If you’re a regular reader of the CarWoo! Chronicle, you may have already browsed through my Car-Buying Tips For Women Part One, which was a general overview, or Part 2, which dove a little deeper into some of the finer points of buying a new car. These tips are specifically about what kind of knowledge you should be bringing into your car-buying experience. You don’t have to feel overwhelmed or like you need to know everything about cars in order to make a smart purchase, but these are a few tips that can help you hit your top points, so you wind up getting everything you want, and nothing you don’t. If only it were that easy with relationships.
- Pay attention to make/model/series – The make and model of a car are familiar terms, but generally speaking, cars come in a series, too. So if you’re interested in a Chevy Camaro Coupe, you should look at the features on LS’s, LT’s, and SS’s to decide which vehicle is best suited for you (:cough:V8engine:cough:) before you head out to test drive. Salespeople may be tempted to upsell you on fly features, or they may not have the car you’re interested in on the floor. Remember: you want to test drive the exact car you’re thinking of purchasing, since even cars of the same model can drive very differently, depending on their inner workings.
- Know what’s under the hood – Do you know the difference between a V6 and a V8 engine? If you’re hot on a car with a V8 engine, make sure you do your research before hitting the car-buying trail – V8’s can sometimes be a real drag on your gas mileage. In general, there’s a low expectation that women will know anything about engines, so do a little research and turn those tables right around.
- Pick your extras – If you are a person that absolutely must have 8 cup holders in your car, but are not impressed by Bluetooth features, then make sure you’re not paying for lots of extras you don’t care about. You won’t use them, and they’ll just nickel and dime that bottom line price up higher and higher.
- Read the fine print on extended warranties – Though it sounds like a good idea to have an extra level of protection, extended warranties can sometimes force required maintenance, void the terms of the contract, or just overlap coverage already offered by the manufacturer. At best, they can sometimes be a waste of money, and at worst, they can cost you the better benefits of just sticking with the manufacturer’s warranty alone. So, make sure you know what you’re getting into before signing on the dotted line.
- Understand access to repairs – First of all, be aware of the differences in choosing a foreign versus domestic car. These days, just as many repair shops can service a Toyota as a Dodge, but if you’re choosing a German car like a Volkswagen, you’re going to need to take it to a repair shop that specializes in German cars. The same is true for luxury vehicles or specialty cars such as hybrid and electric cars, Smart Cars, and Hummers. This may not be a huge hurdle if you have easy access to a repair shop that specializes in your kind of car, but just know that it may drive repair costs up significantly. I love my BMW, but I swear it costs me $500 every time I need to get something replaced on it.
Got any tips to add to this list? I’m all ears! Be a dear and leave a comment below to add to the general knowledge base about car-buying.