So you’ve decided it’s time to buy a new car. With many dealerships out there, you feel like a very small fish in an ocean full of sharks, and with good reason. Car buying is one of those experiences that can either be awe-inspiring, or the worst thing that’s happened to you since that horrible date your mother set you up on.
But where do you start?
Explore your buying options to find what best suits your wants and needs. First decide what type of car is right for you. This decision will likely be made based off lifestyle and a budget that isn’t more than twenty percent of your monthly income. Things to keep mind while researching automobile types are prices, fuel economy, family size, reliable hauling, towing capacity, luxury, and style.
Now that you’ve determined the type of car you need, the hard part begins. It’s overwhelming with so many make and models to choose from. Outside influences and personal experience are great tools use when deciding which of the many makes to choose from. Whichever you decide; Ford, Honda, Chevy, Dodge, or Toyota, do your homework! Use the tools of the internet and become an informed buyer. Remember, knowledge is power. Utilize websites such as Edmonds.com, consumerreports.org/used_cars, and kbb.com (Kelly Blue Book).
When your ready to find a dealership, select the ones recommended by friends, family, and co-workers. Walk in there knowing everything one needs to know about that style of car you are going to buy including rebates, incentives, and the true market value, TMV. Download a mobile app to your smart phone for quick information as you explore your buying options on the car lot. You’ll be there for hours so eat before you go shopping. This will keep you focused on the task.
Learn to negotiate. Even though you will never master the art of negotiations like a professional car sales rep, the skill can save you thousands of dollars. Research and understand dealerships pricing structure and be ready to quote the absolute highest price your willing to pay as you negotiate. Shop mid-week and at the end of the month when sales are slower or quota’s haven’t been met. Learn how to interact with salespeople and stay focused on why your there. You want to buy a car and they want to sell you a car. If you feel your being taken or the price is way over budget, simply walk out and go somewhere else.
There are five basic types of vehicles:
- Sedan – Four doors and a trunk. Compact, mid-size, and full-size that seats up to six passengers.
- Coupe – Two door hatchback. Either compact or mid-size that seats up to four passengers. Sport Coupe’s are usually a wagon-like design.
- SUV – The design ranges greatly from the size to the style. Those classified car based are considered compact with better fuel economy while mid-sizes and full-sizes are classified truck based with higher engine power, towing ability, and off-road mobility.
- Mini Van – Known as the safest car on the road. Sizes range to fit small families with better fuel economy to contractors with less maneuverability. With three row seating, seats up to seven passengers.
- Truck – Two and four doors. Compact, full-size, or heavy-duty and 4X4 off-road. Passenger seating is up to six, dependent upon cab size: regular, extended, or crew.