It’s not the best time to buy a car, but you can still eke out some savings.
- Car prices are up right now across the board.
- If you can’t put off a vehicle purchase, use these tips for lowering your costs.
- Research car prices before heading to the dealership, avoid add-ons, and purchase without an auto loan (if you can).
If you’re in the market for a new car, well, ideally, you shouldn’t be. Although many industries have managed to recover from the supply chain issues that sprung up during the pandemic, the auto industry still lags behind. And because there’s still a shortage of vehicles, dealerships are getting away with charging a small fortune for the cars they have on their lots.
That’s why many people are being advised to put off a car purchase right now. But what if you can’t do that?
Maybe you use your car to get to work every day and it suddenly won’t run. If it’s an older vehicle, it may not be worth it to sink many thousands of dollars into repairs.
Similarly, maybe you just got a new job that requires you to report to the office — and you need a car to get there because there’s no public transportation in your area. In that case, a vehicle purchase clearly cannot wait. But while now isn’t a great time to buy a car, there are things you can do to eke out some savings on one.
1. Research prices ahead of time
If you walk into a dealership to look at cars without doing your research first, you may not realize just how much you’re being overcharged. As such, it pays to do some research before looking at cars in person. Dig around online and compare the costs of different models.
Of course, the prices you see online may not necessarily reflect the prices a given dealer wants to charge you. But that way, you’ll at least have some benchmark numbers to work with. And you can use those to both narrow down your choices and negotiate once you find a car you’re interested in.
2. Skip the added features
You may be tempted to buy a car with features your last vehicle didn’t offer. But those added features might cost you. So before you sign yourself up for higher car payments, think about the value those features will or won’t add to your driving experience.
It’s one thing to pay a little more money for a backup camera if you’re terrible at parking, because that’s something you might do on a daily basis. But do you need heated seats when you park your car in a garage at home during the winter and in an office building garage during the workweek? Maybe not.
3. Skip the loan if you can
Many people don’t have thousands of dollars sitting in their savings accounts they can part with on a whim. But if you happen to have a lot of savings, paying cash for a car could save you money.
For one thing, you might get a lower purchase price if you’re able to pay for your car in one fell swoop instead of needing financing. And also, auto loan rates are up these days, so if you can avoid having to pay interest on a vehicle, that’s a good thing.
There’s no question that now is a really tough time to buy a car. But if you absolutely have to, use these tips to squeeze out some savings in the process.
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