So, you are ready to replace your old car or buy a car for the first time. What do you do? So many friends and co-workers have their “expert” opinions — which is right? Slow down; take a breath. You can do this.
First, you need to determine what type of transportation fits your needs and lifestyle. Now estimate the miles you drive per year. After that, come up with your monthly payment range and the available cash you can put down. Your goal here is to figure out your car’s life cycle and if the payment schedule and the vehicle you choose will be compatible. A vehicle is a tool that we use everyday, so take this approach to buying your next car, and you will get more satisfaction per mile and per dollar. You will make a more sensible decision.
Next, find a dealer who will listen to your needs and help you meet your goals. Don’t get caught up in the hype that you need to go to a big store for selection and price. The store size is not a factor — you are looking for a dealership that is well-connected. Most used car dealers work closely with many new and used car dealerships, as well as wholesalers and auction houses. The dealer that has this network established can usually find a vehicle for a customer in a short period of time. Your patience here will pay off.
A used car has many advantages. You can save thousands of dollars in depreciation and still find a very young car with its factory warranty still in effect. If you need a more experienced (older) car, a reputable dealer will have warranty service contracts available. This will allow you to customize the warranty time and mileage to meet your needs. (Beware, since not all service contract companies are the same).
If you have a vehicle to trade in, you must realize there are many variables that determine a trade’s value. The cars age, condition and the current market are all factors that will contribute to the allowance a given dealer will offer. You can get some information online but the real value can only be determined by a live appraisal.
An important consideration when purchasing a used car is to buy it in your local area. This will enable you to access your dealer easily for service and help if the need arises. Many hometown dealerships sponsor youth teams, local charities and community events. This allows you to be part of your community as well as give you the security of car service just around the corner.
So remember, take a deep breath, think things through, gather information and find a dealer close to home you can trust and drive away with solid value. You can do it.