Ten Top Tips For Car Buyers

By Remar Sutton

  1. SLOW DOWN. Speed in the automobile transaction is a very dangerous thing.
  2. JOIN A CREDIT UNION. Negotiating skills aren't needed at most credit unions. You generally receive the lowest price you qualify for on automobile loans. Find a credit union using the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) service.
  3. BUDGET BEFORE YOU SHOP. Know what you plan to spend on a car before you begin to shop. Want help developing a budget? Read "How Much Car Can I Afford?"
  4. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Sellers can't tell you if the cars they sell are unsafe or mechanically unreliable. To check out vehicles use noncommercial sites such as the Center for Auto Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
  5. DON'T DEAL WITH DEALERSHIPS THAT REQUIRE YOU TO SIGN A MANDATORY ARBITRATION AGREEMENT. Call dealerships before you visit them. Want to know more? Read Why You Shouldn't Buy a Vehicle From Any Seller That Requires a "Mandatory Binding Arbitration Agreement".
  6. DON'T BUY ON YOUR FIRST VISIT. All dealerships want to sell you the first time you're there. Why? They make more if you don't shop.
  7. NEVER LEAVE A DEPOSIT UNTIL THE SELLER HAS AGREED TO YOUR PRICE. Sellers want your deposit so you can't leave.
  8. DON'T FALL FOR "SPOT" DELIVERY. You know: take it home "on the spot," the first time you've seen the car. Spot delivery means your emotions, not your pocketbook, are ruling the transaction.
  10. REMEMBER THAT THE PRICE OF THE NEW CAR ISN'T WHERE SELLERS MAKE MONEY! Many dealers will sell you a car for "cost" but still make thousands on you.