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Car Buying Tips: Figure Out What Car You Want To Buy
Posted By Good Sam On May 4, 2012 @ 4:16 pm In Travel Tips | 1 Comment
Brought to you by Good Sam’s Auto Buying Service, TrueCar
Welcome to Car Buying Made Easy—A nine-step plan designed to help make your next car purchase simpler, faster and more satisfying.
In Step 1, we helped you figure out your price range from selling price to monthly payments. And now that you have a good idea of how much you’re planning to spend, you’re ready for Step 2: Figure out What Car You Want to Buy.
It’s all about research, research, and more research. Doing the homework and knowing everything about the car you are interested in purchasing is a must. You will determine the type of vehicle best suited for you and your family; research the vehicle’s safety and reliability ratings; determine what safety, performance and technology features are important to you; and research trim levels, packages, and options.
Knowledge truly is power, and since a vehicle is the second biggest purchase most people make in their lifetimes (purchasing a home being the first), it literally pays to be informed. We suggest you start your research online. There is a vast amount of useful and reliable new car product and pricing information available at your fingertips; according to the 2010/2011 Cars Online study from Capgemini, 94% of consumers use the web to research and purchase cars. The days of relying solely on your local car salesman for all the vehicle product information are long gone. Because of the Web, by the time you arrive at the dealership you have the ability to know everything, if not more, than the salespeople know about the vehicles they’re showing you. An informed car buyer who knows what they want saves valuable time for themselves and the car salesperson.
Reputable sites to research cars include: ConsumerReports.org, Yahoo! Autos, AOL Autos, US News & World Report Rankings, TrueCar.com, MotorTrend.com, Edmunds.com, and KBB.com, as well as the individual manufacturers’ websites. These sites will provide you with everything you need to know about the car you are interested in purchasing, including engine information, horsepower, torque, fuel economy, safety features, technology features, headroom, leg space, cargo capacity, and many more vital specifications about the vehicle.
WHAT TYPE OF VEHICLE DO YOU WANT TO BUY?
We suggest you start your search broadly and narrow in. First, determine what type of vehicle you want to buy, as this will help you narrow down your choices even further. Are you looking for a car? Is it a sedan, a coupe, or hatchback? Is it a compact or convertible? Is it a sports car with only two seats? Or maybe it’s not a car at all. Are you looking for a truck? Or is it an SUV? Is a minivan suited to your needs?
Now that you have figured out your price range and type of vehicle you are interested in buying, you can use tools such as the Car Finder that allow you to see which vehicles are available in your price range, by car type and model year, helping you hone in on just a few vehicle choices. With this particular tool, most manufacturer incentives (special offers) are already reflected in prices being shown.
Carmakers routinely make special offers to entice car buyers to come to the dealership and purchase a car. Usually the offer pertains to select models, other times the offer is across the brand or manufacturer vehicle line.
The most typical incentive offers from car manufacturers include customer cash back, low APR, or lease offers. Some manufacturers also offer special incentives for retired and active duty members of the military and for recent college graduates. Once you have targeted a handful of vehicles, you can research the vehicle’s safety and reliability ratings—explore the vehicle’s features, and know what trim levels, packages, and options are available on each of those vehicles.
CHECK THE VEHICLE’S SAFETY AND RELIABILITY RATINGS
Find out how the vehicle you are interested in purchasing fared in crash test ratings and reliability ratings. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts crash tests to determine how well a vehicle protects its passengers, and creates safety ratings. You should also check the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) site for their 5-Star Safety Ratings, which measure and provide information on a vehicle’s ability to provide crash protection and rollover safety. These 5-Star crash ratings can also be found on the car’s Monroney label (window sticker) at the dealership lot.
Reliability ratings are also important to consult because they are an indicator of what you may end up spending on repairs. Consumer Reports surveys 1.3 million car owners each year, and their team of experts uses the findings to predict the reliability of new cars (subscription required). JD Power also provides vehicle reliability ratings on new cars by measuring problems experienced in the past 12 months by original owners of three-year-old vehicles.
KNOW WHAT FEATURES YOU WANT
When it comes to features, some people think more is better, but it does not make sense to pay for features you do not really need or will not end up using. There are several different “families” of features:
Determine your “must-have” features (that you cannot do without), your “good-to-have” features (that you would like to have but which are not mandatory), and your “can-do-without” features (that you definitely do not need). As your research gets more and more focused and you narrow down your car choices, you should continue to build your list.
KNOW TRIM LEVELS, PACKAGES AND OPTIONS
New cars are configured in so many different ways these days; all the options can be overwhelming. For instance, the Fiat 500 can be configured in 500,000 different ways. Combat this by knowing what you want and staying informed. Since you have already compiled a list of your must-have features, good-to-have features and can-do-without features, when you look at which trim levels, packages and options are available on the car you are interested in purchasing, you can more easily determine what is worth your money. For example, if you look at a particular package on a car you are interested in buying, and six of the seven features listed are on your must-have list, then you should definitely do the math and see if it is cheaper to buy the package or buy each option (or feature) individually.
Now you’ve chosen the car and the features you want. You know what you want to pay. Ready to do some research? Head to the Good Sam Club Auto Buying Service * to find out what others really paid for vehicles in your area. And get an estimated members price that will save you time and money at a local, Program Certified Dealer.
Note: Exclusive for Good Sam members. Members must log into your Good Sam online account to utilize this service.
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URL to article: http://blog.goodsamclub.com/2012/05/carbuyingtips2/
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 Good Sam Club Auto Buying Service: https://www.goodsamclub.com/LoginStart.aspx?ReturnUrl=http%3a%2f%2fdriveyourdream-sam.zag.com%2fmain.html%3freferrer_id%3dZGSCLPR0002
 Car Buying Tips: Calculate Your Costs: http://blog.goodsamclub.com/2012/04/carbuyingtip/
 Tips: How to Get the Best Deal on Your Next Vehicle: http://blog.goodsamclub.com/2012/01/zag/
 Build Your Dream Vehicle – No Haggle Auto Buying Service: http://blog.goodsamclub.com/2011/03/build-your-dream-vehicle/
 Boulevard of America US 80 – Part 2 Exploring the Southwest Yuma, AZ to Fort Worth/Dallas, TX : http://blog.goodsamclub.com/2013/05/boulevard-of-america-us-80-part-2-exploring-the-southwest-yuma-az-to-fort-worthdallas-tx-2/
 Staying Safe: http://blog.goodsamclub.com/2013/05/staying-safe/
 Boulevard of America US 80 – Part 2 Exploring the Southwest Yuma, AZ to Fort Worth/Dallas, TX : http://blog.goodsamclub.com/2013/05/boulevard-of-america-us-80-part-2-exploring-the-southwest-yuma-az-to-fort-worthdallas-tx/
 Dealing with High Blood Pressure on the Road: http://blog.goodsamclub.com/2013/05/dealing-with-high-blood-pressure-on-the-road/
 Action Line – TIRED TIRES AND SOGGY ROOF: http://blog.goodsamclub.com/2013/05/action-line-tired-tires-and-soggy-roof/
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