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Buying a New Vehicle

Enjoy Buying a New Vehicle

Sooner or later it happens to all of us. Whether you’re looking for basic transportation or the thrill of a hot new sports car, the time eventually comes to buy a car or truck, and it’s a purchase you should make very carefully. There’s a lot to consider when buying a new vehicle. So how do you choose?

Before you walk onto a dealer’s lot, do what your teachers and parents have always told you. Do your homework. Start by asking yourself some basic questions:

  • What kind of car or truck do you need?
  • How much can you afford?
  • What down payment and monthly payment fits into your budget?
  • List the makes and models that meet your needs.
  • List which options are most important.
  • Consider other costs of ownership such as taxes, insurance and maintenance.

Next you’re ready to select a dealer. Here in Hampton Roads, we’re fortunate to have many dealers to choose from. Ask if the dealer is a member of HRADA. It gives you peace of mind that the dealer has the highest standards of business ethics.

Some car buyers make their first visit to the dealership on Sundays when many dealers are closed. You can take your time and make notes on the vehicles you are interested in. Once you have gathered your information, visit the showroom. You’ll be greeted by a salesperson when you arrive. Consider him or her as a helpful resource. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. A good salesperson will begin by asking certain questions designed to help you find the vehicle that’s right for you. Their knowledge and expertise can be a great help to you in the decision making process.

Once you have narrowed your choices, arrange for a test drive. The salesperson will ride with you and orient you to the features and benefits of the vehicle. This is the time to check the vehicle’s performance, handling and ride quality. Ask to drive the car in a variety of situations; smooth and bumpy roads, slow residential speeds and highway speeds. Check braking, steering, acceleration and overall stability of the car. Drive with the radio off so you can listen for unusual noises or rattles.

Once you’ve made your selection, it’s time to get down to business. Don’t be anxious about negotiating. Remember, you’re the customer and you’re in the driver’s seat. If the price is not acceptable just decline the offer.

If you are trading in your current vehicle you’ll need to know a few additional things. First, if you have a loan on the vehicle, what is the loan balance? If the car is worth less than that loan balance, your trade-in may actually cause the total cost of your new purchase to be higher. If you owe less than the trade-in is worth, the total new vehicle cost will be less. Most people are aware of the books (value guides) used in appraising vehicles. It is important to bear in mind that a vehicle’s value is based on many factors. The condition of your car (mechanically and cosmetically,) the mileage as it relates to the vehicle’s age and market conditions associated with the make and model of your trade- in, all affect the vehicle’s value.

Your salesperson will also remind you of the additional costs associated with purchasing a vehicle, the ones we tend to overlook: taxes, title and registration fees, dealer preparation and optional accessories. Extended service contracts or extended warranties are another consideration. When considering whether or not to purchase and extended warranty, examine the original factory warranty. The manufacturer’s warranty will cover most every repair that may occur during the time frame of the warranty period. If you plan on keeping the vehicle past the warranty period, an extended warranty may be a wise investment. Based on the current costs to repair various components, you’ll find this coverage can be a lifesaver.

Finally, after you’ve taken your new pride and joy home, take the time to review the owner’s manual and recommended maintenance schedule in detail. This information will help you have many wonderful years with your new car.


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