Buying a car can be very daunting if you aren’t prepared. Here are some tips to make sure you’re successful.
- Do your Research
- Knowledge is power. Utilize the internet to research cars in your price range.
- Use trusted websites such as Kelley Blue Book (KBB), Consumer Reports, or Auto Trader.
- Look into Pre-Financing Options
- Check with your bank or credit union because most of the time, their interest rates are lower than dealerships.
- Get your quote in writing and present it to the dealership to negotiate.
- Shop Around and Negotiate Terms
- It’s important to shop around before you settle on a purchase price. Dealerships price their vehicles differently depending upon their location. Visit a few different dealerships to get the best quote.
- Negotiate the purchase price down and be prepared to walk away.
- Start with a ridiculous number and work backwards.
- Buy based on purchase price, not your monthly payment.
- Look at New and Used Cars
- New cars depreciate considerably the moment they are taken home from the dealership.
- Always test drive your vehicle before your purchase.
- If you’re planning to buy a used vehicle, it’s important to have the car thoroughly checked out by a mechanic before you finalize the purchase. The mechanic will inspect the car and look for unusual signs of wear and tear as well as items of potential concern.
- Don’t Purchase Unnecessary Add-ons or Warranties
- VIN etching and a dealership maintenance plan are add-ons that you don’t really need.
- If you purchase an extended warranty, pay cash for it to avoid interest fees.
- If you’re leasing a car, don’t buy any warranties because you’re going to turn the car back in at the end of the lease.
- Make sure to obtain a quote from your insurance agent on the car you’re looking to purchase. Feel free to shop around for the best quote.
- You have to be able to afford the car with the insurance payment. Keep in mind; sports cars have higher premiums than conventional cars.
Author Rich Heinrich,
Master Instructor, Emeritus