Car shoppers have never before had so many tools at their disposal or access to as much information as they’ve got now. Using the internet, car buyers are better equipped for finding bargains than ever before. We’ve put together a list of ten tips for how to use the internet in order to get the best deal:
- Research – Doing your homework is essential when car shopping, so research your choices on sites like edmunds.com. Know in advance what options are available and how competitive models compare.
- Join – Join AAA. American Automobile Association membership will come with a new car buying program that will get you discounts on new car purchases. You can get similar deals by joining warehouse clubs such as Sam’s Club or Costco.
- Rebates – Check for the latest rebates and other incentives that buyers and dealerships are eligible for before heading out to shop. You can negotiate below invoice price when you know what profit margin the dealer has left with rebates.
- Financing – Shop for financing. Dealers will often negotiate better deals with customers whom they believe will be financing the car through the dealer’s lenders, because they expect to make money through their financing department. If you secure your own financing by shopping around online, you can get a better deal.
- Advertise – Advertise your current car for sale online to gain some leverage in establishing trade-in value, or sell it outright to get more for it. If your car is on the market, you can use that fact during your negotiation for trading it in.
- Knowledge – Look up Consumer Reports for their reviews on reliability, safety and other factors for the vehicles you are shopping. You can use this knowledge to gain some leverage when negotiating. At the very least, having some sobering impartial facts about the car you crave might be enough to keep you from making a hasty decision.
- Online – Use the internet sales department of the dealerships themselves to get pricing. Contact their internet salesperson with the vehicle you’ve ‘built’ online and request a quote, and do this for several dealers. You will be armed with better prices that you would get as a walk-in customer.
- Blue Book – Kelley Blue Book is another resource that you can use to find out dealer cost on vehicles, reviews for the models you’re considering, plus market retail and trade-in values of your present vehicle. Find out what other buyers in your area are paying for the vehicle you want.
- Set – CarsDirect is an online service through which you can buy a car at a pre-negotiated price, thus avoiding the back-and-forth at the dealership that frustrates so many buyers. Note: the price you’ll pay for not having to negotiate yourself is a higher price than what you might have gotten by doing your own haggling.
- Calculate – Make use of online payment calculators, which can factor in sale price of the vehicle you’re buying, your trade-in value; the down payment, tax, term and interest rate in order to determine your monthly payment.
There are many ways to get a good deal on your next car. Online resources are a great way to do research, get price quotes and more. Try a few of these tips the next time you are car shopping.