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Car Buying Tips

Hey all, 
   I'm thinking I need to get a new car, since mine is 15 years old and the last 2 service appts. have both cost me about the value of my car.  I'm also getting some minor paint bubbling on the low edges, leading me to believe it's starting to rust underneath.  

   Anyway, this was my first car, and I've never actually gone in, negotiated, etc. to buy a car.  My current one was bought through a car buying service offered by my insurance company which is no longer offered.  So, any tips, suggestions, etc. to help me out?  I think I've narrowed it down to 3-4 cars I'd be interested in test driving,  but I have no idea on what to ask, how to negotiate, etc.  Any suggestions on how to not get completely screwed over by shark sales people??  

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Re: Car Buying Tips

  • I just did this whole thing this past summer;  is recommend looking up looking up the Kelley Blue Book value of any cars you're interested in test driving and see what the value is. We found there were not major differences in sticker price and online value (we were looking mainly at pre-owned) and found dealers were more likely throw in extras (longer warranties, oil changes) or small changes in price rather than bigger price reductions. 

    Also give yourself a while to make a decision. I think I drove the same car three or four times before I decided on the right one. I also drive different models (base model, some upgrades, more upgrades) to see what extras I really wanted/needed. 

    Also our sales guy (who I really liked) told us there are usually more deals and offers salespeople can make in the last few days of the month (if their sales/commissions/rewards are done monthly) than in the middle. 
    WinstonsGirlshort+sassycowgirl8238
  • I just did this whole thing this past summer;  is recommend looking up looking up the Kelley Blue Book value of any cars you're interested in test driving and see what the value is. We found there were not major differences in sticker price and online value (we were looking mainly at pre-owned) and found dealers were more likely throw in extras (longer warranties, oil changes) or small changes in price rather than bigger price reductions. 

    Also give yourself a while to make a decision. I think I drove the same car three or four times before I decided on the right one. I also drive different models (base model, some upgrades, more upgrades) to see what extras I really wanted/needed. 

    Also our sales guy (who I really liked) told us there are usually more deals and offers salespeople can make in the last few days of the month (if their sales/commissions/rewards are done monthly) than in the middle. 
    I wish we had a Kelley Blue Book thing here in Canada.  We have similar, but you have to put in contact info, which is then passed on to interested dealerships so they can contact you.  

  • I just did this whole thing this past summer;  is recommend looking up looking up the Kelley Blue Book value of any cars you're interested in test driving and see what the value is. We found there were not major differences in sticker price and online value (we were looking mainly at pre-owned) and found dealers were more likely throw in extras (longer warranties, oil changes) or small changes in price rather than bigger price reductions. 

    Also give yourself a while to make a decision. I think I drove the same car three or four times before I decided on the right one. I also drive different models (base model, some upgrades, more upgrades) to see what extras I really wanted/needed. 

    Also our sales guy (who I really liked) told us there are usually more deals and offers salespeople can make in the last few days of the month (if their sales/commissions/rewards are done monthly) than in the middle. 
    I wish we had a Kelley Blue Book thing here in Canada.  We have similar, but you have to put in contact info, which is then passed on to interested dealerships so they can contact you.  
    That's terrible. Happy to send you the US values of you want to send a list of cars. Don't know if that will help at all, or if that value would even be useful. Is there any other way to find a typical dealer price for a specific car?
  • I can access the US prices, but between the difference in dollars (US to CDN) and the different requirements for standard features (day time running lights, etc.), they're not super comparable.  I just gave them my info and turned my phone to silent instead.  

  • Consumer Reports is a very good source of recommendations.  What cars are you considering?  I will be happy to look up information and recommendations about the models for you.  The annual car issue just came out this month.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    SP29
  • Narrow down to 3-4 cars/vehicles and then go in and test drive all. Narrow down to the vehicle of your choice and then see if you can negotiate with a couple of dealerships that sell the same car. Always start negotiating knowing the top price you will pay and start low. Negotiate up. Negotiate with both the price of the car and the extras you might like. Things like winter tires (on rims), floor mats, even service packages can be negotiated.

    For example (I'm in Alberta), I bought a Hyundai Elantra mid trim for $18500 all in. It should have sold for about $24000. By pitting four dealerships against each other, I was able to walk away from one that didn't want to negotiate and then let the others know what other dealerships were offering and ask them to beat the price. If you can pay in cash, that is extra useful for negotiating.

    Be willing to let them hang for a bit and not respond back if you don't like what they are offering. I did everything over the phone and then went in twice to seal the deal.

    SP29short+sassycowgirl8238vikinganna87
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    edited April 2017
    I just did this whole thing this past summer;  is recommend looking up looking up the Kelley Blue Book value of any cars you're interested in test driving and see what the value is. We found there were not major differences in sticker price and online value (we were looking mainly at pre-owned) and found dealers were more likely throw in extras (longer warranties, oil changes) or small changes in price rather than bigger price reductions. 

    Also give yourself a while to make a decision. I think I drove the same car three or four times before I decided on the right one. I also drive different models (base model, some upgrades, more upgrades) to see what extras I really wanted/needed. 

    Also our sales guy (who I really liked) told us there are usually more deals and offers salespeople can make in the last few days of the month (if their sales/commissions/rewards are done monthly) than in the middle. 
    I wish we had a Kelley Blue Book thing here in Canada.  We have similar, but you have to put in contact info, which is then passed on to interested dealerships so they can contact you.  
    Make it up. Or, if it's one of those that verifies if what you're putting in is real, use "real" stuff. Oftentimes, I use the White House address, but a major hotel or business address works too. Same for phone number. Google "throwaway email address" and use one of the numerous services out there for a fake email. 
  • If you're interested in a new car, go for one model year older. For example, in Feb 2014, FI bought a 2013 Mazda 3. It was new in the lot and had only 53 miles on it, but he spent about $5k less than the sticker price because it was old inventory.

    Unless you're really interested in brand new 2017 features, this is one of the best ways to buy a new car.

    Also, if you can wait, note quarters and holidays. Either go the last day of a quarter (when sales teams are scrambling to make their goals) or deal with the mob of a holiday weekend. (Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc. here in the US...not sure what the big "sale holidays" are in Canada.)

    No matter what, unless it's the last day of the quarter, never believe a salesperson who says "this needs to leave the lot today." It's not true, and they're not giving you the deal they're pretending to. (A friend of mine recently got talked into leasing a car $50/mo over his budget because he fell for that.)
    SP29sparklepants41vikinganna87
  • I always bring someone with me who is good a dealing, my mom is a wiz and has dealed for all of our cars in the family. She does as PPs stated, she will find similar cars at dealerships and pit dealers against each other, we walk away from places that don't have good interest rates, aren't willing to deal, etc. 
    image
  • justsie said:
    I always bring someone with me who is good a dealing, my mom is a wiz and has dealed for all of our cars in the family. She does as PPs stated, she will find similar cars at dealerships and pit dealers against each other, we walk away from places that don't have good interest rates, aren't willing to deal, etc. 
    I slightly disagree with this. My experience is that the dealer will negotiate almost solely with that other person and won't take you seriously.   I brought my dad the last time just because he had to sign off on the car I was trading in (it was in his name)  The dealer would ask him questions and he'd redirect him to me,  saying "this is her purchase.  I'm just here to sign off on the trade in."  
    The dealer took me more seriously. 
  • Thanks ladies.  I'm thinking of doing test drives today, but I'm not wanting to buy until I sell my current car, so that gives me some time too.  I am in Alberta, and was planning on calling several dealerships once I make a decision, since we can hit Calgary/Red Deer/Edmonton pretty easily.  I do have time on my side, since my car is still running well, so I'm hoping I can use that to my advantage too  

    Currently, I'm looking at:
    Ford Fiesta
    Hyundai Veloster
    VW Beetle Convertible
    Toyota Prius C

    So, I'm kind of all over the board.  And I'm torn between being my usual practical/cheap self and going out and buying something fun for once since I can afford it.  But honestly, the depreciation value of cars makes me want to cry and stick with something practical and cheap.  Definitely open to 1-2 years used.  Much more than that and I don't see the point in selling the car I love and know well.  And, based on my current car, I'll likely keep this one for 10-15 years, so I don't want anything too old.  

  • Thanks ladies.  I'm thinking of doing test drives today, but I'm not wanting to buy until I sell my current car, so that gives me some time too.  I am in Alberta, and was planning on calling several dealerships once I make a decision, since we can hit Calgary/Red Deer/Edmonton pretty easily.  I do have time on my side, since my car is still running well, so I'm hoping I can use that to my advantage too  

    Currently, I'm looking at:
    Ford Fiesta
    Hyundai Veloster
    VW Beetle Convertible
    Toyota Prius C

    So, I'm kind of all over the board.  And I'm torn between being my usual practical/cheap self and going out and buying something fun for once since I can afford it.  But honestly, the depreciation value of cars makes me want to cry and stick with something practical and cheap.  Definitely open to 1-2 years used.  Much more than that and I don't see the point in selling the car I love and know well.  And, based on my current car, I'll likely keep this one for 10-15 years, so I don't want anything too old.  
    Those are some pretty different cars! Definitely figure out the type that you want.   
    charlotte989875
  • justsie said:
    I always bring someone with me who is good a dealing, my mom is a wiz and has dealed for all of our cars in the family. She does as PPs stated, she will find similar cars at dealerships and pit dealers against each other, we walk away from places that don't have good interest rates, aren't willing to deal, etc. 
    I slightly disagree with this. My experience is that the dealer will negotiate almost solely with that other person and won't take you seriously.   I brought my dad the last time just because he had to sign off on the car I was trading in (it was in his name)  The dealer would ask him questions and he'd redirect him to me,  saying "this is her purchase.  I'm just here to sign off on the trade in."  
    The dealer took me more seriously. 
    Sure, redirection had to happen during the conversation, but for me the goal was always to get the best price so it didn't bother me. I walked about paying about 3,000 less than I though was my "best price" so it was well worth it in my book. I don't need to be taken seriously, I just need to save money. 
    image
  • I'd do some more thinking. Those cars to me show that you have no idea what you want. What kind of driving do you do? What kind of weather conditions? How comfortable with maintenance are you? What's your budget? I think you're better off deciding what kind of car you want and exploring different makes and models in the same category. I mean, for sure go test drive all of these! But once you like one expand the search a bit. 
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited April 2017
    Currently, I'm looking at:
    Ford Fiesta
    Hyundai Veloster
    VW Beetle Convertible
    Toyota Prius C

    I checked the current Consumer Reports.

    The Toyota Prius C has the highest ratings of the cars in your list, but it has some comfort issues.  The Hyundai Velostar is also recommended.
    The VW Beetle might be fun, but it has a terrible repair reputation.  I would avoid it.  It is on their list of one of the worst cars to buy.   Ford Fiesta is about average.

    The highest subcompact car recommended by CR is the Honda Fit.  It is also their highest recommended used subcompact car, too, because of its excellent repair rating.  You might check it out.  It has great owner satisfaction.  For something a bit larger, they recommend the Toyota Corolla.  It is in the same price range.

    Honda Fit
    Image result for Honda Fit


    DH and I drive two ten year old Hondas. (CRV and Civic)   Never had a problem with either of them, and we can't think of a good reason to replace them.


    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    SP29
  • I'd do a little more research.   Also, will you be entertaining the idea of any passengers in the next few years?   
    CMGragainSP29
  • Thanks again ladies, and thank CMGr for the Consumer Report.  I crossed off the Prius today, which made me sad, but I though the engine was going to give out and fall out of the car as soon as we hit the freeway (100km/hour).  

    The Fiesta was nice, but practical.  Very practical.  I like the Veloster, though there were 1-2 things I wasn't sure of, one being getting out of the car in tight spaces.  Very hard to do, and it's a pretty often thing to have to do (fine when the door is open all the way though).  The Beetle was the nicest, which didn't surprise me, but honestly, it was super fun.  We took it out with the top down and it was super fun.  

    I know they're all different, but really, I'm looking for a smaller car, preferable a hatchback over a sedan, heated front seats are a deal breaker, need cruise and AC.  I'd prefer a manual transmission, which the Beetle doesn't offer.  The other 2 both come in manual.  So different cars, but really, they all fill those requirements.  No plans for kids in the future, so I'm not too worried about who is in the back seat.  I very rarely carry passengers other than DH at the moment. 

    From here, I think I need to look at what my car might be worth, 1-2 year old cars, and probably test driving (again) standard transmissions.  There were none available at the lots today.  

  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited April 2017
    The Honda Fit is a hatchback, and the basic model comes with manual transmission.  DH (engineer) says you really should check it out before deciding.  These cars really hold their value, so you might consider buying new.  The only reason people might not like them is if they need more passenger room - like, for kids.

     https://www.honda.ca/fit (Canada site)



    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • justsie said:
    justsie said:
    I always bring someone with me who is good a dealing, my mom is a wiz and has dealed for all of our cars in the family. She does as PPs stated, she will find similar cars at dealerships and pit dealers against each other, we walk away from places that don't have good interest rates, aren't willing to deal, etc. 
    I slightly disagree with this. My experience is that the dealer will negotiate almost solely with that other person and won't take you seriously.   I brought my dad the last time just because he had to sign off on the car I was trading in (it was in his name)  The dealer would ask him questions and he'd redirect him to me,  saying "this is her purchase.  I'm just here to sign off on the trade in."  
    The dealer took me more seriously. 
    Sure, redirection had to happen during the conversation, but for me the goal was always to get the best price so it didn't bother me. I walked about paying about 3,000 less than I though was my "best price" so it was well worth it in my book. I don't need to be taken seriously, I just need to save money. 

  • CMGragain said:
    The Honda Fit is a hatchback, and the basic model comes with manual transmission.  DH (engineer) says you really should check it out before deciding.  These cars really hold their value, so you might consider buying new.  The only reason people might not like them is if they need more passenger room - like, for kids.

     https://www.honda.ca/fit (Canada site)



    Thanks for this too.  Personally, I've had the worst service from Honda every time I walk in (no one to help me, telling me they can't give me a brochure of Civic models cos those are only for customers, etc.), so I'm none too happy with Honda.  And I've sat in a Fit in the past and didn't really like it.  It may be worth a re-look though if they have updated the styling.  

    charlotte989875CMGragain
  • If you liked the Bettle maybe try a Jetta or Golf? 
    WinstonsGirlsparklepants41cupcait927
  • DH loved the Golf and wants me to drive it.  I hate the new Jettas.  They look like every other car out there and will never be as cool as my Jetta.  ;)  The Golf is on the list if I have to scrap this one and go back to the drawing board.  

  • Thanks for this too.  Personally, I've had the worst service from Honda every time I walk in (no one to help me, telling me they can't give me a brochure of Civic models cos those are only for customers, etc.), so I'm none too happy with Honda.  And I've sat in a Fit in the past and didn't really like it.  It may be worth a re-look though if they have updated the styling.  
    It was redesigned with a larger cabin in 2013.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    WinstonsGirl
  • blabla89blabla89 member
    Ninth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited April 2017
    You might want to check out the Subaru Crosstrek or Impreza Wagon. We bought a Crosstrek last year and I'm in love with it.

    If you're looking to buy used, be sure to take the car to be inspected by an independent mechanic before the sale is final. The dealership should allow you to do this. If the mechanic finds any little thing that isn't right, insist that the dealership either fix it or lower the price accordingly.
    Wedding Countdown Ticker



    WinstonsGirlOurWildKingdom
  • Do not be afraid to walk away as soon as a salesperson drops some bomb shell on you (oh actually this one has the pinstrip/racing strip so its an additional $900). When I was 21 my Dad and I went to literally 15 honda dealerships in dc/maryland/va and ended up buying 90 minutes form my house.

    I was kind of a brat and kept getting annoyed with my dad because I'm the least patient person alive but saving 5k was worth it years later.


  • A few things PPs mentioned already.  I ALWAYS buy used, though just a few years old.  Your interest rate will be a little higher on a used car than a new one, but you'll save thousands.

    I've heard this trick.  I've never had it work for me, but only tried it twice.  Try to talk to the "fleet" manager.  That person's commissions are more on volume.

    If you like the VW Beetle, have you thought about a convertible MINI Cooper?  That's the car I drive.  They're still spendy to fix if something goes wrong, because it is a foreign car.  But they're a lot more reliable than Beetles.  Brand new, they're in the high $20s, but I got mine 3 years old for $14K.  I've been driving it for about 3 years now and, other than basic maintenance, the only repair I've had to make was replacing the spark plugs.

    I test drove a Fiat back then also, but it felt like a "light, flimsy" car.  I didn't like it and their "convertible" version is lame and doesn't go all the way back.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • The Chevy Cruze now comes in a hatchback that's pretty cool. When we were buying DH's truck, they had one in the showroom, so I sat in it and played around. Liked it a lot. I can't drive a manual, but they do come that way.

    Ask around for anyone you know who is an employee of the brand. Even suppliers to the auto dealers get supplier discounts. I've seen Facebook exchanges where people have doled out discount codes. The companies encourage it so that people buy their cars. 

    Outside of discount codes, luck in negotiating (in my experience anyway) is basically your trade-in value and add ons. Like "I will buy this car right now if you include the all weather mats, an engine block heater, a roof rack, etc." Just be prepared to buy it if that's what you want. 
    *********************************************************************************

    image
  • The Chevy Cruz is also highly recommended on CR.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • I think I've narrowed it down to the Veloster.  The Beetle was a lot of fun to drive, but my practical side is kicking back in, and the Hyundai is much cheaper, gives me more features, better warranty and they have $6000 off factory price at the moment, which is pretty hard to turn down.  Puts it right in the middle of my price points.  We test drove a manual tonight and it was pretty smooth.  Now I suppose I need to pick a price and start calling dealerships.  I really want to get my winter tires included, as I know I'll buy those anyway. Wish me luck ladies.  

    I've loved both my Hyundai cars and all my family has had Hyundai cars over the years. Hope you get a good deal!
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