Stricken with new car fever this winter?

In the market for a new vehicle?

There may be no better place to check out virtually every new make and model from 2015 — all under one roof, with no pressure to buy — at the annual Auto Show in downtown St. Louis this weekend (Thursday, Jan. 22, through Sunday, Jan. 25).

Climb inside that sporty car. Get a feel for what it’s like to sit behind the steering wheel of a full-size pickup truck. Check out the nifty dashboard features on a sedan. Ask questions and discuss options with knowledgeable people on site. You can do just about anything at the show but take the vehicles for a test drive.

Later, when you visit the dealership of your choice to make your purchase, turn to the place you know and trust for the financing part — your credit union. Arsenal offers rates as low as 2.30% APR* that apply to terms as long as 72 months with no application fees. Don’t fall for lower “teaser” rates that others may offer, which typically apply to much shorter terms that translate into high monthly payments that can put a severe dent in your budget or make purchasing that car impossible for you.

Also, keep in mind that dealers may offer very low financing rates for specific cars or models but may not be willing to negotiate on the price of these cars. “To qualify for the special rates, you may be required to make a large down payment,” the Federal Trade Commission notes on its website. In addition, the special rate may only apply to people with near-perfect credit. “With these conditions, you may find that it’s sometimes more affordable to pay higher financing charges on a car that is lower in price or to buy a car that requires a smaller down payment.” In other words, 0% financing isn’t always the best deal if you give up a rebate, get less on your trade-in or the purchase price is firm.

Your credit union is in business to provide you with lifetime financial solutions, and this includes loaning you money at fair and reasonable rates for the things you need and want.

Experts advise that car buyers contact lenders directly and get preapproved for an auto loan before visiting dealerships so they know how much money they can afford to borrow and have more bargaining power at the dealership.

We make it easy for you to apply for a loan — you can do it online any time, or call or visit us during normal business hours. Since many auto dealers in the St. Louis metro area offer on-the-spot Arsenal Credit Union financing, you have the option of applying for and closing on a loan with us there; just be sure to identify yourself as an Arsenal member and insist ongetting your loan through us. You’ll get the same rate from us there as if you applied in person at one of our branches, over the phone or through our website.

Besides borrowing money from your credit union, we encourage you take advantage of the many free financial education resources and tools we provide on our website. For example, you can check out gas mileage, emissions and safety ratings on all vehicles;find out how much your trade-in is worth; and use one of our online calculators to figure out your monthly payments based on different loan amounts, rates and terms.

For more information on the St. Louis Auto Show, such as hours, ticket prices and a complete schedule of daily events, visit STLAutoShow.com.

 

*APR=Annual Percentage Rate. Rate is based on member creditworthiness. Rate cited as of 1/21/15 and subject to change.