I hate car shopping. Any time I go in, I add more horror stories to my repertoire. Including nasty looks, rude comments, and lack of hospitality from car salesmen. I dread buying a car, and I hang onto vehicles longer because it’s never an easy process.
Women in particular are at a disadvantage because it is perceived that they have less knowledge about the process, and vehicles in general. If you’ve had a similar experience with buying a car, then this guide is for you. Any savvy mom starting the purchase process can use the info below to walk through the steps and find the right vehicle for their family.
Check it out!
*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.
Know What You Want
Before you head to a dealership to talk to someone about your car buying options, do plenty of research online. Decide if there is a specific brand of car you want. What specs, color, and features are important to you? Would four wheel drive be helpful in the winter in your part of the country? Are safety ratings important if you’re transporting kids?
I spoke with Steve Deacon at Lochmandy Motors about tips for moms who need to purchase a vehicle. He said that once you have a good idea of what you’re looking for, you can talk with a dealer about what you want to test drive when you come in.
Know the Value of Your Trade In When Buying A Car
Some guides recommend bringing in your trade at the last minute, after you’ve already negotiated numbers and the contract. In reality, it depends on the dealership you’re working with.
Ask for recommendations from other moms and families about which dealers they’ve worked with and who has treated them fairly. Be sure you inquire about details and why specifically they recommend one place over another. In light of recent price gouging allegations in the car industry, a couple car dealers in our area have been very vocal about their prices and how they determine what cars sell for and they are very transparent about how commission works or how their salespeople are paid.
Once you have a dealer you trust, you can decide if you want to wait to reveal your trade until the last minute. No matter when you bring in the vehicle for trade, be sure you know ahead of time how much it is worth. Enter your vehicle’s details on Kelley Blue Book’s website to determine the value range. If you aren’t sure about the specs on your vehicle, locate the VIN and look up the car that way instead. If they appraise it lower than you expected, ask for details about why and be direct about any points you disagree on.
Check Out Common Problems and Avoid Model Change Years
You can check on the Car Complaints website whether a specific model and year vehicle has common issues for many drivers. Avoid vehicles that have problems reported over and over.
Look up your vehicle on Wikipedia to determine if it was a model year change. This means that the model had a significant overhaul of the design and the bugs probably haven’t been worked out. These vehicles will have more recalls and problems (you’ll notice often these line up with the complaints listed on the Car Complaints website).
Say No To Extras
Be sure you know what the dealer will offer you when you go to sign paperwork. Say no to any extras you don’t need, like GAP insurance. Here’s a good article about what it is and why you probably don’t need it. You’ll avoid extra fees if you are firm with the dealership that you’re not interested in adding it to your purchase deal.
Other extras they may try to give you include paint sealant or undercarriage treatment, as well as corrosion protection.
Driving the Best
Buying a car is a distinctly difficult task, especially because the advantages are against you if you’re female.
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