Car Buying Tips for Automotive Consumers

Cadillac CTS Coupe in Pearl White

I want to share a few car buying tips I got from an expert. Reading through a car buyer’s guide can provide a quick education that helps you to make the right decisions when you hit the dealer’s lot.

This will also make you feel more comfortable with the whole car buying process. You’ve probably seen the car commercials on TV and recall hearing phrases like destination charges, down payment assistance, delivery fee and APR.

Although some of the vocabulary thrown at you may seem confusing or unnecessary, once you break it down, buying a car is straightforward. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of information you need to understand before you run off to the local dealership.

But once you have the car buying tips under your belt and know what the abbreviations stand for you will be able to receive better pricing and have far less regret when driving off the lot in the target automobile.

Try not to narrow your choice to just one vehicle. Choose two or three that suit your needs and budget.

One of the biggest mistakes new car shoppers make is being to set on buying a certain model. Being a little flexible adds the power of negotiation to your arsenal of buyer side weapons.

Some cars are close in looks and style and they have the same engine and chassis, but a different name. General Motors does this a lot. Look at the expensive ultra performance car the Chevrolet Corvette and a Cadillac XLR.

2000 C5 Chevrolet Corvette in Silver Taupe

Another common example is the old Firebird and a Camaro is really the same car developed on the F car platform. But one model may be less expensive or offer more standard features than its counterpart.

Before the demise of the Firebird and the Pontiac G8 the Camaro and Impala were built on the same platform. Of course this was until PMD (Pontiac Motor Division) went under altogether.

But my point is by narrowing the choice to several models you maintain the bargaining power. If you aren’t able to get the car you want at the right price negotiate on your next choice of vehicles.

Second Car Buying Secret

Test-drive the cars that interest you. Too many buyers forget this crucial step. Or they do not go for a long enough ride on a variety of road conditions.

Example: City driving through pot holes and high speed highway driving should be performed before purchase. Only by taking a test drive can you determine if the car is right for you.

Make sure the automobile has good visibility in every direction. This is an important safety consideration. If you’re spouse or someone else will also be driving the vehicle, take them with you to the showroom so they can test-drive it also.

When I purchased my new Chevy blazer I did test-drive it but only around town. After I got the vehicle on I75 it had a vibration. I took it to the dealer to have the tires balanced.

They said a vibration at 70mph was an inherent problem in the truck and couldn’t be repaired. After fighting with them I was left with two choices. Give the truck back for a loss or live with it. I spent $24K to live with an inherent problem that General Motors called a normal condition.

Third Trick for Car Shoppers

Secure financing outside the dealership. Shop around and get the best rate you can find. Try different sources like credit unions and banks as well as online financing operations. Use the power of competition.

A little known fact from the car buyer’s guide is that the dealership makes a pretty penny from the financing package. This includes kickbacks and bonuses from the lending institution.

With this motivation the dealership will push you toward a company that is good for them and maybe not good for you. You are spending a lot of money here. Take your time and pick the best deal.

Use the internet as a powerful resource, but keep the information to yourself. Do not go into the dealership waving the printed invoices from the internet in the salesman’s face.

This will put the sales manager in a defensive mode and make your negotiations more difficult. Dealerships are starting to have chips on their shoulders about the latest wave of web based products available to consumers in reference to car sales.

You are in Control of the Final Numbers

Take the high road and negotiate in good faith. However, be prepared to walk out and head to another dealership or even start looking at your back up model as I mentioned earlier. This tip alone can save you a lot.

There are several different negotiating steps during the closing process. Getting the best price on a particular car is important, but remember the dealer has sneaky ways of moving money from the price into other areas of the deal.

Another car buying problem is trading in cars you currently own. This provides the dealer with another profit center. Also if add automotive warranties and other extras in the F&I office that you’ll increase the bottom line price.

The finance and insurance office is were they try to sell you paint sealant and extended warranties. When you’re in the all important closing stages at the dealership, it is in my opinion critical to keep each of these stages separate to avoid buyers remorse.

Negotiating at each stage should be done separately so you will know exactly what the bottom line is and where this inflated number came from. I truly hope these insights were helpful to you.

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