Having your own car can provide you with the independence and freedom to go wherever you like. However, the car buying process can be an emotional journey. The following tips can help you save money and avoid unnecessary scams when purchasing a vehicle.
Be Leery of Good Prices
If a deal sounds too good to be true, it could be a scam. Before you begin the car buying process you want to do your homework ahead of time. This means researching the actual costs of a new or used car, what the dealer may have paid and any hidden expenses that they could hit you with later on. If you have a previous car that is damaged, you may be able to trade it in, turn it into your insurance company or dismantle the vehicle and sell the parts.
If you have a loan out on your vehicle, you can easily refinance your current auto loan through reputable companies such as carfinance.com. However, if you’re going through the process for the first time, the loan company will need important information such as your employment, credit reports and outstanding debt. Before you sign the paperwork on your loan, you should look over everything carefully. This includes items that are in small print.
Best Time to Purchase
Believe it or not, purchasing a vehicle during certain times of the month or year can garner you a better deal. December is an especially good time to go car shopping because everyone else is out buying gifts for the Christmas holiday. This can motivate dealerships to cut their prices and give you an outrageously good deal. Other months include July through September. As new makes and models come in, dealers are looking to ditch their current inventory.
Stay Away from the Most Popular Model
Unless you don’t mind paying for an overpriced vehicle, you want to stay away from the most popular makes and models. In addition to a lack of inventory, the most sought after cars will also be more difficult when it comes to negotiating a fair price.
Do the Prep Work Ahead of Time
The internet has allowed car buyers to now do their prep work from the comfort of their home or business. You’ll find a number of sites where you can research the cars that you’re planning on purchasing and actually get quotes. Once you’ve found the dealer who is offering the best price, you can take your information with you and prepare to negotiate the best deal for your purchase. Smartphones, tablets and laptops are handy when it comes to comparison shopping.
Use the Competition
When it comes to the car buying process, don’t be afraid to use the competition. As you walk into the dealership, arm yourself with your research. When they see that you’re prepared to do business, you can pretty much set the terms of your negotiation. Be prepared to walk if they won’t barter. Most dealerships have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to pricing.
Pricing, Rebates and Incentives
It pays to know ahead of time what the dealer actually paid for the vehicle and why they’ve set the price that they’re offering in the showroom. While many car dealerships will offer incentives and rebates to the customers, there are also secret terms between them, and the factory. These incentives can be as much as $7,000, in addition to other known rebates. You should be prepared to haggle over these types of factory to dealer incentives, as they may be able to pass the savings on just to get the sale. If you’re not seeing the results that you want with the sales clerk, ask to speak to a manager. If they know you’re a serious buyer, they may be able to provide added discounts to get you to leave with their car.
Really great advice. Our car is still in excellent condition, but you never know when you have to deal with the … dealers. It’s always a great idea to come prepared and know what to expect. Never thought about the popular makes though, it does make a lot of sense though – a very sought for make will cost more.
Eva Smith says
Excellent tips, Pauline! I just bought a new car last July, without knowing that this was an ideal time to buy. I couldn’t believe what a good deal I got! I always recommend TrueCar to those shopping for a new ride. Saves you the trouble of haggling at the dealer.
Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank says
The next time I buy a car, I make sure that I’d do it in December. Thanks Pauline!
Pyper B. says
Some of the dealerships in our area have started a “no haggle” policy. According to the dealership, they price their cars at the lowest possible price. Buying a car that way was stressful to me! I am sure they do that because there are only a few dealerships in our area.
Cassandra Surette says
This article is great! Thanks for outlining the one thing I always seem to have trouble with, negotiating prices!
Meg Lund says
You talk about how doing the prep work ahead of time will allow you to look into quotes of car prices. Additionally, you talk about how this allows you to prepare for negotiating and will ultimately help you to get a better deal on your car. I will definitely use this advice as I begin my own car search so that I can be prepared and find the best car out there for me. Thank you for the help!
Emily Smith says
Pauline, I am hoping to buy a car this year. I have never bought my own car before so I am a little nervous. The tip about being leery of really good prices seems like a good idea. I don’t want to get scammed! I will have to keep these tips in mind.
Buying a car for a great price will take more than just haggling over a couple hundred bucks with the salesperson, or calling around to a few different dealers.
car loans says
I am going to be getting a car loan soon, and I want to make sure I get it. I appreciate you giving me some insight and letting me know what kind of things I can do
Michelle @ Unruh Insurance Agency says
Thanks for the great list of tips… Very helpful. Before we do anything else, we need to determine what a realistic, fair price is to pay for the vehicle that we want.
Precious Leyva says
Purchasing a car isn’t something that I have ever done, and I’m not sure what to expect. I’m glad that you mentioned prepping by looking online, and getting quotes. I now that that negotiating is a big part in car sales, but that’s something that is not a strength of mine. Maybe it might be a good idea to seek an outside consultant to help be purchase a car.