Recently I was faced with the decision to either fix my ailing yet faithful car or scrap my baby and find something new. It was a decision I wasn’t ready to make but had been pondering for sometime. I’m the type of person who gets attached to my vehicles and tends to drive them until they can’t be driven anymore.
My first car was given to me and I drove it until it literally blew up, like it caught on fire while I was driving it. My second car was the first car I had bought on my own and it was the car I brought the boy home from the hospital in, it carried us on all of our adventures and I was not ready to let her go. I also wasn’t ready to put in over $5,000 in repairs to keep her road worthy either. About a month ago she just gave up, the electrical system (so all of my brake lights, headlights etc. stopped working. A tad unsafe to drive.)so I had to bite the bullet and buy a new car.
Finding the right car can be an extremely long and challenging process unless you already have a pretty good idea of what you want. I’ve been fortunate in that I have driven a number of other vehicles as rentals on various trips or even borrowed cars for a few of our journeys, I knew what I wanted and what I didn’t like going in, so making a final decision wasn’t terribly difficult for me in the end but the process to get to that point was painful.
There are so many different resources with competing information about what you need to look for when shopping for a new car and the minute you set foot on the lot at the dealership you are seen as a mark and the sales team will do their part to keep you on the lot as long as possible. You need to be armed with information and know what you are looking for before you head out to kick the tires, so to speak.
The most important step in finding a car is doing your research, a no brainier right? Obviously you can’t make the right decisions for you and your family without knowing the facts about the make, model and price of your car. I have found that Cars.com can be a great tool to use to learn more about the options you’re considering before you head out to test drive and talk numbers with your dealership of choice. Their website has a huge selection of information that will provide you with everything you need to make an informed purchase.
A little known fact about Cars.com is that they feature Videos & Reviews. They provide extensive reviews and essential information about a wide variety of cars, and most importantly, they give it to you straight. There’s no sugar coating or hiding the bad reviews of certain cars. If something is poorly rated, hasn’t performed well or was not a good purchase they aren’t afraid to tell you. This is one of the reason I would recommend you begin your car research here. They also list the number of recalls currently in effect for the vehicle, and have a handy mobile app to aid with your search on- the-go. Doing your research is a very important part of car shopping. Especially if you are a first-time buyer or have a lot of different cars you’re interested in, your research will help you get the best car, loaded with the features you need (and want) at the best price.
Going along with research, another important tip is to shop around and not stick with one dealer. Though dealers can stock huge selections at different prices, it doesn’t mean their prices are industry competitive. I recommend visiting other dealers and researching similar cars you are interested in to get a baseline price for the vehicle. Visiting other dealers will give you an understanding of what you should be paying, and therefore get you the best price. Haggling over price is not my strength and the fact that I had a few price quotes from other dealers helped me negotiate- if the guy down the road will give you the same thing for less who are you going to choose?
The last tip is make a list of the features you have to have,and a list of the nice to haves but you can live without if you have to or if it adds way too much to the final price. You want to find the car that is right for you and your family and will grow with you and keep you all comfortable so knowing the deal breakers ahead of time and having a list in hand is a huge help to keep you focused and not get distracted by other options and features the seller may highlight to distract from something that is missing.
With the number of options we have available to us in today’s marketplace it is important to take your time when buying a car. Do the research, look at the cars and find what is right for you. Rushing a car purchase will leave you overpaying and under-satisfied.
These three simple tips will help you save big and find the right car for you. It is important to do your research, utilize different resources, know your stuff and take your time when car shopping. Purchasing a car doesn’t have to complicated and stressful. The more you know about the process, the better off you will be.
This post was sponsored by Cars.com , I was compensated however all experiences and opinions are my own.