Prepared Purchasing: 7 Things to Remember When Choosing a New Vehicle

Buying a car is one of the biggest investments you will make in your life and should not be a spur of the moment purchase.  Falling in love with the body of a vehicle is usually the first thing that happens when you want to buy a new vehicle, but there is more below the surface that you need to check into before you buy the car of your dreams and it becomes a nightmare.

When you walk on to a car lot thinking you have prepared ahead – you have your down payment, you know your credit score, and you know your budget range – you may feel pretty confident that you can get what you want on your terms.  But there are seven good things to remember when you go to choose your new vehicle that you may not be aware of that can help you get the deal of your life on your next car.

  1. You Can Get A Like New Used Car for Much Cheaper Than New

The fact is that anymore a new car is more of a status feature than a necessity or even a value.  Your car depreciates by thousands of dollars the second you drive it off the lot, so it is automatically worth less than you paid for it.  Say you get in a car accident a mile from your house and your brand-new car is totaled.  The blue book value may not even cover what you owe on it, and if you weren’t careful on your choice of insurance, you may even owe money on a car you no longer can drive.

Instead of buying new, look for a car that still has the factory warranty in effect but has already been driven off of the lot and returned by a previous owner.  The factory warranty will help you avoid getting a lemon and buying from a reputable dealer is a smart idea in case problems do arise soon after purchase.

  1. It’s Possible to Get What You Want by Leasing Instead of Buying

If you absolutely must have a certain car within a certain budget, leasing may be your option.  There are a few perks to leasing – you don’t have a long term financial obligation and, depending on your profession, you may be able to deduct the payments.

However, you are also putting money towards something that you will never own and there are often stipulations that are embedded in the lease terms so confusingly that until you return the car and are smacked with extra fees that you knew nothing about you don’t even know they exist.

Rule of thumb – unless you have a great reason for leasing, go for the purchase.

  1. Avoid Sticker Shock – Do Your Research

It’s easy to access sites like Consumer Reports to see exactly how much the dealer pays for the vehicle you are interested in.  There is a lot to be said for loyalty to a dealership or a specific car salesman but checking to see which dealerships paid the least for the car you want can help you get the best deal possible.

You can’t really expect to be sold a car for under the purchase price, but dealership hopping and asking for a bottom line price can save you time on haggling for hours while they “draw up the paperwork.”  Cutting straight to the chase and suggesting a number that is slightly over their purchase price usually will result in a satisfactory purchase on both sides.

  1. 4. Check Your Seasons for Price Raises

Certain cars are more expensive during certain times of the year.  If diesel is skyrocketing, the prices of diesel vehicles will go down.  If gas is at a peak high, you can assume that hybrid cars are going to be bumped up in their price tag.  Specialty cars like convertibles are more expensive during the summer.  If you are determined to have a certain car but the time frame is flexible, try to do your research to buy on off-peak seasons.

  1. 5. Resist Excitement and Closed-Ended Questions

Like a dog with a bone, the car salesperson can see your excitement and will work it in his or her favor.  If you tell stories about your love for the Mustang you are looking at and how badly you have always wanted one, you have lost ground in your search for a deal on that car.

Likewise, answering questions that lead you into traps are going to require finesse to extricate yourself from.  Questions like how much you can afford to pay per month are geared towards the higher end of that number.  $300 can easily be stretched into $325, $350 or even $400 if they scent your excitement for that vehicle is strong enough.

Stick with your focus being on the bottom line number and go from there.

  1. 6. Watch for Extra Hidden Fees

These can crop up anywhere from the “extra options” you want to the destination and dealer fees thrown in.  This is where focusing on the bottom line number comes in handy.

Do you really need leather seats?  Yes?  Does it bring your final purchase price up past what you wanted to pay?  Yes? Then you should start over with another vehicle and try again.

Determine ahead of time which extras you are willing to pay more for and let the dealer know so your time and their time is not wasted on luxury items that you are not interested in.  Tell them you want the specifics that you are looking for and you want your purchase price to be no more than what you have decided on, including your taxes, tag and dealer fees.

  1. Go in Prepared

This may mean prepared to make the deal of your life, or to walk away without the car of your dreams but going in prepared will help you make a smart buying decision.  Know what you are looking for and what you are willing to spend, and your dealer will appreciate the time that you have saved them on trying to make a sale that is not possible or making the sale to an informed customer.

Find strategies like these and more at and other reputable strategic informative sites.


Arnel Ariate is the webmaster of Money Soldiers.

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