Capital One’s survey of 1,000 U.S. adults found:
- Only 20% of consumers feel sure of themselves when buying a car.
- Even fewer respondents (16%) feel like they’re “a boss” when it comes to negotiating.
- And just 6% of consumers think car buying is a transparent process.
When it comes to getting the best price, most people feel like they just can’t hit the mark. Capital One reported that:
- 62% of consumers feel they didn’t get the best price on their last car.
- Yet, 47% of consumers noted “finding a deal” as the most important part of the car buying process.
So, what can you do to feel just as confident about buying a car as buying groceries? myAutoloan has the info you need (and a free eBook about the auto buying and financing process).
Know what kind of vehicle you want to buy.
Knowledge is power. Start with a plan! Before you head to the dealership, research the make, model, and style of vehicle you want to buy. The information available to you online is nearly limitless.
Think about the features that are most important to you in a car, like safety, storage, tech compatibility, and gas mileage.
- Do you care about the car’s resale value and color?
- Does it need to be a pet-friendly ride?
- How long is your commute and what’s the price of gas?
- Do you need towing capabilities?
- Will you be hauling kids from place to place?
Make a list with three columns: your “must-haves,” “nice-to-haves,” and “can-live-without” features. This foundation can help you feel surer of yourself when you walk into a dealership. You won’t be swayed by flashy marketing or dealer inventory!
Bring insurance and vehicle information with you when shopping.
Bring your research to the dealership with you, just like you would go to the grocery store with a list, coupons, and maybe the week’s meal plan.
Your research includes your feature list, some potential makes and models to test drive, and yes—car insurance estimates!
“Even the savviest car shoppers often forget to estimate car insurance costs before buying,” notes USA Today.
But the type of car you drive is one of the most important factors in determining the cost of your car insurance. Even if you estimate potential fuel and maintenance costs, you need to evaluate the price of car insurance to know the long-term cost of owning a car. The same driver could end up paying hundreds of dollars more depending on the vehicle.
Read up on basic negotiating techniques.
Only 16% of respondents in Capital One’s survey reported feeling like “a boss” when it comes to negotiating, yet 82% believe negotiating price is still necessary.
Here, we have two things to say: 1) Negotiating is a necessary evil, and 2) The internet is your friend! Check out NerdWallet’s car negotiating secrets for people who hate haggling or Forbes’ punch list of good tactics to use to lower the price of a car.
Recurring themes include:
- Knowing your numbers and the real price of a car.
- Timing your purchase based on the day of the month and the weather.
- Securing auto financing ahead of time.
Get pre-qualified for financing before going to the dealership.
Securing auto financing beforehand is one of the best ways to make the car buying process smoother. It also takes control away from the dealership and puts it in your hands. But buyer beware! The dealer will likely claim that they can beat your other financing deal. They’ll do this by lowering your monthly payments but increasing your term, the sales price, or the interest rate (APR). Focus solely on your monthly payment amount and you could overlook an increase elsewhere, then end up paying more for the car or auto loan. Know your numbers, and you won’t fall prey to this trick.
You can feel more confident about buying a car, and you can do so today. Prequalify for auto financing now!