By Raymond Rolak
Bargains and sales enticements will soon flood the auto dealerships to gain market share from customers. It is approaching the time to shop for end of year bargains. The dealers will say that they have to make room for the 2017 models. The consumer can take advantage of the end of the year sales will be augmented by good financing and low interest rates. There will also be enticements if you choose the lease route for a 2016 model. Ten points an informed consumer should know and watch for.
- Schedule an appointment to test drive the car. Notice if it car is comfortable getting in and out. How does it accelerate? How does it handle bumps? Take the vehicle on different kinds of roads. Don’t be hurried. Do your needs fit the model you choose.
- Do ask the salesperson if there are any dealer-installed options. Many new vehicles are sold with add-ons such as nitrogen in the tires, all-weather floor mats, trim packages or theft protection add-ons. These can easily add a thousand dollars to the final price.
- Get pre-approved financing. There’s also a chance that you can get a better interest rate at the dealership. Ask?
- Before you talk trade in, you also should lock in the total price of the car; look at the interest rate, the loan terms and the value of your trade-in. Know what your trade in is really worth. If they want your business, how they treat you at this point is crucial? If they try and low ball your trade in…..walk.
- Check if your model selection gets a spare tire. Demand one as part of the package, not a buyer’s option. Do not accept a pump either. You want a full size spare tire or mini-spare. Non-negotiable. Suggest the dealer accept the cost if the model isn’t scheduled for a spare. You want to become a happy and loyal customer.
- Review the contract carefully and make sure the numbers match the out-the-door breakdown. Make sure it is the final contract. Be sure there are no additional charges or fees. A good finance manager will explain each form and what it means. Don’t be in a hurry. Buying a car is a serious commitment. Feel empowered to bring a knowledgeable assist person with you. Ask questions. If you don’t understand something, ask about it.
- Get a commitment from your salesperson that you’ll get support in the education of operating your new car safely with all its new features.
- Ask about service. What are maintenance schedules? Recalls, service bulletins and safety is important. What is the manufacturing company’s commitment to notifying you?
- Is the salesperson establishing a foundation for a long term relationship with you? Tell them if your expectations are satisfied and exceeded, you will recommend them and their dealership to others.
- Remember there is no cooling-off period. Once you sign the contract, the vehicle is yours. Get the car you can afford. If the dealer doesn’t have that model you want, find a dealer that has it or will get it. Again, don’t be hurried. Don’t forget to comparison shop.
Finally, check that your insurance is transferred and when accepting your new car, have the salesperson give you a tour of your new purchase and a walk around. Look for dings and scratches that might have occurred in transit. Also include showing you how to safely work your smartphone and demonstrating other important safety devices and features. If you don’t have the time for a complete demonstration when you sign the contract, set an appointment to do it within the week. Breathe deep and enjoy your new car.