The car buying process has changed
But in some ways, it hasn’t changed
So, as I told you a couple of days ago, I recently got my driver’s license, and then test drove a car. I also declined to test drive another car because it smelled like an ashtray, and I didn’t want to live with that.
But, the driver’s license in hand, it’s time to buy a car.
Time to buy a car
I hate buying cars. The high-pressure sales tactics. The extras that they try to sell you. They want to finance it for you (so they can get a cut). It all is just a hassle and high-pressure situation.
But, we need a car. I have my driver’s license. I don’t have a car, and having one will improve my life. So, that means I have to go through the stress.
But, wait, I have found that many things have changed in the car buying experience.
After I got my driver’s license on Tuesday, we went and did a test drive of a car in Kokomo. That evening, I bit the bullet and decided to apply for an auto loan, getting pre-approved, etc. A necessary evil.
I bank with PNC, and I went to their website. PNC has an auto loan called the “check ready auto loan”. With this loan, if you are approved for the loan, you will get a blank check from PNC, which is good for up to the amount you applied to borrow.
With that check, you can go shopping, and when you choose a vehicle you just write the check. If you don’t write the check, there is no loan. Very convenient. If the dealer starts getting pushy about setting up the financing for you, you can just say no, I have a check here that I will write for the vehicle.
The application process
When I finally bit the bullet and decided to apply for the car loan, I went to the bank website and filled out the application.
It was quick and easy, except for one thing. After putting our address, they wanted our previous address. When I went to enter our address in the Philippines (that was our previous address, after all), the website would not accept an address outside the country.
Hmm… finally, I decided to just put our last US address (20 years ago) on the application. That went in fine. I told Feyma, though, that I thought we might not get the loan because of the old, very old, address. I figured maybe they would call us to ask about it, but in my mind, we would not get the loan.
How long did it take?
I filled out the loan application at 11 PM on Tuesday night. At the end of the 5-minute application process, it said that we would hear back within 2 business days. So, I expected to hear from PNC on Thursday night or even Friday morning.
When I woke up on Wednesday morning, just 6 hours after filling out the application, I got an email from PNC. Expecting the worst… I read the first line – “Congratulations”. Wow!
Went to the local branch
The email gave me two options to get the blank check.
- They would FedEx the check to us for no additional cost.
- We could visit the local bank branch and they would print out the check for us.
I called and set up an appointment about an hour after getting the email. Feyma and I went in, picked up the check, and went to Indianapolis to test drive another car. Check in hand. We could have purchased a vehicle that day, but we did not.
A tale of two dealers
Over the past few days, we have visited two different car dealers to test drive vehicles.
The first place I visited was in Kokomo, Indiana. This dealer was a new breed compared to what I am used to.
The sales people at this dealer are non-commission. They are also not pushy or high-pressure, at least that was my experience.
It was actually a pleasant experience, and I really liked the salesman.
Unfortunately, the vehicle that they had was a little too high in mileage, so we did not buy.
The second dealer we went to was super high pressure. I could feel the pressure within 5 minutes of meeting the salesman. Commission based pay too, so he was smelling some money on the table.
I caught him lying to me about a couple of things too, and trying to divert our attention away from anything negative we found about the vehicle.
This was the car buying experience I was expecting. After visiting dealer #1, I thought that these high-pressure tactics were a thing of the past, but apparently, they are still around, hopefully on the way out, though.
Tomorrow could be a big day
We plan to buy a car tomorrow. You can never be sure, but that is the plan. In fact, I already put a deposit on the vehicle, so it is a pretty certain thing.
I told the salesman that I need to get it done quickly, so Feyma and Chris can get home in time for work. He said he will be sure that everything is ready for us. I hope he is correct.
Looking forward to getting it done
When the deal is done, and hopefully I will be driving home from the car dealer tomorrow, I will be so happy!
Honestly, I thought I would never drive a car again in my life, because of the eye condition that I have been fighting for about 5 years. A few months ago, I could not see well enough to be able to get a driver’s license. However, my eyes have healed a lot in recent months, and I passed the eye exam for my driver’s license with ease. This makes me very happy.
The healing of my vision has happened without any treatments. I was getting treatment for the condition in the Philippines. However it is expensive, and until May 1 we did not have any health insurance here in the USA, so I have been unable to get additional treatment.
Tomorrow, hopefully, will be a very liberating day. Can’t wait.
Let us all know what you bought. I’ll also like to know about your first trip beyond the local super market.
Davao is an island. I have a friend in the UK who drives around Europe when school is out during the summer. One year he came over to the US and reported it as a completely different experience – you just drove forever.
Davao is a city on the island of Mindanao. Mindanao is the 19th largest island in the world. To drive from Davao to, say, Zamboanga City is about a 15-hour drive. So, it’s not like we were cooped up on a small island.
I also have a lot of experience driving in the USA. I started driving in 1997 and left the US in 2000.
But, yeah, it will be a readjustment, for sure! Looking forward to the ability to get around more!
My last car purchase was a 2015 Subaru Forester SUV. It was in August a couple of years ago, and We are still pleased with it. I found it by searching for info on kbb.com, (Kelly BlueBook) they give lots of car values analysis, and reviews from owners. On their website I was also able to do a wide area shopping look at the dealers who had the car I was interested in and their asking prices. Me and my wife Pacita ( a Philipina) are very different in size and often find that Japanese made cars provide the larger range of seat and control adjustments that we need. We found the car we were looking for from kbb.com as listed at Falcone Subaru dealer on 16th St. in Indy. We’re happy with them so far for servicing also.
Hi Larry – I really like Subaru, although I prefer the Outback over the Forrester. I used the Carfax website in a way similar to the way you used KBB. Glad it worked ut well for each of us!