Here are a few things to take into consideration when buying a car. I’m sure this list can be expanded but this list should prove to be fruitful in your 1st endeavours.
[ ] Are you shopping at the end of the month? If not go home and come back closer to the end of the month. Dealers need to meet their monthly quotas hence will give you a better deal towards the end of the month to make the sale.
[ ] Research “Kelley Blue Book” to understand a reasonable price of the car you want.
[ ] “YELP” the dealer you plan to visit or have visited. Yelp is a great resource of information about service & product orientated businesses. Yelp is where I also located a fantastic (seriously fantastic) mechanics (Gary & Chris from The Car Doctor) – http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-car-doctor-mountain-view
[ ] Look up the car you are interested in on “Edmunds.com” and check its reliability and consumer reviews.
[ ] Does the vehicle come with at least 50% coverage or 2 years warranty? Make sure you get warranty which fits your risk profile.
[ ] Is the vehicle Pre-Owned Certified? Expect to pay up to $2K more for certified vehicles since this typically includes at least a 100-point inspection of the car by 2 mechanics and a quality guarantee from the dealer.
[ ] If the vehicle is not Certified, have you got it checked by a 3rd party mechanic? See The Car Doctor’s above.
[ ] Does the “CARFAX” and Log book tell an ok history of the vehicles maintenance?
[ ] Inspect the car for dents, dings and scratches before taking final delivery. Any dents or dings tell the dealer to fix under their own cost before you even sign any purchase paperwork.
[ ] Run a magnet on parts of the body you suspect damaged. Where there is bog (material used to cover-up previous accident) the magnet will not stick and your suspicion will be correct.
[ ] Test-drive the car under your normal driving conditions.
[ ] Ask for last service, why whom and what oil was used. Synthetic oils are the go and also protect the engine. Organic oils are only used on new engines to wear them in but to maintain engine quality, more expensive Synthetic oils should be used.
[ ] Check whether all accessories are in working conditions eg. power seats, mirrors, lights, windows, air con etc.
[ ] Under the bonnet look for oil leaks on parts like suspension or shazzy (the body). An oil leak can lead to expensive future service.
Speaking with the Dealer
It’s not what they say it’s how they say it and what their body language speaks. Observe and listen to their context, content is not as important since it only accounts for 20% of the message.
- Understand the dealer’s primary human mode – best way to communicate with them using the right words based on who they are. See my post inc. tips on my productivity blog here: http://ernestblog.com/visual-auditory-kinestatic
- Does the dealer cross their arms or step back when you ask a question about the vehicle?
- Crossing arms are an indicator of hiding something and
- Stepping back is a strong indicator that they are trying to distance them-self from your question – maybe you hit something which they are trying to hide.
- Build rapport with the dealer by imitating their body language or tone of voice.
- Stamp wide feet apart, arms by your side and head high. This sends a positive and strong message that you are strong and in control of decision-making. Never put your hands in your pocket, behind your back or fidget with them in front. Never look down either. Unless you want to send a message of inferiority and get taken for a ride.
- Read my blog post on how people tell lies here: http://blog.ernestsemerda.com/2010/02/15/telling-lies-how-do-people-lie-and-how-can-they-be-caught/
Remember that this is all just a game and never take anything personal. Enjoy the experience and make the most of it. Good luck with the car hunting!