Buying a car is one of the largest monetary investments nearly everyone will make, and that makes it a really intimidating experience. But you don’t have to be afraid! We have some tips for you to really help get the most out of your experience and ensure you get what you want and need with the least amount of hassle.

1. Utilize your resources

When you’re starting the research to buy a car, it is important that you know what your needs are and what your price range is. Those two pieces of information alone are going to get you a long way in terms of what sort of cars you’re going to be looking at. Also, remember, information is going to give you solid ground to stand on during any interactions at the dealership, and that’s going to give you power and agency in your interactions. Make sure you do your research and plan before you’re in need of a car that day, impulse buying is a sure way to overspend and possibly not get what you wanted or needed.

Your leverage during negotiations is going to depend on the research you’ve done ahead of time, so do not underestimate the power of your resources. Know the prices that the dealer paid for new cars, know how much your current car is worth (but hold that to yourself until all the negotiations are finished), and make sure you’re prepared to stand your ground on your budget and what you need.

2. Haggle Right

When you start your journey of looking at the cars in person, it is important to plan a day or two (or more) to do it because you’re going to want to shop around. Going to one dealership and falling in love with a car is another surefire way to possibly miss out on better features or a better deal at another dealership. Not all car dealers are going to try and gouge you but protecting yourself doesn’t hurt.

This on the ground research is also going to offer you bargaining power because it has also allowed you to physically see the cars and features you’ve been looking at online.

3. Try it Out

If you’ve never driven the make or model you’re looking at, make sure that you include a test drive of the cars you’re interested in at all the dealerships you go to. You’re not truly going to know if it’s the right car for you if you don’t try it on for size. If you have a family that will often be traveling in your car, it is probably best to bring them along on the test drive to make sure car seats fit and that everyone is safe and comfortable! Remember, this is your investment and you have to feel like it’s the right fit.

4. In the End

It is amazing how just a little bit of legwork ahead of time can really help smooth out what is a big investment and a scary-to-approach process. Just remember, when you have the resources and knowledge behind you, you have leverage and power in the relationship with the dealership you end up buying from. Do not be afraid to let them know that you’ve put in the time to make sure you are getting what you want and need.

Make sure that when you’re negotiating that you base it on the ending price, not how much payments will be per month. Monthly payments can extend longer to make them smaller, but you end up paying more in the end.

Again, not everyone is out to get you during your car buying experience but knowing there could be just one makes it important that you double-check all the math, all the fine print, and all the add on features. Make sure to advocate for yourself and make the best choice for you and your family!

Before you buy, bring it into the experts at Auto Excel for a pre-purchase inspection. We’d love to partner with you to get the most out of your new-to-you purchase. Make your appointment with Auto Excel in Lexington today! You can find us at 271 Gold Rush Rd Suite 1, Lexington, KY 40503. See you soon!