Shopping Tips: 7 Steps to Buying a New Car

Gone are the days when you had to walk into a dealership and rely on a salesperson to tell you everything you need to know about the car of your dreams. Whether you’re in the market for a new or used vehicle, the internet has revolutionized the car-buying process.

Doing your homework ahead of time is the key to finding the vehicle you want at a fair price. By arming yourself with knowledge about the car you want, you’re giving yourself the power to negotiate the best deal possible.

Step 1: Get pre-approved so you know what you can afford.

Step 2: Consider how often and for what purpose you’ll use your current vehicle and make a list of the features you’ll need. If you have a family, you’ll want to be sure there’s enough room to fit everyone comfortably, both now and in the future. Do you drive a lot? Gas mileage and horsepower might influence your decision.

Step 3: Using the internet or resources at your local library or bookstore, start researching the makes and models of vehicles that fall into your criteria. If you already have a vehicle in mind, be sure it can meet your needs and then look into similar makes and models from competing manufacturers. You may find lower prices or better gas mileage on a different vehicle. This type of information can be found easily using our free online Vehicle Information Pricing service.

Remember, you want to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible before you talk to a salesperson. While there are many reputable dealers out there, some won’t hesitate to take advantage of consumers who haven’t done their homework.

Step 4: Narrow your options as much as possible and begin window shopping when the dealerships are closed. This will help you avoid high pressure sales before you are ready to make a decision.

Step 5: When your choice is narrowed down to two or three different options, visit the dealerships during business hours to take a test drive. Be sure to test drive all of your top choices before making a decision, and find out if the vehicle manufacturer or the dealer are offering any rebates or discounts. Also, if you’re considering trading in your current vehicle, don’t offer that information to the dealer up-front, as it could affect the price they are willing to negotiate for the new car.

Step 6: Negotiate a price which includes the added costs of sales tax, title fees, vehicle registration costs, etc.

Step 7: Inspect the vehicle before driving away, sign the paperwork, and enjoy your new set of wheels!

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