Buying a car, new or used, is not easy. There are a lot of things to take into consideration from budget to safety features and what you would actually be using the vehicle for. Gas mileage, storage, number of seats, motor, incentives, trade-ins, and the list goes on. So you need to be prepared!
Here are a few of the biggest pitfalls (and how to remedy them) when you’re thinking of buying a car.
You want to be able to hold a conversation with your salesperson. And you want to know all the specs of the car (and the different car models, especially if they have “tapered down” models that have fewer amenities), as well as the MSRP and invoice price. You’re also going to want to find any dealer incentives that may be out there for specific models, as most salespeople won’t tell you that there are incentives – you have to know to ask!
One of the biggest ways that salespeople get their commission is through financing. So you’re going to want to go in ahead of time and get pre-approved for a loan from a third party, so that you don’t have to go with the car dealership financing – the dealership is not legally obliged to give you the lowest rate that they can offer.
And while you should go in knowing that you can get a car loan from somewhere else, make sure that the loan is not the entirety of your monthly budget when it comes to how much you can spend – remember that you have to account for insurance, maintenance and gas.
You’re going to want to walk into whatever dealership you arrive at as fluent in car-lingo as you can be.
There are a lot of things that salespeople in general do to get what profit that they can out of your deal, but one of the biggest things that salespeople do, especially when it comes to buying cars, is to play on your emotions.
That’s one of the main reasons that salespeople want to get you behind the wheel for a test drive – most everyone gets a thrill when behind the wheel of a new car.
When you’re buying a car, put your emotions to bed. Or at least don’t let them show on your face. If you’re really digging this car, then be casual about it. Adopt that mentality – and if you act like you aren’t particularly attached to one car or another, then you’re likely to get a better deal as the salesperson won’t be able to leverage your emotional attachment to the car to get you to go for a less-than-optimal price or financing.
Don’t Get Desperate
This isn’t quite poker-face territory, but don’t be that person who clunks into the dealership with a car that is obviously dying. Know the lifetime of your car, and don’t try and buy a car when you’re out of options.
Buy a car before you need a new car! It gives you more wiggle room, and from the outset a little bit more power in the relationship. If you walk into the dealership absolutely needing to walk out with a car, you give the dealer all the leverage that they need to walk you into the best “deal” for them and not for you.
Mind you, not all car salesfolk are as scummy as I’m assuming that they can be with my advice here – some you can actually create some pretty great working relationships with. But many are least trying to find a way to leverage your lack of knowledge or preparation to get a better deal for themselves.
So beat them to the punch and come in prepared. If you’re particularly nervous, bring a friend with you (ideally of the other sex) because it confuses the power dynamic with a “relationship” for the salesperson.
Best of luck getting those new wheels!
Jade Evans is a freelance writer who works with an auto transport company – so when you get that new car but need to ship it to your place in Cali, they’re your best bet. She hopes that even with scummy salespeople, everyone finds the car that they want (and can afford!)