Buyer Beware: 6 Tips to Get a Great Car This Year
If you’re looking to buy a car anytime soon, then you’d surely benefit from the classic warning “buyer beware.” Finding the right car to meet your needs can be difficult and time-consuming, but if you stick to these simple tips you’ll find that things are a bit easier.
Research Auto Sector Statistics
Residential real estate as an asset class is a $29 trillion market, and the commercial sector adds another $10 trillion. While these figures are quite enormous, it’s interesting to note that the auto sector is similar. Having a general grasp on the economic impact of the automobile sector can help to inform your decision-making process as you search for vehicles. Used car or new car? American or foreign? Many of these questions can be addressed by researching the auto sector as a whole, then narrowing down your options to fit your values, your style, and your budget.
Be Knowledgeable and Learn What You Can
There is no shortage of information out there when it comes to cars. Yet even still most people who own a car can’t tell the difference between a transmission and an engine. Of course, you do not need to be a car genius in order to find a car that meets your needs, but you can still help yourself by building up your knowledge and doing what you can to learn about the kinds of cars you’re interested in.
Take tires for example. While they are not the most complex auto-related subject, there is quite a bit to learn, and this knowledge can help you to make a more informed decision when it’s time to pick a car. There are four main types of off-road tires: all-terrain, mud-terrain, snow/winter, and sand. You wouldn’t buy huge mud-terrain tires if you’re not planning to drive your vehicle off-road. However, many consumers are oblivious about the kinds of tires that are installed on the car they’re thinking of purchasing, and even fewer ever think to ask the dealer about the different tire options that are available to them. Learning about tires can save you valuable money, while also delivering the best performance from your vehicle.
Beware of Auto Dealers
Business signs can often be quite misleading. This is perhaps most true when you look at the world of car sales and auto dealers. Unclear prices and the lure of limited time offers lead far too many people into buying cars that they are not ultimately satisfied with. Did you know that the value of on-site signage is equal to 24 full-page newspaper ads every year? Keep this in mind the next time you’re tempted to believe every detail you see on a sign at an auto dealership.
Do Your Research
Although you certainly do not need to become a car expert to find the right deal, it doesn’t hurt to do some research before you commit to a purchase. Even having a basic working knowledge of the types of vehicles you are looking for will help you to separate a viable purchase from those cars that are better left on the lot.
You can get a lot of research done with an internet connection and a few hours. Perusing the website of a few manufacturers that you are considering will provide you with a base understanding of your options for buying a car. You can also visit your local library if you’re looking to develop a broader understanding of the vehicle market and things you need to look out for. As an example, the Chilton Library is a famous resource for car enthusiasts and beginners alike. While much of the Chilton Library materials are easily accessed online, you may find even more precise information in print copies at your local library if needed. Regardless of the research methods you choose, you’ll be happy you took the time to learn more about any vehicle that you’re considering making your own this year.
Set Your Budget and Stick to It
A clear budget is perhaps your most effective tool when you’re shopping around for a car. Your budget not only gives you a clarity of perspective when deciding between makes and models, but it can also provide you with valuable bargaining leverage when it comes time to negotiate a price with a car dealer. There are many free tools online that make budgeting a cinch. If you have a more complex financial landscape, then you may find it worthwhile to consult with a certified financial planner or accountant to get more specific on where your budget stands, and how it might accommodate a car.
When you’re drawing up a budget, make sure you also include secondary costs associated with a new car. Some states, for example, require you to have any newly purchased vehicle inspected within 30 days to check for potential repairs or harmful emissions. Most of the time these inspections cost money, and they should always be factored into your budget. Of course, other costs such as regular maintenance, insurance, and parking should always find a line in your budget. Keeping a clear picture of your finances will help to guide your decision-making process as you find the car that’s just right for you.
Talk to Friends and Family Members
Although you may not want to consult with all of your friends and family members on every little thing in your life when it comes to buying a car, the people closest to you can often serve as a great resource. Perhaps a family member is an expert on a certain manufacturer. Maybe an old friend can tell you about their experience with a particular model that you’re considering buying. Often a person’s first-hand experience with a car is far more valuable than any reviews or reports you can find online.
Finding the right car can be a hassle, but it’s worth putting the extra time and effort into selecting one that meets every one of your needs, from functionality to budget. Stick to these simple tips and you’ll be sure to have confidence in your purchase. Safe driving out there!