You’re in the market to buy a car. You may be a strong-willed individual who doesn’t like taking other people’s advice, or maybe you’re the type of person who always wants a second opinion. Either way, we’ve got you covered. Allow me to introduce you to your new friend Dwayne:
Dwayne has some strong opinions, most of which are easily disproved by logic and science. For instance, he still maintains that the Earth is flat. So here’s what we’re gonna do: we’re gonna give you Dwayne’s terrible advice for buying a car and immediately following that we’ll give you the better solution. Take it away Dwayne.
Dressing poorly will help negotiate a car price
Dwayne says: Step 1 of buying a new car: arrive to the dealership in a beat-up old vehicle dressed in your finest combo of bedhead, stained t-shirt and flip-flops. Looking desperate will get you a big discount from the salesman and save you some major coin.
We say: Silly Dwayne, where’d ya hear that one? Typically the way you dress when shopping for a new car doesn’t have much effect on your discount. In fact, sometimes trying to dress up/dress down might have the opposite effect.
According to one salesperson “It’s the guy wandering around the lot in shorts and a T-shirt at two in the afternoon on a Tuesday who has money. The guy who comes in a suit at noon and has to be back in his office by one? He’s working for somebody.” All of that aside, they’re going to run a credit check on any potential buyer.
Thinking in Monthly payments instead of price
Dwayne says: I can’t afford to buy a house, so I pay rent month-to-month. If I can make my car payments every month, what’s the difference? Sounds fool-proof to me.
We say: Wrong again Dwayne-o. Just because you can afford a monthly payment on the car doesn’t mean you can or should buy that particular car. Salespeople typically break down the cost of a car to monthly payments over a 5-6 year loan period. The problems here are that the value of your vehicle is likely to drop over that period of time, not to mention any additional interest you may have to pay. Before you agree to a loan think about the depreciation of the vehicle over time and whether or not you’d be trading it in somewhere down the line.
Buy a brand new car, live in the present!
Dwayne says: Its 2016, why would I buy an obsolete model? I’d rather have a car roll right off of the factory line. Besides, there’s no denying the beautiful scent of that brand new car smell.
We say: No Dwayne, just no. Your new car can lose $3,000 – $5,000 the minute you drive away. Buying a new car is more expensive in almost every way. If you are financing the car with an auto loan, your loan is automatically more than your car is worth. Another huge problem with buying a brand new car is that it’s untested – you as the driver are going to test out all of the bugs of the model. Your best bet is to go with an earlier model that is slightly used and can still come with the same warranties as the brand new car.
Act Now – take the first deal you get and run with it
Dwayne says: Look, there are so many dealerships in town, the thought of having to visit all of them is already giving me a headache. Besides, the first one I visited has a grand opening sale and the salesman said that this deal is only good for today.
We say: Oh Dwayne – sweet, simple Dwayne. As much as you want to be out on the open road in your new car ASAP, it does pay to shop around. It’s best to visit at least three different dealerships before committing to buy. Not only will you be able to see what other dealers have to offer, but letting the dealer know you’re shopping around might enable them to top competitor’s discounts.
As for the “today only” deal, that is a typical tactic to nail down the sale immediately. Don’t feel pressured into doing this, as it’s probably a bluff. If not, well that’s why you’re shopping around!
Don’t mention your trade-in until you’ve negotiated your new car price
Dwayne says: When I finally settle on a car I figure I’m gonna schmooze it up with the dealer and get the nicest possible deal I can. Then, and only then will I pull out my ace-in-the-hole: I’m trading in my old car. BAM! That’s another pretty penny saved.
We say: You’re a national treasure, Dwayne. Neglecting to mention your trade-in like this is called “parachuting.” We cannot stress this enough: DO NOT DO THIS. First off, by keeping your trade-in secret until the last minute proves that you were lying to the dealer. Secondly, the dealer will have to go back and rework everything to include your trade-in car; wasting their time and yours. Being upfront about your trade-in is the best route. It’s in the dealer’s best interest to give you the best price possible. That said, you should look up the Kelley Blue Book value of your car yourself.
Buying a new car is a process that is not to be taken lightly. Take your time, weigh your options and plan ahead for your own personal finances and the inevitable depreciation of the vehicle. Most importantly, don’t listen to Dwayne.
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