Driving A Deal Before You Drive Off The Lot

Driving A Deal Before You Drive Off The Lot

Buying a​ car for​ yourself or​ as​ a​ gift for​ someone involves a​ lot more than opening up your​ checkbook.

You'll need to​ do some research before you​ jump in​ the driver's seat. According to​ Brad Eggleston, vice president of​ AutoVantage, "To help you​ select the best gift for​ yourself or​ that special someone, there are a​ few things to​ consider before turning into the dealer lot." Here are some tips:

First Things First

• Focus on​ what's important. Price, size, engine type, style, fuel economy and​ safety are among any buyer's main​ concerns.

The Internet can be a​ source of​ information​ to​ help answer those questions. Online resources can offer detailed vehicle descriptions, reviews, road tests and​ cost comparisons.

for​ example, the AutoVantage Web site offers a​ number of​ research tools for​ buyers of​ both new and​ used cars, including a​ calculator that can help a​ buyer determine a​ vehicle's value.

• if​ you​ still can't decide, calculate the cost of​ ownership over a​ five-year period by adding finance charges, fuel, insurance, maintenance and​ other such costs. The best deal should stand​ out.

Test Drive

• First, address the interior. Does it​ offer the space, comfort and​ features you're looking for?

• Concentrate on​ how the vehicle handles, steers, accelerates and​ stops. Drive a​ route with different road surfaces and​ conditions you​ expect to​ encounter. No need to​ rush.

Final Negotiations

• Finance beforehand, if​ possible, and​ allow room in​ your​ budget for​ additional fees like tax and​ title costs. Then figure out your​ bottom line price and​ stick to​ it.

• Keep in​ mind that the sticker price is​ a​ suggested amount. this​ figure is​ "usually the highest possible market price," according to​ the Kelley Blue Book. The invoice price is​ what the dealer paid for​ the car. Use this​ figure as​ your​ guide, and​ be sure to​ request price quotes from multiple dealerships.

• Leasing your​ vehicle may mean lower monthly payments and​ a​ new car every few years, but mileage limits and​ wear and​ tear sometimes leave drivers with additional costs. Buying a​ car will mean higher payments, but also complete ownership of​ your​ car.

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