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Buying a New Car

July 21, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

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Buying a New Car: Tips to Help You Not Get Burned

Do Your Research
The first thing you will want is a clear understanding of what
you are looking for in a car. It’s best to narrow your search to
a particular make and model that both fits your needs and has a
good track record. If you go to a car lot for a particular car
and find yourself being steered towards a completely different
car don’t buy it that day. Go back home and research it
thoroughly. Edmunds.com has a great tool for comparing car

True Cost To Own
Edmunds.com also has a wonderful "True Cost to Own" feature. This
will tell you how much a car will actually cost you including
interest if you are financing.

Be sure to research gas cost. Fueleconomy.org has a nice resource
which allows you to compare the gas cost of different models of

Shop for cars at the end of the month. Many sales people will be
working to meet their quotas at that time and may be more willing
to negotiate on price.

Don’t Pay Retail
The retail price, often called the sticker price or
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, is higher than what a
dealer is actually willing to take for a car.

When you search for a car you may find two prices. The
invoice price and the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. You
will want to start negotiations at the Invoice price and settle
on a price as close to that amount as possible.

Say No to Add-Ons
Don’t let the dealer add costly Add-Ons like rust proofing. If
you have done a good job at driving down the price initially the
dealer may try to stick it to you with unnecessary Add-Ons or
even an undesirable financing package.

Don’t Be a Sucker
If you are not good at negotiating with people, bring someone who
is. Don’t let yourself be a pushover. Always be willing to leave
the lot if you aren’t comfortable. There are other cars just like
the one you are walking away from. Don’t make the final decision
to purchase the car with the salesperson present.

Don’t Let the Salesman Flip The Script
One trick that car salesman try to pull on people is offering
different financing when it comes time to sign the papers. Never
drive a car off the lot until all the financing is arranged and
all the papers are signed. The sale is not final until you sign
the papers.

If you do drive off with your car and they call you back to deal
with some details of the financing, be very careful to check that
you are signing exactly the terms you agreed to. If the dealer
tries to change the terms of the deal drop the keys on the desk
and leave.

The Federal Trade Commission has a lot of good information about
buying a car.

If you are uneasy about the decision you are about to make, don’t
sign the papers. Don’t worry about the car salesman’s feelings.
Make sure that you leave with a car and are completely content
with your decision or you leave with nothing at all. If you have
an unsuccessful car buying experience you will be reminded of it
every time to drive your car.

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