Buying a New Car: My Strategic Plan to Ensure I Get the Best Deal

When I started my job as an employment specialist at the beginning of this year, my husband was determined to get me a better car since I’d be driving around clients in my personal vehicle. My husband thought he was getting a good deal on a vehicle that he bought from a friend of ours. The car he chose was a 2002 Chevrolet Cavalier, and although the price made it seem like a “steal”, there was a reason the price was so low: the windshield had a large crack in it, the passenger’s door couldn’t be opened from the inside as well as a slew of other problems. Upon getting the title for the vehicle, we also learned that the vehicle had a salvage title because it had been involved in a collision.

Now I have to drive this embarrassing vehicle, and even though we’ve gotten the initial problems repaired, there always seems to be something going on with this car. It makes loud popping sounds that startle people whenever I pull up. Even mechanics can’t determine the cause of the annoying sound. I’m always apologizing to my clients about my “jalopy” and we’ll usually have a good laugh, but I’m sick and tired of driving this “hunk of junk”. We don’t have the money to continue to repair this car any longer. I have come to the conclusion that it’s just not worth it and I’m going to purchase a brand new vehicle within the next few months. Here’s how I’m going to make sure I don’t end up with a similar vehicle:

1.) Research, research, research

– in the past whenever I’ve bought cars, I’ve never really researched for long. If a car looked good, had relatively low miles and a decent asking price, I’d usually buy it. Since I’m going to be purchasing my first new car and I plan keep it for a while, I’m going to research the dealerships in my area, ask friends in the area about their experiences and recommendations and even read online reviews before making a choice. I’ll even read Better Business Bureau reports on the dealerships I’m interested in.

2) Make determinations ahead of time

– before I even visit local car dealers to pick out my new car, I plan to narrow down my choices. This means I’ll decide on the make and model that I’m interested in, and if I can’t decide on just one, I’ll choose between 2 – 4 cars that I like best. I’m also going to make of list of the amenities that I absolutely must have (like power locks/windows, GPS, etc).

3) Obtain a pre-approval

– since I don’t have nearly enough money to pay cash for a brand new car, I’m obviously going to have to receive financing through a financial institution. In order to save time and to help determine exactly how much I’m going to have available to purchase a car, I’m going to get pre-approved for a car loan.

4) Insurance issues

– I had a friend who had no idea that a Chevy Cobalt was considered a sports car and is therefore more expensive to insure. This is why I’m going to make sure I check with my car insurance company in order to obtain estimates for the makes and models I have in mind, to prevent any surprises.

5) Familiarize myself with the Lemon Law

– Most people think that all brand new vehicles are in excellent condition, but I know this is not true. I don’t know the specifics of the Lemon Law, but I know it was created for a reason and I’m going to learn all about it before purchasing my new car.

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