Tips for Buying a New Car. We all dream about purchasing a new car for ourselves that has never been driven by anybody else. Sure, new cars may cost more than used cars, but they are more personal to the owner and they retain that new car smell which we all adore.
However, this doesn’t mean you should just go out and purchase any new car that looks good. I’ve compiled a list of several important Tips for Buying a New Car that you should follow.
The most important thing to know before you buy a car is that knowledge is power. It’s a mistake to arrive at a car lot without first researching the car you want to buy. You can find out just about anything you want to know about a car online. Kelley Blue Book, Consumer Reports, Edmunds app and website have just about all the information you need, including expert and owner reviews, vehicle invoice prices and new-car deals.
Automakers’ sites are useful for seeing more photos and learning more about the features and options. Use these tools and you should have little problem selecting the right car or SUV. Once you have a short list, it’s time to figure out how you’ll pay for the car.
Look into Pre-financing options
Today’s car dealers make much of their revenue in their financing offices. They get a cut of any auto loan that they get buyers to accept. The offers they present may be a great deal, but they aren’t always the best ones for customers – they’re the ones that make the dealership the most money.
Before you start visiting dealerships, get a pre-approved financing offer from your bank or credit union. That way, the dealer has to offer a better deal if they want to earn your business. Without an offer in place, the dealership will have no incentive to work hard to earn your new car financing business.
Plan your Trade-In
Chances are that if you’re going to purchase a new car, then you already have an existing car that you’re going to get rid of. Before trading in your car at a dealership for credit toward your new car, find out the official trade-in value for your car in its current condition.
Often times, dealers won’t give you the true trade-in value of your car if you’re in the midst of purchasing a new car. You need to find out the true value prior to going to the dealership and then request that amount in credit for your car.
Locate and Test-Drive the car
By now, you’ve settled on a few car candidates. You should see them in person before making a decision. Hundreds of car dealerships throughout the country list their car inventories on Edmunds, and in many cases, you can sort by color, trim level and features.
It’s a better way to shop than configuring a car on the automaker’s website and hoping you will find one with that set of options in the real world. All the listings you’ll find on Edmunds pages are real cars with a variety of options. Most will have a locked-in price that should be comparable to what others are paying.
If you follow the steps below with Edmunds, a salesperson from the dealership will contact you to schedule a test drive. If you found the vehicle on another site, call the dealership’s internet sales department to request more information. In either case, keep these do’s and don’ts in mind:
- Do verify that the car you want is still in stock. It might have been sold recently, and online inventories can take a while to catch up.
- Do ask the salesperson if there are any dealer-installed options. Many new vehicles are sold with add-ons such as nitrogen in the tires, all-weather floor mats or theft protection packages. These can easily add $1,000 to the sale price.
- Don’t just show up at the dealer on a busy weekend or late at night. Waits may be long, and you may not get the salesperson’s full attention.
- Do schedule an appointment for a test drive. Early in the week and in the morning are good times. Having an appointment means the car will be waiting for you when you arrive.
- Don’t just drive around the block. Take the time to see how you and your family fit in the car and see how it handles on a variety of roads.
- Do ask yourself the following questions: Are the controls easy to use? Is there enough cargo space? Will a child seat fit? (Bring it with you and test it.)
- Don’t feel obligated to buy the car the same day. Feel free to take a night to think it over.
Factor in insurance costs
Factor costs for car insurance premiums into the purchase price of your car. The cost of insuring a car is a major factor in the overall cost of the vehicle. Get insurance premium quotes online from Allstate or Liberty Mutual. You’ll provide information about the car’s make and model and personal information including age, marital status, and driving record.
Sports cars have higher premiums than conventional cars, but some cars have higher insurance rates for other reasons as well. For example, the Honda Accord, Honda Civic, and the Toyota Camry are favorites among car thieves because of their higher resale values, and the insurance premiums for these cars can thus be more expensive.
Buy at the right time
Believe it or not, the time of year you buy a car can make a big difference to the price you pay.
A lot depends on dealers’ targets and how many cars they have in stock at any given time. According to Auto Trader, dealers usually have a lot of stock to shift in September and March, just after new number plate formats are introduced. Also, in August and February, the months preceding plate changes, dealers often also clear out old stock.
It might also be worth visiting a showroom on a weekday if you can, avoiding the busier weekends. If you can spare some time on a Friday, then you may get a better price from a dealer eager to meet their weekly target.
Get a warranty
Protect yourself and ensure that your new car is in proper working order. A warranty on a new car will mean that if something goes wrong with the car that you’re not responsible for, the dealership will pay for the repairs for you.