It’s best to buy a car at the end of the model year. So from now until October you’re more likely to get a good discount on this model year’s cars. But don’t assume good timing is all it takes. These five tips can help you reduce what you spend:
• To Trade or Not to Trade: Consider selling your car yourself; some say dealers low-ball trade-ins to sell at a higher profit. If you do choose to trade-in, compare quotes from multiple dealerships.
• Choose Your Car Wisely: Do you need the latest model, with all the bells and whistles? Or could an earlier version meet your functional needs? Consider “certified pre-owned,” which in many cases includes full factory reconditioning.
• Get Your Financing in Order: If possible, work to get your credit in good standing. You can come in pre-approved for an auto loan, then find out if the dealership’s finance department can offer you something better.
• The Internet is Your Friend: Not only can you research the value of the car you’re interested in, you can also communicate with dealerships’ online offices. You can start bargaining with them before you even enter the dealership doors!
• Stay Focused: Negotiate vehicle price before you talk about incentives, financing, or trade- ins. Don’t negotiate your price off monthly car payments, and read the fine print of your warranty.
Bonus Tip: After you’ve proven to be a knowledgeable negotiator, ask if you can get a discount on future maintenance!