Buying a car in the current climate is likely one of the last things on people’s minds with the Coronavirus affecting thousands. The COVID-19 pandemic is sowing doubts about job security and troubling worldwide financial markets. No one can really predict the extent of its effects on the people’s lives and the economy.
Purchasing a car has always been an important and difficult process, but the Coronavirus crisis has made it more daunting. Many states have instituted strict health protocols like social distancing to keep residents safe. The good news is that many car dealerships now have up-and-running websites that allow buyers to initiate a sale from their own home’s safety. Note that in some areas, dealerships remain open and even offer interest rates that are significantly lower-than-normal as part of their effort to encourage sales.
Whether you’re already shopping for a new car even before the pandemic came or you just don’t want to miss the significant deals available, here are important things to keep in mind:
1. Decide For The Car That Best Fits Your Needs
Before you start shopping for your next car, make sure first that you have an idea of what kind of car you really want or need, whether it’s a classic car or a modern one. Do your research and find the trim level, make, and model that satisfy your requirements. Of course, once you do a test-drive of the vehicle, you can then confirm that you’ve really made the right choice.
2. Pick Between A Used Car Or New Car
Buying a used car or a new car is often a difficult decision to make for many first-time car buyers.
Chances are you’ve already heard someone say that a brand-new car will lose one-third of its total value the very moment it gets driven off the dealer’s lot. It may sound a little bit exaggerated but it’s true that a vehicle’s steepest decline occurs during your first few years of owning it. That big depreciation is something that you wouldn’t have to worry about or pay for if you purchase a used car instead.
The manufacturer’s warranty typically still covers a two-year-old car. Also, you’ll probably find a previously leased car in great shape if you buy one. To minimize end-of-lease costs that result from excess mileage and wear, drivers with leased cars tend to take better care of their vehicles.
Buying a used car, of course, doesn’t come without risks. The most significant concern being the mechanical issues that might be present in older vehicles that a new car doesn’t have. However, that doesn’t mean finding a great deal for a reliable used car isn’t possible. What you can do is schedule an independent vehicle inspection by a mechanic of your choice to identify any problems you may have missed.
3. Find The Car You Want In The Dealer’s Inventory
There are websites that show inventory from multiple dealers. You can check them out to know whether or not the car you’re looking for is available in the dealers nearest to your location. Of course, you can also search on your chosen dealer’s website directly.
If you’ve made a decision to buy a pre-owned car, check out these vehicles for some certified ones.
4. Make Sure A Backup Plan Is In Place
You’ll put yourself at the dealer’s mercy if you decide there’s only one model you want after falling in love with a car. Therefore, considering a backup plan is always a good idea. For example, if it’s a Honda Accord you really want, you’d probably want to check out other models closely similar to it. You can be a stronger negotiator when it’s time to swing your best deal when you have that second option in mind.
5. Contact The Dealer
After finding the exact car you want and your second option, immediately contact the dealer to ensure that both cars are in stock so the purchase process can begin.
6. Ask The Dealer About The Possibility Of A Contactless Test Drive
There are dealers who are willing to bring cars to the homes of local shoppers for test drives. These dealers will also almost certainly have sanitation protocols in place such as wiping down the car before your drive and wearing masks. However, if the dealer you’re getting the vehicle from doesn’t make their safety protocols clear, then you should double-check it.
Test-driving the vehicle if possible before buying it is strongly recommended. You’re making a big financial commitment so you’ll want to ensure that the car feels right to you.
7. Don’t Hesitate To Negotiate
You’re not at the mercy of the car dealership even if you’re buying a vehicle during an unusual time. In fact, dealers may now be more willing to negotiate with shoppers than normal as part of their effort to combat declining sales. Feel empowered to negotiate, resist any attempts from the salesperson to push costly but unnecessary extras on your purchase, and stick to the main and second choice car models you have in mind.
8. Walk Away From A Dealer If Needed
Sometimes, a dealer and a shopper talk over the phone and agree to something only for the shopper to find that there’s actually no such deal existing when they get to the showroom. Remember that a deal probably isn’t sealed yet if you’re not getting your terms in writing. This is where having a backup plan becomes advantageous for you. Knowing that you have other options will provide you with the strength you need to walk out of the dealership if you won’t end up getting the deal you expected on a particular car model.
9. Take The Option Of Having Your Car Delivered To Your Door If Available
Don’t hesitate to ask if your newly-purchased car will be delivered to your door because some dealers actually do this during this time of pandemic.
It’s true that COVID-19 may complicate the car buying process, but it doesn’t mean you’ll just have to stop obtaining the vehicle you need. The best thing you can do is to research your options ahead of time and don’t forget to consider any safety guidelines your dealership of choice has outlined.
Hopefully, this guide can help you make the most out of this tough situation and get a good deal on your purchase.