I’ve been thinking about getting a new car for a few months now, but haven’t wanted to fully make the move because I’ve been car payment-free, having had my car for 9 years (since high school)! But since my window regulator has been broken for awhile, I haven’t been able to roll down my driver window (literally every other window rolls down), which has been driving me crazy! You don’t realize how much you actually use your window.. until you can’t. But the $400 to replace the part just didn’t seem justifiable, so this weekend I finally decided to go car shopping! Here’s what I learned.
- DO figure out your budget in advance. Will you be putting any money down? Trading in a vehicle? How much can you afford each month? This is the most important thing to have figured out before you head to any dealership.
- DO research beforehand. Narrow your list down to your top car(s) and see what kind of deals are available online at the dealer you plan to visit, as well as some others. Check out the features that you might be interested in, find out what the ballpark MSRP (sticker price) might be, and come in with a list of questions/concerns.
- DO be clear about what you want. Are there certain features or color you want for your car? Do you want to lease or buy? What do you definitely want and definitely not want? These are important to let the salesperson know upfront.
- DON’T fall for the false sense of urgency. There are so many tricks up the sales guys’ sleeves, I can’t even. They’ll try anything they can to get you to buy on the spot, namely telling you a deal is available today but “might not” be available tomorrow. Chances are, the deal likely WILL be available tomorrow if you’re ready to come in and buy.
- DON’T complete a sale your first day in. If you absolutely need a car right away, you can disregard this one. But if it’s not imperative you buy that day, go in for a test drive, get all of the facts straight, and then you can haggle from home if/when you’re ready to make a deal. Since salespeople work on commission, they’ll probably call you right after you leave (mine did) to try to sweeten the deal. Tell them you’ll think on it and then if you have their cell phone number, text them to haggle that way you’re not put on the spot over the phone AND you have promised deals in writing.
So what was the end result of my car shopping and test driving this weekend? I got a new car! Ah! It was bittersweet saying goodbye to my ride of 9 years, who happened to have the most epic name (Weeble Tiberius II), but I’m also really excited to have a new type of car and so many new features (that weren’t available 9 years ago) that I don’t know what to do with myself! And if you’re wondering about the name for my new one, I’m still working on it.
Are you in the market for a new car? What tips do you have for car shopping?