What to Consider When Buying a New Car

by AJ Pettersen · 9 comments

Buying a new car

My wife and I have two cars, one of which is nearing the end of its life. So, we’re in the market for a new vehicle. My wife would like one that functions better in the snow when we’re up north in the winter, and we both want to get a brand new car that will be reliable and safe for years to come. We’ve decided on a mid-size SUV that checks all the boxes.

Though we’ve already decided which vehicle we want to buy, there are still many things we need to take into account before making the actual purchase.

Where?

My wife and I currently live in Florida. We visited a nearby dealership last week and looked at our chosen SUV. After test driving it and talking with the associate, we discovered that they don’t have many four-wheel drive options available here. In Florida, the warm weather makes them unnecessary.

The current cars we have don’t do very well in the snow, so four-wheel drive is important to us. We found that there were only three SUVs with four-wheel drive available in our area.

Thus, we’ve decided to wait until we return home this fall to make the purchase. This will allow us far more options.

When?

The 2014 models are nearing the market, and in September, they’ll be at every dealership. When the 2014 models are released, the 2013 models come at a discounted price — typically between 10 and 20 percent off the sticker price. If we’re patient, this could save my wife and me thousands of dollars. We could still get a brand new vehicle, but at a much cheaper price.

Another thing to keep in mind is the time of the month, week, and even day that you go to the dealership. Towards the end of the month, the salespeople need to meet their numbers, so they may be more willing to give you a better deal. They’re also more willing to bring the price down when there are less people at the dealership. This is during the middle of the week, typically right when the dealership opens. My wife and I plan on heading to the dealership at these times.

How Much?

It’s a common misconception that the price on the window is the price you need to pay. All of these numbers are negotiable. By going at the right time, you’ll set yourself up to get the best price.

When my wife and I go in September, we’ll have more bargaining chips because the dealer will want to get the old models off the lot. This means that we’ll be able to decide what we want included in the car, as well as tell the dealer that we’re unwilling to pay for other extras. Knowing what price is our maximum will also be important.

What Will You Do?

Buying a new car is a big decision. Ensuring that you’re shopping for the right vehicle is vital. Once you’ve decided what you want, shopping in the right place, and at the right time, can help you land a great deal.

What experiences do you have with buying a new car?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • I really like reading an article that will make people think.
    Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

  • Arminius Aurelius says:

    Very interesting. I was born during the Great Depression. My parents both were very frugal. I learned my lessons well from them. We lived well, ate well but never wasted a penny. I remember one evening dinner, I asked for a 2nd piece of chicken and they said no, what was left was for the next evening. But I could have more potatoes or vegetables if I was still hungry. They were right. To this day I eat MAX 4 ounces of meat. Between salad, potatoes and vegetables and 4 ounces of meat, I am content.

    Those fools who demand 12 / 16 ounces of meat end up impoverished and or FAT. I am financially well off, very well off but to this day I still buy used LOW MILEAGE cars. My last car, a 2008 Lincoln Town Car that I bought in April 2008 had 13,900 miles on it. Was like NEW. It cost me $22,900 whereas a NEW Lincoln would have cost me about $45,000. I saved $20,000.

    When I retired in Florida, I bought a used 10 speed bike [ like new ] for $ 75.00. New it would have cost me about $250.00. I clip coupons and save mega bucks in a year at Supermarkets. Some people love to show off their NEW cars, large screen TV’s which after 2 years are OLD but I take pride in my bulging 5 bank accounts.

    I now have the power to do or buy anything I want but I still do not waste money. There are those who spend money on lottery tickets weekly hoping to get rich quick. They are FOOLS. Gambling is an excise tax on stupidity.

    Remember it is NOT how much you earn but how much you SAVE. Compound interest!

  • I bought VW Jetta from my friend who lived the area two years ago. The car is very reliable and economical. However not big and comfortable enough to travel with family.
    For almost half a year I’ve been thinking of changing the car. The arguments that I take into consideration: should it be the new or used car? What if I rent a car for a while and see how it feels?
    I am pretty serious regarding the last opportunity! I know for sure that I will sell my Jetta for almost $4 k less then I paid for it 2 years ago, nothing to say about registration fees. I could have rented a car and would spend less.
    Here are some additional thoughts about it: http://savedplus.wordpress.com

  • Mario says:

    The few times I’ve driven Subaru Impreza in AWD configuration in the snow and even ice, I’ve had nothing but great feelings; those things seem to drive as though they were purpose built for the snow. Also, most of the brand’s models also come in a station wagon style, so there’s plenty of space for most things (except those things too tall for a fixed-roof vehicle). If I had to drive in an area that gets a lot of snow, it would definitely be on top of my list. On the other hand, I can imagine that a station wagon would not be trendy enough for most people — especially compared with SUVs.

    Also, I buy used; let someone else take the hit for the immediate depreciation folks get driving off the lot.

  • I never realized that it is best to buy a new car towards the end of the year and end of the month. I will bear this in mind. We have a plan of getting a bigger car, as requested by the kids. Thank you for sharing.

  • Christine says:

    I’m in a similar situation. My trusty Corolla is nearing the end of it’s life and now that we live in Nebraska we’re considering an all wheel drive vehicle as well. In addition to our Corolla we have another small car so I’d like to get something with more cargo room for our many trips to Lowe’s. 😉

  • My husband and I are looking for a ‘new to us’ car as well. Our current cars were all built before the year 2000 and we haven’t bought a new car that wasn’t previously owned by friends in family in over 13 years. I’ve been researching how to save like crazy and have been trying to time the purchase too. I think a bit part of saving is buying cars right off the lot. If you ask them to make a car to specification you won’t save much money. If you are willing to take whatever they have then you can negotiate much better. Good luck!

  • KM says:

    We bought two new cars last year – one to replace a car after an accident and one to replace an old car that just wouldn’t start one day. Both times, unfortunately, we were pushed into buying when we were not quite ready or planning for it. However, both times we were able to turn the situation around for at least some advantage.

    For the Jeep, we knew we wanted a reliable family car that would fit 4 adults and one child for those occasional family trips to the mountains, drive in the snow well, and just be our go-to car. So we researched the models and costs on Kelley Blue Book, went to our bank to see how good of a loan we could get, and used both of those as leverage at the dealership. We managed to get a pretty good deal on the car because we came recommended from our bank’s manager and because we knew what the car was worth. It was still expensive, but at least we have the peace of mind that it will be reliable and will get us where we need to go. Added bonus: we now have the option to go off-roading.

    For the Ford Fiesta, my goal was a cheap (but safe and reliable), gas-efficient, small, front-wheel drive car that I count on without all the frills and fancies. So again, I did my research on Kelley Blue Book, went to several dealerships, test drove all the cars I was interested in, and the only one I really liked refused to get their price down to what we wanted. So we made another stop at Ford, test drove the Focus, liked it, and started negotiating. They too didn’t want to go as low as we wanted, but they had the Fiesta, which is a cheaper, more gas-efficient, and less frilly cousin of the Focus. After more negotiating, we got that car down to the price we wanted and bought it right there. What worked in our favor that day was the weather – it got really cold and started to snow and the number of visitors dwindled, so they were desperate to meet their daily quota and sold it to us at a loss because that quota was more important.

    Two things I would like to add to the article based on our experience. Even in September, you might not be able to find the exact model you want from last year. Some models sell out, so if you want that discount, be flexible. Also, don’t wait too long for the right time to buy because you might be in the same situation we were in: no car and you need to get to work, so you have one weekend to do your shopping. If your car is nearing the end of its life, be careful about thinking it will get you to the day you are planning for.

  • Steve says:

    We live in Florida and Massachusetts. For the same reasons, we bought an all wheel drive up in Massachusetts. Got a Chevy Equinox and it is great.
    What I do is request a quote online from all the dealers in the area, wherever I am buying. They give you a much lower first quote then when you walk in the door. I let them know exactly what I’m doing. Then I call and ask what their best price will be, because I have better prices than what they offered me online. I go back and forth a couple times. One of them will be more aggressive than the other. Maybe they are behind quota. In Florida I bought 4 different Toyota cars or trucks the last 10 years, and not one of them was from my local dealer. (I have four grown children) . I bought based in the best price, and they will deliver it if you want.
    I just bought a Lexus RX 350 from a dealer in Melbourne using this strategy. I live in Orlando, and there is a local dealer. I got a much better price. It works.

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