Tips For Buying A Car
ibrahimaljarah is supported by a diverse group of fans and followers. However, all of us have one thing in common--- our love of cars. For a car lover, purchasing a vehicle is more than it being functional, but also about finding the right vehicle to suit our specific personalities and needs.
What’s the main problem buyers are facing in the marketplace? Too many choices. Don’t get us wrong, choices are a great thing and it helps keep the market competitively priced, but it can be overwhelming for buyers, too. The marketplace is crowded with new cars, used cars, dealerships and private listings. Where can you turn?
To help out our fans, we’ve prepared a handy guide for buying either a new or used car. We’ll start with the points on buying new cars, many of which translate into the used car market as well. We will then look at points unique to the used car market.
Buying a New Car: A Guide
Step 1: The Research
No matter how sure you think you are about what kind of car you want, you should always do your research and see what’s out there. Start with a wide net and have a look at all the brands that fit your budget. You might surprise yourself. After that, you should whittle down the many options to a simple shortlist of no more than 3-4 models.
What factors are important in a new car vary from person to person, but common examples of things to check in your research include:
- Price of standard specifications and cost of additional equipment – The more generous the standard offering, the better.
- Design – No matter what kind of vehicle we are looking for, we all hope that it looks the part.
- Hidden charges – Always try to get a picture of the car’s price that includes taxes, destination charges and any additional costs.
- ADAS features – How well equipped is the vehicle with assistance systems? Lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, AR navigation, pedestrian detection, driver alertness detection, and so on.
- Fuel economy – If you do a lot of driving, you’ll want something that can keep fuel costs to a minimum.
- Safety – Does the car have airbags, ABS, automatic emergency braking, front and rear sensors? The list goes on. For many, brands that are generous with safety gear (and ADAS) are preferred.
Once you’ve got your shortlist ready, it’s time to move on to the next steps.
Step 2: Testing
Most of us probably already know that test driving a vehicle before making a purchase is very important. But have you considered what to do during the test drive? If you aren’t going to test the car properly, then there’s no point testing it at all.
Make your test drive count:
- Drive on different road types, especially roads with tricky bends and turns that will test the steering
- Test the brakes thoroughly
- Try the key functions --- wipers, lights, infotainment, horn, heat or a/c, etc.
- Connect your smartphone to the car to make sure it works and if it connects quickly
- Check the storage spaces
- When driving, observe the visibility from the driver’s seat, are there any obstructions?
- Can you get the seat into an optimal comfortable position?
After an initial test drive, pick the one you like best and consider the additional step of renting one for a week and seeing how it fits into your typical driving routine. It’s an extra cost, but it will give you a much clearer idea of whether the car will suit your needs or not.
Step 3: Negotiations
No matter what you’ve heard, there’s always wiggle room on a car's price. It might not always be as much as you want, but it’s there. Dealerships often sell the cars at the manufacturer’s invoice price in order to secure a deal. The car maker will usually give a bonus for the sale anyways, and that’s where the dealer’s money comes from. Everybody wins.
Your negotiating position will be stronger if you follow the advice of TrueCar and discuss your deal at any of the following times:
- Any Sunday or Monday
- The last several days of the month (26th-29th are ideal)
- Any time in the month of December
- On public holidays and sales days – Memorial Day, Labor Day, Black Friday, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day.
These are the times that, for various reasons, dealership salespeople will be keen to complete sales and meet sales targets/quotas.
Step 4: Financing
There is a lot of controversy on financing a vehicle. Obviously, paying cash is always best because you’ll secure a great deal and not have to worry about monthly payments. Since that’s not realistic for most people, financing is the next best thing.
One strategy is to secure a car loan before you go to the dealership. You could get a car loan from the bank or a credit union. The interest rates will be reasonable, but the best thing is that it means you enter the dealership knowing how much you can borrow and therefore how much you can safely spend.
Another strategy is to do the car financing through the dealership. Despite some assuming that dealership financing is usually more expensive, it can actually be very competitive because car financing is a key profit center for dealerships. The best thing about financing from the dealership, is that you can get everything done conveniently in one place and at one time.
Buying a Used Car: Additional Steps
Many of the above steps apply equally well to the purchase of a used car, especially if you also buy it from a dealership. On the other hand, if you decide to purchase a used car from a private seller, there are one or two unique things of which you should be aware:
1. Organize an Independent Inspection
A reputable dealership can offer certified inspection reports for used cars when you’re looking at them, but a private seller might not be as forthcoming. It is therefore crucial that you organize an independent third-party inspection of the vehicle to look for things that the seller may not be telling you about, or that the seller might not even know about themselves.
2. Research the Paperwork Steps in Advance
Different states have different rules when it comes to private car sales. The main issue is transferring the title of the car to a new owner. This needs to be done at a local DMV. Visit your local DMV ahead of time to learn the specific local requirements on buying/selling of cars. You could also chat with the seller, as they may have some experience in selling and may already have everything ready.
3. Negotiate Hard
There’s no need to lowball to the point of lacking reason, but private sellers are often more motivated for a quick sale than a dealership. The private seller also doesn’t have the burden of sales quotas and corporate shirts breathing down his/her neck. The potential for flexibility is therefore usually greater.