Buying a new car can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. When you take a little bit of time to learn what to do and what not to do when car shopping, the process will be much easier. No matter what, buying a new or used car means spending money but all too often, people spend more money than they need to. You can get the same car for hundreds or potentially even thousands less if you know what you’re doing. If you follow these simple tips, you won’t end up paying too much when you make this important purchase.
Make Sure You Have Decent Credit
If you’re planning to finance, one of the best ways to ensure you don’t pay too much for your new car is improving your credit. Better credit means you’ll be able to get a better interest rate on your car loan. The interest rate you get will be directly tied to your credit. Your monthly payment is based on this interest rate, so the better your credit, the lower monthly payment you’ll be able to get. You can try these 25 strategies in your quest to improve your credit. If you need more help, you can try a credit repair company. It can sometimes take a little bit of time to see results, so it’s a good idea to deal with your credit before you start looking for a car. Your financing options will be much better when you have better credit.
Do plenty of research
Much of the car-buying process is typically done in person, but to get the best deal, you should also spend some time doing research online. Find out more about the kinds of cars you’re considering. Read lots of reviews, and find out what other people are paying for the car. The price range for any given vehicle is pretty large. For example, the range of prices on a Nissan Altima is up to $5,000 different depending on the dealership it’s purchased at.
It’s smart to learn about all the details and options of the cars you’re looking at and to find out about things like fuel economy. You can do this at an automotive website. Remember that once you buy the car, you’ll be paying for expenses like gas, insurance, and regular maintenance in addition to the cost of the car itself. A car with better fuel economy will save you a lot of money over time. Find out the TrueCar price to avoid paying too much. You should also research what kind of tax and fees you’ll pay and if a warranty is offered.
You may want to contact the dealer by email after doing some preliminary research. This is a good way to find out what the market currently looks like and what preliminary offers they have for you. Keep a copy of these messages to use in your future negotiations.
Then, visit some dealerships on site and test drive all of the vehicles you are considering. Getting behind the wheel is the best way to see if it’s the right car for you. Carefully compare all of the possibilities. When narrowing down your choices, make sure to check over the car carefully to make sure it’s not missing anything or has any kind of cosmetic damage. If it does, you can use this to help negotiate your price down. You can also continue to do your own research while on the lot. If you see a car or truck you hadn’t considered before, you can just do a search on mobile for a car comparison guide or pull up the mobile site for the manufacturer to find out what you need to know.
Know your rights and seek advice
In addition to doing thorough research, you should also seek advice from friends. Everyone knows probably four or five friends who are auto experts. Seek their wisdom on the cars you’re considering. They may suggest whether the longer extended warranty is worth the cost or if you should go without.
You should also know your rights as a buyer or your lack thereof. If you buy a car and feel remorse a day or a week later, you likely have no right to return the vehicle from a legal perspective. That said, some dealerships will work with you and let you return the vehicle. It’s important, though, to know that this isn’t likely. Knowing that your purchase is final will help you move carefully through every step of the car buying process. When you’ve made the decision slowly and carefully, you’ll still be happy next month and long term.
Consider buying a car online
If you’ve done your research and given the car a test drive, you might want to consider avoiding negotiation with a pushy salesperson altogether and buy your car online. There are several options for buying cars online these days, and the big reduction in overhead can mean some impressive price savings for you.
Buy at the right time of year
If you can, wait to buy until the best time of year. September and October are traditionally the best months to buy a car since the influx of summer inventory tends to have many dealers overstocked. Another good time of year is mid-December, as well as right after the holiday seasons. Keep an eye out for specials and deals being advertised during these times of year.
Think about buying a car that’s not selling as well
Cars that aren’t selling well have many dealerships itching to reduce their inventory. There are plenty of good cars that just aren’t bestsellers. Each of these models probably comes with plenty of good features. If one of them meets your needs, you should consider buying one because dealers will be much more willing to make you a great deal.
Ask about hidden discounts
Always check with the automaker to see if there are any rebates or special incentives available. Examples of past incentives from automakers are offers of cash for recent college graduates or military members. These incentives aren’t always advertised so you have to do a little legwork to see if there is an offer you can take advantage of.
Remember to be nice
Negotiating with a salesperson is not fun for most people, but it’s important not to let your antagonism show. Being nice goes a long way. You’re trying to get the best price and the salesperson is thinking about business profits. When you set the example of kindness and friendliness, the salesperson is sure to reciprocate. Tell him or her what you’re looking for and what you need. Don’t just lay down hard demands and limits right away. Instead, let it be a back and forth discussion about pricing where there is respect on both sides. Other shoppers might not be as savvy, so salespeople usually don’t have to work all that hard to maximize their profits. Just because you’ve done your research and are clear about what you want, though, doesn’t mean the salesperson will see you as an enemy. They still just want to make sales, and if you’re nice, it’s that much easier.
Get competing dealer bids
Get bids from multiple dealerships and compare them. Use this information to try to start a bidding war among competing dealers. Whether or not all dealers try to fight for your business, at least a few are sure to come up with additional price cuts to secure a sale. The car buying process is easier when competing dealers do the work for you to get the cost down.
Decide if a trade is the right decision
Do some research to see if making a trade is the right choice. Find out how much your tradein vehicle is worth, and how much you could get for it as a trade. In many cases, you’re better off selling the car yourself and using that money towards your purchase rather than trading it in. If your current vehicle still has a fair amount of value, this is often the better choice, but it does depend on the dealer you work with. If you do sell your car, you can use this money as a down payment on your new car. This will lower your payments. Keeping your payments low enough to make them manageable will mean you won’t get behind and hurt your credit score.
After you have purchased your new car, it’s important to protect your investment by taking good care of your vehicle. This means going in for regular service. You also should be ready to get serious about paying off your loans. When that last bill is paid, you’ll no doubt feel a great sense of relief.
Here is the point to just relax, you may be thinking. However, this is really the point to start looking ahead to the next new car you’ll have to buy. The average American will own 12 cars in his/her lifetime, so the time will come to shop for a new model and settle new terms at a dealership before you know it. You should continue to set aside the money you were paying for a car loan each month. When you map out your future like this, every aspect of your financial life will improve. Those savings will help you get a better deal on your next car. Paying in cash, or at least paying a large down payment, will make a real difference in the kind of deal you can get.