Buying a new car is one of life's more exciting experiences, but if you don't follow some simple car buying rules, it can be overwhelming and expensive. Luckily, lots of resources are available to help you find the perfect car at an affordable price. Note, buying a car is a business transaction at its heart, and it is one of the last purchasing opportunities that still allows customers to negotiate. All car shoppers are looking to get the best deal possible. Knowing the buying process is your best way to a smooth buying experience and how to navigate it. In this article, we go through what to do and what not to do.
Do: Research The Price
Information can be a buyer's best friend. Luckily, websites such as third-party automotive sites and dealership websites offers buyers with more information about the characteristics and pricing of each car or option available than they have ever before. You can not only find data on prices and features, but you can also explore ratings for safety and reliability.
For example, new car ratings allow consumers to see how new cars, based on a variety of criteria ranging from quality to durability, compete with others in the category.
Also, the internet is an excellent source of information about the price the dealer paid for the car, what other customers pay for their vehicles, and the value of any trade-in you may have.
Don’t: Go To A Dealership Without Having A Financing Offer
Today's car dealers make a lot of revenue in their financing offices. Dealers offer a wide variety of financing options, but for consumers they are not always the strongest–and you could get a better deal by having your auto loan pre-approved from a bank previously.
Get a pre-approved financing offer from your bank or credit union before you start visiting dealerships. Thus, if they want to earn your business, the dealer must offer an attractive deal and offer.
Do: Talk To An Insurance Agent Before Buying
Insurance costs vary to cover different cars. Before making any final decision, it can pay to speak to an insurance agent. It's the wrong time after you've purchased a new car to find out that insuring it costs a lot more than other cars.
Insurance companies offer many of the same services, such as GAP coverage and car maintenance packages, that will be sold in the dealer's finance office. These will often be much more reliable through the offerings of your insurance company, but in order to ensure their reliability, you should always compare the details of each item.
Don’t: Pick Up A Conversation By Saying You’ll Pay Cash
It's a good thing to pay in cash for a car, however telling that to the dealer that is selling you the car isn't such a good idea. Since much of the dealer's revenue comes from financing, they'll have less incentive to make you a deal if they know they're not going to make any money on your car loan.
Instead, first negotiate the vehicle's purchase price and tell them you haven't chosen to finance. Additionally, it might make sense to save your money when they give you an amazing 0% APR Finance offer.
Do: Know Your Credit Score And Your Budget
Understanding how much you can spend each month and how much you can pay up front is important. You're going blind into the purchase without recognizing these two numbers, and you may end up with a lot more vehicle than you can afford.
Buyers need to factor in their buying formula more than just the car's price. Insurance, oil, and maintenance costs that add up, so make sure these considerations are thought out as part of your new car research process.
Knowing your credit score and what your credit report includes can help you get the best available financing deal. New car financing and cash back deals are typically offered only to top-class credit buyers, so take some time to correct any credit reporting errors and mend any credit flaws if you want to get the best deal possible.
Don’t: Look Directly At The Payment
Many buyers only focus on the monthly payment, but this is a bad way to buy a new car. Rather, look at the total cost over the life of the loan, including interest payments and other fees. It's just not worth saving the $20 a month if it means paying for another year.
Focusing on monthly payment can also attract buyers for add-ons that aren't required or that are overpriced. The car salesman might tell you that the protective paint is just an extra $8 per month, but you'll pay $576 plus interest over the life of a six-year loan.
The way to find out a car's total cost is to divide the monthly payment by the number of months in the loan and then add the down payment amount plus any taxes and fees.
Do: Breaking Down The Transactions Into Components
Confusion can be your worst friend and the best pal of the dealer. Through combining the price of your purchase, leasing, and the quality of your trade-in into one, the salesperson may hide the fact that they overwhelm you for the ride, neglect your trade-in, and charge more than you ought to pay for financing.
Instead, insist on treating the purchase of your car, financing, and your trade-in as completely separate negotiating points. They're likely going to object to your strategy, but let them know you're willing to sell your own trade-in.
Don’t: Shop At Only One Dealer
Like any purchase, before you lay down your hard-earned cash, you should compare dealerships. Just letting the dealer know they're competing can make them work a bit harder to earn your business. Thankfully, you don't have to drive anywhere, just use their websites to get deals from each dealership.
You should also take advantage of geography by looking at dealers where car sales you find may be lower than others. For example, in rural areas shop for hybrids or in urban dealerships consider shopping for pickup trucks.
Do: Test Drive The Vehicle
Test drive the car you are buying before you decide to buy. Just by driving 10 minutes behind the wheel, you will know more about the car than from hours of research. Pay special attention to your comfort and how well the car drives.
Driving the particular car you're looking to buy is crucial, not just one that's similar. Not every vehicle coming from the factory is perfect, and a test drive plus a thorough inspection can help you identify issues at the dealership before they get into trouble in your garage.
Be careful if the dealer asks for your social security number before they invite you to take a "security" test drive. Instead, they just want the number so they can grab the credit reports while you're on the ride.
Don’t: Take Home The Car Unless All The Paperwork Is Done
A car dealer will often give you the opportunity to take home the car and later complete the paperwork. For several reasons, don't go for it. First you're likely to fall in love with the car, and you're not going to be able to compromise the fairness you need to make a good deal.
Second and more sinister, the dealer will tell you they couldn't get the financing offer they advertised "when the lender's office opened on Monday morning." Instead they're going to offer you a much more costly price. There are few buyers willing to take the vehicle back to the dealer and cancel the payment at that point.
Do: Prepare To Walk Away
The greatest power of a car buyer is their ability to walk away from an awful deal, it's also the biggest fear of the dealer. Surprisingly, for fear of losing the time they have already invested in the deal, or fear of embarrassment, most customers are afraid to get up and leave the table.
Unless you're looking at a car that's so demanding that you won't find it anywhere else, it's always better to walk away when getting stuck with a bad deal. A bad decision can haunt you for years to come with the increasing length of the average new car loan.
Here at Western Motors, we treat each customer with utmost respect and offer helpful ways to get you in a great car for a great deal. Browse our inventory online and contact us to see how we can help you with your next car purchase.