Car Buying Tips and Suggestions

When you are ready to buy a new car, it is important to take your time, do some research, and shop around. Before making a final decision on the purchase of a new car, there are many factors to consider.

Choosing a Vehicle to Suit Your Needs

If you are a cost-conscious consumer who is concerned with fuel prices, it is important to do your homework before buying a new car. First you must ask yourself what size vehicle you require. Those who are looking to save gas or gain better fuel economy should choose the smallest vehicle that will meet their needs. Vehicles that weigh one-third less than other vehicles will generally use one-third less fuel.

Find out how many cylinders the vehicle has as well as how many miles per gallon the vehicle uses on the highway and in the city. Car dealers often post the average fuel economy and other information on the windows of the vehicles. If not, this information can be found online.

While shopping for a car, keep an open mind. Many times people wind up with vehicles they didn’t intend on purchasing before they started their quest. After researching a vehicle they sometimes find out it isn’t what they thought they wanted.

Dealing With Salespeople

When entering a car sales lot, salespeople usually descend upon potential buyers like vultures. They can be intimidating and annoying to some, but depending on the attitude of the salesperson, they can be helpful to others. Don’t pull any punches when dealing with a salesperson. If you are interested in a particular make and model of a vehicle, politely make it clear that you don’t want to waste their time or yours looking at vehicles you’re not truly interested in. Doing so right off the bat will save valuable time and help prevent needless headaches.

If cars are not clearly priced, don’t tell the salesperson how much you are willing to spend. Instead, tell the salesperson what type of vehicle you’re looking for and the top number of miles you’re willing to accept. If you tell the salesperson how much you’re willing to spend up front, chances are they will just so happen to have the vehicle you want for just that price. Be smart and don’t give in to the friendliness of the salesperson. The salesman isn’t there to be your friend. Salespeople are trained to win your trust in order to make a sale.

Take your time shopping for a car. Don’t be pressured into buying from the first or second place of business no matter how much you like the vehicle. Allow yourself plenty of time to comparison shop and take lots of detailed notes. That way you can refer to the notes and alleviate any confusion regarding mileage or other important factors.

To Trade or Not to Trade

Trading in a car is an easy way to be rid of it, but that isn’t always a wise decision. If your car is in good condition for its age, you can usually get more for the vehicle by selling it yourself. Dealers want to make a profit on your old car as well as the car you’re buying, so traders beware. Research the blue book value of the vehicle before going to the dealer. If you are financially able to wait and sell the vehicle outright, then by all means do so.

If a dealer is willing to offer a credit for a used vehicle that sounds too good to be true, chances are they will make up for it by hiding the loss in the selling price of the new vehicle. The customer ultimately ends up losing the money they stood to make on the trade-in when the dealer adds the trade-in amount to the new vehicle price. In this case the consumer would benefit more by donating the vehicle and claiming it as a charitable gift.

If you owe a substantial amount on a vehicle you’re considering for trade, be very cautious. Dealers often tout promises of paying off a vehicle no matter the amount owed, but this type of advertising borders on deception. Unscrupulous salespeople don’t carefully explain their calculations. Car dealers will pay off any vehicle no matter the price, but quite often they add on the amount still owed on the other vehicle to the new loan. Essentially the customer ends up making payments on a vehicle they no longer own. Doing this creates something called “upside down credit.” The customer ends up with a huge debt for a vehicle that isn’t worth the amount owed. In this case it’s wise to either try selling the vehicle yourself or hold off until the debt is paid down to a manageable level.

Test Drives

It is crucial to carefully test drive a vehicle. When taking a test drive, listen carefully for irregular sounds. Even someone who isn’t a car mechanic can generally detect mechanical problems just by using their senses. Have the stereo off when driving the vehicle so you’re able to detect any unusual noises. Pay close attention to the feel of the vehicle as well, and make yourself aware of any unusual vibrations, pops, or other noises that may indicate a problem. Don’t let an overzealous salesperson convince you that nothing is wrong with the car. If your instincts tell you something is wrong, more than likely there is a problem.

Some car dealerships will allow you to take a car home for a day or two. If the car dealership you’re working with offers this option, takes the vehicle home and drive it as you normally would. This will allow you time to find any problems or concerns with the vehicle.

Once You Find the Right Car

When you finally find the car that meets all your criteria and are ready to negotiate a price, look the car over for any visible problems. Check the tires for excessive wear or dry rot. Be sure to check the inside areas of tread that aren’t visible as well as the areas that are easy to inspect. If the tires need to be replaced right away, you can plan on spending a hefty chunk of change in short order. Take this into consideration when making your offer. In addition, point out any other dings or blemishes to the salesperson. Most dents can be easily removed, and if the paint is not missing or cracked, the repair may become virtually invisible. Most professional car dealerships are willing to correct any defects or problems concerning the vehicle in order to make the customer happy.

Inspect the contract carefully before signing. Make sure any and all repairs are listed in the contract. Also make sure any and all warranties are fully understood and written into the contract as well. Any repairs not made before the sale or written into the contract might not be honored.


New cars come with high-value warranties that provide piece of mind as well as essential protection. Used cars sometimes come with limited warranties, but many of the warranties on used vehicles only cover the drive train for the first month. Some dealers offer an extended warranty plan. Although these warranties are rather expensive, they are well worth the price. Replacement parts for vehicles can be very expensive, but labor is where most of the expense is incurred. Bumper-to-bumper warranties that cover a vehicle for three years or 36,000 miles are worth the piece of mind and protection they afford. After spending thousands of dollars on a used vehicle, it’s wise to spend the additional amount for the warranty. The first time you use it you’ll be thanking yourself.

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