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  1. #1
    Captain Climber
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    Tips for buying first new car

    I am getting ready to buy a new car and this will be my first one. All my previous vehicles were used. Any tips from you seasoned buyers so I don't get hosed? I've read the last day of the month is the best time to buy and even the whole month of January? I've also heard not to negotiate for monthly payment but total price of the car.

    Also, what fees are involved when buying? Is it just the price we agree on or do they add fees and taxes to that?

  2. #2
    Dirt Junkie
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    1. Go the last weekend of the month. Quotas at dealers are a real thing.
    2. Know what your trade is worth if you're trading. Not private party price, trade in price.
    3. Buy what's on the lot.
    4. Research (Edmunds) what other people are paying for the car you want.
    5. Play dealers against each other. Get the best price you can from dealer 1 and then call dealer 2 and have them have a bidding war for your money. They will fight for you. I can't stress this one enough, THIS WILL GET YOU THE BEST PRICE!!!!!!
    6. If they have 0% financing, get that and put down minimal down payment. Free money is good.
    7. Don't be emotional. I know it's hard, but be willing to walk away, even over a few hundred dollars. They WILL call you with a lower price.

    You can negotiate "out the door price" with taxes and fees included. It's more work (for them), but you can always say "I want to write a check for $XXXXX and be done. They can back into the sale price.

    Post pictures when you get it home.
    How can anyone who's been riding as long as I have, be so slow???

  3. #3
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    Do you know the car you want?
    From a bike hauling standpoint, what are you looking at? FYI, be wary of a hatchback/van/suv with a glass window that goes all the way to the top of the door if you planning on using a trunk rack. Had a ford focus like that, got into mountain biking, and had to disassemble my bike every time I went anywhere. Not the end of the world, but I couldn't give anybody else a ride because there was only enough room for one bike.

  4. #4
    Captain Climber
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    Great tips.. Thanks! I don't know what I want to buy yet.. just want to stay under $20K. I do like the hatchbacks though and will probably do a hitch mount-type bike rack. That should work with hatchbacks and glass.

  5. #5
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    Depending on the car, there is always room to go below invoice... TrueCar and Edmunds are great resources...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jem7sk View Post
    Great tips.. Thanks! I don't know what I want to buy yet.. just want to stay under $20K. I do like the hatchbacks though and will probably do a hitch mount-type bike rack. That should work with hatchbacks and glass.
    Maybe do not buy new and consider a certified pre owned vehicle? Buying a new car, unless a Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, etc, is one of the worst investments a person can attempt.

    Certified pre owned cars come with extended warranty, most of the recalls preformed, and the piece of mind knowing you didn't pay 25% more for the same car new. For 20K you could get a heck of a cpo car...

    Just another idea ya know.

  7. #7
    Dirt Junkie
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    No one EVER implied a car was an investment. Sometimes a new car makes sense. I always buy used until my wifes last car. It made more sense to buy new. Better deal, 2 year old cars had not depreciated, 0%. Made sense.

    Every situation is unique.
    How can anyone who's been riding as long as I have, be so slow???

  8. #8
    Captain Climber
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    When I figure out what car I want should I go in and haggle, get the salesperson's email and haggle through email or use a site like truecar.com to get a price for me?

  9. #9
    Dirt Junkie
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    I've done both, gone in and haggled and done the e-mail haggle thing. Both can work well. It's mostly a time thing.

    If you've got limited time the email thing works pretty well. I believe you can get the same deal either way. The problem I've had with the e-mail type sales process is they ALWAYS want to call you and try to get you to come in. ALWAYS. But you can get most of the preliminary negotiation out of the way (saves time).

    You can still play the dealers against each other and get the price down, just at a more leisurely pace.

    I think you may be less emotionally attached over e-mail since you haven't actually touched/ driven the car.

    Be careful about bait and switch. Over e-mail they can promise you the car, but when you get into the dealership the conveniently "sold the car this morning".

    Try to have fun with it, and be willing to walk away if you don't like the deal.
    How can anyone who's been riding as long as I have, be so slow???

  10. #10
    Captain Climber
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    Thanks Rock... Have you ever used truecar? Thrown recommended that above and it is like they get you the deal with certain dealerships with no haggling. I'll have to check it out further.

  11. #11
    psycho cyclo addict
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    +1...

    After purchasing only used cars for ~25 years, last go round I bought a new one. The sales manager was glad to get me the heck out of there by the end. I watched them make a killing on 4 customers while I was haggling. I told the sales manager they make plenty... he said he HAS TO, to make up for tightwads like me

    With a bit of research on the Internet, you should be able to come up with a rough invoice price. I generally start off 10% below that... you will be told you are CRAZY - who cares. This way you set the expectation that it is strictly business.

    When you are close on the price tell 'em they have to throw in dealer incentives (sometimes cash, accessories, free service for 1-2 years, etc.).

    Out the door price (taxes, tags and whatever included) is a MUST. They all try and confuse you with add on's at signing. If you have an out the door price from each, you know what to expect and they won't be able to sneak in other fees or try to get you to add an extended warranty, etc.

    Patience- I walked out of the dealerships multiple times over two weeks before I bought the car.

    Note: Costco and other "preferred pricing" club deals are a JOKE.

  12. #12
    Vincit qui patitur
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    Go to the Fleet Dept. They are there to move cars not make huge $$.
    Not the Internet Sales Dept just Fleet.
    Also Service contract, buy factory only not any aftermarket type.
    You get hosed by the aftermarket contracts.
    The factory contracts are worth every penny.
    BTW I work at a dealership(not in sales) and have since 1982.
    Vincit qui patitur
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  13. #13
    DFMBA.org
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    I've purchased a few new cars and I always walk in with cash vs a trade-in. Cash is cash and like others have said, negotiate an out-the-door price. Let them worry about the math.

    Sent from my mountain bike while crashing
    Please donate to IMBA or your local IMBA chapter. It's trail karma.

  14. #14
    psycho cyclo addict
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jem7sk View Post
    Great tips.. Thanks! I don't know what I want to buy yet.. just want to stay under $20K. I do like the hatchbacks though and will probably do a hitch mount-type bike rack. That should work with hatchbacks and glass.
    Right on... I went that route. Got a Honda Crosstour 4wd and run a Kuat NV hitch rack on there most of the time. All three of my Large 29er's fit inside the car as well. Comes in handy being able to stuff them in the car on the days where I am traveling out of state and want to get better gas mileage or know I will be stopping places where I do not want bikes to be visible.

  15. #15
    Captain Climber
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    Quote Originally Posted by owtdorz View Post
    Go to the Fleet Dept. They are there to move cars not make huge $$.
    Not the Internet Sales Dept just Fleet.
    Also Service contract, buy factory only not any aftermarket type.
    You get hosed by the aftermarket contracts.
    The factory contracts are worth every penny.
    BTW I work at a dealership(not in sales) and have since 1982.
    What is the Fleet Department? is that at the Stealership?

  16. #16
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    Rock has good advice. I'll add some tips.

    Incentives and Rebates

    Edmunds used to list dealer holdback and direct-to-dealer incentives, but looking quickly I don't see that on the site. Google for it, I guess. Look at similar new cars (with similar options) on Ebay for reference prices. I usually price new cars out on Edmunds and check NADA guides and KBB for used car values.

    Your target price should be invoice minus holdback (expressed as a % of the car price) minus customer incentives minus dealer incentives. With few exceptions, you can't do any better than that.

    Check pricing with services and incentive programs. I bought a Subaru with IMBA's buying service (but got negotiated inclusion of some dealer accessories), and I bought a Ford through their OE supplier program. I'd guess I saved $500 - $1000 on a $20k Subaru and probably $2000 - $2500 on a $30k Ford compared to just walking into the dealer. Do look at a base model Forester in your price range.

    Make each part of the negotiation independent - the test ride/car selection, new car negotiation, trade-in value, finance, etc. Don't be pressured into buying a car immediately after the test ride. Do test ride different cars that might meet your requirements. Don't negotiate trade in value and new car price at the same time.

    If you will be financing, know your credit score (at least excellent, good, etc.) and get preapproved for a car loan from your local credit union (preferably) or bank. If you have excellent credit, IMO a dealership can get better finance rates than a credit union. Negotiate the total price of the car minus trade-in. Be able to calculate a monthly payment quickly as you negotiate. Know what you can spend (total debt service < 28% of net income). Do NOT negotiate monthly payment with the dealer. It's too easy for them to make a longer term, and you'll spend more on interest overall.

    Negotiate the OTD price including taxes, fees, tags, etc. Usually paperwork fees are required and cost $100 - $200. Make sure they don't play any games like not charging sales tax only to be charged it when you get to the DMV. There are exceptions - I bought my last car in a different state so the dealership couldn't collect sales tax. So you have to remember to keep adding that cost to any dealer negotiated price.

  17. #17
    Captain Climber
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBeing View Post
    I've purchased a few new cars and I always walk in with cash vs a trade-in. Cash is cash and like others have said, negotiate an out-the-door price. Let them worry about the math.

    Sent from my mountain bike while crashing
    I cannot pay with cash this time unfortunately but hopefully I'll get a good deal. Are there any 0% financing options now?

    Quote Originally Posted by edubfromktown View Post
    Right on... I went that route. Got a Honda Crosstour 4wd and run a Kuat NV hitch rack on there most of the time. All three of my Large 29er's fit inside the car as well. Comes in handy being able to stuff them in the car on the days where I am traveling out of state and want to get better gas mileage or know I will be stopping places where I do not want bikes to be visible.
    That Crostour look nice but a little out of my price range. I really like the AWD Subaru Impreza... and the AWD Nissan Juke looks kinda cool too but might be too small.

  18. #18
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    my advise is to go in knowing exactly what you want--any sign of uncertainty and you're a mark to the salesman. they won't pay any attention to your desire to stay at $20k, they'll just want to know how much payment you can handle and get you in the most optioned-out car possible at that payment. Also know that if you're looking at AWD cars, you pay a MPG penalty 365 days/year for something that's useful 2 days/year (most people).
    whatever...

  19. #19
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Have your credit union negotiate the price. If you don't belong to one, join now. It's well worth it and I'll never deal with dealer for a new car, just way too much BS to try and cut through.

    Otherwise, a 2yr old car from an owner is usually a much better buy, it's young enough that it has plenty of life and the chances of major things failing is very small, not to mention modern cars are engineered so much better than old ones, their entire goal is to NOT have to warranty stuff, but the other big deal is that you won't have to pay taxes on it. The taxes at a dealer can be crazy, thinking about the fact that it's several thousands of dollars just gone. When you add up the taxes, delivery fees, registration, finance fees, it quickly tacks on a bunch of money to the cost of the car, so instead of being a 30K car, it's automatically a 40K car when you drive off the lot. Some of these fees are negotiable of course, but some are not and taxes are usually a certainty. Some states like the one I used to live in charge registration based on a % of the cost of the car, so not only am I paying $37000 for a car, I'm also hit up for $800 of registration for one year (after one year it drops a lot, next year again, so after a few years it approaches $200 and usually stayed about the same after that) at the same time. Of course they love to tack that on to the amount financed because instead of being 800, it will cost you 1000 and the finance company gets to pocket the 200 difference. So keep this in mind too, now you walked off the lot paying $40K for the car due to taxes and everything else, and now you are going to pay $60K in total money and payments, due to interest! It gets crazy quick!
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  20. #20
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    And yeah, on AWD, if it's flat roads and places, you don't need AWD, FWD works just fine. I drive in the winter with RWD and it's a handful (and I'm moving on to something else in a week or so anyways), but I've driven extensively with all three. AWD is what you need if the snow stacks up significantly more than 6-8", because it will pack up a bunch and not let the car move or stack up in front of the bumper. If you have to negotiate hills and steep places, THAT is where AWD makes a big difference. If you drive on solid ice (like us in Alaska when we have a NORMAL winter, not now, all the snow is melted and it's way above freezing), then it's usually the way to go, except that here in Anchorage front wheel drive and studs works great because the city is mostly flat, so anywhere you want to go you are fine and don't have to worry about much. I used to live in the the foothills of norcal where we got snow every winter, there it was more treacherous, but again it wouldn't last all that long. Places that get frequent snow or are "snow-locked" all winter that are ALSO hilly with lots of elevation changes are a prime candidate for AWD. Otherwise, not all that useful IME.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by natehack View Post
    Buying a new car, unless a Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, etc, is one of the worst investments a person can attempt.

    .
    Nothing holds their value better than an exotic or luxury car over $100K.


  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    RWD and it's a handful (and I'm moving on to something else in a week or so anyways), but I've driven extensively with all three. AWD is what you need if the snow stacks up significantly more than 6-8", because it will pack up a bunch and not let the car move or stack up in front of the bumper. ...

    Places that get frequent snow or are "snow-locked" all winter that are ALSO hilly with lots of elevation changes are a prime candidate for AWD. Otherwise, not all that useful IME.
    Camaro going away? You're gonna miss it like I miss my Challenger. You do get over it after a while

    I think AWD is also quite useful if you drive in rainy conditions with any sort of frequency. There really is a difference in your control over the vehicle when all four corners are working for you. It's also a bonus if you spend time on dirt/gravel roads and most of the awd cars have better clearance which can also be a help.

    Make sure before you buy the car that you will be able to rack it up sufficiently. Many new cars don't have a lot of versatility like you may need. I had a '12 Challenger and there is NO roof rack option other than something custom that involved drilling through the roof and some of the compact econo rigs can't take a hitch for one reason or another.

  23. #23
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by gravitylover View Post
    Camaro going away? You're gonna miss it like I miss my Challenger. You do get over it after a while
    Hell no, not for a while at least

    Just going to get something else to supplement and drive in the winter. Camaro is way too fun to drive to give it up. Love how low it is, the tiny windows, the fighter-jet seating position, the short throw shifter that's "right there" where your hand is resting, the fact that you can yank it through turns and the body doesn't lean (not to mention the .97-1.0g it will pull). All that stuff is way too fun and I'll at least drive it for another summer.

    It's interesting you bring up the rain, because in the wet I noticed my camaro still outhandled my wrx and "gripped" the road better/didn't let go. The wrx could be whipped around turns rather nicely, body leaning like crazy and slight slippage, but even in the rain the camaro holds a line better. I don't know if that's just all in the tires, or lower CG, or what, but only when it gets "loose" or icy in some way did the AWD start to really shine (I did have my old wrx for a while at the same time). Maybe the wrx would need massively wider tires and more power to the ground to really make a difference in those turns with the AWD.

    Of course it does hydroplane rather easily
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  24. #24
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    I never buy new....always buy vehicles that appreciate in value and always pay cash...I make money every time I sell a vehicle....and most of the time I keep a vehicle for more than ten years....

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jem7sk View Post
    I am getting ready to buy a new car and this will be my first one. All my previous vehicles were used. Any tips from you seasoned buyers so I don't get hosed? I've read the last day of the month is the best time to buy and even the whole month of January? I've also heard not to negotiate for monthly payment but total price of the car.

    Also, what fees are involved when buying? Is it just the price we agree on or do they add fees and taxes to that?
    Yes. Don't buy a new one, buy a used one but buy a solid brand. And if you are asking these sorts of questions you are going to wind up paying a higher price than you should. You will need to understand the workings of the car business to start and you should seek out qualified help - a forum on bikes is probably not the right place to do that. There are a ton of people in the car business, it's pretty easy to find a friend or a friend of a friend who is expert in the business.

    I'm sure that car dealers get really sick and tired of dealing with people who come in with these little tricks and tips from their friends about how to buy a car. It's a business transaction and you need to understand what the dealer needs and what you want and then try to fit them together. It's not a whole lot more complicated than that.

    A three year old car coming off a lease will still have a factory warranty and will probably only have about 30K miles on it. Most cars now will easily go to 150K and the better ones closer to 300K so that mileage is just getting started. With the warranty in place and if on the very off chance it's a lemon, you can unload it and not take a big hit on repair bills.

    The last car I bought was a BMW X5 that went for $57K new. I got it for $33K or about 60% of the cost of a new one. The car was immaculate and has been excellent. We had about a year before the warranty was up at 50K miles and it proved to be a solid car.

    Prior to that I bought a BMW 530xi AWD wagon off of lease for $24K when it was $42K new. Again, about a 40% discount. That car now has 210K miles on it and it's like the day I got it. Incidentally, it's a great car for cycling, takes a roof rack beautifully and gets 24mpg average even though it's a big car (30mpg on the highway). We ski a lot and do a lot of driving in really bad conditions here in Minnesota - the last two weekends have been to and from ski areas in blizzards with big drifts across the road and it handles them without a problem like it's got claws for wheels.

    I helped a college student I mentor to get a car. He had $15K to spend. He got a still in warranty VW top end loaded model that was, again, indistinguishable from new for that money. That car, too, has been great and he got that for about a 40% discount from new.

    Also, the depreciation of the used car will be much slower than the first years of a new car and it will, therefore, retain more of it's value longer provided it's taken care of.

    While I can afford to buy new cars, I don't because I can get a car that is virtually indistinguishable from a new one at a big discount so I either get a lot more car for the money or I get to spend a lot less money on the kind of car I want to drive.

    What I did is I found a car dealer who I like and trust (there are a lot of these sorts of guys around - look) will find me the used car I want including options, mileage, model, color etc... He then surveys all the cars nationwide at the auctions coming off lease for the particular car I want and then we pick a particular vehicle just about like ordering a car from the factory. He then goes and gets the vehicle, charges me a few hundred dollars in mark up over the wholesale purchase price and I have to pay him for the car (cash to him or cashier's check from the bank) in 24 hours after he buys it from the auction and delivers it to me with a clean title. I have two weeks to return the car if it doesn't match the condition reported by the auction based on mechanic's inspection. Works great, and I've bought or helped others buy probably 5-10 cars this way. No issues and everyone's happy.

    J.

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