With Thanksgiving approaching this week, many families are thinking ahead to their Black Friday shopping lists. If purchasing a vehicle has been on your mind for a while, then Black Friday may just be the right time to buy.
The most important consideration for you as you hit the dealerships that day, however, is preparation. The most important prep work you can do when purchasing a vehicle is research. Both on the car brand and model you want, as well as weighing the value of your current vehicle and evaluating your finances for the new one. Check out these quick tips for what you should do before and while you’re at a dealership.
Before you visit the dealership:
- Review the dealership’s inventory online and select your vehicle beforehand. Have an alternate car in mind in case your preferred car pick has been sold when you arrive.
- Test drive the car you’re interested in several days before Black Friday. The horde of shoppers will tie-up most of the available salespeople, and if you test drive and ask questions in advance of this busy day, it will help shorten the purchasing process.
- Bring all the necessary paperwork you will need: Driver’s License, proof of auto insurance, method of payment, pre-approved financing options from your bank, etc. Don’t bring in an expired auto insurance card, make sure it’s current, as your insurance company may be closed during the holiday weekend.
- Review ads carefully – dig deep into the details by reading the fine print.
- Appraise the vehicle you’re considering to trade-in before Black Friday. If there is a CarMax nearby, get an appraisal beforehand.
- Research APR loans, cash-back offers, and rebates. Edmunds.com has a Low APR vs. Cash Back calculator and an Incentives and Rebates page.
- Prepare to be out for awhile and eat something before you head out. Dress in comfortable clothes, especially outerwear if you live in a cold-climate area.
While you’re at the dealership:
- Have patience. This is the busiest sales day of the year for most dealerships, so prepare to spend more time than usual at the lot.
- Keep in mind that you’re not there to window shop – you’ve already done your research, you’ve already taken the car for a test drive, and you’re there to buy a vehicle. Let the salesperson know that’s the goal, as they are always interested in a serious customer.
- Clarify additional sales perks that are advertised. Some dealerships have been known to offer additional gifts such as flat screen TV’s, iPads, or gift cards as an extra sales incentive.
- Don’t expect to negotiate for hours about the lowest price. Chances are the dealership has already knocked down their prices to the lowest possible price on this one particular day. If you researched pricing ahead of time, you should already know if the price they’re offering is reasonable.
- Ask about cash-back options before you sign up for a zero-percent APR loan. It could help you save even more money if your car comes with both.
- Watch out for hidden fees. Title, licensing, sales tax, and destination fees are normal and to be expected. However, if the dealer adds fees like “dealer prep” or “marketing”, then that’s up for debate.
Final note: Don’t let the excitement of a Black Friday Sale pressure you into buying a vehicle you aren’t entirely sold on owning. If an offer for buying a car sounds too good to be true, then chances are it probably is. If you have doubts, then go home and reconsider the purchase for a few days. The sale prices aren’t going anywhere. Most dealers want to sell their current vehicle stock ASAP to prepare for newer models being released at the beginning of the year. Chances are your dealer will still offer the same sale price until New Year’s Day.
Lastly, many car accessories also have special pricing on Black Friday! Besides the dealership, explore websites such as Amazon and Best Buy which have a history of providing great deals on automotive necessities.
Now go get that Black Friday Deal on your next car! You’re well prepared.