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5 Questions To Ask When Buying a Car

Posted on by Ben Hartwig in LawSeptember 07, 2018

Car dealerships manipulate you with emotion. They park that cherry red convertible right out on the road so you see it every day and then you just have to have it. Hold on! Before you impulse buy and later regret it, take a minute and read on to make sure you are making the right decision and buying the perfect car.

How Many Cars Can You Afford?

The biggest mistake people make is buying more car than they can afford. Although that hot, little Maserati looks fabulous and will net you some fans, it may not be a practical family car, and you might tire of those exorbitant payments quickly.

Look at your budget  and make sure you can pay your rent, food, and utilities first, then whatever is left over can be your car payment. Unless you like eating Ramen Noodles every day and want to scrimp so you can keep that BMW in the driveway, more if often less when buying cars.

Don’t forget to factor in your trade-in also. But keep in mind, you will probably net a sweeter profit selling it privately than handing it over to a dealer.

car buying tips

Lease vs Buy a Car?

Most experts agree that buying makes more sense in the long run. After the car is paid off, you have something of value that you can then keep driving or sell. With a lease, you are merely paying for the depreciation and then someone else will buy that car for cheap money.

Leasing makes sense in some situations. If you have an obsessive need to change cars often, like every two years, a lease is a better option. You will only lose money trying to roll a loan into a new car so quickly.

However, leasing terms and pricing can be confusing to the point you have no idea what you are paying for; this is intentional. Car dealerships make a lot of money off of confused consumers.

New or Used? – Research Car Histories & Shop Around

Often a  used car is the best option because you get a vehicle in excellent condition with low miles and someone else took the depreciation hit. Just make sure to do a background check on the owner to find out all the accidents and other facts about the vehicle owner and may also want to perform a VIN lookup online check car’s history.

However buying a brand, spanking, shiny new car can be quite an experience. There is nothing quite like that new car smell. As long as you do your research and look at car histories, of models that hold up well over time and retain their value.

Shop around and negotiate the best deal. Car dealers are out to make money. Use their greed to pit them against one another and work the best deal you can. Just remember, these starving salesmen are often desperate for a sale, you are not. You can walk away and go to the showroom down the street. You have all the power.


What Are the Repair Costs?

Although that snazzy foreign job looks fabulous in the showroom and in your garage, if something goes wrong you could be looking at paying an arm and a leg to get it fixed.

Before you plunk down your hard-earned money for a deposit, do some research and find out what the repair costs are for your make and model. A little bit of research now could save you thousands later.

Know Your Rights

Regardless of whether you are buying used or new, don’t forget to check on the  lemon laws for your state. Before you sign on the dotted line, read the manufacturer’s warranty thoroughly and if the dealer tacks on any additional guarantees review them too.

If something goes wrong after you buy the car, you want to be well armed with the law, the process and exactly how to get it resolved quickly and easily without a lot of fuss. Knowledge is power, and the more you know before buying, the smoother the transition will go.

Buying a new car is fun and exciting, but you also want to do a little research and protect yourself. Try not to make any quick decisions based on emotion and always have a second person with you to add a little sanity to the mix.

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