Monday, January 11, 2010
Be smart and stay focused when purchasing a vehicle
To help ensure you are getting a fair deal--and better yet, good deal--on your purchase, you're going to need to do some homework, stay focused at the dealership, and keep your eye on the prize.
U.S. News & World Report offers these tips on car buying to help you get the deal you want and avoid getting in over your head:
Know What Others Have Paid: Use the internet to research the average price other consumers have paid for the vehicle you're considering
Focus on Total Price: By concentrating on the monthly payment instead of the total cost, you might end up taking out a larger loan over a longer period and paying more interest.
Cross-Shop Car Deals: Take cleverly-worded sales promotions figures and carefully crunch the numbers to see which really is a better deal.
Differentiate Wants vs Needs: Make a list of activities that involve using your vehicle and ask yourself whether the car will serve those functions. Opting for unnecessary extras will quickly inflate the price of your new car.
Don't Sacrifice Reliability for Appeal: Before you allow a car's curb appeal to overpower your ability to think rationally, research its reliability using a source such as J.D. Power and Associates. If you're buying used, have your trusted mechanic conduct a pre-purchase inspection.
Test-Drive the Exact Vehicle You're Considering Buying: In most cases, the letter-number combinations that might follow your car's badge--LS, GLS, LX--denote significant performance, interior and even exterior differences between trims of the same model. Be wary of dealers who give you the highest trim level of a car to test drive and then proceed to sell you a trim that better fits your budget.
Don't Underestimate Your Trade-In: For your car's trade-in value, reference guides like Kelley Blue Book or NADA Guides can help. Don't take the dealer's word for how much your car is worth or announce that you intend to trade in your ride too early in the game.