Here in the Big Apple, it is always possible to score a good deal on a car purchase. However, you can’t just find a good deal—you have to make it happen. You can pay a low price for your vehicle of choice (and therefore save a lot of money in process) only if you know what to do to get the better end of the bargain. Read on below for some tips on how to give yourself the best deal possible.
Pick the right time
You are more likely to score a good deal on a car if you choose the right time to buy. September and October are considered good months for car shopping—since new models arrive during spring or summer, dealers may sell older models for lower prices during the aforementioned months to clear space in the showroom. December is also a great month for good deals, as dealers are eager to sell more cars to boost their end-of-year sales.
As for the right time within the month to buy a car, it would be after the 25th. The period after the 25th is crunch time. Dealerships have a monthly sales quota, and they will do what they have to just to reach it. This means they would agree to sell you a car at a lower price just to meet the quota. If you will be buying a car in December, you can save thousands of dollars just by postponing your auto purchase until after Christmas.
Know that buying at the end of the sales week is also advantageous. If sales has been slow for the past few days, the salesperson may cut you a deal in order to make a sale.
Think about final price instead of monthly payments
A good deal is one that allows you to buy a vehicle at the lowest overall price possible, not one that offers the lowest monthly payment. Low monthly payments can be had by stretching out the loan repayment period, which is not a good idea. If you need a longer term loan, it means you are getting a car you can’t really afford. Stick with a 36-month or 48-month term and find the lowest APR (annual percentage rate) for the period you have chosen.
Use competition to your advantage
Leave the dealership no choice but to give you their lowest price by knowing what the competition offers. Visit online sources like Edmunds.com and CarsDirect to see what prices different dealerships are offering. You can jot down the quotations on a notebook or print them out. Just make sure you walk into the dealership with either the notebook or the worksheets so you can compare the dealer’s price with others. If you think the salesperson isn’t giving you a decent price, tell him or her about the other dealers’ prices and persuade him or her to make a better offer.
Don’t show the trade-in and bring it up in the conversation
A key in getting a good deal is getting the lowest possible price even without a trade-in, which is why you shouldn’t bring up the subject when you walk into the dealership. The sales staff are trained to ask about it immediately after you arrive, so be prepared not to talk about it. When you drive to the dealership, park the car some distance away so it is out of sight of the salesperson. Only mention the trade-in in the latter part of the transaction, when you and the salesperson have already agreed on a price.
Learn about incentives and rebates
You as a car buyer can save even more money by finding out what kind of factory incentives you can take advantage of to bring the vehicle price down. Incentives come in the form of special financing rates and cash back, or both. If you have to choose between the two, compute which one offers more savings. Car makers also offer rebates, but read the fine print before you make a purchase using these.
Say no to dealer add-ons
Dealers don’t just specialize in selling cars—they also specialize in selling add-ons. Expect to be sold items like extended warranty, rustproofing and paint protection, and refuse to pay these outright. You should buy a car from them, and nothing else.