If you’re like me, you probably dread going to buy an auto as much as you dread going to the dentist. That’s not to say dentists aren’t great people, but going to one, though as necessary as buying a vehicle to get from here to there (including driving to a dental appointment) isn’t my favorite thing to do.
I explored why that is. Is it our misconceptions about the auto industry? Do we think of movies that portray car salesman in a not-so-nice light? Are we buying into those stereotypes and if so why? Maybe you’ve had a bad experience in the past. Who hasn’t had a bad car buying experience, and for that matter a not so great dental experience?
Enough parallels with dentists and car buying. I scoured the internet, and I found a plethora of information on how to get the best bang for your buck when it comes to buying that sweet ride you’ve been putting off buying. I’m dispelling myths and giving tips.
1. MYTH: Bad weather days are better for buying
FACT: Weather has nothing to do with it; in fact, a recent article from Edmunds stated that most dealerships are busy on rainy days – because most people think it’s not going to be busy, buying into this old myth.
TIP: Go on a day – sunny or cloudy – at the end of the quarter or during those special event sales. Dealerships sometimes advertise “end of the month” sales. Sometimes going at the end of the month can garner good deals, but not always; which brings us to the next myth.
2. MYTH: The best car deals are the end of a day at the end of the month
FACT: Dealerships do sometimes need to make quotas by the end of the month, but the sales staff and management may not need to on the particular day you walked in at 6:57 p.m. before the 7 p.m. closing on March 31. Some dealerships are more high volume and they may have already met their quota and they’re not willing to take a loss on a sale.
TIP: Do your homework. There are too many resources to check online these days. Do so for a couple of weeks to gather the best info before purchasing. Compare the quotes you get online and armed with that knowledge and proof, go into the dealership and make a deal. You’ll more than likely walk away with what you want, or pretty close to it.
3. MYTH: Don’t play all your cards at once when wheeling and dealing with the salesperson
FACT: Salespeople are people too and they’re not out to pull something over on you. According to Jalopnik.com, if a salesperson tells you, “This is the best I can do,” they’re probably on the up and up. There are all kinds of reasons for pricing – inventory, quotas, and other variables.
TIP: Talk to the salesperson and tell them what you’re looking for and what your budget is. Be up front and most of the time, they’ll return the favor. Be nice and you’ll find that they really want to help you accomplish what you want. You’re the customer and they want to do right by you so you tell your friend, “This person was great, go see so-and-so.” Referrals are gold and the more they get, the more money they put in their pocket. Isn’t that what you’d do?
4. MYTH: Bring in a wad of cash, plunk it down and say, “This is my final offer, take it or leave it.”
FACT: Most dealerships have incentives to give you a loan and they encourage their sales staff to convince buyers to use them. According to HotCars.com, this is an industry standard practice, known as “the dealer’s reserve.”
TIP: Save your cash in your own “reserve” or savings account. Negotiate a good deal because the loans that dealerships advertise make them some money and they are in business to make money. Ask a lot of questions about the loan they’re promoting and make sure you get the best interest rate for you. Reputable dealerships will base your loan product on your credit score. Or, get pre-approved beforehand.
5. MYTH: You’ll get the best deal for auto insurance online
FACT: Though the internet makes our lives easier in some respects, getting an insurance quote on your car isn’t one of them. According to finance guru, Dave Ramsey, “Online insurance quote generators can be helpful, but you’ll get a better deal by talking to an insurance agent.”
TIP: Make sure you can avoid the insurance before you buy the car. Talk to your present agent or insurance provider and ask for discounts – you may find that by buying a certain car, you can get more discounts than you thought (and possibly more than you‘re getting now with your present auto). If you’d like to shop around, check Endorsed Local Providers (ELP) at www.daveramsey.com/elp/independent-insurance. According to Ramsey, consumers who used an ELP saved an average of $731 a year.
I hope these tips have alleviated some anxiety for you when it comes to buying your next auto. If you figure out how to ease the dental anxiety, let me know. Happy car buying!
Reach Brigitte Surette at bsurette@postandcourier.