How to Save Money Buying a Car ? New or Used

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Do you want to save money buying a car? Don?t go out to a dealer, at least not right away. First do some homework, get the information you need–then head out looking for cars.

You?ve heard it said, ?knowledge is power?, and no where is that more true than when it comes to buying a car. Here?s the main point: you?ll be going into a car dealership that not only has the cars you?re interested in, but it?s also a place that?s filled with people who generally have more knowledge about their vehicles than you do. From a financial standpoint, that?s a disaster waiting to happen. The greater the knowledge gap, the more likely it is that you will pay too much for what ever you buy.

How to Save Money Buying a Car ? New or Used
How to Save Money Buying a Car ? New or Used
How do you get the information on the car you want to buy? In the old days, you probably had to hook up with a ?car guy??one of those people who seems to possess an almost supernatural understanding of all things automotive. But today we have the internet, and that?s really leveled the playing field. There are websites dedicated to providing not only free information about all kinds of cars, but even the best car dealers to buy from!

That last point shouldn?t be taken lightly either. There are different kinds of dealers?independent or franchised?and there are also car supermarkets. Which one you work with will have an impact on the deal you get on the car you buy.

Finding the best deals on new cars

Here?s where you really want to get the most detailed information. You need to get the very best new car deals, if only because prices?and therefore the financial stakes?are higher than they are for used vehicles.

There might be a temptation to think that car prices are fairly standard, that the price at one dealership is roughly the same as it is at all others. Not true! The only way to know just how wide the spread can be from one car to the next, and from one dealer to the next, is through thorough research on new and used car websites.

A good car website will show you what the price of any given make or model will be, as well as the add-on price of various options. When you have such information, you?re in a better to position to negotiate, or even to know if the car you?re interested in is worth buying at all.

You?ll also save time and wear and tear on your current vehicle, since you?ll be ?shopping? from the comfort of your own home rather than driving from dealer to dealer. Minimizing contact with aggressive sales people is still another advantage. The more you can research and work the numbers in a non-sales environment, the better the deal you?re likely to get on your next car.

Getting the scoop on used car values

In a real way, researching used cars is even more important than it is if you want to buy a new one. Used cars not only come in hundreds of different makes and models ? just as new cars do ? but they also come with different ages, condition and mileage. That?s a lot of variables, and all have a strong influence on the true value of used car. Each of those variables will impact the price you should pay for your car.

Fortunately there are auto websites that can do the hard work for you. All you need to do is enter the relevant information in the site, and it will calculate the value for you. Try Kelly Blue Book, or Edmunds.com. These are common car valuation sites, and you can even print a valuation and use it as a negotiating tool when buying a new or used car. They also come in really handy when you are selling your old car and trying to set a realistic price.

One thing to be careful about on these sites is estimating the condition of your car. Most of us want to assign a high rating to this, but condition can cause the car to vary in value by thousands of dollars. If a car’s condition is nothing better than average, don’t enter “excellent”. It will change the whole value. And something else that I’ve learned is that age is a major factor. Once a car gets beyond 10 years old – and especially 15 years – the value plummets to something near scrap value. That’s good if you’re buying such a car, but no so good if you’re trying to sell one.

Used car review sites are the best way to conduct your research. A good site will allow you not only to find the cars you?re looking for, but will also provide valuation tools that help you to consider the value of certain options, as well as the effect of age and mileage on the car you want to buy. If you?ve ever tried to do this using used card guide books, you know how difficult it can be. There can quite literally be dozens of calculations involved in the process of coming up with the value of just one car. And if you want to compare several, it can be a true nightmare.

Either way, these valuation sites will save you time and money, and provide with a workable value for a car that you’re either buying or selling.

Used car review sites can do this automatically, saving you time and aggravation, as well as the cost of potential math errors. And feel free to use them when you’re buying a new car too. Just because a car is brand new doesn’t mean that it’s fairly priced. Valuation sites can help you know if it is.

( Photo by Autoviva.com )

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2 Responses to How to Save Money Buying a Car ? New or Used

  1. Wow Kevin, talk about timing. After seeing your comment on my LinkedIn Post I decided I had to make time to stop in and found just what I need. They say life has a way of pointing you in the right direction and I feel I was destined to read this information. Why? I need to get another car and while it will not be new due to my credit since being laid off in 2008, I do want a small used car that is reliable. One thing I will be doing is having a mechanic I trust check it out as I know what it is to buy a “lemon” and being stuck with it due to it being used. Now a new car, there are things you can do to get it fixed at no cost or replaced. Thanks for the information and I have checked the “notify” box so that I can read the other comments from other readers. As you say, knowledge is power and I always like to hear what other car consumers are dealing with so I can learn the best way to get to my goal. Bye for now, Angela 🙂

  2. Hi Angela – I was most impressed by your post on Linked In, it shows real talent. I don’t think I’ll ever own a new car again, not the least of which since I’ve figured out how to get my car repairs done for a lot less than what the repair shops charge. No monthly payment, and no outrageous repair bills – that’s the better way to own a car!

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