Lady Car Chat
A car purchase or lease is a major investment for most people. With so much money at stake and years of relying on the vehicle you choose, it only makes sense to do your homework long before you start kicking tires at your area dealership. Your goal should be not only the best deal you can get, but the best vehicle for your needs, your family and your lifestyle. Use this checklist for factors to consider before you visit a dealership:
Go online. The Internet can give you plenty of information about vehicle styles, options, gas mileage and other factors.
Assess your lifestyle.
What are your work and personal requirements? Do you need a minivan or sport utility vehicle to accommodate your family? If you’re single, do you crave a sports car or convertible? Would a truck make your work life simpler? Do you live in the country and need an SUV to navigate dirt roads in the winter? Think a few years down the road – do you expect your life to change?
Figure in gas mileage:
Pay attention to highway mileage, especially if you are going to be putting a lot of miles on your new vehicle.
Add up the miles:
Assess the miles you will incur while traveling to work, on vacation or for daily personal/family requirements. A purchase may be a better option if the miles are expected to be much greater than mileage included on various leasing options.
Create a budget:
Can you afford your dream car? Don’t just look at the monthly car payment or lease payment. Factor in money for insurance, gas, oil changes, and occasional repairs. See what the manufacturer’s warranty will cover.
Check your credit history.
If you will need a loan, get pre-approved to help you find the lowest interest rate.
Got a trade-in?
Check Kelley Blue Book and other websites to get a ball park number on how much your old vehicle is worth.
Timing is crucial:
Manufacturers and dealers offer various incentives to buy during the year. See what’s available when you’re ready to shop
Now that you’ve done your homework, it’s time to shop.
Here are some ways to help you get the best deal on the right vehicle when you visit dealerships:
Write it down:
Take your checklist from the first part of this exercise – vehicle preferences, financing options, trade-in considerations and personal needs.
Research and select a dealership you feel will best offer an inviting and trusting atmosphere.
Business reputation and social media websites can help you learn about the culture and people of a specific dealership. Dealership websites will help you learn about the extent of their vehicle inventory and services, their upfront pricing policy and more about their sales people.
Visit or call the dealership of your choosing and find a sales consultant whom will make you feel most comfortable. Remember to take your checklist with you.
Settle on a vehicle, review your paperwork/contract carefully. Be sure there are no hidden costs or additional charges.
Make sure you understand all of the features of your new vehicle. Ask your salesperson if you need someone to show you how the features and technology works.
Buying used? Be sure to test drive the vehicle, do an up-close inspection, make sure everything runs properly, know ho many owners it has had, and find out as much history as you can. In some cases, dealers may allow you to get the vehicle inspected by a third party.