Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Dec 8, 2011

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Car advertisements are riddled with promises of low interest auto loans and abbreviations for included features. Careful consideration is required when deciphering whether or not a particular advertised car is the right one for you.


Low Interest Car Loans


Whether it’s a commercial, a magazine ad, or an online banner, dealers almost always try to draw consumers in by offering low interest car loans. Zero down financing and extended no-interest time periods sound enticing to all of us. But the Federal Trade Commission offers some questions prospective car buyers can ask when reading between the lines of a particular advertisement:

  • If you purchase the vehicle with your own auto loan, what will the difference in price be? Finding out how much you would be charged for the vehicle if you don’t take the financing deals they’re offering is important when deciphering whether or not they’re really offering a “deal.” If you supply cash for the vehicle, will the price be lower than money you’d save with the dealer financing offer?
  • Does the low interest financing deal require a shorter term? Often times dealership financing offers require between one and three year agreements as opposed to the usual four or five year terms usually allotted for car loans.
  • Is the offered deal applicable to all cars on the lot, or only to certain models? If the car you want is not covered, then you shouldn’t settle. A traditional auto loan will allow you to acquire any vehicle you can afford.


Don’t feel pressured to accept any deal offered by the car dealer. They want your business, and won’t refuse cash or financing from another institution. Before shopping for a car, find out what kind of auto loan you qualify for by visiting your local bank.


Advertisement Abbreviations


When it comes to searching for cars in newspapers, magazines, or online websites, readers are faced with a plethora of unfamiliar abbreviations. Some are quite obvious while others are slightly more obscure. Those abbreviations can become even more unclear in small newspaper clippings where space is very limited.


Here is a list of some of the more common abbreviations:

  • 2D: two door
  • 4D: four door
  • 2WD: two-wheel drive
  • 4WD: four-wheel drive
  • RWD: rear wheel drive
  • FWD: front wheel drive
  • ABS: anti-lock brakes
  • AC: air conditioning
  • AT: automatic transmission
  • MT: manual transmission
  • CD: compact disk player
  • CLN: clean (condition)
  • CYL: number of cylinders engine has
  • MPG: miles per gallon
  • OBO: or best offer
  • PA: power antenna
  • PB: power brakes
  • PL: power locks
  • PS: power steering
  • SR: sun roof