How to Buy a Car From a Dealership
Anyone new to car buying may be completely mystified – and a little put off – by the whole process. It really is not difficult, but since most people only buy a few cars in their lifetimes, the steps can seem confusing and can be easy to forget.
5 Tips On How to Buy a Car From an Auto DealerHere are some tips for having a pleasant car-buying experience.
1. Research the Car You Want to Buy FirstTo make the best use of the dealer’s time and yours, know as specifically as possible the type of car you are looking for before you head in. Commuter car, luxury touring sedan, SUV or sports car — weigh all your needs and wants, and research your ideal ride online. Try to narrow your on-site inspection list to three cars, with exact makes, models and trim lines. Be careful when examining trim lines, as the differences can be subtle but can mean hundreds of dollars extra.
2. Get Pre-Approval for a LoanThanks to the convenience of the Internet, you can get pre-approved for a car loan through banks, credit unions and online lenders. To speed up pre-approval, make sure you know your own credit score in advance. This way, you know the interest rate you can expect to be charged and, most importantly, you'll know how much car you can afford.
3. Bring the Necessary Paperwork You'll NeedDo not head out for the dealer until you have all the right paperwork to make your car purchase as smooth as possible. You will want to bring the following items:
- Driver license
- Title and registration (if you are making a trade-in)
- Proof of auto insurance
- Proof of income
- Verification of employment
4. Always Test Drive Before BuyingInsist on a test drive of the exact make, model and trim line you intend to purchase. Spend time not only behind the steering wheel but in the other seats as well. Here are a few pointers:
- Check acceleration from a standing start. You will need it for confident merges at on-ramps.
- Drive in silence. Listen for road noise, and listen for clicks, groans, rattles and other noises within the car itself.
- Check for blind spots. The roof pillars and headrests can limit side and rear visibility.
- Try everything. Run the heat and AC; try all the controls to ensure they work properly.
- Park it. Be brave – you may have to parallel park the car someday!