.

- I widen my search nationwide and found two 2010 coupes one in Ohio and North Carolina priced at 17K. I ended up getting the one in North Carolina for 16.1K OTD thanks in part to a USAA rebate. Yes some dealers have speacial USAA discounts for used cars too.

I flew out and drove the car back to AZ for a grand total of 16.6K. I saved almost 5K by not buying locally plus I got to stop and see family on the way back. Since I got such a steal on the price I decided to buy a 100Kmi/60mth bumper2bumper warranty for 1k from USAA and now my wife is driving her dream car (which has changed now) worry free.

 

I financed it with USAA for 72months with 4.9% interest and credit score of 640ish and nothing down. The car will be paid off next march which will be 28 months. I did pass on the dealer extra's and GAP because the car Market value was 20K at the time and spent less than 18K for everything in a mini vacation to go get it.

 

I will definitely use USAA Car Buying service for my next purchase which will be a 2014 Corvette and I recommend it to everyone.


I checked used cars during my car hunt and all of them were priced high locally.

 

Great point to broaden your search and look nationally. Make a little vacation out of the car buying experience Smiley Happy


True.  The Audi I wanted wasn't on any dealer lot in all of Northern California.  Maybe I should have looked outside...somewhere they are not so popular.  Think I would have considered this option if I wasn't a single Mom. (2 plane tickets vs. 1)



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Message 6 of 17
Dustink
Valued Contributor

Re: y Re: USAA Car Buying Service and car buying advice



True.  The Audi I wanted wasn't on any dealer lot in all of Northern California.  Maybe I should have looked outside...somewhere they are not so popular.  Think I would have considered this option if I wasn't a single Mom. (2 plane tickets vs. 1)


Yeah, not always easy to go on a road trip. School age kids love 'em though.

Too many INQs & low AAoA so I'm off to tend the Garden.     Age:23    


     $17k       $8.5K          Closed          $19k      $6.5k        $24.2k        Closed         $5k       Closed     $8.5k        Closed      @2.49%
Message 7 of 17
ImprovingYouth
Regular Contributor

Re: USAA Car Buying Service and car buying advice


.......

 

 

Step 7:

Don't let F&I sell you extras. Just say "no", 99% of the time you will find better deals elsewhere. You do not need GAP, because you are putting a good amount down and have gone with a short term loan. You do not need the warranty because you can find one cheaper elsewhere. Or properly maintain your car and let statistics remain on your side. According to statistics, the cost of a warranty will be higher than the cost of repairing a properly maintained vehicle.


Bravo on this post dustin great info here!

 

I would advise caution on the last step if the person fails to read step 0 (most do not save appropriately before making a large financial obligation). No savings and no warranty is a play on Murphy's law and will bite you in the as-prin eventually Smiley Wink

Age: 22 //Cards: Chase Freedom, Chase Amazon Visa, Discover IT, CreditOne, CapOne Quicksilver, CapOne Cash, Walmart, Barclaycard, Citibank BestBuy, NavyFederal Visa Signature cashRewards //AAoA: 1 Year 3 Months (but going down quickly Smiley Tongue) //CK:692, Sesame:656
Message 8 of 17
Dustink
Valued Contributor

Re: USAA Car Buying Service and car buying advice


@ImprovingYouth wrote:

.......

 

 

Step 7:

Don't let F&I sell you extras. Just say "no", 99% of the time you will find better deals elsewhere. You do not need GAP, because you are putting a good amount down and have gone with a short term loan. You do not need the warranty because you can find one cheaper elsewhere. Or properly maintain your car and let statistics remain on your side. According to statistics, the cost of a warranty will be higher than the cost of repairing a properly maintained vehicle.


Bravo on this post dustin great info here!

 

I would advise caution on the last step if the person fails to read step 0 (most do not save appropriately before making a large financial obligation). No savings and no warranty is a play on Murphy's law and will bite you in the as-prin eventually Smiley Wink


This post was geared more towards a new car purchase, or gently used car. So, it would be covered by the manufacture at the start. I am mostly just trying to advise shopping elsewhere for the warranty. I have heard good things about AutoPom, but have not used them myself.  

Too many INQs & low AAoA so I'm off to tend the Garden.     Age:23    


     $17k       $8.5K          Closed          $19k      $6.5k        $24.2k        Closed         $5k       Closed     $8.5k        Closed      @2.49%
Message 9 of 17
Volpes
Regular Contributor

Re: y Re: USAA Car Buying Service and car buying advice


@C7LT1 wrote:

My USAA Car Buying experience from Oct 2011. Its good if you are looking for a USED Car too!!!

My wife was getting ready to graduate in Dec 2011 and had told me years ago that when she graduate was going to buy a Nissan Altima Coupe! I decided to buy it for her as graduate gift.

- I started my search looking for used 2010 or 2011 in showroom condition. I found several through USAA searching the entire state of Arizona and test drove a lot of them.   

- Out 8 test drives I only found one that I was interested in buying but couldn't get the dealer lower the $21k OTD. I only wanted to spend 17-18K OTD. Exhausted and fustrated I started leaning towards buying new which was about 25k OTD with USAA pricing.

- I widen my search nationwide and found two 2010 coupes one in Ohio and North Carolina priced at 17K. I ended up getting the one in North Carolina for 16.1K OTD thanks in part to a USAA rebate. Yes some dealers have speacial USAA discounts for used cars too.

I flew out and drove the car back to AZ for a grand total of 16.6K. I saved almost 5K by not buying locally plus I got to stop and see family on the way back. Since I got such a steal on the price I decided to buy a 100Kmi/60mth bumper2bumper warranty for 1k from USAA and now my wife is driving her dream car (which has changed now) worry free.

 

I financed it with USAA for 72months with 4.9% interest and credit score of 640ish and nothing down. The car will be paid off next march which will be 28 months. I did pass on the dealer extra's and GAP because the car Market value was 20K at the time and spent less than 18K for everything in a mini vacation to go get it.

 

I will definitely use USAA Car Buying service for my next purchase which will be a 2014 Corvette and I recommend it to everyone.


That's pretty neat

 

This is actually what I'm considering doing. Local dealerships want a bit too much for their cars, so I might shop neighboring states; time is an issue, so maybe only as far as Missouri to western PA. I'm currently pre-approved with both USAA and Capital One. I also was pondering trading in my current car (I know I know), but nobody will give me a good value on the car so I'm going to have to sell it myself; doesn't help reading the news about the guy in Canada that was burned to death after letting potential buyers test drive his truck.

 

I'm sure USAA has nothing but good entention with their car buying programe, but so far I've noticed two cars with the little icon at the top that says "$### off for USAA Members". I searched for the cars listed on Autotrader and the price was the exact same as USAA, so I don't think its a 100% mirracle worker of course I think everyone here knows better Smiley Tongue

Message 10 of 17
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