Auto-Buying Tips: Rebates vs. Special Financing

As we have explored over the last few months, purchasing a vehicle can be a unique experience for each individual. There are many factors that contribute to the decision-making process involved in buying a new, used, or certified pre-owned car. But what if special financing or a rebate is thrown into the mix? How does this factor into your decision?

How Long do you Plan to Keep Your Car?

Both low interest financing and rebates are designed to boost auto sales, but depending on your circumstances, one may turn out to be a better deal. Also, most dealers will not allow you to choose both, so it's important to consider which would save you the most money before stepping onto the lot.

If you plan to hold on to your vehicle for a significant amount of time, a low interest rate may save you more money. But if you only plan to keep the car for a few years, the rebate might be the way to go.

Consider your Loan Rate and Length of Term

As mentioned above, the length of time you plan to own the car should weigh heavily on your decision. If you tend to tend to trade your car in every 3 or 4 years, the rebate may be a better choice for you. But if you do sign up for the special low interest financing, check the agreement closely - sometimes that low rate only applies for a couple years, and then increases.

Use our Helpful Calculators

If you're curious to see which would be a better deal, try using our calculator: Which is Better: A Rebate or Special Financing?


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* Auto Loan Annual Percentage Rate. Rate subject to change. Rate is based on credit worthiness. Rate reflects a 0.25% discount on loans that have authorized an automated electronic payment method. Rate based on 60-month term. Rate applicable to purchases or refinancing of non-SF Fire Credit Union auto loans only.