Finding the Right Vehicle
Car shopping can be a stressful adventure. You want to buy something that is practical, yet feels good to drive; is reflective of your personality, yet can potentially be sold again once you’re done with it. Car shopping is an exercise that leads to (at least) two other experiences that a driver will have to live with — car ownership and car repairs. Therefore, you’ll also want to approach car shopping the same way you would buying a pet: will you love this enough to spend the money it takes to make it feel better when it’s sick?
With such an important decision on the line, there are ways that you can make the process of buying a car more pleasant. Our team of technicians for Master Muffler’s Pocatello car repair center endorses the following tips:
Understand Your Needs
It might seem strange that the first tip involves some introspection but your car can quickly become part of your identity, depending on how often you drive and what you’re needing your car to do. Asking the right questions will help you focus your efforts. Questions like:
- Can I use this car year-round?
- How much car can I handle?
- Do I need a new car or can I get away with a used one?
Understanding your needs includes knowing what kind of car your lifestyle needs but also what kind of car your wallet needs. Once you have an idea about your finances, get pre-approved for a loan before you talk to any salespeople.
Nail Down Payment
That last tip about pre-approved loans is critical. The reason for this is in how you’ll bargain with the dealer once you’ve chosen the car you want. It’s in the interest of the dealership to have you finance through them; this can create complications for you as the customer, however.
- Car dealerships will offer you a higher interest rate than your credit score allows, meaning you’ll end up paying more in interest than you should.
- Dealers will hook you into bad financial deals like this by playing on your emotions over the car you’ve chosen.
- By paying so much in interest, that extra money will go directly to the dealership once their finance company has what it needs.
You’ll ultimately be getting less car for more money. Being armed with a bank statement already in hand will force the dealership to offer you a better rate than what you qualify for, a lower rate, in order to get you to pay them instead of the bank. Finance and car repair experts agree, however: make sure you read the fine print about your down payment and the length of the loan.
Know Your Options
Car shopping doesn’t have to be between buying new or buying used. Leasing is also a great option for some people. Either way, it’s best to understand your options and the pros and cons of each.
- Buying used is the most fiscally sound choice, as you’ll pay less month-per-month and not have to worry about pressures from the dealership regarding mileage and wear. You’ll be in charge of your own car repair expenses, however, and your car will suffer the biggest drop in equity over time.
- Buying new grants you the best equity in the vehicle, as well as all the new bells and whistles technology-wise. You’ll have the opportunity to customize your vehicle and will receive extended warranties from the manufacturer. You’ll also have an easier time reselling the vehicle if you choose to.
- Leasing gives you a lot of the same benefits as buying new but you don’t have to worry about the car depreciating in value or being without a warranty. You’ll have to give it back after the lease is up, however, which will force you to go through the process again but there is a lot of freedom in knowing that you don’t have to drive the car into the ground or deal with the headache of unloading it when you’re done.
Securing the Paperwork
If you decide to forego using a dealership, don’t forget all the paperwork that you’ll now be in charge of handling. You’ll need to remind the seller that you want copies of:
- The bill of sale
- Title transfer
- Sales tax
Once you purchase your car, bring it straight over to our Pocatello car repair shop for an inspection so that you can drive confidently, knowing that it’s completely roadworthy.