Buying a car is an expense that most people will have to face at some point in life. For many, having a reliable vehicle is a necessity, allowing them to get to and from work and run errands like getting groceries. Even if you live in a larger city with access to public transportation, there may be times that the convenience of having your own car necessitates owning them. Here are a few tips to consider when looking to get the best deal on a car.
Understand your budget and needs
Just because you’re able to get approved for special financing to cover the cost of a new car or lease doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s in your best interest to move forward with that financing option. Often, if you look for financing separate from a dealership, you can find lower interest rate car loans that will ultimately save you money over the course of your vehicle’s life. Once you’ve got a good picture of what you can actually afford, you should start doing research to see what sorts of vehicles fit your needs.
If you’re a new parent or are expecting to have children in the next few years, it may be worth having some of the latest safety features, but keep in mind that the more bells and whistles you add to the car, the more expensive it will be.
Once you have a few makes and models picked out, take a look online at a website like Kelley Blue Book and see what the average value of these cars is. That will give you a good framework to work with once you get to the dealership.
Be willing to negotiate
Whether you’re visiting your local dealership to learn more about some of the new Ford vehicles or are set on buying an older model, it’s important to go into the dealership with a plan. In fact, negotiation is so important that it may be possible to do the bulk of your haggling over email instead of in person or on the phone. A way to approach your purchase this way is to email a few dealerships several days prior to the day you plan on buying the car. Asking for their best deal, inclusive of all fees and taxes, and then continue to use the offers from each other dealership to negotiate each dealership down in price.
If the dealership says that they don’t bid against other dealers, don’t despair; this may be an opportunity to get an even better deal by offering to buy the car the same day if they give you their best offer. These types of interactions can be scary to think about, but when you realize that you can save several thousand dollars on the sticker price of any vehicle using this methodology, it’s easy to see how important it is to negotiate with a dealer.
Make the most of your trade-in
If you have a vehicle you plan on trading in to help with the overall price of the vehicle you agreed upon, make sure to clean it prior to trading it in. Taking it to a car wash that also cleans interiors, finding all manuals and accessories, and removing your personal belongings will help the appraisal process go more smoothly. Make sure that you also have the car’s title and some printouts from Kelley Blue Book to help substantiate the value of the car in different types of condition. All of these documents can help you ask for a truly fair price when it comes to getting real value out of your trade-in, regardless of how old the vehicle actually is.
While it can be daunting to go the extra mile in your search for a good deal on a car, the benefits far outweigh any anxiety you may face throughout the purchasing process. Keep the above concepts in mind, and you’ll be able to get a reliable vehicle without paying full price.