Helpful advice for making your first car buying experience a successful one.
No matter your age or stage in life, buying your first car can be a stressful experience. You’ve probably heard horror stories of people getting ripped off or buying a car that ends up being a lemon.
So how do you avoid becoming a victim? The key to a successful car buying experience is preparation. It’s worth the time and effort it takes to be well-versed in all steps of the car buying process.
Here are 7 helpful hints to make your first car buying experience as smooth as possible.
Tip #1: Know Your Budget
Knowing and understanding your budget should be your first priority, even though it’s never fun to think about financial responsibility.
Figure out what payment you can realistically afford each month without breaking the bank or compromising your most basic needs like rent or food. Don’t forget to factor in the costs of insurance, title, registration fees and gas.
It’s important to stick to this number while car shopping. Falling in love with a car you can’t afford can break your heart, not to mention your wallet.
Tip #2: Research Your Ideal Car
This step involves more than going with a car with the most horsepower. It’s important to know your highest transportation needs, desires and budget before deciding on cars to see at a dealership. These needs can include:
- Whether you will drive primarily in the city or country
- Fuel economy
- General reliability or maintenance needs
You should also consider whether a new or used model is ideal for you. Some models retain their value better than others, so if you’re going used make sure you find one that will hold up.
Luckily, the Internet is full of sites and articles dedicated to helping you determine which make and model meets the majority of your needs, and maybe even a few bonus features as well!
Tip #3: Figure Out Financing Beforehand
Financing can be a headache, especially if you have a limited credit history, but you may still have options. Talk to your bank or insurance provider to determine any options they can offer you for financing, and have a finance plan in place when you go to the dealership.
Never assume that the dealership’s financing option is your only choice. If it’s comparable to your other offers, it is worth considering. If you’ve researched other options ahead of time, you will know whether or not you are being overpriced.
Tip #4: Get Recommendations for Car Dealers
Shopping for a great dealership is extremely important. Ask family and friends, or check out online reviews, to see where others have had positive experiences with car shopping in your area.
Tip #5: Know the Right Purchase Price
Untrustworthy dealerships are known for increasing purchase prices to take advantage of those who have not done their homework. Sites like Kelley Blue Book can show you the going market rate for any make or model you are considering. Going into a dealership knowing what others in your area have paid can help you feel confident when it comes time to negotiate.
Tip #6: Make the Most of Your Test Drive
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to head to the dealer and take your chosen model for a test drive. Test drives aren’t just for checking out the interior. It’s important to consider how the car handles on the road, how much outside noise makes it into the cabin, acceleration power and visibility.
Tip #7: Negotiate!
Negotiating can be the most intimidating part of the car-buying experience. However, if you’ve done your research, you have the upper hand. If you know the price others have paid, the going market rate and what you can afford, you should have no problem negotiating a fair price for the car you want.
Keep in mind that you do not have to make a deal the first time you enter a dealership. If you feel the price isn’t fair, don’t take it! There are likely other options available that fit your budget.
If you’re ready to test drive a car, truck or SUV, stop by our new and used Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealership to take one of our vehicles for a spin. We offer a transparent car buying experience with honest, upfront pricing and friendly staff. Come by and see us in Platte City, Missouri!