Car Culture

Car Buying Tips for Beginners

February 6, 2016
Buying a new car can be more than a little intimidating. How do I get the best deal? What if the salesperson doesn’t take me seriously? What if I make the wrong choice? These questions and more run through your head as you arrive at the dealership… or worse, as you’re stuck at home too anxious to even shop. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, it can be really exciting! However, you do need to know that car sales are, almost 100% of the time, final. That means you can’t return a car because it doesn’t ride as smooth as you thought it would, or because it’s missing the navigation system you assumed was there. There are no return loopholes for your misassumptions. This brings me to my first tip: Be informed. Do your research! Generally, barring an emergency, people aren’t in a rush to buy a new car. It’s a long, delicate process. Spend time researching makes and models online. Talk to friends and family about the cars they own and how they run. Read reviews and consumer reports. Test drive, test drive, test drive! This doesn’t mean you can’t still be a little unsure when you go in to buy (definitely listen to the salesperson’s suggestions), but having a good idea of what you want makes for an easier experience. Timing is everything. When you buy can make all the difference. The last week of the year is always a good option. Dealerships don’t have to pay taxes on any cars they get off the lot before Dec 31st, so they’re generally willing to negotiate. The end of a model year is also a great time to buy. When newer models are starting to roll in, you’ll likely find specials and sales on the older models. There’s even a strategy for which day of the week to shop. If you visit the dealership on a weekday, you’ll get way more personal attention than you would on a busy weekend. This is great if you have lots of questions. Don’t overbuy. It’s easy to get carried away when buying a new car. You’ve gone without for years, and now you want all the bells and whistles. However, the fanciest car might not be right for you. Remember, more tech upgrades and features means more potential repairs and glitches. Also, are you tech-savvy enough to utilize all the intricate and expensive features? Your perfect car might be sitting two rows away with 5,000 miles on it. These are just a few of many car buying tips, but it’s a great place to start. I’d wish you luck on your car search, but you don’t need it!

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