Buying a car shouldn't be a gamble, but many feel like it is. Will your perfect auto be a lemon? Or will your payments skyrocket from hidden fees? You've got to know what you're getting into when you buy a car so that you don't get screwed. Here are a few pointers for making your car purchase a smooth transaction.
Give yourself enough time. Car dealers can sense desperation. And they will take advantage of that in you if you're not careful when considering cars to buy. Save yourself from getting screwed by spending a few weekends, at the least, looking for a car. You'll have more options to consider and you'll ultimately get a better deal.
Get your bank to finance your car purchase. If you plan to purchase a car from a dealership or even a used car lot, plan to pay a high interest rate on your car loan. This can be avoided! Don't get screwed by unnecessarily high interest rates. Instead, get an all-purpose loan from you bank. You'll save yourself a lot of money. (Of course, always consider 0% financing options from your dealer, but look for hidden fees.)
Test drive several cars. Don't commit yourself to only one model of car. You'll be limited in your selection. You need to test drive at least 3 different models of vehicle to ensure that you know exactly the one for you. If you have to, make a list stating the pros and cons of each car you are considering purchasing so that you can go home and make a better decision. Don't buy the first car you love.
Know the actual ‘drive it off the lot price' before you sign anything. Avoid getting screwed from extra fees by finding out the actual price of the car before you sign the contract. This will include many fees you probably hadn't considered, including freight and taxes. Find out what your down payment needs to be and what your monthly loan payments will be. This all rests on the ‘drive it off the lot' price, not the sticker price on the car. Don't be naïve when it comes to the real cost of cars, new or used.
Don't trade in your old car. You are going to lose a lot of cash if you fall for the old ‘trade in your old car' trick. Often, you won't get anywhere near to what your car is worth. So the dealership will actually be making money off of you on two cars in one day. Talk about getting screwed! Instead, try to sell your car privately and put that money towards a larger down payment on your new car. Unless you are desperate, don't trade in your old car.
Steer clear of ‘extras'. Once you agree to purchase a new or used car, beware! There are still opportunities for the salesman to screw you over with more unnecessary fees. Avoid getting screwed by saying ‘no' to the endless stream of ‘extras and add-ons' he'll try to sell you. Politely refuse. You can definitely get these things cheaper elsewhere. (And perhaps by waiting a bit, you'll realize you really didn't need those fancy car mats, license plate lights, or sideboards anyway.)
Go into a car purchase knowing exactly what you need and want, and stick to your guns. It's the best way of ensuring that you buy your car without getting screwed.