Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Car buying tips

When looking to buy a new vehicle, shop on the last days of the year for the current year model (for example buy a 2008 car in December 2008) and gather up any dealer and manufacturer incentives you can.

Be hard on the salesperson and keep driving that price down. Be sure to negotiate your interest rate as well. You can often get pre-qualified at your bank. This alone will save you time and money. Remeber always be Prepared to walk out.

Don’t tell the salesperson about a trade in until the deal is done. Also, make sure they give you a fair allowance depending on your trades condition and age. You can find this info at KBB.com

When buying a new car, skip the extended warranties, service plans, life insurance and make double sure the finance person does not sneak them onto your finance contract. They will keep hounding you so be firm and say no.

These added warranties may sound good, but they will cost you several thousand dollars and 99% of the time they will never be used.

You may want to consider GAP insurance. In case your car is stolen or totaled, it pays any difference between the car value and the loan. This may save your bacon in the end.

Also look for hidden fees like make ready, delivery, service fees etc… they are all just bull and if the dealer won’t remove them just walk out. (They will chase you and remove the fees)

Buying from an individual is also a great way to get a nice older car. It may be a risk but there are some real beauties out there with low mileage and impeccable maintenance.

Be sure the seller has a clear title. Do not give the seller money unless he immediately signs over the title at the time of payment and gives at least a hand written receipt. Make sure all co-owners sign as well. You don’t want to shell out good cash and get a nasty surprise from an ex spouse who may be co-owner of the vehicle.

Always be sure to call and add the car to your insurance right away. Cars are a big financial expenditure. It makes sense to cover all your bases.

If you are really in tough financial shape, you can get an old beater that’s over 15 years old but still mechanically sound for a few hundred dollars. With minimum liability insurance and a little TLC, a beat up car can be a stop gap measure until your finances are in better shape.


nanc said...

reminds me of an argument i had with a car salesman when we bought our third spankin' new car - the salesman was sure i needed the extended 10 year, 100,000 mile warranty which would have added some ungodly amount of money to our loan - i asked him point blank, "sooooo, whatcher telling me is that the maker believes in their heart of hearts that this vehicle will go at least 100,000 miles before needing ANY major repairs whatsoever?" "yes, maam, that's what i'm telling you - isn't it worth it?" so, i repeated what i'd asked him and he emphatically restated his comment thinking he had me.

well, suffice it to say i almost had to grab him by the shoulders and shake him while asking him if he could hear himself babble! "WHY WOULD WE PAY FOR SOMETHING THAT YOU'RE TELLING ME YOU BELIEVE TO BE TRUE ABOUT YOUR PRODUCT?"

my poor husband just shrunk into the corner and allowed me my say - it meant almost the difference between a five and six year loan.


that vehicle is a 1993 ford escort wagon with over 300,000 miles on it - still purrs like a kitten.

my husband bought this last vehicle and i've not seen the contract, nor do i know what type of add-ons he has on it, but i'm sure i'll find out.

Pinky said...

Great post, Hammer.
Nanc, you are my car-buying hero!
Although I hate it when our car eventually bites the dust...I savor the interaction with the dealers! hee hee. I had one call the cops on me one time b/c he refused to make good on gas vouchers he had given me during the sale...so I went out into the lot and started telling customers what he'd done. Oh, yes I did!

The Frank Family said...

Here's a few easy things you can do when it comes to buying used vehicles from a car lot.

1 -- Always pull the oil dipstick and wipe it between your fingers. If you feel ANY kind of grit then keep walking.

2 -- Always look at the tires closely. Look for the tread on them to be worn evenly. Pay special attention to the rear tires as dealers will switch front and rear tires if the front are wearing badly. Uneven worn tires are usually indicative of problems in the front end. Also, look and see if the front tires and the rear tires are the same make and tread of tire. They may have taken poorly worn tires off and replaced them with new tires but are usually too cheap to replace all four.

3 -- Always ask the dealer for the car history report as they must provide it. This will tell you of major accidents in the car's past and who owned the car. Cars owned by a rental company for example may have been poorly taken care of and abused.

4 -- Never leave without a full tank of gas. Hey, 50 bucks is 50 bucks!!!

Elmers Brother said...

gap insurance has saved my life twice...I highly recommend it. (my daughter totalled two cars)

Steve Harkonnen said...

My input to this:

1. Call the dealer. Tell him you're looking for a car, but you're working with a broker. Ask him when's a good time you can come down there to talk with him.

2. When you arrive, don't act excited. Do not let him see you are in love with a particular car. Just say "let's look at this one over here" again, no excitement.

3. Tell him you won't buy anything under dealer's invoice. Tell him you and your broker already have mapped out other dealers in the area.

4. Shop for a car three hours before the lot closes on a Saturday. They will be eating from your hand because they want that sale - no matter what.

5. If you are down to signing paperwork, and the dealer says something to the effect of "I am not gaining any commission from this sale whatsoever, you're a lucky guy" consider yourself a good car buyer. Tell him "hey, I did you a big favor - I got this car off the lot for you."

6. GAP insurance, hell, yes. I can't stress this enough.

7. When you test drive a vehicle, don't act excited. Try to avoid conversation with him. Act real blase. Sales guys get really nervous and this is when they trip up. Say, "yeah, I guess this one drives ok, but I still need to see other dealers."

YOU want HIM eating from your hand and begging you to buy a car. This is how I bought our Nissan Versa SL. Great car, great gas mileage. I pitched a major bitch about the floor mats; however, I admit I lost that one and paid $60 for them after haggling over $80 for them.