Avoid being taken advantage of by car dealership salespeople who try to sell you additional services or warranties. Instead, research the car you want and understand its total cost, including auto loan payments, insurance, and fuel costs.
Then, be prepared to walk away. Here are nine tips to help you find the right car for your lifestyle and budget:
Ask for Referrals
In addition to hiring salespeople to prospect new customers, car shops can also generate referrals from existing happy clients. To do this, your company can provide referral incentives on its website or add an online form for customers to send you their recommendations.
When drafting referral requests, it is essential to personalize them for each recipient. Try to include a unique identifier like a shared alma mater or common interest to make the message feel more authentic and increase your chances of receiving an impactful response.
More than ever, car buyers consult online reviews to help them decide where to take their vehicles for repairs and maintenance. This can save them from a shady dealership or a negotiation misstep that would cost them thousands of dollars.
Reviewing a shop’s online reputation is also an effective way to determine how much they charge for repair work. Shops with many positive reviews are more likely to be fair in pricing.
However, shoppers should always check multiple sites when evaluating car shops.
Check Out the Facilities
If a shop seems dirty or cluttered, it could indicate shoddy work. Also, look for signs of overcharging. For instance, a shop that charges $40 an hour for labor may overcharge you by adding unnecessary tasks to your repair bill.
Finally, check whether a repair shop offers a warranty for its work. A one-year warranty is a minimum, Mallette says. He also recommends asking if the shop uses new, used, or aftermarket parts and if it carries fire and theft insurance. These questions can help you avoid buyer’s remorse later on.
Check Out the Technicians
The quality of the mechanics at a Vancouver car shop can make or break your experience. Ask your friends and family about their experiences, and research their credentials.
Dealership service departments are familiar with the brand of car they sell, and they typically have factory-trained technicians with access to particular service advisories from the automaker. However, a local independent mechanic who knows you and your vehicle can be equally helpful.
A one-on-one relationship can help you understand the work that needs to be done and prevent surprises down the road. This can save you time, money, and potential frustration.
Check Out the Equipment
Many car shop options exist, but you must research them before deciding. Start by creating a list of non-negotiables and wish-list items. Once you have that in mind, you’ll be ready to begin shopping around. If you’re financing the vehicle, getting preapproved for a loan is also a good idea before you set foot on a dealer’s lot. Additionally, check out the vehicle history report and see if it has any safety recalls. You don’t want to end up buying a lemon!
Check Out the Pricing
Checking the pricing is always a good idea if you’re shopping for a used car. Doing so can help you avoid paying more than you should or getting a vehicle that’s not worth it.
Be sure to look at the total sales price with financing, which includes the monthly payments and interest rate. Also, make sure to check the vehicle’s history for safety recalls. You can find all this and more in one place using car shopping tools. These include dealer inventory, a search filter for options and features, contact information for local dealerships, and ballpark insurance estimates.
Check Out the Customer Service
Some auto shops may oversell repair services, leading to expensive but unnecessary fixes. To avoid this, ask for a detailed price quote that breaks down parts and labor costs. You can also check the shop’s parts policy by asking whether they will use new, used, or aftermarket body parts for repairs.
A shop’s reputation depends on excellent service, so asking friends, family, and other trusted people in your community about their experiences is vital. You should also check with your state or local consumer protection agencies to see if any complaints have been filed against a particular shop.