Buying a new car can be exciting and stressful. The best thing you can do is to arm yourself with as much information as possible before you head out to a dealership. And don’t be afraid to visit multiple dealerships to make sure you are getting the best deal—and the best service! Consider the following advice for buying a new car:
- Do your homework before you visit a dealership. Narrow down your choices of makes and models by using the Internet to find out dealer’s costs, options, and special pricing. Choose the vehicle that is right for you and that fits the requirements that you have laid out in advance.
- Find out how much your current car is worth. Consider selling it directly instead of trading it in to a dealership. Either way, knowing what you can get for it will help you set your budget for your new vehicle.
- After you set your budget, stick to it! Don’t get set on a car you can’t afford either. Be realistic about your budget, and be sure to include more than your monthly payment in your calculations. Take into account the cost of gas and auto insurance, as well.
- Will you buy new or used? Will you buy or lease? If you decide on used, certified used cars offer a great value and are generally very reliable. And leasing a new car can be a great alternative for certain people, but if you put a lot of miles on your car or plan to keep it for the long haul, it’s probably not the best option for you. If you do decide to lease, know the jargon and how to negotiate a favorable lease before you ever walk into the dealership.
- When it’s time to visit some reputable dealerships, take a serious test drive of the vehicles that you are interested in. Take a good amount of time to drive the vehicle in various situations (city streets, highways, etc.), and be sure that you are comfortable driving the vehicle. In addition, it should have suitable passenger and cargo room for your needs. Give some thought as to whether or not the vehicle will still suit your needs in five years.
- Get pre-approved or your auto loan. Look around and don’t head to the dealership without knowing where you can get the best rate. Local credit unions often offer great auto loan rates for everyone, not just their members.
- Find out the invoice price of the car you want. The invoice price is a good indication of what the dealer paid for the car, giving you a starting point for your negotiations. When you’ve agreed on a price, don’t be tempted by meaningless add-ons in the finance office.
And remember, you need to call us as soon as you’ve taken ownership of your new car! The new vehicle must be added to your auto insurance policy. Even better, the new vehicle might have safety features that can make you eligible for discounts and premium savings.
What are some of your experiences with buying a new car? Did your new car affect your insurance rates?