Car Buying Tips From Used Car Dealer

Things to Know When Shopping for a Car

There are 250 million registered passenger vehicles in the U.S. today — and just 115 million American households. According to government statistics, 57 percent of those households have two or more vehicles (9 percent have none).

It’s clear that for the vast majority of us, cars are essential tools that allow us to conduct our very busy and increasingly spread-out modern lives. They ferry us back and forth to work, they move our families from place to place, they help us complete our chores and purchases, and sometimes, they even let us get away from it all

What You Want (and Need)

Know what you want, before you start looking. It will save you a lot of time and could save you from a very expensive mistake.

Your Budget

While a car may be an essential tool, it’s also an expensive one. And unless you have stacks of cash — and even if you do — you need to figure out what you can afford to spend. After your mortgage or rent, your car payment is likely to be the next biggest item in your budget. So calculate carefully, and know what your finances will allow. You may need to cut other expenses to make room for a car loan.

New or Used?

Almost 13 million new vehicles were sold in the U.S. in 2011, along with an untold number of used cars. So which path is right for you? It depends on how you answered Numbers 1 and 2 on this list.

Things to Do Before Heading to a Dealership

to pass a little time before your movie starts, or to get away from the house while your mother-in-law is visiting, you owe it to yourself to do a few things first. These eight duties will each make your life much easier if you find a car, truck, van, or SUV you want to buy on the spot. Although some of them may take a little time, they’ll save you plenty of trouble later.

Make sure you have your trade-in vehicle’s title.

Are you someone who is notoriously disorganized? You probably have the title of your trade-in shoved between other papers. Do yourself a favor and look for it. Check every drawer, every box, and every niche in your home.

Get a copy of your credit report.

Not going to pay for your new vehicle outright? You’ll need financing, and that means the lender will want to check out your credit report. First, though, you need to have a good indication of what your financier will see.

Check out your vehicle’s honest trade-in value.

This is quite simple to do online and shouldn’t take up too much of your time. Be honest when inputting your information, and think the way the dealer will. For instance, would anyone really call your 15-year-old car in good condition if it’s dinged up and barely getting two-thirds of its original gas mileage?

Evaluate your capital and see what you can absorb.

It’s quite easy to get excited when you hop into a new Ford and realize that it’s the car you’ve been dreaming about for a long time. All that adrenaline can lead to poor decision-making, especially when it comes to your finances.

How to choose a car dealership

Your car-shopping experience will vary depending on the dealership you choose. In a recent Consumer Reports survey, 57 percent of those polled said they were very satisfied with their experience at the dealership, and 31 percent said they were somewhat satisfied. On the other end of the spectrum, 10 percent of the respondents said they were somewhat or very dissatisfied with their dealership experience.

That survey makes it clear it’s possible to have a positive dealership experience. It’s also possible to have a disappointing one. Your car-dealership adventure doesn’t have to be a luck-of-the-draw situation. There are steps you can take to make sure you choose a dealer with which you love doing business.

Price.No one wants to pay too much when purchasing a car, and people like to feel as if they’ve cracked the code and beaten the system when it comes to getting a great price on a vehicle. It’s human nature to crave a bargain.

Service. People need people, and even the most informed car shopper reaps rewards from stellar customer service. Service is key because informed client care rooted in integrity fosters trust between the consumer and the dealership, allowing you to focus on getting the right solutions to problems rather than avoidance of unnecessary expense.

Availability.Availability is essential, because if a dealer’s vehicle stock is limited, so are your choices. If a dealership doesn’t have models equipped with the options you seek, the dealer can special-order your vehicle from the manufacturer, but in many cases this can be a lengthy process. The simplest and most straightforward approach is to find a dealer offering a car with the options you want right there on the lot.

Things to Look Out For in a Used Car Dealership

Finding a reputable used car dealership can easily mean the difference between a car buying experience that is a dream come true, or a complete and total nightmare. As a used car buyer, learning to discern the difference between a good dealership and a great dealership, can make all the difference when it finally comes time to buy

the suburban streets are littered with used car lot options. From the roadside lot with shady salesmen and under-the-table dealings, to renowned locations with fair sales practices and a friendly team – the trick is learning how to spot the good apples in a barrel of bad ones.

Things to Look Out for in a Used Car Dealership

As you embark on the excitement of used vehicle ownership, first take a step back and learn four key attributes that every great used car dealership should have

Reputation: If there is one thing that consumers in America are great at, it’s giving their opinion of a buying experience. Whether it involves food at a restaurant, service at a neighborhood grocery store, or acquiring a new car, people in the United States love weighing in and using their voices. If the used car dealership you are considering does not feature online reviews, exercise caution moving forward. This either means that they severely sensor the reviews of their customers, or they are an overnight pop-up sort of shop – neither of which translates into a good thing for you. A reputable used car dealership should have a fair amount of exceptional reviews, with a few bad apples sprinkled in. Pay attention to how management responds to negativity, if at all. This is the best way to measure the level of customer service prior to engaging with employees at the actual dealership. A great business owner will respond promptly to complaints, and offer some sort of resolution. If a car lot has bad reviews without any sort of public response, be wary. Dealerships that do have negative report cards, but promptly respond with conflict resolution measures, are usually on the safe side. Regardless – don’t go into a used car dealership without first exploring its business reputation, and the management of said reputation. This is the first and easiest step to take in order to secure a positive used car buying experience.

Pricing Practices: All too often, used car dealerships take certain liberties when it comes to pricing the vehicles on their lot. New vehicles come with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price, or MSRP, so this unsavory sales method is not an issue when shopping for cars straight off of the assembly line. Keep a watchful eye on window stickers, and ask questions on any line items that are confusing to you. Used car lots are notorious for tacking on excessive items, as most customers don’t think to ask what a “dealer prep fee” is, or why they should have to pay for it. Bottom line – a great used car dealership will include all necessary fees in the car’s overall price, and will practice transparency in their pre-owned vehicle pricing.

Finance Fumbles: When a used car lot can’t get you to pay excessive dealer fees that are tacked onto the sticker prices of used vehicles, their finance department will try and take a shot at skimming more money out of your wallet. While most people will need to finance their new and used car purchases, a vast majority of those individuals don’t realize that they can obtain financing outside of the used dealership they are purchasing from. Whether you plan to get pre-approval from an outside institution or not, at the very least do your homework prior to heading into a dealership. Having a general idea of current finance rates, terms, and conditions, can help you spot a shady deal as soon as it slides across the finance manager’s cheap wood veneer desk.

Unnecessary Add-Ons: When a used dealership can’t get you to pay higher finance rates, or pay $500 for the car wash that took their minimum-wage worker five minutes to complete, they will likely try to upsell you on items you don’t need. While this shouldn’t be a deal breaker in and of itself, it should be approached with caution. Just as the restaurant will try to sell you the margarita with the more expensive tequila, so will any car dealership offer you add-on items to your vehicle purchase. Keep in mind, however, that offering something, and persistently pushing it on you, are two very different things. If the salesperson is making you feel uncomfortable or otherwise pushed into add-on items you have clearly expressed zero interest in, it may be time to move on. Remember, until you sign that final paperwork it’s never too late to get up and exit an uncomfortable buying situation.

secrets to getting the best deal on a new car

Prepare for sticker shock and new-car-loan awe. The average new car transaction price was $34,428 in December 2015, according to Kelley Blue Book. Meanwhile, the average loan amount for a new vehicle in the third quarter of 2015 was $28,936, according to Experian Automotive.

However, it doesn’t mean you have to spend that much to buy a new car. Whether you’re in the market for a new-new car, or looking for a previously owned set of wheels that’s at least new to you, there’s always a way to save money. Here are some of my top cheapskate car-buying tips.

That’s tough-love advice, but there’s a good reason for it. You might need to settle for a lesser model, opt for used instead of new or postpone your purchase to continue saving until you have the cash to buy. That’s because when you pay interest on something that actively loses value, you are losing money in two directions.

Kelley Blue book used the following to illustrate the “typical” financing deal:

Car sales price: $27,000.

Out-the-door price: $30,000

Down payment/trade value: $5,000

If You Don’t Buy With Cash, Get Preapproved

For those who can’t or won’t follow the above advice, at least get preapproved for a car loan before heading to a dealer. This will allow you to compare dealer interest rates to other available auto loan rates. It will also aid in you being able to focus on the sales price during negotiations rather than the monthly payment

Feeling Safe With the Right Truck Tires

Choosing the Right Tire

Having the right tire on your pickup can improve performance and be one of the best safety strategies you can employ; having the wrong tire on a pickup truck can ruin a good day. Not to overstate it, but tires are one of the most important components on your vehicle, and knowing a few basics will ease the tire selection process. Choosing the right tire can be a daunting task as there are so many options and pieces of information to keep in mind

While this discussion mostly covers radial tires, there are many topics and issues that carry over for the few people looking to purchase bias-ply tires. Of course, getting into the habit of regularly checking your tires is always a good idea. Worn, improperly inflated or damaged tires can be dangerous to you and others.

Tire Markings

All tires are marked with the width, sidewall height ratio or overall height, rim size and load range. An example of what you might see on the sidewall is LT315/70R17 121/118O

The tire has a few other markings placed on it such as the date stamp, Department of Transportation number, which direction the tire should be mounted if it’s a directional tire, whether it’s a tubed or tubeless tire, and safety warnings.

Load Ratings

Tires get several load ratings; here’s what those letters on the tires mean:

P stands for passenger in a P-metric tire. These tires are great for lighter loads and highway use. Generally, they weigh less and cost less than a light truck tire and provide the vehicle with a smoother ride and better gas mileage. The downsides are that P-rated tires can’t handle as much of a load as LT tires and they are more easily punctured.

LT stands for light truck tires. Terminology is a little confusing in the truck market because many manufacturers label their pickup trucks as heavy duty. Class 3 trucks such as the Ford F-350, GMC 3500 and Ram 3500, and smaller, are all considered light trucks. Medium duty refers to Class 4, 5 and 6 trucks such as the Ram 5500 or Ford F-650. That leaves heavy duty for the 18 wheelers and big rigs. That means LT tires are made for HD pickup trucks.

Tire Buying Tips

Perhaps the biggest mistake a consumer can make when replacing tires is not using the correct size. On the sidewall of your tire, you’ll find a code that tells the tire’s size and capabilities

If the tire-size code starts with LT instead of P, it means the tire is a light-truck tire. Light-truck tires are designed to have higher-load carrying capacities and are usually found on pickups and SUVs. These vehicles are not required to have LT tires, and in many cases, the original-equipment specification calls for passenger-car tires.

The speed rating translates into the tire’s ability to dissipate heat, or prevent heat build-up. Heat is a tire’s enemy. The more heat, the faster the tire wears, and the faster a tire might break down. A tire with a higher speed rating can dissipate more heat on long highway trips. If a consumer were to spend little time on the highway, the speed rating might not be an important factor in choosing a replacement tire.

Tires are speed rated from 99 to 186 miles per hour (159.3 to 299.3 kilometers per hour). The most common speed ratings are T (118 miles per hour or 189.9 kilometers per hour) and H (130 miles per hour or 209.2 kilometers per hour). Both of those ratings clearly exceed the nationally posted speed limits and would make excellent long-distance highway tires. If a consumer were to drive only in urban situations at low speeds, a tire with an S (112 miles per hour or 180.2 kilometers per hour) speed rating might be completely acceptable.

Another important factor in choosing a replacement tire is the load rating. The load capacity number on the tire-size code indicates the load-carrying capacity of that single tire. When selecting replacement tires, consumers have to be careful not to select a tire with a lower load-carrying capacity.

How to Choose the Right Truck Tire

Choosing the right tires for your vehicle is an important decision. When you drive a light truck, SUV, or crossover, the tires you choose can have a direct impact on traction, comfort, road noise, tread life, and durability. Here’s a quick guide to help you decide what truck tires are the right fit for your on- and off-road needs

H/T (Highway Terrain) Tires for Daily Commute and Highway Driving

Chances are your SUV, crossover, or light truck came standard with a set of H/T tires built for highway driving. If you don’t plan on going off-road, and want a tire that’s great for dry and wet road conditions, then an H/T tire is probably a good option

A/T (All-Terrain) Tires for On- and Off-Road Performance

Drivers who regularly find themselves taking dirt and gravel roads in between long stretches of highway driving, should look at A/T tires. This includes folks who like to take the road less traveled on their way to a great camping spot or other outdoor activity.

M/T (Mud Terrain) Tires for Off-road Enthusiasts

You know who you are. You drive a rig that is either lifted or already offers plenty of clearance for your favorite pastime: driving in extreme off-road conditions, including mud, dirt, gravel, and rock. Or maybe you just like the way a set of rugged, aggressive tires looks on your vehicle, even if they never leave the blacktop. Either way, M/T tires are for you.

Choosing the Right Truck Tires

If you are looking for a way to increase the performance and economy of your vehicle, then perhaps the best way is to buy new truck tires. However, selecting the right truck tires can sometimes get difficult, as there are a huge variety of options available and budget can be an issue

MANUFACTURER’S RATINGS

Take a look at the manufacturer’s ratings, before actually buying new truck tires. This is because the ratings of these tires are made to suit the performance of your vehicle. The ratings are usually shown in metric on the side of your original truck tire. You can see all the information regarding the size and width of the tires suitable for your truck.

DRIVING CONDITIONS

Similar to buying new tires for ordinary cars, the driving conditions of your truck hold great importance when buying new tires. It is recommended to buy all-weather year-round tires for trucks, as they last for years. However, if you usually drive off-road or in wet weather conditions, the best option is to go for off-road truck tires.

TRUCK TIRES SPEED RATINGS

When it comes to buying truck tires, it is necessary to take a look at the speed ratings. If you usually drive at speeds of 150mph, the best option is to go for “V” category truck tires. But since there are few chances of you to driving at speeds so high, it is best to go for tires which offer a speed rating of up to 130mph. These tires are cheaper as compared to the truck tires which have higher speed ratings

How to choose the best tires for your car, SUV, or truck

Shopping for new tires can be a daunting task. There’s no way to tell which one provides the best grip, the longest life, or the shortest stopping distance by sight or feel. That’s why Consumer Reports tests 50 or more tire models each year, with each going through as many as 14 rigorous evaluations.

Spend more, get more

In recent years, we’ve found you generally get what you pay for. No matter the type, tires that combine the best grip with the longest tread life may cost a little more, but they are worth the extra money in the long run.

For example, our tests have shown the best all-season tires can last as many as 97,000 miles; the worst would need replacing after 55,000 miles. It’s pretty straightforward: a $130 tire that will last twice as long as an $87 tire is a better bet, assuming other factors are equal. Still, the cheaper tire may be just fine if you won’t be keeping your car for long. Many tires have a pro-rated tread-wear warranty—meaning the balance of undriven miles will be credited toward the cost of the new tire. The downside: You’re still on the hook for the cost of installation.

We have found some tires with lower rolling resistance allowed our test cars to get 1 to 3 more mpg than tires with the highest rolling resistance. Here’s a surprise: There actually was little or no performance penalty for the everyday driver for many of these tires

But as your tires lose tread over tens of thousands of miles of wear, they behave more like low-rolling resistance tires. So the mileage you get with brand-new, low-resistance tires may actually be worse than the old, end-of-life tires you are replacing.