Thinking of buying your first car? You may be confused or nervous, but most of all, you should be excited! There are many aspects that you must take into account when buying your first vehicle. Read our tips for buying a car for the first time so you can be more confident when you’re at the car dealership.
1. Establish a budget
Calculate your monthly expenses to find out how much you can afford to pay for your car. Buying a vehicle is an investment that, in most cases, requires financing. You also have to add the costs of auto insurance and vehicle maintenance. Keep this in mind when setting your budget.
2. New or used?
This is a question that you must answer before you get to the dealership. Think about it very well and then stick to your decision. Don’t let the salesperson pressure you into buying a new car if you think a used car would be better for you.
3. Do a preliminary investigation
Finding information about that car you want has never been easier before. There is endless information on the internet about different models, prices, mileage and other variants. Spend a few hours searching and comparing data to gain a new perspective.
4. Think about your needs
The cars that are on sale may seem very attractive, but this does not mean that they will respond to your transportation needs. If you want a truck for your new job, a large supply of sedans shouldn’t affect your decision. Don’t let the salesperson pressure you to buy a different car than you had planned. You know what you need. In the same way, avoid being distracted from your initial goal by the excitement of seeing flashy ads or the offer of possible refunds.
5. Don’t tell the seller what color you prefer
The salesperson knows that you want to leave the dealership with a car. By revealing a superficial detail, like your favorite color, you’re giving it more opportunities to take advantage of you – it could turn out that red cars are suddenly more expensive than other vehicles. It might be a good idea to pick the colors you DON’T like and tell him what they are.
6. Take a test drive
Although doing some preliminary research is important, never forget to take a test drive. Knowing how you feel behind the wheel is essential to making your decision. Therefore, ask the seller to let you drive the vehicle and analyze the following: comfort, visibility, engine, transmission, navigation system, acceleration and brakes. Drive in an area similar to where you live to see if you will like the driving experience in that car.
7. The seller does not prefer cash
You may think that by showing a wad of cash during the negotiation, the seller will give you a better price. The truth is, the dealership makes money from financing. They do not want you to pay the entire amount with cash, but to finance your car. Don’t think the seller will change his mind when he sees your money.
8. It is convenient to compare financing prices
The dealer makes money from financing the car, but this is not the only option. Another place to compare financing rates is a credit union. Credit unions generally offer better interest rates on loans. Visit several branches and when you decide to go to the dealership, take with you the papers with the information you obtained about the loans.
9. Never negotiate based on monthly payments
The seller could start the negotiation by saying, “We can offer you monthly payments of xxx.” Do not argue and tell him what total amount you are willing to pay for the car. It’s easier to fool yourself when they show you monthly payments so you could end up paying more.
10. You can leave the dealership at any time
Your best card is the fact that you can leave at any time. However, don’t threaten to leave if you don’t mean to. If the seller realizes that you are cheating, you have given him all your power in the negotiation.
11. Don’t believe everything they tell you
It’s not that you’re going to find an unethical used car dealer at every dealership, but there are, there are. You must be very cautious and alert so as not to fall into their bad tricks. For example, one of the most common tricks is “hitch and cheat”: You see a price that looks perfect online or on TV, but when you get to the dealership you find that they no longer sell that car at that price or that they no longer sell it. they have that vehicle in stock. Now that you are in the room where their merchandise is displayed, the seller will offer you another car with a much higher price. Do not give!
12. Tell them up front if you want to trade in your old vehicle
Some people believe that having a vehicle to trade in is their best bargaining resource. The truth is, it doesn’t matter when you tell the seller you have a trade-in vehicle. The dealer will offer you the same price in any case. Choosing the moment is not going to change the value of the car. Actually, if you don’t tell them you want to trade in your car, the seller will have to start the paperwork all over again to list it.
13. Visit the dealer on the last day of the month
The last day of the month, or even better, the last day of the quarter is the best time to buy a vehicle. Car producers set quarterly sales quotas for dealerships, and individuals who sell them receive a bonus. For this reason, car prices decrease at the end of the month.
14. Read the contract carefully
If you’re not ready to buy the car, don’t let the seller pressure you into signing the contract, especially if you decide to finance your car with the dealer. Pay close attention to the additional charges that may have slipped into the contract, for example the extension of a guarantee. If you buy a new car, it may already be eligible for a dealer warranty. If you accidentally subscribe to a warranty that you don’t need, read your contract carefully. You should have several days to cancel it.
15. If you feel uncomfortable, leave
Buying a car is a great investment. If you are not completely sure, you always have the option to leave. Unless you’ve signed a contract, you still have time to change your mind. You can sign a document called a “buyer’s order,” and it is not coercive. If you need more time to think about your decision, it may be a good idea to sign one of these. Even if you have signed a buyer’s order, you can still decide not to buy the car.