We know that the process of buying cars can be difficult. Also, it takes a lot of valuable time away, and car dealers have a bad reputation for trying to scam unassuming people. All of that can be pretty frustrating and in case you are not a knowledgeable enthusiast, it can also be pretty intimidating. But, there is nothing to be afraid of and today we are going to help you beat the dealerships in their own game, get big discounts and buy exactly what you need, and of course, to avoid being hustled by the dealer. All that you need are these 12 simple and effective advice and a little bit of common sense. So, let’s go.
- Decide exactly what you want or need
The first thing is to decide exactly what kind of car you need. If you have a big family you might look for minivans or SUVs and if you need a daily commute car you might search for a compact or a sedan. To be fully sure that you have made a right choice, consider a few more aspects of car ownership like annual mileage, use of the vehicle, the number of persons driving or riding in it and so on. After considering all of that, you might end up with a different class of cars but it will be the one that will suit your needs the best.
- The budget
Before you go shopping, it is important to set a strict budget and stick to it. It is very easy to start a spending spree since there is always some interesting optional extra you really like and the dealer will encourage you to spend more since it will increase their margin. However, decide on the exact number before you go to the dealer and stick to it for the sake of your personal finance and affordable monthly rates.
- Get rid of your old car
Presumably, you want to sell your old ride to finance the new one and before you go shopping you should sell your car. You can take it to the dealer and try the trade-in deal but be advised that the dealer will charge you significantly less compared to what you can get selling it on your own. If you have a tight budget you should make the most of your old car and sell it yourself.
- Search online for your new car
If you decided on the type of the car, set a target price and successfully disposed of your old car, it is time to search for your new one. The internet has revolutionized the process of car shopping and you are just a few clicks away from an enormous amount of valuable information, real life user experiences, tips, and suggestions. Take your time and read as much as possible since the information you get can help you in further steps.
- Chose the make and the model
Finally, you are ready to choose the make and the model. Maybe you have brand loyalty and you want to stay with the same make or you want to give the competitors a chance, it is up to you. But, after you have decided on the class and price, you are free to choose the brand, colors, options etc. We suggest you use the official site, only to be sure that the prices and options are correct.
- Consult your lease company or loan officer
Most new cars are financed through loan or lease and if you are one of those buyers, you might want to consult with the bank. It will be useful to have your FICO score ready just to be clear whether your credit score is OK or it should be improved. The loan officer or the lease company can give you a few good pieces of advice on how to save money, so it might be wise to pay them a visit before going to the dealers.
- Arrange a test drive
By now you are ready to test drive the desired car and you should test it thoroughly and if possible in all conditions. This way you will get a feel of the car, see if everything fits you, if you are satisfied with the comfort, fit and finish of the vehicle. If possible, test drive several different versions of the model at different dealerships to get the most information and the most thorough driving experience.
- Talking to the dealer
So, you have decided on the make and the model, talked to the loan officer or the lease company, test drove the car and now is time to talk to the dealer. Remember, this is just talking, no obligations and no contracts, just informing yourself about the price, options, and conditions of the sale. Be ready to shop around or go to other dealers if you don`t like the conditions. The car market is an open and competitive business, so if you are not satisfied with one dealer, you might be with the other.
- Search the dealer’s lot
Very important thing to know is that you can get big discounts on last year`s or outgoing models. The thing is that outdated models or unsold cars are a big burden for the dealer. Those are unwanted cars which are perfectly fine and brand new but either people want this year’s model or they have some color or trim combination that makes them less desirable. If you are looking for the best possible deal, you might want to purchase something like that. The dealer will offer you a hefty discount on such a vehicle, but you should use your position and get an even better price. The dealer knows that it is going to be hard to sell a minivan with no options in a strange color or last year`s fully optioned station wagon with high MSRP, for example. Now that you know it as well, you have the leverage to drop the price to the level you feel comfortable with. Sooner or later, the dealer will have to accept your offer otherwise that specific car will be left unsold for long.
If you are specifying the car according to your needs and you are filling the order form, be sure that you don`t fall for one of the most common dealer tricks. The first of which is suggesting and adding optional extras. This way, your price will be higher and will often go over the decided limit. The dealers can be very persuasive and sweet talking but you really don`t need tinted rear glass or 20-inch rims on your family sedan. So, keep your budget in mind and don`t fall for expensive dealers suggestions.
- Earn respect
The dealers like novice buyers or people that don`t know much about cars because they can sell them anything. However, if you did your research well and got to know every single bit of your future car, read the user posted experiences and understood the basic principles, the dealer will have a hard time convincing you and will have to give you deserved respect. This way you will have a nice car-buying experience and you will get exactly what you want or need at exactly the right price.
- Purchase the vehicle
After everything, you’re finally ready to buy the car. You figured out your finances, decided on the make and model, test drove the specific car and communicated with the dealer. It is time to finalize the deal, but you should still be cautious. If the dealer tries to add something to the price or you see that something is not like you have agreed upon, walk away and go to the other dealer. In most cases, the dealers will keep their word and everything should be OK. Then, the only thing is left is to sign the papers and take the keys of your brand new car.