You’re ready to take the plunge and buy a new car. It should be an adventure. So, why do you feel fear in the pit of your stomach?
Relax. These 9 never-fail insider tips will help you buy a new car with confidence. Just follow them, and you’ll be driving around in your shiny new ride in no time.
1. Do Your Homework on the New Cars You Are Considering
The automotive experts at Finder.com.au advise car buyers to do plenty of research on not only the styles of cars you like, but also on the details.
These include mechanical features, safety ratings and specs such as torque, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h, etc. As well as price range for each model. As the Finder.com staff writers put it, ‘car dealers can smell an uninformed customer…and start circling them like sharks’.
Knowing the details about your favorite models can mark you as a savvy customer putting you in the driver’s seat when it comes to negotiation time. Forewarned is forearmed. Don’t walk onto the lot unprepared.
2. Buy at the End of the Month
If you plan to buy from a dealer, know this: car dealers usually have sales targets they need to reach every month. If they haven’t met their goal, you may be in luck.
They might be open to more compromise on price negotiations. Or at least offering extra services, such as free oil changes, free tire rotations, or other perks.
Do your preliminary looking around during the middle of the month, so you can have your short list available at the end of the month. Be prepared to be a tough negotiator.
Always have an alternative and be ready to walk if the seller won’t meet your terms. Of course, keep your demands within reason. Reasonable offers, particularly from an informed customer at month’s end, will achieve better results. Dealers aren’t Santa Claus.
3. Make Them Compete
Here’s where you can use psychology as leverage to sway a dealer’s mind. No one likes to lose—car dealers included.
Make sure you have multiple offers from a range of dealers in your area. Don’t limit your search to one or two. Expand your horizons to different brands so you can take advantage of dealers’ competitive instincts.
Make sure that each dealer knows that they are competing with others in the area for your business. Look for the best deals, and then ask them to go one better. Chances are, you’ll have better luck when you have several dealers who want your business.
4. Send Them an Email They Can’t Refuse
Business Insider’s Tom Niejadlik, an auto writer with a wealth of experience in the automobile industry, advises buyers to do all lots of research, with a difference.
At the end of the researching process, send a simple email to all the dealers on the buyer’s short list. The email should cc all the dealers, so they can see who they’re up against. It should include the following info:
- You’ve chosen a vehicle and have test driven it
- You want to buy the car and have it in your possession in a few days
- What options you have
- All the costs and fees associated with the options and the invoice
- Any loyalty programs or other perks you discovered
- You’re pre-approved for a loan, but state that you would rather do your financing through the dealer
- A notice that they have 24 hours to give you your best offer
- A promise to pay the required deposit immediately by credit card once you accept their offer
5. Prioritise Safety
Look carefully at the safety ratings for each of the vehicles you consider. These may not affect your negotiations, but they can greatly impact the price you’ll have to pay for insurance, say the experts at Finder.com.au.
Not only that, but the cost in quality of life if an unsafe vehicle causes you to become injured in an accident, outweighs any other considerations. Never compromise on safety.
6. Consider Buying Used
Roadloans.com’s Tara Stein advises buyers to consider used cars as well as new cars. She points out that many used cars from your chosen range on the market are in tiptop condition. A well maintained and barely used vehicle, can save you lots of money compared to a new car.
In fact, the minute you drive your brand-new car off the lot, it drops drastically in value. Consider allowing the previous owner to take that hit. Buy their ‘as good as new’ car at a much lower price.
7. Stay on Guard Against Extras and Add-Ons
Dealers rake in lots of money by throwing in extra services or features for only a ‘little more’. Think long and hard before you take the bait.
Many of these ‘perks’, like extended warranties, rustproofing and car paint protection services, as well as features you don’t need on your car—add up to major extra costs. Especially when purchased through a car dealer.
Know what you need and what you want. Don’t allow them to upsell a penny’s more worth of features or services.
8. Always Take a Test Drive
Without a hands-on experience driving the car, you won’t know if the car’s seats make reaching the brake or pedals awkward.
You won’t know how difficult it is to park, thanks to the car’s clunky steering. You won’t know that the brakes barely work—or that the car’s cloth seating irritates your sensitive skin.
Try out all the systems. Even the air conditioning in the winter and heating in the summer—to make sure everything works as it should.