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At IAA Credit Union we strive to build personal relationships that promote smart financial decisions. We hope the resources below help our members expand their financial knowledge and help them utilize our products and services to their full potential. 

Plus, check out even more resources from our Partner GreenPath Financial Wellness.

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The RAIN Method for Buying a Car

Mar 16, 2023
Cars lined up at a dealership.

The RAIN method can help members make wise decisions when buying a car.

The average cost of a new vehicle today is around $48,301. Whether you're looking for a brand-new car or a reliable used ride, you want to get the most for your money. The process can be made easier by following the RAIN method: First, meet with a member of the lending staff at IAACU to secure your financing. Then begin the RAIN process:


  1. Research - Check out Consumer Reports, Kelley Blue Book, and other sources to make sure the vehicle you want is reliable and right for you. Use the buyer’s guide to find the wholesale price -- the price the dealership paid minus any rebates, hold-backs, or incentives. That is the price you'll use to negotiate.
  2. Ask - Ask the dealership for information about the average cost of upkeep. This information is critical as you examine the overall costs of the purchase. Insurance is another big cost. Contact your insurance company to find out the rates you can expect with the vehicle you are looking at.
  3. Investigate or inspect - If you're considering buying a new car, tell the salesperson at the dealership that on this trip you will be test driving only and not ready to make a deal yet. This is your opportunity to get a feel for the car. Will it meet your needs? How does it handle? Will you be happy with it for years to come? If you're buying a used vehicle, the inspection process is very important. Check out the exterior and interior. Take it for a test drive and see how it handles, how it accelerates, and brakes.
  4. Negotiate - Many people find the negotiation process intimidating, but it's important if you want to get a good deal. Pick out two to three dealerships to visit. Tell the salesperson that you're checking out other dealerships and the one that offers the best deal will be getting your business. Ask them "What's the lowest price you can offer on this vehicle?” Take that number and visit your other dealerships. See which offer comes in the best. If you still aren’t happy with the offers, tell them what you think is fair based on the research you have done. If they say no, move on.


Purchasing a vehicle is probably going to be the second largest expenditure in your life. Being prepared is key to getting the best deal. 

This is not an application for mortgage.  Mortgage prequalification helps to determine if you meet the minimum requirements for a loan and how much home you can afford.  If the qualifications are met for the purchase price and loan terms you have listed you will be presented a pre-approval letter.  If you’re confident in your finances and are ready to apply now, you should complete a full application instead.

Continue to Pre-Qualify Now