Ready to Roll? Tips on Buying a New Car
Do you feel intimidated by the car buying
process? Given that the average price of a car is more than $20,000 these days,
it's understandable. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make sure you
get the best deal, and avoid being scammed in the process. Knowledge is power
when you are negotiating for a new car, so read on and prepare to
Tips, Hints, and Sage Advice
- An old philosopher once said,
"You can't get what you want unless you know what you want." Figure
out which car you want and how much you are willing to spend.
- Don't wait until your old bomb
is on its last leg to start thinking about a new car. Plan on
spending two or more months to choose which model you want, shop
around, work out the financing, and make the purchase.
- When it comes to car dealers, competition
is the name of the game. Get prices from at least 5 dealerships.
- Use the Internet to do your homework.
Go online to find out the dealer invoice price and Manufacturer's
Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), search discount car-buying services,
search car finance loans, and shop for extended warrantees, among
other things. Each car-buying site has a certain area of expertise.
Some sites include: Consumer Reports Online New Car Price Service,
Center for the Study of Services (Consumer's Checkbook), and Edmunds
Consumer Advice and Information.
- Of course, you can do your research
the old-fashioned way - at your local library. Look through popular
consumer publications, such as Consumer Reports for reliability
and repair ratings, as well as general advice on the car-buying
- Don't wear out your shoe leather
- make calls to get bids first. Dealers should be willing to give
you a quote over the phone. If they won't, move on the next dealer.
- Before you talk to dealers in person,
get quotes from two financing institutions, so that you know what
payment and interest rate options exist.
PublicationsThis is just a brief overview. For more information on buying a
new car, check out these resources on the World Wide Web:
For more information on
other popular consumer issues check out our Consumer Focus
Shopping for Car Safety Features
One of the most important considerations
when looking for a new car is what safety features are available. You should be
able to understand what they are and what they are worth to you - how well they
protect, and how much they cost. If you haven't bought a car in many years, you
may not be familiar with some of the newest safety features. Some features are
mandatory and some are optional. Safety features on many of the 2000 model cars
- Front and side air bags.
- Head injury protection such as head
air bags (shield you from impact with the upper interior of the
- Anti-lock brake systems
- 4-wheel drive with traction control
(usually with ABS).
- Automatic dimming rear-view mirrors
(to reduce glare).
- Daytime running lights.
- New child seat attachment
- Built-in child safety
For detailed information on these
features and others, check out the web pages for the following publications,
researched and written by the National Highway Transportation Safety
Buying a Safer Car 2000 and
Buying a Safer Car for Child Passengers 2000. In addition, you can find the
crash-test rating of the car you are interested in at NHTSA's web page on "Buying a Safer Car."
Dealing with Dealers
Once you have done your homework, know
which car you want, and how much you want to spend, it's time to start
bargaining with the dealers in person.
- As in any contract, it is very
difficult to get out of it once you sign on the dotted line. Therefore, DO NOT
commit to buying or sign anything the first time you go in.
- Take the information you have gathered
with you and show them you are an informed person, so you can make the deal on
your terms instead of theirs.
- Negotiate based upon the selling price
(not payment plans or trade-in value on your old car), and be sure to get full
disclosure of every charge involved.
- Don't let them persuade you to buy
options and extras you do not need.
- Don't take their word on promises made
- get any proposal IN WRITING.
- Follow your instincts - if you feel
pressured or powerless when dealing with the salesperson or you sense they are
playing games with you LEAVE.
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