Cars Vehicles

Buying A Car: Essential Pre-Purchase Tips One Should Consider

Knowledge is power when buying a new car. The more tricks of the auto dealing trade, you know, the better your chances of getting a good deal.

Figure Out What You Need

The vehicle you desire may not be the ride you need. A single person’s options are pretty much wide open. If you have or hope to have, a family think about seating, storage capacity, and child-friendly features. Do a lot of long-distance driving? Consider hybrid cars. People who need a vehicle for hauling or trailering should explore pickups, vans, and SUVs. Give serious consideration to what you need in a car or truck.

Research Vehicles

Having decided on what class of automobile you need, it’s time to start comparing makes and models. The internet offers a wealth of resources to research and compare manufacturers’ cars and trucks. 

  • Edmunds
  • CarGurus
  • Kelley Blue Book
  • TrueDelta

Utilize reviews in publications like “Car And Driver” and “Motor Trend”. Talk to people who own the model you are considering. Just perform your due diligence before buying.

Figure Out Your Budget

When calculating your new car budget, don’t focus solely on monthly payments. Consumers aren’t always aware of costs that affect the final price of a vehicle. Ask the dealer about delivery fees, preparation costs, taxes, and other miscellaneous charges. To save money for a down payment, drive a car or truck for a year after paying it off. 

During that year, set aside the amount of the monthly payments you had been making. If the payments were $400 a month in a year, you would have $4800 to apply towards a new car. You will want to check your credit rating.

Get an Insurance Quote

Shop for insurance before visiting a dealership. Being able to afford the payments is one thing. Being able to swing the payments and insurance premiums, maybe another. A financed vehicle requires full coverage. Your age, marital status, driving record, and credit rating will affect your premiums. If you are considering a sports car or a vehicle that is popular with car thieves, insurance will cost you more. 

Get a Loan Quote

Before visiting a car lot, sit down with a loan officer, and ask how much credit you will be extended. The time spent at the lending institution will finalize your car-buying budget. Get any quotes in writing. Knowing your credit score can help you negotiate a better interest rate.

Manufacturer And Zero Interest Financing

As a general rule, financing through the vehicle manufacturer rather than a bank or credit union will cost you more. Zero-interest loans are the exception, but there are a few caveats. Interest-free payments are only available through the manufacturer’s lending agency. Zero percent financing is an inducement to purchase a less popular model and is only available to those with outstanding credit. 

Don’t Skip The Test Drive

According to, only 10% of buyers road test the vehicle they are considering. The test drive is a continuation of your due diligence before buying. You don’t want to take delivery of your new automobile, and then find out that the driver’s seat is uncomfortable, the vehicle is underpowered, controls are too hard to access, or the brakes are too stiff or too spongy. 

If you have older children, take them along on the road test to be sure the backseat is comfortable for them. If your offspring require a car seat take the seat to the dealership to test the ease of installation and removal of the seat.

Understand MSRP, Invoice, And Market Price

The invoice price is what the auto costs the dealership. Keep in mind that factory to dealer incentives can lower the invoice price, so ask about them. MSRP is the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. Suggested is the operative word in MSRP. The market price is what people are paying for a vehicle. 

Some sources argue that the purchase price should be negotiated based on the invoice price rather than MSRP (sticker price) because the dealer cost is lower. Use websites like and to find all three rates. Naturally, you will want to negotiate based on the lowest of the three options.

Don’t hesitate to Haggle And Walk Out

When negotiating the final purchase price with the salesperson, don’t be afraid to open with a lowball offer. From the initial offer, you and the dealer rep can work towards a more reasonable and realistic final price. 

When offered a great deal that requires a six-year commitment, demands the same terms on a five-year loan. If you feel you aren’t getting the best possible deal walking out can force the dealership’s hand.

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