Take these steps to get ready to buy your new car before you actually go to the dealership

Red and Blue Cars Parked Side-by-Side / How to Buy a New Car: What You Should Do Before Going to the Dealership
Image: Pixabay
Updated: February 13, 2017

So you're finally ready to trade in your current car for a new one! Congratulations on such an important step. If you've never bought a new car before, you may know nothing about the process. To begin with, there are a number of things you should do to get ready to buy the car before you ever step on the dealership lot.

  1. Never Trust a Car Salesperson
  2. This may seem callous, but remember that it's a salesperson's job to get you to buy a car. They are there to make money from you. Some are better than others, able to break down even the toughest customers. Unless you want to be taken advantage of, tell them only what they need to know to complete the transaction—no more.

  3. Buying a Car Takes at Least a Few Hours
  4. Many customers don't realize how very long it actually takes to purchase a new vehicle. Even if you already have the car picked out, the process can still last several hours. This is because the salespeople and managers will try many gimmicks and pitches to get you to pay more, not to mention the drawn-out negotiations and haggling often involved.

    While you can rush through everything to get straight down to the paperwork, you will probably end up paying hundreds—or even thousands—more than you would if you took your time.

  5. Save Time and Money by Doing Your Homework First
  6. It is always wise to try to save time by having at least an idea beforehand about the car you want. Look at the available options online and narrow down your search. Find out how much other people paid for similar vehicles. Check out the standard and optional features for the one you want. Figure out how much you can afford to spend and how much you are willing to spend—which are not always the same amounts—and estimate what your monthly payments would be. And even if your credit isn't as good as you'd like, don't hesitate to try for a low interest rate.

    If salespeople intimidate you or otherwise make you uncomfortable, you can go to the dealership late at night and walk around the lot. You can't test drive or sign the paperwork, but you'll be able to figure out if the dealership's vehicles are really worth your time and money, and you'll be able to think more clearly without the pressure of a salesperson standing beside you.

Remember, the process of buying a new car starts before you ever set foot on the lot. Follow these steps to make sure you're ready to get the best deal for you.