Remember I was looking to upgrade my SUV? Well, I did it, and it was not easy. Aside from work, car shopping was probably one of the most stressful things I have done in the past few months. I came out of the experience – it was just that, an experience – with more knowledge about car buying from financing and leasing to the best days to shop, and more.  To help save you the stress and headache the next time you shop for a new car, I am sharing some tips. and tips to help save you from a headache I got while shopping for a new car.

Research, Research, Research

I cannot stress enough how important it is to research not only the vehicle you want but what other people have paid for that same make and model. What helped increase my car buying knowledge was perusing and participating in online forums like Edmunds or LeaseHackr. There, I was able to gauge what monthly payment I should expect. This came in handy when going to dealerships, too because I already knew the Money Factor and Residual Value of the vehicle I wanted; therefore, I knew whether or not I was getting a good deal or being taken advantage of.

Know Your Budget & Stick to It

As with any large purchase, it is important for you to know your budget. Do not buy a car that is outside of your monetary comfort zone.

Know Your Deal Breakers

It is important to figure out your wants and needs for the car you are buying before you enter the dealership. Knowing what you want when you walk into a dealership makes you look like a confident and educated car buyer, and most dealers will know better than to try and screw you over. Do you prefer darker colors versus lighter colored vehicles? Do you want leather interior or upholstery? Do you live in a colder climate and would prefer to have heated seats, steering wheel, and AWD? Knowing those things beforehand are helpful to you, the car buyer because the dealer will not be able to sell you something that you had no intentions of buying.

For me, I knew from my experience with my last car, that I wanted my next SUV to still have a dark exterior but with a dark leather interior. The winters here on Long Island can be quite harsh, so AWD and heated seats are necessary. I also wanted a heated steering wheel, but not having it was not a deal breaker. And since my former SUV was a 4 cylinder and only 182 horsepower, I needed something with more power under the hood giving me enough speed to pass on the highway. Because I am a mom, modern safety features are a must. Knowing all of this, I was able to walk out of the dealer with the vehicle I wanted.

Test Drive the Car You Want

You cannot possibly buy a car if you do not know how it maneuvers. Take a test drive; they are free. Just because you test drive a car at one dealer does not mean you’re obligated to buy from that dealer, especially if they are not giving you the deal you want. Test driving the car should help you answer the following questions:

  1. Is the car easy to get in and out of? Is there enough head and legroom?
  2. Does the car offer the visibility you need?
  3. Are the gauges and controls user-friendly and easy to read?
  4. Is the car/SUV responsive?
  5. How well does it brake?
  6. How does the vehicle car sound and feel under high acceleration?
  7. Does the car downshift quickly and smoothly?
  8. Is there enough power to pass on the highway or to go up hills?
  9. How is the cargo room?

Get Quotes

Whether online or from other dealerships in your area, get a quote on the base price of the car. Also, try and see if your bank/credit union can give you a good rate before you head to the dealer.

Shopping for a New Car? Check Out These Car Buying Tips

What SUV Did I End Up Getting?

You are probably wondering which SUV I ended up getting, right? Well, I am the proud owner of a 2017.5 Nissan Murano SL. The car has everything I needed and wanted. It also came in under my set budget. Stay tuned for a review.

2017.5 Nissan Murano SL

What car buying tips can you share that were helpful for you?