Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Shopping For A Car

I think I would rather clean the oven than buy a car. First of all, there are way too many choices in buying a car. All I really need to know is will it get me from point A to point B when I want to go?
However, the reality is, we all will need to buy a car sometime. Here are some hints to make the job go more smoothly and get the most for you money.
* The car salesman works on commission. Let him know you will be a car soon. "Tire kickers" are waste of the sales person's time.
*Be as specific as possible. "I want 4 door sedan with an automatic transmission, heated leather seats, and in a certain price range (give them about a $5000 spread)." Then ask the salesperson questions, learn as much as you can about that brand of car.
*Read the window sticker. Besides telling you the MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) it will give you gas mileage and current options on that model.
*Sit in the car. How does it feel to you? Check out not only the comfort of the seat, but the placement of the accessory panel, lights, etc.
*Take a test drive. Drive like you normally do. Try the brakes, accelerate quickly, make a U-turn, turn on the radio, turn on the A/C and heater.
*When you return, ask about warranty, factory rebates, dealer rebates, dealer service, dealer fees, and local and state taxes.
*The salesperson will ask you for the sale. Tell him/her that you said you will be buying soon, but not today. Ask for their card. If they try to pressure you, be firm but polite and leave.
*When you have determined what car you want, check out the insurance for that car. Some cars will have higher insurance as they may be the most popular car for car thefts, or they have a more expensive repair history. Look into what it takes to own that car for 5 years; websites will tell you what the average cost is. Look into financing. Of course, cash is king, however you may need a car when you don't have enough cash to buy one. The auto dealership will have financing and rates for loans, but you best deal may be from your bank or credit union.
*Keep in mind, the minute you drive a new car off the lot, it has lost value. Check into late model used cars, fleet cars or demonstrator models of the brand you are interested in.

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