Buying a Car: How Not To Get Ripped Off


Even a thought of buying a new car is a thrilling notion for most people. But, it’s no cakewalk to get exactly what you pay for and strike the best deal. Unprepared and unsuspecting customers may fall victim to fraud of the seasoned dealers and it can all turn into a long and agonizing ordeal. So, do a thorough research on the model you are interested, calculate the price and inspect its condition. It’s best to keep your emotions in check, and use a reality check instead.

Know the price

Salespeople are no strangers to the art of financial trickery.  Get familiar with facts and figures yourself and use and independent source to determine the wholesale and retail value.  Make good use of online tools such as Kupatana, which calculates the car value based on a number of factors.  There are many agents that affect the car price and they include market forces, mileage, extras, and the condition. Also, although every car has some level of intrinsic value, the price can vary depending on the negotiations.

Line up your financing

Many people tend to get a loan in order to make an acquisition. It’s crucial to get the payoff balance on the car loan and if it’s higher than the value of the car, then consider abandoning the purchase. This situation is called being upside down in car business and is the result of depreciating car values combined with low and no-down payment financing. Many dealers tell customers they can buy a car even when they are upside down. But, they forget to mention that the deficiency is rolled into the new loan putting you deeper underwater.

Hold your ground

Some dealers tend to dig in their heels when faced with aggressive tactics, so one must choose the haggling strategy carefully. Avoid additional and hidden fees, pre-print charges, contracts and coverage. Remember that you don’t have to sign for the whole package.  Dealers most often have an upper hand at a bargaining table, but armed with knowledge you can take the wind out of their sales. There are many other dealerships you can visit, so you have options. It’s good if the dealer knows it too, and your strongest weapon is to get up and leave.

Inspecting the car

Always ask the dealer whether you can have a mechanic check out the car, and search for possible design flaws and or faults. Listen to the engine roar, check the transmission and the air conditioner. To get the full picture, you would have to take a test drive for at least 15 minutes. That way you can inspect it for overheating and see if the starter works as advertised. When you rev the engine, the oil gauge, alternator or the voltage gauge should climb up. Finally, the car is supposed to track straight down the road and respond properly when you hit the brakes.

Check contracts and insurance

Read all the contracts carefully before signing anything and keep an eye for detail. GAP insurance is a popular choice designed to protect drivers in cases when the car is totaled. Knowing the car value is important in this case because it enables you to get more money on your claim. The purpose of the insurance is to pay you an amount equal to the car’s worth. Thus, you don’t want to weaken your claim by being uniformed. Note that some insurance prices are simply too high for the value that’s offered, and do more harm than good.

Dream on

The idea of owning a new car is exhilarating, but many dreams start to fall apart even before visiting the dealer.  Don’t settle for the first car you stumble upon, there are thousands and thousands of other cars on the market. Look up the prices in advance and boost your bargaining power to protect yourself from unscrupulous dealers.  Ask as many questions as you can because the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Drive a hard bargain and make sure that when the real driving starts you enjoy your time behind the wheel like never before.

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