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Top 7 Car Buying Tips That Will Save You Money

Knowledge and negotiating skills lead to great car deals.

April 24, 2018 · Nate Archibald

Bargain hunting. We all do it, no matter what we’re shopping for. It’s a natural instinct, and who doesn’t like a good deal? But when you’re looking to buy your next car, saving money on a new automobile is so much more than a simple price comparison of your local car dealerships. No, there are specific negotiating and purchasing strategies that will truly help you save money on the models you are considering. All at a price you can afford – and deserve. Here are Best Car Deals Now’s top seven strategies to buying a new car.

1) Become the Seller First
While it may be the easiest and most straightforward solution available, trading in your current car as part of a new deal is rarely the most fiscally wise way to go. The truth is, most car dealerships will sell your car at auction. And because they must turn a profit, they will seldom offer you a trade-in estimate of what your car is actually worth. As a result, your best bet is to sell the car yourself ahead of time if you can, thus securing you receive its maximum value in return.

2) Secure Financing Ahead of Time
Another prime example of a convenience to resist if you want the best local car deal, know that financing the deal at the dealership is not always your best option. Regardless, it’s absolutely imperative that you negotiate the overall price of the car, and never focus on the monthly payments to get the best rate. Oftentimes this means finding out your credit score ahead of time, heading to your local bank, AAA, or credit union, and have an astute understanding of what your financing is before you even visit one showroom or lot.

3) Scout Local Car Dealerships
Bigger doesn’t always mean better.If you’re flexible with what kind of make and model you want, most times the smaller local dealerships are your best option. The reason? The larger ones are based on high-volume business, where the goal is to move as many cars as possible on any given day. They want to sell you the car and move onto the next customer as fast as possible. And if they don’t like your offer, they may be fine with doing just that. The lower- volume dealerships truly value every deal, and while they may not have access to the exact car you want, you usually can have confidence that they will work with you and provide you with their undivided attention along the way.

4) Be Prepared
Know what you are looking for. And we don’t mean just the make and model. There are many different minute details one should be ready to assess and resist – and sometimes be sure even exist – before you take a step onto your local car dealership lot. Research what the true value of the car is on sites like Kelly Blue Book, bring a friend who may have recently bought a car to help ask the critical questions you might forget, and be on the lookout for a MSRP sticker on the window. Every car is required by law to have one, and if you look close enough to it, you’ll see when the car was manufactured. Why is this important? It will tell you how long it’s been on the lot, and the longer the better for you to get the get upper hand in negotiating.

5) Avoid Add-Ons
Always ask for what the additional fees are and get a printed estimated of the base dealership cost. That usually means the list price, taxes, and registration – and that’s about it. Additional add-ons and insurances aren’t always necessary, and can be easily supplemented at a later date. And usually at a better cost. Avoid auxiliary expenses like gap insurance, extended warranties, and rust protection as they are usually 4 or 5x the amount of what they actually cost to the dealer, and are merely a tactic to increase the profit margin they may have sacrificed in the negotiation of the overall price.

6) Stand Your Ground
First things first, understand that you should never purchase a car on your first visit to any dealership. A more passive approach to buying is critical, and conveying any kind of immediacy or desperation will allow the salesperson to take control of any negotiations down the road. Once again, getting a general idea of local landscape of car deals never hurts, and will provide you with a baseline from which to negotiate the best price.

7) Know the Laws
They may vary from state to state, but having a basic understanding of things like lemon laws and return policies in your area can have an added positive effect on your entire buying experience. As with everything on this list, knowledge is power when negotiating. And the more you know, the more you’ll save. Should you ever feel like you’re in over your head or have been unjustly defrauded, all the tips in the world probably won’t help. When in doubt, consult a professional for next-step advice.

But in general, if you follow these seven basic strategies and tips to car buying, you should be well on your way to successfully negotiating the best car deal possible on your undoubtedly treasured, next new automobile.