Things All Car Buyers Should Know
Car buying can be weird. It doesn’t have to be, but sometimes…well, yeah, it’s weird. But it’s only weird because the average consumer just doesn’t have the information they need to make it smooth like butter on Teflon. Here’re some questions I’ve received through the years, and the answers, to make your car buying experience easy as pie.
Q: Do I have to line up financing before coming to the dealership?
A: Nope. We’ll be more than happy to do that for you. In fact, whereas you will usually get a quote from just one bank or credit union, we use DOZENS of banks to get you the best rate possible. In addition, some modern incentives require you use financing from the manufacturer, such as Toyota Financial Services or Chrysler Financial.
Q: Does my credit union have a better interest rate than you guys?
A: Not always. I’ve been surprised by how badly credit unions get beat on interest rates. In fact, when I purchased my own vehicle, the business manager here at Diehl, Bill Coughenour, found me a rate that roundly beat my credit union rate.
My opinion? If you have a rate from your credit union or bank, let the dealership try to beat it. You really have nothing to lose.
Q: What about my car insurance? Do I need to change it before I drive the new car? What if I get in an accident?
A: You have 14 days to alert your insurance company that you have a new car. If you are in an accident during that time, you WILL be covered. However, whatever the coverage is on your policy will be reflected on your new car. Say you just have liability coverage on your vehicle; the new car you just purchased will have only liability.
Your salesman will notify your insurance company that you purchased a car. They will do this within 48 hours. However, it is up to you to contact your insurance agent to arrange proper coverage.
Q: Do I need to know what I want before I come in to buy a car?
A: Absolutely not! That is the main responsibility of a salesman: To find you a vehicle that fits all your needs and wants. If you come into our dealership, it is the salesperson’s responsibility to assess your needs, ascertain what you’d like in your vehicle, and then show you some vehicles as per your specifications until we find one that is perfect for you. In fact, if you wait until you find your perfect vehicle before you come into a dealership, you’re doing it wrong. Salepeople are trained to help customers find out what vehicle they want and need.
Q: How long does it take to buy a car?
A: My advice is to allocate five hours to buy a car. Now, I’ve seen customers in and out within an hour; others take almost a full day. It really depends on various factors: How busy the dealership is, customer’s credit, vehicle selection, warranty information, whether or not you have a trade, etc. The thing to remember is, it certainly isn’t a loaf of bread you’re buying. You WANT this to take as long as it needs to. Remember, this is a very important purchase you’re making, and sometimes it takes a bit longer to make sure it’s done right. There is a lot of state and financial paperwork to deal with, and that is not something you want to hurry.
Q: What if the dealership doesn’t have the car I want?
A: We’ll get it for you. Dealerships work with each other to trade vehicles that customers want. For example: You want a specific Toyota Corolla with a manual transmission that we do not have on our lot. We would search other dealerships for the vehicle within a 300 mile radius. If it exists, we will contact the dealership and arrange a “Dealer Trade.” We will give them a vehicle out of our inventory for the one you want.
Q: What if I owe more on my trade than what it’s worth?
A: First of all, don’t fret. It happens all the time. In the business, it’s called being “upside down.” We will take the negative equity—the difference between what is owned on the loan and what you receive for your trade—and finance it with your new vehicle.
Q: Who handles the payoff of my current car loan if I’d like to trade it?
A: We do! We will take care of all that boring crap while you enjoy your new car.
Q: What if I want some coffee?
A: I will ask you how you take it and go get you some.
Q: What if I want popcorn?
A: I will get you some of that too, while I get you your coffee.
Q: Should I lease or buy?
A: Economically speaking, it’s all relative. However, if you drive over 15,000 miles a year or have a tendency to put a lot of dings and dents on vehicles, a lease is probably not your best option. Leases are perfect for customers who love to have a new car every three years, and who understand that a car payment is for life. For the most part, a lease will be less expensive than a purchase, but it will have stipulations like the mileage and replacement of worn parts at the time of the lease turn-in. Interestingly, at the end of a lease, you will have the option of purchasing the vehicle at it’s much lowered residual value. A lot of customers chose this option. I do want to stress this, however: You must watch your mileage if you get a lease. Most manufactures charge $.15 cents a mile over your allocated mileage.
Q: What do I need to bring to the dealership?
A: Driver’s license and CURRENT insurance card. If you’re trading in a vehicle, you will need the name of the bank or credit union with whom the vehicle is financed (account info is helpful, but not necessary.) If the vehicle you’re trading is paid off, you will need to bring the title with you.
Q: Should I have my car professionally cleaned before you guys appraise it’s trade-in value.
A: Naw. We’re professionals and can see through the dirt.
If you guys and girls have any more questions, I would love to answer them. Like, for real. I love this stuff.