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9 Steps to Buying A Car With Confidence

By Vast Bank on 05.12.2021

These steps to buying a car will provide you the confidence you need to get the deal you want.  We understand it can be nerve racking to go into a dealership and get your first new car? Totally normal. Committing to one car—and a car PAYMENT—is anxiety-inducing, especially when you’re not sure how to buy a new car and get the best deal possible. Luckily, you are preparing in the best way possible: becoming an informed shopper! shopper! 

Car dealerships are the best place to go for a good selection and knowledgeable staff...but let’s face it, they exist to make a hefty profit, and they have plenty of tricks up their sleeves to get that job done. You CAN get a new ride without being taken for a ride! Here are our 9 tips for buying a new car without being hoodwinked into paying extra.

1) Get pre-approved before you start shopping for a car

If you have a pre-approved loan before you even walk into the dealership, you have the power of a cash buyer. Pre-approval means you just need to focus on negotiating the price of the vehicle, not the terms of the loan. 

2) Avoid big dealership sales events

Despite what the flyer in the mail may advertise, dealerships are not exactly itching to unload their inventory at the lowest cost possible. These big events are carefully planned to bring in lots of revenue, and the odds are not in your favor.

3) Consider your options

It’s not a bad thing to know what you want and have discerning tastes. But when you walk into the dealership with your heart set on a brand-new ride with your exact specifications, the sales, and finance departments have the upper hand. Having some flexibility while you shop gives you a larger selection. With more options to choose from, you can get the right vehicle for the right price—even if it’s a couple years old or missing a feature you were hoping for. 

4) Negotiate around the purchase price, not the payment amount

This is one of the most important tips for buying a new car. When you negotiate around a lower payment, there is lots of wiggle room for the dealership to charge more for the vehicle or give you less for your trade-in. It’s as simple as changing the loan terms. For example, they can extend the repayment period so your payment stays the same, BUT you make more of them! Focus on negotiating the lowest vehicle cost and you’ll pay much less in the long run.

5) Say no to the extras

The dealership will offer you things like fabric protectant, paint sealer, and bug gut deflector shields. Ok, we made that last one up. But you don’t need those things anyway! You can get any desired upgrades later at a lower cost.

6) Think hard about the extended warranty

Extended warranties can be helpful, but they are also a major source of profit for dealerships. This means they may sell you pretty hard on protections you likely won’t use if your vehicle has good reliability ratings. 

7) Double-check the numbers

When the offer is delivered, ask for a moment to look it over. Take as much time as you need to make sure the figures are exactly what you agreed to. Whip out your phone and calculate everything carefully. Heck, take pics and send ‘em to a financially savvy friend. Better yet, invite them to the dealership with you! Just make sure there are no miscalculations--or worse--hidden fees.

8) Don’t sign anything with blank fields

Unfortunately, you can’t be completely sure you’re dealing with a scrupulous finance department. Details such as monthly income can be falsified in your loan applications. Additionally, you should manually cross out any extras in the paperwork that you haven’t agreed to. Erroneous information...intentional and unintentional...can cause major issues in the purchase process and cost you extra money.

9) Don’t drive the car home until financing is complete

Some dealers have mastered the “yo-yo” technique. It works like this: the dealership calls you back in days after you’ve driven happily off the lot, only to tell you your financing has fallen through. The second loan offer contains less favorable terms and higher prices, which you’re more likely to sign just to get it over with. To avoid this, don’t take the car home until everything is finalized.

Whether you hit the lot looking for a truck, a hatchback, or anything in between, you can feel confident that you know exactly how to buy a new car without being duped. These tips for buying a new car will save you plenty of headaches...and money...in the long run. Happy shopping!

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  • Lacie Glover (June 2019). How to Get a Car Loan. Retrieved from Nerdwallet
  • Phillip Reed (Aug 2017). Do I Really Need an Extended Car Warranty. Retrieved from Nerdwallet.
  • Phillip Reed (July 2019). 5 Ways to Negotiate the Best Car Price for People Who Hate Haggling. Retrieved from Nerdwallet.

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