1. Research, Research.
Sure, the commercials tell you what a car is offered for. They don’t tell you what you should really pay. Bring these items to the dealership to get the most bang for your buck:
- Printouts on the true market value of the car from Kelley Blue Book, and Edmunds.com
- All the information from the dealer’s website on rates, incentives, rebates, and special finance deals.
- All the information from the competition’s website on rates, incentives, rebates, and special finance deals.
- Information on your trade in vehicles title, loan, value, etc (if you have one).
- Information on you such as your credit score, banking info, and anything else that can help you get the dealer to give you competitive financing.
2. Check Out the Car
You probably know which vehicle on the lot is your preferred, but have a back up or two. Do a walk around when brought to the vehicle. Check for damage, dings, dents, etc. Your salesperson may ask for a credit check before the test drive. Tell them you are pre-approved, as this just adds time and effort to your purchase time. You will be asked for your driver’s license. Don’t be afraid to ask questions on the features of the car before getting in.
3. Test Drive Wisely
Follow these tips to get the most out of your test drive:
- Insist on test driving the car for at least 15 minutes.
- Don’t let the salesperson distract you if you are listening to the car or otherwise focused.
- Take a route that allows you to speed up, brake, take tight corners, and even rough street ways.
- You can test the radio for a few moments. Turn it off when satisfied. The noise can be distracting.
- Test all the instruments to see if they work.
4. Negotiate Like a Boss
Sales people will often as you to “make the opening bid.” Don’t fall for that. Ask for their best price up front. They will show you a document that outlines all the details on the car. Use your handouts from previous research to compare. Be prepared to walk away should the salesperson not meet or beat the prices. You may love the price and the car. Don’t buy until you’ve shopped at least two more times. Be sure to use this dealer’s numbers when visiting the next.
5. It’s Not Over Until You Sign
You have shopped around. You’ve found a car you like. You’re ready to sign. Now it’s time to face off with the dealer’s finance office. This person will attempt to sell you all types of extras from warranties to paint protection. Feel free to say no to these. They will push for the extended warranty, to which you should let them know you don’t intend to keep the car that long – even if you do. It is essential you ensure the numbers in the sales contract match the agreed-upon price you agreed to earlier. Get any needed repairs, upgrades, detailing, etc in writing before signing.
Congratulations: you are now ready for your new car! Come by and show us your new car.