While you weren’t looking a new model year has begun, and the new 2018 models offer more tech, more features and more choices than ever before. Ironically, the wide variety of choices might make it harder than ever to choose the right vehicle for your needs. We at Driving Today will offer you straightforward, unbiased advice on what to buy and, very importantly, how to buy it. Making a great car deal isn’t as difficult as conjugating foreign verbs, but it does require some steps that you don’t typically take when making a purchase.
As we move into the 2018 model year, which officially began on October 1, the car market is softening, which means that carmakers are having to work harder to make each sale. That’s not good for them, but it is good for you as a prospective car-buyer because that means auto manufacturers are offering more incentives – cash-back, subsidized financing, and cheap lease deals – that can make getting a car much less expensive for you. Elsewhere on DT we’ll give you the straight story on the best cars and trucks to buy this year, but right here we’ll give you the keys to getting the best deal possible. You deserve it.
The good news is that getting a great deal is easier now than it has been in years. If you do your homework, take our suggestions and stand your ground, you can emerge with a very satisfying car purchase. Here are a few tips that can help:
Don’t fixate on the monthly payment
Yes, most of us have monthly budgets and consider expenses on a monthly basis, but one quick way dealers can lower your monthly payment is by increasing the length of the loan. If you allow that to happen, you’ll end up paying much more in the long run. A salesperson might also try to switch you from a purchase to a lease. There’s nothing wrong with leasing if the lease term is short (three years maximum), but a longer lease is a money pit. You end up paying a lot for a car you have to give back — a miserable situation for your overall finances.
Do your homework on prices and values
A car is one of the rare consumer products for which you can quickly and easily find out what the retailer paid for it. Plus, the Internet offers you several websites (e.g. Edmunds) where you can learn what consumers like you are typically paying for the same car you are considering. That is extremely valuable information to have as you negotiate your purchase. Many of those same websites will also give you a precise idea of what your current car is worth. Again, that information can be invaluable at trade-in time.
Shop hard and be prepared to walk away.
Feel free to walk into a dealership, look at the vehicle you are considering and get information from the salesperson, but feel just as free to walk out that door with no questions asked. Don’t be intimidated into making a deal you don’t feel comfortable with because the salesperson tells you the deal is good “today only.” New vehicles are essentially a commodity. At any given time, hundreds of thousands are for sale, and factories are churning out more every minute. You’ll find a deal that is as good — or better — the next day and the day after that. You might find walking toward the door could save you hundreds of dollars.