You’re finally ready to stop buying cars that have been driven by someone else for years before they land in your lap. It’s time for a brand new car with that new smell and all the luxuries that come with it. But just because it’s brand new doesn’t mean you should go into the experience unprepared.
Here are some tips everyone needs before buying a new car.
1. Choose a Respectable Make
Before stepping onto a new car lot, research the type of car you want to purchase. You can look on sites like Auto Trader, Kelley Blue Book, Yahoo! Autos, and Consumer Reports. Many auto dealerships also have valuable information about vehicles on their websites.
As you research, look for cars with a respectable make. You’re not likely to have a breakdown with any new car within the first 30,000 miles, but if you choose a well-known, high-quality brand, you’ll go tens of thousands of miles further than that.
For example, Toyota, Lexus, and Kia were the top three makes for reliability and durability in 2018, according to Consumer Reports. Any of these vehicle makes will serve you well, but you might decide you like the look and features of Kia models best. Visit a Kia dealership onsite or online to confirm your choice.
2. Negotiate the Price
When stepping onto the lot, many consumers don’t realize that the prices aren’t set in stone. It’s true that you have less negotiating room for a brand new vehicle compared to a used one, but you can still save with the right negotiation tactics.
There are many negotiation tactics you can employ, but one of the most important is letting the salesman know you won’t be taken for a ride. Do your research ahead of time to learn market prices, depreciation rates, and loan rates. That way, you’ll be able to spot a tricky salesman.
You might also start with a ridiculously low asking price. You know they won’t give it to you, but you can always work your way backward; you can’t go forward.
Negotiate the loan payments as well. Many dealers that offer financing will try to offer you an extended loan program of 60 months or more, meaning a lower loan payment. This might seem nice on the surface, but you’re just paying more in interest over time. Ask for a similar payment but with a 48-month loan period instead.
3. Plan Your Trade-In
You can usually sell your car for more if you make a private-party transaction. However, many people prefer to trade in their vehicle to avoid the hassle. If this is you, be smart about the transaction.
Obviously, you can skip this step if you don’t have a trade-in, but if you do, you’ll have greater negotiation power. Car dealerships that accept trade-ins have an opportunity to make more cash from the transaction, so you’re doing them a favor by bringing the car in, not the other way around.
The less they have to pay for your trade-in, the more they’ll make from their next transaction. To increase their profits, dealers will give you the lowest value possible for your trade-in to start with, but you can always negotiate your way up, especially if you know the trade-in value is higher than they’re offering.
Research the car’s value ahead of time. You might also pull up the market value on Edmunds or Kelly Blue Book to show the salesman that you know the value of your trade-in.
4. Check the Warranties
Most new vehicles come with a warranty, whether from the manufacturer, dealer, or both. This warranty will cover things like manufacturer defects or untimely wear and tear. Some may also offer additional coverage, depending on the dealer or manufacturer.
Dealers will offer you the original warranties and several warranties that you can buy. For example, you might purchase an extended warranty or paint protection plan. Some dealers may also offer an option for pre-paid maintenance on your vehicle for a year or more following the purchase. If you’re smart with negotiations, you can gain these extra warranties or maintenance plans for free.
To earn extra warranty coverage, call the dealership finance manager to learn more about extra products and services they offer before you head to the lot. You’ll be armed with knowledge by the time you get in touch with a salesperson, and you can often fold these extras into your purchase price.
Buying a brand-new car feels great, especially if you did your research ahead of time and landed a great deal. Use these tips to arm yourself the next time you head to the lot.