8 pros and cons to help you decide when it's time to buy

Are you looking for a new car, but aren't sure if you should buy new or used? Here are 8 pros and cons to help you decide.

What's Old is New Again


The road trip on coastal highways. Exploring the wilderness. Or just getting to and from work or school. Whatever your reason, when it comes time to buy a car, you have a lot of decisions to make, starting with choosing a new or used car.

What’s the right fit for you? A new car or used? Both have pros and cons, but with our low rates  and online application process, it’s easy to get financing no matter which you choose.


Same easy process for new or used

Whether you want something brand new or something that’s been around the block, you can start the process with an online car loan application through Online & Mobile Banking, and you can expect a response within 1 business day.


Control your shopping experience

No need to spend all day at a dealership or trolling Craigslist. With the free AutoSmart website, you can search for the exact new or used car you want from the comfort of home. And since the dealers on that website participate in the Credit Union Direct Lending (CUDL) Program, it’s easy to complete the loan at the dealership, as all the paperwork can be transmitted electronically – no need for you to go back and forth between the dealership and the credit union. You can even apply for your SF Fire Credit Union car loan from the AutoSmart page.


Buying from a private party?

Even if your perfect car is privately-owned, it’s still easy to get the loan you need. Here’s a handy list of the information and documents you need to gather for the vehicle. We’ll take care of all the paperwork for the DMV, and you’ll get the registration in the mail.


What's the difference: new versus used?


New Cars


  • Car dealers may be motivated to sell. Manufacturers are apt to offer deals like 0% financing on new models, especially towards the end of the year when the next year’s model is on the way.
  • Peace of mind. If it’s new, you’ll have the benefits of a full manufacturer’s warranty.


  • It’s more expensive.
  • New cars depreciate quickly. This is one reason to carefully consider . GAP Insurance pays the difference in case your car is totaled in an accident and the insurance payout doesn’t cover the remaining balance of your loan.


Used Cars


  • Used cars cost less. If you apply for a loan with SF Fire Credit Union, you’ll get the same low rates for used cars as you would for a new car – which likely means a lower monthly payment.
  • You may be able to save time. Especially with a private party sale, a used car loan can be quicker to complete – and at SF Fire Credit Union, we take care of all the DMV registration paperwork on your behalf.


  • Some uncertainty on vehicle history. Unless you’re buying a ‘certified pre-owned’ car from a dealership, you will have questions about the condition of any used car. Running a vehicle history report, or “VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) check” is a good way to find any possible problems. You should also be sure to take a test drive, or have it examined by a trusted mechanic.
  • Depending on the mileage already on the vehicle, you may not have a manufacturer’s warranty. You may want to look into Mechanical Breakdown Insurance depending on the age and mileage of the vehicle.


Not sure how much you can afford each month in car payments? Use our helpful calculator to find out. 

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*APR= Annual Percentage Rate. Effective rates are subject to change without notice.

All loans subject to credit approval. Rates will depend on an individual's credit, as well as amount financed, loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, and the other vehicle characteristics. The lowest rates are available for loans up to 60 months on vehicles from 2013 or newer. No salvage or lemon titles. Speak to a loan officer for details.

Payment Example: Assuming a $15,000 auto loan for 60 months at 2.89% APR, the monthly payment will be $268.81.