Looking for a New Car? Check Out Our Top 6 Car Buying Tips
Buying a new car is stressful. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first car, or if you change vehicles every year or two. You’re going into the dealership to drop a huge wad of cash on a salesperson’s desk in exchange for a product that will depreciate in value. It is an expense, and that’s why we’re here with some car buying tips that will help make your experience less stressful, and more enjoyable.
For most of us buying a car can be difficult. It matters to you how much down payment is required, how much the monthly payments will be, how involved maintenance is, and – if you have a vehicle to trade in – how much you’ll get for your trade.
6 Car Buying Tips
Here are some simple car buying tips that will help ensure you get the best deal possible from a car dealer.
Don’t Wait Until You Need a Car
Sometimes it happens; you get in an accident or an unforeseen situation comes up and you have to buy immediately. Most times, purchasing a car is an upgrade or an attempt to avoid unwanted repair expenses. Unless your car is debilitated, limp it along until you can find the right car deal.
Repair shops, especially dealership service departments, are notorious for telling you that a neglected repair will cause imminent death and despair though seldom is that ever true. Most vehicle problems aren’t as critical as you may be led to believe and if the service rep seems fervent, get a second opinion. If you can hold off for now, it could save you thousands of dollars on a sales deal and added savings from not performing the repairs.
Do Your Research
When you hit the strip of car dealers, have your selections narrowed down already. Check online reviews and talk to your friends. Nearly every person has a friend who is an automotive professional and is willing to give their brutally honest opinion of the vehicles you are interested in. Tap into any resources you have to find the right vehicle for you. Once you’ve narrowed down your potential purchases to a handful, research them in depth. If it helps, write a pro’s and con’s list for the features you require.
Don’t Be in a Hurry
Buying a car takes time. You’ll want to set aside enough time in your day or week check over and test drive all your options, but even before that, plan your car purchase. It’s no secret when the new model year is being released. Car ads get hot and heavy on TV and in print; they’re relentless, really. This is an absolutely prime time to make a deal on a new car, especially if you don’t mind buying a car in the outgoing model year. Salespeople are given incentives and encouraged to move the old inventory and will strike any deal to clear one out. And if you want the latest and greatest, that same salesperson wants to be the first to get one on the road.
Wait for the End of the Month
This is better yet when combined with the end-of-model-year deal, but sometimes you just can’t wait that long. The next best scenario is to make your deal at the end of the month. Salespeople and their managers are paid based on commission in nearly all high-volume dealerships, and that also is no secret. A savvy salesperson will try to win your hearts so they can get you to sign the dotted line when they strike a pearly-white smile. The end of the month applies much more pressure to close the deal. So here’s how you do it, but beware it will take some grit:
- Start the sales process mid-month. Go through the sales spiel and get down to numbers.
- When you get to numbers, know that you are not making a deal that day! Don’t let your salesperson know you aren’t buying that day until they try to close the deal.
- Walk away. Tell them you have to think about it. Tell them your spouse needs to weigh in (that’s a great idea anyway). Do what you have to do to leave.
- Wait for the follow-up call. When the salesperson calls you in the next few days, schedule a time for the last day of the month to go negotiate a deal.
- Go in with steely-eyed intentions on the best deal possible. Don’t agree to a number until you are satisfied they won’t go any lower and both the salesperson and manager are sweating bullets.
Know the Incentives
As you went through the research process online, the automakers’ websites all had small print at the bottom or a link to an incentives page. This isn’t information to casually read past. This is where you take the blinders off your eyes. During the negotiation, incentives that the manufacturer lists on their website should automatically be applied to your deal. A crafty salesperson will try to hold back on the incentives you are entitled to so they can get a bigger gross profit on the deal. Make sure the deal you sign includes the manufacturer’s incentives or you will lose out.
Detail Your Trade-In
If there is a car you are looking trade in, repairing it is like throwing your money away. You will never get the full value of your repairs back on the trade value. The only thing you can do to improve your trade value that isn’t wasted is a complete detail. Wash your car, inside and out. If your seats are stained, get them shampooed. Vacuum the carpet, wipe down the vinyl, clean the brake dust off the rims, and empty your belongings, air fresheners, and garbage from the interior and trunk. Make the car appear as good as it can without a massive investment. If you do it yourself, a few hours of your time will increase the ‘eyeball appeal’ when you trade it in, and will bump up the trade value. A clean car gives the appearance that you cared for the car, even if you really didn’t.
Most of all, stick to your guns. If you feel bullied or pressured, or if something just doesn’t strike you quite right with the deal, don’t sign. It’s your money to spend, not theirs.