The first step towards making a reality-based decision on a new or used car is to look at how you drive. It makes perfect sense to ask whether you need to buy a car at all. Perhaps, based on your driving habits, you’re served well enough by a small gasoline-powered vehicle. Or you’re in an area where car-sharing is plentiful, it may make sense not to buy at all. Unless you simply want to spend the money, taking a look at your circumstances and options is prudent.
You should also research the overall cost to own a vehicle. Paying for a car is more than the car note, insurance, and cost of fuel source. It’s a long term commitment, with ramifications on your credit record.
You probably have your field narrowed down to a few vehicles. But do you know what each carmaker offers for that vehicle? Do you know the available colors, option packages that provide comfort, safety and utility? Do you know their costs? Step 2 would be to research the vehicles you’re interested in and get a detailed breakdown of the options and costs of each vehicle.
The onerous and mistrustful car buying process probably costs our economy -.05% GNP. We love to drive, but absolutely dread the process of buying the car we want.
If you walk into a car dealership expecting the buying process to be easy, wake up now. Within minutes, and depending on the person you’re working with, you could be spun like a top. Or you could be well taken care of. The only way to get through this will relative peace of mind is to know as much about the vehicle and the process before you shake the hand of a salesperson.
You need to go to a car dealer knowing exactly what you want and what you will pay-trade-in value, pricing, options, warranties, and all. Asking questions may not help, because it is less about asking questions and more about knowing the right questions to ask. Below are some tools to help arm you with information.
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