Shopping for a new car can be a very nerve wracking experience for many reasons. First, an overwhelming majority of car buyers know little to nothing about cars except that they love them. Second, for most people, it is one of the costliest investments they will ever make in their lives. Third, most buyers don’t trust car sales agents who deservedly or not have acquired a reputation of being deceitful. These are just a few among the many factors that make purchasing a new car a daunting experience. But car buying need not be such a frightful experience. Here are some tips and guidelines that will make your car buying experience less stressful.
Before you go shopping for a new car, first determine how much you can afford. To calculate this amount, figure out how much cash you have (or are willing to put down) for down payment towards car purchase; the value of any trade-in you expect to get for your old car; amount you currently owe on the trade-in; and how much car monthly payment you would be comfortable with. The more down payment you can put upfront, the less your total cost will be. This also reduces your monthly payment.
If you will be borrowing (which is the case for most buyers), then you need to figure out how much monthly payment you can afford. There are many online calculators such as Edmonds.com (http://www.edmunds.com/calculators/affordability.html ) that can help you do that. One can be found at. To compare interest rates on loans, you can use tools found at sites like BankRate.com and Lending Tree.com. Of course if the dealer offers you a better deal, you should consider it. Check also the manufacturer’s website for the car you have chosen. They sometimes advertise fantastic rates for some select models.
The interest rate you get will depend on your credit-worthiness. So you should get pre-approved for a loan before you seriously start car shopping. In addition to knowing the monthly payment you will be able to afford, it will significantly reduce the time you spend at the dealer’s.
Trading your old car will lower your overall cost because it will be part of the total down payment for the car. So it is worth knowing your existing car’s value by visiting sites such as Kelley Blue Book where you will get a fairly good estimate of what your car is worth.
Once you know how much you can comfortably afford, it is time to shop for the make and model of the car or cars within your affordability range. If you are considering several makes or models, then you need to narrow your selection by the features that are most important to you. Compare reliability, safety, comfort, seats, doors, size, color, and other important features. There are many online tools that provide a side by side comparison chart of features for the cars you want to compare. Use such tools to analyze the features listed and to prioritize them in the order of what features are most important to you.
Now that you have selected the make and model of the particular car you want to buy, it is time to shop around for the best prices. The price listed on car window stickers will give you a very rough idea of the upper range price of the car. By law, all cars must have an MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) but this price is almost always the highest price. So in most cases, you should expect to pay less than the sticker price. Invoice Price represents what the dealer paid the manufacturer for the car. It will give you some idea of how low the dealer may be willing go without forfeiting profit. . You can get such information at websites like www.truecar.com and www.consumerreports.org . Knowing this amount will give you a bargaining edge at the dealer’s. Keep in mind however that dealers can sometimes go even lower because they often get all sorts of incentives from the manufacturer. Don’t forget also to factor in taxes, registration fees and insurance premiums (that can add about 10% to your overall out of pocket costs). With this valuable information under your belt, you are now ready to shop. Contact several dealers to get quotes for the specific make and model of car you have chosen and then visit the dealer that gives you the best overall deal.
If there is something the dealer never forgets is to offer you the best extended vehicle warranty or so you think. If the warranty is backed by the manufacturer, this can be a good investment because such car warranty covers all sorts of repairs and malfunctions for free. It may be worthwhile also to look at various car warranty reviews to get a better notion of how the car warranty you are considering compares to others.
Finally, don’t forget to test drive the car and to thoroughly inspect it from all sides. Check interior for seating comfort, visibility, and adjustability. Walk around the car to make sure the exterior is in tiptop condition. During the test drive, make sure to try the brakes, the transmission, and the overall performance of the car under different road conditions. If you are totally satisfied with the car, then you are ready to fill out the forms. Before you sign, make sure that the make/model listed is the one you have chosen including any optional components and that the financing amount and interest rates are correctly stated.
The above guidelines are just some of the main points to consider when buying a new car. A savvy customer is one who does his or her homework before ever stepping his or her foot at the dealer’s. The secret to stress-free car buying is advance preparation. Follow the tips above and you will go a long way towards making your next car buying experience a far less menacing experience. You may even look back at the experience as a particularly pleasurable one!