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Friday, August 1, 2014

Car Hunting Tips Part 2

Well for yours truly, everything magically came together today and I was able to locate that vehicle which as mentioned in the previous post says "Please take me home!"

And what a relief, because visiting 3-4 dealerships a day is physically exhausting, mentally taxing and in the midst, has a desperate 'Will this ever end?' quality to it..

But there were a few more car-hunting tips I wanted to share that maybe will help someone out there looking to buy or lease in the near or distant future..
1)  Understand the Warranty

Each car brand has their own warranty parameters of what they will and will not cover and length of time such coverage is available..

For instance on a factory warranty, BMW covers everything but tires.. that means even the little things like windshield wiper blades and fluid..  covered.   More importantly, oil changes are free..

Most other places you pay for these things out of pocket even on a brand new purchase

When it comes to pre-owned vehicles, some will give lengthy certified warranties which are not as good as factory but still give some coverage of major components like engine, transmission, etc..
Other brands may only offer one year..  Some like Hyundai offer no warranty of any kind outside of their original 5 yr/60k coverage

So you really need to know what will be covered and not because all vehicles need servicing of some kind eventually from obvious oil change to replacement of belts/hoses to major mechanical defect.

I once leased a car that was beautiful on the outside and ran like a dream..  One morning, I start the ignition of the vehicle with 2200 miles on it and it violently shakes in park.

Eventually I had it towed..  Thought maybe it was a defective spark plug or something minor..
Turned out it needed a brand new fuel injection system.  Fortunately the original warranty covered what would have cost me near $2,500 to replace..

If that vehicle had been pre-owned and it broke down after factory warranty, who knows if certified warranty would have covered it..

One other comment on this topic..   If you are 36 month leasing a car from a dealer like Ford or Chevy that offers only a 3yr warranty, never Ever buy the car outright

That should be super-obvious as to why but we mention anyways..
2)  Understand Car Loaner Policy

Pretty much every dealer gives loaner cars while service work is being done to vehicle but some are more begrudging and difficult about it than others..

For instance Hyundai and Ford virtually never give loaners for oil changes or same-day work..  Usually they'll provide a drop-off/pick-up service.

On the other hand, brands like BMW and Mercedes not only provide loaners even for oil changes, they will continue to provide them for any service work done even after all car warranties have expired.
Some people have a network of family, friends and others they can use to pick them up and drop back off to dealership so this isn't too important...

But many others do not, and more important there's many who prefer independence than to be obligated or indebted to others, so the car loaner policy becomes important.

3)  Understand the Disposition Fee

This is something that applies to leasing..
When you see an advertisement for a lease, the ad will mention the monthly payment, down payment, acquisition fees and taxes..

The disposition fee is rarely if ever mentioned..  This is the cost you must pay the car dealer at the very end of the lease to give up your vehicle to them even if what you're returning is in perfect condition and low in mileage.

Usually this is waived if you lease another car from them or buy something else..  Otherwise you pay..

Ford is the only brand to my knowledge who does not charge one.
BMW is $350..  Mercedes is $550..  Some brands can go as high as $750

So if you're looking for a car and never leased before, be aware of this..

4)  Keep A Cool Head

I'm neither a defender nor antagonizer of car dealerships..  I understand they are businesses that survive by making a profit like every business in every field does

Some hire quality professionals.. Some hire utter losers who make their business look bad

But ultimately its about getting the vehicle you want at your most comfortable price..
So the best way to deal with this process of negotiating and finalizing a deal is to just act professional and detached.   Arguing and raising one's voice won't make a dealer drop their price ever..

Figure if you're trading a car, you're going to be low-balled; that should be a given.. So you either accept the amount or decline and seek to sell it elsewhere or private sale...

Unless the car keeps dying on you as you try to drive it.. Then options are more limited

Now if you have already mentally prepared a low-ball price point and the dealer offers it, then there's always opportunity for negotiation and wiggle room with the final car price..
The key is to be reasonable and realistic in what you're requesting and if the salespeople feel positive toward you vs hostile, there's a much better chance you will have your counter-offer agreed to.

Hope some or any of this information helps in some way..

I could write much more but its Friday and I just can not wait to hop in my 'new' yellow 1977 Datsun pickup for a joyride..