How to Buy a New Car

I have to admit to a certain fear about buying a car! Maybe its the cost, how to determine which one is right for the family’s needs, etc, etc. How my older car is running is my biggest concern. In this case, our hero of a Jeep Cherokee is 10 years old has 170,000+ miles on it and it is perfect for our winters and terrain around our home (our driveway is a challenge in the winter). But we have seen gas prices go out the roof and we have several long trips coming up so we thought it was time to find a new car that was a sedan and had a better miles per gallon than our heavy, four wheeled vehicle.

I put this off for several months due to my concerns about committing to a new car and going through the purchase process but then the time seemed right so we stepped off the cliff. Here are my experiences that might take some of your concern away!

First, do you have a family member, close friend or someone you know who is a car buff? They can be a great coach and I have two sons who love giving input to dad and mom! 🙂 When dealing with salesmen they can be great advocates and even play good guy/bad guy! Besides they actually enjoy looking and finding the best deal.

But, the first step is really research and the place I went to is my trusted military association, USAA. Their website has a completely listing of how to’s : Research to find the right car, a Step by Step process to buying a new or used car, Tips from an insider (former car salesman) and of course financing. I followed their plan and it saved me time, money and provided a bit of relief for the stress of car buying.

I read articles from their site and others that gave me insight to the process and then I asked the Car Buying Service to price a model for us. Wow it was great as they allowed me to list specifics on the car and then came up with the price for me. The dealership in their program was some distance away so I elected to use the price from the Buying Service (I printed a copy) and went to a local dealer! But first, I took the next step to get pre approved financing so when I walked in I knew exactly how much money I had and I had a base price to start negotiations.

Then I took my coach along with me! Yep, one son was available to be the guy who listened, asked questions and was the front person to deflect dealer sales personnel and allow me to decide if this was the right deal. Besides we outnumbered them since my lovely wife went along for the color choice (which really is what she wanted)! Great strategy and I think the salesman was very happy to deal with me after my son worked on the sale for awhile. He was great.

The salesman called back today with some final details after we left the dealership last night and to let me know he had the right car and right price (it included a different color and an upgraded sound system) for us to come in and finish the deal. I think he was glad I answered the phone instead of my coach! I felt like the deal had gone smoothly, we had a great car, right price and the stress was significantly lower thanks to my research, a game plan and the tips from USAA!

Best wishes in your search and purchase! Tell us about your experiences and hints! Others would love to hear them!

PS: As one friend from USAA told me, USAA car buying service does all the work for you! Find-Buy-Insure. What a great program!

PSS: We finally settled on a Chevy Malibu–hey, we live in Michigan and our family has a long history of employment in the US Steel Mills! It is a beautiful car, with much better mileage and it is very comfortable! Bottom line: it met the needs we established in the process. I will keep you updated on how much we like it in the out years!
byColonel KonTuesday, April 07, 2009Military Life:,,

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