Thursday, May 14, 2009

Car Buying Basics - Take Three

It's time to shop! I am going to give you a bunch of websites and tools to use in your hunt and haggling. Unless you choose a no-pressure/no-haggle dealership like CarMax (although the one time we shopped there, it was no haggle but HIGH pressure), you should be prepared to negotiate price.

If you don't have a lot of time to research every aspect and you know the make and model of the vehicle you want, Consumer Reports has an amazing tool to help you negotiate a good price. This tool was one of the best purchases we made in this process. One other tool that you should not skimp on is the Carfax report. This report will show you some of the repairs done on the vehicle (if done by a garage that reports repairs - many do not), if the odometer is accurate, and if there has been major damage (rebuilt after accident, flooding, etc).

Be prepared with information to back up both the price you are offering to pay for the vehicle and the price you want for your trade. When the dealership gave us the $2000 offer on our Honda trade, DH pulled paperwork out from NADA and Kelly Blue Book showing trade values. Having this information at his fingertips was quite helpful when the manager took him to the computer to pull up their own information.

Once you have gathered your information, have fun! Go for a few test drives. Put the vehicles through their paces. This is a major purchase. Many people spend more time and effort for a stereo purchase than they do for a vehicle purchase. By doing a little research before hand, you can save a lot of money.

When it is time to negotiate, don't be afraid to walk away. Here are tips that served us well:
  • Don't say right away that you plan to trade something. The trade-in should be a separate transaction so you know what you are actually paying for the car and what you are getting for the trade.
  • Don't be afraid to walk away. Many times, we got the dealership's best price on a certain vehicle and said, "Thank you" and went on our way. Every time, we got a follow up phone call. Armed with these "best prices," you are able to use the lower prices as leverage to bring the higher prices down. In our van transaction, the manager actually called another dealership with a similar van that was priced less. At the time, the dealership was offering a pitifully low price on our trade and had mentioned that his competitor may have the van for less money but wouldn't offer as much for the trade to make up the difference. DH called his bluff. When the manager called his competitor, he learned they would offer a full $1000 more for the trade.
  • Don't assume the deal is done when a price has been agreed upon. Some dealerships may try to recoup some profits through creative financing. Make sure you understand the terms completely before signing anything.
  • If you are buying a used car, don't be afraid to ask to have your mechanic look it over. Don't be afraid to work some repairs into the deal. We had a check engine light on at the second test drive. In our deal, the engine light and whatever problem caused it would be fixed before we took possession. It took over a week for the problem to be fixed correctly, but now we have a great vehicle in great running condition!
Happy shopping!


Share your links easily.
Related Posts with Thumbnails