So, you're in the market for a new vehicle? There are many, many dealerships clamoring for your patronage. How do you know which dealership is right for your needs? What brand offers the most benefits? Should you show brand loyalty, or should you branch out to something different? Whether you change automaker labels like you do blue jeans, or you demand the same brand every time, you'll need to know a few tips to help you make the most of your purchase.
Obviously, the first step towards a successful auto purchase is to define your needs. This means defining what you actually need out of a vehicle (people moving, towing, etc), rather than what you want out of a vehicle (speed, the newest style, etc). Your new car presents a very large purchase, much more significant than that pair of jeans mentioned earlier. Ensuring that you have a vehicle with which you will be happy means identifying needs, not wants.
So now, you know the type of vehicle that you need. Now, it's time to consider brands. While brand loyalty can be a great thing, it does not mean that another brand can not offer you significant value. When evaluating vehicle brands, you must ensure that you take into account reliability, ease of maintenance, length of warranty and resell value. The higher the resell value of your potential vehicle, the better off you'll be when trade-in time rolls around once more.
Evaluating brands also means investigating dealerships. You may not have a dealership within driving distance for a particular brand. In this case, the Internet can help you locate the right deal. However, whenever you choose an online dealership or one in the real world, you'll need to be prepared for the financing aspect of the deal.
Ensuring that you get the best deal on auto financing means being a knowledgeable consumer. You'll need to investigate the dealership's incentives (usually the automaker's incentives), as well as the dealership's reputation for service. You will also need to know your credit score and what your credit report shows. A weak credit score can send you looking for a subprime lender, while a strong credit score allows you to choose almost any lender.
If you have a weak credit score, the best choice is to use a specialist lender. You're more likely to receive a good interest rate (or even be approved) through one of these lenders. In addition, even if you have perfect credit, the best choice is to obtain financing from somewhere other than through the dealership. Dealerships are notorious for increasing the interest rate extended to you, as well as other practices that can cost you a bundle. Know what type of vehicle you want before you set foot on the dealership lot.
In addition, try to have your financing already in hand; you'll find that you save a ton of money over getting a loan through the dealership and may even get better loan terms in the bargain.