You know, this old thing is just costing us way too much money and all those dings and scratch’s are such an eye sore! Did I tell you I recently saw my coworker driving this sexy car he had just bought and I was thinking….(Yada ~ Yada) I’m heading to the dealership to look at a new car!
And just like that, we become the eager car buyer ready to enter the exciting world of car dealerships roller coaster ride! Whoa there, Speedy Gonzales! Let’s pause for a second and consider the commitment of purchasing a new vehicle.
I say this because I’ve seen it all – the good, the bad, and the downright ugly – and there’s plenty of to go around. But have no fear, dear car-buying friends. Rather, read very carefully as I share with you some interesting and informative insights that will empower you to be your own best defense.
Let’s have a short conversation about what you should and should not do when purchasing a vehicle from a dealership.
Research, research, and more research!
Before you walk into a dealership, you should know what kind of car you want and how much it will cost. Explore the reviews and visit consumer reports to understand how that vehicle you’re interested in rates with safety, resale and overall performance, then start comparing prices, and look for any special offers or cashback promotions by the manufacturer. Call your car insurance and ask, what will this particular car you want will cost for full coverage? Understand your real budget, whatever that bottom line number is, make sure you add $2,100 to $3,500 for tax/title/licensing/documentation fees. This is standard and hard to avoid paying. Make the internet your friend and click away!
Test drive, test drive, test drive!
How else will you know if the vehicle is a good fit for you? You can’t judge a car solely on its appearance. Get behind the wheel, go for a drive, and see if it lives up to your expectations. Drive it at highway speeds so you can see, feel and hear anything you may not like about the car. Go to a tight parking lot and park it backwards and frontwards. Gauge how the vehicle’s window pillars allow you see properly. You can’t see at some points of the rear or quarter window because its too small you say? You’d like to know that before you purchase it, wouldn’t you? Make several U-turns so you can see the steering range. Some vehicles steering system will not allow you a full turn ratio. This makes you have to back up several time to make the U-turn.
Its not a big issue but It can be! We fall into the convenience of shopping online and have the vehicle delivered with the promise of, just return if you don’t like it! Really?? When was the last time you bought a house without doing a walk through? You need to see and touch everything, bedrooms, living room, garage, kitchen, backyard? Yeah… It’s the same thing!
Negotiate, negotiate, and negotiate some more!
Do not be afraid to bargain. I can tell you that there is always room for negotiation. Know the car’s value and use it as a starting point. Remember that the goal is to get the best possible deal and sometimes the best deal isn’t the price but more the value. Judge sensibly not emotionally.
Don’t let your emotions control you!
Car shopping can be an emotional experience, but don’t let your emotions cloud your judgment. Maintain your composure and cool. You’re buying the vehicle for functionality, right? Put aside all the bells and whistles and focus on how and why you will drive it. Nothing worse than driving a vehicle that holds 6 or 8 people that is 4×4 but you’re always alone in the car. And you never, ever go off road. Let’s sit crooked for a moment and talk straight.
When it comes to cars, we as consumers tend to go overboard. Some vehicle purchases, such as high-end European or Japanese luxury vehicles, are made for the benefits they provide rather than for the sake of owning them. Friendly reminder, it’s a box with 4 wheels designed solely to take you from point A to point B, its not a Rolex. The vehicle was made and expected to wear out, Period!
Don’t let the salesperson push you into purchasing a car!
Salespeople are trained to make a sale, but this does not obligate you to purchase the vehicle. Take your time, consider your options, and make a decision only when you’re ready. The purchasing part of this experience is only tough when you’re not prepared. When you know your credit score, you are pre-approved for financing and you’ve already picked out the color and model, it’s should be snap and not a 5 to 8 hour ordeal that keeps dragging back and forth between 3 different salespersons.
Don’t forget to read the fine print!
Purchasing a car is a big decision that requires a lot of paperwork. Before signing on the dotted line, make sure you have read and comprehended everything. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and speak up if something doesn’t feel right. When given your paperwork to review, simply ask, may I be left alone to review the documents please? Having your salesman staring at you with a smile does not help with your anxiety. If they have an issue with your request, then you should just walk right out!
What about when I’m inside the financing office and they hit me with extended warranties, and maintenance packages along with all types of add-ons, you ask?
A valid point that happens to be a completely different ballgame, but it deserves attention and I’ll leave you with this; always read the terms and conditions of financing and understand two main things, what is my interest rate? How long is the term of the loan? Most car buyers focus on the monthly payment, and they may get you there, but at what long term cost to you?
Think for a moment
You certainly don’t want a 84 month loan as you will be upside down by the time you pay it off or decide to trade it in with 3-5 years. Also, avoid buying unnecessary warranties from the get-go. Extended warranties are great when you purchase the right policy but you don’t have to purchase it at the time of your new car purchase day. You can always purchase the extended warranty later and make sure you do it while the vehicle is still under the factory warranty so that you can purchase a new car policy that has a much better coverage.
It’s not uncommon for car buyers to feel like they’re being taken advantage of and subjected to high levels of pressure when purchasing a vehicle from a dealership. It’s easy to think that all salespeople at a dealership only care about making a sale, but the reality is that many are genuinely interested in finding you the best deal possible.
While it is wise to exercise caution and conduct some preliminary research prior to visiting a dealership, you shouldn’t let the industry’s bad reputation influence your decision. Keep in mind that salespeople are still human beings trying to do their best in a challenging profession.
Finding a helpful salesperson who will guide you through the process and help you get the best deal is possible with some patience, negotiation skills, and a willingness to walk away if necessary.
Purchasing a car from a dealership can be a daunting experience; You take one step forward; they take two steps back. You show your hand, they show both of theirs. It’s a dance of posturing and bargaining, with both sides trying to gain the upper hand. However, if you follow these do’s and don’ts, you’ll be sure to make the best decision for yourself.
Lastly, once you purchase your new vehicle, please make sure you maintain your car on a regular basis and don’t be coupon shopper for oil changes. Some new vehicles come with the first 2 year free oil change service but eventually you’re going to pay out of pocket and for that, make sure you find one repair facility and build a trusting relationship with open and honest dialogue, your car and wallet will thank you for it!
Remember that knowledge is power, and that research is your best friend. You may not be able to tango your way into a great deal, but if you find a salesperson who can dance to your beat, you may just be able to close the deal in your favor and drive off in the car of your dreams at a value your can respect.
When shopping for a car, it’s important to have a firm grasp on both your needs and the vehicle’s features rather than blindly diving in for the purchase. Don’t let the car’s flashy accessories divert you from taking a clear headed look at your responsibilities as a car owner.