Getting preapproved for a loan will help you get the best deal on a car. It will also give you negotiating power at the dealership.
Dealerships make money by selling add-ons like extended warranties, paint protection, and window etching. These can cost thousands of dollars.
Going to a dealership with a friend or family member who supports your financial goals may be helpful. They can provide reassurance when a salesperson tries to talk you into buying extra features or a higher-priced vehicle than your budget allows.
Know What You Want
A car is one of the largest purchases, and you should take your time to find a dealership with your best interests in mind. This starts with knowing what you want from your new vehicle and its long-term implications.
You should also be familiar with the dealer’s vehicle history reports and any add-on products they try to sell you. For example, a previous crash may affect resale value or lead to hidden safety issues like crooked headlamps and trim pieces.
Today, car shoppers have more information at their fingertips than ever before. You can use an online service to get an instant cash offer for your current vehicle, explore dealer inventories, and even talk to multiple dealers before you enter the dealership.
Set a Budget
Dealerships like Turner Kia offer a one-stop shop for comparison shopping, testing vehicles, financing, and purchasing. However, they can be expensive. Get preapproved for a loan before heading to the dealership to give yourself more bargaining power. Also, research the car you want on online marketplaces to understand what the vehicle is worth and how much it costs.
Remember that when deciding on your budget, consider other ownership expenses, such as registration fees, insurance, parking, and interest payments. Additionally, remember to factor in depreciation, as new cars tend to lose value quickly. A car is a big investment, so make sure it’s right for you before purchasing.
Look for Customer Perks
Many car dealerships offer perks for their customers, such as free oil changes or loaner vehicles. These can be helpful if you’re planning on returning to the dealer for servicing and warranty work. You can also check for customer reviews and see how long the dealership has been in business. Dodgy dealers usually last only a short time, as word gets out that they treat their customers poorly.
Ask for a Vehicle History Report
A vehicle history report provides a wealth of information about a car’s past. It includes ownership information, accident and damage details, verification of recent mileage (to check for odometer rollbacks), service and repair records, recall data, and more.
Vehicle histories are generally reliable, but there are some instances where they might reveal only some things. For example, if an accident wasn’t reported to the police, it might not appear on the report.
Viewing a valid report from a reputable provider is important, especially when buying from private-party sellers. Moreover, be wary of dealers who refuse to provide a report or present an outdated one.
Inspect the Vehicle
Before buying, ensure the vehicle you want passes a pre-purchase inspection. This can help you identify any existing conditions that need repair, uncover information about the car’s past, and give you leverage during price negotiations.
Inspect the interior for damage, stains, and odors. Check the windows, mirrors, and power features to see that they work properly. Look under the car to see if there are any signs of rust or fluid leaks.
You can also ask the seller to do a video call inspection with you using platforms like FaceTime or Skype. This allows you to ask real-time questions and examine the car’s interior and engine bay.
Negotiate the Price
As you approach the salesperson to negotiate the price of the car, remember that this is a business transaction. Emotions can get in the way of a good deal, so it’s important to remain detached and prepared to walk away if necessary.
Start the negotiations with your precalculated low offer, which should be based on the average transaction price of the car model you’re interested in (available on CR’s vehicle pages).
Be sure to factor in any rebates or incentives you qualify for. Also, beware of add-ons like tire protection plans and antitheft products, which can significantly increase your car’s overall cost.