Experts share tips for getting the best deal on a car

May 19, 2014 12:00 AM

A car is not an impulse buy - it's a significant investment that most people will put a lot of thought and research into. Particularly for drivers on a budget, it's often worth shopping around and ensuring they get the best possible deal. However, if a person is on a time crunch, they may be too eager to get on the road and therefore could end up paying a higher price for their automobile. Considering all the costs that are connected with a vehicle, including scheduled maintenance and the occasional auto repair, it's crucial to weigh all options during the shopping process.

Fortunately, there are smart strategies that motorists can use to help them save some serious cash when making these purchases.

Deal hunting trends
Surprisingly, only one-fifth of shoppers would call themselves "extreme price grinders" when it comes to buying a new or used car, according to a new survey conducted by The site found that while a majority of survey respondents (64 percent) see saving money as a priority, most don't take the time to find and snag the lowest price.

"These findings dispel the myth that car shoppers will do whatever it takes to pay a rock-bottom price," explained President Seth Berkowitz. "The feedback we've received from shoppers is clear: they're more than willing to limit their efforts to haggle if they can get a fair deal without the difficulty and stress of long negotiations."

Consumers use a number of different tactics to try and get a deal. Interestingly, a staggering 100 percent of shoppers with smartphones admit that they've used their devices for activities relating to the car buying process, such as looking up vehicle features or comparing pricing. Another 66 percent of respondents noted that they are likely to demand guaranteed upfront pricing on a new car. Survey participants visit an average of two dealers and take two test drives while shopping for a vehicle. Shockingly, 42 percent of respondents didn't test drive their car at all before making the purchase.

Tricks and tactics for a better price
The truth is, it pays to do you your homework when you're aiming to pick the perfect car without breaking the bank. Experts and editors at AOL Autos made several recommendations for savvy shopping, starting with thorough online research of all models that you're considering. The source also emphasized that it's crucial to enter the dealership with the right attitude. That means going in both relaxed and confident, so as not to get taken advantage of by a salesperson.

Additionally, the site's experts noted that while you should be ready to buy, it's best not to let yourself become infatuated with a particular vehicle and rush the purchase. It's important to remember that you can always come back the next day, and sometimes you need to sleep on it to really know whether it's the right choice for you. You'll also want to know ahead of time what loan your local bank or credit union will offer you. This will help you make a better decision when you're weighing your options for zero-percent financing or rebates.

Another aspect to consider is timing. AutoTrader pointed out that it's often a good idea to wait until the end of the month to hit a dealership as this tends to be when representatives are clamoring to meet their sales targets, making them more open to negotiations so they can get their bonuses. Also, the source stated that late summer to early fall is an optimal time to shop as many dealers are just getting new model year vehicles, so the older models will go down in price. Alternatively, you also might want to wait until the end of the year, as AutoTrader explained that dealerships are more eager to push certain models out of their inventories and meet their yearly goals. 

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