Whether you are a seasoned veteran, or you are stepping into a car dealership for the very first time, purchasing a vehicle can be stressful and nerve-racking. A car is so much more than just a way to get from point A to point B. It can define you. To no small extent, you are what you drive. Here’s some helpful points to aide you in making the right decision on your next vehicle, and auto warranty purchase.
Before all else, set a budget. How much is the vehicle going to cost you? How about gas, insurance, and car warranty? Are you going to need to factor in future costs of car repairs? Probably all of the above. Be wary of the sales professionals at whatever dealership you choose to shop. They are not your friends, and despite their friendly tones they are not there solely to politely and slowly educate you on the selling points of all of their vehicles. They want your money.
It seems so simple, but so many prospective buyers ignore it. Make a list. Don’t stop at the brand, narrow it down to the make and model. There are endless numbers of customer reviews available online on forum sites and through reputable automotive journals to help inform you, the consumer, and to assist you in making the best possible purchase.
Next we get to brokers. Unless you know of a reputable one, it is best to steer clear. Many brokers will claim to be working for customers, while their actual function is to act as a generator of leads for the dealers. To ensure the best possible service, make sure the broker is not affiliated with a dealer, and be certain to ask for references.
Once you’ve arrived at the dealership, be cautious. Certain gimmicks are designed by dealers as negotiating tactics. The so called “dealer’s invoice price” is entirely fictitious. It’s purpose is to set a starting point for the argument over price, after which everything above the “invoice price” is profit for the dealer.
Depending on your budget, you may be after a rare or expensive car. At this point, negotiation more or less ends. It is a simple rule of not only car buying but economics in general that things are worth whatever people are willing to pay for them. If a luxury automobile can command a high price on any market, the dealer will not be willing to settle. He or she will know their product is valuable, and the onus will be on the buyer to meet their terms.
Most importantly, be willing to walk away. If either the car or the dealer is wrong for you, don’t be afraid to turn your back and try again another day. There are plenty of cars and dealerships out there, and unless the purchase of your next vehicle is extremely urgent, take the time to make a patient, informed, and low pressure decision that will result in you getting the best possible value for your hard earned money.
Let’s talk about warranties for a moment. Once you make a deal you’ll be ushered into the finance and insurance office. There, you’ll have offers for protecting your paint job, prepaid maintenance plans, theft prevention and recovery options, and additional hazard warranties to protect your tires from all the nasty surprises the road can throw at them. An extended car warranty can provide a mental comfort level to the buyer, but dealers love them because they are an excellent method of generating additional revenue. Before saying yes to a car warranty, there are many things to consider, and a few important questions any informed buyer will want to ask.
Who stands behind the warranty? Is it the auto manufacturer themselves, or is the warranty taken out through the dealership or some other third party. It is an important distinction. When your vehicle needs maintenance, car warranties back by the automaker are generally valid at any dealership across the country, where as a dealer or other third-party warranty may only be redeemable at that specific dealership. If you are considering coverage for a specific hazard, online reviews are frequently available. Check out this auto warranty resource and buying guide.
Have you shopped around for the best price for your auto warranty? If you have only just agreed to a car warranty upon entering the finance and insurance office, then the answer is “probably not.” The best bet for any prospective buyer is to treat researching warranties the same way you would treat researching a vehicle. Shop around, and collect quotes from the finance and insurance managers of different dealerships. In the minds of these managers, the simple knowledge that you are an informed consumer will make them more willing to negotiate a reasonable price.
Have you considered what is actually covered by your auto warranty? Many parts that will eventually wear and break out are not covered by a typical extended car warranty. As with every aspect of purchasing a vehicle, take your time, read the find print, and find out exactly what services you will be receiving for your money. Make sure to ask yourself how extensive your coverage will be in the event of needed repairs. Will they be completely taken care of, will there be a minor deductible, or will you have to pay yourself and seek reimbursement later? Only being informed of the exact terms of your car warranty can keep you from making expensive mistakes.
Finally, have you looked at your personal history with vehicle breakdowns? Have cars you have previously owned been subjected to problems on the road that might otherwise have been covered by an extended auto warranty? You will never have the same maintenance history in consecutive vehicles, but if you are buying a car from the same dealer and manufacturer, it will at least give you a good idea of what to anticipate. From there you can determine exactly what coverage is right for you.
Purchasing a car should be an enriching experience. At the end of it, the most important thing is simply to get the best value for your investment, and to drive away happy. Follow the advice laid out in this article, and you should have no problem with either.