December 4, 2023

People more and more prioritize one issue when shopping for or leasing a automotive: affordability.

It’s vital to scour the market to be sure you’re getting the very best deal. Between greater costs and dozens of various fashions, makes and lenders, it’s simple to get overwhelmed by every little thing you see. 

Earlier than you begin signing contracts, take into account the following tips.

Earlier than stepping foot in a dealership, be sure you’ve completed your analysis.  (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg by way of Getty Photos / Getty Photos)


  1. Do your homework
  2. Know your numbers
  3. Used vehicles is probably not cheaper in the long term
  4. Purchase a brand new automotive proper earlier than the brand new mannequin comes out
  5. Whenever you’re prepared to purchase, negotiate
  6. Know that the worth shouldn’t be all the time the worth
  7. Convey somebody with you

1. Do your homework

Earlier than you set foot in a dealership, be sure you’ve requested your self the precise questions. Would you like a used or new automotive? How a lot do you wish to spend? Would you like a coupe, sedan, SUV, truck or convertible? What technological options are vital to you?

After researching the kind of automotive you need, it’s best to search for the precise financing choices, analysis what a good trade-in worth is on your automobile and use an auto mortgage calculator to determine whether or not buying or leasing is best for you. Solely then must you begin evaluating sellers for the very best value.

Some individuals like to go to sellers early on to check drive a automotive and study extra about choices, however by no means purchase with out doing all of your analysis first. Buying a automobile is way much less demanding whenever you’re knowledgeable and never underneath strain to purchase now.

A couple using a computer

Analysis it’s best to do earlier than shopping for a automotive consists of determining what sort of automotive you need and the way a lot you are prepared to spend.  (iStock / iStock)


You possibly can find out about options and pricing by taking a look at producer web sites, automobile reliability studies and automotive comparability websites like Edmunds, Kelley Blue E book or TrueDelta. Additionally, all the time take a look at drive a automobile earlier than shopping for or leasing.

To make issues simpler for you, don’t head into the dealership till you have got a reasonably good concept of the automotive you wish to purchase. That doesn’t imply you may’t, or shouldn’t take a look at drive others, however issues can get extraordinarily overwhelming if you happen to stroll in with no concept what you’re in search of. 

2. Know your numbers

With greater than 100 million People with auto loans, choosing the proper financing is a crucial a part of the method. However earlier than you discover an auto lender, it’s best to know what rate of interest they’re providing.

Don’t simply go along with the primary choice you might be given. Store round first till you discover the very best price for you. A slight distinction could not look like a lot at first, however a barely decrease price can prevent a ton of cash long run. 


A customer looking at a car for sale in a dealership

When you go to the dealership, persist with your funds and know what you are in search of.  (Jim R. Bounds/Bloomberg by way of Getty Photos / Getty Photos)

Most producer financing is fairly aggressive, however shoppers must also take into account different choices, like credit score unions or hybrid balloon financing choices that may supply decrease month-to-month funds and extra flexibility on the finish of the time period.

3. Used vehicles is probably not cheaper in the long term

The first distinction between buying a brand new versus a used automotive is value. Whereas buying a used automobile could make loads of sense within the brief time period, you have got to bear in mind the potential long-term upkeep and restore prices that include proudly owning a used automobile.

At all times take into account the mileage on a used automotive earlier than shopping for. If this quantity is simply too excessive, you’re seemingly going to be paying loads of restore prices whilst you personal the automobile. In instances like this, it could have really made extra sense and saved extra money to purchase the costlier new automotive. 

Additionally, remember that some vehicles last more than others. Once more, this is the reason analysis is so vital. Earlier than buying a used automotive with greater mileage, check out how lengthy that exact automotive normally runs for and ensure it’ll final you.


People walking around a car dealership lot

Automotive shopping for can be about timing. Take into account visiting a dealership towards the tip of the month or in December for potential offers.  (REUTERS/Jason Reed / Reuters Pictures)

4. Purchase a brand new automotive proper earlier than the brand new mannequin comes out

Automotive costs — particularly for brand new vehicles — aren’t secure all year long. For those who time your buy proper, you would possibly discover that purchasing a brand new automotive makes essentially the most monetary sense. Shopping for the primary 2024 mannequin accessible will all the time value you greater than shopping for the final 2013 mannequin on the lot.

You’ll discover higher offers on this yr’s mannequin when sellers try to clear them out to make room for subsequent yr’s mannequin. The very best time to purchase is in December, when sellers try to filter out their tons to make room for subsequent yr’s fashions (and likewise on the finish of each month, when sellers try to make quotas).

5. Whenever you’re prepared to purchase, negotiate

Every thing is negotiable, particularly vehicles. By no means decide to a fee on a automobile earlier than negotiating. Perceive the worth of car safety merchandise like MBP, GAP, pay as you go upkeep and different non-compulsory coverages.

At all times know your nonnegotiables — the belongings you aren’t prepared to compromise on. This might be something from a most month-to-month fee, leather-based seats or automotive colour. At all times be prepared to stroll away in case your nonnegotiables aren’t being met.


A couple talking to a car dealer

Earlier than signing any papers, ensure that to triple examine there are not any undesirable add-ons within the value.  (Yavuz Arslan/ullstein bild by way of Getty Photos / Getty Photos)

6. Know that the worth shouldn’t be all the time the worth

When you negotiate the worth of the automotive, then you definately negotiate financing. Financing consists of add-ons like guarantee, rust safety, tire safety and oil change companies. You don’t must buy any of those, however if you happen to’re financing, all of those will enhance the negotiated value.

Earlier than shopping for, ensure that to look into all of this stuff and every other additional add-ons that will have been slipped in so that you simply don’t find yourself paying for one thing you don’t need.

7. Convey somebody with you 

Strolling right into a automotive dealership by yourself might be daunting, so carry a pleasant face with you. It may be useful to have somebody to speak to while you’re on the dealership who will help you make this big determination. 

Additionally, carry somebody who is nice at negotiating and is aware of lots about automobiles if you happen to aren’t an professional, to allow them to ensure you aren’t getting scammed into a purchase order. 

Ivan McBride is vp of automotive lending merchandise and gross sales at PenFed Credit score Union.