Buying a new car or a second-hand one is a big decision with pricey possibilities, none of which should be taken lightly. There are a number of circumstances you should be aware of before making any final decisions. The main piece of advice is to do your research. It’s a cliché but knowledge is power! Decide whether you want a four-door sedan or a two-door coupe. Will you consider a sports car, convertibles, or a pick-up truck? Decide upon electric, hybrid, or traditional gasoline-operated vehicles. You can even decide on a few colours you will or will not choose for whatever reason, superstition or otherwise. Before you even leave home you should have made certain decisions as part of your hunt for new wheels.
Stick to Your Budget
If possible, it is advisable to purchase your new car cash. Should this not be an option, it is best to make sure you finance it on your terms, with the best interest rate for your credit score. Look at options with your own bank and preferably get a pre-approved loan before setting foot in the dealership or starting your hunt online. Remember to concentrate on your monthly payments, a down payment if applicable, the length of your loan, and the investment rate. Also remember to investigate insurance on your dream choice – whether you can afford it, and as soon as you are insured as you receive the car as yours. Never drive away from a purchase without already having secured the relevant insurance – anything can happen – an accident on route home, or you can be pulled over by the police. Make sure all this is in order.
Do not only consider the cash price shown. If you are taking the car through finance, you need to scrutinise all the extra costs that the salesperson and finance department may want to offer you. If these were not part of the plan – stick to your guns. Other financial considerations include insurance, parking, fuel, and maintenance costs. Do not let the salesperson talk you into a box by stating how “low” your monthly payments could be – know what you decided you can afford and don’t budge.
Once you have decided what vehicle you want, do your homework – compare prices online, especially if you plan on visiting dealerships. Look at additional features offered and decide whether you need them. Once at a dealership, be bold and call other dealers or private sellers even to get their offers – perhaps these can be met or even bettered by the salesperson standing before you.
Do not be intimidated or pushed to compromise your standards. If necessary, take along a trusted family member or friend to help you with negotiations. Everything in and on the vehicle can be negotiated – push!
Keep Your Objective in Mind Always
Make sure you get what you came for. Remember that salespeople are trained to make the sale no matter what – they want to earn their highest possible commission. If you do have cash available, keep this information in your pocket until the end of the negotiations. Monthly payments on finance through the dealership are obviously more profitable for them.
It is a known fact that dealers sometimes advertise sales that are not really sales, they put up balloons to attract your attention, and they rotate their stock – all in an effort to pull the customer in. Do not fall for these age-old sales gimmicks. Stick to your goal. Having done the legwork prior will give you the upper hand with the salesperson. They will adjust their pitch once they have read you, knowing that most buyers are concerned with what the car can do for them, how much money they will save, and will they look good in it! Don’t be too easily read.
Use Your Negotiation Skills
Keep insisting on what you had planned in your head. Be wary of practices like “let me check with the manager” – often salespeople are playing with your time. They know if they waste your time, and make you impatient that they can use this to their advantage. Be careful of lines like “if you buy today, I can offer you…” as this is just a push towards a hasty sale. You can always respond that you are still looking around, and have seen other deals elsewhere.
Test Driving is Imperative
Most dealerships will encourage a test drive. Be careful of those that don’t. This also becomes a big concern when buying online. Some services offer the convenience of shopping online and then having the vehicle taken to the customer for test driving. This is a great way to save time and effort, while still finding the perfect car that suits your lifestyle. As well as shopping online, you should also make the most of online resources to help you in your quest for your dream vehicle.Check out these clutch blog articles on blog.clutch.ca, where you can find useful guides on how to buy a used car.
Try to test drive the car on a route you know and use often, with all its bumps and sharp turns, rather than one set by the dealership. Do not be swayed by excellent sales talk that makes the product look or sound better than it is. You need to identify concerns, odd noises, or other driveability issues.
Study Those Terms and Conditions
Don’t rush the paperwork side of the purchase. Read all parts of the contract. Ask for advice if you are unsure. Don’t ignore the financial terms that are sometimes set to alter or adjust after a few months – all this must be stated in the contract. Read between the lines, be prepared, and show that you are not easily moved from your plan.
If you have a trade-in vehicle do not use this as a bargaining tool as salespeople often inflate the offers to turn your head. You should check how much your current vehicle is worth beforehand if you are planning on trading it in. Be aware that if an offer sounds “too-good-to-be-true” it probably is.
Focus on Sales Talk and Gimmicks
Salespeople often use tricks of their trade to encourage a deal to be signed. Telling you that someone else is also interested in the same vehicle, so best you quickly make a down payment, is a common tool. Another one is to draw up a list of reasons to buy or not to buy: remember to focus on your plan.
Know When to Walk Away
Ask all the questions you want. Ask about any accidents or other damage the vehicle may have endured, including insurance claims. Ask about the number of previous owners, and whether the dealership knows where the car has come from geographically. Enquire whether it was a personal, fleet, or commercial vehicle. Ask about the service history – you have a right to request all this paperwork. In the long run, this will be a huge benefit to you.
Remember that salespeople avoid asking you questions where the answer will be yes or no. Don’t allow yourself to be cornered or easily persuaded by marketing lingo. They are aware of how to work your needs and vulnerabilities to their advantage. If you feel uncomfortable or forced – walk away.
This is no hasty decision to make: you want value for your money and a smooth transition into owning your new car. With investigation, scrutiny, research, and a touch of boldness, you will be able to make the best decision for you, giving you stress-free and reliable happy motoring miles.