How to Overcome an Endless Sea of Auto Dealers

If you are in the market for a new car, it can seem like a daunting task with all the different auto dealers advertising 24/7 on TV, morning commute billboards and popping up on your favorite websites. A simple Google search of “car dealers near me” will produce a giant map with near-endless location pins representing a cornucopia of automotive dealerships of all shapes and sizes. This is where the journey to finding the perfect dealer for you begins.

You’ll no doubt see a Jeep dealership, a Dodge dealership, a Toyota dealership, a Chrysler dealership, a BMW dealership, a Mercedes dealership, a Kia dealership, a Chevy dealership, a Ford dealership, a Hyundai dealership, a Honda dealership, a VW dealership, a Mitsubishi dealership, a Nissan dealership, maybe even a Ferrari or Lamborghini dealership, too, all with their different deals and incentives.

What is a person to do when overwhelmed with so many choices?  After all, there are so many makes and models out there it makes choosing just one a real challenge. That new 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander is a great compact SUV for a good price. But, then that new Hyundai Santa Fe SUV has great reviews and looks cool. Oh, man, did you forget that you maybe wanted to go a whole different direction and get that sporty new Kia Stinger? That’s a smooth-looking ride for a great price. There are just too many options!

A new or pre-owned vehicle is a major investment, so you’ve got to be able to make the right choice. We know there are lots of options, so here are some smart tips to keep in mind when you are car shopping.

  • Anytime you are thinking about purchasing a new or pre-owned vehicle, you first need to know the true value of the car. Check out com and CarFax.com. Valuable insight is found by searching online for the MRSP and comparing it with other offers you find in your area.
  • Go into the dealership with a bottom line price in mind. The salesman might try to focus on the monthly payments or financing terms, but your goal should be to get the price you want on the car you want. You can always negotiate the financing terms later, or even finance with your own bank outside of the dealership.
  • Rather than buying a brand-new car, purchase a lightly used one that is only a couple of years old. Many cars come with transferable warranties that last for three years or 36,000 miles. You will save a significant amount over buying new, and the warranty will give you peace of mind for the first year or so.
  • Do not allow anyone to intimidate you into making a purchase that may not be the right one for you. Do not fall for lines like “This will be gone if you try to buy it later.” These types of statements are usually made to sway you into make a purchase right away.
  • Know what type of vehicle you are looking for before stepping foot into a dealership. Do your homework to find the best car for your needs. Read Consumer Reports and Edmunds to read reviews and become aware of the prices to expect on a particular vehicle, making it less likely that you will be taken advantage of by a fast-talking salesperson.
  • Due diligence should be exercised when planning your car budget. It is imperative that you take a full and realistic look at your budget. Not only must you consider a car payment, you must also consider insurance, gas and maintenance for the vehicle. There is nothing worse than having a vehicle that you cannot afford to drive.
  • Most salesmen will have monthly goals or quotas to make. Use this against them by shopping at month end. Due to their quota, salesmen become a lot friendlier at the end of the month in most cases. That way, you have more leverage as you negotiate.
  • Never take a car at face value. Though you may not be a mechanic, it is a good idea to do a thorough inspection of the vehicle. An important part of the inspection is a test drive. This allows you to feel the car on the road, listen for any wayward noises and possible spot issues with performance.
  • If you are car shopping and want to test drive some different cars, make sure you bring your license and insurance card with you. Many dealers will want a photo copy of them before you drive. This is just to protect them in case someone steals or damages a car. If you do not have them with you, they might not let you test drive.
  • Set a spending limit before shopping for your new car. It is easy to get swayed by pushy salesmen or a nice leather interior, but it is important that you stay within your budget. You may like the cause of spending extra, but you will not like it when it comes time to pay for it.
  • Read all the documents that are presented to you when you purchase a new car. They will usually have a large stack for you to sign. Don’t feel pressured into signing anything that you do not understand. If you do not understand something, ask about it before signing. Until you sign your name to all the paperwork, you can walk out of the dealership and not owe a dime.
  • Decide whether you want a pre-owned car or a new one. A new car has the obvious advantages, but used cars can be a pretty good deal as well. There are many certified used cars now that have been found to perform well, and cost substantially less than new cars do.

Car shopping is serious. Whether your research and due diligence has culminated in wanting a new Kia, Hyundai, Chevy, Mitsubishi, Ford or Ferrari, take your time and look at all the options available to you.

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