Purchasing a new car is a huge endeavor, but don’t let the overwhelm of the task deter you from finding a new vehicle if you really need one. Here are a few suggestions from everyone at Robert’s Collision about getting started on the car search.
- Do your research. The first step is simply going online and searching for the features you need in a car and a price range you can manage. Do you need a 4-door or can you manage with a 2? Do you go off-roading or work in any vocation that would require a truck or something with a solid 4-wheel drive? Or do you need a compact car that allows you to buzz around the city and get in and out of tedious parking spots? Search for what you need in a car, and find the makes and models that best provide for those minimums.
- Consider the cost. Now that you’ve got an idea of what you’re looking for, dig more into that price tag research. How much can you afford in monthly payments? Will you buy new or used? What year model are you looking at? For most buyers, you won’t be able to provide that 15k or more up front, so you’ll need to check out your options for pre-financing and loans. Keep in mind that the payment plans offered at the dealership will be higher than what you can get at a bank or credit union. Finally, consider the insurance costs and maintenance costs of the car you’re going to purchase. Frequently stolen models have higher insurance premiums, and brand-new cars often are more expensive when it comes to maintenance.
- Visit multiple dealerships. If possible, avoid purchasing a car at the first dealership you shop at. You’ll want to know what their very last offer is, the one they make when you’re walking out the door, so you can carry that comparison with you to the next dealership. Shop at the dealerships surrounded by other dealerships- you know the ones I mean- where it seems to be four or five in a row. That competition can play into your favor. Keep shopping even at dealerships outside of your own zip code. Sometimes the same brand of auto dealership will price differently depending on the average income for their local area.
- Barter. This can be awkward since in our society negotiations and bartering is rude for most purchases at regular stores. Cars are very, very different. Make it a goal to drive out of there for less than the upfront price tag. Again, do your research on negotiation tactics for cars. Familiarize yourself with common monthly payment plans, research the price ranges for the cars you’re looking at, and don’t be shy about walking away or making clear requests.
- Take it for a spin. Do not sign a thing until you take that car for a test drive. Are you comfortable with how high of the ground it is? Are there more features than you really need? Or, conversely, does it have all the features you were expecting? How does the car handle driving? Consider your view driving around too. Some cars have less visibility out the rear window or passenger windows due to the car’s frame design. It’s hard to know what this will be like without driving first. Feel it out so you are comfortable with your decision when you sign that dotted line.
- Talk it out. Before you purchase, talk to someone about the pros and cons of the plan, or at least write it out. This will help you to step back, reassess, and decide whether this is really the vehicle for you. It helps to talk to experts on cars as well. Sure, your uncle the family car guy is a good option, but chatting with a professional mechanic is an excellent start.
Buying a car is one of the biggest investments adults make, and it is not a decision to be taken lightly. If you need more help with your search, or just want to talk about cars in general, it just so happens that cars are our favorite subject! Come to Robert’s Collision & Repair or call. We would be happy to chat and help you out!