Did you know that there are some simple car buying tricks that everyone should know? In this video, I’ll be sharing with you some of the tricks that have helped me get some great deals on cars over the years.
Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned veteran, these tips will help you get the best car deals possible. From negotiating to researching to being patient, these tips will help you get the car you want at a price you can afford!
Car dealerships can be intimidating place, the process of buying a car can be especially scary for those who don’t know the tricks. Purchasing a new car is one of life’s more exciting experiences, but it can be overwhelming and expensive if you don’t follow some simple car-buying rules. Fortunately, there are loads of resources available to help you find the perfect car at an affordable price.
Do Your Research First
Buying a car is the second-largest purchase decision most people make after buying a home, and it can be a stressful, overwhelming experience.
Consumers are faced with 30-plus brands and 300 models, and there are often questions around whether you should lease or buy; buy new, or used; and how much should you pay. Doing research to figure out the answers to some of those questions before stepping into the dealership will help you to feel prepared.
Determine What You Can Afford
The first thing that you’ll want to do is set a budget and stick to it. Remember to consider the full price of the vehicle, including taxes, fees and any potential interest. Don’t just shop at the monthly payment.
Determine Your Must-Haves and Nice-To-Haves
You will want to determine what type of vehicle you are interested in that best fits your lifestyle, whether that is a car, a compact SUV or a pickup truck. Research the vehicle online, read reviews, and even ask your friends, family, and co-workers. Having some flexibility on models and options can help with this process.
Narrow Down Your Options
If you can narrow down your options to two to three models, it will be a lot easier to compare actual vehicles at your local dealerships
Get an Estimate of the Trade-In Value of Your Car
About 40% of people who buy from a dealership have a car they’re looking to dispose of, so don’t forget about your trade-in. You can use online tools to see how much your car is worth based on its condition. Once you know the value of your existing car, that can help inform what you can afford for the transaction price of the vehicle.
Play Dealers Against Each Other To Get the Best Price
As for how to negotiate car price, let the dealers do the legwork for you. If you hate talking on the phone, I recommend emailing a few dealers to ask for their best drive-away prices on those specific vehicles. If you don’t mind talking to real human beings in real-time, phone calls work well too. Use the quotes to play each dealer against the others. Dealers will often say they won’t compete against other dealers, but they will if you show them a better competing offer for the same model.
Determine How You Will Pay For the Vehicle
Whether you’re a first-time car buyer or have bought your share of cars, you’ll want to have your loan options ready to go before going to the dealership. If you’re not paying cash you will want to prepare for your car loan. The two biggest factors here are your credit score and the length of your loan. It’s advisable to keep your loan terms as short as possible so you pay less interest over the life of the loan.
Ask About Special Financing Offers
There might be financing offers available to make your car loan even more affordable but you won’t know about them unless you ask. At the dealership, remember to ask about any special financing offers that are available. Often the auto manufacturers have special financing offers through their lending arms.
Consider Bringing a Friend or Family Member With You to the Dealership
It never hurts to bring along a trusted friend or relative. Share your list of questions and wants with them so they can advocate on your behalf and keep you from getting distracted by a shiny, too-good-to-be-true offer.
Don’t Let Emotions Play a Role in the Car-Buying Process
Try your best to remove your emotions from the vehicle-purchasing process and do your homework. Research the make and model, while prioritizing your wants and needs for your future purchase.
Test Drive the Car
Whether you’re buying new or used, it’s critical to test drive the vehicle. Do a full vehicle walk-around and get the questions that you have answered before making any commitments. A car is the most complicated thing we buy, you should understand exactly what you’re buying.
Test Drive Multiple Cars
You might have a good idea of the car you want, but it’s best to test drive multiple cars to be sure. Plan to test drive three vehicles in your category.
Make the Most of the Test Drive
It’s helpful to understand what to pay attention to during a test drive. You’ll likely be able to tell quickly if you’re comfortable with the way a car handles and performs; however, don’t feel rushed or pressured during a test drive. Take your time to really familiarize yourself with the features and ask questions throughout the drive. The salesperson is there as a resource.
Have an Outside Mechanic Look at the Vehicle Before Purchasing a Used Car
As for tips for buying a used car, make sure you know exactly what condition the car is in and find out if any repairs need to be made. Before you buy, ask the dealership to have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic of your choice. Most will be perfectly fine with this, and you’ll be able to get an honest opinion from a trusted source to make sure everything looks the way it should. Odds are good that your local mechanic has experience with the same make and model, and even better that they know it’s most common problems.
If You’re Buying a Used Car, Get Any Promised Repairs in Writing
If you are buying a pre-owned car on the agreement that something is fixed, have it stated that the repairs will be in place before you buy. If you see something questionable, tell the dealer you’d like to buy the car but would like the service department to check on any leaks or squeaks. Yes, you can ask those things!
Don’t Make a Final Decision Without Consulting With Your Insurance Company First
Before you make any final decisions, make sure to check with your insurance company. The rates could make a huge difference in your final choice.
Trust Your Gut
Don’t buy a car if you don’t feel good at the dealer. If the car-buying process starts off on a bad foot, ask yourself how badly you need that car and if you can’t go someplace else. Believe me, some other dealership wants your business, and you can have a whole different experience just a mile down the road.
Don’t Be Afraid To Walk Away
Be sure to take your time and do not be afraid to walk away from the dealership. It’s important to focus on finding the vehicle and the deal that’s right for you.
Don’t Feel Pressure To Buy on the Spot
If you’re unsure about buying a car or specific add-ons, ask the dealer if you can take some time to think it over.
Ask what the timeline is to come back. Ask if you can go home and take a day. Finance managers will usually tell you the offer is good if you call them back within a day or two. Don’t be surprised if they claim others are going to make offers that day too.
Consider Purchasing a Vehicle Online
If you are not comfortable with a dealership environment, you can purchase a vehicle online. You’ll have a chance to think about the decisions rather than taking the pressure one-on-one.
My rule of thumb: if it’s meant to be, then it’s meant to be. There are time you walk away and are unsure, there millions of vehicles to choose from, never be pressured by a specific car, price or a sales person. You will know when it’s right and there should be no pressure to make a decision.
Lauren Fix is a nationally recognized automotive expert, media guest, journalist, author, keynote speaker and television host. A trusted automotive expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics, energy and safety issues for both the auto industry and consumers. Her analysis is honest and straightforward.
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