For most of us, a new car isn’t a purchase to take lightly. It’s a serious investment, and you want to be sure you’re getting the best price possible.
When you’re ready to buy a car, there’s more to consider than just the sticker price on the window. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you drive off the lot.
1. Ask about financing deals and other incentives.
If you plan to take out a loan to purchase a car, start researching the financing offers available from manufacturers and banks. If you’re buying a new car and you have good credit, many manufacturers offer low interest rates to entice customers, like 0.9 percent (or even 0 percent) for loans up to 60 months. Manufacturers may also offer discounts and rebates for recent college graduates or on certain makes and models.
If you’re buying a used car, interest rates tend to be higher, so you’ll have to decide if a used car is still a good deal at a higher interest rate.
2. Shop at the end of the year.
Year-end sales events are a great time to score a deal, according to Kelley Blue Book. By December, dealers are eager to turn over inventory and meet sales goals, which means they’re often willing to give buyers steep discounts in order to make a sale. Buying a car from the last model year can also lead to serious savings, especially if you’re not picky about the car’s color or special features.
3. Skip the add-ons.
Once you’re ready to buy your car from a dealer, the negotiation isn’t quite over. In many cases, dealers will try to sell add-on services like gap insurance and extended warranties for an additional fee. These add-ons can quickly drive up the price of your new car, and many of these services aren’t worth the extra money, or can be purchased at a later time for a better price.
4. Think twice before buying a car from a private citizen.
The FTC points out that buying a car from an individual doesn’t provide the same protections for buyers as purchasing from a dealer. During a private sale, the car is usually sold as-is. Even if the vehicle still has a manufacturer’s warranty, that warranty may not be transferrable to the new owner. So, do your homework ahead of time to make sure you know what you’re getting and that you’re comfortable with the potential risks.
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