Don’t be Taken for Ride When Buying a Car

Buying a car is a big purchase. The whole process can be quite intimidating. So, before the bright lights and dazzling salesmen get a hold of you, follow a few simple steps to help you get the deal that is right for you.

1. Make sure you know what you want

Sounds like a no-brainer, but many people think they know, until they see all of the options available. And many times what you want is not what you need or what you can afford!

2. Know how much you can comfortably afford

Sit down and draw up a budget before you start shopping. Make sure to include the cost of insurance, taxes and maintenance. Getting a  pre-approved loan before car shopping will save a lot of heartache later!

3. If you are trading in your old car – know what it is worth

Dealers have a great way of making it look like you are getting more for your trade in than you really are. They then bury this amount in fine print and you end up getting practically nothing for your car at all! Find out what your car is worth. If you can, sell it privately and take the cash to the dealer instead. If your car isn’t paid off then maybe you should put off buying a new car until it is.

4. Find out about rebates and special financing

Check out the car manufacturer’s website. They may be offering rebates or special financing on particular vehicles. Remember: these are incentives the car manufacturer is offering, not the dealer! These incentives do not cost the dealer a cent, leaving plenty of room to negotiate.

5. Search the Internet and look for deals in the newspaper

Many dealerships will advertise a car for less in newspapers or on the net. If you don’t walk in with proof of the deal in hand, they will hope you don’t know about it and quote a higher price.

6. Don’t be too open about what you want

The first thing a salesman will do is ask a lot of questions. He wants to figure out roughly what you are looking for. Then try to talk into something more expensive. Don’t be too honest – a sales person is there to help – but he is also there to make a buck. If you have done your research you already know they have the car you want at a price you are willing to pay. If you are willing to spend more, don’t let on.

7. Ads can be a great negotiation tool

Let’s say you have found the car you want, but you saw an ad from a dealer on the other side of town that is selling the exact make, model and year for much less. Take the ad with you. Most salespeople will negotiate instead of losing the deal.

8. Check the vehicle

This is especially important if the car is used. Have a mechanic check the vehicle for malfunctions and find out everything about the history with a VIN check.

9. Don’t be afraid to walk away

Some dealers will try to tell you everything under the moon, except for what you want to know. If he won’t let a mechanic check the car or there is something fishy about the car’s history, walk away. This is not the only car or dealer in town. You took the time to do your homework. So, there is no reason to be taken for a ride. You may haven fallen in love with the car, that doesn’t mean you have to fall for a tricky salesman.

10. Don’t be bamboozled by “extras”

You have come to the end and are now ready to seal the deal. Then the finance manager starts talking alarm systems, extended warranties, and so on. Dealers make a good chunk of their money this way. An alarm system might be a good idea and will probably pay for itself with the money you will save on insurance, but an extended warranties are basically worthless. Think of it this way: the dealer isn’t making money off these warranties unless repairs cost less than what you are paying for the warranty!

Bottom Line

Be an informed buyer. You will be happier with your purchase and happier with your car in the long run!

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