When you drive off the lot with your new car (even if it’s just new to you), the feeling of adrenaline and excitement is hard to replace. You are, inevitably, in love with your new ride and have dreams of it lasting you for decades to come. All of these adventures in your mind, however, can be short-lived if you are careless in your purchase. There are important car buying tips to keep in mind to ensure your new vehicle takes care of you, and many are often overlooked. Here’s a take on a few of these tips.
Do Your Homework
Never just walk onto a used (or new) car lot with the attitude, “I’d like to buy a car.” This is the fastest way to get into a vehicle that might not be prime for your needs. Before you hit the lot, spend some time doing research.
Look at fliers, drive past several lots, and look up reviews of vehicles online. Know what you want: is it a sedan, a crossover, a full-sized SUV, or a compact? Do you have a specific make, model and year in mind? Next, investigate prices. There may be ten options that fit your needs in the area. Check the prices on each and see if you can find out which dealers have a reputation for negotiation. The more you know about what you want, the better poised you’ll be to make a deal.
Get pre-approved for a loan! This will help you secure a prime rate and will greatly expedite the process of buying the car. A pre-approval says that you’ve got good credit, you’re a strong bet for making payments, and that the money is there, waiting.
Investigate and Inspect
Even when you think you’ve found the one, look at others in the area. Actually, physically go to the lots and inspect the vehicles. Test drive them if possible, and if you’ve got a friend or colleague who is a mechanic, by all means bring them along to take a look!
Check the starter, the AC system, the heater, all of the indicator lights and the idle. When you test drive, try to get a good 10 miles out of it and if possible, take it on the highway. You’ll be surprised at the problems that can crop up at 60mph after the car is at full heat.
Shop and Deal
Don’t be afraid to tell the lot you’re looking at other cars. This might make them more willing to deal. If they threaten you or try to push hard-sell tactics, don’t be afraid to walk away. They might not be the best bet for you, anyway.
In the end, the most important thing to keep in mind when car shopping is this: be thorough. Do your homework, investigate your options, know what you want and give a test vehicle a full rundown to put it through the paces before you agree to buy. Don’t fall prey to predatory sales tactics. If you are ready to start your shopping for a new car, check out our pre-approval page and get going today!