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Check That Car!

 

Car Buying Tips

This is a good time to buy a car. Hefty cash rebates, ranging from $1,500 to $3,500 are common right now. Do some online research before hitting the dealership and it could save you money and headaches.

Autoweb.com, Edmund's Automobile Buyers Guide, AutoSite, Autopedia, Kelley Blue Book and CarPrice.com are among the sites offering timely pricing information. Make note of the dates when each rebate is set to expire.

Be sure to visit several Web sites when researching pricing information. Everything from sticker price to customer rebate information may vary. It's wise to cover all the bases. When in doubt, contact an auto manufacturer directly.

Review this checklist before you go shopping:

  • Before you shop, know what you want, what your budget is and what the bank's interest rate is on new and used cars. Get pre-approved, if you can.

  • Beware of bait ads that you see on television or in newspapers. A tiny disclaimer will give a stock number. That car will either be gone when you get there or will be a blasé car with no options or options no one wants. Most dealers use this type of advertising.

  • Shop on your time. Negotiate and buy during the last two days of the month and the last two working hours of the dealership.

  • Don't spend any money preparing your car for trade. Swap out new tires, radios and trailer hitches with friends for extra cash. Minimize your losses.

  • Don't go alone; take someone with you.

  • Don't get attached to a car before you buy.

  • Buy used cars from lots connected to new car dealerships. They keep only the best trade-ins.

  • Get new and used car prices from the library, bookstore or another dealer, or insist on seeing the dealer's invoice. Remember, the dealer can survive selling his new cars at his invoice.

  • Ask competitive dealers about rebates and incentives before you deal. Keep these rebates out of the negotiations and deduct them from the bottom line.

  • Don't buy a used car from anyone without having it checked out by an independent mechanic.

  • Buy on price -- not payment. Dealers can disguise the real cost of a car by manipulating the down payment, monthly payment and length of the loan.

  • Write down all variances, promises and add-ons on the buyer's order, especially with used cars.

  • When trading, get back the keys to your trade-in, before you start your negotiations, so you can leave at your will.

  • The average annual mileage on a used car is 15,000 miles. Most used cars die beyond 100,000 miles.

  • If a deposit is required, give a maximum of $100. Cash, if you can, and get a receipt.

  • Do not get caught in the trading allowance trap. Negotiate purchase and trade separately.

  • Preparation (PREP) fees cover the cost of getting your car ready for delivery after it comes off the truck. Destination fees (DOC) cover the cost of delivering the car from manufacturing plant to dealership. These fees are usually not negotiable.

  • Refuse to pay for add-on items like undercoating, fabric and paint protection, or items which should be included with all cars.

  • Find the cost of tag and title from a competitor.

  • Insist that the dealer match or better your bank finance rates. You can always use YOUR bank or credit union.

  • Dealers are not licensed insurance agents. Don't buy credit life or disability insurance. If you think you need it, talk to your personal licensed insurance agent.

  • Beware of extra warranties. All new cars now have a 100 percent bumper-to-bumper warranty included. You can buy a used car warranty after the original warranty runs out, if you still have the car. Most warranties have at least a 50 percent markup and all are negotiable.

  • Leasing is not for everyone. Once you sign, you had better be prepared to keep the car for the full lease period. Remember, lifestyles and incomes can change without warning, good and bad.

  • Gap insurance will cover the money gap between a totaled car and a replacement car on leases. It is included in most leases. Do not get double-dipped.

  • Get and maintain control through the entire buying experience. Remember, it's your hard-earned money being spent, and you can walk away any time you feel uncomfortable.
To see a vehicle history report you need a VIN number. Click here for instructions on where to find it. If you have a VIN number then get your free lemon check now.
     

 


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