The recent nor’easter coated the state with nearly two feet of snow. And with all that snow, crews were quick to sand and salt the roads. Although salt is instrumental in keeping you safe, it’s also extremely corrosive and can cause damage to your vehicle over time. It’s fairly common for a car in Maine to rust beyond the hope of passing an inspection. If your vehicle has seen its share of winters, it might be time to start looking into purchasing your next ride. But buying a car can be stressful, so I’ve put together a list of ways to improve your car buying experience:
Showing up to a dealership unprepared is the last thing you want to do. You can browse models, features and price points that appeal to you online beforehand. So when you do finally walk into a dealership, you can save time and avoid signing for something that you would regret later. I’d recommend you look at Kelley Blue Book, which has become the industry standard.
Prepare to Walk Away
You should prepare yourself to walk out of the dealership if you feel you’re being pressured by the sales staff or you feel uncomfortable with the process. It’s important that you don’t fall for the false urgency that a dealer may create. Again, this is where researching online can help. Educate yourself on what is and what isn’t a good deal.
Shop During the Week
It’s very common for dealerships to be busier on the weekends. If you can, try car shopping during the week, where you might get more attention, better service, and potentially a better deal. Try to go in on the last week of the month, as dealers are often scrambling to meet their goals or quota, and might be a bit more flexible on price.
Don’t Ignore Financing Terms
Going back and forth with a salesperson on the asking price isn’t always going to have the biggest influence on your overall cost. Talking them down $600 and then financing the car with no money down at a high interest rate doesn’t help you at all. The $600 you’re saving now is tangible, so it’s easy to overlook all of the other moving parts. Make sure you shop around for the best rate before settling on anything. Make a stop at your local credit union and see what they can offer you.
Don’t Underestimate the Total Cost of Ownership
Don’t forget — the selling price will not truly be the cost of owning your vehicle. You’ll have to pay for maintenance, registration, insurance and gasoline. Don’t forget to factor all of those into your budget to see if you can afford your desired vehicle. If you’re going over budget after adding all of those costs up, consider looking at a cheaper model.
What tips do you have on saving money on a vehicle? I’d love to know!