Considering a new car, but unsure where to start? Here's our step-by-step guide to the car-buying process.

  1. Step 1

    Decide What You Can Afford

    Analyze your budget to determine how much you can afford to spend each month on an auto loan. Our calculator may be able to help.

  2. Step 2

    Get Pre-Approved

    Before you visit the dealership, apply online or give us a call to get pre-approved for an auto loan. Pre-approval can help you negotiate a better sales price with the dealer.

    Not sure if you’ll qualify? Learn more about the factors that go into auto loan approvals.

  3. Step 3

    Do the Research

    In addition to deciding if you want a newcar or used car, research the car models that fit within your budget and don’t forget to include projected maintenance costs. Doing your homework and knowing the true value of the car can help you get a much better deal during the negotiation process.

    Begin your research now using our Car Buying Service, powered by TrueCar.

  4. Step 4

    Start Shopping

    You can save money by shopping for your car at the right time. Sometimes car dealers will reduce prices at the end of the model year (usually late summer) and at the end of the month when they need to reduce stock. As you shop, be sure to test drive the car in varying road conditions.

  5. Step 5

    Get Insurance Quotes

    Since you’ll need to be insured before you purchase your car, now is the time to begin looking for car insurance. Rates can vary considerably between providers, so you’ll want to shop around for the best quote. Navy Federal members are eligible for an auto insurance discount through GEICO®1.

  6. Step 6

    Negotiate the Deal

    Since you’ve done your research and know the value of the car, and you have your pre-approval in hand, you can negotiate the best possible pricing for the vehicle. If negotiating seems like too much of a hassle, consider our Car Buying Service, powered by TrueCar, where you can search for the new or used car you want, see what others paid for similar models and save thousands off the MSRP, the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price.2

  7. Step 7

    Secure Financing

    If you haven’t already been pre-approved, now is the time to work with Navy Federal to finalize the terms of your auto loan.3 Learn more about what to expect when you apply.



Some discounts, coverages, payment plans, and features are not available in all states or in all GEICO companies. GEICO contracts with various membership entities and other organizations, but these entities do not underwrite the offered insurance products. GEICO may not be involved in a formal relationship with each organization; however, you still may qualify for a special discount based on your membership, employment or affiliation with those organizations. Discount amount varies in some states. One group discount applicable per policy. In New York, a premium reduction is available. Coverage is individual. In return for this endorsement, Navy Federal Credit Union does receive some compensation. All program expenses are paid by GEICO. Insurance products are not federally insured, are not obligations of the credit union, and are not guaranteed by the credit union or any affiliated entity. Motorcycle and ATV coverages are underwritten by GEICO Indemnity Company. Motorcycle insurance is not available in all states. Overseas insurance is provided through International Insurance Underwriters, representing AIG Europe and AIG Limited.

GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary.


Between 1/1/20 and 12/31/20, the average savings off the MSRP experienced by consumers who connected with a TrueCar Certified Dealer through a TrueCar-powered auto buying program and who were identified as buying a new vehicle from that Certified Dealer was $3,552. Your actual savings may vary based on multiple factors, including the vehicle you select, region, dealer, and applicable vehicle-specific manufacturer incentives, which are subject to change. The MSRP is determined by the manufacturer and may not reflect the price at which vehicles are generally sold in the dealer's trade area, as many vehicles are sold below the MSRP. Each dealer sets its own pricing.


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