The first time I stepped onto a car dealership, I was approached by three sales people all trying to sell me their latest sports car. By the time I was done processing their sales pitches, I was exhausted. And if you’ve ever been car shopping, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.
Because of this pressure, I try to avoid the dreaded task of shopping for a new car as much as possible. Unfortunately, I may not be able to hold off much longer as my current car is slowly nearing its end.
As I researched different cars that fit into my budget, I found a lot of great tips on shopping for cars that gave me a lot more confidence in my car shopping and negotiating ability. It no longer seems as intimidating as before!
So whether you’re upgrading to a new car or just in the market for a used car, look over these tips and hopefully you’ll be able to save some money and avoid being overcharged for a used car.
Do Your Research!
While you have probably heard this more than enough times, doing your research is the most important thing you can do. Before you enter the dealership, go to sites like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds and research appropriate price ranges for the cars you are interested in. Check out competitor models, possible weak points or recalls and what equipment is standard v. optional. Research is especially important if you are looking for a used car.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
If you know that you’ll need a new vehicle in the near future, it is better to get started early. The earlier you begin your search the more likely you will find better deals.
Never Reveal How Much You Can Afford to Spend
If you are on a fixed budget, it is best to keep the most you’re willing to spend a secret. This way, you will be able to see options at the lower end of your price range first.
Once you get to the lot, tell the dealer exactly what you would like to see. This way, you don’t spend all day looking at cars that you’re not interested in. Don’t be afraid to be firm and tell the dealer that you’re not interested in the cars he/she is showing you.
Ask About Rebates and Warranties
When buying a new car, it’s important to know about any factory rebates or warranties that come with the car. When buying a used car, you should ask if the car is sold as is or if it comes with an additional warranty. This way you know exactly what you are paying for and what to expect if the car malfunctions.
Don’t Get Emotional
Even if you’ve found the perfect car, you should always be willing to walk away if you don’t get the price you are willing to pay. You should never pay more than the budget you have allocated yourself.
Get an Independent Inspection before Purchasing a Used Car
While a car may look and drive like it’s brand new, you won’t know about its actual mechanical condition until you have an auto mechanic take a look at it. An inspection from a shop may be able to detect pricey problems that may arise in the future. Before you buy a used car, you should always get a Vehicle History Report, even if you’re buying from a reputable dealer.
Don’t Buy Immediately
Often dealers will tell you that certain prices are only good for that day or will only last a few hours. These sales techniques could make the deal seem too good to pass up, but it’s always a good idea to go home and do a little more research and follow up with the information that a dealer has told you. Time will also help you avoid making rash decisions that you may later regret.
Be Firm with Your Offer
Never feel pressured to improve your offer over what you feel is a fair price for a car. Once you know the true market value of a car, you should not have to spend more than you originally planned to spend on a car. Offers that sound too good to be true may come with strings attached, so be careful.
Don’t Mention Your Trade-in until after Price Negotiations
According to the National Motorists Association, some dealers will give you a great deal on your trade-in only to make up the difference on the price of a new car. If you settle the price of the car before you trade-in your old vehicle, you may be more likely to get a great deal on both.