100 Car Shopping Tips
100 Car Shopping Tips
100 Car Shopping Tips – Buying a car is not for the faint of heart – it can cause you to break out in a sweat at the salesman runs his pitch on you. Don’t worry! The tips in this article will ensure you’re prepared for the battle which lies ahead, allowing you to get the bargain you deserve.
1. Ask the car dealer to show you a vehicle history report. This can tell you if the vehicle has been in an accident or if it has been recalled. It can also show you what repairs have been done and when they were done so that you know exactly what you are buying.
2. Prior to even stepping foot in a dealership, you need to know what kind of car you want. If you have kids, maybe you should be looking for a van or large SUV. If it is just you, maybe you want something more sportier. Either way, knowing what you want will make the whole process of shopping for a car easier.
100 Car Shopping Tips
3. You should be ready with financing before going to look for a car. Credit unions and banks are good options. You will get a much better interest rate by doing this.
4. Before signing any contract take the time to read every line, including the fine print. If there is anything listed that you do not understand, do not sign until you get an answer that you understand. Unsavory salesmen can use a contract to insert many fees that were not discussed.
5. Research the value of your trade-in. Not only do you need to research the best price for the new car you would like to purchase, but you also need to know how much your trade-in is worth. Do your homework and find out the retail and wholesale values of your trade-in. Aim to get the retail value from the dealer.
6. If you are shopping for a new car, you might want to leave your kids at home. They might have a good time going on a test drive or two, but they will usually end up being bored. This will make it difficult to focus on the task at hand and could possibly end up costing you money.
7. Every month a salesman usually has a quota to reach. Use this fact to your advantage by shopping for a car toward the end of the month. If a salesperson hasn’t reached their quota for the month, they will be more likely to give you a better deal to help ensure a purchase. Do not let this opportunity to get a great deal slip through the cracks.
8. Bring a spare set of keys with you to the dealership. When they ask for the keys to your trade in, give them the spare. Some dealerships will use your car keys to hold you hostage if a deal is not made. You want to avoid this, so make sure you have the ability to walk out of the dealership at any time without having to ask for your keys.
9. If you cannot find the exact car that you want, ask your dealership if they can order it for you. Most domestic cars can be custom ordered with the exact upgrades and options that you want. Even used cars are often easy for car dealerships to find and have shipped to their location. You will have to wait a bit longer for this option, but it might be worth it if you have your heart set on something specific.
10. Always be leery of any used car dealers on the side of the road. These dealers almost always have a less than reputable reputation. The cars they sell could have flood damage, need major repairs, and are sold without warranty. Once you drive that car off the lot, any problems the car has are now your problem.
11. When looking to buy a new or used vehicle, make sure that you never elude to the fact of how much money you have on your person. You only want to talk about what you think you should put down in regards to the terms and price of the vehicle being discussed.
12. Check out car prices online, both in your city and in nearby cities. This will give you the best possible deal, which could save a lot of money. Pricing trends online can give you a great idea as to find the best location to buy your car.
13. When you are looking for a used vehicle, you should avoid any cars with high mileage. People will tell you that they drove on the highway or that they drove responsibly, but you really don’t know. Even if you like the car, avoid buying it if the mileage is too high.
14. Make sure you know what you are signing. Later on, you may be hit with fees you weren’t expecting, but were spelled out in the contract. By the time you start signing papers you are ready to be out on the road, but take the time to read the paperwork that you are signing before you leave.
15. Before going to dealer, have a budget set. Know how much you are willing to spend, and do not exceed that limit. Do this well in advance of entering the showroom. Once you are there, it is tempting to buy extras you do not need or cannot afford. Have a budget.
16. Know what your budget is before you start shopping for a car. This way, you can avoid any letdown when you find a car that you like but cannot afford. Do not spend anything more than 20 percent of your income on all the household vehicles, including the cost of insurance.
17. Always ask the seller if they are willing to let you do a test drive. While some private sellers may not offer you the chance to do a test drive, there are many that will. You should try to do your deal with someone who will allow you to see how the car runs.
18. Have a clear understanding of what those upgrades will cost you. Purchasing the fancy stereo, leather seats and DVD player might be appealing, but those options can add a significant amount to the price of your car. Take some time to think about how much you really need the upgrades, and only purchase the ones you will use the most.
19. Learn about the true market value of the car before making an offer. Oftentimes, dealers will have the car marked up a certain percent over the value so they have some wiggle room. If you know the market value, you can better haggle with them about the price you will pay out the door.
20. Before you set foot into a dealership, do some research online. Check nearby dealership’s websites and record their listed price on the vehicle you want, as well as any special deals they might be offering. Having this information at your disposal will be a valuable asset when it comes time to negotiate with a salesman.
21. When sitting at the bargaining table, take the time to negotiate the price of the car before talking about your trade-in. Doing this will help you get the best price on both vehicles. To do this effectively do not discuss trade-ins until after you have settled on a price of the new vehicle.
22. If you are shopping for a car, spend some time at the dealer. You don’t want to feel like you’re rushed and commit to a deal you’re not comfortable with. Therefore, you should set aside a full afternoon to do your car shopping. If something comes up that you need to attend to, don’t hesitate to leave and return later.
23. Shopping for a new car can seem complicated when it comes to pricing. Take your iPad or phone with you to the dealer. You can search the Internet and find car payment calculators that will let you know what your payment is going to be without having to rely on the dealer.
24. Due diligence should be exercised when planning your car budget. It is imperative that you take a full and realistic look at your budget. Not only must you consider a car payment, you must also consider insurance, gas and maintenance for the vehicle. There is nothing worse than having a vehicle that you cannot afford to drive.
100 Car Shopping Tips
25. If you aren’t concerned about getting the absolutely latest model, consider car shopping in November or December. During this time frame, dealerships will offer deals on the current models. They want to clear out their inventory to make way for shipments of the next year’s models. This means that you will be offered more incentives, lower sticker prices, and more room to negotiate!
26. Look online for incentives on the car you want. Many automotive manufacturers offer cash back or special financing on their vehicles. The dealership will not always tell you about these things up front. Take some time to educate yourself first so you can get the best deal once you are in the showroom.
27. Understand that introductory terms are just that, introductory. Therefore, know what to expect afterwards, and assess your budget to make sure that it accommodates it nicely. If you don’t, you could find yourself getting duped by one of the oldest tricks in the book. Don’t let that happen to you!
28. If you have flexibility, try to wait for a promotion with low interest. If you are really patient, you may even be able to find zero interest periods. This will make the total price you pay for your car be significantly less than you planed to pay. Keep an eye out for local dealerships running this.
29. Do proper research before visiting a dealership. Compare automobiles using websites and consumer magazines so you can choose a suitable vehicle. You can also use these tools to find out about features packages and options, and how much each one might cost. This will save you time and money when you get to the dealership and start looking at cars.
30. One of the most helpful tips when buying a car is to avoid buying on emotion. If you come across a car you fall in love with, take the time to do your research and look for different availability options to get you the best value. You should already have an idea of what to pay before entering the dealership.
31. When you want to test drive a car being sold by an individual rather than a company, be certain that the vehicle currently has car insurance by asking to see the insurance card. A legitimate seller should not have terminated car insurance on a vehicle that he is selling because anticipating that potential buyers will want to test drive the car is part of a sensible car sale transaction.
32. A little flexibility goes a long way when looking for a new or used vehicle. The most well-known names in the industry offer a number of models to meet your needs. For instance, most major car makers have a small or compact model on offer. Doing just a token amount of comparison shopping and research will tell you the best priced models with the optimal package of features.
33.Go to different dealerships before settling on one. A different dealership might be able to get you a better price on the car you want, and may be running different promotions. Try three or four in your area, and even if you have to travel a bit farther, it may be worth it.
34. If you are trading in an automobile, visit your local library and find out the value of your car. You can also look this information up online in several different locations. By having the trade-in value of your car and the retail value of your car you can negotiate better.
35. Do not allow yourself to buy the first car that you see, even if it seems like it would be perfect for you. There are so many vehicles out there for sale that buying the first one may cause you to lose out on making a much better deal on a car you may like a bit more.
Watch out for the up sells in the financing office. When you reach the financing office, you will always be offered an extended warranty, interior protection, gap insurance and other such add ons. Make sure that you understand these well before making a decision to purchase them. Most are not worth the money you will spend, and you’re better off saving each month in the event that you need a repair or your interior gets a stain.
37. Never leave your car with the dealership overnight. Many dealerships will offer you the opportunity to take the car that you are considering home in order to test drive it longer. While this is certainly appealing, it essentially means they are given the opportunity to hold the car you own hostage. This makes it more difficult to walk away from a bad deal, and it is not to your advantage.
38. When buying a used car, be very careful about how clean the car is. Many car salespeople have professional cleaners who can make a piece of junk look brand new. Always get the car checked by a mechanic. Even if it looks fantastic, a mechanic will be able to spot any major issues.
39. If you know you are easily convinced by salespeople, you should not go shopping for a new car by yourself. Have a friend or family member go with you to assist in asking the important questions and negotiating a price. Before going, let them know what you expect to pay and what you are looking for.
40. Before you go in to look at a new car, make sure you have thoroughly researched the proper trade in value of your current car. In fact, why not try to sell it yourself first before you buy. Either way, you will get more from your vehicle if you know what it is really worth.
41. Make a wish list of cars that you are interested in. You have seen many cars in advertisements and on the road. It should be easy for you to build a solid list of vehicles that would suit your style. You can add a couple of dream cars that seem out of your range; however, be realistic about what you can afford.
42. Look online for incentives on the car you want. Many automotive manufacturers offer cash back or special financing on their vehicles. The dealership will not always tell you about these things up front. Take some time to educate yourself first so you can get the best deal once you are in the showroom.
43. Be firm in what extras you want. Almost every salesperson is going to at least attempt to “upsell” you in an effort to get a bigger sale. Don’t let them pressure you into the next model up or features you don’t need. If they claim not to have the model you are looking for in stock, only the “better” one, ask if they can locate one at another dealer.
44. Whenever shopping for a used car, it would be wise to stick with certified pre-owned vehicles as this greatly reduces the likelihood that you’ll end up with a car that is in poor condition. Just make sure that the certification if offered by the car manufacturer rather than the dealer.
100 Car Shopping Tips
45. If you’re worried about your credit score, you can check your credit report before you go to the dealership. It’s free to check your credit report once a year, so take advantage of that. By knowing your credit before you go to the dealership, you’ll be able to determine if you’d be able to qualify for any low interest financing offers.
46. Find out about dealers before choosing one. Start by asking your trusted friends, family, and neighbors about their positive and negative experiences with car dealers in the area. Furthermore, look up the dealers online at the Better Business Bureau website. Watch for any red flags about misleading or unfair business practices.
47. Watch out for dealership advertising fees. These are often tacked on to new car purchases, and you should not have to pay them. Car dealerships have to advertise as part of doing business, and many shoppers who challenge this fee will win. If your salesman will not remove this fee, ask to speak with a manager.
48. Consider skipping the dealership entirely. An auto broker will work with multiple dealerships to find you the best deal on the car you want. You can usually find these online, and the dealerships will pay the fees for their use. This is a good way to comparison shop without having to visit multiple dealerships.
49. Don’t forget to look into the cost of parts for a vehicle before you buy it. Some cars, especially imports, cost significantly more to maintain than others. Investigate the cost of parts that wear out frequently, such as tires, brakes, and windshield wiper blades. Research the cost of alternators, spark plugs, and other engine components, too.
50. Learn about the true market value of the car before making an offer. Oftentimes, dealers will have the car marked up a certain percent over the value so they have some wiggle room. If you know the market value, you can better haggle with them about the price you will pay out the door.
51. When shopping for a car, bring someone along. They will help you stay grounded about the offers and also help you find any problems in the car. And if you are going to share your car with your spouse, you should definitely go together.
52. Shopping for a new car can seem complicated when it comes to pricing. Take your iPad or phone with you to the dealer. You can search the Internet and find car payment calculators that will let you know what your payment is going to be without having to rely on the dealer.
53. Never settle for the price that’s set for the car when you’re shopping for one. You must be a great negotiator and try to knock a little off the price. Every car dealership knows that they’re going to have to negotiate anyway, so they make the car seem like it costs more than they’d settle for.
54. Do not mention your trade-in right away. You should never tell the dealer about your trade-in without first ensuring you have secured the lowest possible price for your new vehicle. When you let them know up front, they’ll alter their offers based on that fact.
55. Speak with the car dealer about his return policy. You may even want to get the policy in writing. Even if you have test driven the car and everything seems fine, you never know what could happen later that day or week. It’s important that you know what the dealer’s policy is on returning it in case something should happen.
56. Watch out for dealership advertising fees. These are often tacked on to new car purchases, and you should not have to pay them. Car dealerships have to advertise as part of doing business, and many shoppers who challenge this fee will win. If your salesman will not remove this fee, ask to speak with a manager.
57. Financing is often more affordable when you get it from an institution other than the dealership themselves. The rates they offer aren’t great, but they’re sometimes open to lending you money when your credit is bad, unlike a bank. Check out all of your financing options and find out how much you’ll be approved for before you approach the lot.
58. While the dealership that you buy your vehicle through will offer financing, check into your options. Get a loan quote from your bank or a credit union. Oftentimes, they will offer better rates than the dealership. This will allow you to bring those quote to the dealership’s financial officer and negotiate a lower rate.
100 Car Shopping Tips
59. Do not try negotiating unless you see the car that you want is available. He might tell you that he can get it in for you, but you do not know if it will be the exact one you want. You do not want to waste your time negotiating for a car that you do not really want.
60. When choosing a dealership, it’s always good to research the service department. Try asking around to find out what others think of their service. Call the department and ask for assistance on something that you already know so that you can test them. Select a dealership with smart sales and service staff who are happy to assist.
61. Don’t agree to a dealer’s sales discount on a vehicle based on YOUR beliefs of what your car is worth; rather, do your research. You will have a better idea of the price to pay for a new car.
62. Do you want to buy new or used? There are certain situations that might make it better for you to buy new, but if your budget does not allow for it, there are great used deals as well. Learn about warranties and rebates on both new and used before you begin shopping.
63. Talk with an insurance company and have them on standby for your purchase. You can’t drive an uninsured car off the lot and you do not want the insurance that the dealerships offer. Instead, when they propose their insurance, simply hand them your provider’s card and ask them to call.
64. If you think, you will have your car for a while, pay a little more to get a few more options. In the long run, it will benefit you to have what you want. If you don’t, you may add on later and pay even more money. For example, getting a navigation system included will generally cost you less than picking one up in the future.
65. If you are shopping for a family car, test out the features that are important to a family. Try out your car seat in the car and make sure you can sit comfortably. Put the stroller in the trunk to make sure it fits. Moreover, check the ease of unlocking and opening the doors with your hands full of car seats, diaper bags, kids, etc.
66. Visit your local bank and get pre-approved for a car loan. This one step cannot only save you a lot of time at dealership, but it will also save you money most of the time. By getting a loan at your bank, you can negotiate your interest rate more effectively; thus, lowering your overall payment.
67. Do not make the mistake of focusing on only the monthly payment amount when you are car shopping. This can cause you to buy a more expensive car than you can really afford. You need to focus on the total cost of the vehicle itself and whether that is a good deal.
68. If you buy a vehicle from an individual, make sure that you have it checked out by a mechanic first. If the owners won’t allow this, that should be considered a red flag. The car you are looking at might need some new parts or might even have been in a wreck. You should not buy it without knowing more.
69. Think ahead when you are planning on making a car purchase. Do not make the mistake of buying a car without thinking about whether it would be practical for future use. Buying a sports car will not make much sense if you are planning to have a family anytime in the near future.
70. Do your research before you even step foot on a car lot. You want to have an educated position when it comes to such a large purchase. It is a good idea to know what models you are interested in, and what the fair price is for those specific cars.
71. Search for your new car online before you ever visit a dealership. Searching online allows you to look at inventory from multiple dealerships, and it makes you privy to information about online only pricing. This is a great way to comparison shop and really make sure you are getting the best deal.
72. Before buying a car, consider the cost of insurance. If you are financing the car, you will probably need comprehensive coverage, in addition to liability protection. Some cars cost significantly more to insure than others. Avoid any surprises by asking your insurance company for a quote before you sign any paperwork.
73. Watch out for the car salesman who offers you a price on a car before he visits his sales manager. The salesman will tell you anything you want to hear, but only the manager can approve the deal. Ask to speak to the manager face to face and see the deal on paper before committing to purchase the car.
74. Never turn over your trade-in keys to the salesperson before the deal is finalized. Some pushy salespeople will hang onto them in an effort to pressure you into hearing them out, even after you have turned down a deal. Keep the keys in your possession and only hand them over when the deal is done.
75. Only use reviews on the internet as a general guide. A lot of people when they have problems with a car will post negative reviews on the internet. So look at all the reviews for common problems as opposed to a general ranking. If there is a problem with a major component, then probably find a different vehicle.
76. Consider shopping for your new car towards the last week of the month. At the end of the month, dealership salesmen are usually trying to fill unmet quotas. Toward the month’s end, salespeople may be behind in their quotas, and this could be a great time for you to get a good deal.
77. Once you know how much you have to spend, find out about the cars within that range. Learn about the car itself, its miles per gallon, number of doors, trunk space, driver’s reviews, safety record and how frequently it needs repairs on average. Assign each a rating and go for those at the top of the list.
78. Find out the vehicle’s mileage before you agree to purchase it. Even if you know a particular car should get a certain gas mileage, be sure that it still does. A car can lose its efficiency overtime, which can mean a large expense in getting to the places you need to go.
79. You are a female shopping for a car, never agree to work with a salesman who treats you in a condescending way. Some salesmen will try to take advantage of female shoppers and offer them unfair prices or financing terms. This is not what your car-buying experience should be like. If it is, visit a different dealership.
80. Investigate cash rebates and discounts you are eligible for. Sometimes, there are discounts for veterans and students, for example. There are all kinds of discounts and rebates that are often run. Do a little research and find out if you qualify for any of the special deals that are available. That could save you some money on your car.
81. A dealer with a great reputation may offer you a better deal than one which advertises great prices. You may find that a dealer who people like to buy from offers perks which aren’t available elsewhere, including reduced pressure sales tactics and lower overall price due to freebies thrown in to the sale.
82. If you are looking at a model that has just been released, don’t pull the trigger too soon. If you wait for awhile for that brand new car, you can save some money. Give it a while so that all the hype can die down later.
When you are going to buy a car, you need to know ahead of time which features are essential for you in the car. Have a clear picture of what you want, so you can search for the right price as well as the right car for your needs.
83. Do not get your heart set on a particular model of car when you are car shopping. You need to leave your options open so that you can get the best deal possible. The exact car you have decided you want may not be the best available option at the time you are ready to buy.
84. Talk to friends and family about what they have heard. Do they enjoy their cars? Do they regret their purchase? Have they heard anything about other cars that are on the market? Always look for information before going to the dealerships.
85. Consider selling your car privately, rather than trading it in for the new car you want. You will almost always get more for your car through a private sale than you would through a trade in. Even if the dealership makes it sound like they are giving you a great trade in value, they will likely raise the price somewhere else to make up for the difference.
86. Be aggressive and assertive. You will inevitably end up negotiating the price of your vehicle, so don’t be afraid to push a little. Be prepared to walk away from the dealership if you aren’t making progress. Leave the offer alone for a day or two, and then contact the salesman again. If they know that you are willing to walk away, they will be more likely to accept your offer or to counter-offer with a more reasonable price.
87. Take an extended test drive. Don’t just take it for a quick spin through the neighborhood by yourself. Instead, enlist everyone who will be regularly riding in the car to share their opinions. Ask the dealer for a full afternoon test drive so that you have the chance to take it on the freeway to check things like the pickup and the blind spots, and spend some time really feeling the comfort of the interior.
88. When you are considering buying a used car, always have your mechanic check it out first. You are not a qualified mechanic trained to spot problems or repairs, so you need to take it to a professional. Be prepared to pay $100 or so for this service, but it may end up saving you thousands.
89. Do not lock yourself into purchasing from a dealership. You can go to smaller lots or buy from private owners and get some really good deals. So before heading out to a lot, go pick up some classifieds, read up on Craigslist, and check other venues to see if you can find a good deal.
90. Before going car shopping, clean all personal items out of your car. Doing this one thing will save you considerable time at the dealership. This will also ensure that you do not leave behind important documents such as insurance papers. Nothing is worse than getting home and realizing the you left something in the car you just traded in.
91. You need to know what you can spend before doing it. This number should be based on how much you are willing to spend as well as market research on the general value of the car model that you are looking at buying.
While you may want to buy a car today, buying off the lot may mean that they don’t have a car with the features you desire. You can always ask them to call affiliated dealerships to see if they have the car on the lot, but don’t sound desperate or they’ll raise the price.
92. To ensure that your car shopping process yield the best possible selection for you and your family; think carefully about your driving and lifestyle habits. Deliberately considering the sort of use the vehicle is likely to get will help you choose the right one. Failure to keep factors such as fuel-efficiency or hauling capacity in mind while shopping can cause you to purchase something that ends up being impractical for your daily requirements.
93. Once you have identified a prospective vehicle, make sure you give it a thorough inspection. Look over the body of the car for any imperfections. When it comes to the interior, check for carpet stains or upholstery tears. You are stuck with this car once you buy it. That means the stains, flaws and dings as well.
94. Look at car prices online, in nearby cities and your city. Search other states and places near you, you might find a deal that is out of this world. Researching price trends online can give you information about which city will offer the lowest price.
95. Look into all of the fine print on your financing papers. Just because your monthly payment is lower does not mean that you are getting the car for less. It could just be a way to get you to buy the car for the original price so the salesman can keep the entire amount of commission that he set out to earn.
96. Never buy a car without test driving it first. That even includes brand new cars and trucks. Not only do you want to make sure the car is mechanically sound, you also want to see how the car fits you. Decide if the car “feels” right. Some cars are not designed for taller people, for instance.
97. Most salesmen will have monthly goals or quotas to make. Keep this in mind, and try to head out at the end of each month. If a salesperson hasn’t reached their quota for the month, they will be more likely to give you a better deal to help ensure a purchase. That gives you some room to wiggle about in your negotiations.
98. When buying a compact or subcompact car, make sure that it has enough room for each person who will drive it. The car may be your daily driver, but it may not have enough leg room for others in your household. If there is a chance that someone else will drive the car occasionally, bring them along while shopping.
Go to auto shows to learn more about different makes of car. At a car show, you can make detailed comparisons of multiple manufacturers’ offerings in a single location. It also provides you with the opportunity to speak with a number of well-versed people in one setting. You’ll be able to leave the show with a much better idea of what you are looking for.
99. Never visit a dealership until you have a clear idea of how much you can pay. This price should reflect the amount that you would not mind paying and also what the fair price is on the market for that particular make and model.
100. It is a good idea to do plenty of research on cars before you ever go to a dealership. The more you know about a particular model, the better you can judge whether it is right for you. There are many online resources that let you compare different brands and models.
Don't Get Taken Every Time: The Ultimate Guide to Buying or Leasing a Car, in the Showroom or on the Internet
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