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You’ve pushed it off as long as you can, but the time has finally come. You’re at your wits end and have decided that you’re done funneling more money into a car that is no longer worth it. It’s time for a new “ride.”

Purchasing a new car/truck/van, can really be an exhausting experience; hours of sitting, test-drives, negotiating prices, interest rates and warranties and the never-ending paperwork. But, does buying a car really need to be that daunting? No! Here are some tips to help you next time you find yourself sitting at the dealership.

  1. Patience is a Virtue: When going to the dealership to do some research or to make a purchase, you should know it’s going to be more than a 45 minute stay. Make sure you bring your patience with you. Car dealerships and their sales representatives know, the longer you stay, the more likely you are to make a decision because your patience runs thin. They have all day, all week to be there, so they’re in no rush. If you go in with this mindset, you’re more likely to make a rational decision vs. one that you regret later on.

  2. Do Your Research: The online world has made the customer’s experience of purchasing a vehicle so much easier nowadays. You don’t have to deal with any salesman and, better yet, you get to find a car with a click of a button rather than walking around the car lot wondering if there’s a better option you’re not being made aware of. Edmunds, Kelly Blue Book andTrueCar are some great online resources when doing research for buying a car.

  3. Get Pre-Approved: Truly understanding exactly how much you can afford to spend before you head to the dealership can save you a significant amount of time while you’re there. If you let the salesman know what price point you’re looking at, you can ensure you’re only looking at vehicles that are within your price-range. Getting pre-approved will also give you the upper-hand as you have an interest rate you can compare to.

  4. Get Behind the Wheel: Looks can be quite deceiving. When you’re deciding on your next vehicle purchase make sure you take a test-drive. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve liked the look and characteristics of a car and then when I got behind the wheel, everything felt wrong. According to AAA (Triple A), the amount of time the average driver spends behind the wheel each year is equivalent to seven 40-hour weeks at the office. So, since you’re going to be spending a lot of time behind the wheel, make sure you like where you’re sitting.

  5. Trading In: If you plan on trading in your existing vehicle, I’d suggest letting them know when you begin negotiating prices. They tend to be more likely to give you a better deal on your new car knowing that they will also be able to make a little bit of money on your trade-in. Be sure you check the Kelly Blue Book value of your existing vehicle to ensure that you’re not getting ripped off on the trade-in.

The most effective tool you have when it comes to purchasing a new vehicle is you. You have to know what you can afford, what you want and what vehicle fits your needs. If the vehicle you’re looking at doesn’t meet all of your needs, specifications and overall plan, then it’s time to keep searching. Remember, patience is a virtue when it comes to purchasing your next “ride”!

Happy shopping and drive safe!

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