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With more new car choices than ever, AAA helps simplify the process for consumers to find and finance the ‘right’ car for their lifestyle and budget 

ORLANDO,Fla., (March 28, 2012) – Buying a new vehicle takes time, research and eventually money.  So when the occasion comes to purchase a new car, it’s not a choice that should be made lightly. To help consumers, AAA offers a checklist of factors to consider when looking for the ‘right’ new car.

“Today’s consumers have more choices than ever when it comes to picking a new vehicle, but that also means the selection process can be much more difficult,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s Director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “There are numerous factors to consider, many of which take place long before a buyer ever hits a car lot.”

When shopping for a new vehicle, AAA recommends the following:

  • Determine What Is Affordable. Before considering any specific makes or models, sit down with the household budget and determine what is affordable before visiting a car lot. AAA’s financial services experts advise that no more than 15 percent to 20 percent of your total monthly budget should go to all car-related expenses. Consider the value of your trade-in and how much cash you want to put towards the vehicle purchase. Consult with an insurance agent to get a rough estimate of premiums on the type of vehicle being considered. AAA insurance agents can be located at
  • Evaluate Driving Habits. Take a realistic look at how the vehicle will be used. What types of trips will it be used for most frequently? How many passengers will the vehicle need to carry? How long of a commute will it need to accommodate? Will the vehicle be driven on the highway? Will you need extra cargo space?
  • List Needed Features (Current and Future). Make a list of all required features the new vehicle should include, being careful to separate ‘wants’ from ‘needs.’ How much seating? How much cargo? Minimum fuel economy? When making the list, think about needs today and those several years down the road. Could children be in the future? Could the commute lengthen?
  • Consider Depreciation Costs. The biggest yearly expense to new cars is depreciation. Research how much the models being considered depreciate within the first few years and consider a model that has a track record of holding its value longer. The new AAA Auto Buying Tools App can assist consumers shopping for a new vehicle by providing all of the information they need to make an educated decision by visiting or by downloading the AAA Auto Buying Tools app from the iTunes App Store. The app can build the car you want, including options and available incentives, while viewing pricing information, crash safety ratings, AAA reviews, images and more.
  • New or New to You. Look at pricing options for both new vehicles, as well as models that are one to two years old. There are benefits to both new and slightly used models. New vehicles typically come with longer warranties, buying incentives from the automaker, the latest features and are widely available. Slightly used vehicles might offer a price break, but it can be more difficult to find the ‘perfect’ vehicle with the exact features a buyer is seeking and does not have buying incentives from the manufacturer.
  • Review Warranty and Maintenance Costs. Review the length of the warranty of vehicles being considered and exactly what it covers. Investigate the maintenance costs associated with the car by reviewing its recommended maintenance schedule and calculating new costs of regularly needed maintenance items. If the buyer consistently uses the same repair shop, ask how the cost of maintaining the new vehicle will compare with the current vehicle.  AAA Approved Auto Repair shops are located across North America and are excellent sources of trusted maintenance information.  The nearest shop can be located by visiting
  • Investigate Safety Ratings and Features. Check the safety ratings of all models under consideration from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Evaluate the safety features available on each model. If using a car seat for a child, check the accessibility to the vehicle’s LATCH system and the ease of installing a child passenger safety seat.
  • Seek Recommendations and Reviews. Ask friends, family and colleagues for feedback on their vehicles. Read professional reviews provided by AAA’s Auto Buying experts at, and feedback from current owners of the models being considered. These can often be found on web forums.
  • Don’t Limit Choice to One Vehicle. Narrow the choices to two or three vehicles that meet all the criteria, but do not narrow it down to only one. By allowing flexibility, buyers have more negotiating room and a better chance of finding the best possible price.
  • Financing is Key. AAA financial services experts advise that consumers gain a distinct advantage in the car buying process by arriving at the dealership with financing in hand.  Carefully and thoroughly shop loan options and available interest rates in advance. Inching down a loan’s interest rate even a percentage point or two can save hundreds of dollars over the life of the car loan.  Match the length of the loan to the length of ownership.  Select your loan term based on how long you plan to own the vehicle and make sure your loan has no prepayment penalty.

AAA can help consumers save for major purchases like buying a new vehicle.  Building a sound savings strategy is the best way to prepare for the future and different savings options offer different benefits to help you reach your goals.  AAA members can learn more at

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at

Orlando, Fla., September 1, 2009

AAA suggests ways it can help parents give teens life lessons in money management 

Parents who want to provide their teens with constructive lessons in consumer finance can use two exciting events in most young adults’ lives to further their financial education, AAA says.

“Older teens that are eager to own their own vehicle or take a special trip with family or friends can learn some important life lessons about money that will serve them well as they mature,” said Bill Gerhard, director of AAA Financial Services. “Both events should involve researching costs, setting a budget, saving with the benefit of compounding interest, investigating financing options and credit terms and, ultimately, achieving the goal of a vehicle or a vacation.”

AAA clubs can help parents work with teens on both of these goals via one of the motoring and travel organization’s more than 1,100 travel agency locations and by using AAA Financial Services products as a source of savings and possible financing.

AAA suggests the following approach whether the goal is an automobile or a special after-graduation or educational trip:

  1. Set time aside to meet as a family and talk about what your son or daughter wants, when they want it, how much money may be involved and what financial resources may or may not be available. Discuss the costs of credit versus paying cash. If they are not already employed, your teen may need to find a job or start earning money doing chores for others. Perhaps they have a special skill they can use to earn money. If they are already driving a used vehicle, the trade-in or resale value may help cover the down payment. 
  2. Begin researching costs. If it is an automobile go to to research vehicle reviews and prices. Review AAA’s Your Driving Costs available at to understand the full cost of owning and operating a car or truck. also is a great place to find travel bargains. Trips aimed at older teens and adults to age 35 are available through AAA’s partnership with Contiki tours. Cruises can be an excellent way for older teens and others to stay within a budget, although minimum age requirements or an escort of at least 25 years of age typically apply. For information on AAA tours and cruise packages visit a AAA Travel Agency or go to:
  3. Set a financial goal that must be attained before the vehicle or trip is purchased. Some parents will match what their teens save or contribute a fixed amount if their teen saves an appropriate share of the expense. Others parents will expect their son or daughter to raise all of the needed funds. If a portion of the expense is to be financed, some AAA clubs may be able to help parents who are willing to co-sign a consumer loan. Be clear about who will be responsible for what.
  4. Create a calendar indicating how much money must be saved each week or month in order to reach the goal by a specified time. Have your teen begin putting their funds into a deposit product geared toward saving. AAA offers certificates of deposit and money market accounts at higher than average market rates for savers via its relationship with Discover Bank. Use an online financial calculator—such as the ones available for CDs and money market accounts at—to show how much interest these deposits will generate by the time the goal is reached. Understanding the value of compounding interest on deposits is crucial for all savers. This lesson can help teens understand the wisdom of saving for every major financial event; whether starting a family, buying a home, opening a business or retiring in comfort.
  5. Meet regularly with your teen to review their financial progress. Once their goal is almost within reach start shopping for the new vehicle or meet with a AAA travel agent. AAA travel agencies will work with all travelers, although members are entitled to special discounts and benefits. The buying process is exciting, but make sure your teen resists the urge to make a purchase before all the needed funds are available. This can be especially true when visiting an automobile dealership where the pressure to buy now can be especially challenging. 
  6. Once the financial goal has been met, teen travelers can put their spending money on a TravelMoney card available through AAA. This reloadable payment mechanism will not allow the user to exceed the funds available on the card, helping teens stay with their budget. And if need be, additional funds can be added to the card at any time. Since the card is replaceable, if it is lost or stolen the unused funds can be recovered, helping to protect their hard earned savings.
  7. When the financial goal is achieved, celebrate with a special meal or gift at one of more than 164,000 locations offering AAA Show Your Card & Save® discounts. Teaching your teen the value of AAA membership is another practical lesson in consumer finance.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 51 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at


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