Although the sales figures are still near record levels, vehicle sales have levelled off over the past several years. So, many dealers may have a few extra vehicles on the lot. A high supply and relatively low demand always means a buyer’s market. If you’re thinking about buying a new car or truck, now may be the time.
However, rushing off to the dealer is a bad idea. A new vehicle is a significant investment and vehicle sales environments are notoriously high-pressure. Before you buy, it’s important to get solid information, like the data you’ll find at car-buying-strategies.com. To best use this data, it’s a good idea to have a plan. Here are some things this plan should include.
Examine Vehicles and Compare Features
The manufacturer’s website and online reviews are the best places to go. But keep in mind that these sources are not 100 percent accurate. Vehicle-maker websites obviously only mention a vehicle’s positive attributes.
Online reviews are a great supplement. Keep in mind, however, that the reviews are usually either five stars or zero stars. If people think their new car is just “okay,” they rarely leave online reviews. Moreover, many people roll their dealer experience into their vehicle reviews, and your experience may be different.
Once you have a two or three vehicle shortlist, look into financing options. When you go to a bank or credit union, it’s a good idea to already have your financial information in hand, so the institution does not run a credit check and lower your score.
As far as terms are concerned, a 60-month loan is usually best. Shorter-term loans have high monthly payments, and longer-term loans cost too much in terms of interest payments. Consider combining a 10 percent down payment with gap insurance. That way, you will not go underwater.
This bank financing gives you an idea of what you can afford. You can also compare it to the dealer-offered financing and see who gives you the best terms. The dealer may come down a little if it means keeping the loan in-house.
Decide What to Do with Your Old Vehicle
Very briefly, you can either sell it yourself or turn it over to the dealer. Owners usually make more money off private retail sales, but there is a substantial hassle factor. Dealer turnover typically yields a lower price, but the transaction is completely seamless. The difference is often six of one and a half-dozen of the other distinction. However, if your old car still has a loan, and it probably does, the hassle factor goes up significantly.
Find a local dealer and arrange a test drive. Here are a few quick do’s and don’ts:
- Don’t just show up on a weekend or evening. The salesperson will be busy and your may have to wait a while. Instead, schedule an appointment early in the week and in the morning if possible.
- Do ask about dealer-installed options. Add-ons like nitrogen in the tires can add hundreds, or thousands, to the price.
- Don’t simply drive around the block. Take some time to see how the car handles at different speeds and on different roads. Also, consider how your family will fit into the car. Bring a carseat if applicable.
- Don’t feel obligated to buy the car on the spot. Go home and think about it first if necessary.
After the test drive, carefully review pricing. Don’t just focus on the monthly finance payment. Also consider gasoline and insurance.
Buying a car can be a fun experience. It’s even more fun if you have a designated plan in mind.