Archive for April 2011

Outside the Box Car Buying Tips

When considering a new car purchase, a little homework goes a long way. It is easy to get excited about a particular model, grab the wallet and head out to the dealership, but it is just as easy to get tricked into buying something you don’t really need. Before making any decision, write down exactly what you can afford to pay, what amenities are absolutely necessary, and memorize this information.

Check The Auto Maker’s Website

Become familiar with how to navigate the site and see what options you have for customizing your own package. Regardless of the number of trim levels, there are often many ways to “build your own” vehicle. Also it is a very good idea to check the pages that compare a certain model against the competition in its segment. In most cases you can browse other similar vehicles and see firsthand how their mpg, cabin volume, warranty and other features stack up.

Don’t Buy Amenities You Don’t Need

When comparing trim levels, keep in mind what is being added in terms of interior/exterior features and then look at how much this increases the price of the vehicle. All it takes is chrome door handles and exhaust tips, leather-wrapped steering wheel and heated outside mirrors to drive the price on some models up at least $1,000. However certain extras like anti-theft systems and rear door child safety locks are often included at no extra cost, and are a good investment not only in terms of insurance rates but also the resale value of the car.

Small Engines Offer Big Performance

New models often have two different engine sizes from which to choose, but the more powerful of the two may not be required in order to provide enough giddy up. Today’s small 4-cylinder engines that deliver about 150 horsepower may be all you need. The best way is to take a test drive and get a feel for the overall performance and acceleration. The larger engine may cost you an extra $1,500, and will of course be less fuel efficient.

Check Consumer Reviews

Some models have a very high resale value; one way to check this is to browse the used car sales websites, where private sellers nationwide are listing their vehicles. Look at the model you are considering and see what the asking price is for various mileages. And go to the consumer forums and see which models are being sold for the highest prices. The best investments in new vehicles are those which lose less than 10 percent of their value annually.