5 Must-Do Steps To Take Before Purchasing a New Car

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Buying a car can be such an exciting time.  It can also be stressful if you aren’t sure how to go about it to get the best deal and not be taken to the cleaners.  I’ve put together some tips that I hope will help you when that time comes to buy a new car.

Research Before You Walk Out The Door

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Nowadays, information is at our fingertips if you have internet access.  Most dealers put both their used and new vehicles online.  Find out what’s out there so that you know instead of being shown around by a salesman who will have an agenda.  Salesmen aren’t necessarily the bad guys, but they have their agenda, and you need to have yours.

Last year my truck of 14 years died coming down the mountain with a load of firewood. I bought a replacement truck two days later.  There was no time for tears. Instead, there was only time to move on.

The day after my truck died, I spent the day on the computer looking at every vehicle in the area that was available, and that met my specifications which included price, size, mileage (I decided to buy used this time).  Knowledge is a powerful thing.  It’s like looking at the other team’s playbook that you will be competing against.

I was able to narrow my choices down before walking out the door.  I went online to Kelley Blue Book.  Kelley Blue Book will show you what should be paid for a used vehicle with certain features and mileage, taking into account the year it was manufactured.

Not being a mechanic myself, I knew I lacked in automobile lingo and knowledge, so I was able to talk to my dad, brother, and even my pastor and get their helpful advice before heading out to buy.  Researching before heading out the door to buy a vehicle puts the ball in your court.

Base Your Decision On Purchase Price, not Monthly Payments

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Only look at the purchase price when buying your vehicle, not the monthly premiums.  This doesn’t mean that you can’t finance your car and pay monthly.  But be careful that you don’t get sucked into the trap of only looking at the monthly premiums.  Think of it this way, if you are buying a pizza for $10 would you let someone trick you into paying only $2 for seven days straight instead?  If you did it that way, then you would be paying $14 for your pizza.

It will be your decision on whether you need to and/or want to finance your vehicle, but make sure when talking to the salesman to keep the language staying on track about only talking about the purchase price.  A good salesman can make a vehicle look more attractive and affordable than it really is when only talking about monthly payments.  You can still finance but talk about purchase price before deciding.

Don’t Mention Your Trade-In When Shopping

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If you are planning on trading in your vehicle to help offset the cost of your newer vehicle, do not let the discussion go in the direction of the trade-in.  Stay on track and find the vehicle first that you want to buy.  Auto salesmen are experts at getting the most profits from a sale. That’s how they make their commissions.  The trade in should be discussed last after you negotiate a vehicle price deal.

Take the Vehicle to A Trusted Mechanic Before Buying

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When buying a vehicle, especially when buying used, ask if you can swing by your mechanic during your trial drive.  When buying my truck last year, one dealer said “no” while the other said, “yes, no problem at all.”  I ended up buying from the dealer that had no issues with me driving it over to my mechanic for a look before I purchased it.

If you know enough about vehicles to skip this step, then, by all means, do the under the hood and under the vehicle step yourself. I did not know enough to do that, so I took it to a professional mechanic that I trusted.

My mechanic scheduled me right in, as it wasn’t going to take long.  I got to watch as the mechanic looked under the hood and pointed out the good, the bad, and the ugly.  He also said that he does this often before people purchase a vehicle. I couldn’t recommend this process enough.

Don’t Buy An Extended Warranty

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You will be better off putting a little more in savings each month, than buying an extended warranty.  The reason is that, if you are financing the vehicle, you will also be paying interest on the extended warranty.  This doesn’t make good financial sense.

If you are buying a new vehicle, it will come with a manufacturers warranty up to a certain amount of miles that you put on it.  By the time that warranty wears off, you will have been better off by putting a little extra in savings.  Earmark it for future car issues. This makes better financial sense than paying interest on an extended warranty plan.

Final Thoughts

Buying a vehicle can and should be an exciting time.  Make sure that you buy with your head and not just with what seems right.  There may be more than meets the eye if you don’t play your cards right.  I’ve gone through some simple tips to follow. Remember to do your research before walking out the door, base your decision on purchase price and no monthly premiums, don’t mention the trade in until after you negotiate the deal, take your potential vehicle to a mechanic to do a look over, and don’t buy the extended warranty.  If you are prepared, the experience will not only be much more fun and less stressful, but you should also come out with the best deal.

For more tips, check out our favorite auto insurance companies of 2018.

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