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Thursday, March 20, 2014

New Wheel Nightmares: How to Keep Stress out of the Car Buying Process

The process of buying a new car (especially for the first time) is one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have. It can also be one of the most nerve-wracking, and sleepless-night-inducing experiences you’ll ever have. However, by keeping a few simple guidelines in mind, you can take almost all of the stress out of the new car buying process, and roll out on your new wheels confident that you got the best deal you could. 

1. Hit the information superhighway before you hit the real one.

These days, it is possible to find out almost anything after a few diligent minutes of searching online. Checking out a few websites can reveal all of the information you need to know about a new car. The manufacturer’s site will have most of the basic details about their cars, as well as optional packages and an idea of you’ll be likely to spend. Also, groups like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have websites where you can browse all of their findings, and even search safety reports by make and model. Most dealerships have an online listing of their stock as well, so you can do most (if not all) of the browsing legwork from the comfort of home!

2. Pay attention to the road

The test drive is where you get your first (and likely only) hands-on experience with a potential new car, so be sure to make it count. This is where doing your homework really pays off. If you’re not pre-occupied with the upcoming negotiations, you’ll be able to really focus on the car itself and get a feel for how it will perform. Be wary of test drives that are too brief or that don’t feature a variety of driving situations (city vs. highway, for example). 

3. Check out different states

If you live in a part of the country that enables you to do so, you can even comparison-shop by state. Different states have varying rates for documentation fees and the “closing costs” of the purchase price. Car dealers in, say, New Jersey have documentation fees below the national average, and some states even cap the amount that dealers are allowed to charge. It may be a haul, but buying in a neighboring state could save you a significant amount of money.

The bottom line is that buying a new car should be fun! With a little prep work, you can walk into a dealership knowing what to expect and be able to focus purely on the task at hand: falling in love with your new ride!



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