Buying a car needs not just investment but deep thought. The market is overflowing with choices and temptations. Buyers need to think, what kind of car and can I afford it?
Think, what do I need transportation for right now and what will I need two years from now? Do I want a car as a status symbol or as something that makes my life easier? Will the car be a commuter vehicle, or to transport children? Would a van with cargo space and high clearance be more suitable for a growing family? Should the car be a two-wheel or four-wheel drive? What kind of terrain will I be driving in most of the time? Go through auto magazines as well as consumer reports to get a clear picture of the world of cars.
1. Work on your finances and determine what you need to spend each month on transportation. A car should not cost more than 10% of your net pay per month. If it is more, then consider leasing a car instead of buying one.
2. Before you finalize anything, find out what the target price is. Four figure discounts are available with almost every make.
3. Never sign an arbitration clause or blank financial forms. Try and get finance from a separate source, a bank or financial institution.
4. Haggling will get you a good deal apart from shopping around for finance. The market is competitive be sure to check dealer fiancé, high street, internet lenders, as well as other options.
5. Try and ensure a large down payment thereby reducing the loan to be paid. Work out your finances and choice of car such that the term of loan is for the shortest period.
6. Find out what buying incentives are on offer. These vary from audio systems to cash back offers, and 0% financing. Ask what extras and add ons will cost in addition to the price of the car.
7. Be sure to evaluate your old car independently if you are considering a trade in. Pay attention to ‘cost to change’, the difference between what the new car costs and what the old one is worth.
8. Find out about warranties, taxes, and insurance. These can eat into your budget.
9. Vet the contract well. Read the fine print. Make sure that paying off the loan before time will not carry any penalty.
10. Check out at least 3-4 dealers to gauge what the best offer is.
Test drive the vehicle before you finalize the deal and go through the car booklet page by page to understand all that the manufacturer needs to tell you. Be clear what is under warranty and what is not.
Never choose vehicle based on a picture or dream. It is not how you look in the car that’s important but how well the car will fulfill your needs. Be practical and sensible; do not buy a model because the dealership is offering a holiday for two or a low interest scheme. Identify a vehicle that suits your needs before subjecting yourself to an onslaught of marketing.