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Seven Tricks to Get Your Dream Car

Carpe Diem! Seize the day! You don’t have to wait forever to get the dream car you’ve always wanted. With a few basic steps, you can soon be enjoying the ride of your life. All it takes is a plan and a little perseverance. Follow these tips for success when searching for the car of your dreams.

Start an Easy Savings Plan

Dream CarThrow extra change from your wallet, pocket, or purse into a savings box earmarked for your dream car purchase. Unexpected windfalls like holiday cash, a tax return, or job bonuses can be added as well. Add a small amount from each paycheck. You’ll soon have enough for a down payment, or even the total purchase amount.

Negotiate for Your Dream Car

Everything is negotiable. Compare dealership prices on available models to see what they want to move quickly. If your dream car isn’t selling, offer a rock-bottom price and stick with it, reminding the seller that you’ll both come out winners. Another option is to negotiate financing options like down payment, sale price, and interest rates. If you can pay a little more down, for example $2,000 rather than $1,000, you can request a lower interest rate.

Timing is Everything

The best time to go car shopping is at the end of the day, at the end of the month, and at the end of the current model year, which typically ends in late summer or early fall. Salespeople want to increase sales volume for the week, month, or year by snagging one more customer before the clock runs out. Going to the dealership shortly before closing leaves less time for seller tricks, and more opportunities to offer your best and last deal, which most sellers will jump on. If you go at the end of the day make sure you aren’t tired after a full day of shopping around. If you want the negotiating advantage you should be rested and energetic and the salesman tired (not the other way around) this will give you the willpower to say no to unnecessary add-on fees like fabric stain guard and paint protection.

Shop Used Online

Simply driving a new car off the sales lot can drop the value of a car by 20% – 30%. So buying a “gently used” vehicle makes lots of sense. Generally the best values are for cars from 2-3 years old. They are much cheaper than new but still have lots of life left in them. By shopping online you can compare available models, mileage and prices and find the best deal without a lot of stressful negotiating in person. You can check out individual dealer websites like Quebedeaux Buick GMC or start at a generic site like Kelly’s Blue Book.

One advantage of a generic site is that they will tell you the price range you should expect for buying from a dealer or private individual or even how much to expect to get for your trade-in. (Note: you will always get more for your old car by selling it to an individual than trading-in to a dealer.) And conversely, you should be able to pay less buying from an individual than buying from a dealer.

Warranty

One advantage of buying from a dealer is that you can get at least a 30 day warranty (most states require dealers to give you at least that much). Often dealers also have deals where you can buy an extended warranty. This can be a plus or a minus. If you can get a warranty for a few hundred dollars more it is probably a good deal. But this can be another one of those expensive add-ons that the dealer tries to sell you.  A  Consumer Reports study said that the median price for an extended warranty was just over $1200. And, on average, those who did use it spent hundreds more for the coverage than they actually saved in repair costs.

If you do opt for an extended warranty shop around just as you did for the vehicle itself. Plans are available from dealers of course but they are generally about $100 more expensive. Another option is other sources like auto clubs or insurance companies. Like most insurance policies the cost is variable depending on the coverage you choose. Plans can vary in duration, providing three or five years of coverage. They can also be “bumper to bumper” or less comprehensive covering only “drive-train”.   According to Consumer Reports lLess than 30 percent of all respondents who purchased an extended warranty said they would definitely do so again.

Reliability

Don’t let your emotions regarding the “perfect car” cloud your judgement. Choose a car that is historically reliable and gets good reviews from previous owners. By searching Consumer Reports before you buy your dream car you can choose a year and model that is reliable to start with, thus eliminating the need for the warranty and reducing your repair costs over the lifetime of the vehicle.

Do it Yourself

Speaking of repairs, if you’re mechanically inclined, you can not only save on repairs (and avoid the need for an expensive warranty) but you could also buy your dream car needing repairs and save a fortune by repairing it yourself. Or you could even enlist the assistance of some skilled friends to help do the work. You can even customize the car just the way you want it. I recently heard the story of a guy who found his dream car covered with a tarp in a neighbors yard. Since it wasn’t running he got it for a song. He towed it home, spent a couple of hundred dollars replacing the carburetor and had a great running car. These days you can find a YouTube video to show you how to fix most anything from Air conditioning to Voltage regulators.

Your dream car is within reach. Just plan, shop, and work for your best deal and see what savings come your way.

 

About Tim McMahon

Work by editor and author, Tim McMahon, has been featured in Bloomberg, CBS News, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Forbes, Washington Post, Drudge Report, The Atlantic, Business Insider, American Thinker, Lew Rockwell, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Oakland Press, Free Republic, Education World, Realty Trac, Reason, Coin News, and Council for Economic Education. Connect with Tim on Google+