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The Ultimate Guide To Buying A Car – 25 Car Experts Share Their Tips

Buying a car is a serious investment so you have to be careful regarding what you choose. Similar to buying a house, a car is not something you purchase frequently.

There are many factors that you must take into consideration when choosing a car, things like the price, the maintenance cost, whether you buy a new car or a used one, what are other additional costs that you may not be aware from the beginning.

All these can be overwhelming especially if this is your first car or if you haven’t bought a car in years.

To make this process easier for you we decided to make an ultimate guide with all the info that you need. We hired Minuca Elena to reach out to 25 car experts and ask them the following questions:

  1. What factors are important in deciding which car to eventually purchase?
  2. What are the things that car dealerships don’t usually disclose but buyers should be aware of?
  3. What are the best strategies to get the best possible deal?

We received some great tips from different perspectives. The article has three chapters. You can read below the answers to the first question.

1. What factors are important in deciding which car to eventually purchase?

Michael Satterfield – The Gentleman Racer

There is so much that goes into selecting the right car, price, serviceability, gas mileage, but picking the right car for your lifestyle should be the main focus. I focus on lifestyle because if you are like most people, you are going to spend a lot of time in your car.

If you are an urban dweller who just uses their car to commute, a compact might be a great fit, but if you want something you can also take camping on the weekends, perhaps a small SUV is the right choice.

There is nothing worse than buying a car and a few weeks later realizing it is not the right one, so take your time and don’t let the salesperson pressure you into buying something simply because it is on the lot.

Also, be sure to drive several different vehicles in the category you are looking at, if you really like one, see if it is available as a rental car and rent it for a week or two to make sure you really want to spend a few years behind the wheel of it.

Also don’t be so brand-focused, it is very hard to find a bad car for sale in today’s market, so if you are looking at a Honda, check a Chevrolet or Kia as well, you might find something you really like and they may have better incentives than the car you originally were interested in.

Julie Blackley – iSeeCars

Determine your budget. Go over your monthly expenditures and income and determine the maximum amount of money you could spend on a car.

Determine your vehicle needs. Why are you buying a car? For what are you going to be using the car? Is low mileage and high fuel efficiency important to you?

What kind of features are you looking for? (Automatic transmission, a navigation system, air conditioning, power windows, etc.)

Do you prefer buying cars from used car dealerships, which can often include warranties? Do you want a used car with a relatively clean vehicle history? (One owner, no accidents, few repairs, etc.)

Search through used car listings online. Use car search engines like to make searching through used car listings on Craigslist, eBay, car classifieds, and on local used car dealership lots a breeze. Compare prices and features like warranties, vehicle histories, condition, and mileage easily.

Get the used vehicle’s VIN number and/or vehicle history report. Locate the car’s VIN, and use the iSeeCars VIN report tool to find out the important questions you should ask a seller before buying a vehicle such as history, pricing information, projected depreciation and more.

Conduct a thorough examination of the vehicle. If you are purchasing a used vehicle, do minor maintenance checks of the vehicle yourself the first time you see it; you should be able to catch any glaring problems, like rust, mismatched paint, and cracked or leaking parts under the hood.

If the vehicle passes your first examination, take it for a test drive and bring it to a trusted mechanic for a thorough examination.

Ronnie Lawson-Jones – All Car Leasing

When you are trying to decide which car to eventually purchase it’s best to take into considerations your needs above your desires for the best looking or fastest car.

For example, consider the fuel economy if you’re driving a lot of miles in the year, consider whether or not it needs satellite navigation built in if you’re always driving to new places and consider how much boot space you need if you have a larger family.

These are just examples of the wide range of factors that shouldn’t be ignored.

To get the best possible deal you should shop around and haggle! Don’t take the first deal you see and don’t take the price as final.

Get the dealership to work hard to win your business and you may end saving yourself thousands depending on the value of the car.

On top of this, make sure to ask the dealership if there’s an alternative finance company that could offer a different rate.

Lauren Fix – The Car Coach

My top advice is to NEVER pay retail for any vehicle. This is the only industry that has the perception of “smoke and mirror”. There are always incentives and ways to save money in a smart way.

The intimidation factor is larger than any other industry.

The smartest thing to do is to never offer any sales person the information of your maximum payment per month if you are buying or leasing and if you have a trade. Create a clean deal on the vehicle and then you can make an informed decision.

Never decide on a vehicle on the first test drive, drive all the options and then eliminate poor choices for your lifestyle and budget.

Gene Corbett – Total Driver

Gene Corbett

The first step in buying a new car is to know exactly what you want. There is so much choice in the market place.

Search for cars, read articles, use auction sites and create a list of preferred cars. Go test drive these cars and narrow your list down.

Additionally, you do not buy a car thinking the cost is the purchase price. The real price of a car is your purchase price, plus the cost of ownership, minus how much you think you can sell it for when the time is up. That represents the actual cost of owning a car.

With all car purchases, do your due diligence, do a revision check, make sure there is no outstanding financing on the car, go through service history on the car and if possible, get a panel beater to check out the car.

Finally, a piece of advice I would give everyone that brought a car in for me to inspect for purchase, the cheapest car you will buy, is the most expensive car you will ever own. Purely due to the above point, it is near the end or at the end of its design life. Also, if you are still undecided, go and rent a car and live with it for a couple of days.

Tom Lehner – Kaizen Autocare

A factor that many buyers forget to consider is a car’s collision history. At first glance, two cars may appear identical — same year, color, model, mileage, etc. An uninformed buyer would assume these two cars are worth the same.

However, each car’s collision history could drastically change its estimated value. This decrease in value is called diminished value. Be sure to ask your seller for a complete history of the vehicle.

You can also use sites, such as Carfax, to obtain a vehicle’s history report. Between the report and an inspection by a mechanic, you should be able to tell if the seller is offering you a good deal.

While a vehicle with no collision history is less likely to have problems (and thus greater value), if you are searching for a bargain or you are on a budget and you choose a car with not so great collision history, then be sure that all repairs were done competently.

It is impossible to know every detail of every repair, so a history of care from a trusted body shop is important. Be an informed buyer! There is always more to a car than just model and mileage.

Lauren Lee – Wheel Creations PVD

If you’re looking at potentially customizing your vehicle, it’s important to research the car you intend to purchase and make sure it has the capabilities to be customized later on down the line.

Whether you’re looking for speed, style, power, or something else, some makes and models are easier to customize, depending on the changes you want to make.

If you’re interested in making extensive aftermarket modifications to your vehicle, you might want to consider purchasing a less expensive, pre-owned car in order to save money in the long run.

You will also want to pay close attention to and ask questions about the wheels. Are the car’s wheels a factory set, or have they been customized?

If you’re admiring a car with an impressive set of chrome wheels, make sure to inquire about the type of chrome used. Standard chrome can peel, chip, and fade quickly, while PVD chrome is more durable and longer lasting.

Finally, you will want to consider a vehicle’s history before purchasing. A car might look brand new on the lot, but looks can be deceiving, as a shiny exterior could be hiding potentially expensive problems. Before purchasing, make sure to request a vehicle history report and thoroughly review it.

Anthony ArnoldEngine Trust

Shopping around for the best car that matches your needs?

Here are the most important factors in deciding which car to buy:

Remember the Purpose
A vital factor before you buy a car is to know for which purpose you are going to purchase it. Whether it is for inter-cities usage, or if you are a traveler and you need a furious ride on the road.

Family Size
In case you are going to purchase the car for your family, it is necessary for you to keep in mind the size of your family. Many people don’t bother with this minor thing beforehand and end up facing the consequences. So, purchase a 4-seat or 6-seat car keeping your needs in mind.

The terrain used for traveling in the car
It is valuable for you to purchase a car which can serve you in a better way. If you are living in some hilly area and the terrain you follow is led by rocky path, then a petrol engine car might fail and in that case, you need to buy a car that has a strong grip on the road and a diesel engine installed under its bonnet.

Spare Parts
The vehicle that runs on the road may get broken at any time. The next thing you should take care of is the availability of spare parts in the market place. There are some cars which cost low but their spare parts are very expensive and rare. So, remember to purchase a car which has the cheapest and available parts.

Repair Work
Due to the advancement in technology, there are some engines which are although very efficient but their major repairs cost you the same as buying a new car does. Therefore, search for cars that are top-notch and their repair cost should be pocket-friendly.

Resale Value
If you are buying a car for the first time, you should need to know that only those cars are worthy which don’t give you a big shock when you make your mind to sell them. This will help resell your car in a short period of time getting a good amount to buy the next car.

Brand History
Reading the whole brand history to understand the performance of the particular brand’s car will help you to buy a durable and valuable car. When you will get into the history of the brand, you would come to know about their reputation in the market.

Inner and outer condition of the car
Everyone wants to buy a car which can offer a swift drive and a charming look, so you should search for a car which engulfs both these attributes; a fascinating appearance that can knock people over with a feather and a flawless ride.

In case your pocket doesn’t meet the cost of a new car and you prefer to buy a used car then there are certain things you must consider:

Check out the service history, this will let you know whether the previous owner had taken care of the car or not.

Examine the engine of the car and its mileage. You should look if the engine is genuine or replaced.

If replaced, you should ask about the warranty of all pieces that were replaced, especially if it’s the engine.

Pocket-friendly Price
Whenever you are captivated by a gorgeous car, you should check out for the price first. A good looking car with a high-performance engine at an economical price is something you must pin your hopes on.

Check out for reviews
Once you choose a certain model to purchase, check for the reviews about that model. Many people have discussed their experiences of particular models and all the pros and cons of the car can be found there.

Have a test drive
Don’t forget to take a test drive before taking the final decision, as it can assist you to check if there is some unusual engine sound and whether it is comfortable for you or not. Test drive not only helps to diagnose engine problems but also allows you to check the cosiness of the car.

Paul Maloney – Car Leasing Concierge

The most important thing to remember is the actual selling price of the vehicle instead of the monthly payment.

If you don’t know what the selling price is then you’ll never know how they get to that monthly payment!

Seek professional advice before you sign just like you would if you were buying a house.

Brandon Fishman – Lift Supports Depot

The number one factor when considering purchasing a car is the price. If you can’t afford a vehicle, not just the asking price, but the associated costs of maintenance, insurance, fuel, parking costs, and possible repairs, it will only cause you more stress and frustration down the road.

If you overspend, you may even end up starting at square one again, with even less money. Your vehicle should be something that makes your life easier, not harder!

So it’s never a question of whether a car is “affordable.” It’s about realistically considering your own personal budget at the outset. Although it can ultimately save you money, most of us unfortunately can’t afford to pay a car off entirely, up-front.

That said, experts recommend spending at or below 22% of your monthly take-home for transportation; and that includes the additional expenses mentioned above. Broken down, that’s roughly 15% for the vehicle itself and 7% for the associated expenses of vehicle ownership.

This rule leaves some wiggle room from person-to-person because it always comes down to the individual on a matter as significant as a car purchase. But it’s a solid place to start. We recommend using an affordability calculator like to start thinking about it.

From there, you can figure out exactly what price makes the most sense for your new vehicle.

Joey Webster – A1 Auto Transport

Some of the biggest factors that must be considered when deciding which car to eventually purchase are going to include the following key components:

When it is time for a new car or even a new to you used car, there are some important factors that come into play when determining which car specifically you should eventually purchase. A good car isn’t cheap, so buying the right one needs careful consideration.

Safety. New cars have many features that older cars did not have. From backup cameras to forward collision warning and more, it’s a good idea to check safety features if you’re considering a new car.

If the airbags have been deployed or the frame bent on older cars, the car may be unsafe to drive, and you should continue shopping around.

Inadequate safety features on older cars are often a reason for interstate breakdowns and collisions.

Car Features. The features a car possess are important for car owners.

Whether you want a great sound, access to several mobile charging ports, Bluetooth capabilities, satellite stereo, anti-theft devices, backup cameras or other features, you need to check up front to see what is available for the car in which you’re interested.

Cost. Most people don’t want to buy a car that must have major repair work before you ever drive it. Depending on the car, repairs and general maintenance can be expensive. For instance, parts for replacement on luxury cars will often cost more than parts for a standard economy car.

Before rushing out to buy a car, take your time to check every detail to make sure you get the features you want, in a car that will be safe on the road and won’t leave you in a financial bind.

Oj Fmu –Fluid Motor Union

What can you actually afford.
The first step in buying a vehicle is to distinguish the difference between a car you can pay for and a car you can afford.

Be honest with yourself and come up with a figure that will leave you in a comfortable state after your purchase.

If paying your car note, insurance, gas and maintenance bills each month leaves you with little room to spare in your bank account, then the vehicle you own or are planning on owning, is one that you can NOT afford.

Cars are an ever depreciating asset, so your vehicle should be a reflection of your current financial situation and the purchase of a new or “new-to-you” vehicle should be part of a well-planned financial strategy.

Should I buy new?
The are many reasons someone buys a car. For example, to take advantage of rebates and incentives, as a write-off, to obtain a factory warranty or for the pleasure of knowing they’re the first owner. One must understand the immediate depreciation of a new vehicle when deciding to buy.

If you absolutely want new have it picked out, check the values of existing models that have been out for a year or two that have comparable miles to what you would drive in a year.

How much value did they lose compared to the original manufacturer’s suggested retail price? Are you ok with that figure? If it makes you uncomfortable, avoid buying a new car at all costs.

The want for a “brand new” anything is a hard feeling to overcome.

Couple this with the fact that some dealers and car makers will try to woo you with additional incentives like extended powertrain warranties, free oil changes, etc., but do the math and ensure you know what the cost of ownership for that vehicle would really look like given the mechanical state of the vehicle in question and common repairs necessary for vehicles of the same production line.

Why “used” is usually the logical option.
If you have the means to afford the latest and greatest, chances are the model year just prior to the current will have the same styling and features as the latest model year, but at a steep discount.

Most still carry a manufacturer’s warranty in most cases and if not, dealers typically offer third-party warranties. While I advise against aftermarket maintenance plans, having one can be quite helpful.

Although, before purchasing, much research should be done as many companies offer the dealer huge kickbacks for selling warranties, all while the fine print hides creative ways to make sure almost nothing is covered.

Get an independent inspection before you buy
If you are not mechanically inclined, it is far cheaper to pay for a pre-purchase inspection from an independent mechanic you trust, than it is to pay for unforeseen major repairs down the road.

In this instance, an ounce of prevention really does outweigh a pound of cure. Major areas of concern will include the engine, transmission, body integrity (rust) and suspension handling. When test driving a car, be sure to take a list with you of all the things you should check while the vehicle is in front of you.

These lists are easily found online and can be printed out or saved to your mobile device for easy access. This will help you not miss any areas you might otherwise overlook, like brake wear, tire wear or the operability of electrical switches.

Any dealer worth buying from will have no problem with letting you take it to your mechanic for an inspection before final sale. Any apprehension to you getting an inspection should be a major red flag.

Also, never accept, “Don’t worry, we got it inspected”, as an answer. A car is a major purchase, you’ll want to have an outside source to ensure you aren’t buying into a nightmare.

What are some giveaways to know if a car is even worth taking for an offsite independent inspection? Paint is a big one that can give away the history of a vehicle. Look into the panels at different angles and look to see how the light reflects off.

If you notice any major differences, it might be evidence that the car has been resprayed possibly due to a previous collision. Not foolproof, but oftentimes a vehicle history report may be hiding major repair the vehicle has undergone, so it’s always a good idea to request one.

But remember, it’s not a 100% proof the car is clean, rather extra evidence to support that gut feeling.

Research Research Research!
Do your homework well before you decide to sign on any dotted line. Before you even step foot onto a car lot, make a list of all the non-negotiables that you want in your next vehicle.

Many online vehicle search engines will allow you to narrow down your query by selecting specific parameters such as black interior, sunroof, coupe, 2010-2014, 4-cylinder and automatic transmission.

Entering that criteria will return a list of vehicles that match the non-negotiables you define and then you can begin to dig deeper into which vehicle is right for you based on style, pricing or even location.

Albeit, those options are available for advanced search queries also. All in all, the vehicle search should begin in the home weeks before a purchase is finalized.

What Car should i get?
Because we service all makes and models, we get to see what goes wrong, when it goes wrong, and why it goes wrong. While we do some maintenance for customers still covered by a factory warranty, we really get to know the cars and customers when the factory warranty runs out.

This is when it matters most, as it is the time where you, rather than the dealer, are responsible for the cost of repairs.

European cars can give the consumer an exciting ownership experience, with performance, craftsmanship, and luxury that other manufacturers have a hard time matching. When we started out, we were primarily servicing European makes.

We all know that European vehicles tend to command a higher price than their Domestic or Asian import counterparts; however, this does not necessarily mean they are more reliable. While European automobiles are often pushing the boundaries of efficiency, performance, and luxury this, unfortunately, comes at the price of long-term reliability.

As a result of the increasing federal and consumer demands for safety and lower emission levels, the complexity of electronic and mechanical components on cars continues to increase. Europeans, being the leaders of innovation, have found their products longevity suffering as a result.

The lesson is, while you are paying for qualities that other manufacturers just can’t compete against, reliability is usually not one of them.

My top pick: Mercedes, Bottom pick: Volkswagen / Audi.
For years, Domestic cars have relied on sales stemming from the fact that their products were made in America, so Americans would buy them. It was commonplace that Domestic brands would switch badges and trim on the same vehicle platform to fetch a higher price.

Meaning, often times, that if you wanted a luxury vehicle, it was the same as the economy version, but you just paid more for the added options on it. This also meant that reliability problems would span many makes and models as a result.

Domestic manufacturers were repeatedly seen to make the biggest profits on these platforms because of these practices. This was also the reason that so many lost faith during the crash of 2008. This, in turn, caused many American companies to have increasing financial issues leading to government-funded bailouts.

Although, at a low point, many of these manufacturers have found their way, and in order to stay competitive and in business, they have done what they can to make their vehicles more reliable. The lesson here is that since 2010 American quality has grown to keep pace with the rest of the world.

Top pick: Ford, Bottom pick: Chrysler.
If you have come to believe that Asian import cars are amongst the most reliable, I am here to reaffirm those beliefs. When we started working on vehicles like Toyota, Nissan and Honda, we were surprised by how little they needed in comparison to their European and Domestic counterparts.

Even Korean manufacturers have risen to similar levels of quality in recent years. Here in the salt belt of the Midwest, Asian cars are more often killed by the vehicle rusting, as opposed mechanical or electrical failure.

I attribute this to the production style of Asian vehicle manufacturers. Their motto seems to be: if something breaks, redesign just that part to fix the underlying issue.

European manufacturers seem to wipe the whole design slate clean and start from scratch while Domestic manufacturers try to refine the cost to make more profit. If long-term reliability is your main concern, start by looking into an Asian import vehicle.

Top picks: Toyota, Lexus. Bottom pick: Mitsubishi.
There are a few other factors specific to each buyer’s experience that will reveal themselves once your car search begins, but if you adhere to this advice, then your search should be a fruitful one.

The other factors will naturally fall in line as a sub-factor to one or two of the rules addressed above. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Fluid MotorUnion and we will happily get you the answers you seek.

2. What are the things that car dealerships don’t usually disclose but buyers should be aware of?

Alvin Reyes – Automoblog

One of the most important things to remember when buying a new car is to never pay the MSRP or the Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price.

From the name itself, the MSRP is the suggested retail price and is not the actual amount the dealership paid for the vehicle.

In truth, the dealership has a lot of room to negotiate the price of a new vehicle. Aside from that, the dealership receives monthly sales bonuses and regional incentives from the manufacturer.

In order to give the impression that potential buyers are paying less for the vehicle, the dealer will utilize a barrage of tactics such as cash rebates and zero financing offers, which makes it look like you’re getting a great deal.

Don’t settle for the MSRP, go for the invoice price instead. The invoice price is the figure paid by the dealership when the car is delivered from the factory.

The invoice price will also include the dealer holdback. The dealer holdback is a type of discount that does NOT appear on the invoice price. The holdback amount is typically 2% to 5% based on the MSRP. The dealership will receive the holdback once the car is sold by the dealership.

However, the invoice price will not include discounts and other incentives. This is the reason why dealerships can still earn money despite selling the vehicle at the stated invoice price.

Avoid paying money for an extended warranty. This also holds true if you are looking to lease rather than buying the vehicle.

New cars are accompanied by a standard factory warranty, which is all you need, except for some cases. If you really want to purchase an extended warranty service, make sure to read the fine print.

Dealerships may not admit this, but they are desperate to sell less-popular car models in order to get the holdback from the factory. If you are looking to save more money, try choosing a less popular vehicle from the lot.

Riz Akhtar – Carloop

Car dealerships have been around since the early 1900s which is when the demand for mass-produced cars was first noticed by car manufacturers.

That’s how cars are still sold in 2019. In recent years though, the car dealerships have developed a reputation for not being transparent.

Some of these things include the best price they can get, hidden fees on the car finance and markup on car care after-sale products. This is applicable across western society.

When buyers visit a car dealership and decide to buy a car, many know the price of the car is negotiable.

Car dealerships never disclose their best price upfront.
To get the best price for the car, buyers spend a long time negotiating, which for most is a daunting and frustrating task. Going armed with the correct information and research can help alleviate this problem.

Information buyers should research is the deals other buyers have received. This can be done by asking other buyers or easily through dealership price comparison websites like carloop which saves car buyers time and money.

Car dealerships do not disclose the hidden fees when financing the car they are buying. Sometimes these can be as high as $750 that the buyer pays when they get their new car financed from the dealership.

Car care products like paint protection and window tinting can be purchased through the dealerships with the new car but what many dealerships don’t disclose is the high prices they charge the buyers. Some of these products are twice as much as what a local car detailer would charge car buyers.

These are some of the things that buyers should know about but aren’t usually disclosed by car dealerships.

With a bit of research, buyers can be well prepared and not fall into the traps. This would save them time and money and ensure they are in the driving seat of the car buying process.

Alex Lauderdale – Educated Driver

At the end of the day, it truly depends on whether the driver is in search of a new or used car. The used car search offers more venues and paths of opportunity for the dealerto omit certain factors that will affect the buyer’s pocket book – both long andshort term.Car History. We should be thankful for the plethora of information to be had in this day and age.

Car History. We should be thankful for the plethora of information to be had in this day and age.

A viable dealership will have nothing to hide, and will often provide a Carfax history report when they know a buyer is serious about a purchase. If they don’t provide a report, I strongly suggest a buyer walk away.

That said, if the car is a “must have”, the soon-to-be owner should take the time and money to do a little research of their own. I strongly recommend when car history summaries are needed. No one wants a lemon or previously totalled vehicle.

Add-On Features. At the end of what you thought to be a deal, dealerships will often try to push bolt-on features. These add-on products come in the form of extended warranties, car service agreements, undercoats, fabric protectant, gap insurance, etc.

Listen, we live in a time where one can easily get 200,000 miles out of their car if it is properly maintained. The cost vs. use of these extra items is often one-sided, for the good of the dealer.

Additionally, if the buyer chooses to use the dealership’s captive lender, the dealer ends up making money on the up sale, and the associated interest.

Jake McKenzie – Auto Accessories Garage

A car dealership is unlikely to mention any hidden fees they may have until you’re about to sign your contract.

Some customers even think it’s too late at this point and they have to sign.

Some more dubious dealerships may not even mention that fees have been added. But make no mistake, you are never beholden to pay any price that wasn’t agreed upon.

Any fees getting tacked on at near the end of your transaction are sneaky ways to raise the price when you thought you were done with the negotiating portion.

Dealerships often make their real money with sneaky tactics like this, so it’s important to stay on your toes. It could even be a good idea to bring your own calculator so you can follow along with any math the sales staff is going over with you.

Especially if you plan to finance through the dealership, a calculator will help you double check that the correct interest rates are being applied to your monthly payment figure.

While some closing fees such as taxes, titles, and regulation fees are in fact legitimate, there are also many commons fees that are not. Anything bearing a name like “delivery cost,” “pre-delivery inspection,” or “dealer prep,” is a fee that you should flatly refuse.

These types of fees, or any fee for “advertising,” “administration,” or “processing” is an attempt for the dealership to charge you additionally for their own overhead.

In most cases, these fees will be removed without much struggle. If your dealer seems reluctant or unable to remove them, consider asking for an equal amount to be discounted from the final price of the vehicle.

After all, they’re springing these fees on your after you’ve negotiated a price, you have every right to renegotiate if the price is rising for any reason.

One of your first decisions when shopping for a new car should be to determine a budget. You need to consider what range of prices you are willing to pay based on what is realistic for your financial situation.

Many dealerships make the lion’s share of their profits by talking customers up into higher price ranges and dazzling shoppers with low-payment/high-interest loan structures.

If you have a firm price you’re willing to spend before ever setting foot on a dealership lot, you’ll likely make the experience much easier.

Your budget can be determined on many things. Buying a vehicle outright is easier and cheaper than making monthly payments on a loan, but unfortunately, this is not an attainable strategy for many common car buyers.

When considering a reasonable monthly payment amount, it’s important to consider hidden costs such as gasoline, registration fees, and insurance premiums. Also, consider the fuel economy of a vehicle, especially in regards to highway vs. city driving, depending on which type of driving you will do in your new car the most.

All of these things can greatly affect your monthly budget. And while gasoline costs can fluctuate greatly over time, you can generally count on them trending upwards.

Dave Hunt – Wicks Trucks

The most common thing that dealer service departments don’t disclose is the additional fees that are associated with your repair bill.

Most, if not all dealers charge a shop supplies fee, the idea of that is to offset the intangibles that are used during the repair process, rags or uniforms for example.

Some dealers have a flat fee, some use a percentage of labor charges or even a percentage of the total bill.

Many dealers have other additional fees such as disposal fees, or diagnostic fees. It all depends on how well the service advisor has been trained as to whether he/she will disclose these fees upfront or not.

Therefore, it is always a good idea to ask about them both before you drop off your vehicle, and when they ask for approval to make the repair.

So one would ask why they even have these fees. When most people are shopping for repairs they simply ask for the hourly rate, it gives an illusion to the customer that the rate may be lower than other competitors.

If a shop were to build it into the hourly rate it gives them a definite disadvantage to that shop, thus it has become an “industry standard”.

If you are caught by surprise by these charges it is more likely a poorly trained service advisor than a crooked shop, take a few minutes and have a calm discussion with the manager and he or she is likely to be receptive to helping you out with the charges in exchange for constructive criticism that he or she can use to better prepare their employees.

Nicole Firebaugh – PMR

Dealerships won’t disclose engine history. By this I don’t mean the history of the engine in that car, but rather the history of the performance of the specific engine group installed.

Be it a 6.6L, 5.9L, 1.8L, 3.5L, or any other engine, knowing the age of production and issues common to the engine could save you a ton of money down the road.

An engine that has been in production longer, such as the 6.6L Duramax (in production since 2001 with minimal variations each year) will be far easier to find parts for and find people who know how to work on them versus and engine that may have only been in production for the past 5 years and is just now being introduced to standard shops as they come out of warranty.

Of course, a dealership will never tell you the downfall of an engine, so knowing the history can make a world of difference, too. For example, the 3.6L engines for a good while had a major issue with timing.

The chains would stretch prematurely, causing misfires and catalytic converter failure on a vehicle with less than 150,000 miles. We’ve had many vehicles come in with this engine that had timing failure, clogged cats, or even complete engine failure.

It got to the point where if someone called me and said that they had that engine and told me what was going on, I could almost guarantee that that was the problem. If you are unsure about an engine or have difficulty looking it up, don’t be afraid to call up your regular trusted mechanic.

If it is someone you trust, nine times out of ten they will be honest with you about what you’ll be looking at for repairs, if this is a trustworthy car, how often they see the vehicle make/model/engine in the shop, etc.

Another thing that dealerships do not disclose is the cost of ownership unless there’s something absolutely great about the car’s maintenance. Many people who walk into a dealership are sucked in by a price tag but don’t consider anything else about it.

How much will insurance cost with the cheap car vs the slightly more expensive SUV? What do the prices of parts run on truck brand A vs truck brand B? How hard is it to work on that coupe?

Yeah, sure, the warranty is great on the vehicle, but what happens once that warranty runs out in 3 years or 36,000 miles? Are you just going to trade it in or keep it running?

When looking to buy a new car, always research the cost of ownership. Ask insurance how much the rates would be.

Be sure to contact your trusted mechanic to see if they are familiar with the brand, any issues they see with it and get some ideas on what basic repairs normally run on different vehicles (valve cover gaskets, wheel bearing, brakes, common repairs).

Knowing the true cost of ownership, in the long run, can really make a difference in that sticker price.

Nicholas Smith – Compare New Tyres

Dealers hide the maintenance history of vehicles

Having purchased a number of vehicles from car dealerships, the one thing they seem to hate telling you is the history of your vehicle.

Invariably when they buy a vehicle to sell, they buy it with a full-service history, so you know what maintenance work has been done and ultimately what might need doing, but how many times have you purchased a second-hand vehicle and been given a service history pack?

Amongst my friends and colleagues, I’m an anomaly because I have one every time, but my friends and colleagues haven’t.

These service history packs can include all manner of sins, such as vehicles that have previously been written off, involved in serious smashes or even involved in criminality (which leads to the Police stopping you frequently), not to mention identifying the need for expensive maintenance being due, such as a timing belt / chain or a clutch which isn’t something you want to have to do with your new car.

3. What are the best strategies to get the best possible deal when buying a car?

Matt Blatt

  1. Research! Research the car you want and comparable models. Everything from included warranties to standard features.

There are different trim levels and warranty packages but if you can get the same quality without adding extras that’s something to consider. Understand what the warranty add-ons cover and the costs vs risk.

Also, research the car dealership: check reviews, look at their website, look at their service department. Most likely they include certain services for a period of time and deals for customers.

Finding the best dealership will help to eliminate many problems that can occur during the car buying process and after the sale.

2. Look for the monthly incentives. Car manufacturers usually have deals each month for new cars and most dealerships add discounts on top of them. This could save you several thousands of dollars.

3. Browse around for financing options. There are many banks and loan providers that provide reasonable rates. Many people think you have to get a loan from the dealership but that’s not true.

But don’t jump and accept, dealerships usually have good relationships with the banks which helps get lower rates and more approvals. Bring your findings with you to negotiate with.

4. In finding a highly rated dealership, you won’t have to fight to see the numbers and options. Many dealerships want to get your into the car you want for a price you are comfortable with.

By doing the preliminary research, you understand the cost of the car after incentives/discounts and the interest rates you can expect for your credit and financial situation. This will make the process straight to the point.

5. Review the deal. Make sure this is something you can afford and are happy with. If not, walk away. If so, congratulations on the new car. Be sure to keep up with maintenance!

Mark de Jongh – Car Mag

The best time to consider purchasing a new car is at the end of any quarter as car dealers usually need to push sales to reach quarterly targets.

You can generally negotiate a better price or ask for the inclusion of extra features or after-sales service products to be included in the normal price.

Always look for discounted vehicles on sale, as this shows that there is already flexibility to negotiate a bigger discount on the car. As most sales strategies will allow for this by initially offering only a portion of the allowed reduction on the original price tag.

Cash is not always king, as a cash deal means that a dealer may not get a finance commission, however, weigh up the incurred interest over the finance period versus any discount that you might not get when paying cash.

When financing a vehicle, request for multiple offers from different financial institutions as the dealership will usually push the finance company that offers them the biggest commission.

Zoran Naumoski – Nationwide Auto Transport

Reality is that people don’t like much the process of having to buy a new car. Dealing with an annoying, car salesmen can be very frustrating. Anyway, buying a car is a reality that we all have to face.

I created a list of some very important strategies to get the best possible deal when buying a car. The pieces of advice in this article will help you to get the best deal, save some money and hopefully, reduce the stress of buying a car.

Important strategies to get the best possible deal:

1.You Have To Remember That It Is a Business Transaction

While you’re trying to get a lower price the dealer is trying to maximize their profit. So there’s nothing wrong with both positions as long as the two sides are kind and professional.

Sometimes some customers often think that being super tough and very rude will scare the salesman and he will give you a great deal, but the actual result will be very different.

2. Choose the time when buying a car

Like every business, car dealers and salespeople have sale goals with bonuses, prizes and commissions based on getting the anticipated sales numbers. If you consider buying a car near the end of the period your chances are big to get a great deal as they try to get to their goals.

3. Avoid add-ons

When you already set a price and you get to the end of your car-buying journey, you’ll be taken into the dealership financing office. You will think the negotiation is over, but that’s not the truth.

Almost every dealer make the majority of their profit in their finance office. It is the place where you will likely be pressed to buy expensive add-ons like Extended Warranties, Key Protection, Car transportation services, Roof Racks, Theft Protection, etc.

Susanna Williams – Superior Honda

Buying a car doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Dealers and salespeople want you to buy a car just as much as you do, you just need to know a few strategies to find yourself with the best deal. Here are a few of our top tips:

1. Come in prepared. When you walk in to buy a new or used car, one of the best strategies you can have on hand is to be prepared. Find the car that fits your needs and budget. Stick with what you want.

Know how much the car should cost and have a pre-approved financing plan in place. You want to buy the vehicle you want, not the one the dealer wants to sell you.

2. Don’t focus on just the monthly payment. Don’t look only at just how much you’ll be paying a month. To get the best possible deal, you want to look at the whole picture. Instead, focus on the entire cost of the car. Ask about the cost of financing.

When you look at the price as a whole, you can negotiate there, instead of just on what you’ll be paying month to month.

3. Pay attention to timing. Car dealers and salespeople have goals and commissions they need to hit. If you buy a car near the end of their incentive period, you may find yourself with an exceptional deal. In this case, that usually means at the end of the month or year.

Benjamin Hurley – Sparesbox

In the old days, your ability to find a great deal was severely limited by the difficulty of finding and connecting with independent sellers. Instead, buyers were forced to rely on car dealers and classifieds.

The exciting thing about buying a car in the modern age is the level of disruption that the traditional buyer-seller relationship has undergone in recent years.

These days, there are so many new avenues for buyers, that getting a great deal is easier than ever. Of course, these new opportunities have their share of novel challenges to deal with as well.

New online marketplaces — such as Facebook Marketplace — make it easier than ever to connect hopeful buyers with hundreds upon hundreds of independent sellers.

This type of broad and easily navigable marketplace makes for a more level playing field, allowing you to find the best deal available within a wide and hyper-competitive field.

But this is a double-edged sword. While finding a great deal is easier today than ever before, finding a deal that’s too good to be true is also easier.

The biggest challenge is obvious — without getting to actually see the car, you run the risk of being swindled or otherwise misled.

That’s why it’s important never to make an offer on a car — or any other big-ticket purchase, for that matter – without arranging to meet with the seller beforehand so you can inspect the merchandise and ensure that the deal is as good as it seems to be.

But — so long as you do your due diligence — you’ll be amazed at the hidden value you can find online.

Rex Kimball – Crawford’s Auto Repair

The best advice we have is to have a trusted mechanic inspect the vehicle before you buy it.

Obviously, it has to be a trusted mechanic because there are mechanics that can charge you more than you’d save on the car purchase.

When the mechanic inspects the vehicle they can do a more thorough inspection than the average person and raise it up on their lift to see all sides of it.

When I had my mechanic look at the vehicles I was thinking about purchasing he caught lots of things that I never would have, including one vehicle that had been in an accident and didn’t have structural integrity near one of the rear wheels.

Once the mechanic presents their findings you can use every issue with the vehicle as leverage for negotiating a lower price.

Of course, you always want to get the baseline value from Kelly Bluebook. It is also our opinion that you can find a better deal by buying from an owner instead of a dealer.

Thank you so much to all the experts that participated in this expert roundup! If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it on social media with your friends and followers.

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