Getting a new car is fun but nobody gets excited about an all-day haggle-fest at a car dealership. You can do most of the legwork from your computer or mobile device to save time and energy. Follow these steps to simplify the car-buying process and find the best ride faster.
1. It seems obvious, but the first step to buying a car is knowing what you want. Think about your current and future needs. Are you looking to upgrade or downgrade? Are you commuting to work again, or did your family grow over the last couple of years? Take a look at what is on the market today that will fit your lifestyle. Check out Consumer Reports for ratings, reviews, and the latest car news. The LMCU Shop for a Vehicle tools make it easy to shop and compare vehicles online.
2. A loan will make that perfect car more attainable. Knowing your loan options ahead of time will help you narrow your search, save time test driving, and dealing with the salesman. For more information on LMCU auto loan options, visit our website.
3. Compare dealer prices. Email the dealership’s sales rep and get quotes that include the price plus all taxes and fees. Make sure the quote includes the features you are looking for to avoid last-minute add-ons or surprises.
4. Trading in your current vehicle can help you finance your new ride if done right. Research the value of your current vehicle. Sites like Kelley Blue Book and NADA will give you a good idea of your car’s current value so you can negotiate a fair trade-in amount. Call or email multiple dealers to get an appraisal. This information will help you decide if a trade-in is worth it or if you would like to sell the car yourself.
5. Check out current promotions and specials at local dealerships. Run the numbers to determine what you want your monthly payment to be. Use this calculator to help you decide.
6. Always take a test drive. The test drive is like a first date with your car—especially since online photos can’t really tell you if it’s the best match. Here are some tips for a great experience:
• Take a route similar to the one you drive the most. How does the car handle turns, freeway acceleration, hills, and stop-and-go traffic?
• Check out features like fuel economy, cargo space, safety, seat comfort, and infotainment accessories like the backup camera or satellite radio.
• To avoid the pressure of a sales agent riding shotgun, consider renting the make and model you’re considering for a few days to give it a real-world audition.
• Is it easy to install your child’s car seat? Will it fit in your garage? Can your 200-pound lumberjack son cram into the backseat with all his football gear? Sometimes a short test drive from the dealership doesn’t give you enough information to answer these questions.
Doing your homework prior to shopping will give you the confidence you need to make the right purchase for you and your family. These tips and tools are sure to help you seal the deal and get you back on the road.