Originally posted on the CUNA Financial Resource Center. Written by Jenna Taubel.
Buying a new car can be an exciting experience. However, if you’re a woman walking on to a car lot, that experience can often feel intimidating. Car salespeople may assume you don’t know much about negotiating or that you can be easily influenced to buy a car they want you to buy. Here are a few tips for woman on buying cars to ensure you drive away in the vehicle that fits your lifestyle and budget, without feeling pressured.
Tip 1: Know Exactly What You Want
The best thing you can do before buying a vehicle is do your research. Know exactly what it is you want in your vehicle. What features are a “must have” versus “nice to have.” Know the year and mileage ranges, as well as the makes and models you’re willing to consider for your next vehicle. Once you have those details, make sure you know the normal price ranges for those types of vehicles. When car dealers think they’re dealing with someone who doesn’t know a fair price for a car, they tend to quote a higher price. Generally, women feel less confident about car prices than men and are quoted about $200 more than men. Also, know if you want any “add-ons” upfront like extended warranties or fabric protection. This will help you feel confident when you walk on to a car lot for the test drive.
Tip 2: Know Exactly What You Can Afford
Figure out exactly what monthly payment amount you can afford and don’t budge from it. Doing so makes the dealer less likely to push you to a car outside your price range or push you to use their expensive financing. Better yet, get pre-approved from your credit union first. Having your financing already lined up provides you with more negotiating power. Also, if you’re planning to trade in your current vehicle to help finance your new ride, make sure you know the value of your car and don’t let dealer try to talk you down.
Tip 3: Know When to Walk Away
It’s okay to leave the dealership without buying a car. If the vehicle isn’t what you expected, or the dealer seems too pushy or disrespectful, walk away. The dealer will always try to get you to close the deal that day, but you can take more time to think about it if you need to. You don’t owe them your hard-earned money just because you test drove the car. Adhering to the first two tips will help you have more confidence to walk away if the deal isn’t in your best interest.
You Can Feel Confident When Buying a Car
You should feel good when you finally drive off the lot in your new ride, not second guessing your decision. The key to a successful car buying experience comes down to knowledge and confidence. The more informed you are about what you want and what you can afford, the more confident you will feel when you set foot on the car lot.