3 Strategies You Should Know When Buying Your Next Car

Modern technology has made it a lot easier to purchase a car using the internet. Instead of wasting a lot of your time and effort looking for the right vehicle at various car dealerships, you can now use your laptop or mobile phone to access a car buying service to help you locate the ideal car you need. These sites make purchasing a vehicle a lot more convenient and can even land you a great deal.

But with the rising convenience of online car shopping, as well as a rising demand, comes an increase in the number of vendors trying to get your business. Many will offer the same types of cars, at fairly similar prices. There will also be vendors who make offers that seem excellent on the surface, but once you start looking at their terms and conditions, turn out to be manipulative, shady or even downright dishonest. How, then, can you protect yourself against schemes, while ensuring you get the best possible deal you can?

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Here are a few tips to guarantee that you are making a smart choice when choosing a car.

Avoid Stress and Negotiations

One of the major reasons why purchasing an automobile can be such as hassle is because of all the back and forth bargaining that usually happens. When you visit automobile dealerships, it is usually not an easy process. The old school way, you had to drive from dealership to dealership to find the type of car you want, then you had to look for the right mileage, color, and features. All that of that driving, shopping and heckling could take days if not weeks. Now, you go online and search what you want and go to the dealership that has it. Easy peasy.

The price is online so you know what to expect when you are at the dealership. You will just need to talk to someone about financing it, show your Id and proof of insurance and you’re set.

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Do Research

Before you start looking for cars online, you must do a little research on your car options. Make sure that you know exactly what car you want and how much you are willing to invest.

Do ample research about the best and newest car features you think are the right fit for you. There are tons of reviews that you can read to see which options that you may like best. Don’t limit yourself to reviews of the car either - look at different vendors, and pay attention to not only their inventory, but their terms and conditions.

Points that you should carefully consider when you research a vendor are vehicle price (obviously), but also the history of the vehicle, to include accidents, collisions, or major mechanical failures. Look at the maintenance record of the vehicle and see if the vendor has done any restorative maintenance; low-end dealers often won’t touch a trade-in car, and their criteria for a ‘functioning’ car is if it can drive out of the lot on it’s own. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will last you for miles and miles.

Also look at the reputation of the vendor themselves. Do they tend to markup cars well past what they’re worth? Are they easy to work with? Will they give you a competitive rate but expect you to pay back the full amount in a matter of months, rather than years? Will they honor any warranties on a car, or leave any maintenance needed completely to you? (Be aware: this is a common tactic to sell a used car at a very low price to you, but you’ll be paying the difference in maintenance costs within months.)

Be sure to test drive the type of car you want first to make sure its a good fit. After that you can think about features. The size of the dealership matters too. If you are in the market for the new Toyota lineup, you will want to be able to see all of the options in person too.

If you are trading a car in, you will also need to research how much the value of the car is. There are a lot of strategies you can use to make sure you are getting a good resale value for your car. Finding the value of your car before availing these services will make the selling process a lot simpler. Kelley Blue Book is a great tool to use for this. 

Watch Out for the Extra Fees

When you are closing your deal they will try to upsell you. They may offer you a treatment for your paint to help it last longer. They will offer you seat protectors. There are several other things they will offer you. Most of them aren’t necessary and aren’t a smart option.

Another common scam to be wary of when watching for extra fees is purchasing an extended warranty. When a new car is manufactured, it usually comes with a factory warranty of anywhere between three to five years or 50 to 10,0000 miles (whichever comes first). Many vendors, especially used car vendors, will prey on your fear that your investment will break down with a year or two, and try to sell you an extended warranty that will:

  • Not cover the critical components that break down, benefitting you nothing, and:
  • End up costing more than just paying out of pocket for repairs.

Gap insurance is something that is a smart purchase. The car you buy will depreciate the minute you drive off with it. If you are in a wreck your insurance will only cover what they think it's worth, meaning that you could be on the line for the remaining balance. Gap insurance covers the remaining balance.

The Takeaway

The most important part is researching what you want and how to get the best deal. If you do your homework you can potentially save thousands, not to mention the hassle that comes with your car buying experience. Also, don’t be afraid to not buy the extras.

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