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Buying a vehicle can be intimidating, especially if you've never bought one before. There are several steps you can take to prepare yourself and your checking account for this large purchase. Doing your homework now can prevent future headaches.

Additionally, consider gas mileage. If you have a long work commute, a gas-guzzling SUV may not be the very best choice for you. You'll also wish to consider how long you'll keep your new ride, because that will determine if its resale value is a concern. As you discover your needs, be sure to write them down.

Next, check the vehicle history on a site like Carfax.com. If the vehicle checks out, schedule a test drive of the car, and try to test it on roads like the ones you would generally encounter during your day-to-day routine. Ask any used car dealers you visit for records. After considering all the aspects of the car and whether it fits your budget, make an offer to a trusted salesperson.

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Consumers have the tendency to watch out for car dealers. The common consensus is that salesmen set out to deplete pocketbooks and offer disadvantageous prices to their customers. This assumption is far from the truth, however. Dealers expect and welcome their customers' negotiation, and they look forward to striking deals that allow both sides to prosper. The negotiation ball is in the consumer's court. It's up to the consumer to know how to negotiate to find the very best outcome possible. The following are three important tactics to keep in mind when sealing the deal over a vehicle.

Car dealers make the bulk of their benefit from commissions. This is an useful tidbit to consider when negotiating for your dream vehicle. It is not in the seller's best interest for you to leave the deal, so if you negotiate within reason, you will likely be able to drive that car off the lot with a price that works for you. Don't hesitate to drive a hard bargain. Shoot below your preferred price variety to see how much of a discount you may be able to score. Quote an offer equal to 25 percent off of the asking price. The seller won't choose to withhold the sale on principle if your suggested price is lower than expected. His profession dictates that he should expect you to negotiate a lower price, and he is trained to counter your offers until you meet in the middle. Don't pay too much for what you want, but don't leave it either.

Car dealers are only intimidating if you face them unprepared. Sure, they are driven by the living they have to earn, thus their hard negotiation tactics. However, as a smart consumer, a well-mannered individual, and an informed bargain hunter, you can hold your own when buying a vehicle.