Purchasing a new car is exciting as your mind can run wild thinking about all the new features and the easy ride that a newer car can provide. Purchasing a car is a big financial investment, however, so it is important to make sure that you are paying attention to all the little details throughout the process. Making sure to dot your I’s and cross your T’s at every step positions you to get the best possible deal on the best possible car.
Research Potential Options
The more information you have in your back pocket before you start hitting lots the better off you’ll be. Not only does research help you to narrow down the field of potential cars to a more select grouping, but it also lets you know which add-ons are worth the cost and which aren’t. It also means you have a stronger position when negotiating as your dealer won’t have as large of an advantage in terms of knowledge about your potential car.
Finding the car that you are sure is the right fit only to be denied financing is heartbreaking. When you seek out a pre-approval for financing before you start taking test drives you can ensure that you are only looking at cars which you can realistically buy. A pre-approval can also serve as a valuable negotiating tool if you want a car but it is moderately above your approved loan, as the dealer may be willing to work with you to get the sale and they know they can’t force you above a certain threshold.
Don’t Limit Your Search
There are many great tools for searching for a new or used car now. Many dealers will have an ability to learn about at least some of their on-lot inventory via their web site, while online aggregators and listing markets allow you to search for great non-dealer opportunities, as well. The wider you cast your net the more likely you are to find several strong options, which in turn gives you more power in negotiations as you have fallback options should the dealer not meet your price.
Assess Your Needs Honestly
The right car is about more than finding a car with a suitable bottom line. If your car doesn’t meet your needs you would be better off spending more on a better fit. Someone in need of an affordable car for a growing family will want something very different than a teenager looking for an affordable, gas-efficient first car. No deal is so good that it’s worth getting a car which is going to regularly frustrate you with its inability to handle the drives you need it for.
Run the VIN
Although there are laws in place to protect against buying “lemons” off the lot, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to research your car first. By using your potential car’s VIN you can use watchdog sites to check its history for any red flags like major accidents which you were not informed of.
Get an Impartial Inspection
A clean report from the VIN is a good sign but if possible you should seek to get an inspection performed by a mechanic with no ties to the dealership when buying a used car. This ensures that there is no conflict of interest and the mechanic will be honest about what they find. While it may seem like an added cost for nothing if you pay for the inspection and don’t find anything, that cost is dwarfed by the potential savings if the inspection does find a problem and prevents you from buying a money pit.
Finding the right car for you takes time and effort, but it’s worth it in order to get the best possible deal. A new car can change your life drastically and when you take the right steps to get there you position yourself to get it as ideally as possible.