Car-buying can be a complicated process, leaving you feeling completely confused. With the proper preparation, you can stay in the driver's seat and drive away confident that you've gotten the best deal on your new car. Read on for four ways to ensure you're getting the best value for your money.
Car lot picture from Shutterstock
Do your research before stepping on the lot. You're not shopping for a new pair of jeans, so it's unwise to just casually stop by the dealership and browse. An investment as significant as a vehicle purchase deserves the research to match. Decide which factors are most important to you - looks, size, safety rating, efficiency - and create a list of your top five cars. Compare the prices and promotions at multiple dealerships to get an idea of what you'll be paying. That way, when you actually visit the dealership, you can save time by knowing exactly what you're looking for.
Know when to buy for the most bargaining power. As eager as you may be to buy a car right away, you could potentially save thousands of dollars by timing your purchase more strategically. Begin by simply keeping an eye on dealerships, paying close attention to what type of promotions they're offering and when. Most car dealers tend to be more open to negotiation at the end of the month or financial year to help them meet volume targets.
Getting the best price for your car. Trading in your current vehicle can seriously help lower your drive-away price, but it's important to make sure that you're getting the best price possible. Trade-in prices can vary greatly, and while getting quotes from multiple dealers can be quite a time commitment, it can pay off with a better trade in price.
Keep emotions out of the equation. So you've found the perfect car and it was love at first test drive. Unfortunately, the dealer is unwilling to budge on the price - and without negotiating, it's several thousand dollars out of your price range. As tempted as you may be to buy a car you can't afford, make yourself walk away if you're not completely satisfied with the deal on the table. This will allow you to call around to other dealerships to compare prices and hopefully find something more appropriate. If you're lucky, you might get a call from the dealer with a new, more agreeable offer.