Don't Get Taken Advantage of: 6 Must Know Car Tips

Don't Get Taken Advantage of: 6 Must Know Car Tips

Even though women make up a majority of the car buyers in the U.S. and influence 84% of the buying decisions, they still take a back seat in the car buying negotiation process and are often overcharged when it comes to car upkeep. Avoid being scammed with the following advice:

Be Prepared

Research is the best tool women have to avoid overpaying for cars and services. If you're looking to buy a car, read the industry information and reviews on sites like KBB cars for sale, and find a car fitting your lifestyle and budget before you visit a showroom.

Being wowed by a particular color/feature set leads to an emotional buy, which is what your car salesperson is counting on. Knowing what you're looking for - and what you can expect to pay for it - before you get there, will save you money and cut the hassle.

Decide on Extras

Before entering the showroom decide on what extra features you want in the car. Look at the differences in editions. In the privacy of your home, away from any sales pressure, decide whether you really need that fabric care package. Stick to your decision when you get to the dealership.

Consider using the extras you do want in the negotiation process.

Avoid Gender-based Conversations

Salespeople have a tendency to talk to women about color choices. Head this sort of talk off immediately. Fuel efficiency, horsepower, and warranty are much more important in the car buying process than the number of cup holders in the car. Take control of the conversation and redirect it to more meaningful details.

Test Drive the Car

While comfort is important, conducting a test drive is about more than how the seats feel. Turn off the radio. Drive at multiple speeds on surface streets and highways. Apply the brakes above 40 miles per hour and note their responsiveness. Is there any shimmying that occurs during the drive? Listen to the engine and for other noises. If it's a used car, take it to an independent mechanic for an inspection.

Forgo Budget Talk When Kicking Tires

During the shopping phase, don't fall into the trap of discussing your monthly payment or maximum budget. If you do, be assured that's what they'll quote you.

Use your research on what the dealer paid for the car as the basis for the price negotiation, not dealer's sticker price. Ask to see their invoice. When it comes to car buying, except for personal information about the person who last owned the car - in the case of a used car, the dealership can show you everything. If they refuse to provide something, know that they can. They just don't want to.

Avoid No-Haggle Pricing

This is a marketing ploy dreamed up to land more business from women, people who don't like to haggle, and those new to car shopping. In these scenarios, the buyer is agreeing to an unknown profit margin for the dealership and you can bet the house always wins. Haggling comes into play when you start talking about financing terms anyway, so if you want the lowest price on your new car, go the negotiation route.

Record Keeping Saves Money

After your car purchase, keep meticulous service records. This helps you understand what you've had done and what the manufacturer suggests. Before making any service appointments do some research on what you can expect based on your car's mileage. Do an Internet search on the cost of parts and services before you go.

The most effective way in getting a good deal or avoiding the scam, is through research. Know what you want ahead of time. Know what it should cost. Don't make emotional or fear-based decisions. If during the process they bring up a point or cost you hadn't considered, excuse yourself and do some quick Internet research on your phone. If you don't have a smart phone, "go to lunch (or dinner)" and do some quick online research. 

Car buying should not be an emotional ordeal. Armed with research, know what you want. If one dealership can't give it to you, move on. Don't fall in love; your negotiation will suffer.

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