Here is how we bought a car.
Step 1: The Wreck
“Whoa!” I saw the car coming into our lane as I sat in the passenger seat. There wasn’t time to react. We smashed into the driver side door of the Mustang Salen. As we came grinding to a stop, Courtney and I were staring at each other in shock. Everyone needs an incentive to purchase a new car, this wreck was ours.
It took awhile for the insurance company to assess the damage but they said it was a total loss.
Quick Lesson Learned: Don’t rush the mechanic. He was $2,000 from marking it as a total loss but didn’t have the equipment free to checkout the rest of the car. We had to give him a few days but that just meant we had more time to drive the Impala from Enterprise rental car!
Make sure you have a reason when buying a car. Did you know that 40% of parents buy a new car because a new child is born?
Step 2: Set a Budget and Identify your Target
We received a check from ALFA insurance. Then used the amount of the check to help set our budget. Courtney also started searching the web for “Safe SUV’s.” Her top picks were:
- Lexus RX 350
- Honda Pilot
- Volvo XC 90 (It wasn’t considered long.)
Step 3: Create a Wish List
You want to be specific and realistic. Ask yourself, “What is most important?” Does color matter? Know what you have to have. Need an example? This was our wish list.
Car wish list:
- Lexus RX 350
- 2008 or newer
- Color: white, silver, grey or black Interior: Tan or grey. Not black
- Prefer: heated seats
- No smoke
- Low miles (under 50,000)
- No wrecks
Step 4: Search Auto Trader
We searched autotrader.com for cars. The site was great because it gave us the ability to do detailed searches. After searching by make, model and year we were able to visit a few dealers. Our goal was to find a Lexus RX 350 and Honda Pilot each within our price range. Then we would decide which one we wanted. After a few test drives we really liked the Lexus.
Step 5: Make Purchase
We kept searching auto trader. We thought we were never going to find a car. After increasing the distance search field we found a car that matched our wish list.
Finally the dealer came off to a price we were willing to pay. We tried to get him lower. We even drove off the lot but he didn’t come off. It was a little embarrassing going back but we did and bought the car.
I hope this helps next time you decide to buy a new car.