Buying a new car is exciting. If you get a great deal, it is even more exciting. However, its important to not let your emotion cloud your judgment and reasoning faculty. Once you have negotiated price and financing, there are a few more things you need to make sure you address before driving off the lot with your new car.
1.Test Drive – During what may be an endeavor of several hours, you will likely test drive a car before you even sit down to negotiate price. This is an important step to make sure the make and model meets your requirements. However, in many cases, the salesman may have you test drive a vehicle that is not the ultimate car you purchase. If this is the case, make sure you also test drive the car you are taking home. Inspect the rims, tires, body, and paint. Get comfortable in the cabin and make sure everything works and is undamaged. Make sure that systems such as brakes, steering, and other are smooth functioning. BankRate has a pretty comprehensive list on what exactly to inspect. The salesman may advise you that the car is being “prepared” while you are waiting to sign paperwork but don’t allow that to convince you not to test drive it before leaving with it.
2.Title and Registration – Dealerships will usually handle all the title paperwork to make sure ownership is listed in your name and possibly that of the financier if you are leasing or financing with a lender. Electronic titles are the standard, so don’t expect to receive a paper title at the time of purchase if you pay in full or after you have paid off the loan. What you need to be more diligent of is registration paperwork. etags.com, a registration renewal service provider, advises new car buyers to clarify with the dealer what term sticker they are being issued. In many cases, eTags customers have either been issued a decal by the dealer that is not actually recognized or recorded with the state DMV, one that expires within just a few weeks based on the owner’s birthday, or they may never receive an updated sticker at all. To avoid being cited for expired tags or having issues renewing when the time comes, make sure you clarify what type or term of registration you are getting.
3.Maintenance Service and Add Ons – While these items are usually things that you negotiate before agreeing to make the purchase, it is important that whatever has been agreed on is honored in writing of some form. If you have negotiated free checkups and oil changes for a year or more, free bumper guards or other accessories, make sure they are listed somewhere in the purchase paperwork. Gap protection is another item to review if you are financing the vehicle. If you opt for this, decide whether you will obtain it or already have it with your insurance provider or if you will get it with the dealership. If you get it with the dealership, review the cost and terms before adding it.
4.Review the Contract – By the time you get to this part of the marathon, you will likely be anxious to get it over with. Reading the terms and conditions is not fun for anyone but don’t let your fatigue lead you into getting lazy at the last mile. Everything you have negotiated and everything you expect is written down and if anything is missing, you will be hard pressed to get it corrected later on. You may not understand all of the terms listed but this is where it is important to ask questions. One example of some common mistakes or oversights is with registration fees. If you bring a plate that you already own with you to transfer to your new vehicle, you should not be charged a New Registration fee. With all of the dealer fees, taxes, and other amounts that get added, this and other items sometimes get overlooked.
Buying a new car is a big decision. Before you even get to the negotiation table, you have to research and plan for many things like what kind of car you need and want, what your budget is and more. The diligence doesn’t stop there though. Before you drive off the lot, remember those 4 important points.Read More