Are you ready to buy a new car? Or, has your current car seen better days? Buying a vehicle is a significant investment, so you don’t want to jump into it lightly. I’ve put together some tips for purchasing a vehicle, whether it be a used or new car.
Buy a Car You Can Afford
Ok, this seems like a given, but be careful here. Chances are the salesperson is going to want to talk you in to a higher priced vehicle that you may not be able to afford. Be careful with looking only at monthly payments. Look at the sticker price and negotiate that down, not the monthly payments. Many salesmen have a lot up their sleeve on ways to make a vehicle look less in monthly payments than it really is. If possible the best way is to buy your car out right and not pay any interest. I was able to buy my last truck and my current vehicle in cash. Boy did that feel good! I could have gone with a more expensive vehicle and made monthly payments, but when you have that title in hand on a car you can afford, it’s a great feeling. It’s also the cheapest way in the long run to buy, without paying any interest.
Visit Your Mechanic
If any dealership is not ok with you taking your test drive to your mechanic to look it over, I’d walk out the door. That’s exactly what I did last year when one dealership was not ok with me doing that. I bought my vehicle from the dealership a mile away that was fine with me taking a drive over to my mechanic’s shop with it. This is especially going to be important for used vehicles. Your mechanic can do a basic look over and under the hood, under the vehicle, and tell you roughly what they think.
Do Your Research and Check Online First
Most car dealers have their vehicles online. Check all you can online first before heading out your door. Be informed. Check the Kelley Blue Book prices. Last year when my truck that I had for 15 years hit 200,000 miles and was needing some work, I checked what the trade in value would be and what was out there in my area as far as trucks with half the mileage. In the comfort of my own home I, learned all I could about vehicle prices, models, etc. before I set out the door. My goal was to come home with a truck, but I didn’t let the salesman didn’t know that. Don’t appear too eager when you walk in that dealership door. I hate to say it, but you really can’t trust all salespeople. Shocking I know.
Test Drive the Vehicle
When reading up on research before writing this article, I learned that roughly 10% of people do not test drive the car first before they buy it. Don’t be like them. Take it for a spin. Ask yourself these questions: Is the vehicle loud or quiet when it’s running? Quiet is good. Do all the controls work? Now is the time to check them out especially if you are buying used. How do the brakes feel and respond? Ask about the brake pads when you take it for a test drive to your mechanic.
Don’t just shop around, but let the dealer know that you are going to shop around first. The best deals will get offered to you if you start to walk out the door. Just thank them and say you may be back.
Don’t Buy on Impulse
Be careful of buying on a whim or for color. Take your time. Whatever you do, don’t let the salesperson know how in love you are with the vehicle. Many salesmen will tell you that it’s definitely your color and they may go on and on to get you to buy on impulse. If you feel pressured to buy it now and that it will be gone by tomorrow, that’s a good sign to walk out the door. If you found your perfect vehicle on your first day shopping, chances are you will find another perfect vehicle tomorrow or the next week. Don’t let a salesperson pressure you into a deal. Also, think about if this vehicle will meet your needs a few years from now, or if you are like me, 13 years from now.
Buying a vehicle doesn’t have to be a scary or painful task. Remember you are in charge, not the salesperson. You are carrying that cash or check book, not them. Stay in the driver’s seat (pun intended) and remain cool, calm, and collected. The vehicle that is right for you will be there in the end, and you’ll be able to drive it home knowing you made a sound purchase.