How To Buy a New Car and Get a Good Deal On The Right Car - Part 2

Buying a new car is a big deal in more ways than one. Selling for over $40,000 on average, a new car could be among the most expensive purchases you’ll make. The new car buying process can seem complex and even frustrating without the right help, especially if you’re a first-time car buyer. This week we will take a look at the second half of  a step-by-step guide on how to buy your next new car without any hassles.

Step 5: Go for a test drive

Getting a hands-on feel for a new car is crucial to knowing if it’s the right one for you. Is its ride height too low or too high? Is the drive smooth or bumpy? Are the seats comfortable? The answers to these questions are subjective, and the only way to answer them for yourself is by taking the car out for a spin.

Test drives for new cars have traditionally only been available at dealerships, but many online car buying sites now offer extended trial periods where you can return your new vehicle if you don’t like it.

A test drive or trial can make or break any car purchase, so make sure you take plenty of time to get a good feel for the vehicle. Plan a route that covers most of your typical driving scenarios too.

Here's a quick checklist of what to evaluate during a test drive:

  • Comfort
  • Ergonomics
  • Acceleration
  • Steering
  • Handling
  • Braking
  • Visibility
  • Noise

While you’re at it, try out all the features you can. Inspect the vehicle for any defects or damage, even on a brand-new car.

Step 6: Sell or trade in your current vehicle

If you’re buying a new car, you probably want to either sell or trade in your existing ride:

  • Selling your car yourself often gets you more money, but it's a more involved process. Finding a buyer can be difficult, and you may have to either wait until after you’ve bought your new vehicle or risk being without a vehicle for a time.
  • Trading in a car at your dealership is much simpler, but you might be stuck accepting whatever trade-in value your dealer offers. Dealerships often offer low prices on new cars but recoup their losses by offering rock-bottom prices on trade-ins. Do the math to make sure you’re actually getting a good deal before signing on the dotted line.

Whichever you choose, research your current car’s value online to find out what it’s worth before you exchange it. If you trade in your vehicle, bring your driver’s license, car registration, proof of insurance and keys. If you financed your old car, be sure to bring information on your previous car loan.

Use AUTOLINK on our website, www.wkfcu.org. to research your current car’s value online to find out what it’s worth before you exchange it.

It’s also worth mentioning that some people don’t need to get rid of their old car. If you’re passing down your vehicle to one of your children or adding to your fleet, you don’t need to bother yourself with trade-ins or classified ads.  Likewise, if your current car isn’t operational, you may need to go another route to dispose of it, like selling it to a junkyard or dismantling it for parts.  However you get rid of your old vehicle, try not to rush the process or accept less for your current vehicle than you think it’s worth.

Step 7: Get your insurance ready

Even if you don’t have a particular vehicle in mind just yet, now is the time to start shopping for car insurance. Depending on what type of new car you’re looking for, your monthly premium may go up or down, and you don’t want to have your budget ruined by an unexpected cost.

Each state sets its own minimum insurance requirements, but we usually recommend going with a stronger policy than what’s required. Plus, with a new car, you’ll generally need comprehensive and collision coverage along with liability insurance to satisfy lender requirements anyway. Your lender may also require gap insurance, which covers the difference between the car’s actual value and the remaining loan amount in the event of a total loss.

While you may want to stick with an insurance company you’re already working with, it doesn’t hurt to get quotes from multiple insurers and see what else is out there. Compare insurance costs and coverages, and see if there are any bundling deals available.

Step 8: Seal the deal

The final stage to buying a new car is signing the purchase agreement, but don’t rush to get through this formality. Before you make it official, verify the terms of the contract you're about to sign. It can be intimidating, but this last step might matter the most.

Whatever’s in your contract generally overrides any other info you’ve been given, and many contracts have clauses expressly nullifying whatever a salesperson might have told you. Basically — if it’s important, make sure it’s written in the contract. Look out for anything that your seller may have snuck in, like unnecessary add-ons. Your new car should come with a manufacturer’s warranty, but many dealerships also offer extended warranty plans too. These can be a smart purchase, but vehicle service contracts are often available from third-party sellers for less. Make sure to read the details of your dealership warranty too — tire and wheel coverage from dealers frequently won’t cover bent wheels as long as the tire still holds air.

Don’t let the salesperson pressure you into paying for anything you don’t want, and remember that you can get an extended warranty later on from a third party instead of signing up for one now.

Once you close the deal with a new car, you still need to make sure it’s registered with the DMV and insured. However, these processes differ by location and insurance provider, so look into your specifics to make sure you’re roadworthy.

When you finance at WKFCU, we take a careful look at your Buyer’s Order to check for any unexpected fees or add-ons. 

We also offer Extended Warranty Plans, GAP Insurance, Credit Disability and Credit Line Insurance.

Bottom line

Buying a new car is exciting, but if you want to make a smart purchase, your work starts well before you step onto a dealer’s lot. Compare your options and shop around throughout the process to make sure you end up with the right car at the right price.

(Partially reprinted from Consumeraffairs.com)

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