Congratulations, you’re about to buy a brand, spankin’ new car! Whether it’s your first new car or you want to trade something in, you may be wondering how to shop for a new car for the lowest price — and without getting swindled.
Most people have misgivings about the cary buying process. For instance, you’ll probably might be thinking to yourself that you’ll have to deal with a salesperson who will throw every trick in the book at you to buy more than you need.
You might also be wondering about how much of a loan you might have to take out. And what kind of car should you buy, anyhow?
Relax. We’re here to help you. We’ll break down the things that you have to consider when buying a new car, so you can buy with confidence.
1. Think About What Type of Car You Need First
If you want to shop in a car lot full of new cars, you’ll first have to figure out what you’ll need a new car for.
True, it may be hard to know where you’ll be in a few years, but you should be able to predict some things.
For instance, if you just got married, a small, two-door car might be what you need right now.
If you have kids or are thinking about having kids anytime soon, a minivan with a sliding door for easily getting the young ‘uns in and out might be the better vehicle to buy. (Yes, we know you want an SUV, but minivans are designed for families.)
So really think about how long you expect to be driving the car and what life events you’ll encounter during those years. That will help you buy a car without having later regrets.
You’ll also want to consider what “extras” you need and don’t need. Think carefully about this.
For example, you might not need a navigation system when your smartphone already has one. You might not need driving aids such as back-up cameras if you are a good driver with a clean driving record. (You may, however, need these aids in some vehicles, though, so that’s why you should always test drive the car. More on that later.)
Why are you doing all this work? If you know what you want before walking into the dealership, you’re going to be less likely to be tempted by whatever the dealer throws at you.
2. Consider the Extra Costs of Owning a New Car
When you’re thinking about the future, think about your long-term costs as well.
Shopping for a new car is not just about getting the best deal at a dealership. It’s about getting the best resale value too, for when you want to get another new car. You can figure out how much your car might go for in the future by looking around online or calling a nearby car-leasing agency.
Check how much insurance you’ll pay on the car, too, and do some shopping for the lowest rate you can get. Some cars cost less to insure than others. For instance, minivans and crossovers are much, much cheaper to insure than sports cars or luxury models. Just remember though that factors such as your age, gender and driving experience also factor into how much insurance you’ll pay.
You should also consider your future car’s fuel economy, too. If you pick a fuel efficient car, you can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in gas throughout the life of your vehicle. You can find a list of the most fuel-efficient vehicles by class on the Natural Resources Canada website.
All in all, expect to budget about 10 percent or less of your total income on things such as fuel and insurance. You can budget a bit more if you’re buying the car outright.
3. Call Around for Quotes
Once you have some idea of what car you want, call at least six dealerships and ask for a quote on the car you want to buy. If they want you to come to the showroom first, ignore them and go on to the next dealership. The dealership should be able to send you a quote right to your email address — without the need for a visit.
You can also find out your car’s average transaction price on websites such as Kelley Blue Book, TrueCar and Edmunds. These sites are great for finding out how much of a deal other customers got while buying their new car. If most transactions took a couple grand off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, you shouldn’t expect to knock off any more than that during your negotiations with the dealership.
4. Know What You Can Afford to Spend Each Month
Know the general cost of your new car and how much you can afford each month on loan payments before visiting the dealership. Add in interest and other fees you’ll pay, such as getting license tags and paying taxes, in the amount of your new car.
Then, go to your bank or credit union to see if you can secure a loan. Don’t be afraid to shop around to other financial institutions, too, to find the lowest rate you can get. When you get to the dealership, they might match or beat the loan rate you quote. If they don’t, then you already have a way of paying for the car in your back pocket.
5. Be Honest With the Dealer About Your Needs
When you are armed with all of the knowledge you have at your disposal, it’s time to go to a dealership. How do you get the best deal on a new car there? Actually, it’s by being honest about what your needs are. If you don’t want to get ripped off, don’t try to out-swindle the car salesperson. He or she has been selling cars for a much longer period of time than you have been buying them.
If you’re honest, however, about what you want to buy, when you want to buy it, how you’ll pay for it, and your trade-in’s condition (assuming you have a car to trade in), the salesperson will be more likely to respect you. That will make shopping for a new car a breath of fresh air, comparatively speaking.
Still, there are some psychological tricks that some salespeople might use that you should prepare yourself for. It might be a good idea to bring along a friend who knows a little about cars to help deal with the sales team if they’re pushy.
There’s another reason why you should go in twos. Some dealerships have been known to keep a single person waiting around for hours while the salespeople “consults” with their manager. This is done in the hopes of wearing people down so they’ll sign whatever is put in front of them just so they can get out of there.
Not every dealership is like that, though, so you should still try to go in with a positive attitude.
6. Take a Test Drive
As you would with a used car, don’t be afraid to take the car out for a drive. If the dealership won’t let you, find a friend with the same vehicle you want to buy, or even rent one for a day.
Notice as much as you can before getting in, such as how easy it is to enter and how much headroom it has. Drive the car around the city to see how it handles in stop-and-go traffic, and pay attention to how it brakes.
Take it on the freeway to test its acceleration and see how well it handles when passing. Also find out how wide the car turns when you parallel park it, and how heavy or light the steering wheel feels.
If you’re annoyed by anything, it’s probably not the car for you. After all, little niggling things that happen during a test drive can become full-blown aggravations once you actually own the vehicle.
7. Know What’s In the Package You’re Buying
Buying a new car isn’t just about buying, well, a new car.
A dealership is also going to throw in extra incentives to get you to buy the car. You need to know what’s in those incentives and how much they’re really worth. If you don’t, you’ll probably get ripped off when you set foot on the car lot. These “incentives” could cost you hundreds of dollars you don’t need to spend.
For instance, you shouldn’t sign up for a whole package deal that includes things such as free oil changes for the life of the car — unless, of course, you plan to own the car for the next 30 years (and, face it, you don’t), which is when you’ll finally make your money back.
It’s also true that you can have the dealership do the Vehicle Identification Number etching for you. It is, however, far cheaper to do it yourself. It’s easy, too. All you have to do is buy a kit.
There may be some charges that you can’t get out of, such as fees for processing paperwork and registering your car. You can, however, mention those fees to the salesperson in negotiating the car’s purchase price so you can try to lower it.
The Good News
That all said, not all incentives to buy are bad or are extra costs meant to gouge your pocketbook. You can also find savings, too. Check automakers’ websites for special offers, rebates and zero percent financing deals.
The downside? Be aware that these incentives are usually for a limited-time only or are made available only to certain groups, such as military veterans. The great financing deals, too, are geared towards those with a stellar credit rating.
Even if you find a great deal, you still shouldn’t sign anything without reading it first, and don’t be fooled by buying additional services without knowing their true value. If possible, try to research different warranty and service plans before going to the dealership so you know what’s out there and worth buying.
Take Good Care of Your New Baby
Now that you have the keys to your new car, it’s important to ensure it gets regular care to ensure it lasts.
Bemac’s team of trained mechanics can take care of:
- Protecting the body of your car
- Regular inspections and oil changes
- Changing over winter and summer tires and storing your tires.
If you want to know more, contact us today to find out how we can give your new car the attention it needs and get it ready for the road.